Book Review: “Confessions of a Teenage Disc Jockey” by T. Morgan


For those music and radio fans who have lived in the Philadelphia region, the name T Morgan is a household name. And his new book, Confessions of a Teenage Disc Jockeyis not only the story of his life in radio (that has now spanned five decades), it is also a history lesson in the evolution of radio broadcasting.

T takes the readers from the early days of rock n roll on AM radio in the mid-sixties, when he could listen to radio stations up and down the east coast from his family’s home in Scranton, through the 1970’s album based radio that was growing on FM, and then right up to the present day. Along the way, he tells the highs and lows of being a disc jockey without ever sounding arrogant or pretentious.  Instead, T tells his story while remaining humble and grateful for the opportunities that were given to him.

There is brief mention of the Beatles influence on radio in the 60’s and of T Morgan’s missed opportunity at meeting Paul McCartney, along with so many other entertaining tales of meeting an amazing list of rock stars and celebrities during his time as a disc jockey.

If you’re a radio fan who owned a transistor radio way back when, or a rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast, you’re going to love this book.  I will admit that it started out a little rough in the beginning (it is self-published), but I think Mr. Morgan eventually finds his true written voice and will pull you in.  And for that reason…

I rate the book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Movie Review: Brian Wilson – Songwriter: 1969-1982

Here’s another shameless plug for the 30 day free Amazon Prime trial subscription.  When I went to cancel before my month was up, then informed me that I could continue to use the free benefits until my 30 days was over!  So…I watch another free movie.

Brian Wilson – Songwriter: 1969-1982 was a hell of a lot better than I had expected.  This documentary was a great way to fill in the blanks that were left from watching “Love & Mercy“.  As I said in my review, Love & Mercy was an excellent film, but you really had to know exactly what was going on with Brian in the 1960’s thru 1980’s to understand the movie completely.  This film is going to give you those missing links.

And for that reason…


I rate this movie, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Note: And keep an eye out for May Pang’s book, Loving John, on Peter Ames Carlin’s bookshelf!

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Book Review: “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” by Elvis Costello

Well folks, here it is…the book that took me way to long to read!

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink is a 670 page memoir from Elvis Costello.  Written in his poetic hand with a lot of discussion and samples of the lyrics to his songs, you’re going to wish this book came with a soundtrack to follow along with the stories.  It’s not that I don’t know Elvis’ music, but being more of the pop music fan, I’ve never felt the need to listen to any of  his entire albums.  Maybe it’s my own fault then that I had trouble keeping up.

But there are other problems too.  Mr. Costello loves to tell you of his family history, just not in one or two neat and tidy chapters.  He likes to digress throughout the book, never letting his reader know at any given moment what decade they may end up in whether it be with his great grandparents or parents or someplace else in time.  I could almost swear that several times, he flashed back and never came back to the original story he had started telling.

Still, some the stories he tells of the artists he’s worked with are truly amazing.  He sings the praises of working with Johnny and June Cash, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and so many others.  (Note: Oddly, I got to the part about his working with Allen Toussaint the day after Allen passed away.  Cue Twilight Zone music.)  Elvis worships his father and tells the heartbreaking story of his passing within days of the untimely death of his wife (Elvis’ stepmother).  And yes, he talks about working with Paul McCartney, but I was surprised that it wasn’t with as much gusto as I would have expected.

Unless you’re an over the top Elvis Costello fan that has followed his every move from the very beginning of his career, don’t plan on this being a fast read.  Sit back and just enjoy the storytelling.  And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Movie Review: “The Beatles: Parting Ways”

I thought I’d throw one more movie review out here before ending my Prime subscription, but it’s not as much a review of this movie, as a warning not to bother wasting even a free membership to Prime on this one.

The Beatles: Parting Ways – is a 52 minute documentary about the life of the Beatles after their split in 1970.  Going in the order of John, Paul, George and Ringo, each of the Beatles is given a little over 10 minutes of air time in this film that seems to take a lot of liberties and uses a lot of stock film footage that was also used in Strange Fruit.

One of the first things that caught my attention was that the makers of this film chose other bands’ music to play as a backdrop to their commentary.  Really…The Animals “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” as background music in a Beatles documentary?  Warning…there is no Beatles music in this film.

The other glaring (disturbing) error was when the narrator says Ringo and Maureen had 3 sons together – Zak, Jason and LEE! Wrong…just so, so wrong.  And for that reason…

I rate this film 1 out of 4 Beetles!


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Movie Review: “George Harrison: The Quiet One”

I decided to watch another movie from my free trial Prime membership before I have to cancel it within the next week.

George Harrison: The Quiet One is a one hour documentary on…George Harrison! It really didn’t offer up anything new on ‘the quiet Beatle’ that any real Beatles or Harrison fan wouldn’t have already known or read about before now. Though it was nice to see and hear the thoughts of George Martin and one of George Harrison’s childhood friends.

Add this movie to your freebie list, as I don’t feel that it would be worth the money to rent or buy it unless you’re one of those fans that has to own everything. And for that reason….

I rate this movie 2 out of 4 Beetles!






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Movie Review: “Strange Fruit: The Beatles Apple Records”

For the second week in a row, I’m reviewing a movie I found on Amazon Prime. I had signed up for a free 30 day trial subscription and decided that watching free Beatles movies would be a good way to enjoy it. Plus, I’ve been trying to read the same book for the past two weeks and I’m struggling to finish it. I hope to finish it up this week for my review next week.

The Beatles – Strange Fruit: The Beatles’ Apple Records is actually a very well made documentary about the birth and death of Apple records. From Mary Hopkins to Badfinger to James Taylor, this film tells of the talent that passed through the door at 3 Saville. With commentary from Beatles experts and Apple musicians Jackie Lomax and Joey Mullond, and longtime Beatle friend Tony Bramwell, the viewer feels like they are being brought into the inner sanctum.

If you’re feeling lucky, buy or rent this movie on Amazon. If you’re feeling thrifty, sign up for a thirty day free Amazon Prime subscription and be sure to include this film in your list of must-see movies. And for that reason….

I rate this movie 4 out of 4 Beetles!



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Movie Review: Mugshots: John Lennon – Death of a Beatle

I found this movie through Amazon Prime and decided to give it a go.  Apparently, “Mugshots” is a whole series of movies about either famous people who have been murdered, famous murderers or famous murders.

Mugshots: Mark D. Chapman – John Lennon: Death of a Beatle – is actually not a bad documentary for Lennon fans, if you can get past the taped interview of Mark David Chapman.  But if you are one of the folks that lives by the belief that “he who’s name shall not be spoken”, should also not be heard, then you’re going to have a big problem with this film.

The movie is more of the story of John Lennon, his life growing up and his life as a Beatle.  Several very familiar people participated in the making of this documentary, including such names as Pete Best, Bob Gruen, and Scott Muni.

At times, it almost appears as if this is two separate stories being told…that of Lennon and that of his killer, with each of the stories being able to stand on it’s own if it had to.  Chapman’s words are haunting…his story is strange…and his reasoning just unfathomable when you hear him tell it.  Yet, like a train wreck, it’s hard not to look and listen just to try to comprehend what he did.

If you’re a true Lennon fan who has to know every detail, then yes…watch this film.  If you love Lennon, but believe Chapman’s name should not be spoken, then watch Hard Day’s Night.

This documentary is well made, but because of my own personal beliefs on the subject…

I rate this movie: 2 out of 4 Beetles!

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