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Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Mike Chamberlain is an actor and voice-over performer, as well as an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator. Along with animation and video game characters, Mike performs narration and voices promos for television. He lives with his wife and daughter in Southern California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B017QL8U0C
- Publisher : Da Capo Press; Illustrated edition (March 8, 2016)
- Publication date : March 8, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 81734 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 425 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #273,740 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Every summer I get this longing in my bones to be back in Woodstock." Maria Muldaur.
"Woodstock is like a Venus flytrap. Whether you get stuck to it or not depends on whether your vibration is in harmony with it." Elliott Landy, photographer famous for his photographs of The Band in Woodstock.
If you're tired of the same old observations, points of view, and/or reminiscences about Woodstock, you should read this book. The author, Barney Hoskyns, who wrote (among other things) the great book "Hotel California", has taken a different approach to his book on Woodstock, "the mountains of the mind." This isn't focused solely on the three day festival but instead on a sometimes more personal look (he lived there several years) at the area itself and the people drawn to it beginning (roughly) with the Woodstock Folk Festival in 1962, after briefly describing the "unspoiled landscape that for five thousand years had been home to Native Americans".
Yes, included are a number of musicians we all know (Dylan, The Band, Paul Butterfield, etc.) who lived in the area, but also people who're intertwined with that area like Tim Hardin, Janis Joplin, singer Karen Dalton, Peter Yarrow (Peter Paul & Mary), fugitive/singer Bobby Charles (Guidry) whose self-titled album according to the author "may be the quintessential Woodstock album", who wrote "See You Later, Alligator" in the '50s, the Traum brothers, Van Morrison, Geoff and Maria Muldaur, producer John Simon, singer Jesse Winchester (his first great Bearsville album is close to a country sounding album by The Band), Jimi Hendrix, and others. On the jazz side there's German musician Karl Berger, Jack DeJohnette, Marilyn Crispell, Carla Bley, Anthony Braxton, Dave Holland, and others all who lived in the area. On a side note there's a 2 CD set ("The Song Is You") recorded at the Woodstock Jazz Festival which includes DeJohnette, Braxton, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and several other great musicians. Writers included Phillip Roth, Ed Sanders, and Allen Ginsberg.
Dylan's manager/minder, Albert Grossman ("the Baron of Bearsville") is also included at length--his power during this period was undeniable--not only as a manager, but also as someone who oversaw a number of enterprises (studios, the Bearsville record label, local businesses) in the Woodstock area, and who ruled over people who came into his orbit with a tight fist and his discerning eye for a buck. Grossman's life and influence on various artists forms the major foundation for the book. He's at the core of how that entire area changed beginning in the sixties, for better and for worse depending on who you talk to, and in the book Hoskyns gives ample space for many opinions and observations from a number of people closely aligned to Grossman from both famous and not so famous musicians to waitresses, bartenders, and others who were there during those years.
Hoskyns has also included people outside the limelight if you will--the artists, the schemers, dealers, and others who attached themselves (or tried) to anyone who looked to be making money, and who had to endure a sometimes rough life in the harsh winters. Through firsthand interviews with people who were there at the time Hoskyns puts together a picture of this small town which came to be so important to so many--and especially how both Grossman and Dylan changed the area after moving there. Included is a Prologue, a guide map of the area (complete with a numbered list of important places--"Todd Rungren's house", "Big Pink", "Paul Butterfield's house", "Levon Helm's barn", "Byrdcliffe Theater", etc.-- with corresponding numbers on the map), a list of what Hoskyns calls "25 Timeless Tracks", notes on the chapters, Bibliography, and an Index. Interspersed throughout the book are a number of small b&w photos and other ephemera that add depth to the story. There's also eight pages of glossy b&w photos, a few (like Dylan on a trampoline with his kids) that don't usually make it into other books (unless you've seen some of them in Landy's book, "The Band Photographs 1968-1969") we've all seen about Dylan/The Band/Woodstock. And since I mentioned Landy's book I have to say that if you're a deep fan of The Band during their Woodstock era, Landy has published some great photographs that give a deeper look and some insight into what that period was like when The Band lived in the area.
