Music books

To buy, depending on book format/edition, you will be directed to Amazon, Lulu or the Bristol Folk PayPal site. To buy books from Lulu you will need to set up an account the first time you buy (the same as with Amazon); paperbacks available via Lulu are only printed when you order so helping just a bit to help save our planet's resources.

The Virgin Discography: The 1970s

The Virgin Discography: The 1970s jacket image
The Virgin label began with an eclectic and esoteric mix of left-field artists, including Mike Oldfield, Gong, Faust, Tangerine Dream and Henry Cow. Many of the resulting LPs are now considered to be important cultural reference points – is there anyone who hasn't heard of Tubular Bells?
In 1977 Virgin signed the Sex Pistols. A horde of punk and new wave bands followed, such as XTC, Magazine, The Ruts and - as the Sex Pistols imploded – PIL. Following this, the iconic Front Line label was responsible for some of the best reggae ever heard, from artists such as U-Roy, Tapper Zukie, I-Roy, Keith Hudson, The Gladiators, Culture and the Twinkle Brothers.
This book covers the ‘classic’ years and is an absolute must for anyone with half an ear open – let’s face it, during the 1970s Virgin defined the nation’s – if not the world’s – musical taste. All known releases (vinyl, cassette and 8-Track) on Virgin and related labels (Caroline, Oval, JCOA/WATT, Atra, The Front Line, DinDisc, Ice, Butt, ECM/JAPO, No Bad, etc.) are documented here – from Tubular Bells to numerous forgotten gems that deserve much greater recognition. The Rawtenstall Concertina Orchestra, anyone?

The B&C Discography: 1968 to 1975

B&C Discography: 1968 to 1975 2nd Edition jacket design
Nominated for the 2014 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research. Expanded and updated 2nd Edition - strictly Limited Edition of first 50 copies in B&C green jacket design.
B&C started life as a distribution company, Beat and Commercial, which was set up as a sister company to Island. Island's early success led B&C's owner, Lee Gopthal, to start releasing records in his own right. However, B&C's main strategy was based on licensing records rather than signing and controlling artists directly and many of B&C's labels concentrated on singles and budget compilation albums, which were less lucrative than full-priced LPs – strategies that set the seeds of the company's own destruction. The end, when it came in 1975 was probably inevitable.
Still, whilst B&C was about, some very good music got released, almost despite itself on occasion. This book includes a detailed history that discusses the organisational set-up at B&C, supported by memories from those who worked with or alongside B&C, along with comprehensive discographies covering all known vinyl records, cassettes and 8-Tracks on the Action, Stable, B&C, Charisma, Pegasus, Peg, People, Mooncrest, Dragon, Sussex and Seven Sun labels. (Note that Charisma is covered in much more depth in The Famous Charisma Discography, also available from this page.)

The Famous Charisma Discography (Forewords by Michael Palin and String Driven Thing's Chris Adams)

The Famous Charisma Discography jacket design
The Famous Charisma Discography features painstakingly-researched discographies of all known UK releases from 1969 to 1987. Those who think that Charisma just meant Genesis are in for a shock. Genesis were there for pretty much the duration, true, but they shared the label with names both well-known and obscure - Van der Graaf Generator, Lindisfarne, Monty Python, Audience, Rare Bird, Barry Humphries, AFT, Brand X, Trevor Billmuss, Malcolm McLaren, The Ferrets, Clifford T. Ward, Charlie Drake, Sir John Betjeman, Michael Nyman, Prince Far I, Delta 5, Peter O’Sullivan, Gary Shearston, String Driven Thing, Bert Jansch, La La (no, not the Telly Tubby!), Robert John Godfrey, Refugee, Patrick Moraz, Hawkwind, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, John Arlott, Pierre Cour, Trimmer and Jenkins, Jackson Heights, The Nice, Capability Brown, Joseph Eger, Gordon Turner, Peter Hammill, Bo Hansson, Spreadeagle, Atacama, Hot Thumbs O’Riley (really Wigwam's Jim Pembroke), Vivian Stanshall, Gregory Isaacs and more.
To add further value the book presents the first-known listings of cassette and 8-track cartridge releases, as well as looking at the little-known Charisma Books and Charisma Films offshoots. The book includes a detailed history that discusses both Strat and the organisational set-up at Charisma, supported by memories from those who worked for the company alongside those of artists that made the label such a delight of eclecticism in an industry where confirmation of taste through providing bland, watered-down product is the norm. Charisma bucked this trend and in its heyday provided an intelligent and varied mix of the sublime and the (mostly deliberately) ridiculous for anyone who was willing to listen.

