We’ve posted another eight pages from the upcoming Blues Photos of Brian Smith title on the site, which give you a good idea of how this is shaping up. Our designer is busy correcting the spreads right now: “I design each page as a single sheet, this allows me to focus on how it looks. Then once the bulk of the pages are laid out, it’s time to turn them into ‘spreads’, so you can see how the left and right hand pages interact with one another visually when they face each other. This then throws up some clashes and you need to love a few elements around, and make it all work visually across the spread. I use two screens for this as you need plenty of digital ‘desk’ space! But the Blues book is coming together nicely, even if I did discover some image duplication today which meant a fair bit of work to correct. But I hope to be done very shortly then it will go out to Brian for proofing and feedback.” The spread below is from the section on Chuck Berry.
Deep Purple In Rock was released 50 years ago today. It makes me feel nostalgic amongst other things; the trip up to the record shop at school lunch-time to buy the first single off it… then the b-side which trailed the album and made me decide it must go straight onto my wish list, and the saving up to buy it a few weeks later. Getting a sheet of Letraset and putting my initials on the labels in case my brother tried to annex it. So to publish the definitive biography about the album was a real treat. You can read about it on the site, the second edition is still available.
Just a few days on from bemoaning the death of Millie, a proper pop star, than another of the acts Brian Smith photographed in the Sixties passes away, this time a proper rock and roll trailblazer, Little Richard. Brian was lucky enough to catch a performance at one of Manchester’s most famous venues of the time, The Oasis Club, in 1964. Just seeing his pictures makes you jealous, as Richard seems in amazing form while the crowd are in awe judging by some of their expressions. Local group The Dakotas got to back him, all under the shadow of a huge Beatles mural decorating the back of the stage. Which is a tad ironic given how much they owed to Richard amongst others! Brian also caught the filming of Little Richard by Granada TV for one of their highly regarded pop specials of the time.
This great shot from the Oasis shows Little Richard working the crowd at the height of his set, and would have made the final selection for the book of Brian’s pics we’re wrapping up – except some of the others are even better!
Richard leaves a musical legacy only a few could equal even back in the Sixties, but his contributions to rock music’s development are unlikely ever to be surpassed in the future.
A real shame to hear today of Millie’s death at the age of 73. Our previous post on this site was to talk about working on photographs of her for Brian’s Blues photo book, and how it was so hard to pick the best. So here is another of the shots which didn’t make the final selection to remember her by; stood beaming for Brian’s camera at the Twisted Wheel Club in May 1964. The band are rocking away in the shadows on the left of the scene, but it’s her irrepressible grin which makes the shot. She would even leave the band to get on with it while she signed autographs mid-set… a proper star.
Our designer was working on the Millie Small photographs for the Boom Boom Blues Photo book the other day (and researching her backing group). As he has a home office anyway, the self isolating issue has not been too hard a chore so far. “I love little more than digging through old photographs, who needs the real world! These are some of my favourites from Brian Smith’s book. Millie was a real natural anyway but seems to have hit it off with Brian, who was taking the photos up in the legendary Twisted Wheel club offices. He and Roger Eagle, who was the resident DJ there, were given the rather nice job of looking after Millie for the afternoon. It was probably a bit risky trying to walk around Manchester given that her hit single was so massive, so they passed away the time until the show just taking a few pictures and chatting. I bet a few of us would love to rifle through all the paper ephemera on the shelves too, there looks to be piles of tickets for future gigs in one corner.
During the show itself Brian tried to take a few more shots, but the teenage crowd were just going mad, you can hardly see Millie’s band and she was signing album covers during the set itself!
All the photos have a certain amount of dust and marks on them after 56 years but they have cleaned up nicely for the book. As this one isn’t in, it has not had any treatment!”
We’ve got the best of the photos in the forthcoming book which we’re pushing on with, but thought we’d show this one which hasn’t made the final edit as it is so full of life. You can read more about the book on the site. There is a post about the book’s cover below.
