Richie Unterberger

interviewed on KPFA's Dead to the World
July 17, 2002
Host: David Gans

 

David Gans: You're listening to KPFA or KPFB in Berkeley, or KFCF in Fresno. Now I want you to hear a piece of music that changed the world.

Music: The Beatles - "A Hard Day's Night"

DG: Okay, that piece of music changed a bunch of people's lives, and here is the gentleman who is going to tell us exactly why. Richie Unterberger is the author of a brand new book called Turn! Turn! Turn! The 60's Folk-Rock Revolution, and boy did I have fun reading this book over the last few days. Welcome, Richie.

Richie Unterberger: Thanks, David.

DG: It's an excellent book. Tell me, what it is about the 12-string guitar at the beginning and end of that song that changed so many people's lives?

RU: When the Byrds saw that movie -- when Roger McGuinn, specifically, saw that movie -- he wanted to play that 12-string electric Rickenbacker guitar. When folk musicians like the Byrds and Roger McGuinn were starting to make their move from folk to rock music, they didn't have the right equipment. They were even sticking DeArmond pickups inside their acoustic guitars and amplifying them, and they had to put towels inside them to dampen the distortion, and it really wasn't working. When A Hard Day's Night came out, they went to the movie and took notes on the instruments the Beatles were using. Roger McGuinn decided he definitely wanted the same guitar that George Harrison was using, and that little tinkling riff that you hear at the very end (of "A Hard Day's Night") that 12-string guitar riff, that's the pretty much the blueprint for the sound, the jingle-jangle sound that the Byrds perfected with Roger McGuinn on lead guitar on "Mr. Tambourine Man" and most of the songs that they did during their first three years or so, up through 1968.

DG: Amazing. I was reading that on an airplane, and the minute I read that I heard it in my head and went, "Yeah, it's right there, isn't it!" It's that rolling picking thing, and boy oh boy it is just electrifying. This book is full of moments like that. It really captures the excitement of that time, when so much was possible and people were making new combinations of people and music and stuff. What a fine achievement it is as a historian to make the music so exciting.

RU: (Laughing) Well, thank you. Should I say a little bit about what I did?

DG: Please do, yeah. This is your hour.

RU: The book is the first of a two-volume set, actually. I got so much material. I was aiming to cover all of folk-rock from the 1960s, and there was so much to cover that this is the first volume that is going up to about the middle of 1966, when Bob Dylan disappeared from the scene for a while and the Byrds and others were starting to move from folk-rock to psychedelic music (but) still using folk-rock as a base.

The book is based on more than one hundred interviews with folk-rock musicians of the 1960s -- first-hand interviews done within the last couple of years, for the most part. People like Roger McGuinn, Donovan, Judy Collins, and some behind-the-scenes people too, like Jac Holzman, the founder of Elektra Records, and Bob Johnston, the producer of the great mid-60s Bob Dylan albums.

What I am trying to illustrate with the book is the incredible, rapid and explosive turnover from a generation of young musicians who were playing acoustic folk music around 1963, into electric rock music combining the best of both folk and rock music and taking music to a place where neither folk nor rock could have gotten to on their own. I'm not just covering the Byrds and Bob Dylan, although that is a big part of it. There are many behind the scenes figures both musicians and producers and label owners who made overlooked contributions that were really exciting. People like Fred Neil, the writer of "Everybody's Talking," who made a couple of great albums that really didn't sell well and don't get played much these days. People like Mimi and Richard Farina, both now gone, unfortunately, who were definitely among the first to merge real poetry with rock music.

I think we should play some examples to get us in the mood here.

DG: The book opens with a fairly lengthy prologue about the Newport Folk Festival of 1965 and a moment that is sort of an overly-analyzed and often-misunderstood moment in history that is sort of pivotal in the story that you're telling. It's the moment when Bob Dylan "went electric," which supposedly is thought by many to have been this great moment of sacrilege. You kind of make the case that it wasn't as unique and as historic as it is made out to be, and that it was sort of an inevitable moment.

