Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Angels' Sigh

I really wanted to play this song for you, “Come on People.” I had trouble every step of the way. Usually, for me, this kind of struggle can indicate a troubled ending. I like plans that unfold, but I got to thinking about the message of the song--peace is within our reach. It’s a struggle to stand for peace in any meaningful way. Obama seems open. How about we put all the money we were going to spend on waging the war, and instead, build wells, and schools, and public halls, and clinics all over the region? I think that might be the one true way to stamp out the influence of the extremists.

In my cursory search, I was unable to turn up the name of the guy who wrote this song, but I know he sold it for something like, $75? I can remember going to hear Jessie Collin Yong play for free in Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park—must have been sometime in the eighties. We parked way up in the Richmond and came walking down the wide sidewalks; we could just hear the band. As we entered the park, and turned into the meadow, they started playing this song. The sun had burned off most of the fog, but wafts of it were still drifting here and there. The smell of eucalyptus FILLED the air. Magical. Scot could tell us the name of the guy who wrote the song.

This is a studio recording of Plank Road, with a very striped-down Scot and John. I chose today’s artwork to reflect that struggle mentioned above, which reminds me of something I wanted to add to a previously posed reflection (Unknown Artist, Unknown Recording 2/09). I did not mean to imply that Scot’s life was without struggle. Believe me, there was a lot of grit there. The condition he left this world in was his own hard won victory.


tim mcfate said...

it was jesse collin young in a band called the "young bloods" jesse wrote the song. it was his band before he went solo.
the song was on there first albun in 1967. players in the youngbloods included john sebastian i remember it playing all the time on am radio. scot really liked them . scot have a gift of picking out the peolpe that were really muicians./ back then everything was all mixed together on am . there was no other venue. well unless you want to talk about KAAY the nighttime voice of arkansa. klide klifford was the dj. it was on from 10 pm to 2 am. scot and i would camp in the woods behind our houses and take the little trasistor radio with us. we tied a long wire to the antenna and hung the other end in a tree for better reception. we would lay on the ground looking up at the stars with the radio between us and listen. we had never heard anything like it. all the stuff coming out of california mostly. we were 12 and 13 years old.

Robin Halpin Young said...

Tim, I'm pretty sure it was some poor guy who sold it for rent money. I know how these stories go, but I'm pretty sure it was not Jessie Collin Young or The Youngbloods, whose music I do know inside and out. Love you and love your new album. Give us the link. rhy

mddanese said...

Hi Robin and Tim. That is a swell rendition of the old tune. Thanks for posting it. Today I am enjoying the zen of this blog.

tim mcfate said...

here is the answer from a google search:

This Dino Valenti song had previously been recorded by the Jefferson Airplane, but The Youngbloods’ slow, soulful interpretation of "Get Together" was definitive. The record faded quickly but suddenly rocketed to the Top 10 when it was re-released in 1969, after it had been used in a television public service ad. This song adopted as a counter-culture anthem for the Vietnam War demonstrations.
Get Together: Fans of the Bay Area music scene mourned the death of 57-year-old Quicksilver Messenger Service singer-songwriter Dino Valenti. Valenti, whose real name was Chester Powers, wrote the classic '60s anthem, "Get Together," which was recorded by the Youngbloods. The son of carnival performers, Valenti grew up on the road and learned guitar from his father, who played ukulele. After serving a hitch in the Air Force, Valenti hit Greenwich Village in 1960. According to fellow musician and friend David Crosby, "His guitar style was overpowering aggressive, and in his Village days he would never walk anywhere-he would stride."

Robin Halpin Young said...

God/dess bless Dino Valenti, and I think if we dig deeper, we'll find he sold the song for rent money. Sounds like he had quite a life. Thanks Tim for the answer to our question and thanks to all posters for enriching this memorial blog.