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    Escaping The Delta by Elijah Wald debunks myths about the blues always being made by men in rural poverty using primitive instruments and always being a form of protest or expression of pain. He shows that the myth of authenticity trapped blues artists in stereotypes that denied their innovative and up-to-date artistry and how they lived alongside and absorbed the popular music of the day, whether that be swing, country or crooning, incorporating the latest popular trends into their own art.

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      Originally posted by imp View Post
      'Listening to the Wind' is costing me a fortune, and I'm only on chapter 4. Splashed on a lot of excellent music - vinyl, cassettes and downloads - from Sahel Sounds (chapter 2), and then a bundle of 13 cassettes at $3 each from Oakland ambient label Constellation Tatsu (chapter 3). Going to get through this very slowly and carefully, but it's a rewarding, inter-active, sonically educative way to read a music book.
      It's taken me the best part of the year, but I've finished Listening to the Wind at a very leisurely pace, having discovered scads of excellent music on the way. The interviews are mostly really fascinating as they focus a lot not just on the music, but on the nuts and bolts of running a small indie label for love not money, and all the people seem very honest and, in general, just like really cool and devoted individuals. Although the bloke from Sublime Frequencies sounded a but unhinged, but then I bought an LP on his label and it's a revelation - 'Manbarani' by Natik Awayez. Thanks to the latter-day quirks of international mail order, I got into email chats with record labels all over the world, who were unfailingly apologetic about things like postage costs, did their utmost to track my packages, and always added in extras like stickers, download codes, sampler CDs and t-shirts. A package from Scissor Tail Records in Tulsa got returned to them twice (went to Barbados, apparently) before they re-packed it and re-sent it - time from order to arrival: four months. But worth it for the Chuck Johnson record alone.

      I think the book's daunting because it looks so thick (it's 700 pages), but if you take it chapter by chapter while searching out the music along the way, then it brings its own multiple rewards.

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        Originally posted by imp View Post

        I think the book's daunting because it looks so thick (it's 700 pages), but if you take it chapter by chapter while searching out the music along the way, then it brings its own multiple rewards.
        This is the problem for me with any kind of music publication. I was back on the train commuting last week after a year+ of working at home. I decided to shrink the pile of old Maximum Rock and Roll magazines. The days when I got home at a decent hour I was straight to the computer to listen to punk releases from 2002 or 2004 that I had missed. When I read at home, I feel like something that shouldn't take long to read ends up taking forever because I'm looking up youtube videos for bands I don't know. There is, of course, joy in this new discover but damn, sometimes I just want to shrink the pile.

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          Yeah, reading about music is like dancing about architecture (to quote Martin Mull.) Frequently the longer the book is the more redundant it feels, and the more irritated with myself I get. The same applies to art, and other forms of expression too, but music particularly so. Consequently I consciously limit myself to a couple of books a year and they're usually bios.

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            I've been working my way through different types of punk books lately. I'll summarize these in case anyone cares, although I get the sense I'm alone with this sub-genre.

            Club Closed is about Tom Guido and his club The Purple Onion, which was a garage rock/garage punk club in San Franciso that existed during the 1990s. The bulk of the book is written as an oral history where different band members, scenesters, and employees (I use that last category loosely) were either interviewed or shared their thoughts and then that content was chopped up to group ideas in themes. I spent a little time in San Francisco just before the club opened so never went there, but really got a great feel for the space and Tom Guido. Guido suffered from mental illness but probably never had proper medical care that was exacerbated by being an alcoholic. I'm not spoiling anything by saying this since it comes up in the first few paragraphs, but he was murdered in the early 2000s (maybe 2001). So the book uses that murder as an excuse to remember him and the club. The stories are interesting, although they do start to get repetitive, and the blend of text, the inclusion of photographs, and show flyers makes for an interesting historical artifact. It's a bulky book so might be pricey to get to the UK, Europe, or other countries outside the US. But if you're into garage rock/garage punk, I think you would dig it.
            http://www.bethzombie.com/purpleonion/

            If you don't know garage punk, start here (Rip Offs, which was a band that played regularly at the Purple Onion--there were many really cool bands on Rip Off Records): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm38LTYnXaM


            I also finished a book about Big Frank Harrison and Nemesis Records. Big Frank was a central figure in the Orange County and LA hardcore scenes and had been around punk from the early 80s through the end of the 90s, involved with putting on shows, working at one of the biggest promoters in LA called Goldenvoice, and managing an amazing record store called Zed Records that existed in Lakewood. The book is divided into two parts: The first part is a collection of short recollections by bands that were signed to Nemesis or people that worked closely with the label. The second part is an annotated discography of all of Frank's releases. It's not the most well-written book. Some of the reflections are kind of thin and repetitive. I admittedly have more interest because I knew Frank (actually interviewed him for my book about DIY touring and punk spaces in the US), owned some Nemesis 7" singles, and spent a lot of time at Zed's. But if you're into hardcore in the vein of Revelation Records then you'd probably dig this. Again, I never see anything posted in the music forum from anyone about this genre so probably not, but who knows. As an interesting side note, the first Offspring album came out on Nemesis. The label started as a hardcore label but expanded into other genres of punk and alternative rock.
            https://shopreaper.com/

            Again, if you don't know this genre of music, here is a sample (I'll go with a band not on Nemesis just so you Rage Against the Machine fans can see where Zack De La Rocha's singing career started): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYu62xQzjc0

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              Good and interesting post. Life is busy at the moment but I often try to click on a link or two that you provide.

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                Originally posted by Benjm View Post
                Stephen Morris' New Order book might be the pick of the three accounts by members of the band. Sumner's and Hook's are both skewed somewhat by their latter day loathing of each other.
                Have just finished Morris' Joy Division book (NO on the to-read list) and thoroughly enjoyed it. HIs early days in Macc are written with a humorous, dry viewpoint and he's very self-deprecating on his lifestyle and abilities. He keeps a very neutral standpoint on the other band members, and certainly does a lot to remove the supposed "serious" image of the band. Definitely recommended and looking forward to part 2. Thanks for the heads up on this Benjm

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                  My pleasure, glad you enjoyed it, nmrfox!

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