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Talkin' Greenwich Village

On sale

3rd October 2024

Price: £28


The Arts / Music

Selected:  Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780306827631

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The definitive history of the revolutionary Greenwich Village music scene, which fostered some of the most iconic musicians in American history–and fought for its identity every step of the way.

Although Greenwich Village takes up less than a square mile in downtown New York, rarely has such a concise area supported and nurtured so many groundbreaking artists and genres. Over the course of decades, Billie Holiday, the Weavers, Sonny Rollins, Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Herbie Hancock, the Blues Project, and Suzanne Vega are just a few who realized the Village was a sanctuary for outsiders and those who wanted to invent or reinvent themselves. Those musicians, and so many more, used the Village’s smokey coffeehouses and clubs to chronicle the tumultuous Sixties, rewrite jazz history, and take rock & roll into eclectic places it hadn’t been before.

Based on new interviews with surviving participants, previously unseen and unheard archives, and author David Browne’s years immersed in the scene, Talkin’ Greenwich Village lends the saga the epic, panoramic scope it has long deserved. It takes readers from the Fifties fountain sessions in Washington Square Park and into landmark venues like the Gaslight and the Village Vanguard, with stops along the way into the scene’s carousing Seventies years (National Lampoon’s Lemmings), and Dylan’s momentous arrival and numerous returns. In eye-opening fashion, the book chronicles the overlooked people of color who sang alongside Dylan and his peers, reveals how the federal and city government consistently kept its eye on the community and artists like Van Ronk, unearths new aspects of the infamous “beatnik riot” in Washington Square Park, and tells the never-told stories of the falafel restaurant that begat a new community in the Eighties scene and the beloved sister band the Roches, who laid the groundwork for so many of today’s female singer-songwriters.

In also chronicling the racial tensions, ongoing crackdowns and changes in New York and music that infiltrated the neighborhood, Talkin’ Greenwich Village is more than just vivid music history. It also tells the story of the heyday and waning of bohemian culture in America, set to some of the most enduring words, folk songs and jazz jams in music history.