Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Book You Should Read: The Replacements, All Over But The Shouting: An Oral Histroy

We'll risk universal scorn and condemnation as we admit that until around a year ago, we really had very little first hand knowledge of The Replacements. Sure, we had heard some of the most lauded tracks, and we knew that a lot of our favorite artists worshiped the band, but we didn't have any real direct insight. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the band imploded before we were even old enough to be attending gigs, and even more of it has to do with the fact that despite critical acclaim, they never really crossed over to mainstream appeal.

Still, it's not as though we weren't interested in the band. Rather, they were conveniently stacked in a pile labeled "bands you should really look into". It's an always expanding stack, and as you can imagine, quite large. So it was a great bit of serendipity when we received All Over But The Shouting as a gift, and proceeded to become quickly and enjoyably indoctrinated into the world of The Replacements.

Just as labeled, the book is in fact an oral history: it's comprised of almost entirely direct, first hand quotes from the people involved in the events. The result is that the reader sees an often conflicting view of a band with an unquestionably tumultuous history. Many memories disagree, and even when memories match, opinions can be at odds. Still, author Jim Walsh does a masterful job of arranging the quotations such that one gains a thorough and insightful perspective on the many reasons the band was so vital and so self destructive at the same time.

We entered into reading All But The Shouting as complete Replacements virgins. That being what it is, we have to say we think the book is suitable for new and old fans alike. If you're just discovering the band, it will give you the insight and comprehension necessary to appreciate their legacy. If you're a lifelong fan, it will give you tons of quirky details and anecdotes you may never have heard before. Either way, it's a riveting read involving one of the most strikingly relevant bands of the past 20 years, and it's well worth your while.

mp3: The Replacements - I Will Dare


Kevin Vegetables said...

Sweeeeet -- thanks for the alert. I'm happy to report the SF public library system has four copies of this book...