Book Review: Red Robinson's New Book

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Book Review: Red Robinson's New Book

Postby jon » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:27 am

The Last Deejay explores Red Robinson's love of rock 'n' roll
Tom Harrison
Vancouver Sun
Published on: September 23, 2016
Last Updated: September 23, 2016 2:17 PM PDT

Red Robinson, The Last Deejay
By Robin Brunet
Harbour, 196 pp.

Red Robinson was at the top of the list of people I wanted to interview for my own book, Tom Harrison’s History of Vancouver Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Anyone who is going to write about the development of rock ‘n’ roll in Western Canada is going to encounter Robinson’s enormous influence. Robinson, Bruce Allen, Sam Feldman and Robinson’s partner, Les Vogt — behind the scenes guys rather than musicians, although Vogt started as a singer — were the pioneers here.

Necessarily, much of Robinson’s history was skated over in my book, but Robin Brunet’s biography, Red Robinson, The Last Deejay, is more comprehensive.

Still quick, though. At 196 pages, the book reaches Robinson’s storied 1964 confrontation with John Lennon around page 140. The rest covers the 52 years since, suggesting there is a lot more to the story as radio changes and forces Robinson to change with it.

That’s OK as it’s the early years that are most important and which shaped what Robinson became and still is. We want to get close to Elvis and The Beatles and don’t much care about his exploits in advertising as one half of Vrlak Robinson. That’s not where his fame lies.

His love of rock ‘n’ roll and radio are apparent early. Unfortunately, neither the music nor radio were as loyal to him. Rock ‘n’ roll became rock and inevitably changes while radio became a hardbitten business.

Robinson alludes to both in The Last Deejay but, here too, is the suggestion he is a lot more outspoken — there is more to the story. Whatever his thoughts, he keeps them private. Discretion rules and that might have been a lesson learned early and is a key to his survival.

If there is a dark side to Robinson, he doesn’t show it, instead coming off as perceptive and modest, likable and generous, cheerful and upbeat.

Brunet tells Robinson’s story with the help of Robinson friends, contemporaries such as Pat O’Day and Wink Martindale, and close associate Bruce Allen. Robinson’s wife, Carole, rarely enters the picture, which is a shortcoming.

In terms of what radio has become, Robinson may well be the last deejay. In terms of Vancouver rock ‘n’ roll, he was the first deejay.
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Re: Book Review: Red Robinson's New Book

Postby jon » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:32 am

Already available for pre-order on-line at Amazon.ca and Indigo for just under $30. One catch: Amazon.ca just quietly upped their free shipping minimum to $35. Indigo hasn't noticed yet, so still has a $25 minimum.
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Re: Book Review: Red Robinson's New Book

Postby Howaboutthat » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:01 am

Someone should let Tom Petty know about the title. ;-)
Houston, We're dealing with morons!.
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Re: Book Review: Red Robinson's New Book

Postby jon » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:50 pm

Howaboutthat wrote:Someone should let Tom Petty know about the title. ;-)

Despite the perceived negativism in the song, Tom has embraced one of the newer approaches to Radio: satellite delivery of pre-recorded shows aired multiple times each week, and an on-line on-demand service where you can hear all past shows, going back more than a decade.

That is Tom's "Buried Treasure" show on Sirius/XM's Deep Tracks channel. One of my favourites.

Tom certainly knows how to be a DJ in this day and age.
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