Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, but I wish he'd focused a little more on the past 40 years, March 25, 2010
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This review is from: Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells (Hardcover)
I agree with almost all the assessments in the other reviews. It's a highly enjoyable and quick read, being just over 200 pages with rather large printing. But there's not a wasted moment in there -- every story and incident relates in one way or another to the theme of a simple rock and roller getting caught up in a world of the Mob, money, drugs, and life on the road. Tommy is refreshingly candid in these matters, and doesn't paint himself as any kind of God. He made a lot of mistakes, admits them, and never tries to blame things on anyone else, even when he had a right to in many instances. I mean, if I was going to get hit on the head with a bunch of baseball bats, I might not always do the "right" thing or the "smart" thing either!

My one criticism of the book is that Tommy wraps up the last part of his career (post-1970 to the present) much too quickly. As a long-time fan of his music, I am aware of all the marvelous work he's done since his glory days, and he's truly one of the pop performing/recording/songwriting legends of the last 50 years, but he spends almost no time on any of this. Those who've followed his career closely know that he's just about the only pop/rock artist from that era still writing brilliant music today, and performing it with the authenticity of his early recordings. Almost no mention of his superb work since the hit-making machine that was Tommy James and the Shondells stopped, and a few titles that I can think of on the spot are "Give It All," "Angels and Strangers," "In Slow Emotion," "Go," "Ordinary Girl," "You're So Easy to Love," "Runnin' Out on Love," "Annie Come Knockin'," the incredible "Distant Thunder," and even his 1995 remake of "I Think We're Alone Now" (from his BIG CITY album), that turns this bubblegum-sounding hit into a contemporary power pop masterpiece.

Maybe these last 40 years haven't been as memorable to James as the hit-making years were, but they've been every bit as creative, and I would have welcomed hearing stories about his life over the last few decades and what he thinks of this music, which I consider to be even better than much of what he churned out during the early part of his career. While I know the book was meant to focus on the "Mob Years," and it did so perfectly, Tommy's ability to keep his music relevant throughout the years was unfortunately slighted in the process. At least we have his CDs and albums to provide substantial proof of that.
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Location: Burbank, CA

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