Been on the road for 3 months and that's hard to believe! So many roads traveled, shows performed, and folks visited with! Merlefest was first and what a great time that was.....so sad that Doc Watson is no longer with us. It will be very strange next April that he will not be there....
I first met Doc & Merle back in 1971 at a performance at Wesleyan University and still have the poster hanging up in the office back home. Right from the beginning, Doc & Merle were very encouraging and appreciative of my guitar playing and singing. I remember one time at a concert in Norfolk Virginia, Doc & Merle were running late and entered the Nero Theater as I was doing my sound check. The told the organizer that they would run out and get a bite to eat and would hurry back. I saw them walk out of the theater....and then walk right back in, sit down and listen to my entire sound check! "Another Man Done A Full Go 'Round".
Nancy & I continued up the East Coast with a swing thru New England, a highlight being the RI show at Lillypads, with Joe Fletcher, a cool songwriter from up that way who was was creating quite a "buzz" throughout New England. He was looking forward to his first NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL gig later in the Summer! The local fans were kind to "the old man" too and it was really a lot of fun for us as well. My career began up that way and my first paid performance was at the University of Rhode Island over 40 years ago!
The Gaslight Cafe show back in Grenwich Village with Stefan Grossman was a hoot. Lots of old folkies from the 60's were there to enjoy the blues, and the memories of another time ...... The Gaslight, recently reopened in it's original location was one of the clubs where the 60's folk scene began & flourished for s many years. I used to play "Hootenannies" (open mikes) there with Phoebe Snow, Richie Havens and a gang of folks who eventually became well known popular "folksingers".
Towards the end of June, we headed across the pond to England. Stayed with our friend Chris in London and enjoyed a week of running around town and seeing the sights. We did surprise our Blues Pal, Doug Macleod, at his gig at The Green Note. Doug is a great songwriting bluesman & he will be back with us at MERLEFEST next Spring.
My gig at THE SLAUGHTERED LAMB, in London was a lot of fun, thanks to Matt Milton for organizing and opening up the show! More than a few old pals and fans who saw my first UK shows with Arthur Big Boy Crudup & Homesick James at London's famous 100 club 40 years ago were there to celebrate our longevity! What a great time!
Next, we flew to the Jersey Channel Islands for The Tribute Concerts & Art Show for our dear departed friend Robert Tilling. I first visited Jersey way back on my first tour overseas. Robert wrote "a letter of appreciation" to Rev. Gary Davis in 1967 which I answered, which led to a close friendship connecting our families and friends for over 4 decades! Robert first came to America back in 1971 when Woody Mann and I shared an apartment on East 10th St in New York City's, East Village. The cancer took Robert from us over a year ago...
It was so great to spend a week with our dear friend Thelma Tilling, her family and friends, and all those folks I had met in the islands over the years. And of course with Woody Mann who flew over for the celebration as well. Robert was a guiding force in our lives and was interviewed in the film, HARLEM STREET SINGER, which Woody' production company has been working on for years. The film's debut at The Jersey Art Center was very well attended. I and I'm sure many others were teary eyed throughout the screening. It is a brilliant film, the incredible story of the Rev. Gary Davis, who brought so many people together all around the world!
The following two nights, Woody and I shared the stage, playing our music and telling our stories with an audience, Robert Tilling introduced us to so many years ago.....
Robert Tilling, MBE, RI, is an important English artist and was appointed to the Royal Institute of Water colorists quite a few years ago. The Gallery show, a retrospective of his work was stunning as well as breathtaking. Make sure you check our dear friend out on the internet!
Well, we made it back to the States ok and I will continue the saga later. We are getting ready to start across the great country "one more time".....California here we come.....
Bye For Now,
The Book & Mrs. Book
and still have the poster