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Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll
ISBN 0879305347 / 9780879305345 / 0-87930-534-7
Publisher Backbeat Books
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One man's unjustly neglected genius is the next man's appropriately unheeded fraud. Differentiating between the prodigies and the posers is one of the great joys of fans of any art form, including pop music. And this task is made easier with this book, a paean to some of rock & roll's quirkiest artists. All Music Guide coeditor Richie Unterberger ranks among the most prolific rock critics of recent times, and he exhibits a depth of knowledge and a clear commitment to his subjects throughout this 400-page-plus study. He tracked down former members of such long-forgotten groups as Rising Storm, Savage Rose, and the Deviants for interviews. All seem to respond with unmistakable enthusiasm as they recall creating idiosyncratic music decades back. Heaven knows, a guy like Joe Docko doesn't get many opportunities to discuss his mid-'60s Mystic Tides 45s. This brings up the book's greatest strength: the light Unterberger shines on some truly secluded artists. Yes, you may have heard of Syd Barrett and Nick Drake, but even serious rock & roll aficionados may be at a loss when it comes to Duffy Power and the Misunderstood. A 12-song CD comes with the book, making it all the better an investment for music fans who want to explore strange terrain. --Steven Stolder [via]