"White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s."

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 16, 2007 09:00am | Post a Comment
Reason 2,472 that I love Amoeba: I wake up, I read the paper  (online, of course) and always find some neato thing!

Today, this is the patch of online journalism that jolts me - somewhere between a good cup of coffee and shock-paddles de resuscitare, I find this description of a man shopping at Amoeba Music, the one on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California:

from the calendar section of the LA Times:

'... These [albums] were not of mere musical interest to Boyd. He produced them. And throughout the store there's plenty more of his handiwork: influential albums by innovative English folk-rock group Fairport Convention and its most famous alums, Richard Thompson and the late Sandy Denny; the idiosyncratic work of Scottish psychedelic-folk avatars the Incredible String Band; and the singular sounds from the too-brief life of singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

Although that music stands on its own merits, the value is even more evident in the presence here of many younger acts claiming influence from Boyd's catalog, from R.E.M. (which recruited him to produce the 1985 "Fables of the Reconstruction" album) to the currently acclaimed crop of "freak-folk" figures such as Devendra Banhart and (seen to your left) Joanna Newsom, who talk of music associated with Boyd in hushed, reverent tones."

... so, ,maybe Miss Ess, purveyor of music lit world-wide, can blog to us all one day and tell us what she thought of this man's new book:

 "White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s."

He sounds like a man you'd want to bump into if you had a few days to spare and a wallet full of drinking money. Bless a man or woman who can belt out a drunken sea shanty and still know where to place the rich silent notes in a Richard Thompson or Nick Drake song. Wow.

"What I managed to get with my arcane tastes, with good production and sound and studios and management and marketing," he says, "was that music of my taste was moved closer to the mainstream than [it] ever would be."

I guess when you live in Amoeba, it's hard to measure that mainstream. I tell you, I'm pretty mainstream compared to most, and this fellow here reminds me that even after decades wandering the aisles of record stores, I have so much left to discover.

That, sir, is not only an enormous relief, but it starts my day on a note of endless exploration and possibility. Whenever I feel like my feet hurt or I'm too tired to retail another day? I can stop and realize that all around me, are the people who made all this art, people that I can't even recognize as they walk past me ... but that's the magic of Amoeba. Even when you don't know that that is Joe Boyd right next to you, the man who helped produce of R.E.M.'s Fables of the Reconstruction three years after working on Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out The Lights.

Or, for that matter, the debut album from Maria Muldaur.

6 degrees of Maria Muldaur!

Brian Eno says it right there: "The Best book about music I have read in years." Well, Mister Eno, sir, you are a genius and I admire you endlessly. But Miss Ess is a friend of mine, and I think I'll see what she has to say about the book. But you know she's going to LOVE it!

I'm off to get a damn good cup of coffee in Oakland, California. Where you are right now, or where you're headed, I hope you can hear a beautiful song ...

                                     -- The Insomniac

Relevant Tags

Joe Boyd (8), Amoeba Music Hollywood (104), Joanna Newsom (36), Mariee Sioux (8), Devendra Banhart. Music Lit (1), Nick Drake (9), Reak-folk (1), Joe Boyd (8)