COLUMN 108, AUGUST 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
TOM PACHECO HONORS ME WITH ANOTHER GIFT
THE COVER OF TOM PACHECO'S CD: THERE WAS A TIME
On a shelf of my apartment
in Elizabeth, New Jersey is one of the works of art I treasure enough to have
preserved it through my hazardous journey from refuge to refuge as I was fending
off an army of demons to safely arrive at my present age of 76. The work of art
is a wine bottle with a rural winter landscape painted on it by a neighbor of
mine when I was a refugee in Bearsville.
Bearsville, a tiny
community still within the municipal constraints of the town of Woodstock, New
York, was then dominated by the presence of the late Albert Grossman, Bob
Dylan's brilliant original manager---the one who guided Bob to stardom. Albert
had rescued me from the welfare rolls of Washington, D.C. and allowed me to take
refuge---rent free!---in one of the houses he owned in Bearsville.
The neighbor was a talented
artist and singer-songwriter named Tom Pacheco, who has since emerged as one of
those destined for the singer-songwriter pantheon now ruled by King Bob and
Queen Joni. At my Booksigning Party at the Bearsville Theater last June 4, Tom
came and sang me some of his songs. Listening along with me was my old friend,
Levon Helm, who'd been the drummer for my once-favorite group, The Band from
Listening also was my
friend Babu from India. Who found Tom's songs so compelling that he felt
forced to accompany Tom, playing percussion on his khamak, a strange,
stringed Bengali Baul drum. Only a small crowd showed up at my Bearsville
Booksigning party. Of which Albert's widow, Sally Grossman---however
absent---played hostess, providing wine served by her old man, Michael Word.
But friends who failed to
show told me they'd been confused by an article in the local newspaper that
said the Booksigning Party was to be held a day later than it actually was held.
And in its review of my book, BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES, VOLUME ONE OF THE BEST
OF THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST, the article actually had the nerve to imply that I
was the one who needed an editor!
Anyway, at one point, Tom
read the following, which he said he'd written before arriving at the
Bearsville Theater event, and I'd like to share it with you. ---Al Aronowitz
really honored and proud to be here in the presence of Al Aronowitz. I'm in
the presence of a man who has been a living hologram of the musical culture of
this planet for decades. For anyone who is too young to remember, there was a
time when he was writing for the New York Post; when he was the most perceptive
and taste-making journalist in New York. The New York Post in that era was not
the right wing rag it is now. It was the closest mainstream New York paper we
had that tilted left of center. Al's column had a lot to do with that. When Al
reviewed an artist, he wrote with the voice of a poet that often times was far
more brilliant than the artist he was favorably reviewing. If the artist was bad
or mediocre, you would know it in the subtlety of his writing without him
writing anything malicious or cruel
could trust his opinion. You could trust his heart. You could trust his ear.
Without Al, the New York music scene would not have been as imaginative and
innovative as it was. He was the Third Eye watching over everything. You could
not get away with bullshit like you can now.
Al walked into a club, people would notice. . . You could hear people's voices
whispering, "Al Aronowitz is here. . . Al is here!" What more could you say?
He introduced Dylan to the Beatles.
remember myself as a young struggling songwriter, still learning my craft and
knowing I wasn't very good, hoping he would never come to where I was
performing---not that I feared I would get a bad review, but that I would
disappoint him. That's how much I respected him.
Al's voice, there is a massive void in popular culture where nowadays
journalists try to get you to love the things you hate and hate the things you
has a new book out. Al could write a thousand books. Al could tell you a million
stories. He knows where all the bodies are buried. Al knows art cause he's an
artist. There's no one like him and there never will be.
FOR AS LONG AS PEOPLE KEEP LISTENING TO BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES, PEOPLE WILL WANT THIS BOOK
"A masterpiece!" --- SALLY GROSSMAN, widow of Bob Dylan's brilliant original manager, Albert Grossman.
"This book is a must-read for all rock 'n roll aficionados!"---EAR CANDY
"An essential reference for demystifying what the author refers to as: 'one of the most self-destructive binges of creativity in cultural history.'"---HAMMOND GUTHRIE, COUNTERPUNCH MAGAZINE
"Required Reading for anyone and everyone who considers themselves fans, followers, students, or those just plain curious of the Golden Age of Popular Music"---GARY PIG GOLD, FUFKIN.COM.
"I love the book. I love the way you can open it to any page and start reading and it keeps you reading. The book is just fun to read." --LEVON HELM, Drummer of THE BAND from Big Pink.
"Ellis Paul and I love your book."---RALPH JACCODINE, Ralph Jaccodine Management.
". . .perfect for our times."---WOODSTOCK TIMES
Duritz (he's the lead singer and writer for the famed
". . .a must read for anyone who loves, music, loves life, loves rock and roll."---TSAURAH LITZKY, author of The Motion of the Ocean, Baby on the Water, and Goodbye Beautiful Mother.
"I recommend it."---DOUGLAS HOLDER, IBBETSON STREET PRESS.
. .It is a fasinating, insightful read. You are such a wonderful
writer."---STEPHANIE LEDGIN, Music
could not put this book of yours down for a minute."---ED GALING, POET
LAUREATE OF HATBORO, PA.
IN THIS 615-PAGE PAPERBACK, AL ARONOWITZ, ACCLAIMED AS THE "GODFATHER OF ROCK JOURNALISM," TELLS YOU MORE ABOUT BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES THAN ANY OTHER WRITER CAN TELL YOU BECAUSE NO OTHER WRITER WAS THERE AT THE TIME. AS THE MAN WHO INTRODUCED ALLEN GINSBERG TO BOB DYLAN, BOB DYLAN TO THE BEATLES AND THE BEATLES TO MARIJUANA, ARONOWITZ BOASTS, "THE '60S WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN THE SAME WITHOUT ME."
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