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Al Stewart: True Life Adventures of a Folk Troubadour Hardcover – 10 Nov 2001

3.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Helter Skelter Publishing; 01 edition (10 Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1900924366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1900924368
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 17.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,337,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

The anecdotes are great... and the whole thing is a thoroughly absorbing read. Decidedly definitive. -- Record Collector, April 2006 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Synopsis

This is the authorized biography of the British cult folk hero behind the chart hit "Year of the Cat" who enjoyed Top Ten success in the USA and who was a pivotal player in the Sixties folk scene that became a springboard for Simon & Garfunkel, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, John Martyn and many more. Packed with anecdotes, insider information on the folk scene and on the early years of Paul Simon - with whom Stewart shared a flat - this is a wry account of the trials and tribulations of a major folk star right from the early sixties to 2002.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The "True Life Adventures of a Folk Rock Troubadour" is an insightful book into the life of one of the most talented singer/songwriters of this generation, Al Stewart. The book chronicles the life of Stewart from birth to the present day with many humorous and sad antecdotes along the way. I like the way author Neville Judd composited the book. The interviews with Al's mother, record executives, managers, studio musicians, contemporaries, friends and Al himself gave me a better perspective of Stewart and the trials and tributlations he went through before Year of the Cat, his success during the mid to late seventies and is horrendous battles and bad luck he had with the dreaded record companies after Time Passages. As the book moved along from album to album, I found myself pulling out my Al Stewart collection and following along with Judd what was going on during the making and release of that album. I learned so much about what Stewart was thinking during that period. His transformation from the bed-sit writing to the historical period is truly fascinating and without a doubt, I rate Stewart as the best lyricist going today. Not being from the UK, the book explained a lot of questions and gaps I had regarding friends and locations in England, from listening to Stewart's earlier work. I thought I was a rabid Al Stewart fan and knew mostly everything about him. This book proved me wrong. The stories involving Yoko Ono, Jimmy Page, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Alan Parsons and Clive Davis were fascinating.
There are no margins in this book. So a 325+ page book was easily 425+ pages with a normal book. As an avid Stewart fan, I didn't care for a repeat of lyrics of current Al Stewart material.
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Format: Hardcover
Neville Judd's Al Stewart: The True Life Adventures of a Folk-Rock Troubadour is, above all, a fun read. It is clear from page one that Judd is passionate about music and about singer-songwriter Al Stewart ("Year of the Cat," "Time Passages," "Roads to Moscow"). That passion pleasantly carries the reader through 312 densely packed pages of amusing anecdotes, free-flowing factoids, and the occasional surprise from the life story of the only artist from the '60s British folk-roots scene to score two LPs in the US Top Thirty. Judd enjoyed close access to Stewart and many of his contemporaries, colleagues, friends, and family members: The resulting book is an interweaving of snippets from interviews, writings from Stewart's own journals, and the author's own enthusiastic, largely comma-free prose. The whole offers a breezy, if sometimes repetitive, and detailed look at Stewart's life from birth through the present day, although the lion's share of attention is given to his public-school years and his hardscrabble bedsit days as a rising player in London's folk scene. Judd also shines more light on the dark side of the starmaker machinery of the record business--it's fascinating to see how the rock-and-roll dream turned nightmarish through the differing perspectives of Stewart (who, to Judd's credit, does not get kid-gloves treatment), former manager Luke O'Reilly, and various bandmates. Here's hoping that the much-deserved resurgence of Al Stewart will bring about a sequel--this book, sadly, offers very little about the mature Stewart, who is its most compelling character. But for the richly portrayed Soho scene and the glimpses into the past of a truly gifted and woefully underrated and underappreciated artist, Al Stewart: The True Life Adventures of a Folk-Rock Troubadour is enjoyable reading for any music lover. It's a must-read for serious Stewart fans and devotees of British folk-rock.
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By A Customer on 26 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having read the other reviews, I find myself coming roughly in between the two main responses.
I agree that the actual writing is amateurish, with plenty of mistakes, as if put together as the information was collected without any thorough read-through or an idea of the structure. This makes it very hard to read through from start to finish.
*However*, it is a good book to dip into. Many of the pictures, particularly early promo shots of a handsome and poetic-looking Al, are wonderful, and even the worst of the previously unpublished lyrics and poems are interesting. I've found that when I listen to Al's records now, I want the book with me as a kind of additional set of sleevenotes, shedding more light on the songs and their genesis. Read in small extracts, the writing does its job.
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Format: Paperback
This is just so badly written. The sad thing is, it will probably be the only biography of Al Stewart, so it's the only one we're ever going to get. The author is an amateur, but at least he's collected the facts, and put them out there.
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By A Customer on 25 July 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Al Stewart's music, I'm thrilled that someone wrote a biography about him. However, I have to agree with most of the review by "Mark", who also pans this book.
This book has little continuity and should have been edited. The anecdotes break up the timeline. Even Judd can't keep what he wrote straight because he often repeats several anecdotes throughout the book.
Chapters dealing with Stewart's earlier, pre-"Past, Present & Future" days are tediously long. Sadly, Stewart's more recent career has been paid comparatively scant attention. If one is familiar with most of his work, this is unfortunate since his last two albums "Between the Wars" & "Down in the Cellar" are excellent. One would like to know more about his work with Laurence Juber.
All negativity aside, Stewart fans may want to plow through this book because it may be the only biography about him. That Judd chose to write about Al Stewart is laudable. I'd rather read a single, mediocre book about him than ten good books about Brittany Spears. For that reason alone, I'll give this book two stars.
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