Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Books for Christmas

A quick glance at the racks at Waterstones reveals that lovers of books about rock and roll, soul and blues have never been so well catered for as they are today. There are, as usual, many books about Elvis, the most inventive being the Graceland Interactive Pop up Book - a snip for those who prefer pictures to words at a mere £25. Or there's the table shattering Elvis at 21 - New York to Memphis, which comes in at a weighty £35. There are numerous books on Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, as well as anthologies on various aspects of rock, soul and blues. Dream Boogie, the excellent biography of Sam Cooke, is now out on paperback at £12.99 - well recommended. But avoid the Penguin Guide to Record Values by Nick Hamlyn, which has glaring omissions and, judging by recent ebay prices, unrealistically low values for many rare records. Stick to the Record Collector guide.
No doubt there are many great books around that I haven't come across, but the two that have caught my eye and that I would like to see in my Christmas stocking are the All Music Guide to Soul (900 pages of small print covering every aspect of soul and R and B), and an excellent coffee table book called Rockin' Down the Highway (£25), which charts the link between cars and music over the years and includes hundreds of colour illustrations.


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