Libraries rock!


Libraries are great. Birmingham Central Library is particularly great and the staff in the music department are the greatest.

After months (years) of pulling it together the Birmingham music collection rack was unveiled a little while back.

Pictured is Einstellung’s single Sleep Easy Mr Parker. The lending copy has been borrowed three times.*

Einstellung are playing a very very special “…with a touch of Sabbath” set at the New Art Gallery Walsall Home of Metal event on 6th November. More on that from me another time though. This post is about how great libraries are.

About 11 years ago as part of the City Council’s ongoing year by year celebrations of the decades of the 20th century the Library Service published a book about the Mothers club on Erdington High Street. During its life time at the end of the 60’s and into the first years of the 70’s Mothers attracted 36,000 members and played host to the Zep, Sabbath (many times) and the whole role call of 60s psyche talent. Woodstock, Isle of Wight, Erdington. You were’t anyone until you’d played Mothers.

The book, by Kevin Duffy, a community librarian at Erdington Library documents the club, lists a full history of all the gigs that took place and reproduces posters/old membership cards – that sort of thing. It also includes a foreword by John Peel in which he says something along the lines of: “I often get emails from people who can’t quite believe that the best club in the UK, and I should know because I went to them all, was right there in Erdington High Street” – not a direct quote – I have handed my copy over to the Home Of Metal team. You can almost hear him saying it can’t you? – I know I can.

I spoke to one of the people who waits at the same bus stop as me about Mothers a while back. He had that look – that “I bet he went to Mothers” look that all taking part in the Home Of metal project should be keeping an eye out for when waiting at bus stops with flyers in their bag. He told me about The Who gig and his girlfriend fainted so he missed the performance – heard it tho!. The place was packed. No air. Unfortunately he has no Sabbath or Zep stories to relate for this project – (he was a mod) but he did agree to put a poster up in his place of work – cheers John.

John’s best story about Mothers was that his friend’s family owned the pub opposite. When Ritchie Havens played at Mothers (widely known as The Home Of Good Sounds) the piano had been lost/smashed/stolen in transit sometime earlier in the tour. Ever resourceful the promoters popped over the road and borrowed the pub piano. Every pub had a piano in those days. Social history y’see – every story about music past contains social history. Even John not going to Mothers to see Zep and Sabbath ‘cos he rode a scooter and liked wearing suits – a whole can of worms there!

The Mothers book is a slim tome and the small collection of pictures is stretched just about as far as it can go but whenever I pay a library fine (the New Years resolution I always break) I like to think that my pennies go towards projects like the Mothers book and he Birmingham music collection.

Another reason libraries are great. Last night I almost paid £20 for a copy of Bill Drummond’s book Bad Wisdom on Amazon. I got if from the library after work this evening.

* which is three times more than any of the other titles I had a quick look at!

Libraries are great. Birmingham Central Library is particularly great and the staff in the music department are the greatest.

After months (years) of pulling it together the Birmingham music collection rack was unveiled a little while back.

Pictured is Einstellung’s single Sleep Easy Mr Parker. The lending copy has been borrowed three times.*

Einstellung are playing a very very special “…with a touch of Sabbath” set at the New Art Gallery Walsall Home of Metal event on 6th November. More on that from me another time though. This post is about how great libraries are.

About 11 years ago as part of the City Council’s ongoing year by year celebrations of the decades of the 20th century the Library Service published a book about the Mothers club on Erdington High Street. During its life time at the end of the 60’s and into the first years of the 70’s Mothers attracted 36,000 members and played host to the Zep, Sabbath (many times) and the whole role call of 60s psyche talent. Woodstock, Isle of Wight, Erdington. You were’t anyone until you’d played Mothers.

The book, by Kevin Duffy, a community librarian at Erdington Library documents the club, lists a full history of all the gigs that took place and reproduces posters/old membership cards – that sort of thing. It also includes a foreword by John Peel in which he says something along the lines of: “I often get emails from people who can’t quite believe that the best club in the UK, and I should know because I went to them all, was right there in Erdington High Street” – not a direct quote – I have handed my copy over to the Home Of Metal team. You can almost hear him saying it can’t you? – I know I can.

I spoke to one of the people who waits at the same bus stop as me about Mothers a while back. He had that look – that “I bet he went to Mothers” look that all taking part in the Home Of metal project should be keeping an eye out for when waiting at bus stops with flyers in their bag. He told me about The Who gig and his girlfriend fainted so he missed the performance – heard it tho!. The place was packed. No air. Unfortunately he has no Sabbath or Zep stories to relate for this project – (he was a mod) but he did agree to put a poster up in his place of work – cheers John.

John’s best story about Mothers was that his friend’s family owned the pub opposite. When Ritchie Havens played at Mothers (widely known as The Home Of Good Sounds) the piano had been lost/smashed/stolen in transit sometime earlier in the tour. Ever resourceful the promoters popped over the road and borrowed the pub piano. Every pub had a piano in those days. Social history y’see – every story about music past contains social history. Even John not going to Mothers to see Zep and Sabbath ‘cos he rode a scooter and liked wearing suits – a whole can of worms there!

The Mothers book is a slim tome and the small collection of pictures is stretched just about as far as it can go but whenever I pay a library fine (the New Years resolution I always break) I like to think that my pennies go towards projects like the Mothers book and he Birmingham music collection.

Another reason libraries are great. Last night I almost paid £20 for a copy of Bill Drummond’s book Bad Wisdom on Amazon. I got if from the library after work this evening.

* which is three times more than any of the other titles I had a quick look at!