Has Phil Ramone made some records? Yes he has-and classics at that. Just the cover alone shows CDs from Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Getz/Gilberto, Elton John, and The Band. Yeah, not too shabby. If you read Phil's interview in Tape Op #50, you get the feel of this book-a talented man winds his way through five decades of amazing sessions. There are great stories as well as explanations of how he would get the best out of an artist or overcome a seemingly insurmountable problem. All are well worth reading. I enjoyed this, but I would have also liked to read a book that better presented a timeline history of his life and delved into the art or recording in a less "general audience" way. Let's hear more about opening and running the famous A&R Recording in NYC. Let's hear why some of his records sounded so damn good. So many times we are treated to stories we've undoubtedly heard before (he is a legend you know), yet parts of his back catalog (The Band?) that I've been curious about don't make the cut. Maybe the problem is simply that Phil needs to write a few more books? Not a bad idea. (www.hyperionbooks.com)
Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.