Original Rockers

ISBN
9780571311798
Published
02/04/2015
9780571311798
Format
Hardback
Price
£18.99
Paperback
256

About the Book

Twenty years ago every town had one. From Bangor to Bradford, Bognor Regis to Bournemouth, independent record shops could be found on every High Street and many back streets, across the length and breadth of the land. But as the principal format for music switched from vinyl to CD, these places - synonymous with the thrill of discovery experienced by every serious fan and collector - started to disappear. Vinyl has recovered but its natural environment - the record store - is a rare and precious beast.

Richard King's book about several years spent working in Bristol's Revolver, is a clear-eyed yet romantic account of life behind the counter in a business run from the heart not the head with a tendency towards dysfunction. In ten chapters of elegiac prose, King brings this lost environment back to life: the smells, the people, and of course the sounds. We see the landscape of a young person's taste come into view with magnificent passages on CAN, Captain Beefheart, Augustus Pablo, Rod Stewart, Sun Ra Arkestra and the free jazz of Cornelius Cardew. And we see the development of Bristol as one of the key musical cities, from its roots sound systems, through the parties run by the Wild Bunch collective, to the emergence of Massive Attack.

Original Rockers evokes a golden moment about to turn to dust in the history of British record stores and celebrates the abandon with which we hear music, and it does so magically, without recourse to nostalgia.

Twenty years ago every town had one. From Bangor to Bradford, Bognor Regis to Bournemouth, independent record shops could be found on every High Street and many back streets, across the length and breadth of the land. But as the principal format for music switched from vinyl to CD, these places - synonymous with the thrill of discovery experienced by every serious fan and collector - started to disappear. Vinyl has recovered but its natural environment - the record store - is a rare and precious beast. Richard King's book about several years spent working in Bristol's Revolver, is a clear-eyed yet romantic account of life behind the counter in a business run from the heart not the head with a tendency towards dysfunction. In ten chapters of elegiac prose, King brings this lost environment back to life: the smells, the people, and of course the sounds. We see the landscape of a young person's taste come into view with magnificent passages on CAN, Captain Beefheart, Augustus Pablo, Rod Stewart, Sun Ra Arkestra and the free jazz of Cornelius Cardew. And we see the development of Bristol as one of the key musical cities, from its roots sound systems, through the parties run by the Wild Bunch collective, to the emergence of Massive Attack. Original Rockers evokes a golden moment about to turn to dust in the history of British record stores and celebrates the abandon with which we hear music, and it does so magically, without recourse to nostalgia.
  • Richard King

    Richard King is the author of the acclaimed How Soon Is Now? (2012),which was named Sunday Times Music Book of the Year. His writing has appeared in the Observer, Vice, Guardian, Caught by the River and many other publications. He was co-editor of Loops, an occasional journal of music writing published jointly by Faber & Faber and Domino Records. He has spent over twenty years at the heart of the independent music industry as an A&R and curator. Original Rockers is his second book. He lives in mid-Wales.

“Original Rockers is an eloquent panegyric...In its intoxicating sense of place, and King's tying together of disparate pop-cultural strands, it sometimes seems to be a modest cousin of Greil Marcus's Invisible Republic or Lipstick Traces, or an example of the idiosyncratic kind of cultural-historical writing lately done by Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys in his travelogue American Interior.”
- John Harris, The Guardian
“Original Rockers is a remarkable memory fugue, a work of rapture and reverie, a bittersweet and often moving tribute to a hallowed place.”
- Suhkdev Sandhu, The Observer

Books by this Author

Original Rockers

Original Rockers

Richard King

How Soon is Now?

How Soon is Now?

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Loops

Loops

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How Soon is Now?

How Soon is Now?

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