In November Backbeat Books issued Mike Eder’s Music FAQ. Does it answer some questions?
The book (363 pages) is printed on plain paper, completely in black and white. This doesn’t do good to the images of the records included. Lay-out, chapters and paragraphs are fine, so it easy on the eye when reading.
The title is somewhat misleading in my opinion. With a FAQ I expect – indeed – questions. A couple of them raised while reading, but they are not in the book.
Roughly the book is chronological, but that is not done consequently. This gives unnecessary doubles and even sometimes confusion. For example, somewhere in the early 60s there suddenly is an overview of all EPs (from 1956-1967) and somewhat later an overview of “The Discards” – songs that weren’t released on a regular album, EP or single.
While reading the introduction I already frowned an eyebrow because that masked fool Onion was mentioned, but to my total disgust there is a complete chapter about this moron in the book and even worse, another one about other imposters. So the book should have a warning, just like a box of cigarettes.
Another thing that disturbed me a bit was the Parker-bashing. The Colonel isn’t my most favourite guy either, but to blame him for everything that was wrong goes a bit too far. The only effect is that Elvis looks like a brainless idiot, who could not make any decision himself.
Without a doubt the book is written enthusiastically, but I wonder with what goal. Who is in the target audience? Fans? No, you don’t need to tell them where the lyrics of His Latest Flame are about. Casual music Lovers? Again no, since they won’t be interested in an extensive list of songs recorded by Elvis Presley.
The claim “All that’s left to know about The King’s Recorded Works” is complete nonsense. We have Ernst Jörgensen or even Joe Tunzi for that. As long as it is about songs, it is somewhat entertaining to read Mike Eder’s thoughts on them, but there is no vital information that is not available in A Life In Music or The Elvis Sessions.