The Morning Star notices the last live recording of Billie Holliday

The Morning Star notices the last live recording of Billie Holliday

Peter Mason of The Morning Star has written review of the book. I think he likes it.

“… it’s both an elegant coffee table book and a proper history, with a sizeable amount of written information to complement the fascinating photographs of record covers, artists and other ephemera, including gig adverts, concert tickets and flyers.

There are also interviews with many of the musicians themselves, plus a host of producers, studio engineers and record company personnel. One way or another the book covers every LP released by the company up to 1968, with a bit of back story for each of them.

It’s intriguing to see the evolution of the label from its early focus on Jamaican R’n’B and Caribbean calypso through to the emergence of ska and rock-steady — which it helped to popularise in Britain — and then on to British folk and rock with the likes of Jethro Tull, Spooky Tooth and Sandy Denny.

There are, too, some interesting surprises — such as the fact that Island made a speciality around the mid-60s of putting out bawdy and sexually suggestive songs and albums, including an instrumental LP called Music to Strip By and two volumes of Rugby Songs by The Jock Strapp Ensemble.

It also released, in 1966, the last live recording of Billie Holiday, having got hold of a series of tapes of Lady Day singing at the Storyville nightclub in the early ’50s.

Read more from PETER MASON here