RU: Yeah, I believe that it wasn't so much that Bob Dylan single-handedly dragged folk music and contemporary music into a new age. He was one of hundreds of musicians of his age making that shift at the exact same time in 1964 and 1965. Not just in America but also in England. It was almost a culmination of the shift; it wasn't the beginning of the shift. It was almost an announcement that things had changed and that they would always be different from that point on.

Bob Dylan himself had gone electric -- well, in his teenage years, if you want to go back that far, but even in 1962 he had made some recordings for Columbia Records that were electric. They weren't so great, but he had been thinking along those lines. It was really, the Beatles who opened the door for the mesh to really take place and take off.

When I talked to all of these musicians, very few of them said, "You know when we heard Bob Dylan's electric records we decided we have got to get rid of this acoustic guitar and now we're going to go electric." It was really the Beatles who made the biggest difference in so many folk musicians' lives, way before Dylan went electric at Newport. When I am saying way before, it's only like 12 to 18 months, but at a time when popular culture and music was changing so rapidly that's a really large time span, and although the Byrds, I feel, were the most influential rock group making that transition, there were so many others doing it -- including a lot of people in the Bay area, for instance, that didn't get to record until 1966 and 1967. Paul Kantner, David Freiberg, Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Balin, and people who never really made it who made some really cool music -- like Sherri Snow of Blackburn & Snow. (Jeff Blackburn later went on to play in the Ducks and do some interesting things.)

I never really realized how rich this era was and how much there was to investigate and how many connections there were to make until I made all these phone calls, did all these interviews, went through a ton of archive clippings, and really assembled it. I don't know if it's exactly unparalleled but it's hard for me to think of a parallel of contemporary music changing so fast within such a short period of time. That's a spirit that I try to capture in the book.

DG: You do. It's phenomenal how much stuff happens in such a short time. It's like every once in a while you'll mention a date and you will realize that it is just two months after this other thing happened. Huge changes are going on in the music business and among these people.

It's also interesting to learn how many of the heroes of that period and then the subsequent generation of so-called psychedelic musicians all began as professional folk singers on one level or another. You mention one that jumped out at me: Stephen Stills as a member of the Au Go-Go Singers. Your description of it in the book made me want to make sure you brought it in tonight.

Shall we listen to the "Mr. Tambourine Man" thing? Want to set it up and explain why we are going to hear three different versions of "Mr. Tambourine Man"?

RU: This is almost like instant folk process that we're going to hear in this medley of three excerpts from different versions of "Mr. Tambourine Man," showing how it changed from when Dylan first wrote the song and started to sing it, to when the Byrds had their #1 hit with that in the middle of 1965, which was the single that more than any other really launched folk-rock as a musical form.

The first excerpt that we're going to hear is a 1964 unreleased demo of "Mr. Tambourine Man" with Jack Elliott on backup vocals that was recorded for Dylan's Another Side of Bob Dylan album but was not released. It's different from the version on Bringing It All Back Home. For some reason, Dylan was dissatisfied with the attempt of the song, didn't try to work on it more, and put it aside, but an acetate of that demo made its way to the guy who was managing the Byrds at that time, Jim Dickson, a very important figure who's not as well known as he should be. He had a few people in mind to maybe take a shot at it. He offered it to Clarence White, who was then a bluegrass musician in the Kentucky Colonels. That didn't happen, although Clarence did join the Byrds four years later.

When [Dickson] offered it to the Byrds, they were initially very resistant to it. They really didn't like the song, they weren't huge Dylan fans, and they didn't see it working. But Chris Hillman credited Jim Dickson.... Jim Dickson almost forced it down their throats, saying, "You've got to do this," even though they were so unenthusiastic. They had stopped rehearsing it, but then the key was Roger McGuinn decided to take the lead vocal over from Gene Clark. As Jim Dickson says in the book, "That's when the song really found its shape with the Byrds, and when Roger McGuinn found his singing voice," which has served him very well to this day.

