Author: Paolo Verda
All Around A Hole is aimed at vinyl fans of British progressive, psychedelic, folk, blues and jazz LPs issued in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s.
Described as a ‘notebook’, that’s actually a fair description. You’re encouraged to make any notes in it. You could add a location where your LP copy was bought, its price and so on. There’s even a little picture-template in the book advising how and where to make notes.
The book features a strong hardcover to the front and rear and, most importantly, it’s ‘wiro’ bound. This means that the book itself will not fall apart from constant use.
Packed with 326 pages and 3,029 colour photos, All Around A Hole sits in two sections. The first looks at the most important 134 British labels, with 261 colour images of their variants. You find out what groups were under what label then a description of each and every label with a sample record label image as a form of reference.
The second section of All Around A Hole includes an alphabetical directory of 511 British artists or groups and their 1,566 albums.
Here, each album is described in detail. So, for example, let’s look at the Juicy Lucy self-titled rock album released in 1969. That year is stated, the label and catalogue number which all sits under the sleeve art. In this case there are two Vertigo labels shown, the LP’s first and second version (two values are listed here to reflect that, all values are for mint condition LPs). Other LPs might vary in price because of included posters or because one LP variant was issued in mono and then stereo.
In addition, the sleeve and label receive a full description of the words on the label, type of printing and its position as well as what’s left off, in this case a printer’s credit.
Downsides for this book? Well, there are no real downsides. Only picky things. For example, I imagine that this book will be used ‘live’, as it where, checking a valuation in a shop, record fair, among friends and colleagues or when running through a collection. Hence, a quick access thumb-type index or some sort of plastic tab index would have been nice.
Another minor gripe, when an LP is presented in say four versions, prompting four different price valuations, there is no quick way to find out which LP variant allies to what price. You have to patiently read through a paragraph of text to work it out yourself. Not a big deal and it doesn’t take a long time but it would have been nice to have a layout prompting a quicker access for the eye.
The final downside…isn’t after all. I lamented the lack of glossy pages in this book which, in fact, offers a matt finish. The matt paper loses a measure of impact for the images included here. I quickly realised, though, that it would be harder to make notes on glossy paper. Which is fair enough.
The above are picky criticisms because, when it comes right down too it, All Around a Hole is a quite brilliant book and useful practical source. You can clearly see the hard work put into it. Use the valuations as a guide and not literal figures and this book will provide a terrific buyer’s and seller’s tool for all LP collectors but will also offer a great store of browsing knowledge for music and vinyl fans.
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