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A. K. Moore

Santa Cruz, CA USA
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 30
  • helpful votes
  • 16
  • ratings
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps

  • The Music of George Harrison
  • By: Simon Leng
  • Narrated by: Simon Leng
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 39

Far from being "the quiet one," George Harrison was a writer and arranger of terrific power and beauty, and his guitar playing was fundamental to the Beatles' sound and success. Now fully revised and expanded, this new edition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison is the most comprehensive evaluation of George Harrison's musical career ever published.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Essential Harrison

  • By Conrad on 10-07-14

Arguably the most under-rated Beatles book

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-16

Any additional comments?

This is narrated by the author, who is not in the league of the professional narrators that the audible.com public is used to. That said, for non-fiction I'll pick the author every time, no matter how unprofessional. Case in point: Carole King. Her narration is the single worst on audible.com, but it only enhances the value of her book. Don't argue with me: to hear the author's voice - no matter how untalented he or she is at the craft of audiobook narration - has an intrinsic value that can neither be dismissed nor surpassed (we're talking non-fiction, not Roy Dotrice). Now, the content. For anyone interested in music, songwriting or arranging, this is a desert island book. If you came to be entertained, you're right - it's "boring" - and you, my friend, are a musical moron. This book traverses The Beatles' and Harrison's solo oevres with brutally objective commentary and insights that are offered nowhere - (and I do mean nowhere because I've read them all) else. Did you know who came up with the signature riffs of And I Love Her and It's Only Love? Yeah, you didn't, so take your less-than-five star reviews and live forever in infamy. At the end of the day (written after Harrison's death) this book tells it like it is - the good, the bad and the interesting - if you're seriously interested in understanding the most important musical phenomenon of the 20th Century, you can't not listen to this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Dragon's Path audiobook cover art
  • The Dragon's Path

  • Dagger and Coin, Book 1
  • By: Daniel Abraham
  • Narrated by: Pete Bradbury
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,340
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,138
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,149

Popular author Daniel Abraham’s works have been nominated for the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. In The Dragon’s Path, former soldier Marcus is now a mercenary—but he wants nothing to do with the coming war. So instead of fighting, he elects to guard a caravan carrying the wealth of a nation out of the war zone—with the assistance of an unusual orphan girl named Cithrin.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly enjoyable

  • By JoR on 02-23-12

High Praise from an Ice & Fire Junkie

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-30-16

Any additional comments?

SHORT REVIEW: I'm a diehard Ice & Fire fan, two books into the Dagger & Coin series, and I'm hooked. Narration is also flawless and compelling.

LONG REVIEW: I've re-read every bit of Ice & Fire (i.e., Game of Thrones) material nine times. I'm completely, almost unhealthily, obsessed with it, and I've searched long and hard for other long series that will have a similar effect on me. I've read the first book or first half book of about a dozen series that have been compared to Ice & Fire, only to get that empty feeling and go back to read Martin's books again. Finally, not expecting a response, I went to Martin's blog and posted a comment, asking his advice on series similar to his in the ways I list below and he suggested Dagger & Coin.

Why I love Ice & Fire:

1. The multiple point-of-view character construction
2. The 3-dimensionality of the very human, imperfect and ever-evolving characters
3. The subversion of tropes and the use of those subverted tropes to comment on our own world.
4. The playful but brilliant Agatha Christie-esque embedding of mysteries, clues, and the faithfulness to minute detail in each mystery.
5. The detailed world-building

Dagger & Coin fulfills #1 above perfectly. So far it's doing fine on #5. The jury is out on #3 and #4 is the area where I most prefer Ice & Fire, but in the case of #2, Mr. Abraham is giving Mr. Martin a serious run for his money. Martin takes us on massive character arcs in which we learn to love people like Jaime and Theon and watch people like Jon Connington go bad. Abraham goes in both directions, putting us sympathetically inside the heads of genocidal tyrants, racist slave owners, 1%ers and global bankers. Our most beloved "damsel in distress" heroine is essentially a short-tempered, promiscuous, alcoholic hedge fund manager! How's that for a busted trope? This is the best part of the series so far (I'm only two books in) - it takes the idea of "grey morality" to unattained new levels.

On a sheer listening enjoyment level, the pacing works well for me (I don't mind that the first book takes its time building; Book 2 is significantly more forward-driving) and the narrator is very compelling and flawlessly professional. I'm hooked! Downloading Book 3 now.

