Monday, February 18, 2013

My Review of Ben Sidran: A life in the music

Ben Sidran has appeared in Bruce’s Journal 3 times:

In the book above there was reference to Ben's autobiography:
Sidran, B. (2003). Ben Sidran: A life in the music. New York: Taylor Trade Pub.

Using my librarian skills I found out the book was available in the Lincoln Center branch of the New York Public Library.  I was happy to find out that the book was available for the Amazon Kindle.  I chose the latter alternative so I wouldn’t have to schlep the book on the subway to work.  Ben also got a royalty on my purchase.

It took me about a month to read it since I read so many other newspapers and magazines and listen to radio stations of different formats. There is only so much time in a day, and I have to earn a living. I rarely read and listen to music at the same time even when I am reading about music or a musician.

Ben was born in Chicago, raised in Racine Wisconsin, and lived much of his life in Madison.  His autobiography  uses a chronological approach covering his personal and professional life.  He actually quit school at the University of Wisconsin to work in a record store, but later returned to his studies.  I would have loved to work at the House of Oldies in Greenwich Village back when I was a kid.  He later received a doctorate in American Studies at the University of Surrey in the UK.

He details his musical career including working with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs among many other musicians.  He hosted and produced radio shows for NPR.  The autobiography was published in 2003 thus does not include his recent works including Dylan Different.  I would love to find out what motivated him to cover Dylan.  I also wonder if Ben had ever met Mr. Zimmerman or if Zimmy ever heard Ben’s versions of his songs.  In any event, I hope Ben revises his autobiography.

If you are in a hurry you can read the Wikipedia biography in less that 5 minutes, but it only gives a very cursory treatment.  Read the book and get the whole story.

What is next?  I shall look in iTunes or and see what works of Ben Sidran may be purchased.  Many of his early recordings are likely out of print and have never been digitized

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