Barroom Raconteur & Roll

Barroom Raconteur & Roll
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Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew:
128 pages
3rd edition
May 15, 2010
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

Autobiography from the drummer of the famed session band The Wrecking Crew.

Hal Blaine, the reputed "Most Recorded Musician," first penned this book of his life behind the trap set in 1990. He was aided with Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew by one Mr. Bonzai (touted as a "highly respected Hollywood-based journalist, author and award-winning photographer"), which has found a new life with a 2001 edition. How is it? Well, it's written by a drummer and a guy with a fake name who seems to be wearing a disguise in his jacket photo.

That said, it has its charms. Blaine was one of the so called Wrecking Crew — the cream of LA session players whose ranks included Carol Kaye, Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, and others who were the band on truckloads of chart toppers by Phil Spector, Brian Wilson (well, the Beach Boys, but these pros took their direction from Brian, the "other" Boys coming into the studio later to do their vocals), Mamas & Papas, The Monkees, and nearly anyone who recorded within twenty miles of Hollywood in the sixties. On the typographical and design front, the book is a nightmare of inconsistencies, misspellings and just plain bad decisions. But somehow Blaine's I-did-this-then-I-did-that litany perseveres. He's not a writer and whatever input his collaborator has not obscured that fact. Not to be confused with a literary undertaking of any sort, the book reads like a barroom raconteur on a roll. Born to Harold Belsky in 1929, his parents were immigrant Russian Jews. Blaine is the American dream in action.

The book ends at the dawn of the nineties, as the drummer was sitting back and enjoying the accolades and accumulated earnings. Though not chronicled, word has it that the subsequent years found him going through yet another divorce, selling off his gold records to pay debts and moving into a trailer.