Liner notes as entertainment
3-18-09 Do you read liner notes as entertainment? If I don't have a book to read, liner notes will suffice!
In the case of a book(let) from a Bear Family CD boxed set, it is a book! Yes, I’ve read liner notes all my life. It used to be on the back cover of Atco LP’s, or ingenious Stan Cornyn liner notes on Warner / Reprise LP’s (I loved his book, “Exploding”). I love Japanese-pressed LP’s & CD’s, but…can’t always read the liner notes! More recently, in the case of little paper album cover CD, they sometimes re-produce the entire CD booklet in English, and just add a Japanese language insert! Hooray!
Re-issue liner notes are frequently my bedside reading. Added bonus: not as long as a book, so one can usually finish before nodding off (though I will confess to nodding off a few times, CD still playing, my feeble hands having dropped the CD booklet into my bedding).
Yes, I certainly try to read all the liner notes in CD’s that I get, in due course. Often illuminating, I find. I like essays, but also enjoy the ‘nuts & bolts’ (i.e. a good detailed discography). Sometimes, liner notes make me get up and update my ‘want lists’!
Certainly one of the reasons that I was very fond of the Warner / Reprise ‘loss leaders’ was because of the (Stan Cornyn) liner notes – it took almost as long to read those liner notes as it did to listen to those double LP’s all the way through!
I have a rather large collection of books about popular music – both reference works and biographies / autobiographies. Al Kooper “Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards”. I loved both of the books by the one British writer where he asked Hugh Cornwell and Ian Dury about all of the lyrics to almost all of their songs. Countless hours of bedside reading. Manu Dibango “Three Kilos Of Coffee” – a wonderful book.
I try to stay away from books that are too (physically) large, like those recently encyclopedia-sized volumes about both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Best CD liner notes: The 26CD set of Sony Records “Century Of Sound” – that’s a whole coffee table book! The
Yes, I like to read about music, record collecting. And I do not always necessarily listen to music, while I am reading!
I’ve only ever written one set of published liner notes: on Watermelon “Out Of Body Experience”, a Japanese CD. Shame I can’t also read Moichi Kuwahara’s accompanying liner notes (they’re in Japanese). And as far as your rock bookshelf, I wrote the discography in Mike Chunn’s (of Split Enz) first book.