Wounds to Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution

Wounds to Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution

Jerry Burgan, Alan Rifkin

Language: English

Pages: 270

ISBN: 1442245360

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The dawn of folk rock comes to life in Jerry Burgan’s unforgettable memoir of the pre-psychedelic 1960s and the summer that changed everything.

As a naïve folksinger from Pomona, California, Burgan was thrust to the forefront of the counterculture and its aftermath. The Byrds, the Rolling Stones, the Mamas and Papas, Barry McGuire, Bo Diddley and many others make appearances in this 50th Anniversary reminiscence by the surviving cofounder of WE FIVE, the San Francisco electro-folk ensemble whose million-seller, "You Were On My Mind,” entered the world two months before Bob Dylan plugged in an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival. Vying with the Byrds to record the first folk-rock hit, Burgan and his lifelong friend Mike Stewart embarked on a road they thought well paved by the latter's older brother, Kingston Trio member John Stewart. Little did they realize that they would join the largest-ever American generation in an ecstatic, sometimes tortured, journey of invention and disillusion.

Wounds to Bind bears witness to a lost and hopeful convergence in American history—that missing link between the folk and rock eras—when Bob Dylan and Sammy Davis Jr. were played on the same radio station in the same hour. A survivor of the human realignments, tragedies and triumphs that followed, Burgan tracks down the demons that drove the genius of We Five cofounder Mike Stewart and sheds light on the 40-year enigma of what became of the band’s reclusive lead singer, Beverly Bivens, a forerunner of Grace Slick, Linda Ronstadt, and Stevie Nicks.

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Ian and I toured England in ’66 with Gordon Lightfoot and the Ian Campbell folk group, we were opening our segment of the show with “You Were On My Mind” and getting hisses and boos from the audience, because it had been a big copycat pop hit there for the singer Crispian St. Peters. The hardcore British folkies, having no idea I’d written it, weren’t shy about letting us know what they thought of a folk group doing a pop song. To add insult to injury, St. Peters had naively put his name on it as

stood there, drums shaking, hearts pounding. *** But it took a couple of happy accidents to seal it. What you hear on the record is take thirteen, with one of the earlier endings (before our voices got exhausted) spliced on. That fix would be a digital no-brainer today—back then it took a veteran hand. Hank McGill had to find a spot on both takes where the group was doing exactly the same thing at the same time. And then he had to cut the half-inch tape with a razor blade. 13_514_Burgan.indb 59

King . . .) refused. Had we done the Troubadour with a folk hit, I still believe the reviews in L.A. might have been resounding. Instead, in September, Werber would book us into It’s Boss (formerly Ciro’s and now the Comedy Store). Future Monkee Davy Jones, on his first day in L.A., attended the show on the Sunset Strip and declared that he’d found where he wanted to land. Before the show, Sonny and Cher’s manager parted the crowd in a limo. “You’ll never see me waste your money like that,”

reservation for “early morning arrival,” but the No Vacancy sign was lit and the motel was locked up tight. Like kids whose parents had gone to bed, we leaned on the doorbell, waking the manager, who informed us what early morning meant: 11:00 a.m. And they weren’t about to throw a sleeping guest out of a room to make way for us. They directed us to a downtown hotel, so we got back in the Falcon— tired, hungry, not happy—and drove away from where any sane person would spend the night. Finally we

We Five or to John, who was right beside us. But the questions were a grenade lobbed at Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley with no concern for them. Only how far the shrapnel carried. In Lafayette, Louisiana, summer was a party. Pete and I joined Bill Medley and a couple of his band members for a fish fry on the bayou. The boats were low—canoe-like skiffs that kept us above the brown water, but not much. We were cautioned to keep our hands out of the water because of alligators, and after Bill

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