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Book details
  • Genre:MUSIC
  • SubGenre:History & Criticism
  • Language:English
  • Pages:550
  • Paperback ISBN:9780578724812

Stacks of Wax

The Complete History of the Record Labels of Cincinnati, Ohio

by David Bottoms View author's profile page

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The book is a history of the numerous record labels based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The most prominent of these was King Records, begun in 1943 by Syd Nathan. The King label included subsidiaries Queen, Federal, DeLuxe, Bethlehem and Audiolab, each important in their own right. Also examined are Fraternity, Rite, Lee, Lucky, Ruby and Saxony, as well as dozens of other small to tiny operations.

The book moves forward chronologically, discussing the city's story with regard to radio and the recording industry as well as placing that story within the larger picture of American popular music and its many and varied forms. 

The city's cultural milieu figured prominently in its growth, and accordingly the story delves into Cincinnati's racial development and relations over time, examining serial influxes of migrants seeking work and the effects such movement and changing populations had on local/regional music. The industry of recorded music is material to the story, as are changing trends in popular tastes, competition at all levels of the business and the impact of entrepreneurial figures on what was largely a very corporate environment. The book offers insight into the very specific importance of independent record companies, their effect on 20th century culture, and their lasting contributions to American creative expression.

About the author
David Bottoms moved to Ohio in 1992 and was immediately struck by the city's tangible history - a cultural legacy contained not only in its layout, architecture, civic pride and vitality but also in its storied creative contributions. As a writer, historian, music lover and record collector he hit upon an idea: why not write the definitive history of Cincinnati's numerous, influential record companies? So began a 25-year project, a vast undertaking of research and critique that examined the city's interpretations of musical styles and forms, from the earliest settlers to the practitioners of today. He hopes the book, through this exhaustive approach, will also provide a meditation upon the country's musical progression at large, thus sparking ongoing scholarship and appreciation.

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