John on the radio again!

On Sunday, September 13, 2008, three of John’s songs from his new CD “Side Effects” were played as part of Walt Graham’s Acoustic Connections program on Connecticut’s WSHU-FM.  The songs were, “The Gift,” “Social Insecurity,” and, as he has done for the past several years on the anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks, “Remember Me.” If you haven’t had a chance to hear this program, which includes music by Tony Rice, Al Stewart, and Robin & Linda Williams, it is available through bit-stream, by going to WSHU-FM and following the directions.  In introducing John’s songs, he said, “John is a folksinger from New York City, who writes great songs in the tradition of Phil Ochs.” As indicated above, all three songs are included on the new CD, “Side Effects.”

  On Saturday, July 29th, John’s song, “The Glory of Their Times,” was featured on Oscar Brand’s “Folksong Festival,” on WNYC in New York. The Folksong Festival is now in its 61st consecutive year on the air, hosted by the forever young Oscar Brand. Oscar had chosen a series of what he called “goodies,” songs of which he’s especially fond. On this particular program, Oscar played songs by, among others, The Union Boys (Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Josh White, Tom Glazer, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee) Leadbelly, Steve Free (singing “When the Leave are all Gone,” also, like John’s “Glory of Their Times,” from the “Fraternity Records 50th Anniversary” CD) and a couple by, of course, Oscar himself. As John put it, “Every folksinger from Woody Guthrie to the Weavers to Dylan has been on Oscar’s show, and every one who hasn’t wants to be. For me, having one of my songs played in such fine company on such a wonderful show, was something in which I took great pride.” The show can be heard on, by clicking onto Oscar Brand’s Folksong Festival, 7/29/06. Remember, the 50th Anniversary CD can be purchased from this website.


It is an article of faith (or at least urban legend) that Folk Music passed the baton to Rock on that tempestuous day in July, 1965 when Bob Dylan plugged in his electric guitar and shocked (thrilled?) the audience of the Newport Folk Festival. It is said that folk paterfamilias Pete Seeger was so mortified by the desecration of the acoustic shrine that was Newport that he literally wanted to pull the plug on Dylans’s sacrilege.

Cooler heads prevailed, and the once successor to Woody Guthrie’s legacy went on to sing three “electric” numbers beginning with “Maggie’s Farm.” The rest, as they say, was history. Host Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary fame, about whom more will follow), invited Dylan back for a couple of acoustic numbers, including “It’s all over now, Baby Blue,” which has since been viewed as his farewell to the world of folk music.2 The truth, while not quite as dramatic, was equally interesting. Not only had Roger McGuinn’s group “The Byrds” already recorded no fewer than four Dylan songs with electric accompaniment 3, but Dylan himself had charted (at 39) with “Subterraneum Homesick Blues,” in April of ’65 and had recorded the half-electric breakthrough album, “Bringing it all Back Home” earlier that year. Dylan had apparently been bitten by the electric bug even earlier. When he first heard the Beatles’s “I want to Hold your Hand,” he is reported to have said, “Did you hear that? Fuck! Man, that was fuckin’ great. Oh man, fuck.”4 I guess Bob must have liked them, as did we all.

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