Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review: Along The Cherry Lane

Along The Cherry Lane; Tales From The Life Of Music Industry Legend Milton Okun, As Told To Richard Sparks, is an enchanting and amazing memoir. This book reveals the details of Mr. Okun's unique career in the world of music, told in a series of stories and interviews.
Milton Okun is a musician, teacher, conductor, music arranger, producer and publisher. He has worked with some of the biggest stars in the world of folk and popular music.
A critic once wrote, "Of all producers, Milton Okun's range is the widest, from Placido Domingo to the Muppets."
Mr. Okun is a real rock star in the world of professional music...but most of his work was done behind-the-scenes.

Early Years
Milton started playing the piano at the age of four. He saw his first opera at the age of six. By the time Milton was eight years old, he was practicing three or four hours a day and had decided that he would one day be a concert pianist and play at Carnegie Hall.
Milton became very ill with nephritis (a kidney infection) at the age of fourteen. The only cure was enforced bed rest for two years. During this time, Milt was forbidden to play the piano. At the end of the two years, he had lost his ability to play at the level he was before the illness. He had to give up his dream of being a concert pianist, but this was not the end of his music career.

The Wide World Of Music
Milt Okun's career went from school teacher to working with some of the biggest names in music. He transformed three unknown singers who had never worked together into one of the most famous musical acts of their generation; Peter, Paul and Mary. He was a music producer for John Denver, Placido Domingo and dozens of other musicians. He is the founder of Cherry Lane, a music publishing company. Music is his life and this book highlights his many accomplishments.

My Thoughts
After reading this book, I feel like I have been sitting by the fire chatting with Milt, his family and his associates. The interview format is casual and friendly. Mr. Okun appears to be a very humble man and is very generous with praise for his talented family and the musicians that he worked with. I learned a great deal about the work that goes into producing a big hit in the music world. Milt had his share of challenges through-out his long career, but he does not dwell on the negative. This memoir is up-beat, entertaining and informative. Milt does a very good job in sharing a picture of his life. Kudos to Richard Sparks for a job well done!
I am now going to my collection of old record albums and dig out some of my John Denver favorites. I will be listening with a new appreciation of all the work that was done behind-the-scenes to make this music so beautiful.

Disclosure: I connected with Milt Okun on Twitter and he was kind enough to send me a copy of this book to read and review.

Please share your thoughts in the Comments Section below ~ I love to hear from you!
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