Behind The Record: Music related book recommendations.

Autumn has arrived in Europe. The temperatures have dropped and for some weeks it has been incredibly rainy and stromy – that means it’s time to snuggle up on the couch with a cup of coffee or tea and to enjoy some records while reading a good book.

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Besides SciFi, Fantasy and classic novels I also love to read anything related to music: be it a book about a special genre, label or artist.

Today I present you some of my current favorite music related reads, plus the music I like to listen to while reading them.
In case you are on the other side of the globe: the books and records are recommended no matter the season 😉

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Lindo Sonho Delirante: 100 Psychedelic Records From Brazil (1968-1975) (2016, Bento Araujo, poeiraPress)

Lindo Sonho Delirante reviews 100 trippy Psychedelic gems produced in Brazil from 1968 until 1975. In a chronological order, everything from the famous Tropicalia ou Panis et Circensis, Os Mutantes, Jorge Ben, Tom Zé, Clube da Esquina to lesser known artists like Manduka, Som, Carlos Walker, Casa das Máquinas as well as the precious Paêbirú album get a spotlight. Every album is featured on one page with information about the artist, the circumstances of making the album as well as how the record sounds in columns written both in English and Portuguese. The author Bento Araujo is an avid record collector himself and the editor of poeiraZine, the leading magazin on collectable Brazilian music – he certainly knows this genre by heart and delivers an essential compendium for every record collector interested in Brazilian Psychedelia and the history behind it.

Music to listen to while reading: Gal Costa – Gal, Manduka – Manduka, Arthur Verocai – Arthur Verocai, Marconi Notaro – No Sub Reino Dos Metazoários & Lula Côrtes and Zé Ramalho – Paêbirú
Get it here.

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Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (2007, Brian Coleman, Villard Books Trade)

Liner Notes in the Hip Hop genre are almost always reduced to the list of producers who have participated as well as some shoutouts. This book delivers extensive liner notes to 36 iconic rap albums, delivered by the artists themselves: from Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head to Cypress Hill, Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full, to Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde and ATCQ’s Low End Theory, you get extensive information about the artist,
the procedure of making the album as well as the artists thoughts and background stories on each track of the album.
Recommended for everyone who loves the Golden Era of rap.

Further read: Check the Technique Vol. II
Music to listen to while reading: Black Moon – Enta Da Stage, EPMD – Strictly Business & Smiff-N-Wessun – Da Shinin’

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Black Fire! New Spirits!: Images of a Revolution Radical Jazz in the USA 1960-75 (2014, Soul Jazz Books)

This beautiful coffee table book features revolutionary jazz artists in the tumultous times of the 60’s and 70’s, where the music and lives of African-American artists where heavily influenced by the civil rights movement, Black Power, the spiritual awakening and the avant garde scene. It sheds a light on the general situation and history of the period as well as the influcences this had on the spiritual and radical Jazz scene. Artists like Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler, The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Lloyd McNeil and Tyrone Washington are featured with a short text of information and beautiful large scale photography.

Music to listen to while reading: The Black Fire! New Spirits! compilation issued on Soul Jazz 🙂

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Sugar Man: The Life, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez (2016, Craig Bartholomew Strydom & Stephen Segerman)

I’m pretty sure everybody knows the incredible story of the singer songwriter Sixto Rodriguez – if you don’t, I can highly recommend the Oscar-winning heartwarming documentary Searching For Sugar Man.
The book, written by Craig Bartholomew Strydom & Stephen Segerman (who were responsible in finding Rodriguez), tries to put together the puzzle pieces of Rodriguez’ mysterious life and tells the fantastic journey of re-discovering him.

Music to listen to while reading: OST – Searching For Sugar Man

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Different Every Time (2015, Marcus O’Dair, Serpents Tail)

Robert Wyatt is one of the most inspiring artists I can think of: he started his career as the drummer (and singer) of The Soft Machine, rised to be an influential figure of the British Canterbury scene, partied hard, until he fell out of a window at the age of 28 – an accident which left him semi-paralysed for the rest of his life. After the incident he released one of the most compelling albums of all time: Rock Bottom. With an incredible discography and being an political activist, Robert Wyatt has influenced a lot of musicians and people all over the globe up until today.
This authorized and affectionately written biography traces his career and thoughts, giving us a glimpse into his personal life.

Music to listen to while reading: Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom

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Message to Our Folks: The Art Ensemble of Chicago (2017, Paul Steinbeck, The University Of Chicago Press)

The Art Ensemble Of Chicago was the most prominent group arising from the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), a Free Jazz/Improvisational/Avantgarde group whose live performances had no equal: the artists wore face paint, implemented theatrical and poetry performances and used tons of different instruments on the stage, shaping an unique, creative and distinctive sound.
Message To Our Folks studies the origins and journey of the group as well as some of their most influential albums, giving a great insight into the work and life ot the Art Ensemble.

Further read: A Power Stronger Than Itself – The AACM and American Experimental Music
Music to listen to while reading: A.A.C.M., Great Black Music – A Jackson In Your House, Reese And The Smooth Ones, Roscoe Mitchell Sextet – Sound, Joseph Jarman – Song For…, As If It Were The Seasons, Together Alone

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The Acid Trip: A Complete Guide to Psychedelic Music (1984, Vernon Joynson)
A Complete Guide To Psychedelic Music? Bold words, and almost impossible to achieve. While – in my oppinion – this book is missing some of the most influential artists of the 60’s and 70’s, it’s still an interestig read, featuring around 200 bands and their albums in a compendium like style.
I’ll keep my eyes peeled and hope to find a copy of The Acid Archives one day.

Music to listen to while reading: Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow, Love – Da Capo, The United States Of America, Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incence and Peppermints

Have you read any of the mentioned books? What are your favorite music related books? Let me know in the comments!

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