A couple of months ago my attention was drawn to this pending publication. Not being one who parts with his money willingly I took an expensive risk on the grounds that I couldn't see anybody else tackling the subject in my lifetime, so best to grab one before it disappears.
This has just arrived after a six week journey from Victoria, BC, Canada. No expense has been spared in the choice of packaging which has ensured no damage whatsoever to the edges or spine whilst bumping around in a container in the hold of a ship.
The artefact - hardback, full colour cover, laminated boards, well bound (head-banded spine top and bottom) and gloss art paper which really does the numerous colour/black &white photos/illustrations proud in its 410 pages. The layout and design of the interior is best described as each page of text has a border festooned with illustrations pertinent to the subject(s) under discussion. It's a weighty tome on all counts, the postman who delivered the package (11x8.5 and inch thick) asked if it contained a concrete block.
For my "litmus test" I singled out some of my favourite OMBs – Jesse Fuller, Dr. Ross, Joe Hill Louis, Duster Bennett and Don Partridge – and all seem to have been thoroughly researched and well illustrated, many photos new to me. I'll be the first to admit that I've never heard of three quarters of those listed in this massive work. I'm astonished that there are in excess of 40 OMBs currently plying their trade in the UK – and have been doing so for a mighty long time. I've obviously led a very sheltered life.
This book may have set me back a serious amount of money but have no regrets, brave enterprise as this deserve recognition, even if the marketplace for such is limited. Here follows a scan of the first page from the table of contents:
1. Overview 6 2. Glossary 12 3. Early History (mostly USA) Pipe & labor/Early Europeans 16 Early Americans 18 Harp Rack & Players including Gwin Foster & Frank Floyd 19 Innovation incl. London Fiddle & Bells, Fate Norris & Albert Nelson 21 Daddy Stovepipe, other blues & country 25 4. Jesse Fuller 32 5. Early Blues: Memphis Area incl. Joe Hill Louis, Dr. Ross & Drifting Slim 52 6. Other Blues:'50s1'60s incl. Juke Boy Bonner, Blind Joe Hill & Wilbert Harrison 72 Early Washboard players including Washboard Willie 86 7. Outsider including Hasil Adkins & Abner Jay 88 8. Early Country: North America incl. Joe Barrick, Boyd Skuldt & Greeley Robertson 98 9. Early UK including Don Partridge, Chucklefoot & Vie Ellis 106 10. Folk, Blues & Beyond: USA/Canada/UK '70s including Robert "One Man" Johnson, Ray Stubbs, Mike Whellans, Elmore Nixon & Winko Ljizz 126 11. Early Northern Europe 140 French including Albert Bergerault & Remy Bricka 140 Feel Free Norway and related, incl. Des Bader & Lawrence Glaister 142 Germany including Slippery Mike, Buskin' Chris & Alan Moorhouse 147 12. World Travelers including Jimmy Jimmy & Gee Gee Kettel 158 13. UK Part 2 including Buddy OMB & Bang On Boogie Band 176 British Blues including Eddie Martin 189 14. Italians (by Mark Di Guiseppe) including Otto & Bamelli, The Straniero, AMI BUS, Michele Roscica & Giorgio OMB 192 15. USA Blues'80s/'90s including Jessie Mae Hemphill (article by David Evans), Richard Johnston, Ben Prestage and Satan & Adam 202 16. More Blues USA incl. W.C. Spencer, Adolphus Bell & Homer Henderson 220 Songs Inside the Box OMBs cigar box guitar players 232 17. USA Bent Blues & Rock incl. Bob Log Ill, Scott H. Biram & John Lowe 240 More Rock Oriented incl. Molly Gene & Becky Lee & Drunkfoot 251 18. European Blues & Others (incl. articles by NikolajAndersen) Nikolaj Andersen, Benjamin Tehoval, Philippe Menard, Paolo Sgallini & Dr. Albert Flipout's One Can Band 260 Other Newer European OMBs incl. PitPete, George vd Muziek, Mr. Orkester, Ivan Holinka & Cigo Man Band 276 19. Other USA OMBs Gospel incl. Flora Molton & Gypsy AZAL Cams 286 More Recent Country including Royer's OMB & Bo Baseman 287 Peripheral Old Time & Country incl. David Holt & Hal Walker 291 Children's Entertainer incl. Professor Paddywhack & Mahsa Matin 293 Piano OMBs including Patrick Hazell & The Professor 294 Off the Beaten Path incl. Leonard Solomon & Lonesome Organist 297