Rather unexpectedly, no less than three Kate Bush books have already come along in rapid succession from smaller UK publishers in 2021. Hot on the heels of the “Kate Bush On Track: Every Album, Every Song” book by Bill Thomas (see news item and brief review here) there are two more slim paperback titles being released in March about Kate’s work.
First up is “The Kick Inside: In-depth” by Laura Shenton (Wymer Publishing). The press release states that “The Kick Inside is one of our first four titles in our In-depth series launched in March 2021. The book takes an in-depth look at the album; the history behind it; the story about its creation; the songs, as well as detailed discographies listing release variations around the world….author Laura Shenton MA LLCM DipRSL offers an in-depth perspective on The Kick Inside from a range of angles including how the album came to be, how it was presented and received at the time (live as well as on record), and what it means in terms of Kate Bush’s legacy today.“
The publishers were kind enough to send me on a review copy and the author sets out her approach in the preface – that no weighty personal opinions or analysis will be included from her, rather that “throughout this book you’re going to see lots of quotes from vintage articles.” And this 112 page book is indeed a rich smorgasbord of quotes; from interviews, articles, KBC fan club magazines, TV appearances and promotional materials – a resource writers and researchers now enjoy thanks to the vast archives of fan-curated info on the likes of Gaffaweb and the Kate Bush Encyclopedia site. All quotes are cited up front right there in the text.
In fact, the author relies so much on the quotes to do the heavy-lifting of narrating the story of Kate’s first album that perhaps she assumed they cover the whole album “in-depth”. This approach falls short of that; the songs L’Amour Looks Something Like You, Feel it and Room For The Life aren’t even discussed, which is a pity. There is a lot to be said for the tried and trusted track-by-track approach most other books take when considering albums. On the plus side, while I originally wondered why so much space was given to discussing Lionheart and that album’s singles, it actually feels very appropriate in the light of the later pages covering the Tour of Life – a big part in the story of The Kick Inside, after all. I only noticed a couple of factual errors in the text (not every song from The Kick Inside was performed in the 1979 shows – Oh To Be In Love wasn’t) and the 8-page photo section includes some nice photos of the various album cover and single cover variations from 1978/79. The book is published 12th March 2021 (priced at £14.99) and can be ordered direct from the publishers at the Wymer Publishing site here or on Amazon Kindle edition here.
The second book, “Kate Bush: Song by Song” by John Van Der Kiste, is one I have yet to see a copy of myself, but has already been delivered to some fans via Ebay and other sites. This is a 164 page paperback, that seems remarkably similar in structure and approach to the recent Bill Thomas book in that it “provides a thorough examination of the songs on all her singles, albums, and occasional recorded collaborations with other artists.” I’ll update this article with my thoughts about the book when I’ve seen a copy, but this again features a spread of 50 colour photographs and unlike the Thomas and Shenton books appears to include article citations in the endnotes section for those wanting to read further. Kate Bush: Song by Song by John Van Der Kiste (priced at £18.00) can be ordered from the publisher, Fonthill Media here or on Amazon UK here.