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✨✧ Manabu YuasaSun Ra Disc Guide ... Book
Ele-King (Japan), 2016. New Copy ... $30.99
A Japanese book on the music of Sun Ra – one that takes the form of a long essay in Japanese text, but which also features images of many recordings too! The book's less of a discography than other "disc guide" books from Japan – and is critical writing on Ra's recordings with the Arkestra, in Japanese, with sections on Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia periods of the group – accompanied by dozens of black and white reproductions of record covers. The text takes up most of the boo, but the whole thing's a lovely relic if you dig Sun Ra as much as we do – and the back includes a discography of Arkestra recordings, mostly in English. Book
Partial matches: 52
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Thomas Andrae & Mel GordonSiegel & Shuster's Funnyman – The First Jewish Superhero From The Creators Of Superman ... Book
Feral House, 2010. New Copy ... $4.99 24.95
Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster are best known as the two guys who created Superman – but after losing an active role in the production of their hero, the pair moved onto much less-remembered work – including the offbeat Funnyman character they wrote in the late 40s! Funnyman never had the pull of Superman – but the character was quite striking, and brilliantly written by the pair – who always had an eye for comedic themes in Superman, and really let them fly here. The book looks at Funnyman from a Jewish-American perspective – no surprise, given that the character comes across like some Borsht Belt superhero – and the first half of the volume features writings on Sigel & Schuster and 20th Century Jewish culture – while the second half provides an overview of Funnyman stories from both comics and newspapers, with a fair bit of reprinted material. 183 pages, softcover, with lots of color images. Book

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Bob Bach & Ginger MercerJohnny Mercer – The Life, Times & Song Lyrics Of Our Huckleberry Friend ... Book
Cherokee, 2009. New Copy ... $8.99 25.00
A pretty great book about the wonderful songwriter Johnny Mercer – key force behind the birth of Capitol Records, and a whole host of songs and careers in the 20th Century! The book's about the size of a songbook, and does include lyrics to a number of classic Mercer tunes – but it's also filled with loads of vintage photos, images from films, sheet music, and even some very cool documents pulled from Mercer's private papers – all used to tell the tale of this powerful force in popular music. Book is oversize, softcover, 305 pages, and filled with black and white images. Book

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Stuart Baker & Steve BarrowReggae 45 Soundsystem – The Label Art Of Reggae Singles (paperback) ... Book
Soul Jazz (UK), 2012. New Copy Book ... $19.99 49.99
The most massive book of record art we've ever stocked – and a groundbreaking look at the art of reggae 45s, put together by the folks at Soul Jazz Records! Albums are usually featured in a book like this, but the authors do a great job of illustrating the diversity of 45 labels on the Jamaican scene – the wealth of designs and colors that make collecting reggae 45s a past time that's almost as pleasing from a visual perspective as it is from an audio one! Plus, given the obscurity of most of these records, the book's even more valuable – a much-needed record of these small pressings that never got much distribution – laid out here in beautiful full color images. The book is super-heavy, with a cool cover that's between a hardcover and soft cover – and almost 500 pages of images throughout! Book

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Pat Benatar with Patsi Bale CoxBetween A Heart & A Rock Place – A Memoir ... Book
It Books, 2011. New Copy ... $5.99 14.99
Pat Benatar has had surprisingly long legs over the years – a musical impact we never would have guessed during her early years and MTV fame – one that's summed up pretty well by the lady herself in this book of memoirs! Pat works with writer Patsi Bale Cox, and recounts her journey in music from the early days onwards – with plenty of insights to those key years when Benatar was taking America by storm, and lots more on the later years when some of us might have lost track of her career. Turns out, she's a heck of a family person, with the same romantic partner for over 30 years – who figures strongly in Benatar's surprisingly personal story. Book is softcover, 245 pages, with a number of great images. Book

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John Bertram & Yuri Leving (editors)Lolita – The Story Of A Cover Girl – Vladimir Nabokov's Novel In Art & Design ... Book
Print, 2013. New Copy ... $6.99 30.00
A very lively look at Vladimir Nabokov's famous book Lolita – one that's served up here in a host of full color images that include dozens of historical covers used for the book, images from ad campaigns inspired by the book, and many images from contemporary artists, proposing their own covers for the story! This last section is perhaps the biggest portion of the book – about half its content, and framed by some very good critical essays – but the historical material gets a fair bit of space, too – and also includes vintage covers for Lolita from around the world, and paperback covers from other Naobokov novels as well. Given the quality of the critical writing, the volume feels more like an art monograph than just a paperback history – and the glossy book is 251 pages, and full color. Book

