Exciting developments: Current writing situation

I have just received another contract from Sonicbond Press! I have started writing a book on another of my musical heroes – the great Phil Ochs!

This will be my sixth book with the publisher. They must like what I do!

So, there are currently three books available:

1. Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track)

Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track): Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789521306: Books

2. Captain Beefheart On Track: Every Album, Every Song

Captain Beefheart On Track: Every Album, Every Song : Opher Goodwin: Amazon.co.uk: Books

3. Bob Dylan 1962 to 1970 On Track (Decades)

Bob Dylan 1962 to 1970 On Track (Decades) : Opher Goodwin: Amazon.co.uk: Books

4. Neil Young 1963 to 1970: Every Album, Every Song

Not out until November but can be ordered in advance.

Neil Young 1963 to 1970: Every Album, Every Song: Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789522983: Books

I have just sent off my book for the new series that Sonicbond are doing on albums. I had the honour of writing the first one for the series. Bob Dylan’s ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ seemed a very fitting one to me. That is due out in January!

For those who can’t abide Amazon all the books are available on the publisher’s site Burning Shed! Roy Harper On Track (burningshed.com)

And now I am back to doing one on Phil Ochs. It’s a privilege!!

For those interested in other books of mine:

Nick Harper: The Wilderness Years

Nick Harper: The Wilderness Years: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9798815185630: Books

In Search of Captain Beefheart (a memoir)

In Search of Captain Beefheart: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9781502820457: Books

Both of which have great reviews!!

Or, on the other hand you might like something completely different – like a taste of Sci-Fi. I write under the name of Ron Forsythe:

Your Site ‹ Ron Forsythe — WordPress.com

Why not take a chance??

Thanks for taking a look!

Please leave a review!

My Bob Dylan book is out now!

You work on something for months and months and then send it off to the publishers and you don’t hear anything for months and then it all happens.

I received a box of books and the book is live on Amazon:

Bob Dylan 1962 to 1970 On Track (Decades) : Opher Goodwin: Amazon.co.uk: Books

It’s also available from the publisher’s own site – Burning Shed – Bob Dylan 1962 to 1970 On Track (burningshed.com)

It was so good to leaf through and see the result of all that work! Every great song reviewed, analysed and commented on. A wealth of information, interpretation and original thought. If you like Dylan……

Thanks for all your support!!


Opher Goodwin’s Best Rock Music Books – Roy Harper, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Captain Beefheart

Here is a list of some of my top Rock Music books (all available in paperback or kindle and some in Hardback):

Captain Beefheart On Track: Every Album, Every SongCaptain Beefheart (Don Vliet) was undoubtedly the creator of the most bizarre and wonderful music. A child prodigy sculptor, he applied his artistic approach to music, creating ‘aural sculptures’. He befriended Frank Zappa in High School, collaborating on a teenage rock opera and sci-fi/fantasy film entitled Captain Beefheart vs The Grunt People. It was from this film that Don took his name. Of course, a magic character had to have a magic band. Captain Beefheart On Track: Every Album, Every Song : Opher Goodwin: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Roy Harper On Track: Every Album, Every SongRoy Harper must be one of Britain’s most undervalued rock musicians and songwriters. For over fifty years he has produced a series of innovative albums of consistently outstanding quality. He puts poetry and social commentary to music in a way that extends the boundaries of rock music. His 22 studio albums 16 live albums, made up of 250 songs, have created a unique body of work. Roy is a musician’s musician. Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track): Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789521306: Books
In Search of Captain Beefheart – A Rock Music MemoirThe sixties raged. I was young, crazy, full of hormones and wanting to snatch life by the balls. There was a life out there for the grabbing and it had to be wrestled into submission. There was a society full of boring amoral crap and a life to be had in the face of the boring, comforting vision of slow death on offer. Rock music vented all that passion. This book is a memoir of a life spent immersed in Rock Music. In Search of Captain Beefheart: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9781502820457: Books
Bob Dylan 1962 to 1970 On Track (Decades) Out this month!!  Bob Dylan is the magician who sprinkled poetic fairy dust on to the popular music of the early sixties and his songwriting sparked a revolution and changed rock music forever. The diminutive poet/singer claimed he was merely a ‘song and dance man’ but Dylan altered popular music from intellectually bereft teenage rebellion into a serious adult art form worthy of academic study. Bob Dylan 1962 to 1970 On Track (Decades) : Opher Goodwin: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Neil Young 1963 to 1970: Every Album, Every Song   Out this Autumn!!  In the realm of singer songwriters, few have been as influential as Neil Young, whose music has always been creative and relevant throughout six decades. Neil is a chameleon for whom boundaries of genres do not exist. He has delved into folk, country, r&b, rock ‘n’ roll, grunge, hard rock, electronic and pop and made them his own.Neil Young 1963 to 1970: Every Album, Every Song: Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789522983: Books
Nick Harper: The Wilderness Years    Nick speaks!  I first met Nick when he was a young child and over the years he has become a close friend. This book illuminates the genius that I feel is Nick Harper and is designed to accompany ‘The Wilderness Years’, a trilogy of vinyl albums. Nick talks candidly about many aspects of his music and career. I include, with Nick’s permission, the lyrics of all the songs featured in the trilogy. There are also many photos dating from his childhood to the present day.Nick Harper: The Wilderness Years: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9798815185630: Books
The Blues Muse – A novelI was in conversation with a good friend who, like me, is a Rock Music fanatic. We have both been everywhere, seen everyone and have had our lives hugely affected by music. However it is not who you have seen but what you failed to catch that you dwell on. I said to him that it would be brilliant if we had a time machine and were able to go back and see all the major events in Rock history; Robert Johnson play in the tavern in Greenwood, Elmore James in Chicago, Elvis Presley in the small theatres, The Beatles in Hamburg, Stones in Richmond, Doors in the Whiskey, Roy Harper at St Pancras Town Hall…………….. and a thousand more. Then I realised that I could. The Blues Muse: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9781518621147: Books
Rock Routes – A History of Rock MusicThis charts the progress of Rock Music from its beginnings in Country Blues, Country& Western, R&B and Gospel through to its Post Punk period of 1980. It tells the tale of each genre and lists all the essential tracks. I was there at the beginning and I’m still there at the front! Keep on Rockin’!!Rock Routes: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9781514873090: Books
Opher’s World Tributes to Rock Geniuses  If you like Rock Music you’ll love this! – 195 tributes to Rock Acts of Genius. – Each one a gem of a picture. You’ll find out what makes them so brilliant and a lot more besides! This is the writing of a true passionate obsessive. These are Ophers tributes to Rock geniuses – loving pen-pictures to all the great artists and bands that have graced the screens, airways, our ears, vinyl grooves and electronic digits – (well a lot of them anyway). These tributes make you thrill to all the reasons why they were so great.Opher’s World Tributes to Rock Geniuses: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9781508631279: Books
537 Essential Rock Albums  – Pt. 1This is not your average run through an opinionated list of somebody’s favourite albums. This is much more than that. By the time you get to the end of the book you will be in no doubt as to the type of person who has written this and what their views are. This is Opher at his most extreme and outspoken. He’s been there at the front through thousands of shows, purchased tens of thousands of albums and listened to more music than seems possible to fit into a single life.537 Essential Rock Albums – Pt. 1 The first 270: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9781502787408: Books

