Saturday, April 04, 2009


Pursuant to my last post, about Paul Williams, the founder of Crawdaddy at the age of seventeen, I've followed a link at the Friends of Paul Williams site and found online reproductions of the original Crawdaddys from 1966-68 -- the first few issues are typewritten and mimeographed, in true fanzine style. I've been devouring them all afternoon. The garden can go to hell.

Two reasons I call them to your attention:
  1. They're utterly fascinating in a first-draft-of-history kind of way. Page 11 of the January 1967 issue -- "What Goes On," a sort of collection of news briefs from the rock world -- begins, "There's a group you have to hear. They're called the Doors, and they're the best new band I've heard this year." I missed this stuff growing up. I was just too young and too far away. Everything I know about Sixties rock came at second-, third-, fourth-hand. This journalism is the closest you're going to get to eyewitness accounts, of the visceral reactions of a true fan seeing the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend unfold before his eyes. I haven't gotten to the Sgt. Pepper reaction yet, but I bet it's a doozy.
  2. The writing is astonishingly good. Williams' essay on Bob Dylan, in issue #4, in reaction to the release of Blonde on Blonde, is one of the best essays I've ever read about how to approach Dylan's opacity and obliqueness. And it was written by a seventeen-year-old! At seventeen, I felt oppressed when tasked by my English teacher to write a 500-word review of The Grapes of Wrath. The Man was Keepin' Me Down. This guy was doin' it.
Add to the mix the other giant talent Williams was able to attract -- Jon Landau, Sandy Perlman, Richard Meltzer, to name a few -- and this becomes a wonderful collection of impassioned fandom mixed with great writing.

Off you go.


HomefrontRadio said...

Thanks - that link will keep me busy for a while.

I've been reading a lot of articles online lately about the supposed 'Demise' of the album format, (since album sales are down, and I-Tunes does a brisk trade in Single Tracks), and am curious about your opinion.

Would today's 17-year-olds produce a piece of writing like the 'Blonde On Blonde' essay, when they would supposedly only download 'Rainy Day Women #12 and 35", for example.

Even then they'd just press plastic Guitar Hero buttons in time to it.

HomefrontRadio said...

Please don't be hot mastered... Please don't be hot mastered...