Parasomnia / The Plagues

Images Of America

Baytovens: East Bay Book

Suburban Blues

Duane Thomas & Sax Man

House On Marchant Street

A Song For You

   

Images Of America
The ever-growing Images Of America series is a collection of books dealing with local and regional historical and cultural themes.  In addition to music (our primary focus, of course), other topics covered include sports, Black America, campus history, towns and cities histories and other similar subjects that might seem to appeal to a very targeted reading demographic.  Since our area of interest revolves around a rather specialized research of the local and regional rock bands of the 1960's, however, Arcadia Publishing's intent obviously parrallels ours--but on a much broader scale. 

With slick and glossy covers and interior pages, the books that comprise the Images Of America series are well worth the $19.99 retail price (and are available for much cheaper at amazon.com and other online book retailers).  For those who want to collect anything and everything pertaining to local/regional music scenes, the individual books will help to plug in some holes.  Those more interested in detailed band bios or discographies will be better served looking elsewhere.


All books are available at Arcadia Publishing.


The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s (By Dean Milano)

The Chicago music scene of the 1960s (and to a lesser extent the early 1970s) was somewhat unique in the fact that many of the town's local "garage bands" managed to break nationally.  The list of those that did is quite impressive: Shadows Of Knight, Buckinghams, Cryan' Shames, New Colony Six, American Breed (as Gary & The Nite Lites) and The Ides Of March.  All those groups--and more--are accounted for in Dean Milano's solid overview.  Obviously, in a book of this nature, it's not possible to be able to include every group that had an impact on the scene, and Milano includes an addendum of those bands that he had to leave out, the most notable for our narrow focus being The Little Boy Blues, The Knaves and The Riddles (and to a lesser extent Spanky & Our Gang).  Included, however, are great photos of other garage bands that might not be as well known, but interesting nonetheless: The Exceptions, The Bossmen (not Dick Wagner's Michigan group), The Cascades (not 'The Ryhthm Of The Rain' band), The Nightshades, The Escavels, The Other Half (not the Orlyn group), H.P. Lovecraft, Bangor Flying Circus, Grope (the author's teen band), Train, Shondels (pre-Ides Of March), Jamestown Massacre, The Flock, Outspoken Blues, The Mauds, The Blackstones, Saturday's Children, For Days & A Night, Cave Dwellers/Revelles, C.A.R.E., Lovin' Kind, Griffith-Harter Union, Wilderness Road, United Nations and The Dirty Wurds.  That's obviously a very impressive list and for those looking for the city's non-rock acts there are also chapters on Folk and Acoustic, Blues, R&B and Soul, Country and Bluegrass and Jazz and Big Band. All in all, this is another very well done edition in this series.
Cleveland's Rock And Roll Roots (By Deanna R. Adams)

Neither the best nor the worst to date in this series, Cleveland's Rock And Roll Roots provides a rather thorough musical overview of Cleveland during the 1960s and 1970s.  As a whole, the intent of the Images of America books is to capture a period in time that is special primarily to a somewhat small and extremely local (and perhaps regional) group.  While that is a strong point to people that might have lived through the era in question, it can also result in nearly everybody else becoming quickly disinterested...and that's a fault in this volume.  It's hard to criticize a book for covering its subject completely, but those not alive in Cleveland during the two featured decades will flip through the book without finding many pages of interest.  Chapters covering local deejays and radio wars revolve around many unknown (to us) personalities, but the 'Early Rockers' section comes to life with some good information and great photos on bands such as The Grasshoppers (two photos), Bocky & The Visions, Dave C. & The Sharptones, The Tula Babies (later The Baskerville Hounds), Joey & The Continentals (later The GTOs), The Twilighters, December's Children, Gang Green (in a fantastic promo shot), The Outsiders, The Poor Girls, The Lost Souls, The Mods, The Choir, Cyrus Erie, The Quick, The James Gang, and The Damnation of Adam Blessing.  And special props to the author for including--yeah!--The Alarm Clocks.  


The Cincinnati Sound (By Randy McNutt.  Forward by Jim LaBarbara)

While the largest portion of The Cincinnati Sound features names and acts that fall outside the interest of this Web Site, the latter part (chapters named 'At The Hop' and 'They Rocked') definitely picks up steam and provides plenty of photos of local and virtually unknown combos of the era, making this volume a worthy addition.  Unlike Motor City Rock And Roll (see review below), author McNutt devotes his attention to Cincinnati-area bands.  Beginning with 'Radio Stars,' the book progresses through country, soul and other muscial stylings before concentrating on the rock bands.  The highlights include several never-before-seen (at least by us) photos of teen and garage bands, including The Cavaliers, The Intruders, The Livin' End, The Chandells (and later incarnation Bittervetch), The Dolphins, The Rhode Runners, Gary & The Hornets, The Geargrinders, The Us Too Group, The New Lime, Raspcallion Circle, The Wright Guys, The Datin' Sound, Sacred Mushroom, The Strangers In Town, Tony & The Bandits, The Casinos, Vision, The Lemon Pipers, The Commands (later THE), and a 1970 ad that features photos of God's Good Air, Daybreakers, Borrowed Tyme, Owen B., Dunharrow, Haymarket Riot, Walnut Brick, Bitter Blood Street Theater, Whalefeathers, Ultrablue, Big Orange, The Skiffuls and The Bad Seeds.  When we first learned of The Cincinnati volume, we had hoped The Lemon Pipers, Bittervetch, Tony & The Bandits, Us Too Group, New Lime and Gary & The Hornets would be included.  Nicely done. 
Motor City Rock And Roll: The 1960s And 1970s (By Bob Harris and John Douglas Peters)