  Thank you for looking. Why not try one or two? And please leave a review! Cheers Opher

Favourite Protest Songs – Bob Dylan – Only A Pawn In Their Game

Protest was the media term applied to a sudden popularity in songs of political/social content that sprang up in the early sixties in the Folk Scene due to the sudden rise of Bob Dylan.

For a few glorious years Bob Dylan produced three stunning acoustic albums featuring poetic songs the like of which had never been heard. This protest – songs of civil rights, antiwar and social comment – had its roots in Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Malvina Reynolds but nobody had done it as well as Dylan.

Greenwich Village was the focus for a left-wing bohemian upsurge led by the Folk Movement. A number of young singers were weighing in with their contributions as black and native American singers sang alongside each other in the clubs. They had a vision of a better, fairer America that wasn’t belligerent and didn’t practice segregation. These included the likes of Buffy St Marie, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton and Peter Lefarge. A new optimism was in the air. The fight was on.

When the Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers was shot in the back by a cowardly gunman skulking in the bushes both Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan took up the guitar and wrote songs. This was Bob’s brilliant effort. It picked out the way the gullible Southerner Whites had been cynically used by the politicians in order for them to gain power. The hatred and division they created in their wake spilled over into violence. In creating scapegoats the weaselly politicians escaped blame.

Does that sound familiar?

We’ve all been pawns in the games of the rich and powerful as they manipulate us for their wars, elections and referendums. They run the place for their own ends. Austerity is not a word they are familiar with. The hate and division they create is no concern of theirs. They care not.

Where’s the new Bob Dylan when we need him or her?

Bob Dylan – Only A Pawn In Their Game

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game.A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

From the powerty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.

Songwriters: BOB DYLAN

Only A Pawn In Their Game lyrics © BOB DYLAN

Favourite Poems – Visions of Johanna – Bob Dylan

I can just imagine that young Bob Dylan, riding the bucking bronco of fame, alone in the night in the Chelsea Hotel with the old heat pipes gurgling. Little boy lost reeling from love affairs with Suze and Joan, now with Sarah, trying to come to terms with expectations, fame, love and life while going cold turkey to escape his amphetamine addiction. Reevaluating his life.

That bronco uis giving him a tough ride but he’s hanging on. He’s doing his own thing.

The poem contains some stanzas that really connected with me:

‘Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while’

What is our life when put in context to infinity? How absurd is the concept of everlasting life – wouldn’t that be the ultimate in boredom?

Then I always found this stanza ironic given Bob’s later dalliance with saccharine sweet, vacuous country music:

The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off

Life’s all a surreal game we play, full of cultural absurdities, religious nonsense and politrical intrigue, in which love and death pull us around by the strings of our sanity and our mind, if it ever engages, reels.

Lost love is a bitch.

