Thursday 02 Feb 2017
John Wetton RIP
by Phil Ward-Large
By Colin Larkin December 13, 2016 04:18
The annual troll through the best Music Books of the year is underway by the News Media. Music Books take up a small corner in their world and most of the house in my one. Those that impressed were Barney Hoskyn's tale of Woodstock and surrounding musicians and Joel Selvin's Altamont saga. Philip Norman's McCartney biography was excellent as was Norman Joplin's lengthy and rambling Shake It Up Baby.
The one that should not be ignored is the detailed and beautifully written book on the misconstrued term Psychedelic. A word invented by Aldous Huxley, and one that, beyond the connotation with LSD, gave birth to Psychedelic Music. Rob Chapman has written a monumental book that will surely be the definitive work on the subject; nobody else other than me would think of undertaking such a task, and Rob has taken it on and won hands down with a superbly crafted whopper of a book. One can only wonder at the 75,000 words his publisher forced him to drop and how much more informative fairy dust there would have been to savour. He covers the history of LSD, the artistic and cultural connections right from the early dance movements in San Francisco and the original 'get on the bus' crowd with Ken Kesey. He knows his Raga rock from his garage punk. His observations are spot on and his opinions are perceptive and honest. Once he gets to the UK you can sense he bathes in the nostalgia of the golden era of psych pop (1966-1969). It is here that the book is a joyous education for any interested student of the genre. He writes with deep knowledge as an academic but his prose is always respectful warm and laced with subtle humour; a modern day version of Wodehouse-structured sentences. Don't pass this important book by because it will lead you through an enlightening field of rainbow trees & chocolate covered marshmallow skies with a golden bicycle laced with a merry go-round mushroom of just about every undiscovered pop psych masterpiece ever released.
Just like this book; a masterpiece and unquestionably book of the year.