Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Record Makers and Breakers

Well, I've finally done it. I've read John Broven's epic history of the US independent record men and women, Record Makers and Breakers. I bought it last year but it's anything but a slim volume so I've been putting off reading it until I had plenty of time to spare. I started it when I went to Cornwall for a rainy week in August and have now finished it. And what a great book it is.

I've always been interested in how the US R and B, rock and roll and pop music scene developed in the 50s and 60s. After all, I've got a record collection made up of little else. I was aware of the major independent labels such as Atlantic, King, Modern, Apollo, Vee-Jay and Chess, and, in the sixties, Stax and Tamla Motown. I've read about Alan Freed and payola, about Dick Clark and about the better known record men such as Jerry Wexler, Berry Gordy and Armet Ertegun. But never before have I got under the skin of the rise and fall of the indies the way that John has chronicled in this superb book.

For anyone who has bought the book but hasn't yet got round to reading it, and for those who don't yet have it but love American R and B and rock and roll, this is a book that is well worth the read. There is so much detail, so many fascinating details and so many great quotes from these larger than life record people that it stands as the definitive work on the music that so many of us love.


At 4:19 pm , Anonymous Alan said...

I have to get back to reading this. Interesting content and well written, but a bit to bulky to carry it around to read on public transport.


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