  • Revolution in the Head

  • The Beatles Records and the Sixties
  • By: Ian MacDonald
  • Narrated by: David Morrissey, Robyn Hitchcock, Danny Baker, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54

Regarded as the greatest and most revealing account of how the Beatles recorded every one of their songs, Revolution in the Head is brimming with details of the personal highs and lows experienced by Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr as they made some of the most enduring popular music ever created.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Five Stars with an Asterisk

  • By A. K. Moore on 05-07-15

Five Stars with an Asterisk

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-07-15

Any additional comments?

This is a fascinating book - lovingly narrated by an ensemble cast - all listenable, and a couple of them exceptional. After an introduction it traverses the Beatles recording career song by song - going session by session rather than album by album, including unreleased oddities. The writer is very intelligent and almost invariably brilliant in terms of his analyses of the lyrics and the broader role of the group in the culture of the 20th Century. He's also *sometimes* brilliant in his musical analyses - often enough to warrant 5 stars across the board. That said, he's also sometimes annoyingly stupid on strictly musical elements, making some technical musical errors and overlooking critical details. A perfect example is the song Day Tripper, which he pans rather ruthlessly. Failing to grasp the importance of layered thematic riffs in popular music (and frankly, failing to grasp what a musical hook is) he thinks this is merely a 12-bar blues variant that the Beatles rushed out in an uninspired moment. I find it hard to believe that anyone interested enough in the Beatle to consider buying this book could fail to hear the virtues of this song. He's even more critical of All You Need Is Love, whose thematic 7/4 riff is stunningly brilliant to anyone with ears but he ignores this entirely and damns the song for what he considers its nonsensical lyrics ("nothing you can do that can't be done") but then a few songs later he heaps near-Shakespearean praise on the (similarly full of convoluted word-play) lyrics of I Am The Walrus and lavishes modern "concept art" superlatives on Revolution 9. My point is that Walrus and All You Need is Love - whatever you think of their lyrics - are both dumbfounding brilliant and original from a musical point of view and to say that the first is pure genius and the second is a pathetic piece of rubbish is just infuriating. That said, many of his analyses are spot on and the fact that he's so arrogantly opinionated will challenge you to think, even if you sometimes want to reach through the speaker and slap the guy. So, 5 stars, take each opinion with a pillar of salt, and don't let his sometimes inaccurate use of highbrow technical musical terminology override what your ears are telling you. If you filter out the nonsense, there's an abundance of really great insights to be had.

If you're looking for a 5 star Beatles book without the asterisk, Lewisohn's Tune In is without the slightest doubt the gold standard in terms of both content and narration. Can't Buy Me Love is also fantastic.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Natural Woman

  • A Memoir
  • By: Carole King
  • Narrated by: Carole King
  • Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 302
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 276
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 274

Carole King takes us from her early beginnings in Brooklyn to her remarkable success as one of the world's most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. A Natural Woman chronicles King's extraordinary life, drawing listeners into her musical world, including her phenomenally successful number-one album Tapestry, and into her journey as a performer, mother, wife, and present-day activist.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Baby Boom Generation's Big Sister

  • By Thomas A. Morgan on 04-17-12

I love it - I hate it - I love it - I hate it ...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-24-15

What did you like best about this story?

Insights into the creative process and detailed information about her music.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Carole King?

I would still have her narrate it, but I would have someone listen to it with her and point out the problems. Painful as it was, it was well worth it to hear it in her voice because it gives you insights into her inner mind that you wouldn't otherwise get. She could fix it by simply relaxing and speaking more conversationally and with less fairy tale to a 4-year inflections.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Her description of the lyric of Natural Woman.

Any additional comments?

Starting with the good - the best result of hearing this book was that I realized how many great Carole King songs there are that I either didn't know or didn't know were by her. Before buying the book, I considered her a genius and one of the top 4 influences on The Beatles, but she's even better than I realized. I also had the pre-bias of loving her politics and activism.Now, to the other extreme (and I went back and forth between loving and hating this - and between listening with rapt attention and being bored - about 200 times over the course of the book). The worst part is the narration. Another reviewer said she sounds like a little girl - to me, it's more like she sounds like she's READING to a little girl - like she's reading a fairy tale to a 4-year old, with super-exaggerated rises in her voice and so on. But it's more than the narration that's annoying - there's also the style of the writing - so much of it is platitudes and bending over backwards to say nice things about people in a sort of cloying way, and to sort of try to convince you that she's a good and real person unspoiled by fame and privilege - when it's unecessary - it's obvious that she is - and it would be much more moving if she were less neurotic about the presentation. It's almost like she's defending her life when she doesn't need to. Back to the positive side, there are lots of really interesting stories about her music and all the famous musicians she's spent so much time with - for example, I didn't realize she was in James Taylor's working band. And she actually occasionally delves into her internal creative process, which alone is worth sitting through the annoying presentation. I mean - Dylan's autobiography is better written and better narrated, but he gives you no glimpse at his inner genius and of course 90% of what he says is fiction. CK is almost painfully honest. Bad narration or no, when you finish it, you feel like you've known her for years. But the main revelation is the sheer quantity of great songs. I knew about the pre-Beatles Chains era, the Aretha type stuff and Tapestry, but the albums before and quite a ways after Tapestry are also really good.So all in all - I'm very glad to have listened to this - CK is even more of a genius than I thought, a very interesting, nutty and quirky person, and, sadly, one of the worst narrators in the history of audible.com - but all you have to do is listen to the verse of the song after which the book is named and you'll forgive her for anything.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Respect Yourself

