my review of paul williams’ “outlaw blues” for goodreads

Estimated reading time is 2 minutes.

WHILE I HAVE USED GOODREADS AS A SOURCE on my websites, I have not actually participated in the community of readers and reviewers. Until now: I just posted my first review for Paul Williams’s book Outlaw Blues for Goodreads. Oddly, it is only the second review of this important book (and the first was lukewarm).

Here it is in its entirety: it’s brief because most reviews should be either enthusiastic teasers or venomous put-downs. Neither requires a lot of words . . .

“Paul Williams’ Outlaw Blues collects articles, interviews, and reviews from Williams’ Crawdaddy magazine, where he was publisher, editor, and contributor. This paperback edition—one of the first serious books on rock music—helped Williams reach a larger audience in a semi-permanent form.

Unlike many rock-writers, Williams wrote about the music he loved rather than knock the stuff he didn’t listen to. Consequently, Outlaw Blues is good vibrations from cover to cover as he shares and explains why the music matters to him.

Highlights include his wondrous review of THE BYRDS’ GREATEST HITS—a format usually ignored by ‘serious’ critics—and an interview with producer Paul Rothchild on recording the Doors’ first album.

Williams wrote about the music he loved rather than knock the stuff he didn’t listen to.

The centerpiece of the book is his lengthy interview with David Anderle, former head of the Beach Boys’ aborted Brother Records. This interview is more than fifty pages long and was essential to building the mystique surrounding Brian Wilson’s unfinished masterpiece, SMILE.

My favorite line in the book is Paul’s description of Dylan’s single I Want You: “Dylan has a remarkably healthy attitude towards sex, and he makes our society look sick by comparison (it is).”

Reading this book forty-five years ago expanded my musical horizons; rereading it periodically since then has helped me maintain focus in my own writing. I consider this the best book available on what Sixties rock music was about THEN.

If you have a 16-year old family member or friend who is fascinated by the Sixties, give him/her a copy of Outlaw Blues as a primer to the music of that era . . .”




Top: Both the first hardcover edition and the original paperback edition of Outlaw Blues from E. P. Dutton & Co.were published in 1969 with this same homely cover art. For some reason, both books were difficult to find in 1969-70. Bottom: This paperback edition of Outlaw Blues from Pocket Books was the second paperback edition and features great cover art! The artists are The Who, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Frank Zappa, David Crosby (?), and the Doors.

Find a copy for sale

That’s my review of Outlaw Blues for Goodreads. I also awarded the book five (5) stars! Needless to say, if you’re reading this review and you haven’t read this book, get thee hence to Amazon, find a copy for sale.

Then buy it

Then read it.

You can thank me later . . .


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