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Before CD-Rs and MP3s became the standard, unsigned musicians looking to release a professional quality product were forced go through custom pressing plants. The resulting records had many of the same attributes as major-label LPs: full colour artwork and hi-fi sonics, but as collectors and crate diggers would later discover, the artists themselves were a unique breed. Their limited release albums, dubbed real people music by record dealer Paul Major, were idiosyncratic, touchingly sincere and occasionally brilliant.
Due out in April from Sinecure Books (and available for preorder now), Enjoy The Experience: Homemade Records 1958-1992 collects art from more than 1,000 such records. Editor and collector Johan Kugelberg (Punk: An Aesthetic) came up with the idea for the tome and took many of the albums from his own private stash. Along with coeditors Michael P. Daley and Major (who's also a musician in NYC rock band Endless Boogie), Kugelberg went beyond the artwork, tracking down the stories behind the obscure records. The disjointed, Beefheartesque songs of Kenneth Higney take a slight different shade when you know the singer is also a truck driver from Jersey (it also puts tracks like No Heavy Trucking in a more literal light).
Flip through some of those histories below, which Daley graciously provided with help from contributing editor Will Louviere, who added details on Medico Doktor Vibes and Gary Schneider, and Sherry Emata of the Emata Sisters. You can also hear some of the songs via YouTube, for even more, pick up the book, which comes with a download code for more rare cuts.
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