Last night I took in a marvelous performance by Barry McGuire at the Tortilla Factory in Herndon VA. The show was put on by the Folk Club of Reston-Herndon, and they usually start right off with a brief open mike. Eric Balkey played a song about having baseball just stuck deep in your soul, and it was just touching. Then, on to McGuire, whose personality hugely filled up the room right from his first comments. McGuire played a 12-string and threw in a little harmonica here and there. He said that he played the harp upside-down because that was how his mom handed his first harp to him when he was a little kid. Fascinating. He was joined by John York on 12-string and vocals. My hippie credentials fail a little at this point, because I can’t recall the group that York played with. I think he was in the Byrds for a bit, but I can’t remember. The folks sitting around me were all twenty or so years older than I, but I was the one to name York before he was introduced. Man, I love the sound of two 12-strings. York was playing Roger McGuinn-style leads and just rocking the place.
McGuire and York are playing a show called “Tripping The Sixties.” They played through McGuire’s hits with stories in between, and songs and stories by other acquaintances from that decade. “Eve Of Destruction” brought me to tears immediately, maybe for some sentimental reasons, but mostly because the song reminds us that the world has not gotten better in my short lifetime. McGuire sang his lead part from “Hair,” and for the first time I just absolutely loved that stuff. The energy in the room was exciting and tender. McGuire said at the end of the show, “We’ll never do this again,” telling us to just soak up the moment. He didn’t go anywhere near his Christian music, but that stuff wouldn’t pass with this audience. I remember a few touching spiritual songs from his “Seeds” album, but I probably would have been the only one in the room who has ever owned more than two or three contemporary Christian LPs. Thank goodness he didn’t try to pull out “Cosmic Cowboy” on these folkies.
On a separate topic, I got another airplay for my new CD. Larry Hilberg in Nevada City, CA played “Graven Image” as he told me he would. I was followed by Mississippi John Hurt, how embarassing for Mr. Hurt’s memory. I was glad to be on the same playlist as Eric Balkey whom I mentioned earlier. Makes my day all around.