Motor City Rock And Roll: The 1960s And 1970s, huh?  Sounds great.  Wrong.  But what would you expect from a book about Motor City Rock & Roll that features The Rolling Stones on its cover?  That, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with the book.  Rather than focus on all the great groups, venues and events of Detroit and its surrounding areas, the authors dumbfoundingly chose instead to do a overview of (primarily) the national acts that performed in the city in the '60s and '70s.  We can safely assume that nearly any band of prominence from that era passed through a city the size the size of Detroit, so the book is automatically going to be lacking in its depth.  Granted, the Images of America series is not intended to be a research tool, but instead a sketch and pictorial document of a local scene.  But that's what makes it all the more frustrating.  Why, then, focus on the national acts?  Visitors to this Web site will only find a few worthy photos, including The Blues Magoos (another non-local band) on the set of the TV show Swingin Time, The Runarounds (later The Undecided), The Invictas, Terry Knight & The Pack, and The Rationals performing live at the Hullabaloo Club.  That's it.  The rest of the book is composed of common photos of The Beatles, Sam Cooke, Olivia Newton-John, Lionel Richie and other acts that have no connecton to the Motor City other than having performed there.  To put an exlcamation point on how worthless this volume is, The Stooges are not pictured (Iggy Pop is) and the entry on Ted Nugent does not even mention The Amboy DukesMotor City Rock And Roll: The 1960s And 1970s is completely pointless and by far the worst music volume to date in this series.

Music In Washington: Seattle & Beyond (by Peter Blecha)

Music In Washington: Seattle & Beyond
 will certainly on first glance appeal to fans of '60's rock and roll as its cover depicts a great photo of Paul Revere & The Raiders on stage at Seatle Center's Exhibition Hall in 1964.  Of the books 128 pages, however, only a select handful detail other groups that will interest visitors to this Web site.  The majority of sections--Early Times, Mainstream Melodies, Jackson Street Jazz, and (UGH) Punks, Headbangers and HipHoppers and The Grunge Generation--are devoted to musical forms that, shall we say, interest us minimally.  The Louie Louie Craze/Battle Of The Bands sections, however, feature great photos of some legendary area garage bands, including The Wailers, The Kingsmen, Jack Ely & The Courtmen, Don & The Goodtimes, The Ramarks, The Sonics (featured at the Teen Fair in the book's best shot), The Bootmen, The Bards, The Mercy Boys, The Liberty Party, Merillee Rush & The Turnabouts, The Daily Flash, The Accents, The Bumps, The Gas Company, Crome Syrcus and Easy Chair.
  All photos include captions that provide thumnail sketches of the groups.  As with most books in the series, Music In Washington: Seattle & Beyond will prove more valuable as a keepsake for those that lived the era, than a must have book for those looking to gain insight into the bands and events that shaped the time period.
Beloit's Club Pop House (by Joseph J. Accardi)

The Pop House was a teen nightclub in Beloit, Wisconsin.  Active from 1946 through 1973, the club featured many notable national acts, from swing through rock and pop.  Perhaps more interesting, however, were the local/regional groups that performed on the same stage as the top billed guests.  Admittedly, unless one lived it (or knew someone that did), reading about non-music related club events--such as chili festivals, renovations, variety shows and hamburger-eating contests--will no doubt cause rapid page flipping and only cursory photo glances. Thankfully, the roster of groups that played the club was mighty impressive.  Among the bands pictured are The Valients, The KnighTranes (with both Steve Miller and Boz Skaggs), Dee Robb & The Robbins (pre-Robbs), The Fireballs, The Reflections, The Rivieras, Ronnie Dio & The Prophets, The Van-Tels, The Kingsmen, The Trade Winds, The Castaways, The Fabulous Flippers, The Roemans, The Esquires, The Disciples, The Buckinghams, The Flock, Cryan' Shames (great onstage photo!), New Colony Six, Marcia & The Lynchmen, The Mob, The Shane Gang, The Beau Gentry, The Wylde Heard, The Marvelous Marauders, Robin & The Three Hoods (the classic 'I Wanna Do It' band decked out in full Sherwood Forest regalia!), The Paegans, and The Grim Reapers (pre-Cheap Trick). Not all of the info is accurate (the Johnny & The Greenmen caption reports that the band appeared on a 1964 Batman episode when in fact it was in 1967, and the New Colony Six caption seems to confuse the years the band cracked the national charts with their ballads) but when Accardi focuses on the rock and roll talent, the book without question provides more bang for the buck than other titles in the series.