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Blues is a natural fact, is something that a fellow lives. If you don't live it you don't have it. Young people have forgotten to cry the blues. Now they talk and get lawyers and things - Big Bill Broonzy

Author Topic: Blues Discography 1943-1970  (Read 13378 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Blues Discography 1943-1970
« on: October 01, 2006, 10:40:38 AM »
A new edition of Blues Discography 1943-1970 is apparently now available:

A legend reborn             

"The Blues Discography 1943-1970 The definitive chronicle of Blues recordings inspired by the trailblazing Blues Records by the late discographer Mike Leadbitter and his partner Neil Slaven which first appeared in 1968 and then in an expanded two-part form, the first volume in 1987 (A to K) and eventually, with the help of Les Fancourt, the second part (L to M) saw the light of day in 1994. Now Les Fancourt in collaboration with Bob McGrath and a flock of collectors and researchers world-wide, has shepherded this new much revised and expanded interpretation into what must now surely be almost complete coverage of the genre's most influential and exciting period. Recording details of all applicable styles from unaccompanied field recordings to the slick big city styles are featured. Over 2320 individual artist discographies including 340 new artists added since Blues Records was last published. The work's format is set in the standard discographical layout, alphabetical by artist, chronologically by session, listing personnel details, unissued titles and original releases, mainly 45 and 78 but where appropriate, selective EP, LP and CD entries?when they are themselves are the original issue. A full cross-referenced accompanying musician's index is also included. The Blues Discography catalogs the Blues' transition from a totally African-American and often localized target group to its eventual international acclaim. 640 pages, 640 pages large format (8.5" X 11")."

$91. Too bad about the price. I'm sure they have their reasons but I don't know if that price can be justified regardless. $16.00 shipping on a 640 page book is also outlandish.

You can download sample pages at:
http://www.eyeballproductions.com/pages/blues%20discography.html

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2006, 11:01:04 AM »
$91. Too bad about the price. I'm sure they have their reasons but I don't know if that price can be justified regardless. $16.00 shipping on a 640 page book is also outlandish.
Hey let's put some perspective to this. 1n 1987 volume one (800) pages was 50GBP and in 1995 Vol.2 (808 pages) 75GBP, making a grand total of 115GBP. Admittedly they were hardbacks but even so 11 years later for a revised edition to come out in just one volume for about the same UK price as vol.2 of eleven years ago I think is a bargain. But I'm weird like that...
« Last Edit: October 01, 2006, 11:02:43 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2006, 03:31:00 PM »
Well, point taken on perspective, BH. :) It's a steal compared to the previous volumes.  :D

I still don't really understand the pricing though. Sure academic presses charge quite a bit for their books (although this isn't an academic press). But I think once you go over $75 your client base becomes almost exclusively libraries. What are the costs here that make it so high? Printing is certainly expensive, but there are lots of 640 page paperbacks out there for a lot less than 91 bucks - and this is on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, which seems unusual. There is no doubt an unimaginable amount of labour that goes into a book like this, for which those involved deserve high praise, but there is labour in any large detailed book. And I think charging $16 for shipping and an extra $4 for credit card processing is really pushing it. If you're in business, that's the cost of doing business.


Offline Richard

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2006, 08:13:27 AM »
And, as I recall "Rust"  the jazz collectors version of Goodrich Dixon used to be about ?200 if you could get.. i snatched a US site hand's off at about $150  a few years back.

So I fear that is the price, I might get tempted as I have always wanted set a set of this one as well  :-X 

Average computer books are ?30 so this is OK value as I see it... In fact I have just ordered the discography..... :)
« Last Edit: October 02, 2006, 08:35:53 AM by Richard »
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2006, 08:40:20 AM »
OK, more points taken.  :D  I am obviously just cheap.  :P

I wonder when such projects will go to electronic format, either on CD-ROM or web-based, which frankly makes more sense these days, allows for corrections and updates etc. And is obviously becoming more standard for libraries and what not.


