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Tom Graves

Tom Graves

Tom Graves was the editor of Rock & Roll Disc magazine. He has written music and other articles for Rolling Stone, Musician, The Oxford American, American History, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and many other publications. He is also the author of Pullers, a novel about the sport of arm wrestling.

List of articles in the library by artist

Aerosmith: Pump

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1989

IF ANY CRITIC ever cut Aerosmith slack during their halcyon days in the ‘70s, I never saw evidence of it. Steven Tyler seemed no more ...

Chet Baker: Chet Baker Sings and Plays From the Film ‘Let's Get Lost’

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1989

I AM NO JAZZ CRITIC, and there are several Rock & Roll Disc writers far more qualified to write about Chet Baker than I. But ...

Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett: Pink Floyd: The Division Bell; Syd Barrett: Crazy Diamond

Review by Tom Graves, Rolling Stone, June 1994

IS THIS still really Pink Floyd? That seems to be the question, as it has been since Roger Waters left the band in 1985 to ...

Pat Benatar: True Love

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, August 1991

SOME PEOPLE are labouring under the mistaken notion that Pat Benatar is a rock vocalist. What she really is is a music video ...

Björk: Debut (Elektra)

Review by Tom Graves, Rolling Stone, September 1993

MONTHS BEFORE the Sugar Cubes' first album debuted in the United States, a heavy buzz began to circulate about the group's lead singer, Björk. ...

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet: The Third Rail of Rock & Roll : Paying Respect To The Greatest Of Gospel Groups

Retrospective by Tom Graves, Memphis Flyer, July 2004

Note: The following article of mine appeared in the July 2 special issue of the Memphis Flyer that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the birth ...

Alex Chilton: 19 Years: A Collection of Alex Chilton (Rhino)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, April 1991

IF ANY ONE PERSON is emblematic of the musical malaise of rock's cutting edge during the 1980s, it would have to be cult factotum Alex ...

Eric Clapton: 24 Nights

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, January 1992

CORRECTION. Eric Clapton was God. ...

Doobie Brothers: The Doobie Brothers: Cycles

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, July 1989

WHEN IN DOUBT, regroup. At least that seems to be the formula these days for the rock era's dinosaurs, has-beens, and once-wases. This ...

The Doors: The Doors in Concert

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, Spring 1991

AS MUCH AS I would feel vindicated by a kick-ass live set by the Doors, who I have defended against some of rock criticism’s biggest ...

Tennessee Ernie Ford: Guilty Pleasures

Retrospective by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, March 1991

MY MOTHER TELLS the story of a Bob Hope television special that aired in the 1950s. The comedian had just made a crack about ...

Gang of Four: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century (Warner Bros.)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, February 1991

IF YOU HAPPEN to own a copy of The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records, you can open it to just about any page, ...

J. Geils Band: The J. Geils Band: The J. Geils Band

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1989

WHILE I DON'T think there is a single instance of great, enduring songwriting on this disc -- don't look for any Hall of Fame nominations ...

Peter Green: Sleep Easy Jeff Beck

Essay by Tom Graves, Rock's Backpages, September 2007

ON TOP OF the indignity of coping with a severed digit (which is coming along quite nicely, thank you very much) I learned last week ...

The Gyuto Monks: Freedom Chants From the Roof of the World (Rykodisc)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, July 1989

FOR CONNOISSEURS of the weird, the Gyuto Monks' Freedom Chants From the Roof of the World demands a place of honor among your trophies.  ...

Ronnie Hawkins: The Best of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks (Rhino)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, September 1990

I’M CONVINCED that Ronnie Hawkins’ name has been kept alive in rock literature for over 30 years, not because of anything he actually did ...

Michael Jackson: Bad

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1987

IF MICHAEL JACKSON is not the most confusing entertainer of our time, you can't blame him for not trying. ...

Wanda Jackson: Rockin' in the Country (Rhino)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, August 1990

THE PROBLEM WITH Wanda Jackson is her conviction, or more precisely her lack of it. She was a died-in-the-wool country weeper until she met ...

Robert Johnson: The Death of Robert Johnson

Book Excerpt by Tom Graves, DeMers Books, October 2008

Excerpt from the book Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson (DeMers Books) ...

George Jones with Tom Carter: I Lived To Tell It All

Book Review by Tom Graves, Washington Post, The, June 1996

I LIVED TO TELL IT ALL, the long-awaited autobiography of country music legend George Jones, has to be one of the bleakest, most disconsolate music ...

Jack Kerouac: The Mythmaking of Jack Kerouac: The Jack Kerouac Collection (Rhino)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, September 1990

TRUMAN CAPOTE very nearly sank Jack Kerouac’s literary reputation with five well-chosen words that exploded like cigarette loads in the public eye. ...

The La's: Have Mersey: An Interview with The La’s’ Driving Force and Angriest Member Lee Mavers

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, September 1991

JUST WHEN YOU think you’ve seen or heard everything that could happen in the music business, something like the La’s imbroglio comes along. The ...

The La's: The La’s: The La’s

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, June 1991

RIGHT OUT OF the box The La’s had me hooked like a red snapper. All my complaints of yore about the bored soul at the ...

Elvis Presley, John Lennon: Sympathy for the Devil – A Kind Word for Albert Goldman

Essay by Tom Graves, Rock's Backpages, April 2009

ALBERT HARRY GOLDMAN is inarguably the most controversial music biographer of the last generation. His biographies of first Elvis, then John Lennon, have been spit ...

Jerry Lee Lewis: Live At the Star Club (Bear Family)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1989

WHAT IS IT about Jerry Lee Lewis that so fascinates us and makes us love a character so inherently unlovable? He only had a handful ...