  • Stax Records and the Soul Explosion
  • By: Robert Gordon
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 17 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74

The story of Stax Records unfolds like a Greek tragedy. A white brother and sister build a record company that becomes a monument to racial harmony in 1960’s segregated south Memphis. Their success is startling, and Stax soon defines an international sound. Then, after losses both business and personal, the siblings part, and the brother allies with a visionary African-American partner. Under integrated leadership, Stax explodes as a national player until, Icarus-like, they fall from great heights to a tragic demise.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great narration

  • By A. K. Moore on 10-29-14

Great narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-29-14

Any additional comments?

I would have preferred a little less of the financial details of the seamy underbelly of the recording industry and lot more musical detail and analysis of the grooves vis a vis the other music of the period - there have been some interviews with Cropper and Art Jackson that could have provided source material for this. That said, the book is well researched and very compelling. It's not trying to be for musicians - it's trying to tell a great story and extrapolate it outward to the history of the civil rights movement and at this it succeeds brilliantly, so I can't ding it down to 4 stars just because I'm a music geek. It does exactly what it sets out to do. It's two concurrent stories - the Stax company and the civil rights movement, seen first through the prism of Memphis (a truly despicable racist disgrace of a city) and then through the personal prism of the many Stax personalities.

Both the author and narrator give the book the feel of a novel although it's non-fiction. The narrator is off the hook - she gives each character a voice and personality and makes the characters 3-dimensional. It's subtle and low-key and it takes a little while for her to ease you into the world of each character but by the end you really what a tremendous performance it is.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Neil Young's Harvest (33 1/3 Series)

  • By: Sam Inglis
  • Narrated by: Jay Snyder
  • Length: 3 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19

Neil Young's Harvest is one of those strange albums that has achieved lasting success without ever winning the full approval of rock critics or hardcore fans. Even Young himself has been equivocal, describing it in one breath and his "finest" album, dismissing in the next as an NOR aberration. Here, Sam Inglis explores the circumstances of the album's creation and asks who got it right: The critics, or the millions who have bought Harvest in the 30 years since its release?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Just a long record review.

  • By G. L. Jones on 01-05-09

Lots of Positives - some problems

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-14

Any additional comments?

First of all, I love the 33 1/3 series. I'm listening to them all and I hope they make 100 more. The first thing to realize is that each book has a different writer and a different narrator, so you never know what you're going to get. Some (Dylan, Stevie, Costello) are drop dead brilliant. Others (Pet Sounds) not so much, but there's not one that I wouldn't buy again and from which I haven't gleaned very valuable information.

I would give Harvest 5 stars except for two things: the narration and several really annoying bits of dumb political commentary from the author. The narrator speaks clearly, so you can understand the text - that's all it takes for me to prefer audiobook since I have no time to read, but some narrators (e.g., Costello) enhance the text greatly. This guy on Harvest sounds like he's reading it syllable by syllable, with little comprehension, to a 6-year old. It's laughably bad, but understandable at least.

As for the book itself, it does an excellent job of describing the album and reviewing Young's career and discography. My only complaint is the smug and stupid political commentary. He's trying to say that Young's songs about southern racism are silly, out-dated hippie idealism and that songwriters have no business weighing in on such things. And 33 1/3 writers do? In his defense, the book was released in '08, probably written in '07, and I'm reviewing the review in '14, after the South jumped on the SCOTUS's striking down of the Voting Rights Act to obstruct minority voting and after it's become so embarrassingly obvious that the reactionary South (and Plain States) are still living in the Dark Ages. Some things about Young are dated, but his appraisal of Alabama was prophetic. It's more than 40 years later and all you have to do is turn on the news to see that the racism of the red South is as abominable and disgraceful as it ever was. So after casting off Alabama as silly hippie fantasies about racism, he glosses over Ohio. This song hit the airwaves less than a month after the Kent State massacre - America's Tiananmen Square. That it was the most timely and powerful reaction of music to politics since The Marriage of Figaro is undeniable.

