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Addis Ababa Noir

Addis Ababa Noir

edited by Maaza Mengiste

Akashic Books

The Akashic Noir series has a very successful formula. Each book is a collection of short stories occurring in the same geographical place. Writers who live there contribute dark fiction centered on specific places in that place. I like the series because I get a sense of what that place is like, often at its worst. The Noir books also introduce new (to me) writers that have a style I want to explore more.

Of all the Noir collections I’ve read, Addis Ababa Noir is the most compelling. Editor Maaza Mengiste takes the idea of Noir well beyond the well trod paths of crime stories. Mengiste’s vision of Noir embraces myth, memory and the paranormal. The stories are embedded in Ethiopia’s recent traumatic history and current tensions.

The first section, Past Hauntings, centers on the fall out from the 1974 revolution and the Derg’s military rule. “Ostrich” by Rebecca Fisseha is a ghost story. A dead man lying in the road in front of the National Palace haunts the woman telling the story. She sees the man every day on her ride to school. He’s lying there, dead in the street every morning and no one else sees him. Even after she’s left Ethiopia, the memory of this specter stays with her until she returns to Addis to see if he’s still there.

Hannah Giorgis story, “A Double Edged Inheritance” deals with how a person’s actions cause repercussions down generations. Meskerem left Ethiopia as a refugee when she was a child. Her unwed mother was ostracized by all in her family except Aunt Almaz, who acted as a guardian angel for the girl. When Aunt Almaz dies, Meskerem returns to Addis to take care of her aunt’s estate. She learns that her father was the son of a powerful general. She is reunited with her father who is also an important general. Personal and national histories collide when Meskerem learns the role her grandfather played in the tragedies her family suffered.

The Translations of Grief section deal with the psychic trauma of loss. Mikael Awake’s story “Father Bread” tells of a man working the grey space between right and wrong. Abba Dabo is known for his good works. He brings bread to the homeless on Sundays and runs an orphanage. The way he runs the orphanage though is morally suspect and the pain that causes ultimately leads to a deadly encounter with the Ethiopian version of a werewolf.

Mahtem Shifferaw’s tale, “The Blue Shadow” is a different kind of ghost story. We follow the spirit of the newly departed, Weyzero Fantish. Her spirit moves about in the wake of sorrow she is responsible for.

The stories in the Madness Descends section pull at the loose threads of reality. Girma T. Fantye’s “Of the Poet and the Café” is a reality bending morality tale. At the center of the tale is the poet, Woubshet, who is so traumatized by the critical response to his one published book that he tries to find and burn them all. One day he wakes up and finds that the café he’s managed for years, doesn’t exist. The people he’s known, no longer recognize him. As he grows more and more frantic, I wonder if the whole poetry thing was a delusion or did his desire to erase his embarrassment by burning all of his books erase him in the real world.

Police and Thieves closes the book with more traditional crime stories that pick at the divisions in Ethiopian society. “Kebele ID” is a heist tale that plays out against the divide between the wealthy and impoverished ethnic minorities. “The Agony of the Congested Heart” traces a pair of friends from the Oromo region from youthful revolutionary idealism to the mature, fatalistic reality that changing leaders isn’t enough to root out institutional corruption.

“None of Your Business” by Solomon Hailemariam is set in Ethiopia but is a story we’re all too familiar with from Portland, Kenosha and Louisville. Hailemariam confronts police brutality and violence in a very personal context. Indiscriminate police violence at a protest sets off a chain of events that ends in the death of a child. This is an uncomfortable story because we can’t hide behind our First World delusion of superiority saying, that sort of thing only happens over there. Injustice is tragic and devastating wherever it happens.

www.akashicbooks.com

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Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood: My Life in Soul

Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood: My Life in Soul

by Eddie Floyd with Tony Fletcher

BMG

Eddie Floyd is a survivor. Floyd toured the world, performed for two Presidents and wrote or co-wrote a handful of soul classics as a performer and writer at Stax Records. And there’s a very good chance none of that would have happened had he not been sent to reform school at 13 for three years on trumped-up charges.

Floyd was obsessed with music from an early age, but credits his stint as “the greatest thing that could have happened to me.” After getting out, he had a focus and drive which led him to pursue music as a career in the early R&B scene, leading to his career at Stax Records where he truly thrived. Hell, if “Knock on Wood” was the only song he wrote, he’d have had a full career.

But Floyd persevered and continued writing and touring (especially in Europe), only semi-retiring a few years ago. He seems satisfied with his life and contribution to music, and happy with life in general.

