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le 27 juillet 2001
As a young woman coming of age in the 60's, I grew up in the era of flower children, coffee-houses, beatnik jazz, poetry, sit-in's, love-in's, protests, and the legendary folk music of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Those where the days of youth and splendor. "Positively 4th Street" is an in-depth look at the magic of the moment, the beat of the music, the Bohemian culture of the day, and the triumphs and tragedies of a unique breed of individuals breaking ground from Greenwich Village to Canada's west coast. Share the wild adventure, golden opportunities, steamy affairs, hot passion and stone cold deceit in the lives of four extremely gifted and talented people - Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi Baez Farina and Richard Farina. The music was, indeed, a sign of the times, and "the times they were a-changing." It was an unparalleled era when love, peace and individuality ruled supreme, and freedom was part of the traditional dream. Take a trip down memory lane back to this nostalgic era revisited through the pages of a well-written and fascinating book. "Positively 4th Street" is....positively the best!
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le 27 juillet 2001
What wonderful writing, what a bittersweet and romantic tale of BS-artists who turned out to be real artists. I laughed out loud at some of the events and descriptions (Dylan's re-invention of the harmonica as a life-support device!), I went out and bought music by those who were under-represented in my collection. The story of Richard and Mimi plumbs the depths of sadness. As a fan of Dylan's (and Joan's), it was hard to bear his sudden cruelty to those who loved him, but it was heartening to see his reinvention as a family man, free of most of his chains (Albert Grossman's drug supplies and incessant touring that was ready to kill Bob). If you love poetry, music, rock, folk, and want an engrossing story of how Dylan came to be Dylan, Joan became Joan, Mimi started to find herself, and Richard really was somebody, read this book. Along the way, learn about the kindness and musical contributions that Bob soaked up and reinvented to build our current view of the musician's responsibility: write songs from the heart, use a language as universal as you can invent, and don't be afraid to follow your muse.
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le 27 juillet 2001
If you grew up in the '50s, '60s or '70s this book will take you back. I started humming all the songs I hadn't thought about in years, and finally had to get out my guitar -- untouched for years -- and invite a friend over to sing all those great dylan songs. The book is a masterful combination of journalism, social history, pop music history and biography. I couldn't put it down. The personalities of the four main characters, their motivations, their personal growth, and their relationships are portrayed really well -- enough details to make you really feel what's going on (what people were wearing, eating, singing etc.) but never too much to bog it down. Hajdu is just a genius. My only concern was that because Dylan refused to cooperate for the book, he is not portrayed as sympathetically as the others, and yet, the book does not quite acknowledge that of all the recording artists who came out of that era, he is clearly the one whose genius will be remembered when the others have fallen away. Still, this was a joy to read. I wish it had just gone on and on and on for another 500 pages.
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