12 January 2012
288 pages, Serpent's Tail (December 21, 2010)
More than any previous sixties music autobiography, "Joe Boyd"'s "White Bicycles" offers the real story of what it was like to be there at the time. As well as the sixties heavy-hitters, this book also offers wonderfully vivid portraits of a whole host of other musicians: everyone from the great jazzman "Coleman Hawkins" to the Folk diva "Sandy Denny", "Lonnie Johnson" to "Eric Clapton", "Sister Rosetta Tharpe" to "Fairport Convention".
"Joe Boyd"'s book is subtitled 'Making Music in the 1960s', and from its enigmatic opening line - "The sixties began in the summer of 1956, ended in October of 1973 and peaked just before dawn on 1 July, 1967 during a set by Tomorrow at the UFO Club in London" - that's what you get.
"Joe Boyd"'s legacy as a producer is a brace of albums that he made in London between 1966 and 1970. The groups and singers bear exotic names: "Fairport Convention", "The Incredible String Band", Fotheringay, "Nick Drake".
The ten best albums from this period live on. And it's to Boyd's credit that he fostered these talents and recorded them so well. He has remained a custodian to them, and seen their currency in the Rock world rise.