Floyd writes in a relaxed, conversational style, giving the impression of talking with grandpa on the porch. Of course, this grandpa was friends with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Bill Wyman, among just a handful, so his stories of touring and performing will probably be more entertaining than yours. Favorite line in the book might be “Sweet single. If you’ve never heard it, do yourself the favor.”

Floyd specifically states he will not get into politics and you’re not going to get any scandals here. Floyd seems to get along with just about everyone, even a crazed Wilson Pickett. His friendships and working relationships with Otis Redding, Booker T. Jones, and Isaac Hayes paint a picture of the creative environment that produced so much great music at Stax and although he doesn’t get too technical about songwriting, the section on creating “Knock on Wood” is a fly on the wall portrait of talented musicians sharing and reaching to create a classic song. Incidentally, I’m somewhat obsessed with musician memoirs, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone with a bad word about Otis Redding.

Floyd’s positivity and storytelling abilities make this an entertaining read, and well worth it for fans of soul music.

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And In The End: The Last Days Of The Beatles

And In The End: The Last Days Of The Beatles

by Ken McNab

From the author of The Beatles In Scotland, Ken McNab, comes his riveting, eye-opening and factual account of the last 12 months the world’s most beloved band while they were still an intact and cohesive music-making machine. And In The End offers over 30+ eyewitness accounts of the events of 1969 chronologically that allows the reader the opportunity to be a fly on the wall of the self-implosion of The Beatles.

McNab recounts the quagmire of hostilities that were present from the very start of 1969 as The Beatles stepped into the recording studio for their next album – no one knowing that it would be the last time The Fab Four would ever be together in a recording studio. He tells us the attitude of each member of the band and the feelings each had for one another. These were not the same days as when they were best friends and hanging out at The Cavern Club. There was jealousy-filled screaming and threatening arguments right from the outset and these arguments were not just limited to writing and recording. Apple Corps was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy as the entire establishment had not had a true business manager since the death of Brian Epstein in August of 1967. The only makeshift management in place at the beginning of 1969 was Peter Brown, who was merely Epstein’s personal assistant. Brown had no experience or education to be acting as in such a role for a band of the magnitude as The Beatles. When it was learned by the band that Apple was in such financial shambles it was apparent to them all that a true business manager was urgently needed. Even in the seriousness of the potential loss of Apple, the band locked horns once again. There was an explosive divide over which person would fill Brian Epstein’s shoes. Meeting after meeting there were altercations that would, at points, nearly turn into boxing matches. By the end of the year, The Beatles will discover that the choice of American Allen Klein (against McCartney’s wishes) would be a disastrous mistake.

And In The End gives a glimpse into each of The Beatles personal and private lives. John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “bed-ins” in protest against the Vietnam War from whence came the Lennon song, “Give Peace A Chance” is detailed, as well as Ringo Starr’s work with Peter Sellers on the film The Magic Christian. Russ Gibb, a Detroit disc jockey, tells of how the “Paul is dead!” rumor was started and how close it came to sending McCartney into a nervous breakdown. Lastly, McNab tells us of George Harrison’s drifting into Hinduism, his working closely with Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, and how he was beginning to grow in his own music-writing abilities.

This is just a tiny amount of information McNab covers in And In The End. McNab goes to great lengths to make sure the ground is covered in relating each incident in the last year of the greatest rock band. It can be complicated at times as it involves a large amount of data involving investments and publishing rights which can be a headache even for a seasoned person dealing in those business areas. Nonetheless, it is something every Beatles fan should take the time to read, as there is a lot of unknown information concerning the band’s last year together and truly does help in understanding the breakup of The Beatles.

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Tampa Bay Noir

Tampa Bay Noir

Edited by Colette Bancroft

Akashic Books

All of the books in the Noir series follow the same formula. A group of writers with personal ties to a city contribute tales from the dark side. The mayhem occurs in specific parts of town, making place integral to the stories. I love the series because they explore interesting places from the shadowy nooks where the bad people are. I have a personal connection to this edition. Tampa Bay has been my home for over 30 years and I’ve seen editor, Colette Bancroft moderate discussion at book signing around town. She’s also the book editor for the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.

Tampa Bay Noir is divided into four sections: Suburb Sinister, Blood in the Water, Grifter’s Paradise and Family Secret. Each section has stories that follow those themes. I’m going to talk about my favorite story from each section to give an idea of what’s going on. If you read this collection, you may have other favorites.