Obviously the current health crisis has thrown all our plans in the air as it has everybody, so we aim to crack on with projects where we can do so safely and then hopefully pick up the pieces later.
There is an interesting feature on the design of our forthcoming book Boom Boom, Boom Boom, which brings together hundreds of archive photographs of visiting black blues artists playing in Manchester taken by a young teenage fan, Brain Smith, over on the designer’s website. It shows the way he has developed the cover and arrived at the final artwork.
We usually try and work out a book’s front cover very early on; it helps focus minds and give everyone something visual to work with. And also it’s usually needed for sales information too. The problem is that inevitably small changes will need to be made but hopefully the basic design stays the same. After that the rest of the cover can wait as energies go into the inside pages, but we’re now trying to get the artwork for the Fire In The Sky cover prepared. The cover is a bit of a strange beast as it needs to be laid out flat but you have to keep in mind that it will be folded and creased to form a front, spine and back. Plus we like to have those wrap round flaps which sort of echo dust-jackets. The spine is often a bit of a guess but normally the rest of the book is prepared, and then if the spine needs to be made slightly bigger to fit I have to drop everything, adjust the artwork accordingly and get a new production files over to the printer within half an hour or so. Any of our titles which have a music theme, we use an image of album sleeve spines for the book spine. The idea is that if people have a few of the book titles, it will end up looking a bit like a mini vinyl shelf. It’s perhaps a little ambitious but our designer likes the concept!
The inside can look a little strange when viewed flat as the art needs to match up to whatever is happening on the first page of the actual book.
It is sometimes all too easy to forget that we’re actually a manufacturer, as you get weighed down by the enormous amount of work involved in actually getting a book to the printers. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the fact when you’re undoing a box of stock. I guess it’s part of the enjoyment of working in a business so closely associated with printing. So I took a few minutes to snap these copies. There is something very satisfying in seeing a title stacked up like this and wondering where the copies will end up going. They’ve already travelled almost 1500 miles before they even reach our office.
There have been quite a few emails coming in this last week or so asking why, if another website is busy announcing a new release date for one of our next titles, do we not have that information here? The answer is simple, we did not know about this! The website did not bother to contact us to check. So rest assured, as soon as we have a reliable production date for each of our next three titles it will appear here BEFORE anywhere else! Likewise if you order direct from us (once pre-orders go live) you will get the book BEFORE anyone else (that includes you know who) has stock.
Our next three titles are now close to production and will be the DEEP PURPLE BARRY PLUMMER PHOTO BOOK, The Deep Purple MACHINE HEAD biography FIRE IN THE SKY and the BOOM BOOM BRIAN SMITH BLUES PHOTO collection.
And just to prove things are happening, here’s a peek at a chunk of the Fire In The Sky page layouts (generated from within the layout software) which are being proofed and photo cleared at present. Our designer has added a colour coding to each section to make navigating what is becoming an increasingly complex document (there are over 700 images) a little easier!
Well 2019 didn’t pan out quite like we’d planned! With both Simon and Ann having had time in hospital, one after the other, current book projects had to be put on hold for some considerable time. However with the New Year, Easy On The Eye Books are starting to get moving once again and the titles which got held up are now being prepared for publication. We anticipate that the Fire In The Sky book will be first, this is now into the final photo clearing phase, with text proofed and the book laid out. This book has become much bigger than originally planned (around 700 images in total!) so will have around 260 pages now. This will be quickly followed by the Boom Boom Blues photo book, and then we’ll tackle the next two titles. Goodness knows how brexit will affect things this year but we’ll do our best (we print in mainland Europe, so have been dreading this). Anyhow, expect more page spreads and other updates in the coming weeks. Our thanks to everyone for their patience.
The illustration above is from the popular I Spy pocket books which were a publishing phenomena during the 1950s and 1960s. These are a big favourite with Simon and he has compiled a few pages devoted to them on his design site – check the link above.