Jerry Wexler - Rhythm And The Blues: A Life In American Music
|He was around at the start of one of the great periods in American popular music. He had a direct and leading influence on some of the most exciting music ever recorded. He was a partner in Atlantic Records and produced some of the music greats, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke.
Given that his personal background and family history is almost as fascinating, his autobiography couldn't be anything other than a good read.
Although it's co-authored by the writer David Ritz, this is most definitely Wexler's book - highly personal, undoubtedly subjective, it offers an insider's insight into the making of some great music, the machinations of the business, the search for success and the psyche of some of the leading artists of a golden era.
As personal accounts go, it is probably unsurpassed - and along the way, we get excellent background material on the difficulties of a fledgling independent label, the highs which came with real success, vignettes of Nashville, New Orleans and Muscle Shoals and Wexler's great anecdotes.
It can be sourced in the UK but only at considerable expense - a visit to library might be required!