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MP CranstonDrumCylinder 1500 crop 2

introduction to monaural press

(a blog about writing and self-publishing a book)

THIS SITE IS A LIMITED BLOG that tells a few sto­ries about the con­ceiving of a rice guide for some of the world’s rarest records and most pas­sion­ately col­lected records: blues and rhythm & blues 45s of the 1950s. It started back in the 1980s when I was with O’­Sul­livan Wood­side, pub­lishers of the “of­fi­cial” line or record col­lec­tors price guides. [Continue reading]

WallyWood PriceGuide art 1500 crop

a little personal background information

WHEN REQUIRED TO POST A PROFILE on the in­ternet, I usu­ally write, “Mys­tical lib­eral likes long walks alone at night in the dark in the city in the rain with an um­brella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig.” While this bit of irony works for some readers, others want a little more in terms of per­sonal back­ground information. [Continue reading]

PhillipsDewey WHBQ studio 1500

knocking the socks off the nattering naysayers

MY BLUES AND R&B BOOK was be­hind schedule and com­pleting it was get­ting dif­fi­cult. My plans in­cluded a full-color cover de­signed by a local artist that used la­bels from sev­eral highly col­lec­table records from the ’50s and re­ally cool ty­pog­raphy. There were over a hun­dred high-resolution black & white photos set for the in­te­rior of the book, in­cluding both rare records and fa­mous and not-so-famous recording artists. [Continue reading]

JohnsonTommy AlcoholAndJakeBlues 1500 1

alcohol and jake blues and collecting really rare records

THERE’S ALCOHOL & JAKE BLUES and there’s re­ally rare records and John Tefteller, who has been col­lecting those records for a long time. And he doesn’t col­lect reis­sues of great old music on great old LPs—he col­lects orig­inal, brittle-to-begin-but-even-brittler-with-age 78 rpm sin­gles. John has been tracking down 78s no matter where they may be, no matter how many other col­lec­tors as­sure him that copies of cer­tain records no longer exist. I’ve [Continue reading]

Tefteller MobileBay 1500 crop 1

damn the naysayers! full speed ahead!

I’M GETTING OLDER and a wee bit foggy be­tween the ears, so I don’t re­call when John Tefteller and I first met. I’d guess it was at the twice-yearly record con­ven­tion in Austin, Texas, prob­ably after we’d spoken on the phone. But I be­lieve that I met him years ear­lier at a swap meet in Cal­i­fornia. [Continue reading]

Jets PhotoAlbum Topps 1500crop

heaven above me—it’s the jets on gee!

A RECORD FEW KNEW ABOUT at the time was the Jets on Gee 1020, Heaven Above Me / Millie Brown. Re­leased in 1956, it was a rarity whis­pered about by the handful of col­lec­tors who knew it was one of the se­cret gems in the genre. In any field of col­lec­tables, there is a ‘top ten’ of collectors—the ones who have most every­thing and can and will spend what it takes to get those pre­cious few items that they do not have. [Continue reading]

Stereo5 45s 1500 1

the competition I faced with others’ books

WHAT ABOUT COMPETITION? Frankly, there wasn’t much there, and what had come be­fore wasn’t to be feared! The first price guide to take on the field of rhythm & blues—at least that I was aware of—was an­other O’­Sul­livan Wood­side guide by Jerry Os­borne and Bruce Hamilton. This was fol­lowed by Jeff Kre­it­er’s self-published guide for group collectors. [Continue reading]

Graceland exterior 1500

you’d be wasting your time and mine but I didn’t mind

MY RHYTHM & BLUES BOOK was first con­ceived in 1986, but a book that com­bined r&b and blues record didn’t occur to me until the early ’90s. My first and only choice for co-author was the leg­endary Val Shively: his store, R&B Records, had been a fix­ture in the Philadel­phia area for decades; cus­tomers came from all over the world to get lost in the back rooms filled with little records with big holes. [Continue reading]