The Ballad of Speedball Baby: A Memoir | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Ali Smith

The Ballad of Speedball Baby: A Memoir

Published by Blackstone

Apr 29, 2024 Bookmark and Share

You’ll be forgiven, if you don’t remember Speedball Baby. Short-lived and briefly signed to MCA records in the major label feeding frenzy that was the mid’90s, the New York band that was know for its unhinged sound and shared bills with the likes of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Speedball Baby never hit the big time like it might have wished. Ali Smith was the band’s bassist, and The Ballad of Speedball Baby is her story.

Despite the relatively unknown nature of her band, Smith’s memoir is engaging in a way that few typical rock and roll stories are. Of course, The Ballad of Speedball Baby is not only a rock memoir. Sure, Smith details her time in the band, and the anecdotes she shares are frequently crazed and unbelievable tales of a rock and roll life filled with hardscrabble search for meaning and truth. But what her book more so details is the story of a girl who grew up with a dream, suffered through hardship, and ended up finding herself in the unlikeliest of places. Written in captivating prose that bounces back and forth between Smith’s formative years and her time in the band both touring the States and overseas, The Ballad of Speedball Baby will keep you enrapt throughout. It’s a brilliant rollercoaster of a read. You might not have known Speedball Baby, but you should definitely know Smith’s book. ( (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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