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Andrew Birkin & Alison CastleJane & Serge – A Family Album (hardcover) ... Book
Taschen, 2015. New Copy ... $46.99 59.99
A surprisingly candid look at one of the most important musical couples of the 20th Century – Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – a duo who made some incredible sounds together in the French scene of the 60s and 70s – and who were equally important to larger French culture as well! The pair have become the stuff of legend over the years – a romance that began when Serge was 40, and Jane not yet 20 – open, frank, and very sexual, both in their words and music – with a legacy that spanned records, film, and television – and also gave the world the actress Charlotte Gainsbourg as well. This volume's way more than a book – as it collects together shots of the couple and the family taken by Jane's brother Andrew Birkin – and presents the whole thing as if you're looking at a family album in the Birkin/Gainsbourg household! But there's also a smaller booklet of text, as well as a contact sheet of photos, 5 chromogenic photographic prints, a poster, stickers, and even an embroidered patch – all making for a beautifully lavish set of images and goodies! The core book features 176 pages of photos – but there's lots lots more within. Book

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Jon BurlingameMusic Of James Bond (hardcover) ... Book
Oxford University Press, 2012. New Copy ... $6.99 35.00
Over the years, the music of the James Bond movies has become almost as notable as its stories and stars – not just the famous themes from John Barry, but also the participation of singers and groups as diverse as Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney, Duran Duran, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Madonna, and Adele! Author Jon Burlingame looks at the music of the films on a movie-by-movie basis – with chapters on the films that not only offer up stories behind the music, but also dig deeper into the scores as well – and sometimes offer up tales of sounds that never saw the light of day – like Frank Sinatra's proposed performance for Moonraker, the unused Eric Clapton guitar for License To Kill, and the possible Amy Winehouse music for Quantum Of Silence. The book includes a number of photos and album covers – and is 291 pages, hardcover, with lots of black and white images. Book

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Garry BushellTime for Action – The Mod Revival 1978 to 1981 ... Book
54321 Countdown (UK), 2012. New Copy ... $6.99
Garry Bushell's cool look back at the mod revival scene of the late 70s and first year or 2 of the 80s – a fairly short-lived, but still invigorating couple years of raw, R&B fueled post-punk that's famous for spawning The Jam and many lesser-remembered, but hardly less exciting band – plus fashion and lifestyle that's STILL influential to younger discoverers. Bushell was one of the more active rock writers covering the scene at the time, and this great little book is filled with his reverent, but barbed prose, and some very cool photos of the action. Paperback, 174 pages. Book

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✨✧ Samuel ChartersNew Orleans – Playing A Jazz Chorus ... Book
Marion Boyars Publishers (UK), 2006. New Copy ... $4.99 17.98
Samuel Charters returns to New Orleans in the wake of Katrina – and finds that the city's jazz scene is not only alive and well, but continuing to thrive and change in the face of crisis! Charters is a name that should be familiar to many – for his landmark work as a record producer for Folkways and other labels, where he gave New Orleans music huge exposure in the mid-century years – and also for his countless books on jazz and blues. This volume is perhaps a bit more personal than some of Samuel's other works – as Charters spends his time in the city with his son's family in a small apartment, and comes across vibrant music from the Hot 8 Brass Band, Soul Rebels, Barry Martyn, Michael White, Coco Robicheaux, Billy Edwards, and many others. 227 pages, softcover, with some black and white images. Book

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✨✧ Alan ClaysonSerge Gainsbourg – A View From The Exterior ... Book
Sanctuary (UK), 1998. New Copy Book ... $2.99 12.95
One of the few English language looks we've ever seen at the music of Serge Gainsbourg – a well-penned biography that covers all of his classic years in a fair bit of detail! Author Alan Clayson does a good job of paying as much attention to the music as he does to Serge's celebrity – defining elements that make particular records or musical moments so great – and never getting too bogged down in the more sensational elements of Gainsbourg's life. We really appreciate that – as Serge has always had plenty to offer way past the headlines – and if anything, he's probably best remembered in this century for his key musical contributions much more than his public life. There's a bunch of black and white photos in the middle of the book, but the rest is text – and the softcover edition runs for 244 pages, with a helpful index of Gainsbourg compositions in the back! Book

