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Raised by Musical Mavericks: Recalling life lessons from Pete Seeger, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis and others

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The author's formative years were greatly shaped by a series of larger-than-life mentors. They gave lessons in music and life. This is a story about coming of age in a musical environment during the turbulent 1960's.


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The author's formative years were greatly shaped by a series of larger-than-life mentors. They gave lessons in music and life. This is a story about coming of age in a musical environment during the turbulent 1960's.

9 review for Raised by Musical Mavericks: Recalling life lessons from Pete Seeger, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis and others

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Adams

    As a 71-year-old (almost 72) folk music fan who grew up in the Boston area, I found this book fascinating. The author is a few years older than I am; however, we traveled in some of the same musical circles and went to some of the same coffeehouses, thanks to my father, who got me interested in this kind of music when I was newly born (seriously). My father was from southwestern Virginia and my mother from Boston, and, although I was born in eastern Tennessee, we lived in Boston, because my fami As a 71-year-old (almost 72) folk music fan who grew up in the Boston area, I found this book fascinating. The author is a few years older than I am; however, we traveled in some of the same musical circles and went to some of the same coffeehouses, thanks to my father, who got me interested in this kind of music when I was newly born (seriously). My father was from southwestern Virginia and my mother from Boston, and, although I was born in eastern Tennessee, we lived in Boston, because my family moved there so that my father could get work. My father brought me to my first coffeehouse, the Golden Vanity, when I was 11 years old. Mitch Greenville describes it perfectly in this book, as a place where the decor was faux nautical. He also recounts another concert I attended as an 11-year-old girl, one at Boston's Jordan Hall featuring the legendary Merle Travis. I found it almost chilling when he described his encounters with some of my folk music heroes from back in the 1960s and '70s. He discusses my first Newport Folk Festival (1966) and so many other events that transported me in time back to my youth. He even brought me back to the aromas of the Baker Chocolate Factory, which was closed, but which those of us who didn't live in Dorchester Lower Mills, like he did, were still able to breathe in when we drove through Milton, then Dorchester, on our way to Jamaica Plain. The author is a skilled writer whose stories come alive on the pages. He recalls things the way I recall them. His prose is engaging and clear. I have seen him perform at a couple of venues (I believe the 1985 Newport Folk Festival was one), and have several photos of him backstage at that event. I recently met his son Matthew at a Folk Alliance conference. This book is anything but a "brag-fest." It's a journey through time, and, as the subtitle says, it recalls life lessons learned from such giants as Pete Seeger, Lightnin' Hopkins, Doc Watson, Rev. Gary Davis and others. I recommend this to readers of all ages, though, who want to learn what life was like back in those days of craziness--days where we used music to fight against the Vietnam war, fight for Civil Rights and fight for equality for education and pay. Mitch Greenhill gets it right. I can attest to it. I was also there. Thank you, Mitch Greenhill, for writing this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lyndi Brown

    Sharing a review I wrote of my friend's book for Sonoma County Gazette (June 2020)! Mitch Greenhill’s Raised by Musical Mavericks Former Camp Meeker resident Mitch Greenhill has written a memoir, Raised by Musical Mavericks. He reveals how a gang of mighty musicians affected his coming of age in the turbulent 1960s. Of particular joy for long-time Sonoma County residents is the musical history in our area in the late 60s and early 70s. In 1957, Mitch's father Manny Greenhill had just embarked on a Sharing a review I wrote of my friend's book for Sonoma County Gazette (June 2020)! Mitch Greenhill’s Raised by Musical Mavericks Former Camp Meeker resident Mitch Greenhill has written a memoir, Raised by Musical Mavericks. He reveals how a gang of mighty musicians affected his coming of age in the turbulent 1960s. Of particular joy for long-time Sonoma County residents is the musical history in our area in the late 60s and early 70s. In 1957, Mitch's father Manny Greenhill had just embarked on a career in the music business that would include managing artists Joan Baez and Doc Watson and presenting people like Bob Dylan. From age 13, Mitch found himself under the tutelage of some of the greatest folk and blues musicians of the 20th century, who passed through his family home as houseguests. Pop music critic, journalist and friend Steve Hochman puts it best: “Sure, we all went ice skating with Pete Seeger, had guitar lessons from Rev. Gary Davis and hung out with Lightnin' Hopkins and Bob Dylan in our youth, right? Okay, we didn't. But Mitch Greenhill did. And he's written a book telling the true tales of that and much more in colorful detail…it has been greatly entertaining and full of wow-factor anecdotes. I mean WOW-factor”. Pete Seeger and Sonny Terry were the first in a series of houseguests, musical mentors, and marquee names of the 60s folk revival, to be followed by Reverend Gary Davis, Doc Watson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Merle Travis and others. Mitch learned guitar licks and life lessons from the houseguests in the Greenhill home in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. He grew up haunting clubs and coffee houses in the Boston and New York areas, while soaking up music and how to operate in the world. The book is beautifully organized by Mitch’s age transitions, the impact each musician had on him, and includes a 75-song YouTube playlist link (itself a treasure). Illustrations include items from the author’s personal collection as well as previously unpublished playbills, posters and photos. The author includes letters he might have written to his mentors, a literary device that rounds out the narrative. Anyone who loves folk and blues, the dynamic culture changes of the 60s and 70s, or was around Sonoma County in the early 70s should run right out to get this book! Mitch Greenhill lived in Camp Meeker from 1968 to sometime around 1974 or so. It was a rich time for music, as bands formed, morphed and came through the Inn of the Beginning, Uncle Sam’s and other long gone venues such as the Marshall Tavern and Brother’s. Greenhill formed The Frontier and Frontier Constabulary, performed with Ace Atkins and the Country Boys (playing at the Trail Inn in Santa Rosa and other local dives), and was involved with the Camp Meeker Players (onstage and in the pit). As an adult, Mitch inherited his father’s music business (Folklore Productions), plays guitar, records albums and composes for theater. His company website and bio is at: fliartists.com Mitch’s two children grew up in Sonoma County. His son Matt Greenhill lived in Camp Meeker and Occidental, and is now the third family member to run the business. Daughter Tej Greenhill was born in Camp Meeker, and owns Artisana Functional Art on Main St., Sebastopol. Although the book isn’t in local bookstores the softcover, 192-page memoir, ISBN: 978-0-578-64445-5, is available through Amazon, ($26.50 or Kindle version $8.99), or download from Apple books, or order directly from Mitch at [email protected] ($29 via PayPal or Venmo). -0-

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dave Holt

    For those of us in the folk and traditional music audience and community, this is a remarkable story. Manny Greenhill started Folklore Productions in the 1950's, eventually managing Joan Baez. He braved the McCarthy era blacklist to book Pete Seeger into a folk venue. His son Mitch takes up the reins of the family business in 1976, producing Doc and Merle Watson's records, and performing, touring and recording on his own. Many of Mitch's wonderful anecdotes accompany this journey. Presently Mitc For those of us in the folk and traditional music audience and community, this is a remarkable story. Manny Greenhill started Folklore Productions in the 1950's, eventually managing Joan Baez. He braved the McCarthy era blacklist to book Pete Seeger into a folk venue. His son Mitch takes up the reins of the family business in 1976, producing Doc and Merle Watson's records, and performing, touring and recording on his own. Many of Mitch's wonderful anecdotes accompany this journey. Presently Mitch's son Maddie is carrying on the family's legacy. Even if you're not a "folkie" you might enjoy this journey through an alternate musical universe. You might be inspired to take up an instrument and explore these wonderful forms of our country's traditional music.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Louise

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alyce

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  7. 4 out of 5

    Atesh

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Sorel

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