All Around A Hole – The Vinyl Collector’s Notebook
Author: Paolo Verda
You may remember my review of Verda’s first tome that was based upon British artists’ LPs featuring a combination of progressive, psychedelic, folk, blues and jazz issued in the UK during the 60s and 70s. It is still available and perfect for devoted fans of the same with a superb design aimed at collectors.
This new book is based around the same general design but it focuses on Italian releases during the 70s. I was looking forward to getting my hands on this one because the bulk of the content looks at progressive music in all its varied forms. During the 70s, Italy produced some of the best prog in the world. Wholly under-rated, terribly under-played and cruelly ignored, there are enlightened prog fans resident outside of Italy who have been exposed to the delights of Italian prog but, if you’re into prog and you’ve yet to taste its fine dining elements, then grab this book firstly as a grounding or overview and then use its contents to inform and educate.
The design of the book is aimed at music fans on the go. People who want to use the book as a tool. It’s a book that is design to be used and used regularly. Hence, the thick, tough outer boards and the multi-ringed (23-hole) binder. It fits the bill and does it well.
Inside is a brief glossary of terms and then a How to use your Notebook section. This section shows you that you can fill in notes about your collection in the book itself. There’s space to indicate if the item is in your collection, who supplied it and at what price. You the get a valuable guided tour of the various label stamps and indicators denoting copyright information and the various styles of the same and notes directed at bootlegs.
The first main section is an overview of the 110 Italian labels in their 186 variants. These are listed in alphabetical order with the main represented bands included under each label heading. A sample image of each label is then presented with a set description place underneath.
All of the above is easy to locate and digest with image quality high and attendant easily understood. Paper quality is also excellent while the paper itself is matt in finish – better than gloss when you’re looking at a reference, especially if you use this book on the move, in varied lighting conditions. You don’t want to be referring to pages in a dealer’s location with strong lighting bouncing off a glossy page and you can’t read for the glare.
Then there’s the mammoth Artists section of 250 artists accompanied by 435 LPs (with index). Those artists include the likes of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Area, Electric Frankenstein, Goblin, Jacula, Janus, Le Orme, PFM and many more.
Each album is a mine of information. Let’s take Acqua Fragile’s self-titled album from 1973. Apart from the date, label and catalogue number, you’ll find alternative versions (there’s two price points here for two variants), the price for ‘mint’ (Surely that’s ‘near mint’?), condition, sleeve information full text rundown, physical oddities (there’s a deep groove on the label on one variant of this LP for example), label printing and matrix information.
In short, everything a collector and prospective buyer needs to know and wants to look out for. Ideal too for those wary of buying a bootleg when it’s being sold as an original, for example. An accompanying image of the cover and label is added.
In short, this is a brilliant, even dazzling book for Italian prog fans. One that every prog fan should own. One that every vinyl collector should own. I look forward to seeing where Verda journeys for his next project.
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