Boston and the surrounding area is rich in history, from the colonial era forward, and I appreciate all of it. But I am particularly interested in Boston in the 20th century, and have researched the middle years of that century extensively. My interest in the city’s cultural history led me to form Troy Street Publishing as a vehicle for sharing my research and writing.

The Boston Jazz Chronicles Cover
Click here to buy The Boston Jazz Chronicles on Amazon now.

My first endeavor was a seven-year labor of love, The Boston Jazz Chronicles, which I published through Troy Street in 2012. It was early in the self-publishing game and I thought the prospects and possibilities of that game were endless. I still do, and my goal is to publish the projects described elsewhere on this site.

This website, and its blog, The Troy Street Observer, are the primary outlets for telling my stories, but there are others—public speaking, walking tours, and a YouTube channel that puts some of the historic but out-of-print recordings back in circulation.

What’s in it for you? On this site you’ll find content about Boston people, places and events that you won’t find anywhere else. I’ve opened a window, and through it you’ll hear some of the not-so-common stories of Boston. Check back often to see what’s new.

—Richard Vacca

 

The Troy Street Observer

The Fred Taylor Book at Last?

One year ago, I submitted the manuscript and artwork for the Fred Taylor book, What, and Give up Showbiz? to its publisher, Backbeat Books. Working with Fred had been a big part of my life for almost four years, and handing off the manuscript was a cause for celebration. Being the as-told-to guy on a book project is a long and sometimes tedious process. More on that some other time.

Book cover: What, and Give Up Showbiz?

Fred Taylor really wanted to see his story finished and in print, but it was not to be. He died in October 2019 of cancer. At that point I wondered if the project would even go forward, but the publisher was committed to Showbiz and determined to publish it. In February, Backbeat’s editor sent me her revisions to review. We resolved those, leaving me with only one more hurdle to jump to complete my work. All that remained was to review the page proofs, the last reading before the book goes into production. The publication date was set for May 2020.

Then came the virus, and the publisher furloughed the staff. Everything stopped. The release date was pushed back to July, then October, and now November. And finally, last week, the editor sent the page proofs for the final review. They looked just fine!

With my commitments to Fred and to the publisher complete, I am officially done with What, and Give up Showbiz? I look forward to seeing it in print at last come November. Better late than never, as the old saying goes.

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