Metal Express Rating: 8.0/10
Release Date: 2014-07-07
by: SCOTT JESLIS
Email: scott (at) metalexpressradio (dot) com
The 12th book by New York Author Greg Prato is indeed another book about music that, while boasting a lengthy title, is also presented in a totally different and unique style.
The publication is entitled Overlooked/Underappreciated: 354 Recordings That Demand Your Attention and is actually a compiled, alphabetical listing of 354 albums that Prato believes the general public has overlooked since their release. The list covers many albums that were released over the last four decades or so.
This book review comes with a word of caution though, this book does not restrict itself to just Metal releases! If you can’t get past this notion then read no further!
Within this book’s covers Prato lists many album suggestions that cover several musical genres outside of “Metal”. The list includes, but is not limited to… Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock, Alternative, New Wave, Punk, Grunge, Jazz, Fusion, Psychedelic, Prog, Folk, Blues, Funk, Soul, Spoken Word, Power Pop, Sothern Rock, etc.
As already mentioned, albums are presented in an alphabetical order where each album entry is presented in the following format:
Artist Name – Album Title [Record Co: Release Date]
Discovery: How Prato came about the artist
Scrutiny: Mini-review / overview
Similarity: Other artists that Prato feels are comparable
Keepers: The songs that sum up the album best
Follow Up Listening: Other suggested albums by the artist
Tidbit: An interesting fact
The way the material is presented makes for very easy, interruptible reading, especially on a train commute or for reading on a mobile device. The format is such that you can skim through looking for artists you recognize or skim through the “Similarity” sections of each entry looking for “like” bands you’re interested in.
Prato is entertaining in how he presents the bands and their music and each entry takes roughly about 2-3 minutes to read. Prato is very open about musical “stages” he’s gone through while growing up and he doesn’t hold back criticism when mentioning some of his least favorite musical genres (case in point “Hair Metal” and “Guitar Shred Instrumentals”). His memory recall is impressive as he recalls specific gigs, years, events and album stores where he first discovered some of these artists.
The only quibble here is that many of us might not know who Greg Prato is initially and why is it we should trust his “picks”? Included is a short foreword he’s written outlining why he wrote this book. Throughout the book he drops hints that he’s authored other books, has played some guitar and has interviewed musicians. Other than that, there isn’t much of a foundation to go on, regarding Prato, without further research. Inclusion of a short Greg Prato biography might have been beneficial.
If you can keep an open mind, or just love music above and beyond Heavy Metal, you can do no harm in picking up this affordable book and flipping through it. No doubt you’ll need a pen and notepad as you’ll surely jot down an album or two as an action item to pursue an album further! Even music aficionados will pick-up a nugget of knowledge or two (e.g. Steve Vai played on a Public Image Limited album). It’s entertaining to read someone else’s view on these bands and their music and come up with your own topics of rebuttal, e.g. how is Judas Priest a “similar artist” for Kiss???
The book is available in paperback ($12.99, 256 pages), Kindle ($9.99, 287 pages), and Nook ($9.99, 256 pages) versions.
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