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Book Review: Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac Holzman’s Visionary Record Label

A biography of the owner of a powerful record label that started out on a shoestring budget representing obscure folk and blues artists. Driftwood feels a sudden affinity . . .

Mick Houghton
Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac Holzman’s Visionary Record Label
[Jawbone Press (2010), ISBN: 978-1-906002-29-9 (304 Pages)]

Jac Holzman, creator of one of the most innovative record labels of the 1950s and 1960s, certainly had a great ear for music. In the twenty-three years that Holzman ran Elektra (1950-1973), he signed an impressive roster of legendary musicians: Jean Ritchie, Josh White, Theodore Bikel, Tim Buckley, Love, Judy Collins, The Paul Butterfield Band, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, The Incredible String Band, Carly Simon, The Doors, The Stooges, MC5, Queen, and dozens of others. Mick Houghton does a commendable job of tracing Elektra’s rise from a low-budget operation devoted to obscure folk and blues artists to a major rock label with enough clout to sign the biggest acts in the business. There are fascinating chapters devoted to Judy Collins, Love, The Doors, and Tim Buckley, and Holzman is not shy in sharing some of the inside stories behind his artists. Of added interest are rare photos of 1960s rock icons, scintillating Elektra album covers, and the complete Elektra catalog discography.

—TJ McGrath (Woodbridge, CT)

Jac Holzman will be one of the keynote speakers at the 23rd Annual International Folk Alliance Conference on February 16-20, 2011, in Memphis, TN. [www.folk.org]

© 2010 DriftwoodMagazine.com, All rights reserved

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2 comments on “Book Review: Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac Holzman’s Visionary Record Label

  1. Great book…100% incredible story. Then I got to meet him and got my copy signed..sweet

  2. Any insights on the vanishing of Fred Neil and his departure from
    Elektra? Does the author Broughton tell the story or does Holzman?

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