THE Penderyn Music Book Prize – once called The Mercury Prize of Books by the NME – has just announced its 2022 longlist for the year's best music books. Now in its eighth year, the prize has named 16 books from which it will name a winner on March 27. The list covers a broad range of subjects from the history of foghorns (The Foghorn's Lament by Jennifer Lucy Allan) to an account of British folk songs about crime and punishment (Who Killed Cock Robin? by Stephen Sedley and Martin Carthy), as well as biographies of Nico and Shane MacGowan.

But there are also memoirs from the likes of Sinead O'Connor (Rememberings), Richard Thompson (Beeswing), Echo and the Bunnymen's Will Sergeant (Bunnyman), Don Letts (There and Black Again) and Ian Dury's son, Baxter Dury (Chaise Longue).

Hmm, who was it who said writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it's a really stupid thing to want to do?

It's usually attributed to Frank Zappa or Elvis Costello, though some suggest it might have been American actor and comedian Martin Mull. In any case, it isn't necessarily true. You can write about anything. The challenge is to write about it well. And several books on this list show that it's possible.

Such as?

Tracey Thorn's My Rock 'n' Roll Friend is a case in point. It's a useful corrective to the indie fan's notion that only boys matter in the stories of their favourite bands. Thorn's book tells the story of Australian band The Go-Betweens and puts drummer Lindy Morrison back at the heart of the story.

Any Scottish interest?

Yes, there are two Scottish books on the longlist. Bobby Gillespie's entertaining and at times entertainingly ridiculous memoir Tenement Kid and Bessie Smith, Jackie Kay's excellent biography of the blues singer.

Scotland has history here. In 2018 Stuart Cosgrove was named the winner for his book Memphis 1968 The Tragedy of Southern Soul.

Who else has won the prize?

The first winner was Beatles scholar Mark Lewisohn in 2015 for his book The Beatles – All These Years: Volume One: Tune In, while last year's winner was Pete Paphides for his memoir Broken Greek.

Who's going to win this year?

Alas, we're not on the judging panel (if we were, Last Chance Texaco by Rickie Lee Jones would have been in the mix). So, we've no inside gen. But we have a sneaky feeling that musician Warren Ellis might be in with a shout for his book Nina Simone's Gum.