In this remarkable book, Douglas Wolk recreates the evening of October 24th 1962, at Harlem's Apollo Theatre, an evening at the epicentre of Cold War tensions. An evening when James Brown took the stage to be faced by 1500 screaming fans - fans who thought they might well be dead within a week. Wolk reconstructs, in great detail, what took place (and was recorded) inside the Apollo that night: one of the tightest, most legendary performances ever put down on tape. 33 1/3 is a series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. Focusing on one album rather than an artist's entire output, the books dispense with the standard biographical background that fans know already, and cut to the heart of the music on each album. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives, often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music. (A task that can be, as Elvis Costello famously observed, as tricky as dancing about architecture.)
What binds this series together, and what brings it to life, is that all of the authors - musicians, scholars, and writers - are deeply in love with the album they have chosen. Previous titles in this now well-established series have beaten sales expectations and received excellent review coverage - the third batch is sure to continue this success. More titles follow in the spring of 2005.
"Live recordings are something we often take for granted. We forget that what we're hearing is more than music. That it's an event, something that happened in a specific time, at a specific place. Douglas Wolk, through piecing together the events of the evening in 1962 where James Brown recorded his classic Live at the Apollo performance, brings the event, the place, the music to life. If you haven't heard Live at the Apollo, do so now--it's essential. Then read this book, which promotes an even deeper love for James Brown's landmark album.' --Zack Adcock, The Hub Weekly, 1/13/05