The Psychedelic Furs – Beautiful Chaos (2017 edition)


Buy it now E-Book, Paperback

To celebrate 40 years of the Furs… a new edition of the ultimate story of the ultimate post-punk band.  Combining the chaos and vocal rasp of the Sex Pistols with a Bowie-esque glamour, the Psychedelic Furs hit the big time in the U.S. when John Hughes wrote a movie based on their early single “Pretty in Pink.” Poised to join U2 and Simple Minds in the premier league, they withdrew behind their shades, remaining a cult act, but one with a hugely devoted following.

This book was first published in 2004.


Those We Have Loved – Casualties and Catastrophes of the Football League, 1888-1988


Buy it now: E-Book, hardback

Originally published across two volumes in 1987-1988, “Those We Have Loved” is the story of the thirty Football League sides voted, or otherwise removed, from the competition in the years before automatic promotion and relegation were introduced..

Colourful contemporary match reports, in-depth background detail and modern analysis combine to tell a thoroughly alternate history of English football; the story of lives lived for the most part at the lower end of the League, but every one tinged with glory and triumph alongside the final tragedies.

Fully revised and updated to note the rebirth of at least a few of the clubs featured, it is a reminder that many of those we have loved are still beloved today.

Featuring full Football League histories of Aberdare Athletic, Accrington, Accrington Stanley, Ashington, Barrow, Bootle, Bradford Park Avenue, Burton Swifts, Burton United, Burton Wanderers, Darwen, Durham City, Gainsborough Trinity, Gateshead, Glossop North End, Leeds City, Loughborough, Merthyr Town, Middlesbrough Ironopolis, Nelson, New Brighton, New Brighton Tower, Newport County, Northwich Victoria, South Shields, Southport, Stalybridge Celtic, Thames, Wigan Borough, Workington, plus wartime guests Aberaman, Bath City, Croydon Common and Lovell’s Athletic.

Visit for excerpts and more.


Hey! The Story of Gum into Glam


31qxzBRoDwL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_BUY IT NOW – E-Book, paperback

Back in print for the first time in over 25 years! The original Glam Rock history, tracing beginnings reaching back to “Louie Louie,” and forward to a new age of rocking narcissism. Featuring: Adam & the Ants, Alice Cooper, the Archies, Arrows, Bauhaus, Bay City Rollers, Barry Blue, David Bowie, David Cassidy, Chinnichap, Cockney Rebel, Doctors of Madness, David Essex, Bryan Ferry, Gary Glitter, the Glitter Band, Zaine Griff, Hello, Jackson 5, Tommy James & the Shondells, Jobriath, Jook, Kasenatz-Katz, Jonathan King, the Kingsmen, Metro, the Monkees, Mott the Hoople, Mud, the Osmonds, the Partridge Family, Suzi Quatro, Mick Ronson, Rosetta Stone, Roxy Music, the Rubettes, Sexagisma, Slade, Slik, Sparks, Alvin Stardust, the Stooges, the Sweet, T Rex, Wizzard and many more.

A Seance at Syd’s – An Exclusive New Message from Beyond the Realm of Acid-Haunt-Folk-Psych-Prog- Kraut-Radiophonic-Garage-Space Etcetera

A Seance at Syd‘s is available now as an e-book; paperback; and (if you’re lucky enough to find one – it sold out long ago) as a limited edition hardback with two CDs stuffed with music 

A Seance at Syd’s – An Anthology of Acid-Haunt-Folk-Psych-Prog- Kraut-Radiophonic-Garage-Space Etcetera is…

A collection of words, wit and wisdom from some eighty different bands, performers, artists and label heads, heralds of and spokesmen for the sprawling mass of musical notions that have made this decade so unexpectedly enthralling.

Includes an Introduction by Nik Turner (Hawkwind etc); a brand new Tale from the Black Meadow by Chris Lambert; cover art by Gregory Curvey (the Luck of Eden Hall); almost 100 illustrations; and featuring in-depth and illuminating interviews with….

