Deborah Godin,
Papa Do Run: A Baby Boomer Looks (& Laughs) at Vintage Rock 'n' Roll
(BookSurge, 2007)

Deborah Godin's Papa Do Run is a love story about rock 'n' roll.

The author is an upbeat, chatty fan of everything rock 'n' roll-related who has published a book of lists, covering everything from censored songs to love songs to political songs to women in music. She tells the stories behind some of rock's greatest songs, like which musicians are described in Don McLean's "American Pie," to whom Carly Simon is singing in "You're So Vain" and whether "Puff the Magic Dragon" is a song about drug use or not.

Like all great legends, the answer to many of these questions is "who really knows?" but Godin sets up the socio-political climate and lines up the usual suspects for each of rock's great legends. One could locate this information (and more) with some quick Internet searches, but it is nice to enjoy them in a unified chapter, and the book would be a great trip down memory lane for the baby boomer generation (of which Godin is a proud self-proclaimed member).

Godin is oblivious to the fact that anyone could have a fanhood as great as hers. In the third paragraph of her introduction, she flat-out tells any twenty-something readers there is no way they will get sentimental over their "hard core heavy/acid/metal/head-banger/punk/gansta/grunge number so loud it makes your ears bled" when they are in their 50s. Godin believes that her precious rock 'n' roll transcends all other fanhoods, so if you are a more casual fan of the genre, or if you have eclectic tastes, her generalizations may be off-putting.

However, I don't think Godin wrote this book for the twenty-somethings she disparages. If you lived through the era, this is a solid trip down memory lane. She has near-perfect lyric recall and an encyclopedic knowledge of 1950s and '60s rock 'n' roll, so the reader is bound to discover personal forgotten gems among her musings. However, if you're a fan of music throughout the decades and centuries of the world, this is a casual read.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

1 March 2008

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