In Suburb Sinister, I liked Lori Roy’s story “Chum in the Water.” Set in the ritzy, Tierra Verde development near the mouth of Tampa Bay, we’re introduced to a down on his luck real estate speculator who got caught with too many condos when the market tanked. Dale is a quick flip specialist, the kind whose speculation drives up prices. Roy let’s us watch Dales life fall apart even as he schemes to outsmart the loan shark who lent him money. Rather than pay off his debts, he gambles on hiring a hit man. One moral of this story, don’t try to hire hit men who were hired to take you out.

Blood in the Water’s stories are kind of like hallucinations induced by heat stroke. Sterling Watson’s story, “Extraordinary Things” is set in Pass-a-Grill, the southernmost village of Pinellas County’s barrier Islands. We meet Lee Taylor at the landmark Hurricane bar and grill. Lee is taking a chance meeting up with a woman he doesn’t really know. The story is a variation of a mistaken identity story and the long term repercussions of a chance meeting. This is a noir story, so you can guess that this blind date doesn’t go well for Lee.

Grifter’s Paradise is my favorite section in the collection. Ace Atkins turns in a story about a con man fleecing lonely women who are looking for love. “Midnight Preacher” explores the rotten underbelly of televangelism. My favorite story in Grifter’s Paradise is “Jackknife” by Danny Lopez. This story is set in Gibsonton back when it was still largely a community of carnival workers. The story revolves around ex-cop turned private eye, Wes who gets a call for help from an ex-lover as a hurricane is headed for landfall in Gibsonton. Wes drives into the path of the storm to rescue his ex, only to be frustrated when she insists they look for her current boyfriend. The hurricane hits, people go missing and we find out just how unreliable our narrator Wes is.

My pick from the Family Secrets section is Colette Bancroft’s story, “The Bite.” This story is set in the Rattlesnake neighborhood (which is the part of Tampa I live in). A 12 year old girl who’s trying to make sense of the strange neighbors across the street tells the story in first person. The neighbor’s father drives a fancy car and lives on base while his wife and children live off base in dire conditions. We see through her eyes that domestic violence isn’t always physical.

Being a local, it’s cool to read about locations and think, “I’ve been there.” Tampa has enough sordid and colorful history to deserve another volume. There is nothing set in Ybor City (but then Ace Atkins’, White Shadow and Dennis Lehane’s, Live By Night are set in Ybor City’s gangster past).

www.akashicbooks.com

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Too Much and Never Enough

Too Much and Never Enough

by Mary L. Trump, PH.D.

Simon and Schuster

Tolstoy famously begins Anna Karenina thus: All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in it’s own way. That doesn’t mean an unhappy families tale is noteworthy to any one but themselves, but when the eventual outcome of generations of sadism, indifference and deliberate cruelty sits in the most powerful office in the world, any glimpse at what went on to cripple and destroy the most famous failure in American history deserves notice.

Mary Trump is Donald Trump’s only niece, the daughter of Freddy, a man driven to alcoholism and an early death for daring to attempt to live his life outside the reach of his sadistic father, real estate “tycoon” Fred Trump. As Mary illustrates, the senior Trump killed his son, but what he did to the offspring he actually admired is perhaps far worse. Certainly for us – if Donald Trump had stayed in Manhattan, piling bankruptcy after bankruptcy and playing a successful (but fictitious) business executive on The Apprentice, his cheap, gaudy life would only be of interest to the readers of People magazine. Instead, he literally has millions of people’s existence in his indifferent, bored, corrupt hands. So, his story becomes sadly our story.

An early biographer remarked shortly after Trump won the election that he was perhaps the worst person in the world to be elected to such power. Kim Jong-un may well be insane with his finger on the nuclear button, and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte kills drug dealers in the street, but these madmen are for the most part contained by the world around them. Trump isn’t. He lost the election, but was installed despite. He was impeached but not removed. He’s never topped 50% approval while in office, he is hated by all but a bare minimum of the public – his fanatical “base” who respond to his brutish manner and off-hand racism. He, like his father, has no ethics or morals, substituting greed and a overwhelming drive to triumph in every situation. And again, like his father, not only to win, but to utterly destroy whoever stands in his way.

