Just when you think all the photographs for Boom Boom Boom Boom have been laid out! This one turns up. In truth it was there all the time but an email from the Carlo Little website about Brian Smith’s Lord Sutch photographs then sparked a recollection. “Didn’t I once snap his backing band The Savages at The Twisted Wheel? Have you seen the photograph while you’ve been sorting all the images out?” Well in all honesty I didn’t recall it. “I think they were in the backstage DJ area chatting to Roger Eagle, when he asked them to turn round and make faces at me….”
Well, in that case I had better look through the folder where I’d put all the images of club members larking about. And sure enough there it was, hiding in plain view. I had assumed it to be four friends of Brian and Roger’s looning for the camera. It turns out to be a rare photograph of Lord Sutch’s backing band, with drummer Carlo Little in the centre at the back. I’ve spent a couple of hours cleaning it up and now we’re sending it off to Iris at the website to see if she can identify the rest of the group. And pin a date on it.
That was the easy part, now we have to get our designer to jiggle stuff around to fit it in to what is essentially a finished layout. Won’t he love doing that? And then we can start arguing about how “blues” was Lord Sutch!
One interesting aspect of the Go Home On A Postcard book has been the research into the cameramen who took these millions of seaside portraits. I say cameramen, because it was generally regarded as the preserve of blokes, certainly prior to the Second World War. Women were generally employed in kiosks and studios. Happily the author managed to track down details of the lady who could well have been the first in the UK to actually begin taking the portraits. Within 15 years women were working for a number of the walking picture firms until by the mid-Sixties one firm in Skegness had moved over to only using female photographers.
This tabloid newspaper article was unearthed for us by Paul which illustrates one approach to the idea of women photographers, although by this time the shirt and tie approach of the blokes had also often been dropped in favour of a pair of grotty shorts! Out of curiosity I got in touch with the paper concerned and after a couple of days they had found the negatives from 60 years ago and got them scanned for me. It had clearly been a proper photo journalist story too but inevitably out of all the images the paper decided to go for the bathing suit image. As has the book. Don’t fret, the grotty bloke’s shorts are also in there for balance!
I wonder if Miss Broadstairs ever made it to become an air stewardess?
There are another eight pages of previews from the Boom Boom Boom Boom book of Brian Smith’s Blues Photographs now on the site. We have been improving the quality of these previews so you get a much better idea of what the book will look like. The spread below gives you an idea, this shows Roosevelt Sykes backstage at the Free Trade Hall. Brian mostly shot black and white photographs, as much due to the cost of colour as anything. But once in a while he could afford to splash out! Some of this show was filmed by Granada TV.
Brian spent a whole afternoon with Millie, as she arrived early at the Twisted Wheel club for her show. So he got to take some great photographs in the offices as well as during the packed show.
While we are posting, our good wishes to Brian who has not been well for a time but is now back at home with his feet up. Literally!
We have sent out newsletters about both the Blues Photo Book (our second) and our Go Home On A Postcard Book (our first) today. These go ONLY to people who have subscribed for the updates. Although we use a professional mailing list service to deliver these, your computer MAY still filter them out into your junk mail folder (even our own email system does this despite us labelling them as NOT junk every time!). So do have a look in there if you think you should be on the mailing list.
Our designer took a bit of a busman’s holiday over the Christmas period, and got to grips with Go Home On A Postcard, our delayed Walking Picture Photography title. This has been on hold for a time due to pressures of other projects but we did not want it slipping beyond 2022. The work involved him reconnecting with the page layouts and recent software updates, but went well. Although the work over-ran into early January, it does mean that the book is now completely laid out. All the captions have been added and checked, and we were able to make a few difficult picture choices (there are far more images than could possibly be included) and so arrive at a final page count. Once done, this meant all the pages could at last be numbered; this took three days, due to a design idea to base them on negative reference numbers from the old prints (instead of using the layout software option which would have done it in two minutes)! The book now moves into the stage of preparing it technically for print after which we should be able to predict a likely publication date. We have also now update our first sample pages on this site and more will follow. The spread above gives a really good idea of the final look. It is our intention to offer the title at a pre-publication price here so people can get this at a bit of a discount ahead of anyone else. We will also be preparing a mailing list to try and update everyone who has contributed material to the project.
While Brian Smith’s book Boom Boom Boom Boom : American Rhythm & Blues In England 1962 – 1966 does major on the black Blues musicians who came before Brian’s lens, he was also interested in the British bands who were influenced by them. Fewer wore those influences more heavily than The Rolling Stones, who Brian saw a few times. A number of photographs appear in the book, but this particular shot is a nice way to remember drummer Charlie Watts and mark his huge contribution to British popular music. Duane Eddy was appearing in Manchester and The Stones were playing a small club in Cheshire. Keen to meet Duane they drove over to see his set before rushing back to the club. Someone asked Brian if he would take them a souvenir “selfie” and he managed to grab this rare shot backstage. A restored version will feature in the book.
After some pondering we have decided to introduce a larger A4 format series to allow us to tackle a couple of projects which require a landscape format. So after much deliberation this will be imaginatively listed as the Landscape Series (there are only the two of us in the office so the focus group consultation wasn’t too exhausting!). There are two immediate titles planned of which we can show the cover for the first below, covering Barry Plummer’s Deep Purple photo archive. More details will be added to the site in the next few weeks.
We have published our first promotion video about Brian Smith’s Blues Photo Book “Boom Boom Boom Boom on the Easy Books YouTube channel. You can check this out using the link (the video should show here on most browsers).
Do pass the word around! We used to boycott YouTube as it was a largely pirate operation but in recent years efforts have been made to clear copyrights properly so rights owners do get some sort of payment, albeit tiny! So for example this promo uses a music clip from the track of the same name, and YouTube checked this before allowing it to be posted.
Brian and myself are trying to arrange our Covid safe final meet up to go through his final amendments then we should be good to go. Do’t forget that if you subscribe to the Blues Book newsletter, you will have already had this news. You join by checking the forthcoming page for the title.
We are starting to send people the first of the Brian Smith Blues Photo Book “Boom Boom Boom Boom” newsletters. To make sure you get these you will need to subscribe to them using the link on the book’s home page. It means subscribers get advance news and details without bothering people interested in other titles. Information will be posted here later, so if you follow this site anyway (enter your email address on the menu on the right where shown) you will also stay in the loop. I think that all makes sense!
We’re currently setting up with our new distributor and also testing a dedicated Easy Books on line shop, so titles may be a bit harder to source than normal for a short while. Once this is done we will be cracking on with our next batch of titles. In readiness we are also launching a couple of nice promo films shortly (that’s a still above) and details of these will appear here very soon. We are aware that certain online giants are listing our titles as ‘cancelled’ but this is not the case, simply they cannot be bothered to ask! Unlike someone at Waterstones in Germany who kindly rang direct for the story so they could keep their customers informed. Always buy from a proper book seller.