We're going to hear a part of the Dylan demo version and then an almost unplugged Byrds rehearsal version that didn't come out until about 25 years later. It's still almost an acoustic folk song, although there is a tambourine rattling and the harmonies are pretty much there. And then we will hear an excerpt of the final version, where the 12-string guitar and the full rock rhythm section really blast out at you.

DG: We're talking with Richie Unterberger, the author of Turn! Turn! Turn! The 60's Folk-Rock Revolution. You're listening to Dead to the World. Here comes Bob Dylan with Jack Elliot singing harmony.

Music: montage of three partial versions of "Mr. Tambourine Man"

DG: That's "Mr. Tambourine Man," obviously, Bob Dylan's song, which was a huge hit for the Byrds and became the first big hit of the folk-rock movement. I'm talking with Richie Unterberger, who has written a book about this exciting time in American pop music history, or world pop music history. It's called Turn! Turn! Turn! The 60's Folk-Rock Revolution and it should be arriving in bookstores any old time now.

Richie, we've got a couple of other things cued up here from performers you consider seminal: Judy Henske and Fred Neil. Why don't you tell us a little bit about them.

RU: There were a bunch of performers that were making moves that were kind of tentative to combine electric rock with folk music before 1965, and these are two of the more interesting figures. Judy Henske was a singer on Elektra Records, mostly known as a folk singer with a kind of theatrical voice. The song that we are going to hear, "High Flying Bird," was very close -- not quite there but very close -- to putting a really good folk tune to some really rockin' drive. Earl Palmer plays drums on that track, of all people. He's the guy who played on tons of '50s R&B and rock hits, (with) people like Little Richard.

Fred Neil, he's almost like the singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter. He never became a star, but there was almost nobody that is as widely admired by the musicians I talked to than Fred Neil was. The song that we're going to hear from his first solo Elektra album is "Little Bit of Rain."

DG: You know that reminds me of a famous quote about the Velvet Underground. Somebody said that they never sold that many records, but everybody who bought a Velvet Underground record turned around and started a band.

RU: And everybody who saw Fred Neil in the Village in '64 or so became a folk-rock singer-songwriter.

DG: Cool. Okay, Judy Henske and then Fred Neil. We are listening to Richie Unterberger talking about the folk-rock revolution of the 60's.

Music: Judy Henske - " High Flying Bird," then Fred Neil - "Little Bit of Rain"

DG: That's the voice of Fred Neil, from a record called Bleecker & Macdougal, another seminal recording in the history of American folk-rock. I'm talking with Richie Unterberger, who has written a terrific book about this very short and hugely fertile period of time in the mid-'60s when musicians went electric and folk-rock music happened.

I want to play something now... one of the most exciting moments of reading this book was, you just talk about certain recordings and I went, "Man I've got to hear that. Do I have that one?" One of them was when you talked about Stephen Stills singing "High Flying Bird," which we just heard Judy Henske doing, when he was in a band called the Au Go-Go Singers…

RU: With Richie Furay, who later went on to play with Stephen in Buffalo Springfield.

This version -- well it has got to be heard to be believed -- but we were just talking during the break that "High Flying Bird" was recorded by so many people. Judy Henske did it first in 1963 -- a very advanced recording for its time. The version we're going to hear by the Au Go-Go Singers was from '64. The Jefferson Airplane recorded it at about their first session in December of '65, although it didn't come out for about eight years or so. You can see them doing it in the Monterey Pop film. All these people tried to get a hit with this song, and it should have been a hit for somebody, but nobody got the hit. I think I have like ten versions, most of them obscure. I mean the Airplane's and Judy Henske's are about the most well known.

DG: Didn't Richie Havens do it too?

RU: Yes, you're right. I forgot about that for a second.

