Author: Liz Thompson (editor)
Publisher: Delilah/Putnam/Omnibus Press
Location purchased: 1/2 Price Book Warehouse, Syracuse NY
If you don’t know by now female vocalists are my thing. British groups/artists in particular. No one text has had a greater impact on my musical tastes and education than this book- flipping through it now I’m STILL amazed by the sheer amount of obscure data it contains…
‘New Women in Rock’ covers (not surprisingly) female artists that were hot in 1982. So tight is its focus though it could have been easily been called ‘Women in New Wave’ or even- and more accurately- ‘British Women in New Wave’ were it not for the inclusion of a few odd ducks such as Bette Midler and Joan Armatrading.
The biggies you’d expect to find are all here- Lene Lovich, Blondie, and Siouxsie to name a few. Where the book really shines though is the inclusion and equal treatment of all but unknown artists today such as Wendy Wu and the Photos, The Mo-Dettes, and Cherry Vanilla.The book assumes that you- a contemporary 1982 music lover- have at least a working knowledge of the artists covered; the write-ups are more of a ‘slice of life’ than an in-depth history.
Eleven different authors contribute, each with their own approach to their chosen subject. It is unclear if the article-format essays were written exclusively for this book (I assume they are), but the inclusion of writers such as Vivien Goldman hints at a deeper level of commitment to the subject since many are prominent reviewers of the day.
The book itself is gorgeous. Oversized and full-color, it contains many photographs of the artists I haven’t seen anywhere else. The layout is tight and stylish, dripping with top-notch 80’s class right down to the font choices- the slick presentation you’d expect from 80’s Omnibus Press offerings. There’s a rather comprehensive discography included as well; I’m sure hardcore completeness will snigger at the inevitable omissions, but it should keep the layman happy and busy attempting to track down its contents for quite a while.
Copies can still be found rather easily and cheaply today. Highly recommended.