- Paperback: 295 pages
- Publisher: Backbeat Books; 1st Printing edition (October 30, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0879306165
- ISBN-13: 978-0879306168
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,578,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers: Overlooked Innovators and Eccentric Visionaries of '60s Rock Paperback – October 1, 2000
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Publisher
Praise for Richie Unterbergers Unknown Legends of Rock n Roll:
"Comprehensive and engaging . Clearly, Unterberger has done his research." --Billboard
"Incisive appreciations of scores of cult artists " --Mojo
"Unterberger uncovers the kind of tiny details that imbue his subjects with life and sound." --San Francisco Weekly
"Thorough research yielding fascinating mini-biographies of hipster heroes." --Los Angeles New Times
"Succeeds in making you crave to hear the recordings of these fascinating musicians." --CMJ New Music Monthly
From the Inside Flap
Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers takes you inside the minds and music of 60s rockers who took chances in the name of art. Blending firsthand interviews with musical critiques, these in-depth profiles tell the stories of visionary musicians who never got their due--and perhaps never cared to.
These underrated artists range from pop acts who aspired only to AM radio fame, to rebel bands whose very names kept them off the air, to groups who flirted with stardom but never made the grade. Youll meet British Invasion innovators, psychedelic trailblazers, rock satirists, blue-eyed soulsters, folk-rockers, and others who helped make the 60s the revolution that it was.
Showing 1-5 of 11 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Each music act gets a chapter of their own that gives a bit of history, something about what made them unique, a bit of context to their contributions to the genre, and some rationale behind why their careers sputtered. He also sometimes gets anecdotal about the recording of their albums, blow-by-blow reporting of concerts, or detailed descriptions of their songs (or entire albums of songs), but for the most part he sticks to business. The best thing about each chapter is a section at the end describing their albums and highlighting standout tracks. As a result, I've been able to go to YouTube and work my way through these suggestions, spending many a memorable night exploring "new" music, sometimes with groovy accompanying video of the era (for example, there's some dynamite footage of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown from 1968 that I never imagined existed).
Another great chapter was on Mimi & Richard Fariña, two contemporaries of Bob Dylan & Joan Baez (Mimi Baez was Joan's sister) I wasn't aware of whose lives intertwined in the early 1960s before Bob's fame overtook everyone's. In fact, someone has even written a book about those four called Positively 4th Street! Nice.
There's also an amusing section on non-musicians Giorgio Gomelsky and Shel Talmy that's quite enlightening.
One bad point of the book - since it was published in 2001, it has become a bit dated in the sense that some of the key players (like Fred Neil, and Mimi Fariña) have already passed away, so more recent events are not covered. But that's a quibble, given how much their early years were covered (which raises another quibble - in his long intro, Unterberger gets precious about the music of 1964-1969, claiming that there is no great interest in following periods... a-heh, a-heh).
But wait, there's more! The book also comes with a CD with six songs, one each from six of the musical acts featured in the book! While I'm not sure why 13 of the acts aren't represented here, but it's still nice to hear songs from Richard & Mimi Fariña, the Fugs, the Electric Prunes (a live version of their one hit, "I had too much to dream (last night)"), Thee Midniters, The Bobby Fuller Four, and The Poets.
This book is somewhat different instructure from Unterberger's previous work in that it is focused on many fewer artists and allows each one much more space. This really does benefit the book because the reader can know each artist mentioned much more than in The Unknown Legends Of Rock'n'Roll. One gains a true understanding of each artist, the people who formed them, their ideals and the music they made in a way one does not with The Unknown Legends Of Rock'n'Roll.
Moreover, Unterberger tries to explain the fact that there are so many undiscovered gems from the 1960s in terms of the culture of the decade. On the whole, he is fairly successful, even though he is careful to avoid claiming that the bands discussed were better than such acts as the Beatles, Rolling Stones or Velvet Underground. He is very successful, though, in explaining what has attracted certain groups of people to the undiscovered music of the 1960s, and tries to avoid the very common critical viewpoint that only those sixties bands who were predecessors of punk and new wave (Velvets, Stooges, MC5, Beefheart and the garage bands) are important today.
Some of the artists did actually have a major hit or fair success on album charts, unlike The Unknown Legends Of Rock'n'Roll, where there are very severe qualifications for inclusion. Such artists are re-evaluated in terms of other work that did not succeed of the charts. Distribution was not as regular in the sixties as it is today so that many bands could have had a hit locally that never became a hit nationally. This was particularly true of some "blue and brown eyed soul" groups such as Thee Midniters and The Rationals, the latter of which could never break out of their hometown in the era before the "Detroit sound" of the Stooges, MC5 and Alice Cooper became established.
As mentioned earlier, the artists mentioned receive a good description and one is able to track what the members of each groups discussed were doing (or collaborators in the case of artists like Tim Buckley) and to the way in which they evolved throughout their careers. This is, I feel, a better way of doing thins than the brief profiles of The Unknown Legends Of Rock'n'Roll, and gets into one's mind more easily. At the same time, it is no more revealing for some who reads incessantly about music than The Unknown Legends Of Rock'n'Roll, and the artists do not require as much to be written about them as the artists in The Unknown Legends Of Rock'n'Roll (Unterberger admits this).
On the whole, this is worthy reading and rather better presented than The Unknown Legends Of Rock'n'Roll.