Thursday, July 13, 2023

Books (Ann, Elaine, Kat, Ava and C.I.)



As we did in 2021, we're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community. Since the last installment of this feature, we've got three book reviews to cover. Ann's "Melody Thomas Scott's Always Young and Restless: M...," Elaine's "ROCK AND ROLL NIGHTMARES" and Kat's "ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROWN."  Ann, Melody Thomas Scott plays Nikki on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.  You're a fan of the show?

Ann: I don't watch every episode because I don't have the time but I probably catch one episode a week.  More if anyone at work tells me there was a strong one that I have to see. "Andrea Evans" passed away this week and, along with being Tina on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Andrea also played Patty Williams on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.  Melody was actually born a year before Andrea.  And while Andrea did ONE LIFE TO LIVE, PASSIONS, BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL and THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Melody's played Nikki for 44 years.  She shares a great deal in the book.  I really loved this book.  Warning, it's very hard, no matter how late you stay up reading, to find stopping points.  This is a book you want to read from beginning to end.

Kat and Elaine, we don't think either of you will make the same claim.

Kat: No.

Elaine: I liked Staci Layne Wilson's ROCK & ROLL NIGHTMARES: TRUE STORIES, VOLUME 2: TRUE CRIME & STRANGE STORIES ABOUT ROCK STARS.  I would recommend it.  But, no, I didn't have time stopping when I needed to go to bed.  It was not that involving. 




Which may surprise some people since you love The Mamas and the Papas.


Kat: I do love them.  Which is why I hated the book.  It's a really bad book. And they really inflate temporary Mama Jill Gibson and cover for her. C.I., when she was with Lou Adler, was he married? 

Yes, to Shelley Fabares. Jill's never been honest about that.  In part because she never liked being blamed for leaving Jan Berry -- Jan & Dean -- after his accident.n In part because she was heartless and destroyed Shelley's marriage.  Shelley's always been well liked and seen as one of the sweeter and kinder people in the entertainment industry.  Musicians can't stand Jill.  Few can.

Kat: And that was one of my problems.  No matter how you sliced it, too much ass kissing and chronology recreating with regards to Jill.  The author did allow that Jill couldn't sing.  Not good enough to be a Mama.  Cass got tired of trying to get Jill up to the right notes.  Cass and Michelle could blend and Cass could challenge Michelle to match her on a note.  They worked very well together.  Jill did not.  And Cass and John were very upset at the time wasted in the studio with Jill who repeatedly struggled to get the basic notes right.  She apparently wanted to be a solo act and not a singing partner with Cass. 

Jill was very standoffish to Cass.  She thought she was coming in as a star of the group based on her looks.  She was never all of that in terms of looks and no one blew Cass off the stage, Cass set the standard. 

Kat: If I could ask another question.  The book has poor Jill being upset that she was shut out and she was supposed to be writing songs with John.  That's why she joined, one of the reasons, because she was going to be a songwriter.

That's an outright lie.  John would never write a song with someone like her.  He was a celebrated song writer and considered, based on the first album, as gifted as Brian Wilson.  John's reputation is in tatters today.  But he once had one, a great one, as a songwriter.  And, no, he wouldn't have indulged Jill.  The songs had been written already and all recorded with Michelle Phillips.  Then John had his tantrum and fired her.  Jill eased her way in by pestering Lou.  But John didn't write with just anyone.  During the life of the group in the 60s, he wrote with Michelle, he wrote with Lou and he wrote with Denny.  The kind of writing Jill did was passe  -- surf and turf -- and he wouldn't have cheapened his brand by writing with her.  She's such a liar.

Kat: Okay, sorry, one more.  The book did note that John was a celebrated songwriter. But what's the song he ripped off?

Hedy West's "500 Miles." John 'accidentally' got credit for it -- and money for it -- for many years.  I don't know what it was about the men back then.  Sonny Bono also ripped off a woman.  Somehow, Sonny Bono could just never explain it, the title track to his film CHASTITY -- "Chastity's Song (Band Of Thieves)" was credited to him. Elyse J. Weinberg wrote that song.  Somehow, he took credit, somehow.  No, not somehow.  Just like Pete Seeger ripped off "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," these other two men ripped off Hedy and Elyse.

Elaine: You know, that's the kind of theft that should have been covered in the book I read. I'd say the worst part of the book I read was that the author was making no original analysis.  She was building on the work of others.  That may have been another reason that I could close the book each night so easily.

But, Ann, you really loved your book?

Ann: 100%.  I hated Melody for writing such a great book because Sunday night, when I started it, left me on Monday at work with no real sleep.  I was exhausted from staying up so late because I kept telling myself, "Just one more page."  She's had an incredible life and she writes about that and she also writes about working on the soap and about Nikki.  She loves Nikki as much as any YOUNG AND RESTLESS fan.  She's as excited by what Nikki does as we are.  

So that's a thumbs up for Melody Thomas Scott's memoir.  That's an even review on crimes in rock and roll and an outright pan for the new bio on the Mamas and the Papas.



Previous book discussions this year.

"Books (Isaiah, Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ann and C.I.)," "Books (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)" and "Books (Ava and C.I.)."


"Chastity's Song (Band of Thieves)" by Elyse J. Weinberg.

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