Summer Reading List: Bill Schurk

What would summer be without a good reading list? Throughout the summer BGSU faculty, staff and students will share their picks for best summer reading. We hope you find time to read some of the selections and share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page!



Bill Schurk '66
Sound Recordings Archivist and Founding Librarian
BGSU Music Library and Sound Recording Archives

For me, reading is more of a year-round marathon than a summertime sprint. I review piles of the best sound recordings-related books as a member of the Awards for Excellence Committee within the Association for Recorded Sound Collections.

After working at the BGSU Music Library and Sound Recording Archives for almost 46 years, I still love this job. It has been a thrill to help build our sound research collections from nothing. Today we have more than one million recordings, making ours the largest academically held sound recording collection on the continent. Over the years, I've met researchers from Japan, Germany, England, Canada and nearly all of the 50 states who have traveled great distances to explore resources that BGSU students can use every single day.

And famous musicians have found their way here, too, with visits from the likes of legendary folk singer and author Dick Weissman (who sang in the Journeymen with John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas); the 1950s variety show host and musician Steve Allen (and a donor of ours); Art Rupe, founder of Specialty Records which was Little Richard's first major label; and Motown legend Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas (with the hit "Dancing in the Street.")

I've also gotten to meet some of the most generous people who love BGSU libraries. The best of our collection is here thanks to donors, and at least eight of our donors have been nominated by me and recognized with Friends of the Library awards.

Anyway, here is a sampling of the best recordings- and music-related books I've read lately:

  • Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans by Ben Sandmel
    This is a biography of New Orleans rhythm and blues legend who was introduced to his adoring public in 1961 with the blockbuster hit, "Mother-in-Law."
  • Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock'n'Roll by Robert Rodriguez
    This brilliant history of the milestone 1966 LP recording, Revolver, identifies the game-changer that truly signaled the Beatles' progression from a functional band to a studio-based ensemble.
  • Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers by Charlie Louvin and Benjamin Whitmer
    Here you'll find one of America's great untold stories: the true tale of the Louvin Brothers, Charlie and Ira. This is a mid-20th-century Southern gothic Cain and Abel tale of one of the greatest country duos of all time.
  • Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio, 980-1980 by Patrick Feaster
    In the last 10 years we've come to realize that the earliest recorded and playable sounds did not start with Edison's tin foil recording of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" in 1877. This book features essays and background information image of "etched" or printed sounds that predate this supposed milestone by many years. Also accompanying this book is a CD with the historical sounds he references.
  • Always in Trouble: an Oral History of ESP-Disk', the Most Outrageous Record Label in America by Jason Weiss
    In 1964, Bernard Stollman launched the independent record label ESP-Disk' in New York City to document the free jazz movement there. A bare-bones enterprise, ESP was in the right place at the right time, producing albums by artists like Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, and Sun Ra, as well as folk-rock bands like the Fugs, the Godz, the Holy Modal Rounders, and Pearls Before Swine.
  • Abbey Road: The Best Studio in the World by Alistair Lawrence and Sir George Martin
    This fabulous highly illustrated book includes a full history of the famed recording studio, with timeline, facts and figures, a discography with famous album covers from the 1930s to now, and a wealth of never-before-seen photos.

Updated: 12/02/2017 12:55AM