The Saydisc & Village Thing Discography

The Saydisc & Village Thing Discography jacket image
The Saydisc & Village Thing Discography provides an in-depth look at the wonderfully-eclectic Saydisc label and at the UK’s original “alternative folk label”, Village Thing. Also included are Saydisc's Matchbox, Amon Ra and Ahura Mazda labels as well as the legendary Roots label, which was distributed by Saydisc in the UK. The book includes over 50 pages of illustrations, including sleeves for almost every record listed.
Saydisc started life in Bristol, and set about recording all aspects of Bristolian musical life, such as folk, jazz, church bells, organs and mechanical music from cylinders and music boxes. However, in 1968 the label began a policy of releasing contemporary British and classic American blues on the Matchbox imprint. This policy was extended with the pressing and distribution of Johnny Parth’s legendary Roots label.
If this wasn't enough to ensure future collectability for the label, 1970 saw the formation of the Village Thing label, which concentrated on the emergent post-blues, home-grown British folk scene. Village Thing is now considered the classic acid/psych folk label, with the majority of records on the label having risen sharply in value over the last few years.
In 1973, the Amon Ra label was formed to release chamber music on authentic instruments, long before this became fashionable. Added to this, Saydisc also produced contract pressings for others, often with woefully-short pressing runs. Many of the records released are now highly collectable. Saydisc also released records licensed from quality American labels such as Rounder, Ahura Mazda and Kanawha to present contemporary American roots music alongside its expanding catalogue of classic jazz and blues. Added to this were releases covering barbershop, world music, choirs, handbells, British dialect, brass bands, carillons, church bells and railway recordings. This has ensured that Saydisc is now considered an absolute one-off. A truly classic British record label.

Bristol Folk: A Discographical History Of Bristol Folk Music In The 1960s & 1970s

Bristol Folk jacket image
Bristol Folk
features painstakingly researched profiles of all the artists known to have recorded in and around Bristol’s vibrant folk scene in the 1960s and 1970s: from Ian Anderson’s country blues to the manic 1920s jug-based jazz of the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra; from Adge Cutler & the Wurzels’ novelty rural folk to the sophisticated bedsit images of Shelagh McDonald; from the rustic rock of Stackridge to the finely-crafted ‘psych blues’ of Al Jones; from the magical ballads of Bob Stewart to ethereal pop hits by Sally Oldfield; from the inspired, original guitar work of Dave Evans to the ‘acid folk’ of Keith Christmas – and much more.
Amongst those who contributed specially-written pieces are Ian Anderson, Andy Leggett, Rodney Matthews (yes, the world-famous fantasy artist started out designing LP sleeves and gig posters for Bristol’s folk set), Steve Tilston and the late and much lamented Fred Wedlock, all of whose diverse careers either started in Bristol or were shaped by their time on Bristol’s folk scene. The book also looks at the local labels that released many now highly-collectable folk records, as well as at Bristol’s numerous folk clubs – from the Troubadour, which put Bristol firmly on the national folk map between 1966 and 1971, and the Stonehouse, to the now less well-remembered, but equally-missed clubs, such as Bristol Ballads & Blues, White On Black, Folk Blues Bristol & West and many more.
Included are numerous pictures*, many published here for the first time, along with images of most of the record sleeves discussed within.
*Note that the Kindle and ePub/iBook editions do not include illustrations, though they do include a new section on Shortwaveband, who were missed out of the paperback based on the erroneous belief that they were based in Bath. Wrong! Bristol all along!

Other books that you may find oddly interesting!

If not quite 'music' two further books are available that look at an interesting aspect of the recording industry, that of record companies that released records of railway sounds. If not strictly music, at least this can still be called music to the ears for those who are fans of either the record industry or of railways! Go see details of the books!