“Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait” (Octopus, $24.99) by Steve Parke and “Prince: A Private View” (St. Martin’s, $35) by Afshin Shahidi. Several books about Prince have come out since he died. But we can recommend these two photo collections by two of his personal photographers. Parke, who worked with Prince as art director for 14 years starting in 1989, tells more personal stories, offering insights into how Prince worked, whereas Shahidi offers more photos (from the 1990s and ’00s) — staged, candid and in-concert — including some priceless shots such as party photos at the star’s L.A. house and Prince walking along a New York street to his Rock Hall of Fame induction.
“First Avenue: Minnesota’s Main Room” (Minnesota History, $40) by Chris Riemenschneider and “Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound” (University of Minnesota, $24.95) by Andrea Swensson. These are two commendable histories of Minnesota music. Star Tribune critic Riemenschneider traces the history of Minnesota’s landmark nightclub — back to its days as a bus depot, its start as a music room in 1970 (with Joe Cocker) and all the ups and downs since. Swensson’s slice of history explores the scene from which Prince came — the Twin Cities R&B world from 1958 to 1981. She covers little-known territory that is enlightening for Prince fans.
“Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives” (University of Texas, $24.95), edited by Holly Gleason. Various female journalists and music-makers write about a favorite female country artist. Here’s Taylor Swift on Brenda Lee: “There’s a reason she’s been able to move people to their feet for almost 60 years. Brenda Lee is grace. Brenda Lee is class and composure. And when she hears the roar of a crowd, Brenda Lee smiles like she’s a 5-year-old and receiving her first standing ovation.”
“Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff” (Crown, $28) by Michael Nesmith. The most eccentric and adventurous Monkee begins his memoir with lunch with Timothy Leary. He was raised fatherless by his Christian Scientist mom, who invented Liquid Paper (for correcting typing), and he earned $480 plus a $100 bonus per week during the filming of “The Monkees.” It’s a curious story by a Renaissance man (film producer, pioneering music-video maker) who has been a forward thinker.
“The Autobiography of Gucci Mane” (Simon & Schuster, $27) by Gucci Mane. Written while the Atlanta rapper was in prison, this tale is as wild and crazy as some of his recordings. He’s been a drug dealer, inmate, poet and sufferer of PTSD. Released from prison in 2016, he used his last stint behind bars to exercise (he lost 80 pounds), read biographies (Jimi Hendrix, Mike Tyson), write rhymes (2016’s “Everybody’s Looking”) and delve into self-help books (Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra).
“The Nobel Lecture” (Simon & Schuster, $16.99) by Bob Dylan. To receive his Nobel Prize for literature, Dylan was required to give a lecture in Sweden. He had someone else deliver it for him. You can read the lecture online, but this stocking-stuffer mini-book covers it, as Dylan talks about how Buddy Holly and such books as “Moby-Dick,” “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “The Odyssey” influenced his music. He’s been accused of borrowing parts of this speech from SparkNotes.
Garth Brooks, “The First Five Years” (Melcher, $39.99). The country icon is billing this as a book with music, but it’s really more a scrapbook with reissues of five CDs featuring 52 songs from 1989-1993, 19 of which are previously unreleased demos or first takes. The 240-page book features lots of photos and oral history, with plenty from Brooks and his associates. He steadfastly acknowledges the contributions of others but does offer trivia: George Strait passed on “Friends in Low Places,” and Tanya Tucker’s producer turned down “The Thunder Rolls.”
Bob Dylan, “Trouble No More — The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 /1979-1981” (Columbia, three versions available). His so-called Christian years were, at the time, considered divisive and off-putting, alienating the faithful who thought this to be an unforgivable turn to the right. But revisiting these three albums — “Slow Train Coming,” “Saved” and “Shot of Love” — via live recordings, alternative takes, rehearsals and a movie shows the music to be more spirited than religious. Backed by a terrific band and female gospel singers, Dylan’s singing was never more passionate. The deluxe edition includes a hardcover book of photos, handwritten lyrics and album covers in various languages plus commentary by Penn Jillette.
The Replacements, “For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986” (Sire, $19.98). The heyday of Minneapolis’ beloved but cavalier punk heroes is wonderfully documented — the fury and the fun, the ragged glory and the great songwriting, and the ferocious force that was Bob Stinson on guitar. This two-CD, 29-song package is enough to convince you that the ‘Mats belong in the Rock and Roll of Fame — the missing link between classic rock and grunge.
Hüsker Dü, “Savage Young Du” (Numero, $35.98). This three-CD boxed set is for hard-core fans of the Hüskers — and what a collection it is. Thanks to archivist Terry Katzman, fans get to hear early gigs of the influential Twin Cities post-punk trio, demos, unreleased tunes (47 of the 69 songs are previously unissued), an alternative version of “Land Speed Record” and a remastered “Everything Falls Apart” and peruse a booklet of cool photos. Potent stuff. Also available in vinyl.