The Book I’d Like To Write, But Can’t
I’ve been serialising what will be volume two of a three-volume series, The Beach Boys On CD, here over recent weeks. When finished, that series will cover every released album by the Beach Boys, and every solo album by a member of the classic six-person late-60s lineup (so nothing by bands like Celebration, none of the stuff Dave Marks or Blondie Chaplin have done and so forth, just the ‘canon’).
But what I’d really like to do is do a fourth book, longer than any of the others — a guide to Beach Boys bootlegs.
I have a couple of hundred CDs’ worth of Beach Boys bootlegs, mostly in MP3 or FLAC format, and I have access to three or four times that number, in that I know where to go or who to ask in order to get copies of them. And I would very much like to do a book that covers a hundred or so of them, a mixture of the most popular and best. Not a guide to their unreleased music per se (there’s stuff in collector’s circles that is not made more generally available — writing about that would just be rubbing people’s noses in the fact that they don’t have it (and indeed there’s stuff that I don’t have also)), but a guide to what you can find, relatively easily, and what’s worth having of that. So, for example, I’d review the Brian Wilson/Andy Paley sessions, and then point out that of the two most widely-circulating sources of them, the one labelled “Wilson-Paley Sessions” is slightly poorer sound quality than “Landylocked”, but that “Landylocked” is sped up about a tone, that sort of thing.
I believe there’d be a market for that, but it would take much, much more work than any of my other books. I’d have to get the stuff I don’t have, and listen to *at least* two hundred hours’ worth of music in detail (my Beatles book, for example, only deals with about ten hours of music). It would be six months of full-time work, and I can’t afford to spend six months off work to do that.
But if I ever get to the point where I’m actually able to make a living off just my books (yeah, right), then that’s the first book I’m going to do.