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4.7 out of 5 stars
15
4.7 out of 5 stars


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No doubting it, The Band were musical alchemists. Niven has written a novella inspired by listening to one of the greatest and most moving albums ever created. Members of The Band, mainly Richard Manuel and Rick Danko, are introduced to us through factual occurrances and imagined scenarios where the main character Greg is drawn into their circle of friends and hangers-on.
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.
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on 13 August 2009
Having adored Kill Your Friends, and appreciated The Amateurs, it seemed only fair to read Mr. Niven's 1st offering, Music from Big Pink, and disappointed I was not. This guy can really write. I found this book highly emotive and the fact and fiction most skilfully married. He seems to have completely, and I'm not quite sure how, captured the essence of the period. One feels privileged to be part of it, and genuinely moved when everybody moves on.

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.
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on 5 April 2016
John Niven was obsessed by the Band - one of my favourite bands too - and this tribute novella hits the spot. Greg is a small time drug dealer from Toronto who skips his studies, heads to Woodstock and hangs out at the fringes with the Hawks, soon to be the Band. The excess so wonderfully played in Kill Your Friends has its debut here, with Greg dealing, drinking, snorting, tripping and coming to terms with unrequited love and the realisation that his friends inhabit a higher plane in music.

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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on 16 December 2011
I haven't read any of these 33 1/3 series... I only read it because I love John Niven's writing. At first I presumed there must be two authors of the same name because this was totally different from his other books. I have to say I missed his whit and found the characters quite bland and there was no plot to speak of. However, it was only afterwards I learned about the context of this series and it kind've made sense. If you're a bit of a 60's music nerd, then I guess it'd be quite enjoyable. Read it if you're a fan of the series and want to get a feel of the whole 60's 'vibe'... but John Niven at his best?... no.
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on 9 June 2011
This book is beautifully touching and captures the era in a way that makes you want to find out more .A brilliant read that you never want to end . I have now read four of John Niven's books and eagerly anticipate the next.
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on 16 November 2015
Doesn't really matter. Made me want to listen to the record - and buy a few more of this brilliant series.

Another great edition to the Niven canon.
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on 14 January 2015
Great read, so would recommend to friends. Great to find a new author to read and enjoy. Can't wait to start the next one.
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on 23 August 2015
Quirky but brilliant novella. Feels like you were there and captures the spirit of the album: Music from Big Pink
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on 4 June 2016
This isn't another rock biography , this is a true insight into a place a time a lifestyle. Read it now.
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on 15 March 2016
Riveting read, I couldn't put it down. A very interesting book.
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