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Al Stewart: True Life Adventures of a Folk Rock Troubadour: Fully Revised and Updated [Paperback]

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Item description for Al Stewart: True Life Adventures of a Folk Rock Troubadour: Fully Revised and Updated by Neville Judd...

Glasgow native Al Stewart emerged from the sixties London folk scene to enjoy success with his 1969 album 'Love Chronicles', but it was his million-selling 'Year of The Cat', and the Top Ten single of the same name, that made him a star.
Along the way, Al bought one of his first guitars from future Police guitarist Andy Summers and took guitar lessons from Robert Fripp, before Dylan's music inspired him to write his own songs and relocate to London where the coffee bar folk scene was blooming. He shared a flat with Paul Simon in London's East End in 1965, befriended Sandy Denny, Jackson C. Frank and other folk-scene luminaries and worked with John Martyn, Jimmy Page, Yoko Ono and Fairport Convention, while singing finely crafted songs about love, loss, Napoleon and Nostradamus.
Drawing on extended interviews with Al, his family, friends, and collaborators, and written with complete access to Al's private diaries, journals and correspondence, this is an intriguing memoir of a 60s folk star's trails and tribulations through stardom in the seventies and cult success in subsequent decades. This revised edition brings Al's story up to date, including the story of 'A Full Beach of Shells' and his latest British and American tours. It also features significant additional material, a selection of new photographs and draws on brand new exclusive interviews with legendary guitarists Jimmy Page and Richard Thompson.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Helter Skelter Publishing
ISBN  1900924765  
ISBN13  9781900924764  

Availability  0 units.

More About Neville Judd

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Neville Judd is a freelance writer who is also involved with Al Stewart's fan club. He previously contributed to biographies and articles on David Bowie.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Music
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Biographies > Rock
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
4Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > General
5Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > History & Criticism
6Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Rock

Reviews - What do customers think about Al Stewart: True Life Adventures of a Folk Rock Troubadour: Fully Revised and Updated?

Worthwhile "True Life Adventures"  Sep 1, 2003
Neville Judd's Al Stewart: The True Life Adventures of a Folk-Rock Troubadour is, above all, a fun read. It is clear from page one that Judd is passionate about music and about singer-songwriter Al Stewart ("Year of the Cat," "Time Passages," "Roads to Moscow"). That passion pleasantly carries the reader through 312 densely packed pages of amusing anecdotes, free-flowing factoids, and the occasional surprise from the life story of the only artist from the '60s British folk-roots scene to score two LPs in the US Top Thirty. Judd enjoyed close access to Stewart and many of his contemporaries, colleagues, friends, and family members: The resulting book is an interweaving of snippets from interviews, writings from Stewart's own journals, and the author's own enthusiastic, largely comma-free prose. The whole offers a breezy, if sometimes repetitive, and detailed look at Stewart's life from birth through the present day, although the lion's share of attention is given to his public-school years and his hardscrabble bedsit days as a rising player in London's folk scene. Judd also shines more light on the dark side of the starmaker machinery of the record business--it's fascinating to see how the rock-and-roll dream turned nightmarish through the differing perspectives of Stewart (who, to Judd's credit, does not get kid-gloves treatment), former manager Luke O'Reilly, and various bandmates. Here's hoping that the much-deserved resurgence of Al Stewart will bring about a sequel--this book, sadly, offers very little about the mature Stewart, who is its most compelling character. But for the richly portrayed Soho scene and the glimpses into the past of a truly gifted and woefully underrated and underappreciated artist, Al Stewart: The True Life Adventures of a Folk-Rock Troubadour is enjoyable reading for any music lover. It's a must-read for serious Stewart fans and devotees of British folk-rock.
It helps to understand the concept of "irony"....  Aug 31, 2003
The disappointed reviewer from Vermont clearly fails to appreciate subtle ideas, like irony. Al's bio by his old friend Neville is an all too accurate account of the "true life adventures" of a talented musician trying to make his way in the music business. What the reviewer describes as "false advertising" is simply the way things are. Get used to it.
As to the balance of material: I for one am far more interested in the question "How did you break into the business and become a success?" than "What's it like when a dream becomes a career?" And as a contemporary of Al's, I'm still fascinated by "the haze of highs and lows and blues" that was the late 60s in England. I'm glad Neville concentrated on that.
Is it a perfect book? Of course not: Neville is not a polished writer, the production quality is so-so, and there are numerous omissions and lacunae. But never mind. Those who think Al Stewart is a jazz musician, or a photographer, or a management consultant or an England wicketkeeper need not buy this. Fans of Al and his music will enjoy this account of Al's life and will take pleasure in discovering the origins of some of their favorite songs. So a solid three stars, plus one more for nostalgic delight.
A disappointment  Jun 20, 2003
Having enjoyed the music of Al Stewart for more than twenty years, I was looking forward to reading this book when I first heard about it a few months back. Unfortunately, it is a disappointment on several levels.

First and most obviously, it is poorly produced. The photos are grainy, fuzzy, and often over- or under-exposed. The type is borderline microscopic, and sure to induce tension headaches among all but the most eagle-eyed readers. The text seems blissfully unmolested by the hand of an editor.

Second, the writing is just bad. Not only does the text have all the verve and charm of a recording industry technical journal, but it is horribly organized. For example, the author sometimes presents an issue as if introducing it for the first time -- evidently oblivious that the matter was already discussed a few pages earlier. Personalities are introduced and issues are taken up with great fanfare, only to be left hanging, never to be addressed again. Some chapters (especially those dealing with Al's early years as a folk singer in London) drag on and on in tedious, uninteresting detail. Others seem far too cursory. Having spent hundreds of pages on the 1960s and 1970s, the author dispenses with the next quarter-century in a few short chapters.

Third, there is the matter of Al himself. Subtitling this book "True Life Adventures" qualifies as something bordering on false advertising. Although Al sings about exotic locations and dramatic events, his own life seems to have been curiously uneventful, aside from his brief brush with rock stardom in the mid-1970s.

This brings up the matter of what has always been a nagging doubt in my mind concerning Al's music. His songs are undoubtedly beautifully crafted, played, and produced; but I've often sensed something of an emotional void at their center. This book confirms these suspicions. In these pages, Al mainly comes across as a meticulous but dreadfully shallow artist -- clever and superficially intellectual, but devoid of real depth or substance. All in all, not a very interesting subject for a lengthy biography.


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