Friday, February 3, 2017

Goldmine -- and it may cost you one

OK, I'm feeling guilty because after posting 17 times in January I have yet to post anything for February.
So when I'm not looking for outrageous news stories on the Internet these days, I've been slowly absorbing the info collected in Vernon Joynson's massive THE TAPESTRY OF DELIGHTS (2006), a thousand-page compendium of data about English R&B, psychedelic and progressive-rock acts from 1963 to 1976.
It's freakin' HUGE. A rather awkwardly large-sized paperback crammed full of bio info, album- and single-release data, short histories of the recording artists, CD re-issue info, where you can find their songs on various-artists collections, chart info if they made any known chart, a "rarities" scale to help collectors judge how much they should pay for an album, etc. etc. etc.
There are errors, mostly very minor. And in light of the gargantuan amount of info gathered here, much of it on acts I guarantee you've never heard of, I can easily overlook the mistakes.
WARNING: It's expensive. If you can find a copy for $40, you'll be doing OK. And there are some truly outrageous prices for it out there.
How much you'll get out of it depends on how much you're addicted to English rock weirdness. For instance, the book helped me decide if I should buy the fairly-rare first album by Gracious! Joynson's description informed me it'd probably be right up my alley -- but also helped me conclude that even with the curiosity factor I probably wouldn't enjoy it $18 worth. The book also told me who REALLY played the acid-blues guitar on Peter Bardens' THE ANSWER.
All the usual English rock stars are in here -- Beatles, Zep, Stones, Who, Floyd, etc. -- but some of the longer entries are on underground groups that are high on the coolness scale but mostly unknown to the general public.
In his write-ups, Joynson often suggests outstanding tracks to listen to -- and definitely lets you know Stuff To Avoid. He also points out "rare" items that are wildly overpriced compared to their musical worth. So call it a collector's buyer-guide.
Joynson's written other massive informational tomes -- a couple on American rock of the same period, entitled ACID FUZZ and THE FLASHBACK, and one on the Punk Rock Years, called UP YOURS! Plus a few others.... The prices on these go from astronomical on up -- way up.
Providence is listed in TAPESTRY OF DELIGHTS, and they were Americans. So there are a few loopholes. And I wish the book covered a few more years into the late-'70s, though Joynson's position is that's a whole different musical era. And you have to cut this stuff off someplace....
But overall, hours of browsing pleasure. I've had this in the house since just after Christmas, and I'm still finding new stuff....

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