HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 November 2012
The 5th Edition of this massive American publication came out in 2000 and at 1226 pages (A4 size) was an impressive beast. Version 6 turned up in 2008 and had expanded to 1392 pages and even contained a DVD attached to the back cover (both issues covered 1950 to 1975). I then Amazon-reviewed the 7th EDITION because its parameters had expanded from 1948 to 1991 for the first time - and covering many more 'genres' than the preceding issues in its huge 1344 pages (published 2010). Well here is the 8th Edition from September 2012 - and again the detail is gargantuan - and worth explaining...
Published in the USA by Krause Publications and costing $38.00 (three more than the last issue) - it carries 150,000 entries across a whopping 1344 pages (1219 of actual valuations & discographies). The first 24 pages feature Contents, How-To-Guides, Grading and Pricing Charts, articles on the escalating value of 'sealed' vinyl, interest in the mixes of Quadraphonic LPs, US 7" picture sleeves for Teen Artists, the effect of eBay on collecting, how to downsize a vinyl collection to digital - and more. The last 20 pages carry full-page colour adverts for stores, dealers and suppliers as well as a very handy STORE DIRECTORY for each US State (addresses, phone numbers, e-mails etc). This oversized paperback is huge and heavy - so check those P&P rates...
The layout is the same as before - each artist gets their vinyl 45's first (12"s on newer artists), then EPs and last their LP albums (all in label 'numerical' order). A fantastically helpful thing is that the 78" and 7" entries have the A & B-sides listed - while the LPs feature both Mono and Stereo issues (including partial and re-channelled Stereo as separate entries where applicable). Some important PROMO issues on LP and 12" singles are featured also - especially on modern day artists like Madonna where different mixes attract the attention of collectors. The album entries don't list tracks (it would be ten times the size if it did) - but they do include a year of release and a Near Mint value in dollars.
A point worth noting - the LP catalogue numbers in this reference source are not like the US Billboard Chart Books that concentrate only on the central set of numbers as a catalogue number. Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" is not merely 'Columbia 33795' as per Billboard - here it gets the full monty - it's PC 33795 for the 1975 original, JC 33795 for the 1977 reissue and HC 33795 for the 1981 Half-Speed Mastered version. This of course helps enormously when you're trying to work out what issue is what. But the range of this book doesn't just stop there...
Take RAY CHARLES for instance - starting on Page 244 with his ABC Label 45's - his Solo Discography ends on Page 247 with his "Would You Believe?" album from 1990 on Warner Brothers (A to W). But following that are entries for his 'collaborations' with Harry Belafonte, Betty Carter, Joe Hunter, Jimmy Rushing, Milt Jackson, Cleo Laine and finally The Ray Charles Singers (ending Page 248). This edition also has Selected 78's on Page 245.
Another point about which 'issue' is an original and which is a reissue: on artists like say Lou Donaldson, The Grateful Dead or Kurt Cobain's Nirvana - their catalogues are small enough to be manageable reading. But when you get to the big boys like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, James Brown, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Bob Dylan and The Who - they have sections that are massive and a bit unwieldy - so you need to look thoroughly for the issue you want. On some artists there are even Audiophile pressings listed on well respected labels - Audio Fidelity, DCC Compact Classics, Mobile Fidelity, Nautilus etc
CONTENT - while you would expect The Beach Boys, The Doors, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Prince, Queen, R.E.M., Simon & Garfunkel, U2 and Neil Young to all be in here - it's the artists in between the cracks that impress. How about Ryan Adams, Mike Bloomfield, Caravan, Lorraine Ellison, The Fireballs, Rory Gallagher, Richie Havens, Leo Kottke, Barbara Lewis, Laura Nyro, The Pixies, The Replacements, Ravi Shankar, Ten Years After, The Undisputed Truth, Suzanne Vega, Tom Waits, Tony Joe White, XTC, The Yardbirds and Warren Zevon.
In fact the sheer range of artists and genres covered is incredible - here's some more:
BLUES, DOO WOP, R'n'B and R'n'R - Chuck Berry, Ruth Brown, Johnny Burnette, The Clovers, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Duane Eddy, The Everly Brothers, The Flamingos, Slim Harpo, Al Hibbler, Lightnin' Hopkins, Buddy Holly, Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Smiley Lewis, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Big Joe Turner, Gene Vincent and Jackie Wilson.
COUNTRY - The Ames Brothers, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, John Denver, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves, Hank Snow and Hank Williams
EASY LISTENING and EXOTICA - Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Percy Faith, Connie Francis, Judy Garland, Burl Ives, Stan Kenton, Peggy Lee, Julie London, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Mills Brothers, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Frank Sinatra, Yma Sumac, Sarah Vaughan, Dionne Warwick, Lawrence Welk and Kitty Wells
JAZZ - Gene Ammons, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Donald Byrd, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Nina Simone, Sonny Stitt, Stanley Turrentine, Phil Upchurch and Weather Report
POP, ROCK, PROG, METAL - The Animals, Badfinger, Black Sabbath, Budgie, Joe Cocker, Elvis Costello, Creedence, Deep Purple, Donovan, Echo & The Bunnymen, ELP, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis (and all Solo), Hall & Oates, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Van Morrison (and Them), Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Talking Heads, Traffic (and all Solo), Velvet Underground (and all Solo), Yes, Frank Zappa and The Zombies
SOUL, FUNK, MODERN R'n'B, HIP-HOP - The Beastie Boys, Bobby Bland, Jerry Butler, Terry Callier, Mariah Carey, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Willie Hutch, The Isley Brothers, Chuck Jackson, Big Daddy Kane, Kool & The Gang, Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Rufus, The Temptations, 2 Live Crew and Stevie Wonder
PUNK and NEW WAVE - Black Flag, The Clash, The Damned, Dead Kennedys, Devo, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Jam, The Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, The Stooges, Television, The Undertones
INDIE - Beck, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Fall, Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, New Order and The Smiths
WHAT'S MISSING - WHAT'S NEW and UPDATED:
The date parameters are 1950 to 1990 (as opposed to 1948 to 1991 on Edition 7) and more crucially 43 pages on Soundtracks, Stage Shows, Television and Various Artists compilations at the end of that book have been dropped for this 2012 issue. That's a bit of a let down frankly - but having said that - there's undoubtedly a good reason for their exclusion - a fully comprehensive and separate guide for those genres due soon? To counter that there are new entries and revised values of course...
I recently did an Atlantic Records discography that I posted on BLOGGER for their first 45's between 1951 and 1953 (78 entries in total) - I checked the values on this new 2012 issue and the last 2010 version and only 10 to 15% of them had changed at all. But in Goldmine's defence you will find that (obscure stuff aside) ALL of the major artists are revised and usually added to. There's also that irritating thing with bands like The Smiths and artists like Jeff Buckley where the discography ends in 1990 when they're outputs continued after that... But on the upside I've noticed new discographies from all timeframes - Al Hibbler (50's), Icehouse and The Blue Nile (80's) [lyrics from "Headlights On The Parade" off "Hats" title this review]...and more.
Apart from those tiny whines - this is an incredible piece of work that has undoubtedly taken decades to collate. Previous Compiler MARTIN POPOFF and new Author DAVE THOMPSON are to be congratulated.
To sum up - this extraordinary reference source which is entirely 'American' based (as its title clearly states) has way more positives than negatives going for it - and if you've any passing interest in the history of music - then this peach will serve you well for years to come. Like it's predecessor - it's a genuine wow.
Recommended - and then some...