Hoot!: A Twenty-Five Year History of the Greenwich Village Music Scene

Robbie Woliver, Author
Robbie Woliver, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-10995-0
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While New York City has long served as a cultural capital, the pocket of twisted, small streets known as Greenwich Village pulses with a unique excitement because there, especially for an unknown musician or singer, it seems anything can happen. The blossoming of folk music, as well as jazz and blues, from the late '50s to the mid-'80s is the topic of Robbie Woliver's Hoot! , billed as a paperback tie-in to the upcoming eponymous theatrical production. Woliver is part-owner of the book's central character, Gerdes Folk City, a nightclub through which the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker and Peter, Paul and Mary passed, entering as young hopefuls and leaving to soon become commercial legends. Woliver approaches this worthy topic by letting his subjects use their own words to describe their experiences trying to make it as musicians in New York. But he muddles the telling by not knowing how to direct it. The subjects, many of whom will be known only to folk aficionados, often talk over each other, making the same comments about the same topic, time period or theory at hand and this doubling borders on monotonous. The chapter devoted to the rise of Bob Dylan is well handled and the photos are wonderful and rare. Hoot! might appeal to those who were a part of this culture in this era or to students of modern music history, but a novice or general-interest reader finds himself bogged down in poorly edited interviews, wondering where the conversations will end. (May)
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