Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques 2nd Edition – book review

Joe Meek's Bold Techniques, Front Cover

Well its not often we review a book that is not about music theory or relevant to the Fretless Guitar, but this is a worthwhile exception as it details the techniques of a music recording pioneer, Joe Meek. Perhaps most famous for his recording of Telstar by the Tornadoes.

Barry Cleveland (respected Rock Journalist and musician) is the author and when he saw the first edition paperback changing hands for upwards of $100 he decided to enhance the book adding more material and also publish Joe Meek’s album “I Hear a New World” as a download with the second edition of the book.

Review

Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques – 2nd Edition
Author: Barry Cleveland
Format: 8 1/2 x 11 inches, Hardback, 276 pages
Published: 2013 ElevenEleven Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-615-73600-6
Art Director: Jeremy Nunes
Cover Design: Paul Haggard

The book covers Joe Meek’s 12 year career and if you have not heard of Joe before, consider these landmark firsts:
One of the first to experiment professionally with sound-on-sound overdubbing techniques (1951)
The first to put microphones directly in front of and sometimes inside sound sources (1954)
The first to intentionally overload preamplifier inputs and print “hot” signals to tape (1954)
The first to use compressors and limiters in creative rather than corrective applications (1954)
The first to build a compact spring reverb unit (1957)
The first to “flange” sounds using two synchronized tape recorders (1957)
The first to employ tape loops on commercial recordings (1959)

While there have been other biographies of Meek (and there is an extensive reference chapter in the book listing sources) this is the first book to concentrate on just how Meek used techniques, it does go into great detail with profuse illustrations and pictures of the equipment used, the floor plan of the studio, receipts for equipment, even adverts for the equipment used.

The appendix lists a complete discography which surprised me just how many records he had produced.

In all this is a fascinating read and also a great reference book, Barry Cleveland has done a masterful job making this entertaining and interesting throughout, thoroughly recommend! Please take a look at the video below and Barry’s introduction, this is a worthwhile addition to any muso’s bookshelf especially if you remember working with vintage equipment.

Review Jahloon – December 2015

Youtube preview of the book

“The video provides a concise overview of Meek’s extraordinary career and his huge impact on recording worldwide. Audio snippets from my interviews with Les Paul, Ritchie Blackmore, and Steve Howe are included, and there’s also some rare early film footage of Blackmore and Howe, as well as a rocking early Tom Jones clip.” – Barry Cleveland

Links

More info about the book is here: http://www.barrycleveland.com/jm-about

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