Small Town Talk

Barney Hoskyns

The true story of the town of Woodstock – the mythical home of 60s rock and inspiration for the legendary festival.

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Think ‘Woodstock’ and the mind turns to the seminal 1969 festival. But Woodstock itself was over sixty miles away, and already a key location in the rock landscape as a community of brilliant, dysfunctional musicians, opportunistic hippie capitalists, scheming dealers, and freaks dazed and confused by the search for spiritual truth. Central to this was the power and presence of Albert Grossman – manager for Dylan, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, The Band and Todd Rundgren – who turned Woodstock into his own personal fiefdom. Drawing on first-hand interviews with all the remaining key players, Small Town Talk is a classic study of a vital music scene in a revolutionary time and place.

Critic Reviews

Hoskyns offers a pitch-perfect East Coast corollary to his classic tome on the Laurel Canyon scene, Hotel California.

Jim Farber, MOJO
Critic Reviews

[A]fascinating account of the epic influence and mysterious magnetism of this Dibley-sized corner of the Catskill mountains ... Hoskyns appears to have talked to everyone who ever lived here, and amasses their testimony with admirable grace and ease...[an] enthralling but melancholy tale.

James Lasdun, Guardian
Critic Reviews

Hoskyns paints a brilliant portrait of the colourful characters that turned this little patch of woods in upstate New York into a hotbed for much of the music that changed America ... stunning.

Publisher's Weekly, starred review
Critic Reviews

Hoskyns' love for the area, and the music it inspired ... shines throughout and drives this supremely evocative book, which also manages to set Woodstock's decline as a mirror to the changes riddling the outside world. Barney Hoskyns has painted his masterpiece.

Kris Needs, Record Collector
Critic Reviews

Engrossing, enlightening... an important addition to a fuller understanding of how American music was shaped in the late sixties/early seventies and an impeccable guide to much of what was truly great about it.

Andy Childs, Caught by the River
Critic Reviews

Hoskyns scrapes away the myths to reveal the harder truths: of magnificent music created amid hard drugs, bent business deals, gossip, claustrophobia and bed-hopping.

Graeme Thomson, Mail on Sunday

Barney Hoskyns is the co-founder and editorial director of online rock-journalism library Rock’s Backpages (, and author of several books including Across the Great Divide: The Band & America (1993), Waiting for the Sun: Strange Days, Weird Scenes, & the Sound of Los Angeles (1996), Hotel California: Singer-Songwriters & Cocaine Cowboys in the LA Canyons (2005), Lowside of the Road:…

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