Visions of Johanna

Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman’s bluff with the key chain
And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the “D” train
We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it’s him or them that’s insane
Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ‘lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place

Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
And when bringing her name up
He speaks of a farewell kiss to me
He’s sure got a lotta gall to be so useless and all
Muttering small talk at the wall while I’m in the hall
How can I explain?
It’s so hard to get on
And these visions of Johanna, they kept me up past the dawn

Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles
See the primitive wallflower freeze
When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeez, I can’t find my knees”
Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel

The peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
Sayin’, “Name me someone that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him”
But like Louise always says
“Ya can’t look at much, can ya man?”
As she, herself, prepares for him
And Madonna, she still has not showed
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain

My Favourite Poems – It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

This is a searing poem from a sixties, snarling Dylan containing some of the most vitriolic lines, portraying a man standing up defiantly against life, the establishment and infinity.

Trying to come to terms with life and death, morality, hypocritical religion, politics, sex and life in the avaricious 20th century. Everything has its price; everything is bought and sold.

Somehow you’ve got to plot a meaningful way from it.

Bloody but not broken.


Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more
Person crying

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed
Graveyards, false gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
what else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only

Today’s Music to Blow My Mind – Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A Changin’

I’m heading back to 1964 when the world was full of optimism and a new poetic singer was singing about social issues and we were going to put it all right.

The Times They Are A-Changin’ – YouTube

Current Writing Status February 2023

Everything is going forward. This is what I’ve been up to:

Neil Young in the 60s.

I am 110 pages into my latest project. I have a contract with Sonicbond Publishing to produce a book on Neil Young in the 60s for October. It needs to be 60,000 words and today I reached 32,000. All downhill from here. I’m thoroughly enjoying listening to Neil’s entire output in the sixties. I’ve worked my way through the Squires, Mynah Birds, Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills Nash and Young and I’m now completing the solo albums before the live albums and compilations. It’s very time-consuming but rewarding. It is fun to listen to music you are very familiar with in a different context. Picking the music and lyrics apart to write about it is something else.

I’m hoping to complete the first draft by the end of next month. That’s when the hard work of editing and honing begins. I’m confident I’ll hit my October deadline.

Bob Dylan in the 60s.

Sonicbond are in the process of publishing my Bob Dylan book. It is set for publication in June and I see they have already put it up on Amazon for advance orders.

That was another labour of love.Listening to, and writing about, Bob Dylan’s output in the sixties was really interesting. It was also a voyage of discovery. It took me thousands of hours but I loved every minute and learnt a lot.

I know what is going to happen though. In May Sonicbond will be on at me to do a string of corrections and updates in no time at all and it will all get very hectic.

Roy Harper and Captain Beefheart.

These two books are out and can be purchased directly from the publisher’s own site Burning Shed https://burningshed.com/opher-goodwin_roy-harper-on-track_book (161 likes) and https://burningshed.com/opher-goodwin_captain-beefheart-on-track_book (51 likes). Alternatively, they are available from all good bookshops (definition of a good bookshop is one that stocks my books) or Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Captain-Beefheart-Track-Every-Album/dp/1789522358/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3RP7IVCLU4UOX&keywords=opher+goodwin&qid=1676650066&s=books&sprefix=opher+goodwin%2Cstripbooks%2C120&sr=1-1 (13 5* reviews) or https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roy-Harper-Every-Album-Track/dp/1789521300/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3RP7IVCLU4UOX&keywords=opher+goodwin&qid=1676650132&s=books&sprefix=opher+goodwin%2Cstripbooks%2C120&sr=1-2 (61 %* ratings and reviews).

Thank you to all of you who have supported me by purchasing my books and leaving such brilliant ratings and reviews (I read them all when I need a bit of a boost)! You’re all BRILLIANT!!

Unintended Consequences

My latest Sci-fi novel is currently out under my alias of Ron Forsythe. It is also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unintended-Consequences-Ron-Forsythe/dp/B0BHG38ZNR/ref=sr_1_5?crid=3LCZPLXYP8K1A&keywords=Ron+Forsythe&qid=1676650508&s=books&sprefix=ron+forsythe%2Cstripbooks%2C154&sr=1-5

I could really do with some feedback on this one. At present there are not any reviews.

The Cabal and The Scrolls of Pandora 3

In a great burst of creativity I wrote these two Sci-fi novels. A big thank you to Neil Lock for his sterling work in editing them and suggesting improvements. I have the two books on hold with the intention of attempting to get an agent or publishing house interested.

When I have completed the first draft of the Neil Young book I shall take some time out to go through the slog of sending them out. We’ll see. Meanwhile, if anybody knows of a publisher who might be interested in taking me on please let me know.

The other 85 books of poetry, weird novels, Beat writings, education, environment, art, antinovels, anecdotes, sixties weird stuff, short stories and sci-fi novels.

These remain available through Amazon. I’d be delighted if you took a look. Even more delighted if you bought one. Absolutely ecstatic if you bought them all and in a profound state of delirium if you were to leave ratings and reviews!


Today’s Music to Keep me IIIiNNnnnnsssSSAAaaNNnnnEEe – Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’ Album

One of my favourite albums. Songs that meant a lot to me. I was fourteen when I first heard this! I don’t hear anything to match this these days.