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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

New book gives us ABCs of rock 'n' roll

Thursday, September 1, 2011

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Why didn't I think of this?

As the father of a 1-year-old and a certified music freak, my interests lie somewhere between Dr. Seuss and Cameron Crowe. A book that combines classic rock art with clever rhymes engaging to the youngest of audiences is up my alley.

But "The Rock and Roll Alphabet" by Jeffrey Schwartz is too much fun to resent. The goal is simple -- engage a young audience with the seminal rock acts of the 1960s and 1970s through the photography of Chuck Boyd.

"Most kids today don't have a clue about these rock pioneers, and my goal is to change that and familiarize young ones with some of rock and roll's greatest talents," Schwartz said.

From page one, he's on target:

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A is for Aretha, oft referred to as the Queen...

B is for The Beatles in their 'Yellow Submarine'.

And on it goes for 24 more letters, each letter getting its own spread with one of Boyd's amazing photographs on the side.

For musicians and hardcore fans, the book works on multiple levels.

It's first of all great for kids. What fan wouldn't want his child learning the alphabet from James Brown, Neil Young and The Rolling Stones? When we have kids, we don't stop loving this music -- ideally we find a way to incorporate into our new lives.

Even looking at the book from a purely adult perspective, it's fun to read the wordplay and enjoy Boyd's rare and amazing photographs.

The book is worth a glance just for the never-before-seen Boyd photos, taken from the extensive collection of the late rock photographer.

Schwartz is in a unique position to have compiled the material as a music historian and the director of The Chuck Boyd Photo Collection. He's used his talents and position wonderfully in bringing us this delight.

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My Spin: A-

"The Rock and Roll Alphabet" is a fun read for kids or the perpetual teenagers who still wear Led Zeppelin T-shirts on the weekend. (Like this writer.) Jeffrey Schwartz has made wonderful use of Chuck Boyd's photographs in a book that combines rock history, alphabet skills and fine photography.

As a fan of the two artists, I found the exclusion of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix questionable, but the quality doesn't suffer.

Buy this book if you love rock and roll.