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2006, 10:29:49 AM »
I still don't really understand the pricing though. Sure academic presses charge quite a bit for their books (although this isn't an academic press). But I think once you go over $75 your client base becomes almost exclusively libraries. What are the costs here that make it so high? Printing is certainly expensive, but there are lots of 640 page paperbacks out there for a lot less than 91 bucks - and this is on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, which seems unusual. There is no doubt an unimaginable amount of labour that goes into a book like this, for which those involved deserve high praise, but there is labour in any large detailed book. And I think charging $16 for shipping and an extra $4 for credit card processing is really pushing it. If you're in business, that's the cost of doing business.
From looking at the sample pages on the website, the rather weird size I think is due to having got two pages of the earlier format onto one of the new with the use of two columns a page, thereby achieving a single volume. Blues discographical books have a very finite/specialised market of usually about 750-1000, and then only after several years on sale. It's a fact the previous edition took around 2-3 years to sell 500 of each volume. Neither got near selling 750 except the overprinted Vol.1 which was dramatically reduced and folk purchased copies to replace their well-thumbed and falling apart ones. In the case of B&GR4 I was reliably informed that it took OUP 6-7 years to sell its initial 1000 print run. Ho, hum.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2006, 10:41:04 AM »
I wonder when such projects will go to electronic format, either on CD-ROM or web-based, which frankly makes more sense these days, allows for corrections and updates etc. And is obviously becoming more standard for libraries and what not.
Couldn't agree more. The excuse used to be to that it would be too easy to "pirate" the work. However, some years back somebody in Japan actually OCR scanned the entire two volumes of the post war discography (1600 pages) and had for themselves an "electronic" copy and all the related advantages of such. So that blows the argument that books are "pirate proof" out of the water. :)


Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2006, 10:58:08 AM »
Yes, I can see why fear of pirating might make some hesitate, but libraries certainly aren't into that, collectors and blues scholars would presumably want authentic copies with access to updates, corrections etc, and any piracy I suspect would be a fringe thing. As you say, this is a specialists' publication, and specialists would I suspect take the legit road most of the time. One doesn't even need to use the example of OCRing. You could photocopy the thing for cheap (and have it bound even) if you were set on stealing. I don't think their market would be inclined to such things though, and would recognize the need to pay for the work so the work continues. In fact, with registration keys now activated through websites and what not, it's probably easier for most non-techy people to copy a book than software.


Offline dj

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2006, 11:06:48 AM »
It's hard to see the value of pirating a book that's expected to sell 200 copies a year at most.

I'd love to have Blues & Gospel Records on CD with a simple set of database tools, to be able to do things like search to see who was recording in a given city on a given date.  On the other hand, I love to have a physical book.  I'm sure most Weenies will agree with me that there's nothing better than sitting on the back porch on a summer afternoon with a cold beer a pre-war blues discography.     :D

Offline Richard

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2006, 06:05:00 AM »
S-J it's only money and you can't take it with you, even a pair of (hated) name trainers are at leats ?50 here now (so my kids tell me!) so, go live dangerously!

A real book, dj you have it.. after 20 mins I hate reading things on computer that last more than a page !
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2006, 08:19:55 AM »
A book, with a CD-ROM in the back. Now you're talkin'...

Offline Stuart

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2006, 08:44:08 AM »
it's only money and you can't take it with you

That's why you never see an armored car in a funeral procession.

(An old one--anyone remember the locus classicus for it?)

Offline Richard

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2006, 01:28:19 PM »
locust what?...uummmm   no, remind us all. Please ;)
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Stuart

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2006, 04:33:13 PM »
"locus classicus" just refers to the earliest known source, or the standard source, or a/the classic example of the use of word, phrase, etc.

Anyway, there's a line/exchange/banter from one of the early hokum songs that goes something like:

"Hey, do you know why you never see an armored car in a funeral procession?"

"No, why is that?"

"'Cause you can't take it with you!"

followed by laughter and more music. I can't for the life of me remember who did it, that's why I asked. Anybody know?


Offline Stuart

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Re: Blues Discography 1943-1970
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2006, 07:29:00 AM »
It might be worth waiting until the book makes its way into the distribution and retail pipeline. I doubt that we'll see any significant discounts on this one, but Amazon's free shipping and no charge for credit card orders will knock $20 off the total price.

There are more than a few factors that go into setting the price of a book, but without a subvention or the potential of a large number of buyers the publisher has to calculate a worse case/break even price.  Nobody is in business to lose money.

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