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All Music Guide to Soul: The Definitive Guide to R&B and Soul Paperback – August 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bogdanov helped design the AMG databases.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine is an AMG senior editor. They all live in Ann Arbor, MI.
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Product Details

  • Series: All Music Guide Required Listening
  • Paperback: 900 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books; 4th Revised ed. edition (June 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879307447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879307448
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andre S. Grindle TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Only one thing needs to be said here-there have been some tremendous innovations in R&B since this book was written (John Legend for example arrived just a year too late for a mention in this book)but it is wonderful to see R&B get the press that All Music Guide as given to classical,rock,blues and jazz music over the years.This covers everything from the early jump blues R&B of the late 1940's all the way up to the first CD's by Alicia Keyes,Jill Scott and Justin Timberlate-treating all genres with a great degree of respect.Even disco-albums by the genre's greatest innovators Chic,Giorgio Moroder,Donna Summer and Sylvester all get glowing,respectful reviews that showcase their gigantic musical influence.By explainging contemporary R&B in context with more classic material this volume has actually helped me great to flush out my collection of newer music such as the final album by Aaliyah.There are a few flaws in this volume-the print is small yes but forgivable.But as with all All Music Guide volumes,to save space some albums are listed but considered too insignificant to merrit a review so are presented only as an item in an artists discography.The other flaw is the critics-Stephan Thomas Erlwhine seems to have more rock expertise and refers to P-Funk,the most anti disco of the classic funk bands as,you got it:a disco funk group.Ron Wynn obviously has far more knowledge and experience with R&B,soul,funk and other styles.Those little foibles aside the All Music Guide to R&B presents a genuinely non biased primer to those who want to start collecting or expand there R&B collection.It should also be noted that some older albums in here,even if they got excellent reviews and come highly recommended are out of print will take some time to locate in used record stores (some of Heatwave's and Motown's late 70's material for example)but this book often points that out and trust me:in all these cases it's well worth the search.
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This is a great book, but not what I would call definitive. For the big stars and record labels there are wonderful entries. But there are lots of small labels and artists not included, especially from the doo-wop and sweet song era, (1950's to about 1964) which is my favorite period for R & B. I do love the recommendations for what to listen to first for an artist or group you're unfamiliar with. I'd like to see Reggae and Lovers Rock, as well as sampling of songs by other artists, along with "covers" of songs dealt with in a similar format someday. One great feature of my online music service is that I can ask for a song title, such as "I do love you" originally by Billy Stewart, and get all the later "covers" of that song. Overall, this is a book to dip into time after time, and to create playlists from. Also, pictures of the artists would have been a nice addition.
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This book covers a large era of R&B and Soul musical artist. I highly recommend this to all music lovers to include in their libraries. Anybody and everybody relevant in the music industry that had a record out, is in this book. I actually have the revised edition, so glad I waited. It goes back to the legendary musicians and producers to the artist of the late 90's. It gives so much informative and detailed information about the artist, from the beginning of their careers, names of band members to a discography of all their recordings.
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This is one of the great reference guides on Soul Music covering the great to the obscure. I wish the print was a little larger but I understand that space is an issue. It's a great book for students, teachers, researchers, and aficionados.
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I love 60's -70's R&b (although I'll listen to, and collect, recordings that I consider to be in keeping with that era's sound/style that were recorded either before or after that time) and the majority of my R&B collection is centered around that time, about 90% or so, but after years of focusing on that era the majority of what I wanted to collect I owned. I began to pursue recordings that I was unfamiliar with, which was difficult because I was (heh, heh) unfamiliar with them and didn't want to waste a lot of money on hit or miss purchases.
I had ordered this book years before my R&B collecting drought began (like, 2009 or something) and because of its huge size was too intimidated to utilize it. I recently came back to it after getting tired of web sites that gave the same ol' artists and recordings I was already familiar with. Right from the start of my usage of this book I was making purchases of recordings that fit right in with my collection and widened its scope of what the music of the 60's/70's was all about. Because of this book the amount of purchases of great recordings and the familiarization artists from that era previously unfamilar or little known (which would make them "new" to me) has increased my enjoyment of R&B music listening immeasurably. It's now the go-to book for me when I feel a yearning for something new (yet truly old school) to add to my collection.
I believe that any person that purchases and then utilizes this book in regards to collecting R&B music will be greatly rewarded, collection and music listening wise. This book proved to me something that I always thought was so; there's plenty of great recordings left for me to discover from my day (70's) and I believe that anyone purchasing it will feel the same about their target eras (if you have one) or else their style and/or preference of R&B. Last but not least, it also makes great historical reading.
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