By Ray Robertson
“The days of poets moping round citadel steps donning black capes is over. The poets of this day are amplified.”
— LEONARD COHEN
Picking up the place Samuel Johnson left off greater than centuries in the past, Ray Robertson’s Lives of the Poets (with Guitars) bargains up an amplified accumulating of 13 snap shots of rock & roll, blues, people, and alt-country’s such a lot inimitable artists. Irreverent and riotous, Robertson explores the “greater or lesser heat” with which every musician formed their style, whereas delivering soaking up perception into their frequently tumultuous lives.
Includes essays on Gene Clark, Ronnie Lane, The Ramones, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Townes Van Zandt, Little Richard, Alan Wilson, Willie P. Bennett, Gram Parsons, Hound puppy Taylor, Paul Siebel, Willis Alan Ramsey, and John Hartford.
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Extra info for Lives of the Poets (with Guitars): Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Rock & Roll
We got thrown out of the pub, lost the gig there, the other guys [in the band] had gone off, they weren’t speaking to Ronnie and I because we’d brought Steve along. We were sitting on my drum kit outside on the curb. The three of us just looked at each other and burst out laughing and that’s when we decided to form a band together. The band they formed in 1965 with keyboardist Ian McLagan was the Small Faces (“faces” because they were all mod wannabes, “small” because three-quarters of the group were short).
I had already worn out two copies of No Other. I know I was present during certain problems, he had his problems and I was there when some unpleasant things went on and 20 gene clark everybody has lots of stories about Gene, but I was also there and I saw a real goodness in Gene . . He had a good heart. I remember we were loading out in Santa Fe, the very first show, and he grabbed my amplifier and he’s carrying it out behind the club and he almost slipped in the snow. ’ The other guys were all inside having drinks.
Grounded in solitude, but not ground down by isolation; enjoying a smoke or a shared bottle or two with friends and not having to apologize the next morning for what went down the blurry night before; attentive to nature’s quiet lessons without turning into a back-to-theearth ninny; a family man, finally—finally being a part of a family of one’s own choosing—but never forgetting that we’re all, all of us, all alone together: the stars aligned, his yin shook hands with his yang, maybe he just got lucky.