Mary Trump skillfully shows how Donald, being raised without compassion and empathy never learned such, and as she states, is much the same as he was at three years old. His emotional development stopped when his mother took ill, leaving his father, who worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week to parent. He failed. Unlike his brother Freddy, Donald quickly learned how to please his father – to become, in Trump lingo – “a killer”. It wasn’t enough to win, you must conquer. If it took cheating, no matter. If someone sued you, sue them back 100 fold. Greed and braggadocio was the life lessons Fred passed along to his son, and we’ve all seen the awful result of that in the last three and a half years. America’s stature among nations is ruined due to Trump’s ham-handed, jealousy-driven objective of destroying anything Obama achieved. Despite his boasts of his business acumen he knows nothing at all about economics, and his tariffs and trade wars have crippled major parts of agricultural markets. His fear of failure and low self-esteem (again, due to his father) has led to his near complete abandonment of the ever increasing COVID virus. When the proper response would be to use and expand what Obama left in place to combat a pandemic, his absolute hatred of his predecessor left him no options. So he took, in his own words “no responsibility” and left it up to the states to fend for themselves, battling their neighbors in a bidding war for supplies. 200,000 people will be dead in America by election day 2020 due in large part to his failure to act.

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s brilliant and sobering How Democracies Die show that when one political party refuses to acknowledge their opposing party’s right to exist (which the GOP has done since the days of Reagan and Gingrich), the norms that keep democracy healthy erode to the point of tyranny. In this Trump is just the latest figurehead of this one party rule, but he’s worse. Norms – such as releasing your taxes, or putting your business in a blind trust are ignored. Rules are set aside, much like his father did erecting cheap apartments in the boroughs of New York (all on the taxpayers dime – grifting is another thing he passed along to Donald) and the institutions set up to oversee such are unfunded or simply left to wither impotently.

Donald Trump has made all of us the Karenina family. Mary Trump has shown, in awful detail, what forces made him the way he is. If it were anyone else, you might have some sympathy for the horrors Trump’s upbringing entailed. But that is not her purpose in writing this tale. She shows time and time again how Donald takes his lack of compassion, moral failings and cruelty – which in other men would be a sign of a ruined persona – into assets. He is not crippled by empathy – he truly doesn’t care enough for his fellow man to expend any time on them. We, as a nation, only exist to his betterment. Either with our taxes, which he directs via his properties into his pocket. Or our votes, which he desperately requires to keep his Presidential immunity from prosecution intact (its widely thought that sealed indictments exist for himself and his family, ready to be charged once he leaves office).

America, and the world will survive Donald Trump. But our country has been forever altered and tarnished by the destruction that Fred Trump imparted on his family.

And ours.

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A Genesis In My Bed

A Genesis In My Bed

by Steve Hackett

Wyner Publishing

Steve Hackett was the guitarist for Genesis during their Prog Rock years in the early to late 1970s. He left the band just before they began their transition from cult darling to hit makers. You’d think the guy might resent missing the golden ticket, but Steve doesn’t hold any grudges. He had a few minutes on the pop charts with the band GTR and he’s been able to make the music he wants, and make a living at it.

A Genesis In My Bed strikes a similar tone as Eric Clapton’s autobiography. Both artists are committed to telling their story as honestly they can. It feels like Steve is sharing a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon and telling you about his life. He’s interested in sharing how he felt at the crossroads of his life. He recounts humorous stories of his escapes from parental supervision as a toddler. He is almost painfully frank about his teenage quest to master the guitar at the expense of dating girls. He recounts his time in London before getting the Genesis gig like a buddy telling you about seeing Mick Jagger walking along Kings Road, but the really important thing that day was getting the latest clothes.

It’s refreshing to read Hackett’s account of the audition process for Genesis. He admits he was nervous and questioned if a working class kid like him belonged in a band with Public School boys. He did. He humbly talks about his contributions to Genesis records as contributing a melody to fit a chord progression here or suggesting a lyric there. He talks about encouraging Peter Gabriel’s theatrical stage antics.

There are points in the story where Hackett could have lashed out at people. It would be understandable if he’d been pissed at Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford for asking him not to release solo albums while still being in Genesis. Steve just says that he would have liked to stay and have a solo career on the side, but he had music that didn’t fit the band, so it’s time to leave.

The only time Hackett does grouse is about the way punk changed the record industry. As those unrefined hooligans gained ascendance, it made it harder for him to get his music out.

Steve’s solo albums provide an opportunity to share his interest in Spiritualism and life after death. His first album, Voyage of the Acolyte, takes inspiration from the tarot. Albums like Spectral Mornings and Till We Have Faces explore spiritual themes while finding diminishing returns commercially. He slowly settles into a niche performer, often playing with orchestras and recording his take on classical guitar.

