Home Read News Next Week in Music | March 22-28 • New Books

Next Week in Music | March 22-28 • New Books

Nipsey, Labelle, Kate and the rest of the names on your latest reading list.


Labelle and a label, a king of rap and a queen of traps, an art-popster and pop artwork — these are your new music books of the week. Read all about ’em:


The Last Soul Company: The Malaco Records Story
By Rob Bowman

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The Malaco story is one of the greatest, and certainly the most improbable, of any independent record company in the history of American music. Record industry wisdom would suggest that starting a label in Jackson, Miss., was a losing proposition from the word go. Yet, that is exactly what Tommy Couch Sr., Mitchell Malouf and Wolf Stephenson decided to do in 1967. The Last Soul Company chronicles the history of the label and dives into the careers of label artists that include Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bobby Blue Bland, Z.Z. Hill, Little Milton, Johnnie Taylor, James Cleveland and others. The 200-page volume contains rare photographs with a forward by early rock expert Peter Guralnick. A half century since its humble beginnings, Malaco remains the longest-standing fully independent record company in American music history and is the most important black gospel label in the world. Based on dozens of interviews, in The Last Soul Company Grammy-winning writer Rob Bowman weaves together the tale of a half century of Malaco soul and gospel productions, discussing the careers and the hit records of dozens of seminal Malaco-based artists. In the process, Bowman tells the story of a record company that, against all odds, continues to make black music primarily for black people.”

The Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle
By Rob Kenner

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The first in-depth biography of Nipsey Hussle, the hip-hop mogul, artist, and activist whose transformative legacy inspired a generation with his motivational lyrics and visionary business savvy — before he was tragically shot down in the very neighborhood he was dedicated to building up. In the 10 years since he first met Nipsey Hussle, journalist Rob Kenner followed Hussle’s career, paying close attention to the music and business movement he was building in Los Angeles. Ten years later, they spoke again. To Kenner, it became clear that Hussle had been underestimated his entire life — not just for his artistry but also for his intellect and intentions. For Nipsey Hussle, “The Marathon” was more than a mixtape title or the name of a clothing store; it was a way of life, a metaphor for the relentless pursuit of excellence and the willpower required to overcome adversity day after day. Hussle was determined to win the race to success on his own terms, and he wanted to see his whole community in the winner’s circle with him. Combining on-the-ground reporting and candid interviews with Hussle’s friends, family, and peers, The Marathon Don’t Stop traces the life and work of an extraordinary artist, placing him in historical context and unpacking his complex legacy.”

The Lady Swings: Memoirs of a Jazz Drummer
By Dottie Dodgion & Wayne Enstice

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Dottie Dodgion is a jazz drummer who played with the best. A survivor, she lived an entire lifetime before she was 17. Undeterred by hardships she defied the odds and earned a seat as a woman in the exclusive men’s club of jazz. Her dues-paying path as a musician took her from early work with Charles Mingus to being hired by Benny Goodman at Basin Street East on her first day in New York. From there she broke new ground as a woman who played a “man’s instrument” in first-string, all-male New York City jazz bands. Her inspiring memoir talks frankly about her music and the challenges she faced, and shines a light into the jazz world of the 1960s and 1970s. Vivid and always entertaining, The Lady Swings tells Dottie Dodgion’s story with the same verve and straight-ahead honesty that powered her playing.”

Art Sleeves: Album Covers by Artists
By DB Burkeman

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Like a well-made playlist, the album covers in this volume combine to create a portrait of cool and culture desired by art, music, and record lovers alike. Art Sleeves is a time capsule of visual art and music culture as shown through the most important record covers designed by visual artists and graphic designers in the past forty years. This tightly curated collection of covers chosen includes works with significant cultural impact as well as collaborations that themselves created cultural fascination. The eclectic roster of visual artist-musician collaborations presented spans art and musical genres as well as generations, including Ryan McGinley for Sigur Rós, Kara Walker for Arto Lindsay, Peter Saville for Joy Division, Barbara Kruger for Growing Up Skipper, Jeff Koons for Lady Gaga, Tauba Auerbach for Glasser, and Stanley Donwood for Radiohead, to name a few. From postmodernist paintings and minimalism to collage and photography, as well as new wave, emo, pop, and punk, the albums chosen present a bright and rich visual and cultural history. This inspiring volume celebrates this long creative tradition of visual artist-musician collaborations and, just like a perfect album, it will be treasured by art, music, and record lovers alike.”

Kate Bush: Song by Song
By John Van Der Kiste

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kate Bush began her career in 1978 at the age of 19 with the single Wuthering Heights, inspired by a film adaptation of the Emily Brontë novel, the first No. 1 U.K. single to be written and sung by a female artist, and the accompanying album The Kick Inside, both of which established her as a highly individual talent. She has always preferred the recording studio, with live performances and tours having been few and far between. While all her albums have been very successful at home and abroad, her third, Never For Ever (1980), was the first by a female artist to enter the British chart at No. 1. Her eclectic, experimental musical style, with its often literary and unconventional lyrical themes, has defied easy categorisation, and earned the lasting admiration of fans, fellow performers and music critics alike, while an eclectic roster of guest artists including Eric Clapton, Elton John, Prince, and Stephen Fry have appeared on her work. This book provides a thorough examination of the songs on all her singles, albums, and occasional recorded collaborations with other artists.”

Why Labelle Matters
By Adele Bertei

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Performing as The Bluebelles in the 1960s, Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash wore bouffant wigs and chiffon dresses, and they harmonized vocals like many other girl groups of the era. After a decade on the Chitlin Circuit, however, they were ready to write their own material, change their name, and deliver — as Labelle — an electrifyingly celestial sound and styling that reached a crescendo with a legendary performance at the Metropolitan Opera House to celebrate the release of Nightbirds and its most well-known track Lady Marmalade. In Why Labelle Matters, Adele Bertei tells the story of the group that sang the opening aria of Afrofuturism and proclaimed a new theology of musical liberation for women, people of color, and LGBTQ people across the globe. With sumptuous and galactic costumes, genre-bending lyrics, and stratospheric vocals, Labelle’s out-of-this-world performances changed the course of pop music and made them the first Black group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone. Why Labelle Matters, informed by interviews with members of the group as well as Bertei’s own experience as a groundbreaking musician, is the first cultural assessment of this transformative act.”