Dancing Barefoot: The Patti Smith Story

Dave Thompson. Chicago Review, $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-56976-325-4
In this unfortunately timed biography, music critic Thompson (London's Burning) chronicles Smith's story from her childhood in New Jersey, growing up next to a pig farm, and her early days in New York with Robert Mapplethorpe, to her time at CBGB and up to her most recent album, Twelve. When Smith was nine, a neighbor invited her over to his house to listen to Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti"; from that moment, according to Thompson, she never let go of rock 'n' roll. Unfortunately, Thompson plods through these details, stitching together Smith's story based on interviews with her friends, from Tom Verlaine to John Cale; sadly, the book offers a disappointing and shallow portrait of this innovative poet and musician who still emerges from Thompson's book as an artist who is always changing, revising, and revisiting her own work and the work of others. Although this account of Smith provides few new insights into her life and music, Thompson's vivid re-creation of the music scene in New York City in the 1970s captures an exhilarating moment in music history. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-56976-921-8
Open Ebook - 321 pages - 978-1-56976-919-5
Paperback - 330 pages - 978-1-61373-551-0
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