Review: Last Swill and Testament – Paul Vernon

Posted on: Sunday, Aug 17, 2008

Last Swill and Testament

Paul “Sailor” Vernon

Music Mentor Books – ISBN 0954706846

The hilarious, unexpurgated memoirs of Paul “Sailor” Vernon – blues fanatic, rare record dealer, ligger, erstwhile bon viveur and friend to the stars.

It’s not often that reviews of books apppear in Blues in The North West, but having read this recently released book by Paul Vernon, I really must recommend it to all genuine blues lovers as it is one of the funniest and most absorbing books I’ve read in ages.

Paul Vernon got into blues music in the early 60s whilst in his teens in London. He soon developed a passion that would quite literally take over his life and became not only one of the most passionate collecter/dealers in rare 78s, but also the founder of “Sailor’s Delight”, the collector’s bible for rare and collectable blues releases. He also founded the excellent award winning magazine Blues and Rhythm.

Read about some of the gigs he attended like Son House, Fred McDowell, Freddie King and a whole week of Muddy Waters at a country club in NW London.

Visualise some of the characters he used to hang around with like the Scottish railway worker, an Elvis fanatic called Railhouse Jock.

Follow him around the southern American states trawling old stores for rare 78s and read about his discovery in a cellar in Prague of a very rare, never heard before 1951 recording of John Lee Hooker.

It really is a great read and is published by Music Mentor Books of York at £12.99. I note that it is also featured in the new edition of Red Lick.




August 20th, 2008 at 10:42
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Sounds like a great read, Pete. Where did you buy it? Is it available at all major bookstores and/or from Amazon?



August 22nd, 2008 at 10:44
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If you can’t buy it straight from the publishers or from Red Lick then Amazon have it listed.