An enjoyable amalgam of music essays

By Scott Bauer

Associated Press

Funny and insightful, bizarre and bewildering, but totally enthralling, Mitch Myers’ collection of essays in "The Boy Who Cried Freebird" is a treasure trove for music lovers.

Myers, calling on a tradition of music journalism that hit its heyday in the 1970s with writers like Lester Bangs, mixes straight up commentary with completely made-up farce. One of the best pieces of the bunch is an "Outer Limits"-like story about how the playing of Black Sabbath’s "Paranoid" is the only way to kill invading space aliens.

Bizarre, but also strangely believable.


The tall tale from which the title of the book derives tells the story of Everyman Adam Coil. You know him. He’s the guy who always yells "Freebird!" at concerts at just the right moment for comedic effect.

The only problem with Myers’ approach to mix truth with fiction is it sometimes leaves the reader wondering which is which.

He’s most successful at turning readers on to stories or music that they otherwise never heard, or haven’t paid enough attention to before. And for that Myers deserves high praise.

A critic for Rolling Stone and a commentator on National Public Radio, Myers’ essays cover a myriad of genres including psychedelic rock, jazz, country and blues.

The writing is fresh, engaging and succinct. If one essay isn’t your bag, it doesn’t take long to get to something else that just might be. It’s the perfect book to flip through with your I-Pod blasting on random.

And who knows? If aliens start melting when "Paranoid" comes on, all of Myers’ supposed fictional stories will have to be looked at in a different light.

"The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling" (HarperEntertainment. 336 Pages. $25.95) — Mitch Myers:

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