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Rock Reads: 45 RPM (Recollections Per Minute) The Morrell Archives Volume 3 by Dave Morrell

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Morrell enjoyed a lengthy career as a record company promotion man; those are the guys whose job it is to get songs on the radio, or to paraphrase Joni Mitchell, to "stoke the star maker machinery."

This is not a job that's done sitting behind a desk; promo men are always on the move, interacting with radio station music directors and the artists that they are promoting. Here Morell presents a fast read chronicling his tenure with various major labels of the time (1975-80) including Warner Brothers, RCA, 20th Century Fox, Arista and Capitol, peppered with tales of his interactions with the likes of Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton, David Bowie, John Lennon, Jefferson Starship, Hall & Oates, Patti Smith and dozens of other stars as well as lots of acts that never broke through.

The book weaves a vivid picture of the ups and downs and ins and outs of the life of a promo man, so readers that generally know nothing about that career choice going in will have a pretty good understanding of the job by the end of the book.

Morrell's writing style is relaxed in such a way that the fun he had back in the day easily translates to the reader, who'll be regaled with stories about Lou Reed being cool and Lou Reed being a snot, Phil Spector being standoffish but then surprising Morrell with a respectful letter, smoking weed with John Denver, and having a toot with Mick Jagger.

Morrell presents things in a positive light here most of the time, even when things are going wrong, but the gloves come off in the chapters that recall his days with Arista where label honcho Clive Davis is portrayed as an out-of-touch and obnoxious dumbass.

While there have been lots of changes in the way things are done since this era bygone by 40-years, Morrell is still active as an independent promotion man and hopefully the forthcoming volumes of his memoir series will be as much fun as this "Volume 3" is. Order it here.

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