The Rough Guide series has been covered on these pages on several occasions. They are terrific and accurate sources of information. The first title deals with every artist from Algeria to Turkey. Even if you're a hardcore fan of World Music, chances are you haven't heard of most of these artists. But with this handy little reference book on your shelf, you will become the leading authority of every type of music from pygmy chants to kalimba plucks.
The Soul and R&B Guide contains entries on everything from acid jazz and beach music to New Jack Swing and Psychedelic Funk. More popular artists include a section titled Playlist that includes that performer's more noteworthy recordings.
As the title suggests, "The songs, the singers, the stories, the soul" - it's all here.