I will give the author some credit for realizing that Southern Man and Alabama are not the same song. Musically there's more difference between those two than there is among every song in the Country & Western canon.

Still, I find the authors John Roberts-esque "there is no more racism" insinuations to be deeply offensive and inappropriate in this type of book especially in light of the fact that all American music, very much including Country music, owes its very existence to African-American musical innovations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Elvis Costello's 'Armed Forces' (33 1/3 Series)

  • By: Franklin Bruno
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

Thirty-Three and a Third is a series of short aduiobooks about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the past 40 years. Over 50,000 copies have been sold! Franklin Bruno’s writing about music has appeared in the Village Voice, Salon, LA Weekly, and Best Music Writing 2003 (Da Capo). He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from UCLA, and his musical projects include Tempting: Jenny Toomey Sings the Songs of Franklin Bruno (Misra) and A Cat May Look At A Queen (Absolutely Kosher), a solo album. He lives in Los Angeles.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best 33.3 Yet

  • By A. K. Moore on 06-08-14

The Best 33.3 Yet

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-08-14

Any additional comments?

I've listened to most of these 33.3 books - almost all are worth hearing - some (Dylan) are better than others (Pet Sounds) but this one is in a class of its own. This guy is to music criticism what Elvis Costello is to lyric-writing. The narrator is also brilliant - he sounds almost like the guy who narrates Infinite Jest. The combination of the two is like a shot of pure adrenaline to the brain.

In any case, this book is densely packed with deeply thought-out revelations about lyrics, music and the history of pop music. The "best positive" review nails it with "tour de force". The "best critical" review claims not to be able to get through after several tries. In my case, I can't stop listening to it. The first time you realize that you're only absorbing about 10% of the layers - just like an EC song, actually. Make sure to get the Ryko reissues with the outtakes and alternate takes because many of the choicest bits of analysis refer to them.

If the 33.3 people are reading this - more by Franklin Bruno, please.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Tune In

  • The Beatles: All These Years
  • By: Mark Lewisohn
  • Narrated by: Clive Mantle
  • Length: 43 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 934
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 873
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 877

Tune In is the first volume of All These Years - a highly-anticipated, groundbreaking biographical trilogy by the world's leading Beatles historian. Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Insanely great

  • By Tad Davis on 12-17-13

In All Ways Sublime

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-14

What about Clive Mantle’s performance did you like?

Everything - he does each voice brilliantly without seeming stilted. I can't imagine how anyone could do a better job of narration.

Any additional comments?

I can't even begin to convey how much I love this book. I've listened to most of the available audio books on music and all of the ones on the Beatles. I didn't think Can't Buy Me Love could be topped and I also adore the Geoff Emerick book, but Tune In is in a league of its own.

Just to point out four of my favorite features:

1) He tells the story according to a strict timeline and almost never adds information or insights based on later events so it reads like a page-turner - without this approach it could easily have the feel of a reference book - but the way it's done makes it as compelling as Game of Thrones (by the "other George Martin").

2) Also like GoT, he uses "point of view" characters - primarily the 4 Beatles, Brian Epstein and George Martin but also many other supporting characters. His skillful transitioning between them also adds to the feeling of a novel.

3) The narrator is drop-dead brilliant. Each Beatle's voice is instantly recognizable - they sound like the voices in Yellow Submarine but devoid of any parody or exaggeration - you'll even be able to tell Astrid from Klaus - he gives each character a distinct voice and he does female voices MUCH better than most male narrators. It's uncanny.

4) Perhaps my favorite aspect is his meticulous description of all the music each Beatle LISTENED to. It's like a blow by blow of each year's hit parade as it was absorbed by the four musicians. I've found dozens of great old singles that I'd never heard, and when you get all of that melodic material into your ear, it yields endless insights into how The Beatles wrote their music. I went through the book a second time, wrote down every song mentioned, and made a huge playlist of "Beatles influences" in chronological order - from the banjo songs Julia taught John to all the obscure girl group and Motown artists they covered.

Can't Buy Me Love is brilliant in its coverage of the music scene as a whole and the Beatles' place in it, but Tune In lets you experience that scene from inside of the Beatles' world.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Book of Salsa

  • A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean to New York City
  • By: César Miguel Rondón, Frances R. Aparicio - translator, Jackie White - translator
  • Narrated by: Drew Birdseye
  • Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10

Salsa is one of the most popular types of music listened to and danced to in the United States. Until now, the single comprehensive history of the music - and the industry that grew up around it, including musicians, performances, styles, movements, and production - was available only in Spanish.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • As of 2014, the best audiobook on this subject

  • By A. K. Moore on 02-20-14

As of 2014, the best audiobook on this subject

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-20-14

Any additional comments?