DG: I remember hearing that. It was one of those songs that, when I first started playing the guitar in 1969, everybody was doing. I don't know whose version I knew, but I must have heard all of them at various times. It was just one of those songs that was just around, and yet never really became a hit.

RU: Yeah, some songs like that were around for six years and became a hit. The big example is "Get Together," which Dino Valenti was doing in the early '60s and it took about five years until the Youngbloods finally got into the Top 10 with that. It's almost like the folk process transplanted into the modern age.

Some of these songs almost went through a folk process in a very concentrated period of time. Mass media enabled this real quick intermingling of influences to happen, where it couldn't have happened, say, in the 19th century when these ballads were being swapped back and forth. "Turn! Turn! Turn!" itself is another really good example of that, starting as a very plain Pete Seeger song on acoustic guitar. Judy Collins did a really nice recording of it with Roger McGuinn on guitar in 1963, and then two years later Roger McGuinn and the Byrds remembered the song, really spiced it up, and they got the #1 hit with it.

DG: Yeah they sure did, and that's why you named the book --

RU: Turn! Turn! Turn!

DG: I just want to read this little passage here.

"Their sole album, 1964's And they call us Au Go-Go Singers, was largely given over to unbearably wholesome interpretations of folk staples like "Gotta Travel On." Amidst the folk songs, some cereal commercials, a lone whisky-stained voice cut through the crap. It was Stephen Stills singing "High Flying Bird," the same song done to great effect by Judy Henske earlier that year, with genuine fire and commitment and actual electric guitar and drums, though the effect was tarnished by more glee-club backup vocals."

Let's listen to that right now: The Au Go-Go Singers with Stephen Stills.

Music: Au Go-Go Singers - "High Flying Bird"

DG: [Laughing] Oh my, yes, those background vocals.

That's the Au Go-Go Singers, with Stephen Stills, a very passionate lead vocal there.

By the way, a lot of these albums that we're playing stuff from have been re-issued on CD at long last by Collector's Choice Music. Judy Henske and Fred Neil's Bleecker & Macdougal and this one, the Au Go-Go Singers, are available from Collectors Choice. They are on the web at www.ccmusic.com and they also have a phone number. You should write this down if you're interested in getting hold of some of this music because they have put out a lot of stuff recently. 1-800-923-1122.

I'm talking with Richie Unterberger, who's written a great, great book, Turn! Turn! Turn! The 60's Folk-Rock Revolution. Let's talk about Phil Ochs, who didn't go electric but this one time --

RU: -- at least during the time span covered in this book. When I get to the second volume, which covers mid-1966 through the rest of the '60s, Phil Ochs did go electric in a mild way for his last several albums in the 1960s, but before 1967 he just did this one electric track. It wasn't because he didn't like rock 'n' roll or electric music -- in fact, he was extremely vocal in support of musicians going electric in 1965 -- but it took him a while to get around to doing it himself, as it did for a few folk singer-songwriters. Elektra Records, his label at the time, did do one electric recording with him, a re-recording of one of his best anti-war songs, "I Ain't Marching Any More." It was only released in England and as a flexi-disc with Sing Out! Magazine, although it's easily available on some Phil Ochs compilations today. It's a really good track. I would have been curious to see how it would have done in the United States if it had been given a chance, but Elektra was a very small label then. This was right before the Doors. They didn't have much of a promotional budget for singles and nothing really happened with it, but I think it's a very imaginative arrangement, which really is ten times as good as the acoustic version for my money.

DG: Let's listen to it. This is Phil Ochs, "I Ain't Marching Any More," the electric version.

Music: Phil Ochs - "I Ain't Marching Any More"

DG: I want to read a quote here from Arlo Guthrie, who was one of the more generous participants in the interviews for this book, Turn, Turn, Turn! He is talking about what this all meant, this folk music and what it was doing to the counter-culture and the emerging generation. He said, "So all of a sudden, all around the world, for a very short time -- imagine a world where everybody's got a radio and all of a sudden everybody is saying what they really think, in words that you can understand, but that your parents couldn't. That is what folk-rock was all about." That is such a great quote, man.

