Full of tantalizing tidbits for ’60s junkies, but too scattershot and awkward to merit a wide audience.

A FREEWHEELIN’ TIME

A MEMOIR OF GREENWICH VILLAGE IN THE SIXTIES

One of Bob Dylan’s former paramours remembers Greenwich Village in the ’60s.

Rotolo begins with a chronicle of her adolescence in Queens, where her education in folk and protest music began with her working-class Italian parents. “Most of us were children of Communists or socialists,” she writes, “red-diaper babies raised on Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Pete Seeger.” The author graduated from high school at the age of 16 and spent the remainder of her teen years working odd jobs, hanging out in Washington Square Park and building an interest in politics, music, literature, art and especially theater (particularly Bertolt Brecht). When a planned move to Rome was indefinitely postponed after the author suffered a violent car crash, Rotolo began attending classes at the School of Visual Arts and taking jobs building sets and props for small-theater productions. She gradually became more active in the Village’s burgeoning political and cultural scene and attended concerts at venues including the Bitter End, Café Wha? and the Gaslight. Rotolo—the woman featured on the cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan—first saw Dylan on stage at Gerde’s Folk City in 1961, and the two formed a quick bond. Rotolo insightfully noted the musician’s “uncanny ability to complicate the obvious and sanctify the banal—just like a poet.” Unfortunately, many of the author’s other observations about this tumultuous time period fail to capture the zeitgeist of the era. (A short anecdote about Charles Mingus, however, accurately portrays the jazz musician’s notoriously stormy temperament.) In language that is occasionally poetic, but more often bland and stilted, Rotolo meanders through her memories, stopping to comment on the endless procession of quirky characters that made that specific time and place so special: John Lee Hooker, Dave Van Ronk, Izzy Young, Albert Grossman, Tiny Tim, Hugh Romney (aka Wavy Gravy) and countless others. Dylan receives better treatment, and Rotolo offers a carefully considered assessment of the mercurial musician’s work, personality and many faults (“Bob was charismatic; he was a beacon, a lighthouse. He was also a black hole”).

Full of tantalizing tidbits for ’60s junkies, but too scattershot and awkward to merit a wide audience.

Pub Date: May 13, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7679-2687-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

more