Long considered to be one of the great producer/engineers, Ken Scott [Tape Op #52] has written a wonderful memoir of his career in audio. Starting as a tape op at Abbey Road, he had his first experience behind the board engineering The Beatles and soon moved on to produce David Bowie - hence the book's title. His eventual move to L.A. spurred triumphs as well as personal lows, as he tried his hand at managing Missing Persons. The historical information and detail presented in this book are amazing, but what really comes across is his intense love of the craft. Scott describes his recording experiments in great detail, whether successes and failures. He documents his attempts at locking two 4-track machines together for The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, as well as a proclamation that all Beatles albums up to "The White Album" should be experienced in mono, because those are the only mixes that The Beatles listened to and approved. There are bits of personal gossip too, but surprise, Yoko didn't get in the way, and of course, George Harrison was the nice one. I was definitely riveted by the stories of working with The Beatles and David Bowie, and I'm not surprised that 99% of Bowie's vocals were first takes on Hunky Dory. After his move to L.A., he worked with The Tubes, Devo, Duran Duran, and Kansas, among many others. While this was a bit less intriguing for me, it still proved to be fascinating history. Ken is incredibly generous, detailing his personal techniques and secrets - even his signal chain on Jeff Beck's guitar! Ken's co-author, Bobby Owsinski, made this book a fun read while still presenting an amazing amount of technical detail. This book is an amazing historical document on the craft of music recording. My only complaint is that the photos are somewhat small and washed out. The publisher probably didn't have a big budget, but I would have loved bigger, glossy photos. Anyone who is interested in recording (i.e., anyone reading Tape Op) should read this book now.
($24.99 MSRP, $14.13 Kindle; www.alfred.com) -Marsha Vdovin