Rocky road: The legendary life and times of Billy Rancher - Bill Reader
It's been a somewhat nostalgic time in my reading. As I noted in my review of UNreal gods, and in my own You Had to Be There: Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene, I was a big fan of the late Billy Rancher. This out-of-print book had been on my wish list forever, and I finally just bought it myself.

I admit, I was initially skeptical. Author Bill Reader states in the introduction that he never saw Billy perform, never met him ... and only knew his work from the "Boom Chuck Rock Now" album before researching the book. However, the end product is filled with interviews with band and family members, club owners, scenesters, etc. The result is a straightforward, objective biography that nevertheless keeps the reader entertained.

It is a little surreal to read about events for which I was present ... as well as to realize that Billy Rancher has now been gone for as long as he was alive (he died of cancer at age 29). Yet, Rancher remains a legend in the Portland music scene to this day.

This biography is highly recommended for those who want to know more about Billy's career, or for those who were there and remember him fondly.