THIS IS ROCK & ROLL Vol 1
Carl Dunn ~ Photographer
Rutledge Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-9727975-0-5. Published 2003.
Reviewed by David Clayton
Considering the amount of photographs taken of musicians its actually quite staggering how few books there are that collect together the work of photographers, either individually or jointly. Certainly Ross Halfin as provided excellent (if limited edition) volumes on The Who and Led Zeppelin, and in the eighties there was a nice book of photographs by Robert Ellis, but other than that the photographers art regards Rock Music and Rock musicians is generally hidden in his own archive, the only outlet the odd rock magazine review or retrospective article / album reissue. When you think about it this is ridiculous! All those incredible shots of Free we had in Heavy Load have been lying around for years unused, and many photographers have equal amounts of other great pictures, covering numerous bands, that remain unseen, and unappreciated. In that respect alone THIS book; celebrating the work of Carl Dunn, is a revelation.
This Is Rock & Roll is roughly the same size and weight as Heavy Load. Its not a cheap tome; but the cover and paper ooze quality. It has a nice hard fat coat, and crisp thick paper stock. Hit someone with it and youll kill them, but the book will survive just fine. It has 204 pages with over 500 previously unpublished photographs, and some of them clean take your breath away. Sure, it has all the usual suspects, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen BUT, it also has a never before seen shot of Koss, some nice Bad Company pictures, really cool Alice Cooper shots (Carl, we need to talk!!) - already Im in heaven, but theres more The shots of an unbearded Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top playing Pearly Gates, one of the most beautiful Les Pauls Ive ever seen, are just incredible. The Jeff Beck shots are fabulous (P6 FANTASTIC), the Hendrix material just sublime (P34 YEAH!!), Lynyrd Skynyrd (P59 and reprinted on the left CLASSIC!!), and the list just goes on and on, but theres more. This book not only contains the big guys, the fat wallets, the big sellers. There are classic shots of Humble Pie, SAHB, Golden Earring, Uriah Heep - Hell, there are even shots of personal faves Trapeze!!
The list of artists included is impressive, the book incredibly difficult to put down, and even the index is so comprehensive (artist/group, venue, date) its difficult to pick fault. However, I feel some construction to the volume would have aided it. All the shots are spread out all over the place with no resemblance of order, neither chronological nor grouped. Shots of ZZ Top, for example, turn up all over the book, but they are all from the same show, and I feel having this material in order of shoot dates (at the very least) would have been useful. Even so, that really is the most MINOR of niggles, and one could say that having everything spread out gives the book a continued surprise with every turn of the page appeal. I can see both opinions have credibility. Chronologically would however have been my choice, as this would have added an interesting evolution of Rock element. Have no doubts this is a great book, and it is well worth the money despite the large cost of mailing to the UK. Tiny fragments of light and shadow transport us back in time to share a moment with bands and artists, some split and fragmented, some dead and buried - some in their finest hour. Now, about Volume 2
This Is Rock & Roll should be available from any good American bookstore, and its available on the internet directly from the publishers or from Amazon.com.
USA and Canada $40 + $10 shipping
Elsewhere $40 + $25 shipping
Carl Dunns photographs have appeared on more than 30 album covers including those by Led Zeppelin, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jimi Hendrix, and The Moody Blues. As a professional Rock photographer his work has been published in the international music press for over 30 years throughout Japan, Germany, France, Australia, England, and the United States. Carls photographs were featured in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fames special Led Zeppelin exhibit as well as Ross Halfins legendary books The Photographers Led Zeppelin and The Who Live.