Book Review


Shad O'Shea

Positive Feedback Communications Press

Reviewed by Paul Moffett

Shad O'Shea writes like he talks and he talks about what he likes to do – make records, where the name of the game is "to put sound on tape to get it played on the radio, to sell records, to make money and to live happily ever after."

In this lengthy (664 pages, plus appendices) book, O'Shea tells you just how he has been doing and not doing that for the last twenty or so years in the Queen City, Cincinnati, Ohio, as the owner of a recording studio, music publishing firm and independent record label.

Along the way, he weaves stories about the people he's met and done business with, curses the attorneys, analyzes the structure and sound of a hit song, curses the attorneys, points out many business and musical hazards to avoid on the road to success with a hit song, curses the attorneys, reveals his successes with hit songs and his failures, curses the attorneys and, finally, thanks everybody, after taking a last shot at the attorneys.

An enthusiastic storyteller, O'Shea keeps a clear eye on where his story is going. His penchant for novelty tunes is reflected in such chapter titles as "The Record Pressing Plant, Or What Do You Mean, I'm The Only One Who Knows My Name Is Spelled Wrong?" Other chapter titles are equally pointed: "The Custom Record Company, Or Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch ...";"Nashville – Mecca By The Sea"; "Let's Make A Record, Or Courtroom Bingo"; and "'Promoting Your Record, Or What Do You Mean, You Won't Play It?," which has the additional subtitle of "It Ain't Fair, But ... Advice From Independent Record Promotion Men (More good advice most of you will ignore)."

A harrowing experience with a national performing rights organization is documented in detail, including all the correspondence between him and the organization.

His close miss on a record that could have cashed in on a Super Bowl win by the Cincinnati Bengals is depicted in "Kick Me."

O'Shea's very opinionated commentaries accompany all the events he describes, with asides to and about everybody involved or reading the book.

The information in the book is useful, detailed, generally timely and often surprising. Anyone who wants to be in the music business needs to know everything that's in this book, if for no other reason than as a comparison to what you think you already know.

I read every word of it, except the contracts. I'll definitely keep it around for the assorted addresses and such that it contains and dip into it once in a while for reference.

I might even read it all the way through again.

Available by mail from:

Positive Feedback Communications Corp.

P. O. Box 11333 Dept. G.

Cincinnati, Ohio 45211

Send $19.95, plus $4.05 S & H.