Telling Stories - Tim BurgessI have been a fan of The Charlatans since their second single 'The Only One I Know' was released a couple of months before I left school in 1990. It was, and still is in my mind a great pop single and a great example of the music that heralded in a decade that would prove to be a lot more interesting than my last five years at secondary school. The wonderful Happy Mondays were on a downward spiral, ripped off by management and were no more, The Stone Roses, er, well fuck knows where they went for five years until their second album in 1995, but through the nineties the only two consistently good British bands from that hyperspace transition between the 80's and the 90's for me personally were The Charlatans and Primal Scream. Went it comes to rock n' rollers I usually tend to go for biographies rather than autobiographies, but when it comes to Tim Burgess I thought I'd give his autobiography a go.
As Burgess is a total music nut, I always thought he came across well in interviews in the press or on tv and he is one singer I have felt a connection with through the many times I went to watch The Charlatans live and witnessed that euphoric grin of his whilst he stands on the edge of the stage looking at the crowd. Him and the rest of the band had a lot of soul and if anybody has ever been fortunate enough to see them live on a good night you will know they can play well, especially when it comes to their traditional set finale of 'Sproston Green' with the hammond organ and the bass liquefying your innards.
At two hundred and odd pages it wasn't going to be chapter and verse. Its more of a collection of memories with a friendly register and very readable. It was for me a sentimental swagger through one of the favourite periods of my life as a music fan. As I say, a short read and nothing world changing but as I'm about to start having to be a grown up (I have put it off for 38 years) with the imminent arrival of a baby boy this was for me a look back at an era in my life when I thought the most crucial aspect of survival was having enough ready cash to buy booze and records.
For anyone not acquainted with The Charlatans, some good albums of theirs I would recommend would be: Us and Us Only, Between 10th & 11th, Tellin' Stories, and The Charlatans. For me personally I didn't bother with them much after the early-naughties and their album 'Up at the Lake', but in the book Tim speaks proudly of the bands last couple of albums and in time I may check them out but for now this book will do me as a reminder of just how fucking good these lads were. Dead Dead Good!