The Band's Music From Big Pink (33 1/3) Paperback – 25 Oct 2008
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Niven... delivers one of the more ambitious and lengthy books in the series, writing about The Band's extraordinary first album in the form of a novella.... Through his eyes we see a fictionalized but historically-rooted account of what it was like to be in or around The Band in 1968. The novella describes the circumstances of the album's creation and its sound, but is more than an oblique work of criticism. It is itself, like its subject, a grand work of art. --Ukula Magazine, Spring 2006
About the Author
John Niven toured and recorded as a guitarist in the Wishing Stones (their sole LP Wildwood owes more than a passing debt to the music of The Band), before becoming an A&R man and working with acts like Travis, Mogwai, and Sigur Ros. He lives just outside of London, and this is his first book.
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I am impressed by the merging of the real and imagined scenes: The mercurial, troubled Manuel is brought back to us in the prose and dialogue, and through references to his beautiful voice and songwriting on the Big Pink LP. If this book acheives anything for readers unfamiliar with The Band, it will move them to buy a copy of the remastered CD, or maybe even search out an original gatefold copy of the album.
A powerful, insightful and clever piece of writing.
Well done Mr. Niven. Now could we please have the further adventures of Mr. Stelfox? He could and should be the Harry Flashman of the future.
Studded with wicked wit and credible observation about the truly famous - who are taciturn, sarcastic and condescending - especially Dylan and Robbie Robertson - this is really a study itself destruction of Richard Manuel and the character Greg. It is more serious than it appears at first, and a tad maudlin, but it is still very cleverly imagined and executed. John Niven was a rocker, that seems certain, and is so convinced of the greatness of Manuel (more than Robertson). He thinks Music from Big Pink is their masterpiece - but I think it is The Band - a flawless, top 10 of all time album.
Short,enjoyable and full of warmth, like one of his heroin's rushes.
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