RU: He was one of the few interviewees who really articulated the symbiosis between the music and the larger society. This was a time when a lot of tensions in society itself were coming to a head. It's hard to project, but perhaps that's why there was such a hothouse of innovation in this pretty short period of time -- five years in all, which is what I'm covering over the course of two volumes.

It was almost as if all of this stuff had to happen at once. It was precisely the right time, when there was an audience, finally, for it because '65 -- when you think about it, that's when the leading edge of the baby boom is out of the house, in college, or working for the very first time on their own. It's also just about the time when mass media is really accessible to everybody as [Guthrie] notes. He went on in another part of that quote to say, "It's almost like the Internet is today. Things happen so quickly." But there's a difference. Even now, even in the Bay area, not everybody has a computer, especially in the most disadvantaged areas, but in 1965 everybody, virtually, had a radio, not just here but also in England, in France, throughout the western world, really. The impact of popular music as a whole, certainly, but also of the message of folk music, combining with the power of rock -- it was reaching way more people than it could have ever reached, even five years before that.

DG: One of the things that seemed to upset the folk establishment was their belief that this trend was going to trivialize their thing, or that it was going to take away the social activism aspect of things and just make it good time music. Here came the Lovin' Spoonful with their right up-front good time music thing, and protest music was going to be eclipsed by it. Was that really going on, or was that what some establishment types were afraid of?

RU: It's almost a weird thing to figure out, and I go into it at some length. You almost have conservatism on the part of the most radical activists in the United States, many of whom were folk music enthusiasts. They thought it was a big sellout. Many of them, not all of them by any means, thought it was a big sellout to add electric instruments, to play before screaming teenagers, to have hit records.

My feeling, and really most of the musicians I talked to had similar feelings, is we're getting a similar message out to many more people than we possibly could have by playing party-line folk acoustic songs. Not only that, it is giving us the freedom to write and sing intelligently about anything -- not just protest, not just about the social order should be this, or we hate war, which almost anyone listening to this stuff could have agreed with. You could sing about love, but in a much different way. You could sing about sexuality. You could sing about the drug experience, which is really maybe a year or two after the main body of work that I'm discussing in the book. The Fugs were very good at that. I mention them, although people don't often think of them as a folk-rock band. They did start out as folk musicians, and they broke more taboos lyrically than the Velvet Underground did, although the Velvet Underground get a lot credit for that. Not just about drugs and sex but talking about things like the CIA, government subversion and free love. With abandon and a sense of joy and inclusiveness that was often missing from real rigidly, correctly performed, narrowly defined acoustic folk music.

DG: There was a quote in there from somebody who said, what was it? 99% of popular music was "courtship music."

RU: Yeah, that was Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs, actually. He said, "We opened that up with a lot of other people but we were a big part of that." It's true, even though the Fugs didn't sell a great deal of records. Just getting an album in the top 100 in 1966 on this incredibly, strangely run avant-garde independent record label, singing about dirty old men and CIA men and killing for peace, that was their anti-war protest -- that's an extraordinary achievement. It didn't sell nearly as many records as Frank Sinatra or whoever, but the impact that it was making was very substantial.

DG: It is also worth noting that the Buffalo Springfield's first big hit, "For What It's Worth," was if not a piece of you know, agit-prop, at least an observation of social unrest.

RU: Yeah, based on Stephen Stills' observations of the Sunset Strip riots. I'm actually writing about that more in the upcoming volume, but I like that song specifically because it's not a doctrinaire "We are right, and they are wrong and we are being oppressed" song. It kind of looks at both sides of the situation, the police and the protestors, and finds flaws in the dialogue on both sides. It is a very mature song for someone who was definitely part of the generation that was more being oppressed than being the oppressor. It was very well-reasoned, besides being musically really sensational.

