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HIST4800: Rock'n'Roll and American Society: Discographical Resources

Critics in the Rock Press

There are plenty of publications in print and on the web that provide reviews of current releases, and some of them also have deep archives going back many years. Here are some sources.

Discographical Resources is an online music guide service website, owned by All Media Network, LLC. One of the most comprehemsive discographical guides available, the site features detailed information about commercially released music throughout the rock era right up to the present. For most artists, the discographies cover albums, compilations, singles and EPs, DVDs and videos. Most entries include cover art, release dates, recording dates, record company, musicians, production credits, track listings, composers, and reviews. An essential tools for any research into recorded music.

The Great Metal Discography / M.C. Strong. - Edinburgh : Canongate Press, 1998. - 383 p. : ill. ; 30 cm. - Call Number: REF ML156.4.R6S87
Tackling heavy metal, hard rock, grunge, and a few punk bands, Strong treats rock fans to a heavy-metal sequel to his groundbreaking The Great Rock Discography and The Great Psychedelic Discography. As in his other exhaustive works, Strong begins each entry with a fact-filled, engaging biography of the band or artist. He includes career highlights, noteworthy dates, names of band members, and recommended recordings rated on a scale of one to ten. The discography that follows offers a comprehensive list of every seven-inch, 12-inch, and long-playing record and CD issued by the artist through 1997, complete with the top British and American chart positions of each entry. Though he repeats entries for many well-known groups included in The Great Rock Discography (e.g., Metallica, Kansas, Nirvana, and Led Zeppelin), Strong chronicles the output of such heavy-metal madmen as Barren Cross, Excalibur, Gorefest, and Lawnmower Deth that appear in few other readily accessible rock compendiums. [Library Journal]

The Great Rock Discography, 2nd edition / M.C. Strong. - Edinburgh : Canongate Press, 1995. - 939 p. : ill. ; 30 cm. - Call Number: REF ML156.4.R6S8
This reference work provides comprehensive discographies and brief biographical information for more than 1,000 rock performers. Detailed profiles for each include information on musical roots, name changes, and history, including references to solo works by individual band members. Discographies provide release dates, record labels, listings of album cuts, and CD and LP catalog numbers, as well as information on top US and UK chart positions. [Choice]

MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 2nd edition / Gary Graff and Daniel Durchholz. - Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. - xxv, 1497 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. + 1 sound disc (digital ; 4 3/4 in.) - Includes bibliographical references (p. 1291-1297) and indexes. - Call Number: REF ML156.4.R6M87
One of a family of guides to music, this second edition of a 1996 work has siblings for country, blues, rhythm and blues, "lounge," folk, and jazz. It improves on the previous edition by having an index and photographs and by being twice as long. Each rock act gets a partial or full page, depending on its prestige, with the following information given for each: birth/death dates for individuals or formed/disbanded dates for groups; summary paragraph; "What to buy"; "What to buy next"; "What to avoid"; "The rest"; "Worth searching for"; "Influences"; and "See also." The volume consists of about 1,300 pages of information on rock acts, followed by "Compilation Albums"; "Books and Magazines"; "Web Sites"; "Record Labels"; "Radio Stations"; "5-Bone Album Index" (the section most likely to be torn out by readers, since it is a list of best albums); "Band-Member Index"; "Category Index" (e.g., "All-Girl Groups"); and "Series Index," a guide to artists and groups in all the MusicHound series. [Choice]

Rock'n'Roll, 1970 through 1979: Discographies of All Performers who Hit the Charts / John W. Edwards. - Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1993 - 640 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. - Includes bibliographical references (p. 553) and index. - Call Number: REF ML156.4.R6E32
Edwards's latest "discography" continues chronologically his Rock 'n' Roll Through 1969 (1992). Entries for any artist or group whose records were released before 1970, but whose careers continued past that date, are in both books. The present work suffers, like its predecessor, from never-defined (nor explicitly stated) criteria for inclusion or exclusion. [Choice]

Searchin' for Shakes: The Garage/Psych Compilation Database
The "Nuggets" album in 1972 was the first to mine the rich vein of overlooked beat, garage and psychedelic rock released from 1964-1970. Since then, many hundreds of compilations ("comps") have followed, as collectors scoured the planet for every obscure single and album track worthy of an expanded audience. This database provides track lists for all of these comps, as well as other pertinent information - where the bands were from, what label the songs originally appeared on, etc. Initial inspiration came from David Walter's book, "Children of Nuggets," but the site has expanded its scope to include comps originally released in the 60s, and comps focusing on modern bands that are heavily influenced by mid to late 60s sounds. The site now also includes a fanzine search page.

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Richard Kearney
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