Given that the long and varied history of black music in London spans nearly one hundred years, fitting a thorough yet accurate account of it into little over 400 pages is some achievement.
Author Lloyd Bradley succeeds marvelously in this venture.
He leaves no stone unturned and it seems as if no key musical figure has been overlooked.
Beginning with the earliest forms of calypso, Sounds Like London examines in meticulous detail each and every genre of black music that has graced the capital with its presence over the past 10 decades.
The book concludes with the present day and stars who have played their part in shaping contemporary music.
The knowledge and passion Bradley possess is clear from the start.
The book also leads readers beyond the sounds themselves to examine the social and cultural importance of black music.
One example concerns the early days of the black music scene, when the tunes created would act as snapshots of a homeland for those who had moved to the capital from countries in the Caribbean and Africa – lands which many would not see again.
This meant these songs, which their creators were putting unbelievable amounts of passion into, were one of the only ways these immigrants could stay updated about what was going on in their original homes, meaning the music was pure heart and soul right from the start.
Sounds Like London is not just a fantastic account of the history of black music in London, it is the ultimate account.
Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital by Lloyd Bradley is published by Serpent’s Tail. ISBN: 1846687624. RRP: £14.99