Two Great Music Books
A very quick word to recommend two great reads for very different reasons. Joe Boyd's White Bicycles:Making Music in the 1960s is an autobiography that covers most of the '60s--from his time as a college student booking long forgotten blues players to play at Harvard coffee shops through the early '70s when he produced Nick Drake and others for his company Witchseason Productions. Along the way Muddy Waters, Coleman Hawkins, Pink Floyd, The Move, The Incredible String Band, John Cale, Maria Muldaur, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, John Martyn, Vashti Bunyan and many, many others take part in the tales told by master raconteur and mind-like-a-steel-trap archivist Joe Boyd.
Also---I've just gotten today a CD that is made up of 23 cuts of music that is a soundtrack for the book. The CD offers a wide range of music Joe Boyd produced. On first listen I'm taken by Nico's song "Afraid" from her Desertshore album thanks to John Cale's co-production and thoughtful playing of piano and viola on the cut. In addition to Nico you get the mystical pop song "Arnold Layne" from Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd as well as great music by The Incredible String Band, Soft Machine as well as several examples from Island Record's classic "pink label" era--Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, John and Beverley Martyn and Fotheringay. And last but not least the quirky "Brazil" by Geoff and Maria Muldaur from their Pottery Pie album. "Brazil" later appeared in Terry Gilliam's film. (And this Maria Muldaur is THAT Maria Muldaur--the singer of '70s hit "Midnight at the Oasis" which was producer Joe Boyd's biggest hit song. )
Paul Morley’s Words and Music: A History of Pop in the Shape of a City is a 300+ page essay that offers an overview of music, musical thought and music happenstance. Oh—did I mention the journey also features many sidebar vignettes while on an automobile journey/fantasy with Kylie Minogue?
The nearly 40 page music timeline taking you from the year 1637 until 1968 is worth the price of the book alone. There are also some of the most incredible thematic artist/songlists I’ve ever seen.
Also, I highly suggest downloading DJ Food's now hard to find on CD Raiding the 20th Century posted on Ubuweb. Raiding the 20th Century features snippets of Paul Morley reading from the book as part of DJ food's incredible cast of thousands sound collage. It is amazing and inspiring.