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Hell is Full of Musical Amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

Author Topic: All Music Guide to the Blues  (Read 1290 times)

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Offline harry

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All Music Guide to the Blues
« on: May 02, 2011, 05:53:15 AM »
The 3rd edition came out in 2003. Is there a fourth edition coming up?

I already own the AMG and the Penguin guide and thinking about getting the MusicHound Blues: The Essential Album Guide. Anyone has this one, is it any good?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 08:38:10 AM »
I thought I read some years back that AMG would be abandoning revised editions of the printed guides in favour of concentrating on the online version.

Offline misterjones

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2011, 10:40:34 AM »
I owned a copy of the All Music Guide to the Blues back in the 1990s and found it only marginally enlightening.  Many CDs were not listed, and the author(s) prejudices were all too apparent.  Sam Charters? liner notes were always ?brilliant?, and the Yazoo liner notes were always egotistical and lousy.  Large comprehensive box sets always got five stars and were ?essential?, while comprehensive CDs sold individually were pooh-poohed as ?for completists only?.  Many reviews were just simply wrongheaded and caused me to purchase some terrible CDs.  I don?t recall the reviewers ever commenting on the sound quality.  If they did, they expressed a preference for noise reduction without assessing the loss of sonic quality.  I recall in the rock-and-roll version of the guide, they erroneously labeled virtually every Frank Zappa album as ?transitional? but gave virtually every one only four stars.  Some of the other guides were downright unhelpful.  The ?Rough Guide? series was the worst.  In the pre-internet days, I used to go to the bookstore with a particular artist in mind and look through a few to get a consensus.  Now, I actually find Amazon reviews very helpful (if there are enough of them), and the sound bites can be essential.  Sites like Weenie Campbell are (it goes without saying) indispensible.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 06:31:13 PM by misterjones »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2011, 11:32:39 AM »
I owned a copy of the All Music Guide to the Blues back in the 1990s and found it only marginally enlightening.  Many CDs were not listed, and the author(s) prejudices were all too apparent.  Sam Charters? liner notes were always ?brilliant?, and the Yazoo liner notes were always egotistical and lousy.  Large comprehensive box sets always got five stars and were ?essential?, while comprehensive CDs sold individually were pooh-poohed as ?for completists only?.  Many reviews were just simply wrongheaded and caused me to purchase some terrible CDs.  I don?t recall the reviewers every commenting on the sound quality.
I've got the third edition of 2003 and although larger the observations you make of the previous edition could well apply to this.

Offline oddenda

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2011, 07:32:45 PM »
The Penguin Guide, uber alles!

Peter B.

Offline harry

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2011, 10:59:18 PM »
Using Amazon-reviews and samples is probably the best way to go (and fastest). Doing that for years. I prefer the AMG over the Penguin guide. The AMG is more complete (including out of print records) and has the experts Bill Dahl and Cub Coda aboard. Although they tend to give 5-star reviews fairly easy. Found the Penguin to be a little acedemic almost snobbish. Maybe cause they dismissed my favorite electric blues album (J.B. Hutto - Masters of Modern Blues, Testament Records, 1966) as "the results are disappointing". Or on Mctell's masterpiece Atlanta Twelve String they comment "from about halfway through the Atlantic session Mctell's voice begins to crack".

Offline dj

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2011, 06:37:20 AM »
Quote
The AMG ... has the experts Bill Dahl and Cub Coda aboard.

And Penguin has Tony Russell, Chris Smith, Neil Slaven, etc.  It all comes down to which experts you perfer.

I much prefer the Penguin book, partly because I feel more in sync with the authors' interests and tastes, and partly because the reviews make it clear that the reviewers have actually listened to the disc being reviewed.  Too many of the AMG reviews (I have the 2003 edition) are kind of generic and leave you feeling that the reviewer took a quick look at the track list and that was that. 

I don't agree with all the reviews in the Penguin book, and have mentioned examples of my disagreement in other posts.  But then, if I'd written a book of reviews a few years back, I'd look at it now and find I didn't agree with some of my own reviews.  That's life.   

Offline misterjones

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2011, 10:47:32 AM »
Bill Dahl and Cub Coda.  That was another part of the problem.  They seemed frequently not to be on the same page with each other.  (I later concluded I was frequently not on the same page as Coda.)  I recall some glaring inconsistencies between the two, which seems to defeat the purpose of such a book, though I cannot recall off hand exactly what form those inconsistencies took (I threw my copy of the book away many years ago).  The best book, or internet site, would have three or four  knowledgeable people review each album . . . a Herculean task I doubt could get off the ground.

I was not aware Penguin had a blues guide.  I'll have to check it out.  I've used their classical music guide, which seemed fairly good.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 10:51:08 AM by misterjones »

Offline harry

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2011, 10:55:05 PM »
I hope you don't (as a prototype-Weenie who hates the Robert Johnson hype) ignore the book based of the cover.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: All Music Guide to the Blues
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2011, 08:39:09 AM »
I would imagine a typical weenie would go by the contents. Plus it's a great cover. The Penguin Guide, while now becoming somewhat out of date, contains an enormous amount of information and helpful advice. Lots to dispute as well. I haven't seen anything that comes close. There is past discussion of it on Weenie to be found using the search engine.