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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 Hardcover – March 8, 2016
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Financial Times, 7/1/16
Woodstock, the Catskills town where Bob Dylan recuperated after his motorbike crash in 1966, [is] a hippy oasis with a storied place in music history, well related in Small Town Talk.”
Austin Chronicle, 6/17/16
Hoskyns examines the small upstate New York town that lent the festival its name and uncovers details long forgotten, and in some cases, previously unknown There's sex, plentiful drugs, and all sorts of rock & roll.”
Best Classic Bands, 7/29/16
In a word: Illuminating Small Town Talk is the story of refugees fleeing the chaos and paranoia of the rat race, embracing the peace and nature of this welcoming oasis, making some of the best (and sometimes worst) music of their lives, but ultimately discovering that leaving their demons behind was just another pipe dream.”
Spectrum Culture, 8/4/16
Some scribes get it right. Barney Hoskyns is one The reader is moved at a deep level by the drama that unfolds, as the town's glory fades or, rather, evolves into something that trades on its past rather than creating an ever-brighter future A book that will hold you in its grip from cover to cover and encourage you to think more deeply about a town that has seen its time come and go.”
Montreal Gazette, 4/11/16
A book that eloquently serves as both tribute and eulogy to what people used to call the counterculture. It's a clear-eyed look at the bohemia-friendly town where many of rock's major figures found themselves living, working and playingin many cases, playing very hard indeed.”
Woodstock Times, 4/8/16
Hoskyns has spoken to, or spoken to those who have spoken to, almost everyone who was a player, large or small, on the cosmic-bucolic stage of Woodstock, and his affection for them all is on a par with his scholarship and his love and respect for the music and art they created What's really valuable about Small Town Talk is the way the author has tied the disparate strands together and braided them into a single, intimate, extensively researched, and color-splattered narrative The definitive history of Woodstock's emergence as a world-renowned musical Mecca.”
New York Post, 3/13/16
[Hoskyns] tells the colorful history of this town that began its life as an artists colony in the early 20th century.”
An in-depth look at the Woodstock music scene, that also provides a history of the artistic inclinations of the town itself Small Town Talk is loaded with legendary stories of rock and roll, some funny, some crazy.”
Catholic Herald, 3/11/16
How did a Republican-voting rural town in the Catskills become a magnet for disaffected hippies and its very name a metonym for the entire 1960s counter-culture? This is the question Barney Hoskyns, one of rock 'n roll's most engaging chroniclers, sets out to answer in this compelling new book Hoskyns has written a fascinating, poignant and elegiac book that is about much more than music, success and the gentrification of rural America In Small Town Talk, Hoskyns has taken this tale of smashed hopes and turned it into an allegory of the American dream and of all Edenic aspirations.”
Portland Book Review, 3/18/16
Hoskyn's coverage of Bob Dylan is well balanced and easy to follow.”
No Depression, 1/28/16
Absorbing and in-depth Many of the tales might be familiar to the initiated fans of this time, place, and music. Yet, Hoskyns so powerfully evokes the feelings and vibesboth good and badof living in and through those halcyon and fraught days. In his pages [he] brings new life to old tales [A] captivating look at this sometimes sad and always fascinating scene that gave birth to Americana music.”
Publishers Weekly, 2/15/16
An absorbing glimpse into events that shaped Woodstock, N.Y., into a haven for musicians Hoskyns's stunning book highlights some of the most memorable music in American history.”
London Sunday Times, 2/7/16
[An] engaging book Hoskyns delves deep below the surface of the town to unveil a place that could be paradise or prison, depending on your state of mind His love for the Catskills outpost shines through from the start. The dark side of Woodstock has long been part of its legacy, but Hoskyns isn't in search of murky secrets. Rather, he sets out to explain its influence via the remarkable music made there.”
Uncut, April 2016
Hoskyns turns a wonderfully attentive eye.”
