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Phil Chevron: June 17, 1957-October 8, 2013

I’m sorry that the site neglected to mark the passing on October 8 of Phil Chevron, the lead guitar player of The Pogues.

Here is part of The Los Angeles Times’ obituary, which was written by Randall Roberts:

Best known for writing the Pogues’ anthemic story-song, “Thousands Are Sailing,” Chevron became a central player in a band co-founded by MacGowan, tin whistle player Spider Stacy and banjoist Jem Finer. Chevron entered the Pogues just in time to work on their classic second album, “Rum, Sodomy & the Lash,” the Elvis Costello-produced work that confirmed the band’s import and stands as one of the great rock albums of the 1980s. (Continue Reading…)

Above is a version of the song recorded in New York City in 2009. The quality is middling, but it’s a good showcase of Chevron, whose real name was Philip Ryan.

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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