Broven (Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans; cofounder, Juke Blues magazine) has put together a detailed and engrossing study of the independent record labels of the 1940s-70s. Broven presents the behind-the-scenes stories of Atlantic, Motown, Sun, Chess, King, Specialty, and other record companies as well as the relationships among the independents and radio, jukebox companies, and the trade magazines. His research included studying print sources and conducting all-important interviews with many of the principals involved in the dissemination of R & B, hillbilly music, jazz, Cajun, and early rock 'n' roll. Broven's scholarship is quite good, yet his book never reads like a scholarly tome: he weaves the stories together in fluid prose. An outstanding and important study that goes well beyond comparable predecessors; highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.
James E. Perone
"Broven ... keeps the text moving right along, his fill-in facts and explanations welcome, his segues from interviewees' words to his own smooth and easy. The author clearly loves the music and holds the achievements of the record people in high regard, but he stays level-headed and avoids overpraising his heroes."--Downbeat
"A fascinating new book about the early independent labels of rock 'n' roll underscores again the central role that radio played in turning rock 'n' roll into the musical language of modern American popular culture. Record Makers and Breakers ... is a rich and engaging history of those early years, largely told through the words of the smart guys, hustlers and Runyonesque characters who shaped them". --New York Daily News
"Broven has put together a detailed and engrossing study of the independent record labels of the 1940s-70s. . . . An outstanding and important study that goes well beyond comparable predecessors; highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)
"4 stars. Welcome to a world filled with payola, the mob and jukebox sounds."--MOJO
"Covering the convoluted history of the recording industry from the 1940s to the 1960s, [Broven] combines in-depth archival research with fascinating anecdotes about chart-toppers, shady characters and label owners. . . . The impact of conniving entrepreneurs on the musicians and the layering of rich details and digressive detours as Broven traces the transition from R&B to rock make this equal to Roger D. Kinkle’s massive, four-volume Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz.--Publishers Weekly
"The depth of factual details is incredible, but it's presented in the style of a rich oral history . . . so as not to lose any of the flavour of their anecdotes. . . . It's a chronicle of the entrepreneurial American spirit, liberally punctuated by the creation of some of the most exciting and innovative music of all time."--Record Collector