Computer Programmer and Worship Leader. Have enjoyed reading since my mom got me hooked on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie prior to my teen years. My brother got me hooked on audio books after I started having a longer commute to work. Love a variety of genres.
As a guitarist, choral director and musician of over 30 years, I have a pretty good understanding of the physics of music as well as music theory. However, I came away learning a number of new things from this book AND with a more solid understanding of things I already knew.
While I agree that a British reader may have made the listen a little more fun, the narrator was fine for me. The author's recordings at the end of chapters were good in most cases, but his demonstration of vibrato and rubato were generally not that obvious, even to someone who knew exactly what he was doing and trying to communicate.
His explanation of the overtone series and how they contribute to an instrument's sound was VERY good, as was his explanation of how the pentatonic scales were mathematically derived (something that I didn't know).
The author also did a good job near the end of the book explaining the weird "names" for classical compositions. His appendix explaining the intervals and songs that used them was also very good.
Only other criticism (and it is a small one) is that the use of terms tone and semi-tone is less common than whole step and half step, which may confuse some readers a bit.
All in all a really nice read and the author has a GREAT sense of humor!
Having been an avid guitarist for almost 30 years, I was intrigued by this book. I have read quite a bit about the instrument, its history and players and didn't know if there'd be much here for me or not.
I was happy to see that the author provided many interesting tidbits of information that were new to me, both in terms of the general development of the instrument, as well as what I'd call "guitar trivia" - things that your even your above average player probably doesn't know.
It was also interesting to read about the construction of the author's guitar and to learn about acoustic guitar construction and what makes the difference between a "good" production-line guitar and a really good custom guitar.
I have only two minor criticism (very small in light of how much good stuff is in the book). First, I would agree with another reviewer that the pauses between certain paragraphs were too long. I also found myself reaching for my mp3 player to see if something was wrong. About the time my hand grabbed the player, the reader started up again.
Secondly, IMHO, the author comes across as a bit snobbish towards most things that have been commercially successful (either musically or guitar-wise). At times I was reminded of some college friends who eschewed anything that was popular, merely because it was popular.
Anyway, these very minor criticisms IN NO WAY dissuade me from recommending this audiobook. The author discussed subjects ranging from fingernail care to Ace Frehley's near-electrocution; from Segovia's violent temper to B.B. King's rise to fame; from the reason that stock production acoustic guitars aren't intonated properly to how amplification affected the playing style of guitarists.
All in all a GREAT read - well worth the time.
This one was hard to put down! I was interested in Audrey because of her performance in My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany's. However, I was unprepared for how interesting the first 15 years of her life were. I felt like I got my money's worth before she even became a screen star.
The stories behind many of the films are very interesting as well as her devotion to UNICEF in her later life. There are indeed some VERY moving moments in this book.
I was amazed at how "normal" Audrey was in real life and her ability to walk away from her career to be a mother and homemaker. It also seems that the current crop of Hollywood stars could take a few cues from Audrey's apparent lack of arrogance on and off the set.
The only criticisms (and not enough to warrent less than a 5 star rating) were that the author tended to place the blame on her 2 failed marriages on her husbands, while glossing over the fact that she also had numerous romances while married. The second is that I would have preferred a little bit more about her relationships with the other actors (especially Rex Harrison) in My Fair Lady. There was a good deal of information about Marni Nixon's overdubbing of the vocals for the musical (which was great), but more could have been said on this great film.
However, these are small issues in the overall scheme of the book. I liked it so well, I bought the paperback and gave it as a gift to some friends (and that was before I even finished the book).
Highly recommend this one!
This narrator has an amazing understated deadpan humor. There are various other voices that come in to read quotes by people other than Bacharach - and those are fine - but the voice of Bacharach himself (about 95% of the book is in the 1st person) is extraordinarily good.
I listen in the car
The time period covered (40s, 50s, 60s) and types of music (early rock & r&b to the Beatles era) are of course very dated, but Bacharach's best work was of timeless genius in terms of pure melodic and harmonic inspiration and originality. I mean - listen to Walk on By - it's pure, unadulterated genius. The lesser stuff like Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head sounds corny after 5 decades, but there are at least 20 Bacharach songs that will always sound like masterpieces - Beatles-level classics. Bacharach was the bridge from the great Tin Pan Alley composers like Kern, Gershwin, Rodgers, Porter and Arlen, and the post-Beatles composers. I don't think Motown and Beatles could have been what they were without Bacharach to show the way. The 32-bar standard had been exhausted. Rock & Roll was fresh and vital but harmonically limited. Bacharach (at his best) showed how the sophistication of Tin Pan Alley (to say nothing of Debussy) could be freed from ii7 V7 I and used in a rock context. He paved the way for Holland Dozier Holland, Lennon & McCartney et al.The book is satisfying in terms of talking about the musical details - although not as good as, say, the Geoff Emerick Beatles book. If you're a musician you might hope for more of a discussion of the technical elements, but there are still valuable insights in that regard. But what makes this book so special is the humor. I see how the negative reviewer in this thread might (inaccurately) consider him narcissistic in that he recounts all his affairs with beautiful women - he would sound like a name-dropper, except for the fact that he really did move in those circles on a continuous basis - but he's also extraordinary self-effacing in the most humorous and endearing way. I'm about 30% of the way through and I've had at least 25 major laughing attacks. I'm not sure if it's the writing or just the narrator's pitch-perfect delivery but I really love this book.My advice is not to be put off by the opening 15 minutes or so. At first, it sounded like he was 1) full of himself and 2) had a chip on his shoulder, but that impression faded very quickly once he started his story chronologically. And, from an audio point of view, this narrator is as good at his job as Bacharach was at his.