Author John Lias gives us a summary of his entry into the soul world, his drive to write Spinning Around: A History of the Soul LP and a hint of what else is in the pipeline:
"I first became passionately interested in soul music round about 1972 or 1973 (thanks to radio and youth club discos) when I was sixteen or seventeen years old. At that point I bought singles and albums fairly equally. By 1978 I was buying more and more albums. I also read a great deal; Black Music, Blues And Soul, Echoes from a soul perspective, but also NME as a more general musical overview. It started to become clear to me all those years ago that soul LPs were considered less important and interesting than soul singles and deemed less worthy of respect than rock albums. This latter point particularly annoyed me and continued to do so for years. To address this was my main motivation for the book.
I continued avidly buying LPs and books and magazines about soul throughout the eighties and nineties. Around 2000 or so I had the idea to write a book. As I was incredibly busy at work it was taken on as a retirement project, starting in October 2012. The original idea was to list all the albums but maybe only review 50% or so of them, but quickly realised I wanted to review almost all to give the book more authority.
I had also decided early on that I wanted to self-publish as I didn't want to cede any control to anyone else. This was MY project. I therefore paid all printing costs myself and was determined to make it a top quality work with no short cuts. Definitely hard back, with an emphasis on high standard of paper, binding and colour photos (I honestly think £20 is a steal: when I compare it to price of many other music books). I also worked on the assumption that no-one else would produce a book on soul LPs in the detail I have undertaken. I’d be mortified if I looked back on it and wish I had done this or that differently. I'm very happy with book and wouldn't change a thing about it.
People are disagreeing with some of my opinions, which is great. That's exactly what I want. A book saying everything is 'awesome' or 'stunning' would be of no interest and frankly would have been deathly dull to write.
Volume 2, K-Z, will be published in around March 2018 based on current progress. I'm about quarter way through the follow-up."
John's project has received positive reviews in Echoes, Record Collector, Shindig! and Soul Express. Future reviews are due to appear in Soul Up North and Soul Bag. Copies of Spinning Around are available from A Nickel And A Nail at £19.99 (in the new book section).