'Letters To Sarah'
By: Corky Laing with Tuija Takala - Waterside Productions, $10.77
Description: 'Letters to Sarah' is a rock autobiography with a difference. In addition to the exceptionally honest and endearing voice of Corky chronicling the ups and downs of his life, there are excerpts from dozens of letters (out of the c. 200) that Corky wrote to his mother, Sarah, between the years 1963 and 1997.
She had saved them all. The letters were a way for Corky, away on the road for years on end, to keep in touch with his mother and also, to make sense of his life.
This continues in 'Letters to Sarah', as Corky relives the first 50 years of his life, up until his mother’s passing in 1998.
Verdict: Well, for those not in the know, Corky Laing is best known as the drummer of Mountain and West, Bruce and Laing and over the years he has performed, recorded and written with the who’s-who of rock.
Furthermore, he has received multiple gold records, several Juno awards and was given the Bonzo Bash Legend Award in 2014.
Released this past May 7th, 2019 via Waterside Productions, in my humble opinion 'Letters To Sarah' is one of the most open, honest and heartfelt books (from this genre of being a rock autobiography) that I have had the pleasure to read in the past decade.
With a foreword from Richard Samet "Kinky" Friedman - an American singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician, defender of stray animals, and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain - and a preface from Tuija Takala - Academy research fellow, philosopher, producer, songwriter, driver, roadie and dear friend and musical colleague of Laing's - the book then launches into the first chapter 'Going Down' … a story of seven passengers on a Learjet about to unexpectedly experience an emergency landing!
Family Matters brings us more into the youthful world of Laing and aside from bringing to us the real reason he obtained his nickname "Corky" also allows us to grasp just what the wee man went through at Herbert Symonds Elementary School and his very first inspiration for a collaboration re: George Gardos.
As we progress through this eye opening and highly personal book, during Formative Years we follow Laing on his journey within a Canadian band living in Montreal, Quebec and yet recording in the USA into the self explanatory Music Takes Center Stage chapter.
It's obvious reading along and reading between the lines that growing up with his triplet brothers had incorporated a lot of challenges. None more so than when it's revealed in Sofa Tour that the four boys used to sleep in a small room that used to be a dining room where four beds were set up as two bunks against the wall.
But memories like that seem to only serve to inspire and propel Laing as his touring schedule became bigger and better in and around Spring of 1970. Playing with Mountain on the East Coast and West Coast, Texas and the mighty Midwest, he soon found himself in England and so in Hello Britain he details how he was soon "... beating the shit out of my kit in front of my first UK audience"!
The book goes on and details much more - good, bad and ugly - about not only Laing's touring days, but also his letters to his mother, Sarah, of course.
But it's safe to say that as you proceed onward, heading for the finale of the Over The Mountain chapter, reaching it will feel like you have gotten to know a man deeply that you might never have taken the time to had it not been for his insightful and always endearing 'Letters To Sarah.'
Amazon Book Purchase Link
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