Saturday, October 21, 2006
Rollin' with Paul Getchell
I'm fortunate to have spent 25+ years in rock merchandising, as well as writing about rock & roll history in books like THE ART OF ROCK: POSTERS FROM PRESLEY TO PUNK (Abbeville Press, 1987). I met Paul Getchell along the rock poster trail. We share a love for the posters themselves and (the sometimes arduous task of) collecting 'em. Paul's an attorney who's responsible for the final editing of very serious law books for the leading law book publisher in the US.
Paul's poster collection--focusing on the surf and psychedelic eras--is regarded as one of the top five in the US. It's not just that he has "one of everything," it's that he has variants of everything. He's been able to unearth treasure after treasure, and he always amazes me with his finds.
Here in this picture, standing in front of his prized 1969 Dodge Charger, Paul is holding open ROCKIN' to pages 92 - 93 where the Four Speeds poster is shown. For years it was thought that this group was only active in the recording studio, part of legendary SoCal songwriter Gary Usher's support team. But now we know the band traveled at least once . . . to Northern California, for a gig at the Corte Madera Rec. Center, in Marin County.
Note that it's a Tilghman Press poster. Charles Tilghman printed tens of thousands of posters, at his shop in Oakland, CA, for most of America's top black music groups beginning with jazz in the '30s and up through the '60s Motown and R&B era. Tilghman Press posters were produced by letterpress and have a distinctive imprinted style all their own. When you come across one--and these are hugely rare---you'll see Mr. Tilghman's "trademark" split fountain inking across the letterforms, and his concise use of solid-type decorative elements. Some of the finest pieces in ART OF ROCK are by Mr. Tilghman, whom I met just before he passed away in 1986.
Sadly, as with the early Globe Posters printed in Baltimore, very few Tilghman Press posters remain. Why? Because they were not saved "in their day," in part due to the fact that few rock concert poster collectors existed (they came about as a result of the mid'60s Fillmore and Avalon psychedelic posters in San Francisco).