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Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell And The Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992 Paperback – 23 Oct 2009
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"[A] sensitive and thorough biography...Tim Lawrence presents more than enough evidence to suggest that Russell belonged to that unique line of wayward American composers...who placed personal vision and relentless innovation over easy acceptance...As the author of the excellent Love Saves the Day: A History Of American Dance Music Culture 1970-1979, Lawrence is particularly adept at exploring Russell's links with the New York club scene...The connection he establishes between the haunting songs for cello and voice Russell recorded on 1986's World Of Echo, and the empty dancefloors of Lower Manhattan as AIDS starts to take its toll, is particularly affecting." --Ken Hollings, The Wire
"[H]is overriding thesis--that Russell's boundary crossing was as important as the work he made is sound, paying tribute to a man who was a connector as well as a spark." --Michaelangelo Matos, TimeOutNY
"With rich and animated detail, Tim Lawrence tracks Arthur Russell's insatiable drive to integrate so-called serious music and pop. This definitive biography is both an engrossing record of Russell's musical ambitions and a compelling account of the fertile downtown scene that supported his admirable dreams." Matt Wolf, director of Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell "Tim Lawrence has written a fascinating and insightful biography of a sensitive and searching soul. Arthur Russell was a personal artist whose musical vision led him to coexist in seemingly incompatible worlds. Through the lens of Arthur Russell's life (never clouded with material success or celebrity), Tim Lawrence gives us a sharp and singular portrait of late-twentieth-century American life. A fine read, with a depth and detail that resonate with Arthur Russell's sparkle and wit."--Peter Gordon, Love of Life Orchestra "Hold On to Your Dreams tells the story of an artist whose life becomes more intriguing with every turn. Inspiring and written with love, this book takes us to the roots of Arthur Russell's music, from the streets of New York to the cornfields of Iowa."-- --Jens Lekman, musician
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Top customer reviews
(You wont be reading this book unless you love the guy's music.. and if you love his music, odds on you'll want this even if you just dip into it.. or want it on yr shelf!) It's for the converted.
It aint easy going in this book- it's kinda written as if for an M.A. level crit/discussion..er.. level.. but sticking with it you are going to get a really detailed complete overview of Russell and the people in the downtown scene and the whole historical context of the time.
Like i said- hard work but i really enjoyed it and simply because there is so much of it, it enables you to spend a good hunk of time immersed in it and it is the tale of quite a curious and amazing man.
I love muso biogs and am glad someone made this much effort to write this.
I got this.. the biog of Darby Crash.. and Cope's "Repossesed" and it set me up for the whole summer.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Arthur Russell is definitely the most important artist to have been (re)discovered in the noughties.
Cello player, avant-garde composer, disco producer, pop/folk singer-songwriter, Mr Russell lived an interesting, busy life in New York from 1973 to 1992, straddling musical genres and mixing them with ease and depth. Although he never found the success he deserved during his lifetime, he nevertheless produced a body of work that will never cease to fascinate discerning music lovers all over the world.
This biography by Tim Lawrence - the first book ever on the Iowan maverick - is a wonderful introduction to its subject: painstakingly researched (work on it lasted for ten years), immensely readable and shot through with humanity and an acute critical eye, it will only make you love Arthur Russell and his music more, helping you understand his working methods and the tender, marvellous poetry of his lyrics.
Its merits, though, do not end here; while recounting Russell's human journey, Mr Lawrence also manages to connect it beautifully to the bubbling milieu of 70s/80s Downtown New York, thus producing a pulsating portrait of a difficult yet extremely creative part of the Big Apple.
The end result is an essential book. One that you will keep going back to time and again, a work, in short, that is totally worthy of Arthur Russell's multifarious, radiant oeuvre.
It contains numerous factual errors and false statements.
Arthur Russell's legacy deserves much better than this!
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