Rolling Stone record guides. Anyone else get irritated???

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by BrentB, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Baja Virginia
    Here's one that stuck with me after all these years: While reviewing Creedence (whom he liked), Marsh felt obliged to take a dig at the Grateful Dead for being from the more "fashionable" side of S.F. Bay or some such nonsense. It's incredibly petty and childish that he couldn't praise a band that he liked without taking a dig at one that he hated, and went out of his way to criticize at every opportunity.
    Hey Vinyl Man likes this.
  2. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Austin, TX, USA
    I've got copies of both the red and blue ones.

    The red one correctly states that Van Halen covered the Kinks' "You Really Got Me", but the blue one states it was "All Day and All Of The Night". Weird.
  3. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Victoria, Canada
    Endless Trip and Galactic Ramble are my favored collections of album reviews, both great to dip into and to reference the obscure and the popular...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  4. Cheepnik

    Cheepnik "Digs" "beat" "poetry"

    Did anyone else notice the word guide on the covers of these books? Does anyone else understand what the word guide means?
  5. Kingsley Fats

    Kingsley Fats Forum Resident

    And they say that the internet has ruined music.
  6. Mr. D

    Mr. D Forum Resident

    This is the review that appeared in the magazine at the time of release, not the "blue" book record guide.

    I never picked up the "blue" book, I had the "red" book (which predated Sandinista and, even, London Calling), so I am not sure what the rating was in the blue book for Sandinista.

    I can accept the premise that some see this three-record behemoth as having filler but over time I have found even those dub versions enhance the listening experience. I certainly rank it as a 5 star album.

    As others have mentioned, the red book, especially, was good at identifying discographies. Remember, this was pre-Internet. Such information was not always easy to come by.

    I did recognize that the red book was often the gospel according to Marsh. As a result, it was the reviews by the other contributors that held most sway for me. Billy Altman's assessment of the Byrds' discography lead me to Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Like Sandinista, at the time, it took awhile for my teenage ears to appreciate Sweetheart but both albums rank highly in my Best of All Time list.
    Zeki likes this.
  7. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    Pretty sure the blue book gave the Clash's debut and London Calling five stars, and Sandinista four stars.
    Mr. D likes this.
  8. driverdrummer

    driverdrummer Forum Resident

    Irmo, SC
    I read the 1995 edition cover to cover-really opened my eyes to a new world of music!!!
  9. Kingsley Fats

    Kingsley Fats Forum Resident

    I've never seen either of those books but from the reviews I've looked up they look pretty good & it is fortunate to own them.
    beccabear67 likes this.
  10. Lightworker

    Lightworker Forum Resident

    Baltimore, MD
    Sure glad I got my vinyl recommendations from Who Put The Bomp instead of Rolling Stone in the 70s.
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  11. ashlee5

    ashlee5 Forum Resident

    I should admit this is also what happened to me and be grateful, even though I went on to disagree with many opinions in the book and became quite disillusioned about the entire field of popular music criticism.

  12. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    Hey, will one of you let me know when a music review guide is released that aligns perfectly with my taste?
    Kingsley Fats and dlokazip like this.
  13. Norco74

    Norco74 Forum Resident

    Had the blue edition at once. Rarely critics were on the bull’s eye except for the safe classic rock genre. Prog rock got beaten big time in there: Genesis Foxtrot and Nursery Crime as example.

    The book title should have been ´RS totally lost guide to rock music’.

    In comparison, I learn quite a lot from the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD by Cook and Morton. Each edition was better than the previous one. Not sure if it ever made it to the Internet.
    jay.dee likes this.
  14. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Austin, TX, USA
    You are correct.
    pbuzby likes this.
  15. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    I probably agree yet still enjoy the music. I always hated Chase so I'd probably agree.
  16. Book of Saturday

    Book of Saturday Active Member

    I clearly remember being pretty disappointed as a teenager after reading some of the reviews in the blue edition and thinking "This really isn't for me..."
    That is a fabulous book. I have the third edition (and one of the earlier ones boxed in the attic.)
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  17. Norco74

    Norco74 Forum Resident

    You could literarily read how passionate the two writers were about jazz. Spent countless hours browsing these bricks...
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  18. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Well of course. It won out over using the term map.
  19. jay.dee

    jay.dee Forum Resident

    Barcelona, Spain
    Those were the times when trolls were the leading voices in rock journalism and critique. These days the individuals like Marsh or Christgau would be swiftly banned from most music forums, if they tried to continuously push their arrogant and ignorant opinions and biases like they did on the pages of music magazines.

