The Greystones, Sheffield
The evening was in a question and answer format with author JP Bean (and later the audience) asking questions and Joe then regaling us with lengthy and fascinating accounts of various episodes from his career. It transpired he had once been to Sheffield 51 years ago as a young tour manager. But had got so wrecked the night before that he has no recollection at all.
Tales from his early days included his first encounters with Bob Dylan. From hearing Dylan playing through songs such as Masters of War in a room at a party before it had been recorded, to losing out on a night sleeping with a girlfriend he was staying with. Joe got in from a Skip James gig to find his things moved from the bedroom to a couch and a note saying ‘I’ll explain in the morning.’ Iit turns out that she’d met Dylan at a party so he’d usurped Joe’s place in her bed!
Joe also spoke at length about the famous Newport Folk Festival when Dylan went electric and all the backstage ructions and the fact that although it was momentous, it also destroyed something that had been good about Newport.
In the second half Joe Boyd covered some of Nick Drake’s story, focusing mainly on the creative process in the studio and what Nick was like to work with.
To some extent Sandy Denny is as tragic a figure as Nick Drake, but she at least had some success. Apart from booze, her problem was insecurity in her relationship with Trevor Lucas. He was a lothario and she was unsure about what he was up to when she was on tour with Fairport, which partly explained why she left Fairport and formed Fotheringay with Lucas in the band. Boyd was quite scathing about Fotheringay and how Sandy should have gone solo rather than using her $40,000 advance from A&M on paying a band that failed to be successful.
it was a truly fascinating evening. No space here to touch on the ISB, Pink Floyd, Songhai, the blues and jazz tours, the duelling banjos of Deliverance, producing Toots and the Maytals, setting up UFO with John Hopkins and numerous other anecdotes.
Mainly fifty and older, with a few younger faces. About seventy people in the audience including Richard Hawley.
It made me think..
This man has been there at numerous pivotal moments in the history of modern music and has worked with most of the musicians I admire. What a life Joe’s had! I’m not sure if he is doing any other events elsewhere, but if he is, I recommend you go.