Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)



As we did in 2021 and 2023, we're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community. After a review posts, we try to do a discussion with the reviewer.  This go round, we're talking to Kat about her "MY MAMA, CASS"  Set us up.


Kat: Cass was a member of the rock group the Mamas and the Papas and then went solo. Her music continues to grab listeners to this day and she's one of the great American singers of the 20th century.  Owen Elliot-Kugell was Cass' only daughter.  When Cass died in1974, Owen was just seven.  She's written MY MAMA, CASS about her mother -- the memories that she has and the things she was able to learn about her mother over the years.  I really enjoyed the book.  Did you'll read it?


Ava: Not yet.


C.I.: I read it.


Kat: I thought it was really good.  I didn't catch any errors or mistakes.  Did you?


C.I.: As far as I know there's only one error.  It's when she's writing about working on a solo album and she notes songwriter Diane Warren.  Diane Warren did co-write "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" but she wrote it for Starship not Jefferson Starship.  Jefferson Starship ends in 1984.  Starship starts in 1985 and, of course, the song was a number one hit in 1987.  I enjoyed the book. Tremendously.  I'd argue it's one of the must reads of the year.

Kat: I did too.  There was so much in there.  The strength of the women in her family.  I enjoyed reading about her schooling -- even the sad parts.  I'm thinking of the school that lied to her aunt Leah about being able to come home on vacations. I didn't know, also, that she was supposed to be in Wilson Phillips.  She goes to visit a friend, comes back and she's out of the group.  I remember reading years ago that the first song Wilson Phillips sang together was Stevie Nick's "Wild Heart."  Maybe that was in the group's cover story for ROLLING STONE?  But it just noted Wendy, Carnie and Chynna.  I had no idea Owen was there. Did anything, C.I., stand out like that for you?

C.I.: No, I just remembered Cass' house.  Specifically the pool out back. For some reason, that's what I kept flashing back on while reading the book.   I searched through the photos in the book but couldn't find what I was remembering.  One end of the pool, that had a ladder going in, was near the fence and the land from the pool to the fence went uphill.  For some reason, reading the book, that image came into my head.  I'm probably remembering that wrong.  But I do remember being over there and liking that spot to sit.  Most crowded around opposite side. 

Kat: There were so many great parts in the book.  I loved the whole thing.  Loved hearing about Owen's kids and her husband.  Loved it all.  It's the best book focusing solely on Cass.

And if you draw the Mamas and the Papas in?

Kat: I'm sorry but I'd say it was the second best and I would rank Michelle Phillips' CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' as the best.  There are about five books on the group that I've read.  If you throw Owen's book on that list, there are six.  And, it would be ahead of everything except Michelle's book.  I thought Michelle could have used her book to settle scores -- the way John Phillips used his book to settle scores.  But instead she wrote about the joy of being in the group.  That said, if I had one complaint, it would be a little more analysis of John Phillips and the reasons why he treated Cass so poorly.  Owen notes the whole refusal to let Cass in the group.  But after she's in the group, John was still an ass to her.  My guess is that he was threatened by the fact that Cass didn't just sing wonderfully, she was also the stage presence of the group and John was threatened since he saw himself as 'the front man.'  He thought he was Mick Jagger but Cass commanded all the attention.  Denny was laid back enough not to care who commanded the stage and Michelle's noted Cass could speak off the top of her head and get laughs whereas Michelle felt uncomfortable speaking onstage.  I think John was tremendously threatened because Cass was 'the front man' the same way Mick was the face of the Rolling Stones.  Oh and you, C.I., have talked and written often about how Cass worked to develop a different vocal style after the group.  That's why she's not singing like Mama Cass on PEOPLE LIKE US, the album the band made after they broke up to avoid a lawsuit.  And Owen touches on that as well, such as when she noted Cass doubling the vocals on one of her solo albums.  Anyway, I really loved the book and anyone who loves Cass will probably love it as well.





Previous book discussions:

 Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)

"Book Talk (Stan, Ava and C.I.)"

"Book Talk (Dona, Ava and C.I.)"

"Book Talk (Ty, Ava and C.I.)

 "Book Talk (Mike, Ava and C.I.)"


"Book Talk (Stan, Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)"

"Book Talk (Mike, Ava and C.I.)"

"Book Talk (Ann, Marcia, Trina, Ava and C.I.)"




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