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Leave The Capital: A History of Manchester Music in 13 Recordings Paperback – 13 Nov 2017
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Makes a convincing - and thoroughly entertaining - case for Manchester studios Pluto and Strawberry being the lightning rods for the city's celebrated music scenes. --Q Magazine
A broad reinvestigation of Manchester music history from the 60s to the 90s. Writen with passion, flair and an attention to factual detail worthy of the BBC's John Motson. --Record Collector
One of the best books on rock'n'roll I've ever read. --Mike Sweeney, BBC Radio Manchester
About the Author
Paul Hanley was the drummer in Manchester legends The Fall from 1980-85 and now plays with Brix & The Extricated. He's studying for an English degree with the Open University and occasionally writes for Louder Than War. He's married with three children and once got 21 on Ken Bruce's 'PopMaster'.
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I must admit to being pretty ignorant of the Manchester R & B scene that spawned Herman's Hermits and Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders (especially the influence of pre-10cc Graham Gouldman) and it's fascinatingly told. Paul Hanley has a good eye for the right detail and he writes engagingly (I devoured the book in a day) with some very very amusing footnotes.
All credit to those musicians who plowed their earnings into the creation of seminal Manchester recording studios Strawberry and Pluto - an act that Hanley rightly celebrates and was as important as the rise of Factory Records a few years later.
There's a change of direction in the book as Hanley discusses the important of Buzzcocks,Joy Division (very informative about the recording of Unknown Pleasures), Fall and Smiths and how the decision by The Clash to record Bankrobber in Manchester was in keeping with the spirit of the city.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Paul Hanley wears his erudition lightly and his writing is full of energy and humour.
Focusing on a web of interconnected artists and recordings, from The Mindbenders of the mid-60s to The Stone Roses of the late-80s, through the lens of two professional recording studios – Strawberry and Pluto – the author leads us on a revealing journey, taking joy in degrees of separation much smaller than might be imagined given the breadth of genres and span of time that the book covers.
Speaking with a genuine voice that is conversational and humorous the personality of the author shines from this book. I would recommend any reader to check YouTube for the authors talks on the book, especially the Library Lounge event at Manchester Central Library, which will add character and context to the reading experience.
Similarly, the “paulhanleyblog” on WordPress is an indispensable companion to the book providing easy reference to songs you may not know or have receded in your memory – I’d certainly forgotten how often “A Groovy Kind of Love” was played in my home.
Fearlessly voicing his opinion, you may find things to disagree with but the respect and humour with which these opinions are shared could only offend the extremely sensitive and/or obsessive.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough and yes, I have purposely chosen not to mention The Fall… Damn!
As a former member of The Fall, Paul Hanley has benefitted directly from the success of the Manchester artists of the 60s and 70s that found fame in the wake of The Beatles; The Mindbenders, Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, and 10cc. By ploughing their wealth back into recording studios in Manchester the bands that formed in the wake of punk didn't have to traipse to London to record at massive expense. This book is a love letter to the city's music scene, it is wittily written, but never wacky, well researched but never a laborious read. The footnotes are worth the cover price alone, and even the cover is fabulous.
My only gripe with this book is I wanted it to be longer! But that's just me, maybe he could be persuaded to write a memoir like his brother Steve's excellent 'The Big Midweek'?
Beginning way before the often referenced Sex Pistols gig promoted by Buzzcocks where most books on MCR start provides a wider view for the reader. The book is packed with interesting facts and anecdotes and the footnotes really add to the content. I didn't expect to find a reference to Tommy Ducks and Joe Strummer!
It's a great book laced with personal anecdotes and insight. Easy to read and not restricted to link and madchester. Well worth reading.
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