Barry Manilow (1974)

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1974

Interviewed by Kini Kedigh and Tom Graves just as he's starting to hit big, Manilow talks about his background in music, backing Bette Midler at the Continental Baths, and gives his opinions on just about everything under the sun.

File format: mp3; file size: 45.1mb, interview length: 49' 16" sound quality: *

Paul McCartney: Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, July 1991

I HAVE A MENTAL image of Paul McCartney that I carry in my heart like a mother's locket. It's one of those moody black ...

Chris Montez: All-Time Greatest Hits

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, October 1991

ANYONE WHO still doesn't think remastering ace Steve Hoffman is a genius should be forced to listen to this anthology of Chris Montez. ...

Frank Zappa, The Mothers Of Invention: The Rock & Roll Disc Interview: Frank Zappa

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, December 1987

FRANK ZAPPA is nothing if not an American original. As American youth swarmed to record stores in search of Monkees and Archies records (it ...

Carl Perkins with David McGee: Go, Cat, Go! – The Life and Times of Carl Perkins, The King of Rockabilly

Book Review by Tom Graves, Washington Post, The, June 1996

RECORD PRODUCER Sam Phillips, who owned the tiny Sun record label in Memphis, has been hounded for years by journalists and biographers about his decision ...

Carl Perkins: Born To Rock

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, July 1989

BORN TO ROCK, the first album from rockabilly legend Carl Perkins in quite some time, is a respectable if not an especially remarkable work. ...

Willis Alan Ramsey: A Perfect Ending to a 20-year Vacation

Profile and Interview by Tom Graves, Musician, March 1992

AT THE END of Willis Alan Ramsey's only album, a self-titled 1972 Shelter release, the song 'Northeast Texas Woman' fades to studio chatter, and the ...

Paul Revere & The Raiders' Mark Lindsay (1990)

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock's Backpages Audio, June 1990

The Raiders' front-guy takes us back to Seattle garage-punk, the British invasion, long hair and costumes, Dick Clark's Where the Action Is... and, er, the entire history of '60s US pop!

File format: mp3; file size: 92.6mb, interview length: 1h 41' 05" sound quality: ****

The Rolling Stones: Mick Taylor (1989)

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock's Backpages Audio, 1989

From being a fresh-faced Bluesbreaker to the Rolling Stones and beyond: guitars, the blues, Altamont, the glamour and the dark side.

File format: mp3; file size: 61.5mb, interview length: 1h 07' 16" sound quality: * (phoner)

Mick Taylor, The Rolling Stones: Stone Alone: A Rare Interview with Mick Taylor

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, July 1989

MICK TAYLOR initially came into the public spotlight as the very young (17 years old) replacement for the renowned Peter Green in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. ...

Sam & Dave: Sam and Dave: The Best of Sam & Dave

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, December 1987

DURING THE HEIGHT of the Blues Brothers craze, I went to a small club to see the re-formed Sam and Dave. The dance floor ...

The Sex Pistols: When the Pistols Came to Memphis

Memoir by Tom Graves, Guerilla Monster Films, August 2010

WHEN THE SEX Pistols blitzed into Memphis on a very cold Friday night in January (the 6th) 1978, probably not one in ten people in ...

Paul Simon: The Rhythm of the Saints

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1990

AFTER WORLD WAR I, Kenya became a refuge for rich, spoiled British expatriates who had dishonored their family name or provoked scandal – enough anyway ...

The Sugarcubes: Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1989

IT IS THE JOB of the P.R. people at record companies to shove this week's newest big thing down the throats of a hungry music-buying ...

Gene Vincent: Born To Be A Rolling Stone (Topline Records)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, December 1987

TO SEE JUST how far a former great rock and roller can sink, check out the 12 pieces of aural excrement that comprise Gene Vincent's ...

ZZ Top: Recycler

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, November 1990

THAT LITTLE OL' BAND from Texas is actually a corporate juggernaut that has raked in the millions in the 20 some-odd years it has been ...

List of genre pieces

James Sallis: The Guitar In Jazz – An Anthology

Book Review by Tom Graves, Washington Post, The, June 1996

WHY IS IT that jazz, one of the most exciting and explosive forms of music, has been the subject of some of the lamest, most ...

Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out By Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield

Book Review by Tom Graves, Washington Post, The, October 1992

THE LATE Bill Graham is remembered by most as the prickly, hyperactive browbeater who opened not one, but two Fillmore concert halls during the height ...

The Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Collection (Alligator)

Review by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, May 1991

REMEMBER THOSE Lowery Organ displays that were once a staple of every suburban shopping mall in North America? The ones where some weenie in a ...

10 LPs You Probably Don't Have (But Should)

Comment by Tom Graves, Rock's Backpages, August 2009

WE ALL HAVE seen the lists of the absolutely greatest LPs, singles, movies, TV shows, books, etc. OF ALL TIME. I've done them myself and ...

Bill Inglot: An Analog Heart In A Digital Domain

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, August 1991

THE NAME Bill Inglot became synonymous with the CD medium in the earliest days of the new digital technology. Working most often with Rhino Records, ...

In Pursuit of Pure Sound: The Story of the Audiophile Record Label, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs

Report by Tom Graves, American Way, May 1993

HERB BELKIN, EXECUTIVE vice president of ABC records at the time, remembers the day in 1977 when two young audio engineers came into his office ...

Peace, Love, Music: Woodstock Revisited

Retrospective by Tom Graves, American History, February 1996

"IT'S A NEW dawn," Grace Slick, lead singer for the Jefferson Airplane, told a swelling crowd of 400,000 at Woodstock, the most famous music gathering ...

Steve Hoffman: The First Genius Of CD

Interview by Tom Graves, Rock and Roll Disc, October 1987

MCA's Remastering Genius Discusses His Archival Work And His New Position At Dunhill Compact Classics ...

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