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BOOKS & DVDs The Playmusic guide to the best in music tuition books and DVDs…


This month we take a look at a brand new Eric Clapton photo-book by legendary music journalist Chris Welch, plus if you fancy a bit of pickin’ this intro to bluegrass Banjo should help set you on your way…


ERIC CLAPTON - THE ULTIMATE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY


Author: Chris Welch SRP: £25.00


ISBN: 978 0 7603 4046 2 Publisher: Voyageur Press


MY FIRST BANJO


PICKING SONGS Author: Steve Kaufman SRP: £12.99


Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate ISBN: 0786683503


Publisher: Mel Bay Ltd 020 8214 1222 www.melbay.com


W


hen writing about a musician the calibre of Eric Clapton, its diffi cult to fi nd something new to say that hasn’t already been covered a thousand times. Of course, pictures often say more than a thousand


words and this impressive pictorial record of Eric Clapton’s career by renowned British music journalist and author Chris Welch uncovers enough gems to thrill even the most jaded Clapton-ophile. Illustrated throughout with heaps of rare candid backstage and concert images and lots of intriguing memorabilia, this book uses the pictorial material to trace Clapton’s career path. Starting with Clapton as the hero of the 1960s UK blues boom, this tome charts his short but stratospheric tenure with Cream and his gradual journey towards his commercially successful Armani-clad pop/rock crossover; coming full circle whereby EC now stands acclaimed as a true elder statesman of the blues. Of course, Clapton’s life story has been punctuated by more ups and downs than a quality control tester in a trampoline factory and the book duly doesn’t overlook the musician’s lengthy struggle with drugs and alcohol before reaching the relative serenity of his later years. Gear-heads will drool over the mouth watering collection of Clapton’s music equipment, too, but even if you aren’t a major fan of EC but still appreciate his gifts this book is still a fi ne document of an amazing and unique musician. PM


34 www.playmusicpickup.co.uk


W


e love a bit of banjo pickin’ at Playmusic Towers and this combined instructional CD and book offers a gentle but no less useful intro the fascinating art of the bluegrass


banjo style. All of the essential basic right and left hand techniques are covered, including rolls and exercises to help build up speed and dexterity. Like many bluegrass instructional books some of the tunes are a bit on the obscure side – many are old traditional standards - and unless you a dyed-in-the-wool bluegrass afi cionado you might fi nd yourself a bit puzzled. However, this is where the accompanying CD comes in handy; being able to hear the playback soon clears away the mystery and lets the student focus on learning the tunes and/or licks that help develop those banjo picking skills. The success of bands like Mumford & Sons has helped to promote the banjo – and other folk instruments – to a younger audience and new bluegrass infl uenced bands seem to be springing up all over the place! If you fancy having a go at learning the basics, My First Banjo Pickin’ Songs is a great way to help you get started, proving that a pair of old Dungarees and some dodgy DNA are not necessarily a prerequisite to becoming a world class banjo picker! PM


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