GREW UP in little, old
Rockaway, N.J., back before it got swallowed by Metro-New York. Not a bad place to
be a fifties kid. A childhood chum turned me
on to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan in the early sixties. I don't
remember when I first heard Woody
Guthrie, but it must have been right after hearing Joan and Bob sing his
songs. While working for WSOU-FM at Seton Hall University, I had access to
an extensive collection of recordings of country blues, and folk
After leaving SHU in '67, I traveled the country extensively, and saw many
rockbands that influenced me. One definitely was Country Joe and the Fish. I liked their
quirky mix of rock, rag, blues, and, well...you name it. Country Joe McDonald, himself, continues
to be an influence, even now. I've lived in Manhattan, Tucson, S.F., Berkeley,
and last but definitely not least, Bloomington, Indiana. I've visited and busked
Boston, Cambridge, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Madison (Wisc.), Chicago, D.C.
(one sunny September day in '89, I played and sang a freedom song at the base of
the Capitol Esplanade, facing the Washington Monument), New Orleans, Austin,
Boulder, Syracuse, Portand, Me., Salt Lake City, L.A./Venice, Flagstaff, and
HILE AT THE Woodstock Festival in
'69, I happened - unbeknownst to me - to get filmed in an action response to
Ritchie Havens singing , when he exhorted the crowd to clap hands and sing. ZOOM!
Camera work - focuses on some guy's back (...moi), then a PAN back to wide angle
of the crowd...and the movie cuts back to Richie singing,
"I got a telephone in my bosom..."
For some fun, roll your cursor over the thumbpic...
INCE the Festival movie came out, FREEDOM has been a major
theme in my life, and is the focus of much of my songwriting. Back in '91, Mr.
Havens and the Nobody Special in the audience got to meet at a rally on
in D.C.. When I drew his attention to the scene in the film, even he raised
his arm and pointed, like so many others did back when the movie came out,
You're the guy who jumps up in the audience! A humongous bear
hug followed. In the past few years, I've attended two Havens concerts - one at
the Tibetan Culture Center, here in Monroe County, Indiana, and the other
at a beatiful listening space called the Tabernacle, in Mt. Tabor, NJ. The
man has not lost his spark - I am happy to say. I
ordered his new CD TIME from his web site (linked above - and
on my musical influences page), and I'm happy to say the live
performances show Richie in fine fettle! Do yourselves a favor and
check out his home page for info on TIME. I especially like
"I Was Educated By Myself".
Upon listening, I daresay you will understand how the song is not a chest-beating
bit of braggadoccio at all, but a much needed REVELATION of how to survive
whatever adversity flings your way...not to mention the fine "rhapsodic" piano