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.
Again our apologies for a rather quiet spell at Easy On The Eye Books, with yet more illness affecting senior staff. I guess the clue is in the word senior! As a result we’ve rejigged plans a little, and our next planned release now we’re running with the baton again will be the fabulous blues photograph book. This is not far from final proofing, but got held up again when photographer Brian Smith found yet more negatives while clearing out his garage a while ago. We have now scanned and cleaned this new batch of material and are sorting through, as some of the photographs deserve to go in the book. Brian had a few old prints of some of these but naturally we’ll be able to get much better reproduction from the negatives. Here is one of the new found frames (BEFORE being cleaned!), which was actually taken by one of Brian’s friends, and shows him with Bo Diddley backstage at (I think) the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester. Bo is holding his trademark Gretsch ‘Jupiter Thunderbird’.
We have added a Flipbook preview of Boom Boom, The Blues Photographs of Brian Smith. This can be flicked through at :
It gives an idea of how the final book looks, although there may be text changes before this goes to press.
Here’s another great (albeit it pre-restoration) shot from the upcoming book of Brian Smith’s blue photographs: Big Mama Thornton, who he photographed backstage in Manchester on a Blues package tour in 1965. We’ve been able to scan this from the original negative. I assumed the others were lost but no; “I only took the one photo, film was expensive as a young lad!” You can read more about the book on the site, and the photo also appears on the book designer’s own site with a sideways look at the outfit!
Nice to see some of Brian Smith’s photographs used properly and with permission on a new Blues CD. The disc in question is a compilation put together by Wilko Johnson from the Chess label archives, and is designed to present his fans with the sort of material which inspired him as a young guitarist. Titled The First Time I Met The Blues, it is out now on Chess – SPECXX2114. Looking at the cover (below), I can see at least three of Brian’s photographs in there! If you’re not up to speed, the material is from our upcoming book “Boom Boom Boom Boom : The Photographs of Brian Smith. American Rhythm & Blues in England 1962-1966“. And there isn’t a time I type all that when I don’t wonder a] how we ended up with such a long title and b] how on earth I can fit it all on the spine…
Talking of “Boom Boom” I managed to screw up the newsletter subscription form for this title, so prior to the date of this posting, if you thought you had subscribed, the software did not capture your details. I have corrected this and retested it, so if you go the the main page about the book, and hit the new button, it will all function properly. That way we can keep you fully up to date on the project and any special editions, etc.
I am meeting up with Brian in a few days to sort out the last of the hi-res scans for the book and caption them up properly.
Vintage Rock magazine is one of those fascinating niche music monthlies which make choosing at Smiths so hard these days. They cover the 50s and 60s in detail, with plenty of emphasis on the UK scene back then and so when they heard about Brian Smith’s Blues photo book were keen to interview him and show some of his photographs. The magazine is out now, Issue 25 (April / June) and well worth a look, although it tends to be stocked only by the bigger magazine outlets (though you can buy it direct from the publishers.) Thanks to Rik and Jack at Vintage Rock for permission to reproduce a couple of pages from the article. The shot here is one of a series Brian took from the side of the stage during a Rolling Stones concert… what an experience!
The book of Brian Smith’s fabulous Sixties Blues photographs – Boom Boom Boom Boom – is pushing along nicely, albeit a little behind schedule! But we’re pleased to be able to show the first page visuals at last. Brian has also had some of his photographs selected for a really interesting new documentary on some of the Blues sidemen who perhaps never got the recognition of some of their peers. Titled Sidemen : The Long Road To Glory, you can see an exclusive trailer for the project at the producer’s official Vimeo site. Universal have also requested a dozen of his images for an upcoming Chess blues box set. If you haven’t yet checked the book out, you can read the full details on the site.