Black Tempest, Sproatly Smith, Palace of Swords, Beaulieu Porch, The Rowan Amber Mill, Mooch, The Owl Service, Lost Harbours, The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies, Sendelica, The Sunchymes, Alison O’Donnell, Midwich Youth Club, Reverb Worship, Us And Them, Chonyid, Angeline Morrison, Melmoth the Wanderer, King Penguin, Comus, The Bordellos, Crayola Lectern, Army of Mice, Chris Lambert, Sky Picnic, Dodson & Fogg, Crystal Jacqueline, The Chemistry Set, United Bible Studies, Diana Collier, Drew Mulholland/Mount Vernon Arts Lab, the Striped Bananas, Crow Call, Emily Jones, Francois Sky, the Nomen, Gordon Raphael, Head South by Weaving, the Luck of Eden Hall, Amanda Votta, The Hare And The Moon, Icarus Peel, Octopus Syng, Schizo Fun Addict, Grandpa Egg, Eschatone Records, Jefferson Hamer, Ghost Box, The Familiars, Beautify Junkyards, Mega Dodo, Stay, Judy Dyble, Fruits de Mer Records, the Past Tense, The Soulless Party, the Thanes, Tir Na Nog, the Child of a Creek, Astralasia, the Gathering Grey, Mark & the Clouds, Marrs Bonfire, Black Psychiatric Orchestra, The Loons, Mikey Georgeson, Mordecai Smyth, La Meccanica Sonora, Bevis Frond, Paolo Sala, Sand Snowman, the Seventh Ring of Saturn and Will Z.

A Seance At Syds 4FEATURING…

Introduction by Nik Turner (Hawkwind)

A brand new Tale from the Black Meadow, by Chris Lambert

Cover art by Gregory Curvey (the Luck of Eden Hall)

almost 100 illustrations and 500 pages



Out now! “Time & Some Words – the Anthology of Prog Rock Quotations 1969-1976”

BookCoverPreview.doBuy it now – E-Book, paperback

“Prog stood for progressive, but progression happened before the genre was coined. Progressive meant musicians could experiment, push themselves and their musicianship into new and fascinating areas. They could stretch themselves and fly free and, for the most part, their followers soared with them” – Judy Dyble

“Time And Some Words” is the ultimate Prog Rock bath-time book, a compendium of the words and wisdom of over 150 different artists representing the cream of British, American and European Prog Rock of 1969-1976, many of them culled from the author’s own interviews.

Featuring… King Crimson, Jethro Tull, ELP, Pink Floyd, Henry Cow, Eleventh House, Kraftwerk, Quiet Sun, Genesis, Steve Hillage, the Nice, Hawkwind, Yes, Renaissance, Procol Harum, Caravan, Peter Hammill, Patrick Moraz, Nektar, Refugee, Gentle Giant, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Kevin Ayers, Black Widow, the Moody Blues, Comus, Curved Air, Family, Medicine Head, the Strawbs, Matching Mole, Spooky Tooth, Brainticket, Gong… and many more!


Out Now – the Ultimate Listening Guide volumes 1-14

Out now! An entire herd of fun little e-books about a few of our favorite pop stars! Fire up your reader and groove a little!

The Ultimate Listening Guide is a series of short (approx 40 page) guides to the lives, times and most crucial recordings by a wide range of artists.

Many are based around exclusive interviews featuring the artist’s own recollections and reactions to his or her unfolding career, and are packed with both personal information and key collector’s data.

All just $2.99 from Barnes & Noble Nook

For the past thirty years, author Dave Thompson has been a contributor to a variety of collectors publications, including Goldmine, DISCoveries, Record Collector, Spiral Scratch, Live Music Review, Big O and British Punk Collector. He is also editor of the long-running Goldmine record price guides.

Titles in this series include (click to purchase)

Eric Clapton

The Clash

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Peter Frampton (coming soon)

Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac

George Harrison

Robyn Hitchcock

Bob Marley & the Wailers

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers

Joe Meek

Mothers of Invention
Mike Oldfield

Status Quo

Thin Lizzy



Image interview by Chrissie Bentley

 With close to 150 books to his name, Dave Thompson must be one of the most prolific entertainment authors around.  He is also one of the most heartfelt, layering his books with a love for (or, occasionally, hatred of) his subject that cannot help but ensnare the reader.  

Published earlier this year, his study of television’s Doctor Who, the Docto Who FAQ, almost caused certain corners of the Internet to meltdown as readers argued the merits of Thompson’s opinions, while another recent title, a biography of folk singer Steve Ashley, shines the brightest literary light imaginable upon a performer many people have never even heard of.  And demands that they remedy that situation immediately. 

Now Thompson brings us Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall, and if you think it’s going to unspool as just one more book about Pink Floyd, think again….  Once past the opening couple of chapters, they scarcely even get mentioned again until halfway through the book. 

Q: You open the book with the making of The Wall, which I’m sure will confuse some people.  Tell us why you did that.

