Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Perfect Folk Song

I know a lot of Dylan fans. I've never been one. It isn't that I don't admire his songs but Bobby always came across to me as a bit mean and so do most of his fans. It's the We Are Too Smart To Care What You Think Brigade and well, I guess I don't follow that trend in folk music.

Then there's Arlo. For my time, Arlo Guthrie was and is the perfect folk singer. He is incredibly gifted as a writer, a wry commentator on the times, a fantastic musician, but through it all, he is funny, he is generous, he is kind, and he sees through the bullshit. He is never mean. Of all my heros in a lifetime of making music, writing songs and listening, he is still the one guy I want to sit down and pick with for an evening somewhere away from the crowd. He simply impresses me as a man who would be a good friend and teacher.

Here is the perfect folk song seen through the eyes of the leader of the first family of American folk music: Arlo.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Give A Damm

They say the times of change are upon us like the Sixties but without the good music and the sex. That only leaves war, drugs and politics which means the worst of the Sixties are back. What to do?

In a 1993 concert just before performing “When A Soldier Makes It Home”, Arlo Guthrie observes that after all the movements of the 60s, he found there are only two kinds of people: those who give a damm and those who don’t and there were always both of those on both sides of an issue. What surprised him was how over the years he found he had more in common with those who do give a damm regardless of which side of the issue they were on.

As we continue on during the times of change and internationalization, maybe that is the best badge to wear.

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