Friday, February 10, 2012

Do You Hear That Beat: Wisconson Pop/Rock in the 50’s & 60’s, On That Wisconsin Beat, Understanding and Using Chords, Understanding and Using Scales and Modes by Gary E. Myers

(MusicGem) Myers’ epic books differ from many regional discography books that too often limit themselves to garage rock, rockabilly, or R&B. Myers’ books look to see if anyone was born or lived in Wisconsin and then he’ll tell their story, regardless of genre, and be they well known stars like Al Jarreau, Dave Dudley, or Boz Scaggs or great unknowns like Speedy and the Alka Seltzers, Barney Gugel,  or blind whistler Fred Lowrey. The research here is phenomenal, and when there’s narrative or biography to be found it’s included in brisk, interesting form. Most of the time it’s just discography or band personnel, but I’m sure it was tireless effort just to track this stuff down. The first volume (Do You Hear That Beat) chronicles regional acts, tells the story of Cuca, the state’s most prolific label and recording studio of the era (which was originally named Swastika Records!) and features an in depth look at Milwaukee music history. The second volume features hundreds of additions and updates and corrections, adds listings for non-Cheesehead artists who recorded for Wisconsin labels, and has way better photo reproductions (Man are there some good photos in these books!) My measure for any of these is always to look up my favorite artist who I think I know about and see what I learn. Well, the dense, three page entry on Harvey Scales is spectacular, listing 27 records, most of which I’ve never seen, and no photo, which was amended with  a great shot in volume 2. So 100% endorsement! Myers also published two very clear and easy to use music theory instruction manuals, in hopes of fostering another 400 bands for volume 3!

No comments:

Post a Comment