A: I wanted to get it out of the way.  Bloody thing.  I really didn’t like it when it came out and I’ve not changed my mind since then.  I actually preferred The Final Cut when it came out  But it’s also the lead-in to the solo career, because it almost was his first solo album.  When it came time for Floyd to make a new album, Waters gave them two concepts, The Wall and The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking.  And they chose Pros and Cons.  They changed their minds a few weeks later, but  that’s how close it came.

Also because too many books, and my own are among them, are obsessed with the music that an artist made first, charting the day-to-day doings of the sixties and seventies, then treating the rest of the career as an afterthought.  Which runs the risk of encourages readers to do the same thing.

Q: Well, for many acts, it is.   

A: Okay, that’s true.  Not many people would argue that Paul McCartney’s post-Wings career is anywhere near as enthralling as his days with the Beatles.  Or that Bowie in the Eighties and beyond tells a more intriguing story than the decade that preceded them.  A Rolling Stones book that analyzed the years since Undercover would be an even bigger drag than getting old.  There’s a reason why Keith Richards’ autobiography spends more time on his favorite recipes than documenting the creative process of the 2000s.

Q: So how is Roger Waters different?  

A: Because… okay, he’s scarcely been prolific, but the music he’s made since he left Floyd has been a master class in maintaining both relevance and opinion, without once sidelining any of the reasons we consider those qualities to be of interest.  Again going back to why The Wall is important, in a lot of ways it was a sketchbook for concepts and imagery that he would return to and… it’s kind of like a demo for everything he would write about in the future.  Plus, if we go back to the 1980s, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and Radio K.A.O.S. were, and remain, the finest efforts released by any so-called veteran mainstream artist that whole dismal decade long.

Q: Tell us about the first time you heard Pink Floyd.

A: It was fall 1973, newly returned from the school summer holidays. One of my classmates was raving about an album he’d discovered while we were away. It was called The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, and he was so mortified by my lack of interest that he insisted on playing the whole thing there and then.

Q: You weren’t impressed?

A: I was thirteen and I was into Glam Rock.  Bowie, Bolan, Slade… wham bam thank you slam.  Pink Floyd?  Horrible, hairy… not one of them knew one end of a tube of lipgloss from the other, and listening to their endless album, I didn’t believe they had time for me.  I remember suffering through the interminable “Us and Them,” and feeling it suck all the joy from the room.  “Money” was a dour disco plod at a time when “disco” translated into anything that might make people feel like doing anything so uncool as dancing and, by the time the stylus hit “Brain Damage,” I was so dispirited that I condemned it as a pompous rewrite of David Bowie’s “Laughing Gnome,” and left the room.

Q: At which point, Bowie himself made you change your mind

A: Yeah.  The rat.  Bowie was the bee’s knees at that time.  He was really only two albums into his reign of stardom, but he was already more than a simple pop star.  He was also an arbiter of taste and, in the fifteen months since “Starman” set the children boogie-ing (in an age when fifteen months actually meant something, and wasn’t simply a moment in time that flashed by in ten minutes), he’d already bent my ears towards a wealth of music that I knew I’d be listening to for years to come.   Jacques Brel, Iggy, Lou Reed and the Velvets… Bowie had never let me down, which is all a very convoluted way of introducing my next exposure to Pink Floyd, courtesy of the album he delivered just a few weeks after my encounter with Dark Side Of The Moon.

Q: That would have been Pin Ups?

A: Right.  Pin Ups was Bowie’s tribute to the music that surrounded him as he was making his own way through the 1960s, and spending his spare time doing what every teenaged kid of the age was doing, listening to the radio and going to gigs.  Pin Ups was him reliving it all, revisiting his favorite oldies on an album of covers that demanded you investigate the originals.  Including the Pink Floyd song (“See Emily Play”), which I dimly recalled from the radio of the day, and which briefly made me wonder whether I’d misjudged my schoolfriend’s tastes.   Or maybe even my own.

I made it my goal, with that evangelical fervor that so easily overpowers a lad of that age, to pick up the originals of every track on the album.  The Who, Them, the Easybeats, the Merseys, the Pretty Things, the Yardbirds. Most were easy.  Boscombe, which is a small town on the [English] south coast where I was living at the time, was lousy with used record emporiums, and between Steptoes on the Christchurch Road, and Boscombe Electrics deeper into town, I found most of what I was searching for, either on a well-loved old single, or on a battered used LP.

