Arlo Guthrie: all heart and soul

I love Arlo Guthrie. That his storytelling makes me not feel the pain in my leg. That his son, Abe, is in his band. That the band looked fresh and happy, even during their last performance of their 2-year tour. That he can tell the story of the first time he saw his wife as if it had just happened yesterday instead of 1964. That he says of Ledbelly: “If it made noise, Ledbelly could play it.” That he says of himself: “I am a man who loves words but sometimes, you just don’t need ’em,” just before he did some sort of amazing thing on his guitar. That his hair is still long, and now white. That he’s self-deprecating and funny.

That when Pete Seeger (age 95, who died in January, I think) said to him last November before their gig at Carnegie Hall, “Arlo, I can’t play like I used to. I can’t sing like I used to,” Arlo said, “Pete, look at our audience. They can’t hear like they used to.”

Where would we be without our artists? 


Baez on Seeger: a tribute

joan and petejoanFrom Joan Baez, about her good pal, Pete Seeger:

When I was 15 years old, my aunt took me to a Pete Seeger concert. If her intention was to expose me to a more illuminating environment than that of a high school campus in a small town in Southern California, she succeeded.

The concert took, like a good vaccine.

From that moment forward, Pete helped shape my life both musically and politically.

I believe that courage is the most vital of human qualities, and that taking risks is essential to making serious social change. Pete courageously took the risks and paid the price. He remained a moral compass for this society through fiercely challenging times, with his music, his songs, and with enthusiastic perseverance.

He transformed his sword and shield into a banjo, and with it and his music, brought us as close to freedom as we may ever come.

“We’ll walk hand in hand,
Black and white together,
We shall live in peace,
We are not afraid,
We shall overcome, someday,
We shall overcome, someday.”

Now Pete can do what he never did much of in his lifetime. Put aside the banjo and rest with Toshi, down by the riverside.

Early morning consequential

Wide awake. Cicadas, too.

And, you?

Here’s the deal: Reading in bed is wonderful, until it makes you fall asleep two pages in, i.e. way-too-early.

Still wheat-free after 40 days.

The older I get, the more I like the color blue.

Gold cars always have slow drivers.

The Allman Brothers will always have my heart.

Jane, my 96-year-old friend, liked the BBQ chicken I took her yesterday. “I didn’t know you could cook,” was what she said by way of a compliment.

Mr. Cotter was a brilliant professor of English literature at John Carroll University when I was there. He was short, older and had a crew cut and a bit of a stutter. He was one of the wittiest, funniest people I’ve ever met. Died on the day we graduated, on his way to his flat in London. He wasn’t a sentimental man.

I love Shakespeare.

My father and I saw Carol Channing in “Hello Dolly,” and Yul Brenner in “The King and I” in NYC, May, 1978.

The train ride to Windsor is very pleasant.

You meet all kinds of people when you just travel a bit. Even famous ones.

I really love books.

There is something about poetry that captures essences. That’s not a poetic sentence — but it’s true.

Meaghan, Ben, Caroline, Anne, Ellen, Carolyn, Eric, Celia, Olivia, Connor and Addie are my daughter, nieces and nephews.

The Great Lakes are the world’s greatest anything.

Pete Seeger is still alive.

Russian history is full of people pretending to be other people.

My second toes are longer than my first.

I would love to be Bonnie Raitt for just one day.

You are very good to have read all this. I’m sorry there is no prize.

War and Peace is worth reading, too, and there’s a bigger payoff.