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Wounds to Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution (Paperback)
  • Wounds to Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution (Paperback)
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Wounds to Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution (Paperback)

(author), (with), (foreword)
£15.95
Paperback 270 Pages / Published: 02/07/2015
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Wounds to Bind bears witness to lost and hopeful convergence in American history-that missing link between the folk and rock eras-when Bob Dylan and Sammy Davis Jr. were played on the same radio station in the same hour. A survivor of the human realignments, tragedies and triumphs that followed, Burgan tracks down the demons that drove the genius of We Five cofounder Mike Stewart and sheds light on the 40-year enigma of what became of the band's reclusive lead singer, Beverly Bivens, a forerunner of Grace Slick, Linda Ronstadt, and Stevie Nicks.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442245365
Number of pages: 270
Weight: 422 g
Dimensions: 226 x 154 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Folksinger Burgan, with assistance from Rifkin, recounts his life as a founding member of the San Francisco electro-folk band We Five ('You Were on My Mind'). This memoir brings together his experiences at a time, the 1960s and 1970s, when the folk and rock music cultures were undeniably going through a transformation. Regardless of your prior knowledge of music or desire to read explicitly about We Five, this book tactfully delves much deeper than band history. It integrates stories of growth and maturity of a group of musicians from teens through adulthood with tales of drugs, religion, relationships, love, and discrimination as seen through Burgan's eyes. The final chapters include recent updates on the band and its members; for several it was the final days of life among longtime friends. VERDICT This excellent, well-written chronicle of the folk-rock revolution from an active band member of that time will be enjoyed by general readers and fans of music memoirs. * Library Journal *
An intimate portrait of a boyhood friendship ripening into rivalry and then redemption. . . .The vivid profile of cultural maven [Frank] Werber may alone be justification for the book. . . .Burgan treats each [of his bandmates] with unfailing tenderness and perception. * San Francisco Examiner *
Over these beautifully written pages, we track the history of We Five as the group converged on the 1960s California folk-rock scene, burst to national prominence with its first hit (the phrase 'wounds to bind' comes from 'Mind's' lyrics) and then disintegrated rapidly as inexperience, trends and haphazard management took their toll. . . .We Five, in [Jerry Burgan's] estimation, was once 'in a leading position to redraw the rules of both folk and rock,' and critics may debate whether that's truth or just ecstatic hype. But then, why not be ecstatic about it? Here in the suit-yourself 2010s, when Facebook has trumped balladeering as a tool of social change and the very notion of a song becoming an anthem feels quaint, it's intoxicating to imagine a time when a single's debut would gather spellbound listeners around a radio. Burgan, and others of his generation, emerged from the 1960s with plenty of wounds. Maybe time doesn't always heal them. But sometimes, an up-tempo tune can make them smart a little less. * Daily Pilot *
It might seem a stretch for a member of a one-hit wonder (We Five, who did "You Were On My Mind") to carry a 200-page autobiography - especially when Mike Stewart, brother of the Kingston Trio's John Stewart, was the group's visionary, not the author. But...Burgan['s]...observations regarding the birth of folkrock are illuminating. * Vintage Guitar *
For those of us who grew up with the magical music of the 60s, this book is riveting and revelatory. It's a rare opportunity to really get inside the experience of being in a million-selling band. Jerry Burgan co-founded We Five and he tells the group's story in fascinating detail - all of the exhilaration, all of the pain. Burgas left Southern California an innocent and launched the band in the Bay Area, where he had to grow up fast. It was the era of drugs, racial unrest and the Vietnam War. And then there was the murky maze of the music business. Burgan was teamed with the group's tortured, creative genius, Mike Stewart, who was trying to climb out of the shadow of his brother John Stewart, a member of the legendary Kingston Trio. The musically adventurous We Five was managed by the Trio's overseer, Frank Werber, a larger-than-life figure on the local music scene, a man who wanted desperately to be at the forefront of the pop revolution, but was mired in promotional ideas of the past. We Five was among the first to meld the earnestness of folk with the excitement of rock. With the versatile, vivacious vocals of charismatic Beverly Bivens in the spotlight, the group garnered attention. Bivens paved the way for the female rockers who came after her, such asGrace Slick and Linda Ronstadt. Burgan recounts We Five's interactions with contemporaries like The Byrds, Mark Lindsay and The Rolling Stones. We Five captured lightning in a bottle with the pioneering, genre-crossing folk-rock masterpiece "You Were On My Mind," a brilliant reworking of a Sylvia Tyson tune. But matching that commercial success again proved to be an impossible task. That makes for a major test of perseverance and dedication to the craft. When fame and fortune are fleeting, does music remain the focal point of these artists' lives? We Five's original clean-cut image was supplanted by something more experimental, even psychedelic, but not everyone one the outside was accepting. Stewart and Bivens, if there were any justice, would be viewed as music icons today. Instead, they're footnotes in pop history. Burgan had to cope with the band's mind-blowing, warp speed takeoff, followed by a perplexing fade. And maybe it's only love and marriage that saved him from becoming a rock casualty. He tells We Five's tale in a touching, thought-provoking, very personal style. He starts his narrative in the 60s, but Burgan soon takes us into timeless territory. * Pop Culture Classics *

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