Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This Bird Has Flown -- A Book Review

I have mentioned on this blog that of all the Beatles' albums, my personal favorite is "Rubber Soul."   And while I do love every single album the Beatles put out, there is just something special about the songs on "Rubber Soul" that I enjoy.     So when I found out through the "Beatles-Book club" on facebook that the March book was going to be This Bird Has Flown:  The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On by John Kruth, I was pretty excited to read it.    My 2nd favorite Beatles album is "Revolver" and I read Rob Rodriquez and found it to be enjoyable and educational and I hoped to have a similar experience with this book.

The first thing I should say is that it took me a full month to read this book.    Anyone who knows me, will know right off the bat that there is a problem.    I am a very fast reader and I typically read a  book in 4 days, especially if I really like it.

This book on Rubber Soul examines each song on both the U.S. and the U.K. versions of the album.   Each chapter is about each individual song and it gives the background of the song and how it was written, how it was recorded and some information about cover versions of the song.     However it took awhile for the book to dig into those songs.    The background information went way into Bob Dylan and I read more about Dylan than I ever cared to read.     It was interesting to read about how the name "Rubber Soul" came about and the famous story of how they got the photo taken and the card moved back and elongated their faces and they wanted it like that.

But by the time we got to the "meat" of the book, I was bored.   But I pushed through and kept reading.   I liked reading about the history of the use of  the sitar and how it was used on Norwegian Wood.   The whole chapter on that song was my favorite in the book.

But the rest of the book seemed to wander all over the place.   For example--in the chapter about "Nowhere Man" the author wrote a big long thing about John Lennon's father (I guess he was suggesting that Alf was the Nowhere Man?) and then went into how in the 1970's John got kicked out of a bar when he had a tampon strapped to his forehead during a Smother's Brothers performance (wow----that was totally incorrect and what did that have to do with Nowhere Man?)

After awhile I felt like the author, while doing his research on Rubber Soul was finding all sorts of neat Beatles tidbits and decided to throw them into the book, even though they didn't directly have anything to do with Rubber Soul.   I am really not sure why he had a whole section devoted to the Butcher Album .

But what really bothered me I guess was that it became obvious that the author disliked George Harrison, even re-telling that Geoff Emmrick story about how Paul used to come back and re-record George's guitar parts on certain songs.    Now---that story isn't one that anyone but Mr. Emmrick believes and I just really did not like it being re-told in this book.

This Bird Has Flown wasn't a terrible book, but it wasn't the great book that I was really hoping it would be.     You can order it and decide for yourself from Amazon.

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