Bottom line--if that period of music and the artists associated with the Woodstock area appeals to you, plus a focused look at how that area changed over the years, including some people who usually don't get the limelight, you should check this book out. When I first heard about this book I thought, "Uh-oh, another book on Woodstock". Well it is and it isn't. Hoskyns has taken a different approach and it's a refreshing change from the usual Woodstock/peace/love/tie-dye/mud/flowers stuff we've all read before. Not only is it about the area and the people, but he's tied in other notable events from the same period which gives more of a foundation and insight into the basic premise of what this book is about. This book can sit on the shelf next to other thoughtful books on the Woodstock era.
And I have to mention another great book involving many musicians/artists from the same period, "The Smith Tapes: Interviews With Rock Stars & Icons 1969-1972", edited by Ezra Bookstein. These pieces were culled from the late Howard Smith's tapes, found after Smith's death. Smith's position as a writer for the Village Voice and his radio show gave him access to many people. This is another great book that deserves to be on your shelf if you're interested in that period of music. The selected pieces really bring those years back into focus for those who were around then, or give a good idea of what it was like for those who weren't.
The chapters on Dylan, the Band, and even Albert Grossman and his influence were enlightening.
Particularly enjoyed how the author used many interviews and much info from the local townsfolk.
These really bring to life what the scene was like in Woodstock in the 60's and early 70's.
Also enjoyed how he contrasted that scene to what the town and surrounding area are like today.
The final chapters on Levon Helm and his legacy in the town are quite touching and I think quite accurate.
It was very sad to read how Rick Danko and Richard Manuel had fallen on such hard times at the end
of their all too short lives. Overall, a very enjoyable read of a very well researched book.
Top reviews from other countries
It is gratifying that Hoskyns book has produced such a well written and entertaining book.
He has chosen a location and time of one of the most interesting periods in 'rock history'. Bob and the Band are centre stage, and we get a great deal of information about the Basement tapes recordings, the only source that rivals this book are the 'Wanted Man' magazines which are sadly no longer published.
When the Basement Tapes box set was released last year there were curious pictures of Bob in Dungarees wearing a Davy Crocket fur hat. When I saw this I wondered what that was all about. Thankfully, Hoskyns mentions this. He also mentions various associates of Hendrix whose relationship with Jimi has never been properly described. Another shadowy character is Albert Grossman, who comes to life here, in particular his part in assisting his artist clients' success. He remains an ambivalent figure. There is also interesting information on Van Morrison.
I thoroughly recommend this book. The author has produced some excellent books, including 'Raging Glories', and this book is another. Very Well done!
The relationship between some of these characters and the idiosyncratic, controversial Albert Grossman (who was one of the earliest residents of the town) is explored in detail: Grossman was Dylan's manager in 1962-70, and wanted to build an empire around his other clients, who included Janis Joplin, Peter Paul & Mary, The Band and Rundgren. This had a physical manifestation in the town: he bought up houses, opened restaurants and built the Bearsville recording studio nearby. The highs and lows of his life (which was ended by a heart attack whilst flying to London on Concorde) are traced out adeptly, as is the way they reflected the fortunes of the town itself.
Other strands include a brisk but complete account of the festival's genesis, a re-telling of the sad story of The Band (which Hoskyns treats at greater length in his excellent "Across The Great Divide") and some description of the musical evolution of Dylan and Morrison during this time. It's a stimulating, interesting read, which does a good job of evoking the spirit of the place and its heyday, and reminds us that all good things come to an end.
For me, this book lost its edge with too much detail. As the book moves on we get into minutiae of addresses, things times and people making it harder going and losing the overall perspective.
I loved the first few chapters and learnt a lot that I didn't know. So it works as as East Cost equivalent of Hotel California but lost me on the minutiae.