    No easy times now for music trolling indeed...
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  20. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    I agree with some of schmidtt's criticism. Some of those reviews are really poorly written. For example, the "3000 years old fashioned" yet still "contemporary" remark in the Doors review.

    But schmidtt too often thinks it's a problem to simply have a different opinion, particularly when a reviewer was positive on an album that schmidtt doesn't like that much, and his whole "hack" category is suspect--that's all about positive reviews that schmidtt doesn't agree with, to a point of not believing that the reviewer liked the album (as much as the reviewer claimed to).

    schmidtt also seems to have a problem with reviews changing over the years, which I find ridiculous (it's ridiculous to have a problem with that--their written by different people, who have different opinions, and even the same critic can change their mind over time. There's nothing wrong with that.)
    troggy likes this.
  21. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    Say what you will about the RS guides, they taught me a very important lesson: make up your own mind, don't listen to the critics. I've discovered a lot of great-to-me albums I probably otherwise wouldn't have as a result, as well as avoiding wasting my money on ones I wouldn't have liked at all because Dave Marsh did.

    My all time favorite example of that was, to be fair, not from the RS guide but the Music Hound books; but it's the exact same principle. The Music Hound books, as some of you will recall, had a "what to buy" and a "what to avoid" section for most listed artists. Under George Michael, he included Wham! as well, and under "what to avoid" he listed...Andrew Ridgeley's album. Now, don't get me wrong, I have heard that album and it is indeed pretty lackluster, but was George Michael's catalog really so spectacular that there wasn't a single album worth mentioning that wasn't up to par? Even if not, what's the point in a swipe at someone else's album that a GM fan literally couldn't pick up by accident thinking it was his work? Especially when that someone else was already widely regarded as second only to Pete Best as the biggest loser of the rock era. Why kick him while he's down?
  22. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    If the review isn't going to be the writer giving his/her honest opinion, but perhaps kowtowing to the publisher's opinion, or an editor's opinion, or whatever, why not just have the publisher or editor write it in the first place? And is it okay to change an expressed opinion once the publisher or editor changes?
  23. a customer

    a customer Forum Resident

    I have both books still . I have given all my Beatles books etc to kids that liked their music . I kept the record review books forwhatever reason . The red is better by a longshot and it even had pictures of the albums.
  24. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I forget what edition I had, but it was huge. Incredibly well written and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, I decided to jettison it during my last move...which I regret.
  25. jimac51

    jimac51 A mythical beast.

    Similar experience here. I have the four "Album Guide" books and the first Jazz Guide,as well as the two mass market comps of reviews from the magazine. All within reach on the book shelves behind me. Also subscribed to RS till disco & punk seemed to battling it out and my wallet could afford neither as most of my money was going into cutout bins and jazz.
    So many of the posts here are either about the guide books(which was th premise of the thread) or the magazine,failing to see the dramatic differences between. And few,because of age or when one stumbled upon these reviews,know just how important all of this was at one time.
    For the magazine,as much hatred is thrown at Jann Wenner, some of it deserved but much of it in hindsight. Remember his vision for a biweekly newspaper largely focused on rock music,was ingenious. Getting the info out every fourteen days on newsprint rather than glossy paper-that was pretty damn quick in 1970. While freebie papers took root in big cities with lots of politics in the front and a generous amount of entertainment material in the back(restaurant,events and theatre ads),here was a missive from foreign lands like "East Coast" and "West Coast" and London,showing up in the neighborhood drug store magazine rack or your mailbox. All reviews were signed,and that is something important I don't see much here,saving on urinating on Dave Marsh.After a few reviews,tempered with one's personal taste,a reader could find the truth. By the way,a quick run though of the first mass market RS Record Review finds work from Pete Welding,Ed Ward, Greil
    Marcus,Jon Landau,Lenny Kaye, John Mendelsohn,Langdon Winner,Paul Gambacinni, Lester Bangs,Ralph Gleason,even Paul Williams. Lots of interesting voices.
    The Record Guides were a bit easier to navigate,as one writer covered the output of one act. Star ratings? Find a much-loved album there with one star? Well,start reading,if only to see the writer's prejudice or to rethink your evaluation. Smile at their stupidity,take note of an album you might have blown off because of your own prejudice or the one hit song you heard on the radio.
    Good criticism is meant to enlighten both the writer and the reader. Hopefully,the writer found out something needed to share. Hopefully,the reader is illuminated to something in the art discussed. In fact,that is not what "good criticism" is supposed to do;it is what "criticism" is supposed to do.
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