With masters of the art Cohen, Reed and Dylan long since anthologised, now comes the turn of Bob Geldof to have his copious song-words gathered up and set into print. In total, that’s an exhaustive 189 songs – which amounts to seven albums with Irish pub-rock band The Boomtown Rats and a further seven less than essential solo albums compiled in book form.
The fact that all the lyrics to his recently reformed band’s not-yet-released LP Citizens Of Boomtown are already collected here does seem more than just a little bit previous.
Saying that, there has always been a whole load of merit in Geldof’s lyrical output and, amid all the album-track filler, his abundant talent for storytelling more often than not cuts through. In the grand tradition of Springsteen, when the silicon chip inside Bob’s head switches to overload, he is able to conjure up a cast of believable characters and bung them into a compelling, often poignant, narrative. Geldof himself once said that rock ’n’ roll is an articulate form of inarticulacy. It’s a point well made.