Extended travel of late means I’ve just finished a couple more rock books of note on Sam Phillips and the Replacements!
Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, by Peter Guralnick
I had just a cursory knowledge of Sun Records and Sam Phillips. If you’re in the same boat, this is a good history lesson on the Memphis scene in the 50s. Guralnick was a friend of Sam’s and relied on him big time for his two Elvis books, so this story line takes most of what Sam says and thinks about the period at face value. Of course there are great stories about Jerry Lee, Cash, Ike Turner, and Elvis, but beyond that are the people, family members and mistresses that surrounded Phillips throughout that golden age and later. It also does a good job explaining how independent labels functioned and the shoe leather (and tire rubber) it took to break artists…and then how the majors would come in and sign the rising star for big money. There’s also vintage gear talk!