(Book Review) MARTIN POPOFF - Denim & Leather (Saxon's First Ten Years)
Release date April 2020 (Power Chord Press)
Another month, another Martin Popoff book is unveiled (I say somewhat tongue-in-cheek!). In this case, the ever-productive author supplies his legions of readers with a tome regarding NWOBHM stalwarts Saxon.
As you can tell by the title, this 258-page book focuses mainly on the first decade of the band, each chapter covering the details regarding each of the albums issued during the period (ie. the self titled debut through Destiny). Additionally, The Professor included an initial "The Early Years" chapter to set the table, along with a substantive concluding chapter which quickly covers the subsequent years (including albums up to the Thunderbolt release in 2018).
Popoff fans will already know the score, but for those new to his books (shame!), his focus is on the creation, quality and subsequent touring of each album, believing that this is the information of most importance when it comes to understanding a bands' worth. No arguments from this corner - it makes for a logical read.
Given the relative lack of coverage given a band of Saxon's stature over the years, this is one book that needed to be written ... and read by new and old fans alike. Personally, I'm an old fan who basically gave up on the band after the lightning-bolt-up-the-butt Power & The Glory opus, so the early chapters are the ones that I consumed most greedily. However, Popoff was able to keep me engaged throughout the remaining chapters via his ever-personable style of writing. It really is like you're sitting there talking with a bud over beers when imbibing one of his books.
The only complaint I would have is that, while the legal issues with the former original members is covered in length from Biff's perspective, Oliver and Dawson's viewpoints are starkly absent here. I certainly would have liked to read about their take on the legal battles and tales of the road.
Regardless, as usual, Popoff provides readers with an insightful review of the history of a deserving heavy metal band ... and for that I am most certainly pleased and thankful.