DG: And speaking of the Springfield, another one of those things that comes up time and time again in this book is all these wonderful coincidences and these collisions of people. It's a legendary story about the Buffalo Springfield, you know -- Stills and Neil Young knew each other, they had met at some point, but Neil Young went to L.A. from Canada in his hearse hoping to hook up with Stills, right?

RU: Yeah, that is the most unbelievably fortuitous coincidence in the history of rock music, for my money. What happened was -- this is kind of the lightning version -- Neil Young and [Buffalo Springfield bassist-to-be] Bruce Palmer were in a band together in Toronto. When that band broke up they decided to try and go to L.A. in their hearse with very little money on the hopes that they would find Stephen Stills, who Young had met in 1965 and he figured was kind of a brother in arms musically. He's also combining folk and rock music. He just had a hunch that he was in Los Angeles. They get there and they can't find him and they're about to leave -- they're really discouraged. They're driving on Sunset Boulevard intending to go north to San Francisco, thinking that maybe Stills is there, and who passes them in the other direction but Stephen Stills and Richie Furay in their car. One of them says, "A hearse with an Ontario license plate? That has got to be Neil Young! No one else can be driving that vehicle in a Sunset Strip traffic jam." So they did a U-turn, which even in those days must have been virtually impossible on Sunset Strip [grin], they kind of honked and honked and got the hearse to pull over, and they reunited right then and there. And really, within two or three weeks they were playing live onstage in one of the best folk-rock bands there ever was.

DG: Truly. And one other thing about Buffalo Springfield that I learned from your book that I had never heard before is one of the songs on one of their records was a lyric from a contest winner that they were required to set this winning lyric to music.

RU: Yeah, that was a really oddball situation. Although these musicians generally raised the standards for integrity and control of their product immensely, they got kind of railroaded into this situation where without really their knowledge, this L.A. station ran a contest saying, "Send your poem in and the winner will have their words set to music by Buffalo Springfield and have the track recorded." There was a winner, and all of a sudden it was kind of like, "You guys got to set this to music. We don't know anything about this." And it was kind of like, Neil Young was in and out of the band and he said "I'm not going to do it"; Stephen Stills was kind of thinking about leaving, too, and he said, "I'm not going to do this" -- so we'll get Richie to do it. He did a good job. The song is "In the Hour of Not Quite Rain." It didn't happen until their third album, when they were in the process of breaking up. That's part of a section where I explain that even though these were musicians that were thinking for themselves for the most part, making their own decisions, taking a lot of risks, they were still beholden to a lot of commercial interests and sometimes it could get in the way in really embarrassing fashions.

DG: [Laughing] I never knew that about that song. Richie Furay wrote some really interesting songs for that band, and I didn't realize that one had that weird story behind it. That's cool.

Got a phone call while that last record was playing from a listener who wants to know about a little bit about the role of the Chicago blues musicians. The guys that were backing Dylan at Newport, some of them were from Butterfield's band right?

RU: Yeah

DG: And some of those guys wound up playing on other records, too.

RU: Yeah. Besides backing Dylan -- Mike Bloomfield plays all over Highway 61 Revisited. So right there that's a big contribution that a white blues-rock musician made, and they backed Dylan at Newport, although that was kind of a shambles if you listen to the recording of that which is on a lot of bootlegs. But Bloomfield played very well with Dylan in the studio.

A more subtle contribution that Paul Butterfield specifically made is that there were a lot of coffee houses that put the Butterfield Blues Band on in the mid-1960s and it was often the very first, or one of the very first, electric bands of any sort to play in a venue which had up to that point only featured acoustic folk music. When people heard them they kind of figured, well, you know, they're playing loud, electric music but it's really not so bad -- in fact, it's really good, and maybe we should open ourselves up to electric music of all kinds without being judgmental that it's a sellout or too commercial or it's impure.