The title A Genesis in My Bed is taken from a story about a night spent with a groupie. Steve expresses misgivings that the women just want to add to their collection of one night stands with rock stars. He gets confirmation when one of his new acquaintances shouts; “I have a Genesis in my bed!” The later part of the story finds Hackett coming to terms with “being a Genesis.” Part of that coming to terms has been taking on the role as guardian of the classic Genesis legacy. Steve has released several albums of “Genesis Revisited” albums and he frequently tours playing Genesis material. He can do things with the songs he couldn’t while in the band. Most importantly, Steve really enjoys sharing music he still loves with friends. If he’s always going to be known as “a Genesis,” that’s all right.

www.wymerpublishing.co.uk

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Long Story Short: Your Favorite Books as Cartoons

Long Story Short: Your Favorite Books as Cartoons

by Mr. Fish and friends

Akashic Books

Think about how much easier high school would have been if instead of writing out a 500 or 1000 word essay on an assigned book, you could just submit a simple cartoon that got straight to the point rather than consulting your thesaurus for synonyms of “really” or “very” to increase your word count. Award-winning cartoonist Mr. Fish (Dwayne Booth) has obviously thought about this and recruited a gang of illustrators and cartoonists to create (mostly) one-panel cartoons that capture the essence of a work of literature in Long Story Short: Your Favorite Books as Cartoons. As Fish says in the intro “Each contribution is an attempt to look past the printed page as if it were sheet music and to find the music = and then to play it.”

Naturally, some are more successful than others, but the artists’ ability to communicate with a picture and just a few words conveys the power and directness of the best cartoons. Opening with Tamara Knoss’ three dollar bill illustration of A Catcher in the Rye representing Holden Caufield as The Original Incel is a great introduction to what you’re going to get in Long Story Short. Some artists go for evocative, like Ron Hill’s The Old Man and the Sea, Mr. Fish’s A Room of One’s Own or Gary Dumm’s Invisible Man. Some works are funny, some are gorgeous and could be book covers, like Clare Kolat’s Animal Farm or Mr. Fish’s Slaughterhouse 5.

Themes and motifs get repeated throughout – lots of doves and …buttholes, for some reason, but all the artists are successful in using their different styles to quickly communicate the work’s overall message. As a primer on some upcoming artists, or a reminder of all that assigned reading, Long Story Short: Your Favorite Books as Cartoons will serve as a reminder of the old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words.

www.akashicbooks.com

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Let My Daughter Go

Let My Daughter Go

by Creston Mapes

Rooftop Press

Why do I refer to Creston Mapes as the “postmaster?” ‘Cuz he ALWAYS “delivers!” And his latest thriller, Let My Daughter Go is NO exception.

Mapes picks up right where his 2019 page-turner, Signs of Life left off. Yes, Portland police detective Wayne Deetz is back. Apparently Deetz didn’t bust ALL of the bad guys when he thwarted the mass shooting plot just a few months earlier. Now he’s drawn suddenly into cracking another chilling case. And this time, it’s personal.

Paralyzing readers in short order, Mapes paints a Picasso-like portrait – one filled with compelling, often unlikable characters and brimming with heart-stopping suspense – utilizing every single drop of paint on his palette with masterful skill.

Simply put, Mapes scratches that itch – once again delivering everything his most dedicated disciples have come to expect – inspiring heroes and despicable villains, plenty of action and non-stop tension – all crammed into a timely, relevant story and glossed with his signature-style message of faith.

Despite being a sequel, Let My Daughter Go stands as a gripping stand-alone read. But while it certainly isn’t necessary to visit the preceding saga first, it might help some readers to connect all the back story dots a bit more quickly.

Maybe it’s because I’m a parent. Maybe it’s because I’m blessed to have an abundance of special needs folks as friends and family members. Maybe it’s because I’m one of those “dedicated disciples,” but Let My Daughter Go thwacked me harder than any of Mapes’ previous efforts – arguably his strongest work to date.

www.crestonmapes.com

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Pete Comes to America

Pete Comes to America

by Violet Favero

Meadow Road Publishing

A famous rock star once offered me a personal slice of professional philosophy regarding content creation and presentation – “Know your audience,” he told me. Simply put, Violet Favero knows her audience – quite well.

In 2015, the Florida-based author dropped her childrens debut, Silly Yaya. Easy-to-read and packed with fun illustrations, the book focuses on the array of unique and endearing names that kids have for their grandmothers. Favero’s follow-up, Sunday Dinner at Silly Yaya’s arrived in 2016. Remaining in her stylistic zone, Favero’s next title, Unkie Munkie Lives at the Zoo, was released just a few months later. Maintaining a firm grasp of her developing brand and expanding audience, her fourth book, Gracie’s RV Mis-Adventure (2019), possessed a more educational slant, while not compromising any fun factor. So, why does Favero connect so well with young book fans? She (seemingly) has 900 grandkids of her own. “Know your audience,” indeed.

