Following on from Giant Steps, comes the second instalment in Kenny Mathieson’s series of jazz histories. Cookin’ examines the birth and development of two of the key jazz styles of the post-war era, hard bop and its related offshoot, soul jazz. Hard bop was the most exciting jazz style of its day, and remains at the core of the modern jazz mainstream even now.

It drew on the twin poles of bebop and the blues for its foundation, spiced up with gospel, Latin and … More

When all else fails, when our compass is broken, there is one thing some of us have come to rely on: music really can give us a sense of something like home. With It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track, legendary music critic Ian Penman reaches for a vanished moment in musical history when cultures collided and a certain kind of cross-generational and `cross-colour’ awareness was born. His cast of characters includes the Mods, James Brown, Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Fahey, Steely Dan and Prince – black artists who were innovators, and white musicians who copied them for the mainstream.

In `prose that glides and shimmies and pivots on risky metaphors, low puns and highbrow reference points’ (Brian Dillon, Frieze), … More

Born OTD in 1953, guitarist, songwriter, arranger and producer, Kristy Wallace, AKA Poison Ivy. Based upon work and materials compiled for the acclaimed and now much sought after 2007 Cramps biography. A Short History of Rock’n’Roll Psychosis, ‘Journey To The Centre of The Cramps’ goes far beyond being a revised and updated edition: Completely overhauled, rewritten & vastly expanded, it now represents the definitive work on the group.

Features unseen first-hand interview material from Lux Interior and Poison Ivy. A wealth of new interview material with former band … More

Fashion and music has always gone hand in hand in the underground world of British youth scenery. Throughout the decades, young people sought to define themselves sartorially, reflecting their identity in terms of regionalism, class and crucially, musical taste, through their clothes. This book is a comprehensive survey of the looks and sounds of 36 underground `tribes’ that roamed the streets of the UK from 1960 to 1990.

From mod and rocker roots through the permutations of skinhead to punk and the indie sub-scenes beyond, each movement is … More

He was the Wicked Wilson Pickett, the legendary soul man whose forty-plus hits included “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You.” Remarkably handsome and with the charisma to match, Wilson Pickett was considered by many to be the greatest, the most visceral and sensual of the classic 1960s soul singers, and as a man who turned screaming into an art form, the most forceful of them all. He wasthe living embodiment of soul. More than that, Wilson Pickett’s journey reads like a guide to popular black American music in the late 20th century.

For this first-ever accounting of Wilson Pickett’s life, bestselling biographer Tony Fletcher interviewed members of the singer’s family, friends and … More

To this day, they were, their fans believe, the best band in the world. Critics and sales figures told a similar story. Yet for all their brilliance and adoration – their famously energetic live shows routinely interrupted by stage invasions – The Smiths were continually plagued by their reticence to play the game, and by the time of 1987’s Strangeways Here We Come, they had split.

Tony Fletcher’s A Light That Never Goes Out – part celebration, part paean – moves from Manchester in the nineteenth-century … More

Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonius Monk creating his own private language on the piano… In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skilfully evokes the embattled lives of the players who shaped modern jazz. He draws on photos and anecdotes, but music is the driving force of But Beautiful and Dyer brings it to life in luminescent and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician’s style.

Available in store and online.

Will Ashon tells, in 36 interlinked ‘chambers’, the story of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and how it changed the world. As unexpected and complex as the album itself, Chamber Music ranges from provocative essays to semi-comic skits, from deep scholarly analysis to satirical celebration, seeking to contextualise, reveal and honour this singularly composite work of art. From the FBI’s war on drugs to the porn theatres of 42nd street, from the history of jazz to the future of politics, Chamber Music is an explosive and revelatory new way of writing about music and culture.

New edition available in store and online.

It’s been said Janis Joplin was second only to Bob Dylan as the ‘creator-recorder-embodiment of her generation’s mythology’. But how did a middle-class girl from Texas become a ’60s countercultural icon? Janis’ parents doted on her and promoted her early talent for art. But the arrival of a brother shattered the bond she had with her intellectual maverick of a father, an oil engineer. And her own maverick instincts alienated her from her socially conformist mother. That break with her parents, along with the rejection of her high school peers, who disapproved of her beatnik look and racially progressive views, & wrongly assumed she was sexually promiscuous, cemented her sense of herself as an outcast. She found her tribe with a group of offbeat young men a year ahead of her, who loved her intellectual curiosity, her passion for conversation, & her adventurous search for the blues.

Although she never stopped craving the approval of her parents and hometown, she left Port Arthur at seventeen determined to … More

Reissue soon come. “This album which you are about to hear will give you more than an earful of the ingredients which are characteristic of a group of three youngsters popularly known by fans in the music world as ‘The Maytals’. When these three youngsters debuted on the scene two years ago, they brought along with them a new style, a new spiritual “Ska Beat”, which was eagerly welcomed by the listening public. When their recordings became “Giant Size Hits”, it was obvious that their phrasing and dynamic delivery had earned unreserved approval.”

“Beginning with the tune “I’ll Never Grow Old”, this record quickly established a bright jumping pattern of success followed by … More