And certainly the Paul Butterfield Blues Band opened up Elektra Records to electric music in general, because their first album -- by Elektra standards -- sold a ton of copies. By Capitol [Records] standards it was probably pretty meager, but by Elektra Records it was a ton of copies, and that gave Jac Holzman (the president) and Paul Rothchild -- who produced a lot of the records there -- a lot of encouragement to pursue an electric folk-rock direction, which they would very shortly with Love, Tim Buckley -- and then they would go into psychedelic rock music with the Doors. Judy Collins, a very important figure, made her own transition from acoustic folk music to folk-rock music in the mid to late 60's for Elektra Records.

DG: Did you say earlier that Roger McGuinn had played on her version of "Turn!, Turn!, Turn!"?

RU: Yeah, that's 1963. That's not a rock recording. That's a very nice acoustic folk arrangement.

DG: But it's one of those threads that runs through. These people had played with various people and then wound up forming other bands. Some characters just re-occur through here -- and that leads me to another example: The Mamas and The Papas. Cass Elliott had been in the Big Three, which was a fairly successful folk trio, right?

RU: Yeah, with Tim Rose who did "Morning Dew" and "Hey Joe,' and --

DG: [Laughing] Stole "Morning Dew" from Bonnie Dobson, I'll have you know, but that's a whole 'nother story.

RU: -- and uh, other people in The Mamas and The Papas were in the Journeymen, which was John Phillips' group. His wife Michelle Phillips joined, and Denny Doherty joined in the waning days of the Journeymen. As Denny Doherty describes in the book, hearing "Mr. Tambourine Man" was like a revelation to them. They were kind of hanging out in the Virgin Islands, just barely surviving, and they decided "we've got to go electric, too." In a tortuous fashion, stopping off in Greenwich Village, driving across the country, backing up Barry McGuire on some L.A. sessions, they got their chance.

Some people think of them as a pop group, but their roots in folk music ran very deep. Although they were the pop wing of folk-rock, they were the best of the pop wing. You can certainly hear in the harmonies and in John Phillips song writing. We have a song here that's not one of the songs you're likely to hear on oldies stations, so I thought we'd give that a whirl: "Got a Feeling," which was an early B-side, a real beautiful Mamas and Papas song.

Music: The Mamas and The Papas - "Got a Feeling"

DG: Well we're running out of time, I'm really, really sorry to say. We've got time for maybe one more song. Richie, I want you to give your e-mail address because we've gotten several calls from people who want communicate things, ask you questions. I hope you don't mind anyway.

RU: No, I encourage that.

DG: Good, because this book, I think, is going to be of great interest to this listening audience. Go ahead and give your e-mail address please.

RU: That is Richie@richieunterberger.com. If you forget the e-mail address you can always contact me through my website: www.richieunterberger.com ....

DG: .... One of the things that I liked most about this book was that you really gave Donovan a lot of credit. I loved Donovan's stuff when I was a kid, and I still enjoy listening to a lot of it. I think he was dismissed by a lot of people as being kind of fluffy, but I think you give him his due in this book very nicely.

RU: Yeah in my view he's the most important British folk-rock musician, and the first one of note. There were very few until the late '60s when Fairport Convention and a lot of similar groups started their own specifically British style of folk-rock, but Donovan was really the first guy in the British Isles to pick up on the whole synthesis.

DG: I hate to say it, but we don't have time to play this, it's a four-minute track and we've got two minutes left.

Larry Kelp (In background): You can do part of it.

DG: [Laughing] I can play part of it. Okay, let's listen to a little bit of Donovan's song "Celeste."

Music: Donovan -"Celeste"

DG: I really, really, really hate to fade that out but we've run out of time. Richie Unterberger, thank you so much for being here.

RU: Thanks so much for having me, David.

DG: Thanks for putting together this book. I got such a kick out of reading it. I cannot wait to read the next installment. The name of the book is Turn! Turn! Turn! The 60's Folk-Rock Revolution , published by Backbeat Books right here in San Francisco.

 

Transcribed by Michael Karr (7-25-02)

Dead to the World

Richie Unterberger