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  • White Bicycles

  • Making Music in the 1960s
  • By: Joe Boyd
  • Narrated by: Joe Boyd
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)

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White Bicycles cover art

White Bicycles

By: Joe Boyd
Narrated by: Joe Boyd
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Summary

Joe Boyd tells of his journey through Sixties music, from tour managing Muddy Waters and Coleman Hawkins, to plugging in Bob Dylan's electric guitar while working as production manager at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, to becoming a leading record producer. His first session was Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood's "Crossroads" followed by Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny and many more. He moved to Hollywood at the end of the decade where he produced the documentary "Jimi Hendrix" for Warner Brothers.

©2006 Joseph Walker Boyd (P)2013 Joseph Walker Boyd

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A Truly Excellent Book

This is easily one of the best audiobooks I’ve heard since joining Audible over 5 years ago, made all the more delightful a find as I’ll admit I bought this on impulse.

It deals with author Joe Boyd’s experiences working as club owner, gig promoter, road manager and record producer during the heady days of the 60s, and the many talented and potentially ill-fated people he met along the way. From the early pre-pop days of jazz quartets and endless one-night stands through The Beatles, Woodstock, Altamont and beyond the book never flags and manages to convey the sights, sounds and mood of probably the most important decade in pop music history. And it’s not all name-dropping and tales of expensive parties (although there is some of that of course). Whilst some of the acts Boyd deals with go on to worldwide fame and acclaim (Pink Floyd and Fairport Convention most notably) many more never quite achieved their potential as with The Incredible String Band or, worse, only found fame posthumously as with Nick Drake.

Joe Boyd also narrates his tale brilliantly, and is both engaging and entertaining so that you can feel his excitement at a pending opportunity, his anger when he is being lead a dance by record labels, and his sadness and regret at the many vulnerable souls (Syd Barrett, Sandy Denny, Jimi Hendrix, Nick Drake) who fell along the way. The final chapter is possibly the finest piece I’ve heard on the music business and how it, and life in general, has altered since the heydays of the 60s.

Joe Boyd disproves that oft-quoted saying, as he does remember the 60s, and he WAS there. Highly recommended.

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3 people found this helpful

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He remembers the 60s ... and he was there!

Wow. I knew Boyd's name quite well, as I'd seen it on countless records in my life. Also I have a subscription to MOJO. But I really didn't have a clue that he was involved in so much! You name a major movement in 50s or 60s American or British music, and there's a good chance Boyd had at least a connection to it. In the case of the Newport Folk Festivals, Island Records, the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, the UFO Club - more than just a connection. Much more. If you have any interest in 60s music, give this a listen, as it really is one of the very best books of its kind. And he provides a brilliant analytic summary in the final chapter, of why the brilliance of those times faded, and why modern life - theoretically liberated by increased incomes and leisure time - has led to a non-stop whirligig where little is valued unlike the idealistic 60s.

I've marked the performance down a bit. Boyd has a pleasant but slightly soporific voice, and I think someone like Johnny Depp (who read the first part of Keith Richards' "Life") might have been more lively. He also has the incredibly annoying habit of not leaving a brief pause between chapters - even 2 seconds would be enough. As it is, each new chapter is simply like a new sentence in the previous one.

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A great book on music on the 60's

Well read by the author himself, detailing alot of the well known- and more on the not so well known- artists of the 60's. Not so much the clichéd recycling of a vision passed between people who weren't there, as often seen on film or TV, but a very real insight into the cultural explosion and the approach of recording albums, touring, setting up club nights and being young in the 1960s.

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Not what I expected

I’d expected a summary of my musical life, artists and music that have soundtracked my life for over 60 years. What I got was full of insight and new ideas. A brilliant listen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A love, above all else, of the music and of those who made it.

An honest, thought provoking, dive into the career of a genuinely engaging anglophile host. A participant in one of the most significant periods of music production and creativity.

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Excellent

My wife download this for me...
I was a guitar playing teenager in the 60s, worked in a record shop in 1971 and been a musician ever since. Have read, listened to many music books about this era, this could be the best so far on many levels.
Well written, the detail is interesting without being boring, Joe Boyd's narration is excellent and makes the book even more interesting as your hearing first it hand from the man himself. His social observations about the time are an added bonus.
Best of all, he is a music fan and that shines through.
I enjoyed every minute of it and will listen again, soon...
Sam

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A Music lover's Dream

I haven't read too many truly great biographies, but this was surely one of the first. No excessive name dropping or peacocking, just a brilliant read from start to finish. Putting characters to the music we love.

Also worth your time is the Chris Blackwell book that compliments this really well.

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Wonderful account

One of the best music books you will read. He was there at the heart of it all.

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Was looking for Nick Drake and found so much more!

Although I really like Nick Drake’s music, I don’t remember ever hearing or reading the name Joe Boyd but I am delighted that I’ve discovered him! What an adventure his life was. I wasn’t around in the 60s but the final chapter sums up the difference between then and now, not just in the music industry, but economically. Great listen, I’ll return to listen again in the future!

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A must for anyone interested in the 60s and music

I loved hearing Joe's tales. The musicians he worked with are among my favourites, he had an amazing position, a kind of birds eye view on many greats. His writing is unpretentious and vivid, and I liked his voice.

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