SHORT VERSION: Of the books on this subject, there are three that are much better than this one: Faces of Salsa, Salsa Talks, and the quintessential masterpiece of the genre, Ned Sublette's Cuba and Its Music. None of these is or is likely to be available in audio, so if you want audio, this is the best one out there - if you find a better one, please post it here so I can find out about it! I would also point out that these four books are all different and have surprisingly little overlap. To really get your head around the subject you should read all four and then some.

The book and narration have similar strengths and weaknesses. The book is well-written and handles the big picture well, but needs serious proofreading on facts. The narration is well-delivered and I prefer listening to it to reading the hard copy which I also own, but it too has serious proofreading problems - on pronunciation.

NARRATION: I am a serious student of Spanish but not a native speaker. About 70% of the time, this narrator's pronunciation, while it doesn't sound native, is better than mine, but the other 30% is embarrassingly sloppy and with all the Spanish courses I've gone through, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to hear him say "Antonio mahKEEN" (instead of maCHEEN) and to pronounce Valdés or Hernández perfectly one time and like an American baseball announcer the next. So that's why I say "sloppy" - it's not that the narrator is clueless - when he's good, he's quite good. But in a way, this makes it even more annoying that he didn't take the time to edit his errors. We all know that these narrations are done with digital audio that can be edited as easily as an email. Why not just have a native speaker listen to it and point out the errors and fix them???? Por favor!!! This book has Spanish words in nearly every sentence. It was ridiculous not to get a native speaker, or at least to have a native speaker identify the errors and to go back and punch in. That said, it's more than passable if you compare it to Tom Wolfe's "Back to Blood", which has the most comically horrible pronunciation imaginable. (noooo! que gym! oh my god, I'm getting nauseous just remembering that one - and it's such a great book ... grrrrr)

THE BOOK: It's a love-hate thing. Rondón is a very thoughtful guy and writes compellingly, making big, important observations well, but he makes enough factual errors that you have to be careful you're not mislearning things. For example, he calls Tito Rodríguez a "Cuban singer". Tito Rodríguez had a Cuban mother and a Puerto Rican father but he spent his whole life in PR and NY and is absolutely considered a Puerto Rican singer - in fact, one of THE major Puerto Ricans of his era. Calling him Cuban would be almost as bad as saying that James Brown was one of the great white soul singers or Michael Caine is one of the top Italian actors. If you were talking about the iconic singers of the 50s, you'd use Beny Moré or Celia Cruz for Cuba and Tito Rodríguez or Ismael Rivera for PR. Rondón also mixes up Pete Rodríguez the boogaloo artist with Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez, a very important and soulful Puerto Rican singer who could scarcely be more different from his namesake. There are other problems. This book is a great "forest" with some flawed "trees". I temper these criticisms with the fact that I bought the audiobook after buying the print book and I would buy both again. But I'll temper THAT with the fact that I'm probably more obsessed with this subject than you, the reader of this review, probably are.

THE TRANSLATION: Note that the original book is in Spanish and I've been told that it's a lot better, but I'm only fluent enough to complain about this narrator, not fluent enough to get more from the Spanish version that I can from the English! I've read many books with bad, overly literal translations, like "Cuban Fire" - "The Book of Salsa" (the one being reviewed here) is MUCH better translated - it really sounds like it's written in English. It could be that some of the factual problems were "lost in the translation" - so, like the book and the narration, the translation is great in the global sense, not so great when you get to the devil in the details.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Anyone Who Had a Heart

  • My Life and Music
  • By: Burt Bacharach
  • Narrated by: Tony Call, Jeff Woodman, Therese Plummer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

Anyone Who Had a Heart is the story of a man who has always expressed his deepest feelings through his music. Filled with the emotional power that defines Burt Bacharach's most unforgettable songs, his memoir offers a candid backstage look at show business as well as the personal struggles of an artist whose incredible body of work has earned him a unique position in the American cultural landscape.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating and Hilarious

  • By A. K. Moore on 11-10-13

Fascinating and Hilarious

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-10-13

Would you consider the audio edition of Anyone Who Had a Heart to be better than the print version?

yes

Who was your favorite character and why?

Burt Bacharach

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listen in the car

Any additional comments?

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.

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