Richard Williams, author of The Blue Moment
"Barney Hoskyns leads us off the tourist trail to reveal the lives, loves, lies, and legends of a rock 'n' roll Peyton Place."
Kirkus Reviews, 12/15/15
Hoskyns peels back the layers of a musical Shangri-La that has plenty of dark corners The cast of characters is stellar Fans of 1960s and '70s rock and music history buffs will find this a pleasure.”
Library Journal, 1/1/16
A fascinating history and behind-the-scenes examination of life in the small town of Woodstock This title will appeal to those who are looking for a detailed account of the bohemian lifestyle, as well as to fans of Sixties rock.”
Mojo, March 2016
Barney Hoskyns has come up with something novel in Small Town Talk. Instead of focusing on the concertwhich actually took place 60 miles from Woodstockhe nails the magic, and mayhem, of the town which inspired the festival's organisers to co-opt its name Hoskyns offers a pitch perfect East Coast corollary to his classic tome on the Laurel Canyon scene, Hotel California. Better, he chronicles the seeds of the Americana movement, whose fetish for rural music resonates louder today than ever.”
The Guardian (UK), 3/2/16
[An] enjoyable study of the New York upstate village [A] fascinating account of the epic influence and mysterious magnetism of this Dibley-sized corner of the Catskill mountains Hoskyns, who appears to have talked to everyone who ever lived here, and amasses their testimony with admirable grace and ease, chronicles the excesses that set in during the '70s in unsparing detail.”
Rolling Stone, 3/24/16
Goes inside the myth, debauchery and creative fire of one of rock's legendary towns Hoskyns' fascinating new history of Woodstock, Small Town Talk, explores one of rock's most mythic settings [Hoskyns] pin[s] down the knotty reality behind the tie-dyed myth.”
Washington Independent Review of Books, 3/10/16
[Hoskyns] skillfully details the musicians' everyday lives in the community, their sexual and drug adventurism, their marital challenges, their quirks of personality, and their café hangouts and venues for casual jam sessions Hoskyns is an exhaustive and serious chronicler of the village's rock and folk milieu.”
Hoskyns chronicles the upstate hamlet from its early days as a bohemian arts colony to its current status as a funky, international cultural cornerstone.”
Ugly Things, Spring 2016
[Hoskyns] brings his thorough knowledge of the scene, friendship with the locals, an engaging writing style and genial but at times bluntly honest vibe to bear on some of the seminal figures who shaped music [A] fascinating chronicle It has large helpings of delicious gossip. About Dylan and his entourage With this book, Barney Hoskyns does for east coast rock music and counterculture what he did for the west coast in his wonderful Waiting for the Sun Pure pleasure on every page.”
Acoustic Guitar, 5/19/16
An intricate tale of inspiring creativity and personal tragedy. Along the way, Hoskyns illuminates little-known chapters in the lives of such Woodstock inhabitants as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Van Morrison, Paul Butterfield, and Todd Rundgren, to name a few. The stories are enlightening A quintessentially American story of abusive music-industry power and bohemian decadence set amidst small-town life.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6/5/16
Hoskyns' writing has many eloquent moments.”
Milwaukee Shepherd-Express, 5/31/16
Hoskyns doesn't over glamorize the time or the place.”
Small Town Talk both celebrates and interrogates Woodstock's past A grim and balanced account of the yin and yang of the '60s cultural legacy in Woodstock For anyone looking for a true-to-life portrait of the way cultural memory evolves and is shaped within the context of a small town, Small Town Talk is a profound case study, in the hands of a capable historian.”
Houston Press, 3/30/16
Hoskyns is a skilled music journo. And Small Town Talk makes the city just as much a character as the musical artists who floated in and out of town Hoskyns busts many myths about the town and its fantasy image In Small Town Talk, he has created as much a journey into geography and sociology as into music.”
Tampa Bay Times, 4/7/16
Small Town Talk is Woodstock's musical history, beginning with its earliest days as a bohemian arts colony.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/3/16
An honest account of the individuals and facts of that period Revelatory and enlightening.”
