Unless you lived through the 1970s, it seems impossible to understand it at all. Drug delirium, groovy fashion, religious cults, mega corporations, glitzy glam, hard rock, global unrest—from our 2018 perspective, the seventies are often remembered as a bizarre blur of bohemianism and disco. With Pick Up the Pieces, John Corbett transports us back in time to this thrillingly tumultuous era through a playful exploration of its music. Song by song, album by album, he draws our imaginations back into one of the wildest decades in history.
An inviting mix of skilled music criticism and cultural observation, Pick Up the Pieces is also a coming-of-age story, tracking the author’s absorption in music as he grows from age seven to seventeen. Along with entertaining personal observations and stories, Corbett includes little-known insights into musicians from Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, James Brown, and Fleetwood Mac to the Residents, Devo, Gal Costa, and Julius Hemphill. A master DJ on the page, Corbett takes us through the curated playlist that is Pick Up the Pieces with captivating melody of language and powerful enthusiasm for the era. This funny, energetic book will have readers longing nostalgically for a decade long past.
John Corbett is the author of several books, including A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation, Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium, and Microgroove: Forays into Other Music. He is co-owner of Corbett vs. Dempsey, an art gallery in Chicago.
Hal Willner is among the most eclectic and original producers in contemporary music, helming a series of wildly ambitious concept albums and live shows which tapped the talents of artists running the gamut from pop to jazz to the avant-garde. His many tribute compilations include ones dedicated to Nino Rota, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Kurt Weill, Walt Disney, Harold Arlen, and Leonard Cohen. Since 1981, Willner has been music producer for Saturday Night Live.
Joe McPhee is a multi-instrumentalist based in Poughkeepsie, NY. One of the legendary figures of jazz and improvised music, McPhee has an immense discography that includes the free funk/spiritual jazz classic Nation Time (1971) and a range of solo outings such as Tenor (1977) and Sonic Elements (2013).