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Gregory ColemanWe're Heaven Bound! – Portrait Of A Black Sacred Drama ... Book
University Of Georgia, 1999. New Copy ... $1.99 23.95
A great look at the 70 year legacy of Heaven Bound – the gospel folk drama that's played on stage in Atlanta for decades, and which has had an undeniable influence on the growth of African American theater in the 20th Century. The book offers a history of the stage presentation, as well as a host of photos from various shows – plus some snippets of text as well – and is written in a way that really makes us understand the subtle political power of even small cultural efforts like this, which can stretch from a single stage in a single city, and create larger waves for years to come. 199 pages, softcover, with black and white images. Book

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Max Allan CollinsSeduction Of The Innocent ... Book
Hard Case Crime, 2013. New Copy ... $1.99 9.95
Max Allan Collins has spent his many years turning out both work for comics, and writing mysteries – both of which come together here in this hard-boiled book! Collins returns to the world of 50s trash comics – referenced in the title, which is shared by a famous expose on comic books – in a story that tells the tale of a murder within the comic scene – with suspects that range from a knife-wielding juvenile delinquent to a frustrated publisher to a naked seductress! The book's got a great 50s pulp feel, more so than some of Collins' other work – and frequent partner Terry Beatty contributes a number of 50s comic-styled images throughout the book. 269 pages, softcover. Book
(Please Note – The spine has a remainder mark.)

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Peter ConradModern Times, Modern Places – Life & Art In The 20th Century (paperback) ... Book
Thames & Hudson (UK), 1999. New Copy ... $6.99 30.00
Not just a light overview of artwork in the 20th century – but a sprawling examination of cultural shifts in just about every format – from painting, to writing, to architecture, film, music, and more – all served up in an enormous volume that must have taken as much as a century to write! The author has a surprising command of so many subjects, and he ties them together wonderfully in a rich cultural portrait that is very well-written and carefully conceived – academic in conception, but very down to earth in tone – which makes for a compelling read throughout. The volume is extremely big – over 750 pages – and includes many black and white images throughout. Book

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✨✧ John CorbettSun Ra & Aye Aton – Space, Interiors, & Exteriors 1972 ... Book
Corbett vs. Dempsey, 2013. New Copy ... $4.99 27.99
Amazing images from the universe of Sun Ra – a mixture of rare photographs and mural images painted by Aye Aton – sometime percussionist with the Arkestra, and a heck of a great painter too! The book begins with these stunning full color photographs of Ra on the set of Space Is The Place – images from 1972 that echo the cover of the album of the same name, but which feature a costumed Ra in a number of different settings – including a few parking lot shots that make him look like a true visitor from the cosmos, briefly walking on our planet! The bigger second half of the book features photographs of murals painted by Aton (who's also known as Robert Underwood) – all of them spacey and trippy, and in a similar spirit to the Saturn Records album covers – except these were all painted on walls and ceilings, in very vivid colors. Aye painted many images in the Arkestra commune in Philly – and other paintings appear to be from the south side of Chicago – and all work here is seen by the wider public for the first time ever. Archivist John Corbett provides an essay with the book to situate the work – and the whole thing's a vivid visual treat for any fan of Sun Ra! Book

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James Cuno & Paul GoldbergerModern Wing – Renzo Piano & The Art Institute Of Chicago (hardcover) ... Book
Yale University Press, 2009. New Copy ... $4.99 60.00
Our hometown got a great addition a few years back – the Modern Wing of the Art Institute Of Chicago – a building that's as mindblowing as the works it was designed to feature! The Modern Wing is the kind of showplace that will make the city sparkle for years – created by Renzo Piano, and not just a brilliant expansion of the older Art Institute building, but a link to the nearby Millenium Park – in a way that's draws far more visitors to the museum than ever before. This lavish book traces the design and building of the Modern Wing – complete with a wealth of color photos alongside the text – showing both interiors and exteriors of the space, including a fair bit of artwork as well. Book is oversize, hardcover, on glossy color paper, and 167 pages in all. Book

