At college at New Paltz (about halfway between Albany and NYC) in the early 1970, I ran into the creature known as the Deadhead for the first time. The Deadhead was not unlike someone who had been “born again” after a lifetime of degradation. The Deadhead wanted to share The Experience with EVERYBODY, even if you didn’t share his or her enthusiasm. I mean, I was a fan of the Beatles, but I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head the set list for the Hollywood Bowl or Shea Stadium concerts. The Deadhead was an obsessed creature who could tell how a given song segued into another song, at what point, and when it segued back to the original theme, and how THAT was different than what they did two nights earlier. Omigod.

So, I developed a great antipathy for the Grateful Dead, not so much for their music, which I avoided, as much as towards their fans. Even the albums I heard for which I had some grudging admiration – such as American Beauty and Workman’s Dead – didn’t change my overall irritation with the group, or rather the group’s persona, epitomized by their zealous fans.

10 years to the day after Jerome (named after Jerome Kern) Garcia’s death, and in the month that he would have turned 63, I feel quite differently. I have a much greater appreciation for the band’s musicianship, influence, and its sense of history in referencing pioneering artists that came before them. In particular, I really appreciated the writing of Jerry Garcia (usually with Robert Hunter) and his musical technique (including his work with Dave Grusin).

Jerry Garcia– he’s more than the inspiration for an ice cream flavor.

Mixed Bag CD Blog Review-Tom

NAME: Tom Collins
BLOG NAME: Tom the Dog’s You Know What I Like?
NAME OF CD: You’ll Play It and You’ll Like It, Vol. 2
COVER ART: Simple but effective
SONG LIST: His post of June 10
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Nat on June 10; Gordon on June 30
GENERAL THOUGHTS: I’m instantly disinclined to like this album, because I don’t like being told what to do. There seem to be suites, as it were, on this disc, the Who/Kids/Alright segment, then a couple more comedic pieces, then some “standards” (Bing, Patsy, Hoyt), then other stuff. I enjoyed probably the first 2/3s thoroughly, then off and on, but liked the last four cuts. As it turns out, I think it’s a pretty good percentage of entertaining stuff.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: Moxy Fruvous, Patsy & Hoyt back-to-back, Amy Ray, Pogues. Some of the snippets.
ON THE OTHER HAND: A couple other snippets. Who IS that on the mystery track?
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Well, not Tool, and a couple of the ruder snippets. And the topic of the mystery track, I suppose.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: I have no more than four of the songs on this collection, the Who for sure, BNL and Green Day, maybe; Bing only if the biggest Bing fan I know gave it to me.

Publisher John Johnson

Just about every black family I knew in the 1950s and 1960s received EBONY magazine easch month. It was the black version of LIFE magazine. In fact, the red and white logo was purloined from LIFE magazine. Many black families also got JET, the pocket-sized newsweekly. Collectively, they represented the dreams and the reality of living in America at that time.

These and other magazines were the creations of John Johnson, who died today at the age of 87.

Not so incidentally, I still have EBONY and JET coming to my house.
Seems like I’m talking a lot about death the early part of this week. Strange coincidence. There ARE more joyous stuff to write about as well. Seemsd that every time I leave town, I want to write about THAT, but end up writing about something else.

This too shall pass.


I was content to post not too much today, I really was, but then I heard that Peter Jennings had died.

When I was growing up, it was Huntley/Brinkley in our household (the reason I know the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 9th), then Walter Cronkite. When Cronkite retired in the early 1980s, I tried a number of folks: Chancellor then Brokaw, Rather. But eventually I found myself gravitating towards this Canadian fellow.

I think I found him more credible because he was somehow more the observer. I think his disastrous first shot at the anchor in his 20s made him work harder. Perhaps my favorite moment was on September 15, 2001 when he was talking to kids about the attacks, compassionate, yet not jingoistic.

When he said he’d be back when he went off the air in April, I figured, for a while, that maybe he would be.

The network has no clear choice to replace him. The folks who have been substituting for him already have a job (Elizabeth Vargas on Prime Time) or two (Charles Gibson on Prime Time and, more importantly for ABC’s bottom line, Good Morning America.) Koppel is set to leave Nightline soon to do his own thing.

As I’m sure all the news analysts are saying, the triumvirate is over, which is neither here nor there for me. But the passing of Peter Jennings is one that fills me with some sorrow. It’s strange that when you “invite someone into your home” electronically, you can get feelings of sadness when they’re gone.

Too Darn Hot

I was away this past weekend, which I’ll tell you about soon, so I wanted to get some piece done last Thursday for today. I even had a couple topics picked out to write about, such as this story about a 42-year old female high school teacher who apparently had sex with a 16 year old and 17 year old boy, and how some of the national press has salactiously pounced on it as though it were national news. I think they’re looking for the next Mary Kay Letourneau.

Unfortunately it was too darn hot to write (the weather, not the story). After decent conditions last weekend, the hot and humid weather has returned. There have been 13 days over 90 this summer, and 2 of them were last week.

Not only that, the power went off (again) Thursday afternoon for 45 minutes. At 7 pm, it was 88 at the Albany airport and 85 in our living room.

Unrelated to the weather, but relavant to blog posting, I had found some material that just needed typing, but it has since gone missing, tempoarily (I hope).

So, I’m going to keep it short and share with you my favorite summer song. I think it’s the way this “royal” man says “beer.” And I don’t even LIKE beer.