Now, “See Emily Play” had been a major UK hit, and it sold a lot of copies.  But, either everyone who bought it had decided to hang onto it, or else there were other people bent on the same mission as me, who were snapping up every copy before I could find it.   It wasn’t showing up anywhere.  So finally I bit the bullet.  A meander around a “real” record store, where pristine new vinyl was sold at full price, revealed a budget-priced Floyd compilation called Relics.  It cost, I believe, a little less than twice the price of a new 45; which, according to a mathematical formula that I invented on the spot, meant if I liked four songs on it, I’d already broken even, and if I liked more than that, I was streaking ahead.

Q: I’m guessing you liked it.

 A: I think I must have.  Either that, or my record collection is haunted.  I don’t even want to count how many times I’ve bought every single Floyd album, between vinyl, CDs, remasters, reissues, box sets…  Right now, I’m looking at half a dozen different versions of Dark Side Of The Moon, without even considering six more in the Immersion box set; half a dozen Wish You Were Here’s, and as for Piper At The Gates Of Dawn….

Q: Is that your favorite?

 A: Funnily enough, More was my favorite for a long time, especially when it was my turn to proselytize Floyd.  “The Nile Song” never let me down.  I also have an only partially suppressed memory of presenting an essay or poem to the school one day, with “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” cranked loudly enough on the school gramophone that it drowned out whatever twaddle I had composed for the occasion.  More and Saucerful of Secrets.

Then I discovered bootlegs, beginning with Winter Tour 74, which appeared from nowhere that same Christmas, and fooled a lot of people, including myself, into thinking it was a new Floyd album.  And when I realized that it wasn’t, I went looking for more.  I didn’t get too far because at five pounds a pop, they were almost twice the price of a legitimate release.

But I found a few and I adore them still.  In Celebration of the Comet: The Coming of Kahoutek; Magnesium Proverbs; Oenone.  At a time when Pink Floyd were releasing new albums at what then seemed the hyper-glacial rate of one every two years or so, Floyd boots soon outstripped even Bowie on my shelves. And at least half of the thrill of first hearing Animals in 1977 was the realization that those two unknown songs on my first ever Floyd boot were now the centerpiece of their latest LP.  Which might be why, to answer your question, that’s probably my true favorite Floyd record.  Except when it’s Obscured By Clouds.

Q: What do you think of the current state of their catalog?  

 A: You mean the reissues and box sets?  Well, obviously I won’t be happy until we have the Piper box.  And another for Animals.  But apart from Bob Dylan and King Crimson, I don’t think any band could claim to have better served its archive-scouring public.  And the fact that Pink Floyd remain the only major act in rock’n’roll history to still be awaiting a career-spanning box set is readily balanced by the fact that almost every one of their albums deserves a box to itself.

Which is the other reason why I wanted to present the book ass-backwards, and why we begin in the middle, travel through to the end, and then loop around and continue on from the beginning.  Which… to digress… is not to say you shouldn’t read it in chronological order, because of course you can.  Just turn to the beginning of… I think it’s Chapter Nine…. and away you go.

For the rest of us, though; those whose journeys with the Floyd began in an age before The Wall was built, and certainly before it came tumbling down, the suspension of our own personal timeline allows us to investigate patterns that we might never otherwise have cared to; permits, too, the satisfaction of seeing how the past will always repeat itself, whether as an influence or an intrusion, without having already been reminded precisely what that past originally was.  Because the story of the band in general, and Roger Waters in particular, is not a linear one. It does convulse, it does circle back and, most of all, it does demand that you pay attention.

Q. Even to The Wall?

A: Personally, I still don’t like The Wall, and I could probably tell you exactly the number of times I have actually listened to it all the way through, without taking at least one extended break.  But it is where this story begins, and thanks to his current tour, it’s also where it ends.  So I never did get it out of the way, really.  It was always waiting somewhere.

Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall is published by Backbeat Books on September 17, 2013.

Steve Ashley – Fire and Wine: An Armchair Guide to Steve Ashley


Buy Now – e-book

The first complete musical biography of one of the UK’s most respected and talented singer-songwriters.

Fire and Wine is the first biography of the artist Mojo magazine described as “the Inspector Morse of the folk world – a gentle romantic with a flair for mystery”; and whose debut album, Stroll On,  holds a permanent place among the greatest folk-rock records ever made.

Steve’s own recollections are joined by a small army of friends and colleagues, including Dave Pegg, Shirley Collins, Linda Thompson, Chris Leslie, Colin Irwin, Bruce Rowland, Maartin Allcock, Austin John Marshall and many others.

Packed with rare photographs (print edition only), Fire and Wine is an indispensable addition to the folk and traditional library.

