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Garcia : An American Life

Blair Jackson

666 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0670886602 / ISBN 13: 9780670886609
Published by Viking Adult, 1999
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Ergodebooks (RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Garcia : An American Life

Publisher: Viking Adult

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

About this title

Synopsis:

Examines the life and times of Jerry Garcia, capturing the psychedelic world of the musician and songwriter, his relationship with members of the Grateful Dead, his battle with drug addiction, and his lasting influence on popular music

Review:

Anyone who ever attended a Grateful Dead show knows all too well how many "fans" virtually ignored the music in their pursuit of fun. What's worse, scores of closed-minded music critics dismissed the music out of hand simply because of the antics of these so-called fans. Author Blair Jackson sets out on a commendable mission to bring Jerry Garcia the musician into clear focus. Tapping his experience as both a devout Deadhead and a veteran journalist, Jackson's mission is a roaring success. He painstakingly details every musical turn that the Dead took and discusses every side project Garcia embarked on--from the endless stream of bluegrass, old-time, and jug bands of the early 1960s through collaborations both famous and obscure. (Even dedicated fans may not know of Garcia's futile attempt at joining Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.) Garcia emerges as a talented, versatile, and obsessive musician with a voracious appetite for all forms of music--as long as it came from the heart.

In the process of documenting his musical career, Jackson also presents a picture of Garcia's fascinating offstage life, including the events and inspiration that translated into songs and solos. The author conducted scores of interviews with Garcia himself and with anyone else who could provide insight into Garcia's personality. While never glossing over the unseemly aspects of Garcia's life, Jackson doesn't dwell on them either. In fact, he openly offers connections between Garcia's drug use and his music when they prove appropriate. Neophytes may be turned off by the constant detailed references to specific songs and shows--even particular sound effects--but for the avid follower, Jackson's comprehensive book is a wonderful celebration of an underrated and misunderstood musician. --Marc Greilsamer

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