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Ericka Blount DanoisLove Peace & Soul – Behind The Scenes Of America's Favorite Dance Show – Soul Train Classic Moments ... Book
Back Beat, 2013. New Copy ... $5.99 24.99
One of the greatest soul music TV shows ever (and one that originated in Chicago, too!) – presented here in deep detail with loads of interesting stories and anecdotes too! The book's almost a more personal history of the show than a technical one – but that's OK with us, because it really gets at the tales behind those iconic images on the screen – and the all-pro presentation of Don Cornelius too. And, in addition to the main body of the book, the publication also includes this massive show-by-show list of appearances – for 37 seasons of Soul Train, including the later rerun years – with details on the performers and dates for each show, in a section that's over 50 pages in length! The book also includes some nice color images in the middle, and is 243 pages, softcover. Book

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Stephen DavisLZ 75 – Lost Chronicles Of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour ... Book
Fourth Estate (UK), 2011. New Copy ... $5.99 14.99
The author of Hammer Of The Gods – which some say is the definitive book on Led Zeppelin – takes a look at the group's famous 1975 tour of America – a time when both Led Zeppelin and arena rock were at the height of their power! Stephen Davis was one of an elite few to travel with the group during the tour – and writes here from his special backstage access – not just to the shows, but the group's trials and travels across the US. The style is relatively personal – Davis isn't out to write a complete history here, just illuminate this famous tour – but that's also what makes it great – as the whole thing's almost got a cinematic presentation of the material. Not the deepest reading you'll ever do, but plenty of fun overall – and the 217 page book also features a fair bit of black and white photos too. Book

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Gene DeitchCat On A Hot Thin Groove – 78rpm Artwork From Record Changer Magazine (softcover) ... Book
Fantagraphics, 2013. New Copy ... $8.99 35.00
An amazing collection of 40s and 50s jazz drawings by Gene Deitch – the complete anthology of his work for legendary jazz magazine Record Changer! Gene was an amazing artist and cartoonist, whose work helped solidify the legacies of some of the most famous cartoon characters in the American pop culture canon – from Popeye, to Tom & Jerry and beyond – but we're especially in love with his jazz-centric Record Changer era! Gene adored jazz and his love for it really shows! Cat On A Hot Thin Groove includes all of his magazine covers, cartoon panels and other bits from Record Changer – versatile work that ranges from fun, cartoon-y panels of "Jazz Cat" characters, to more elaborate and abstract illustrations. Wonderful, vital stuff – and it's very nicely anthologized here by Fantagraphics! Coffee-table scale paperback – 160+ pages of prime Deitch jazzy drawings with text accompaniment. Book

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Thomas Denenberg, edBackstage Pass – Rock & Roll Photography ... Book
Yale University Press, 2008. New Copy ... $6.99 29.95
A beautiful collection of vintage rock photographs, with a heavy focus on the 60s and 70s – wrapped up in a really lovely volume that also includes essays by Greil Marcus and a few photographers – in support of these gorgeous shots of artists who range from David Bowie to Johnny Cash, to The Supremes, Beastie Boys, Chet Baker, James Brown, Deborah Harry, B-52s, Iggy Pop, Kiss, Labelle, Lou Reed, and dozens and dozens of others! There's no overarching theory to the book, just a focus on really well-done, really striking photographs from a number of different photographers – over 100 images in all, wrapped up in a great oversized book with heavy paper that offers great reproductions of the color and black and white images. Book

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Philip K DickFlow My Tears The Policeman Said ... Book
Gollancz (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $4.99 12.99
A great 70s story from Philip K Dick – written right before the author got very far-out in his narratives – and very much in the mode of his best books from the 60s! The story revolves around the usual PKD workplace paranoia – a TV star is suddenly bereft of identity, and without any sense of himself in a highly-monitored police state – unsure whether to take advantage of this newfound freedom, or try to recreate himself on paper – then doubting his previous reality in the process. This summation hardly does justice to the story – which draws its real charm from Dick's compact prose, and great ear for characterization – the kind of proper speculative narrative writing that, more than anything, gets at the heart of the human condition, even in unfamiliar circumstances. 204 pages, softcover. Book

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