I finished putting together my playlist — took a few things off the original list and finally found my way to a missing thread I’d had trouble remembering and finding. Been listening to the playlist quite a bit. [I’ve not been able to get Spotifiy’s embed codes to actually embed the list, but you can get it here.]
Part of my criteria for the list was everything had to be from the era in the 70’s when I was in college and graduate school and hanging out with hippies. The original impetus came while listening to someone’s playlist of current stuff and remembering how much music at that time was influenced by folk and country and fused in various ways with rock. In the end I’m not sure whether anyone else would find a line from my list to the list that inspired mine…
I felt like there was a thread to follow musically speaking but as I trailed the music and then really listened to it, I found other threads as well.
Much of the music was so familiar when I encountered it again, but I’d not listened to it in years. Quite a few came to me originally as recommendations from friends and I liked the music at the time but listened to it a lot for a while and then not again. Those old songs brought dear friends to mind but didn’t have strong emotional associations.
Some of the music was stuff I adored at the time and listened to so much I can still sing every word. And I realized with a giggle how much of it was sad, depressive stuff. At that stage of my life melodrama ruled and I especially loved to wallow in melancholy, listening to sad love songs, etc. Even though some of the music is great and stands the test of time quite well, I’m just not such a drama queen any more nor do I enjoy wallowing so I tend not to listen to such music.
What a long road I’ve traveled from that melancholy girl, pining for some imagined fairy tale prince who was never coming…
The Universe decided to do a little orchestrating so I suddenly received a long letter a couple of days ago from my college roommate and long-time friend after she’d been silent for five or more years. It felt so amazing to hear from her in the midst of listening to this music and noting a number of the recordings were things she played in our apartment all the time.
Another piece involved so many memories of the magic of those times. I loved being a hippie (not sure I ever stopped :-) ) and hanging out with my friends. Loved our fervor for changing the world, our thirst to know how things really worked…
Central to all that at Northwestern in those days was Amazingrace Coffeehouse, started by some of the hippies a class or two ahead of me during my freshman year. They started with local Chicago scene folk singers in a basement in the old student union and then were given their own small building (ironically the former ROTC headquarters), at which point the parade of talent grew broader in scope and brought in small-scale national talent as well.
So much about this thread of folk/country/rock fusion traces back to acts I saw there, recordings my friends from that scene introduced me to, etc. And I see the start of the path I’m still on as starting there. I alternate between moments of teary-eyed nostalgia and pleasure at seeing the growth since then and how it really started there.
Some years back a friend from those days who’s still a little more cynical and strident, as we were then, and a little uncomfortable with my path, asked me what got me started on this spiritual journey given where we used to be. I thought for a moment and told him that I see this as the natural progression from the longing for peace and justice we had then. The only thing that shifted is that I no longer believe in a revolution in the streets, I believe in a revolution in our hearts.
Otherwise, the same longing for a better and more peaceful world still drives me… I have more to say about a couple of these threads so there will be more…
And seguing back to the music, I’m still a little sad about losing my recordings of so much of that great Chicago music –most of which never made the upgrade to CD or MP3 — and that I was unable to include any but a couple of Steve Goodman recordings (thank goodness for those!). I really wished that I could find a way to put up some Redwood Landing, a long time fave of mine.
Several years ago Amazingrace had a 40 year reunion week full of concerts in the Chicago area, including a reunion of Redwood Landing for what they claimed would be their final concert. I got to go and was able to buy a couple of CDs, so I do have that music but I couldn’t figure out any way to get it on here. But trying to figure it out led me to discover that someone filmed the reunion concert and there are lots of clips on YouTube, so I can’t resist closing out by sharing some of their great music: