Sandra B. Tooze

Tooze in Red(1)

Sandra Tooze garnered world-wide acclaim for her book  Muddy Waters: The Mojo Man. Eric Clapton wrote the foreword, and Levon Helm and Mick Jagger both endorsed it in back-cover quotes. The reviewer for America’s preeminent blues magazine, Living Blues, called it “a first-rate biography … An illumination and a joy, it deserves a place on our shelves as a loving and earnest tribute to one of the greats of American music.” On Britain’s BBC Radio, her book was described as “terrific … absolutely great.” And in the U.K.’s premier music magazine, Mojo, it was praised as “a vivid, brilliantly researched portrait.”

Diversion Books World Eng. Jun 2020

Levon Helm: From Down in the Delta to the Birth of The Band and Beyond

Sandra Tooze, author of the acclaimed biography, Muddy Waters: The Mojo Man, turns to Levon Helm in this biography of a talented, often tragic musician in the era that saw the convergence of blues, country and R&B. 

As a young man, Levon Helm emerged from the cotton fields of Arkansas to join rockabilly wild man Ronnie Hawkins, whose band soon included Robbie Robertson. By the mid-1960s, they had left Hawkins and were playing with Bob Dylan (Nobel Prize winner) and on their way to making rock history as The Band. 

Levon, a drummer who played mandolin, guitar, and bass guitar, was listed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top 100 Greatest Singers, and was praised by Bruce Springsteen. His influence extended to other musicians like Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Elton John, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. He won three Grammys for his own albums and as a member of The Band, he was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

But exciting youth gave way in his last 36 years to  feelings of betrayal by his closest friend Robbie Robertson whom he accused of disloyalty and financial misconduct. Helm died in 2012 at age 71 after a long struggle with cancer. 

Levon Helm: From Down in the Delta to the Birth of The Band and Beyond will be the first full-length, penetrating biography of this versatile musician and actor.  His autobiography presented the story as seen only by Helm, his closest friends and loved ones.  Tooze’s book expands that perspective stepping  back and take an all-inclusive view — warts and all.  It will be an objective, balanced portrayal. 

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