Astral Weeks

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

I chose to read this book because I thought it would be about Van Morrison and the making of his signature album, Astral Weeks. But it really isn't. Rather, it's a narrative about the Boston (aka Bosstown) arts and music scene in the late 1960s. Morrison, who lived in Boston for a short time, makes a few cameo appearances, but I wouldn't say this book is about him. Instead, the reader learns a lot about Mel Lyman, the malevolent leader of a Boston commune/cult that the author compares to the Manson Family, and a bunch of local musicians and TV personalities. This heavily-researched book, which was obviously a labor of love for its author, would be of interest primarily to those who remember that place and time.
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I was especially interested in this book as a Bostonian, but the Boston connection is secondary. This is a book about the 60s, the explosive shifts in music & media and the rise of psychedelics. Honestly, the book is a little bit all over the place, but every place it goes is fascinating. From Van Morrison's Boston years and the Velvet Underground's Boston following to a cult/commune in Roxbury and experimental video on WGBH.
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