Small Town Talk

Small Town Talk

Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix & Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock

Book - 2016
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Think "Woodstock" and the mind turns to the seminal 1969 festival that crowned a seismic decade of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. But the town of Woodstock, New York, the original planned venue of the concert, is located over 60 miles from the site to which the fabled half a million flocked. Long before the landmark music festival usurped the name, Woodstock-the tiny Catskills town where Bob Dylan holed up after his infamous 1966 motorcycle accident-was already a key location in the '60s rock landscape.

In Small Town Talk , Barney Hoskyns re-creates Woodstock's community of brilliant dysfunctional musicians, scheming dealers, and opportunistic hippie capitalists drawn to the area by Dylan and his sidekicks from the Band. Central to the book's narrative is the broodingly powerful presence of Albert Grossman, manager of Dylan, the Band, Janis Joplin, Paul Butterfield, and Todd Rundgren-and the Big Daddy of a personal fiefdom in Bearsville that encompassed studios, restaurants, and his own record label. Intertwined in the story are the Woodstock experiences and associations of artists as diverse as Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Tim Hardin, Karen Dalton, and Bobby Charles (whose immortal song-portrait of Woodstock gives the book its title).

Drawing on numerous first-hand interviews with the remaining key players in the scene-and on the period when he lived there himself in the 1990s-Hoskyns has produced an East Coast companion to his bestselling L.A. canyon classic Hotel California . This is a richly absorbing study of a vital music scene in a revolutionary time and place.
Publisher: Boston, MA :, Da Capo Press,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780306823206
Branch Call Number: 781.660974734 Hos
Characteristics: viii, 402 pages : illustrations, map


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" It was galling to Grossman that the first and only real success chalked up by Bearsville Records came with Foghat, a meat and potatoes boogie band that paul fishkin signed from England. ' it was like a cruel joke of fate,' said Danny Goldberg. 'here was the ultimate music snob having a hit act with a band that had zero snob appeal.' " SOMETHING/ANYTHING was a conscious display of tricks, flaunted with the chutzpah of a rock and roll jester. on its 4th side runtgren returned to Bearsville to record with various alumni of the full tilt, butterfield, and great speckled bird bands...Todd was different from all those people because he had no country or folk roots." "Bebe Buell: 'the first time i met albert we went up for a tee-pee party that was supposed to be spiritual..usually these turned into people going off and fucking.' Buell caught Runtgren and Lucinda Hoy in the Grossman's kitchen. after Grossman found her weeping in the tee-pee, and she had explained why, he blithely replied, ' yeah, the guys really like cindy.'" "DEFACE THE MUSIC was released a few months before Lennon was assassinated, and the assassin was wearing a Todd t-shirt when he did the deed."

Oct 12, 2017

Really the story of Albert Grossman and his stable of artists and those trapped in their orbits. Lays a historical base of Woodstock from the artist’s colony it started as then brings you through the halcyon days of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to the present.
Really leaves you wondering what an Albert Grossman Biography would read like.
I believe this is a better work than Hoskyn’s Tom Waits book.
Recommended if you are a music fan.

Dec 18, 2016

"I'm not from here, but people tell me it's not like it used to be. They say I should have been here back about ten years before it got ruined by folks like me." This statement from a song by James McMurtry sums up perfectly the story of fabled Woodstock.

A fascinating read on the birth of a town built upon an arts culture starting in the 1920's, and leading to it's pinnacle of 60's idealism. However, quickly succeded by it's dark 1970's decline aided by personal addictions and quick-$ commercialism that linger to this day.

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