Even before the Beatnik Riots of 1961, New York City's Greenwich Village was the epicenter of revolutionary movements in American music and culture. But, in the early 1960s and throughout the decade, a new wave of writers and performers inspired by the folk music revival of the 1950s created socially aware and deeply personal songs that spoke to a generation like never before. These writers—Bob Dylan, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Janis Ian, and Phil Ochs, to name a few—changed the folk repertoire from traditional songs to songs sprung from personal, contemporary experiences and the nation's headlines, raising the level of political self-expression to high art. Message and music merged and mirrored society.
In Music + Revolution: Greenwich Village in the 1960s, Richard Barone unrolls a freewheeling historical narrative, peppered with personal stories and insights from those who were there. Illustrated with contemporaneous portraits of the musicians by renowned photographer David Gahr, it celebrates the lasting legacy of a pivotal decade with stories behind the songs that resonate just as strongly today.
Richard Barone is a recording artist, performer, producer, professor, and author. Since pioneering the indie rock scene in Hoboken, NJ, as frontman of The Bongos, Barone has worked with artists in every musical genre including Donovan, Lou Reed, and folk legend Pete Seeger. He has produced concert events at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and SummerStage in Central Park. His album Sorrows & Promises is a celebration of the 1960s music scene in Greenwich Village, where Barone lives. He currently teaches the course “Music + Revolution” at The New School’s School of Jazz & Contemporary Music, serves on the Advisory Board of Anthology Film Archives, has served on the Board of Governors of The Recording Academy (GRAMMYs), and hosts Folk Radio on WBAI New York.
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During the 1960s folk scene in Greenwich Village, we propelled a renaissance in civil rights, art, and music. This vibrant narrative evokes that time, painting a vivid landscape for us and generations of readers to come.
As you wander through Richard Barone’s excellent telling of the astounding events that took place in Greenwich Village from 1960 to 1969, remember that each folk and blues singer you meet, the unknown and the well-known, all fell under the spell of a very small community, which still retains to this day its village dimensions. Breathe in the atmosphere of where it all began.
“Greenwich Village is not only the stomping ground of songwriter Richard Barone but also his creative muse. His account Music + Revolution on the Village folk scene in the 1960s is a lovely companion to his album Sorrows and Promises, providing us sketches of memorable characters and giving us insight into the sights and sounds of the famed Manhattan neighborhood.” —Stephen Petrus, co-author of Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival
“A lively, irresistible read—and a surprising one, too. Richard is not following a literary formula here. He’s inventing one.” —Anthony DeCurtis, celebrated lecturer and author, contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine.
NetGalley Review: 5 stars
Last updated on 08 Jul 2022
"Greenwich Village from 1960 to 1969 was a major epicenter of the cultural revolution in America—the East Coast counterpart to Haight-Ashbury and North Beach in San Francisco, and the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. In the Village, many innovative changes in art, literature, fashion, film, and music occurred, and the reverberations of social and political unrest had direct impact.
With Music + Revolution, Greenwich Village in the 1960s, Richard Barone captures the Village’s revolution in detail, while delivering one of the first books to specifically document the music of this eclectic neighborhood during the 1960s. The narrative is supported by numerous historic photographs from the David Gahr Archive that beautifully capture the people and places in the Village and its environs during the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
After a short history of the Village from 1600 to 1939, Barone details the origins of the American folk revival of the 1950s, chronicling the influence of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Pete Seeger on the revival’s germination in the Village with Carolyn Hester, Dave Von Ronk, Bob Gibson, and other forerunners of the movement.
Beginning with 1960, Barone delineates the year-by-year evolution of the Village’s music and culture and the groundbreaking folk artists who populated its turn-of-the-century tenements. He describes their unique orientation to the Village, the relationships that inspired creativity, and the coffeehouses, streets, and parks where they played, cultivated their craft, and contemplated protests—the Gaslight Cafe, the Night Owl Cafe, the Cafe Bizarre, and Gerde’s Folk City, to name a few.
From Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin, and Richie Havens to Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs—hundreds of musicians, poets, artists, writers, and activists are profiled with special attention to their lifestyle and character. Barone includes enlightening revelations about many of his subjects, including Buddy Holly, who despite his renown as a resident of Lubbock, Texas, moved to Greenwich Village in October 1958, making his final recordings—including “Peggy Sue Got Married”—on a reel-to-reel tape recorder in his Village apartment prior to his death on February 3, 1959.
Coverage of the innumerable post-acoustic, electric folk and rock artists who permeated Village venues by 1965 includes profiles of the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Blues Project, the Velvet Underground, and Jimi Hendrix (performing at Cafe Wha? as Jimmy James), and acknowledgment of such landmark bands as the Blues Magoos, the Magicians, and the Fugs.
Richard Barone offers impressive credentials for a document of the Village’s revolution in the ‘60s: a recording artist, performer, producer, professor, and author, he has worked with many luminaries of folk music and the Village, including Donovan, Lou Reed, and Pete Seeger. For the past thirty years, Barone has lived in Greenwich Village with a dedication to absorbing its historic energies, which remain virtually unchanged … and for good reason: in 1969, over 2,200 buildings and 100 blocks in Greenwich Village were declared a historic district, and it remains the oldest and largest historic district in New York City."—Walter Roland Moore, consumer reviewer
NetGalley Review: 4 stars
Last updated on 25 Aug 2022
"My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Rowman & Litttlefield- Backbeat for a copy of this history on both a scene and a state of mind.
Bob Dylan in Tangled Up In Blue sang "There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air". Not being much of a Dylanologist even at the time I assumed and still do think that he was singing about Greenwich Village in New York City. My father always talked about buying and records, and who knows what else. Most music biographies always have a chapter about the Village, either seeing shows or moving into the area. The clubs and venues where many early troubadours played are still known, even if most of them are now clothing stores or a Starbucks. It always seemed magical a nexus of both talent, ideas, hopes, dreams, and crushing reality. Richard Barone, musician, producer, professor, author and historian has in Music + Revolution: Greenwich Village in the 1960s, written a history of the place, a time, and a vision, complete with photos.
The book begins with a brief history of the area starting about the time of the Native Americans and their real estate dealings with Europeans to the early 1950's discussing the history and big events in the area. Barone also covers the rise of Folk and early Americana music with discussions about Lead Belly, Allan Lomax, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. The Clancy Brothers are also discussed, which coming from an Irish household whose music was played constantly I was surprised by their involvement in the folk movement. We then enter the sixties where the book really goes in-depth, breaking the decade down year by in studying the players, musicians, artists, writers even filmmakers who moved into the area, shared rooms, bands, significant others and more. Buddy Holly was a resident, which surprised me quite a bit, never knowing that he had moved from Texas.
Richard Barone has a very good way with words and the ideas behind them, living in the Village and working as a performer might give him insight on creative people and how they work and think. There are a lot of names and works, music, books, and poems, but Barone never loses the narrative, nor drones on about one subject to the expense of another. People are introduced and reintroduced when needed. Barone also has a nice way of writing about the live performances, the descriptions seem to capture moments of performance that are rare in a lot of books about music. The research and work that went into this book must have been immense, and it shows in the writing which is very informative and never dull.
A book about scene that I thought was pretty played out by all the many, many other books on music that have come before. However I enjoyed being proved wrong. There is a lot that is new, and the book has a very interesting feel to it. Recommended for music fans of course, or for people interested in a New York that seems so far away. Also for people who are interested in the creative arts, stories of artists being successful on their own terms among people who share their vision are always inspiring."—Dan O'Leary, bookseller