From Publishers Weekly
A consultant to the U.K.s Ace Records, Broven (Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans
) has followed rock and R&B closely for more than half a century. Covering the convoluted history of the recording industry from the 1940s to the 1960s, he combines in-depth archival research with fascinating anecdotes about chart-toppers, shady characters and label owners (the ultimate risk takers). To survey the situations that turned Tin Pan Alley topsy-turvy and spawned the post-WWII rise of the low-budget indie labels, Broven begins with the symbiotic relationship of jukebox distributors, DJs and record retailers. He conducted 100 interviews, including with key industry figures: Marshall Chess (Chess Records), Sam Phillips (Sun), Jerry Wexler (Atlantic) and George Avakian (Columbia). Yet he does not ignore lesser-known players such as Mimi Trepel, the unseen heroine of rock n roll, who witnessed the social upheavals in music as she went from Brooklyn radio to head of foreign distribution for London Records. The impact of conniving entrepreneurs on the musicians and the layering of rich details and digressive detours as Broven traces the transition from R&B to rock make this equal to Roger D. Kinkles massive, four-volume Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz
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"Broven ... keeps the text moving right along, his fill-in facts and explanations welcome, his segues from interviewees' words to his own smooth and easy. The author clearly loves the music and holds the achievements of the record people in high regard, but he stays level-headed and avoids overpraising his heroes."--Downbeat
"A fascinating new book about the early independent labels of rock 'n' roll underscores again the central role that radio played in turning rock 'n' roll into the musical language of modern American popular culture. Record Makers and Breakers ... is a rich and engaging history of those early years, largely told through the words of the smart guys, hustlers and Runyonesque characters who shaped them." --New York Daily News
"Broven has put together a detailed and engrossing study of the independent record labels of the 1940s-70s. . . . An outstanding and important study that goes well beyond comparable predecessors; highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)