Cymraeg

Cymraeg
Location
London, UK
Birthday
August 17
Bio
I live in London with my wife and three cats. Or maybe we live with them. Oh and now we have a puppy!

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Salon.com
AUGUST 25, 2010 6:34AM

Last Night I Saw Arlo Guthrie Live

Rate: 4 Flag
 

I’ve been wondering recently about just what kind of music I like. The word ‘eclectic’ comes to mind, which is a good word that’s also a bit too close to ‘eccentric’ for comfort. Eclectic. I’m sticking with that.

 

When I was a teenager my sister, who is two years younger than me, was always the more up to date in terms of music. She always had the latest albums, she watched Top of the Pops, she knew the up and coming new artists and she didn’t dance like a moose with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

Ok, so she had a crush on George Michael, who paddles his canoe on the other side of the lake, so to speak, but apart from that she was pretty clued in. Still is.

 

Then when I was 16 I was given an amazing Christmas present. The odd thing is that it came from my uncle John, who I will one day write about as he had a grudge against me for being born. Long story, but the précis version is that he and his wife had four girls, whereas I was my parents firstborn. He could never work out how my father had given my grandfather that much cherished prize of the first grandson. Yes, my uncle was a total idiot. However he was a total idiot who gave me a copy of “So”, by Peter Gabriel.

 

That album changed my life. It was like a key turned in a lock and I discovered music that was new and unusual. Hearing that Gabriel was on tour and would be in London I saved up and bought a ticket. It was my first concert and it blew my head clean off my shoulders. By the time I went to college at the age of 18 I owned Gabriel’s other albums, had memorized half his songs and was looking about greedily for more music.

 

By the time I left college I’d caught up with my sister and was an avowed fan of Talking Heads, U2, Eurythmics, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians and a lot of… eclectic stuff. Much of it wasn’t cutting edge (although I spotted No Doubt and The Corrs way before my sister did, ha!) but it fitted in with my mind.

 

When I met Kathleen – that was another life-changing moment, on all kinds of levels. Music was just one of those. Kathleen’s taste in music is huge. It’s also a tad eclectic. Not as weird as mine (I relax to the music that Bear McCreary wrote for the remake of Battlestar Galactica) but still pretty wide.

 

And she introduced me to the music of Woody and Arlo Guthrie.

 

Last we went to see Arlo Guthrie in his one and only London appearance on his current tour. Wow. Words fail me. We had an amazing time. The supporting act, a Canadian singer-songwriter duo called Dala, was excellent, but then came Arlo. It was the fifth or sixth time that Kathleen had seen him, but it was my first and damn was he good!

 

It was just him, a stool, his guitar and his harmonica but he blew us all away.

 

(And no, we don't have any pictures because we were told that we couldn't take any, although that didn't stop the gits around us. Here are a few clips of his songs from YouTube.)

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Comments

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Jane - Kathleen was moved to tears during some of his songs and the venue was very small and friendly. It was a great night out! And yes one day I'll write about my odd uncle, I promise.
That's amazing, Arlo Guthrie is still alive?
It's interesting just to read the title because for so many years the word on Guthrie was that he had some rare genetic disease and would soon be dead. That was over 30 years ago. As an impoverished hippy in the early 70's, I had only three 8-track cassettes that I listened to as I tooled around the UP of Michigan stoned. Guthrie was one of them. R.
Ocn - oh yes he's still alive! Ok, so some of his memories about Woodstock are a little hazy, but he's alive!

Jeff - Woody Guthrie, his father, had Huntingdon's Disease, which was mis-diagnosed for years. There's a statistically reliable chance that it can be passed down to the children of a sufferer, but Arlo and two of his siblings did not come down with it. However, two of Mary Guthrie's children, Arlo's nieces I think, died early from HD.
Such an incredible entertainer and voice. It is amazing how much music shapes our memories and frames special moments in our lives inundated with the music of the day. It lives in us forever.
Arlo was GREAT!! Aren't you glad I dragged you there? LOL
We are both older, but I still see the guy who I first saw 33 years ago...If I squint with my nearsighted astigmatism!
Arlo can do more with a microphone, harmonica and guitar than any modern group can do with hi-tech! He was awesome.
And so are you for going with me on blind faith and having to listen to my CDs.
Rated with a big R!!!!

Good stuff......