White Bicycles

White Bicycles

Making Music in the 1960s

Book - 2006
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When Muddy Waters came to London at the start of the 60s, a kid from Boston called Joe Boyd was his tour manager; when Dylan went electric at the Newport Festival, Joe Boyd was plugging in his guitar; when the summer of love got going, Joe Boyd was running the coolest club in London, the UFO; when a bunch of club regulars called Pink Floyd recorded their first single, Joe Boyd was the producer; when a young songwriter named Nick Drake wanted to give his demo tape to someone, he chose Joe Boyd. More than any previous 60s music autobiography, Joe Boyd's White Bicycles offers the real story of what it was like to be there at the time. His greatest coup is bringing to life the famously elusive figure of Nick Drake ? the first time he's been written about by anyone who knew him well. As well as the 60s heavy-hitters, this book also offers wonderfully vivid portraits of a whole host of other musicians: everyone from the great jazzman Coleman Hawkins to the folk diva Sandy Denny, Lonnie Johnson to Eric Clapton, The Incredible String Band to Fairport Convention. 'As a memoir of the enchanted Sixties, White Bicycles is among the elite. It isn't just that Boyd was among the era's movers and shakers, he has a rare recall of events ('I never got too stoned,' he confesses) and a fluid, engaging style. The book bristles with evocative anecdotes... Exhilarating' Observer Music Monthly 'This engaging and readable book is an important addition to the history of its time'terrific'pleasantly gossipy' Hanif Kureishi, New Statesman ?Reading Boyd's cracking account of the Sixties, you wonder if his life since hasn't been one long disappointment? It's a colourful story, beautifully told? You are left relieved that such a central figure wrote this exceptional memoir.' Mark Ellen, Observer ?a vivid eye-witness account? pulses with the mad enthusiasms of its period and its author? Sunday Times 'An unashamed celebration of Boyd's pivotal role in the Sixties' The Times ?Boyd is one of that select group of rock luminaries, like John Peel, or the American producer Rick Rubin, who didn't have to pick up a guitar to shape the evolution of entire genres of music. And this book is the perfect literary echo of a lifetime's subtle facilitation? Boyd's pages abound with astute observations and fascinating personal detail? a transport of delight? Independent on Sunday '[A] riveting memoir' Time Out 'A wise, thoughtful and engrossing account, White Bicycles is one of the best 1960's essays of recent years' The Scotsman ?a rock memoir that shuns the usual 60s clich's? while providing insightful character studies of Brit-folk's future stars? refreshing and cleverly observed? Uncut ?compulsive quirky detail, rare sanity and razor sharp recall? puts it in the same bracket as Simon Napier Bell's Black Vinyl White Powder or Julian Cope's Head On. A delight.' The List ?Among the musical anecdotes are thoughtful observations on the era? Boyd remains a true believer, for whom it was a joy to have been alive in that permissive dawn. At 40 years' distance, his prose still conveys the hues of the sunrise with startling vividness.' The Times 'If there's such a thing as living a perfectly timed life, then Joe Boyd has managed it... impossible to put down' Q ?Packed full of funny, telling anecdotes and wry, insightful observation, it takes us on a fantastic musical adventure? fRoots ?Boyd's account far exceeds the breadth of most rose-tinted ruminations? detailed and lucid? A wise, thoughtful and engrossing account, White Bicycles is one of the best 1960s essays of recent years.' Scotsman
Publisher: London : Serpent's Tail, c2006.
ISBN: 9781852429102
Characteristics: 282 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. ;,22 cm.


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Nov 29, 2018

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Dec 11, 2015

Even if Joe Boyd isn't a household name, he was an essential figure in the 1960s music scene. He began by producing blues/folk package tours, did the sound for Dylan's infamous electric show @ Newport, and settled in England, where he worked with early Pink Floyd and many of the key figures in the British folk movement. He is perhaps most famous for discovering and producing Nick Drake, but he also produced seminal albums for Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band, and the newly resurgent Vashti Bunyan. Boyd was at the heart of a fascinating time in music and his memoir is full of rich anecdotes, related in a low-key, conversational style. Unlike so many books about the 60s, Boyd is refreshing in his avoidance of myth-making or potheaded nostalgia, offering a vivid, good-natured, concise portrait of the music, the musicians, and the context.

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