Visit Steve Ashley here


Just as Shirley Collins is one of the key components in the growth of the folk revival through the 1960s, so 1969’s Anthems in Eden would become one of the key albums of the folk revival, an early release on the newly formed Harvest progressive rock specialist label, and a startling rebuttal of all those critics who argued that folk could not step into any other musical realms.

Musically, it is everywhere, time traveling through medieval and Renaissance sounds, invoking the ghosts of brass bands in best baroque finery, haunted by Dolly’s pipe-organ, alive with the strains of David Munrow’s Early Music Consort, a virtual orchestra of early instruments. (Adam Skeaping contributed viol to the proceedings.)

But the sackbuts, cornets and crumhorns were catapulted out of their own era, to be locked instead into that precious era of English history that teetered on the precipice of the First World War. A time, Shirley later remarked, “when the maypole was replaced by a memorial stone. It was the same shape, but had scores of young men’s names on it.”

John Marshall later pointed out that many of the older women whom one encountered around Cecil Sharp House in those days were, in fact, widows of that war, looking for the music and traditions that might help them recapture  a sense of those halcyon days—imagery that would inspire him to write “Whitsun Dance.”

Of course the romance of the era has a sting in its tail, as Shirley reminded journalist Mike Barnes. “The good old times were never the good old times because there was such hardship. But what I think is true of peasant life is that along with the hardships there was some awareness of beauty. The innocence, I suppose, was the fact that people had been plucked away by the press gangs to go and fight wars, but in the 1914 war they seemed to go willingly to fight. And for whom and for what?  Because what did they come back to? No homes, no jobs, no money and nobody really helping them.”

Steve recalls, “The sessions for this one at Abbey Road were very exciting, with David Munrow, Christopher Hogwood, the Skeapings and other early music specialists. I also had the chance to sing with Royston Wood. We knew each other from before the Young Tradition, when he and Pete Bellamy were singing as a duo. We were brought in with my friend John Morgan to augment the chorus group The Home Brew. Royston and I were destined to work together again later, in the Albion Country Band.

Anthems In Eden was a great achievement both for John as producer, and for Shirley of course, whose live vocal led the entire ensemble, and also for Dolly’s extraordinary arrangements. It’s amazing to think that the whole thing was recorded live in the studio over two days. No vocal overdubs, just straight. John’s ‘Whitsun Dance’ and those Copper songs with Dolly’s orchestration all fitted together so well. It’s a real folk classic.”

Shirley continues, “The Anthems arrangements were all written by my sister Dolly, and she wasn’t influenced by John, except that, of course, he somehow made the whole of the Anthems experiment come to fruition. And, crucially, he wrote the words to The Whitsun Dance’ ( or ‘The Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun) which I set to a Copper Family tune ‘The False Bride’ or ‘The Week Before Easter’ which was the focus of the ‘Anthems Suite.’ And Steve was there singing choruses, and bringing his welcome presence to the recording studio.”

Shirley outlines the songs to which Steve contributed. “‘The Wedding Song’ comes from the Copper family of Sussex, whose forebears lived in the same village for over 400 years, and worked on the land. Like many of their tunes, it sounds like an anthem.

“‘Lowlands’ is, well, simply ‘Lowlands.’ It’s just been there for a long time in the folk memory.

“‘Pleasant and Delightful’ has been sung throughout Southern England for a couple of hundred years. It was popular in folk clubs because a) it’s a great song and b) the audience could join in the chorus and make their own harmonies.

“And ‘The Staines Morris’ tune is old! i.e. 17th century. I found it in William Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Time,  published in the mid 1850s. He attached the words called The Maypole Song from Acteon & Diana as, he said, ‘it was exactly fitted to the air’.”

Steve’s first appearance on LP (the album was released in July 1969) may also have introduced him to another of the music journalists who have remained a staunch supporter across the years since then.

Colin Irwin, soon to become one of the leading lights in Melody Maker throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and still one of the freshest voices in folk and rock writing, recalls, “I can’t quite remember where or when I first heard or saw Steve. I have vague memories of a show in London—I think it may have been the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, but I can’t be sure, I was very aware of him through Karl Dallas, who I read avidly in Melody Maker and was clearly a big fan.

“I’d bought Anthems In Eden and knew his name from the credits on that. At that time it was a much smaller scene with fewer records, so if you saw somebody mentioned or someone who sang and played on a big release like Anthems In Eden, you were alerted to another artist who would for sure be worth checking out.”