Chronogram, April 2016
A kind of musical biography of the town.”
Examines the artistic rise and fall of Woodstock, New York at the hands of outsiders seeking solace from life in the city Hoskyns spins a rich tapestry of stories from local residents and musicians, some well-known and others virtually unknown, that help to provide an in-depth look at how the town came to be seen as a hippie ideal and, on the flip side, how that became its undoing Small Town Talk offers a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era, one shot through with a wide-eyed idealism that, in the face of its now smoldering wreckage, can never again be.”
Wall Street Journal, 3/25/16
What actually ensued in that upstate town and its musical scene in the years before and after 1969 Revealing [Hoskyns] gives the flavor of the place and time while adeptly interweaving detailed stories of a number of performers He has filled in the picture of what the real Woodstock, in its heyday, was like.”
Village Voice, 3/23/16
Hoskyns tells the tale of one beloved New York City outpost.”
The most depressing music book I've ever read.”
The Guardian (UK), 2/21/16
Mostly people operate on people in Hoskyns's tale. And, mostly, without anesthetics Hoskyns is harsh on Dylan, but brilliant at two-word summations of the gist of a song.”
Record Collector, Issue 451
[A] supremely evocative book Hoskyns has painted his masterpiece.”
The Independent, 2/28/16
Terrific Those groaning at the prospect of another book about the Woodstock festival can breathe easy. Hoskyns' focus here is on the town and the creative communities that sprang up around it, and they are vividly drawn A meticulous historical account The sheer volume of interviewees is dizzying, and testament to the author's methodical approach.”
Bring[s] the area to its rightfully historic stature Woodstock itself is a character in the story, not just the setting In detailing that little sliver of time and place, Hoskyns also reveals quite a lot about the character of the era in general. But, even if it weren't for that broader view, the book's anecdotes alone are worth the price of admission.”
"It's worth picking up a copy of Barney Hoskyns' recent Small Town Talk...which explores Woodstock's place in rock history via the stories of musicians who lived and worked there."
"A portrait of the musical life of Woodstock, an idyllic artists' community that turned into a rock 'n' roll soap opera."
?The Guardian, "The Best Music Books of 2016"
A San Francisco Chronicle "Top 5 Rock Biography of 2016"
"A breezy, gossipy read that takes you inside Woodstock, N.Y., during its glory days...The always-erudite rock critic vet Hoskyns effortlessly connects the dots in the notorious town's history."?Addicted to Noise, "Best of 2016: Top 5 Books"
"One of the best music books of 2016...It tells of how a bucolic pit stop in upstate New York became a mecca for musicians in the mid-'60s and early '70s, attracting many of the most creative talents of the era."
?Best Classic Bands
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Top customer reviews
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.
nostalgic and fascinating inside account of the rock 'n roll genius-legends of the time who either lived in Woodstock or often passed through to create what has turned out to be the veritable anthems of rock 'n roll. It's also an account of the rock music business and industry, and how that behemoth too often clashed with the pure, innocent creative souls of the artists with many unpleasant consequences. Through the beauty of Woodstock - including the haze of pot and all kinds of other drugs that swept its way into the brains of some of the most creative and successful rockers of our time - we come to better appreciate how this small town north of "the city" became a magnet for the rock and folk geniuses that left their indelible stamp on an entire generation. It's a hell-of-a-read and certainly one of those important contributions to the history of this time and the music and musicians that made all of that history and music so indelible. Did my mind actually hear many of the classic tunes that were part of our collective experiences of the time for most of the read? You bet it did! Frankly, I had no idea that one small town in rural New York State contributed to enormously to perhaps the most important chapter in music history. And this gem of a book explains how that all happened.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the music scene, particular the music scene in Woodstock (the city, but also included some tidbits about the festival, even though it wasn't held in Woodstock).