Recently, Favero’s fifth book, Pete Comes to America was released via Meadow Road Publishing. Illustrated beautifully by Chrissy Schram, “Pete” tells the real life, easy read story of Favero’s own grandfather who immigrated from Greece to America with his family during the early 1900s. His adjustment to a new culture in a new country where he didn’t even speak the language makes for an entertaining and educational tale – one that’s perfect for very young school age readers.

With all the recent hoo-ha regarding immigrants and building walls, “Pete’s” timing is fantastic and the story is engaging. As a parent who sought out quality content to share with my own son, not so long ago, I’ve become an enormous Violet Favero fan. Pete Comes to America is her strongest work to date, and I recommend it highly.

SillyYaya.com

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Tribute: Cocker Power

Tribute: Cocker Power

by Linda Wolf

Insight Editions

As with any great story that fascinates, entertains and enthralls a combination of unique characters, timing and talent are the necessary ingredients to bring such a production to life and captivate an audience. In Linda Wolf’s majestic new book, Tribute: Cocker Power her heartfelt photographic tribute to the legendary “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” tour from 1970 that made overnight stars of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell there is no shortage of any of these integral elements in fact, a overload of cosmic talent is probably the more accurate and best way to describe the participants in this glorious travelogue.

After wowing audiences at Woodstock in August of 1969 Joe Cocker prepared to take some time off and recharge but due to some unexpected financial obligations combined with a fallout with his band at the time due to his reluctance to tour Joe was given only six days to assemble a new band, rehearse and start a new tour of some previously booked U.S. shows.

This led Joe to reach out to the producers of his last record, Joe Cocker! – Leon Russell and Denny Cordell for some assistance and that’s when Leon said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get a band together” and did he ever. With Chris Stainton fortuitously already visiting his house he gathered the likes of Rita Coolidge, Jim Keltner, Bobby Keys, Claudia Lennear, “Space Captain” writer Matthew Moore along with many other assorted musicians and friends he had worked with in the past. By the time the various troupe of musicians, roadies, girlfriends, photographers, managers, a nanny, film crew, three children, and a pregnant dog were assembled there was an entourage of 43 people who would embark on 54 performances in 48 cities tour that would leave both the audiences and themselves pressed to their physical and mental limits.

Wolf’s book starts out with some nice autobiographical remembrances of the tour starting by some of the entourage and then leads into Linda’s own account of how she became one of only two photographers given the green light to join the ensemble and shoot whatever she saw fit with no restrictions. Her story is just as fascinating as the one she was brought along to document.

This is a gorgeous 336 page book filled with behind the scenes and one of a kind intimate portraits documenting the highs and lows of this traveling show….a hippie commune bonafide indeed. The book is split into two sections with the first 211 pages dedicated to the 1970 Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour that spawned the classic recordings of “The Letter”, “Feelin’ Alright”, “Delta Lady”, “Space Captain” and Joe’s show stopper anthem at the time, “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles.

There are warm remembrances and funny anecdotal moments sprinkled within these remarkable photographs that seem to jump off the pages and spring to life. But as with any family dynamic, on the original tour there were the flare ups of jealousy and unexpected acts of violence all documented here in this immersive yet gently voyeuristic diary.

The rest of the book highlights the heartwarming 2015 reunion/tribute concert at the LOCKN’ Festival spearheaded by the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Leon Russell, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Lockin' Tribute

Linda Wolf
Leon Russell, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Lockin’ Tribute

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi were inspired by the original album and tour so much that they modeled their Tedeschi Trucks Band after it’s communal spirit. They called back to arms all the original alumni that could attend and once again the “Master of Space and Time”, Leon Russell sat in on piano as bandleader and patriarch.

If you want to experience the rawness, the sweetness and a good portion of the truth about the historic “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour and legacy then this is the bible to learn from.

Author’s note : ( This is not ALL of the truth! – some things only the Shadow knows, as Leon would say! And some things should remain between those it happened with! )

Then after your finished send out a prayer of thanks to both the Holy Trinity and Linda Wolf for creating and capturing this glorious moment in rock n’ roll…

(Suggested background music during prayer would be Leon’s “Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen” )

lindawolf.net