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Play It Again, Queenee

posted Mar 25, 2011, 1:21 PM by Jared Libby
OK, OK, Allright, Already! I admit it! I'm a genuine 'Sixties Living Fossil! Nineteen Sixties, that is...
My first vocal rant made news in a Brooklyn, NY hospital in 1954. I was ten when Murray the K, a NYC am radio deejay rocked my world. Some big, important musical movement had just started happening, and my young musician ears couldn't get enough of this new music on the radio.
There were many players in this exciting movement--musicians, promoters, groupies, deejays, photographers, roadies, creeps, druggies, producers, publishers, record execs, etc. I qualified for genuine "teenybopper" status --too young to be a real female threat, but able to fall in love with some rock musician, scream at him, faint, or spend my allowance on music items promoting his image.
Nineteen sixty-four was a heavy one, man. The British rock music and pop culture invasion was quite a companion to the massive social upheaval brewing in both the USA and my bloomin' adolescent body/mind. The Fab Four (The Beatles, for those too young to know the nicknames) played at Forest Hills Stadium in my home county of Queens, NY. I loved Paul. I will forever mourn the fact I couldn't go to that concert.
While America mourned its beloved and recently assasinated president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was prez, and we were thigh deep in the Big Vietnam War Muddy. There was only one place my already consecrated artist adolescent body/prematurely intellectually bent mind could go to help endure its unbearable confusion -- to the musicians, of course!
Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, John Lennon, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, Tim Hardin, the Byrds, CSNY, Judy Collins, Janis Ian, Rolling Stones, The Fugs, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Laura Nyro, Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, Tom Paxton, Odetta, Buffy Ste.Marie, Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, I'm breathless now, do you want me to keep going?
Forget it, you can read some dusty Rolling Stone music history if you want more 1960's folk and rock icons--that's not exactly the topic of this rant. Not the human icons. Only the music.
I was a fifteen year old music student in 1969. I remember singing that 60's music with my peers as we climbed countless steps which began from the NYC subway entrance (West 135th St. and Convent Ave.) and continued up an almost endless hill to the High School of Music and Art (HSMA). My high school had the added education expanding feature of being located smack dab on the campus of New York's City College (CCNY).
The City College cafeteria was great, just great! We'd cut classes and get french fries and burgers and coffee, and hang out in the lounge and pretend we were who we weren't, and smoke cigarettes and dope with the college kids, right in front of the security guards!
I didn't just learn how to be stoned and act straight there, however. Student led strikes about all kinds of worthy humanist causes were plentiful and rowdy back then, and I brought my guitar and began singing songs with the protesting students. The 'Nam war was still bombing along, and my folksinger mentors were in world class socially aware singer/songranter form. I built up a good arsenal of pro and anti anything songs with guitar accompaniments. I also got to practice fearless singing and playing out loud in front of groups of chanting idealists and police sirens. And keep walking and singing. I didn't know it was a dress rehearsal for today.