I received and read John Fogerty's autobiography, Anne Leighton's poetry book and "The Encyclopedia of Punk" late last year and found them worthy of a write-up.
'Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music,' John Fogerty with Jimmy McDonough (Little Brown, HHHH)
This book tells the story of Creedence Clearwater Revival's singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and what happened during that group's career from his viewpoint. It also tells of many bad and more recent good things that followed the seminal band's breakup.
My favorite parts are about John's childhood and his fascination with early rock 'n' roll, which he eventually started pursuing as a guitarist, then as lead vocalist in bands with his older brother Tom. Drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook of CCR are given faint praise; but real venom is reserved for the president of Fantasy Records, who owned John's music for years after the band's breakup.
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This book is a good read for fans of CCR, Fogerty and rock 'n' roll, even though it gets sticky in places.
'The Leighton Explosion,' Anne Leighton (Soul Asylum Poetry & Publishing Inc., HHHH)
This book of poetry emanates from creatively written thoughts throughout the life of publicist/word smith and humorist Anne Leighton. The poetry is frequently humorous, environmentally aware and NYC-informed. Each poem is dated, as well.
Some favorites are "Doing Lunch With Leading Ladies," "Song Cat," "Val's Valor" and "Me. Lee" though there are too many more to mention by title. Poetry fans will enjoy this work.
'The Encyclopedia Of Punk,' Brian Coogan (Sterling, HHHH 1/2)
This is a fascinating reference work with foreword by Penelope Spheeris. Coogan has included all the majors (The Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned, Misfits, DOA, NOFX, Green Day, Nirvana, Black Flag and pre-punk outfits The Stooges, New York Dolls et. al.). He also covers "movements" such as hardcore, New Wave, no wave, skinheads, skateboarding, post-punk and more.
My favorite parts are the lengthy Ramones section, facts about early English bands, the 1990s punk revival that ensured its popularity but was sneered at by purists; and, bands from times I wasn't paying attention, like The Replacements (other than an early Tommy Ramone production credit), Husker Du and others. Punk rock fans of any generation will want to have this book.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at email@example.com.