The culture of vinyl record collecting is an interesting one, so when a book like Feel The Music is released, it doesn’t just touch those in the vinyl record community, it touches much more. These stories, while they tell the tales of each record and each artist who made them, tell the story of the person as well. Some may say that records tell the story of your life better than you can, and that is definitely true. Records have been telling the story of collector and musician Paul Major’s life since he first discovered weird 45s in Louisville, Kentucky in 1966. The rest is history. Releases from bands like the 13th Floor Elevators, Silver Apples, and Velvet Underground gave way to the quest for more obscure records and bands. Major label failures were his best friend. “The look of the item was important to me, and the same song would groove me more in a cool sleeve than a crappy ordinary one” quips Major, who is world renowned in the vinyl record community, as well the cat who coined most of the vocabulary that goes along to describe many rare records in the private psychedelic, folk, rock, etc. genres. A pioneer of the weird and obscure, his catalogs Feel The Music and Sound Effects helped define genres and introduce collectors and weirdos to a whole new world of private press and rare records. He’s joined forces with Anthology Editions to put together a complete book of all of this goodness in Feel The Music: The Psychedelic Worlds of Paul Major, which is available now.
Without Paul Major I would know nothing about all the great records people know nothing about. – Marc Maron, WTF Podcast
Featuring scans of the original catalogs which contained Major’s fantastic writing, it also features essays from friends and other soldiers in the record/ music struggle such as Johan Kugelberg, Glenn Terry, Michael P. Daley, Stefan Kery, Patrick Lundborg (The Acid Archives) and more. Providing a great look not just into the music, but to Major’s work and character itself, this book is a must for not just private press buffs, but to vinyl record champions as well. Delve deep into the records, but deeper still into Major’s life: letters to the newly formed Creem magazine, essays in a local paper to free John Sinclair; from Kentucky to NYC, working his last day job at Village Oldies, the punk rock movement to the birth of weird record dealing. Major pulls out so much personal stuff: photos, flyers, and best of all, the stories that go along with each one. These personal touches are the gems of the book.
There are also many records shown in this book; crazy private press records from loner folk to weird stuff to highly sought after records like Stonewall, which has sold for staggering amounts when it turned up. Go back and realize Major was using his illustrative writing to describe these aural treasures in each volume of the catalog that was sent to collectors around the world. It will be hard to fathom, for many readers of Flea Market Funk, to have to think about waiting for the mail carrier to deliver a hand written/ typed ‘zine aka catalog of vinyl records no one has ever heard of before. The fact that you had to call Major up and he’d play these records over the phone for you is a far cry from the instant gratification of the internet, discogs, ebay, among others today. Being on a record mailing list was bad ass back then, even more bad ass than record store banter and discovering something in the crates at your local. Back then, he was one of the only sources. He was the record list, he had stuff not many others had. The man is a legend in the record game, and if you go beyond the objects and get into the human nature aspect of this subject, it’s a great look into Major’s life work. The book also touches upon his music career and his band Endless Boogie. From record collector to dealer to rock and roll star, the book goes full circle. A great read and a wealth of information if you have never gotten into private press records and the like, it’s definitely one for the book shelves. The deluxe edition of the book features a signed book with silk screened slipcase, companion book, and signed letterpress print from artist Lizzi Bougatsos, as well as the Sorcerers/Endless Boogie 7″ record. People talk about leaving legacies when their time is up on this planet, Paul Major has left several lifetimes worth of legacies, touching endless people around the globe with his own magic. This book captures all of it.
Get the book here.