Monday, February 06, 2012

Out In The Be-Bop 1960s Night- Back From Edge City

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of the Youngbloods performing the rock classic, Get Together.

Classic Rock : 1969: various artists, Time-Life Music, 1988

Scene: Brought to mind by a the cover art on this CD of a Doors/Youngbloods stripped down, just slightly behind the note, waiting to explode, band getting ready to belt out some serious rock in the heat of the “Generation of ‘68” night once the "high" wears off, a little.

Everybody had a million stories about Captain Crunch (real name, Steven Stein, Columbia Class of 1958). Ya, Captain Crunch the “owner” of the merry prankster, magical mystery tour, yellow brick road bus that you were “on” or “off” from early 1966 to now, the summer of 1969 now. One story, not the story that I am going to tell you but another story, had it that the Captain had gotten the dough for the bus from his "take" in some ghost of Pancho Villa drug deal down Sonora, Mexico way and that when his friend Ken Kesey, the author, outfitted his Further In, the Captain decided to do the same. He named his bus, the one that I am sitting in right now The Sphinx. Nice name, right, just like the Captain, except he was a guy everybody went to, and I mean everybody including me, when you needed to try to figure something out. Like how to figure the universe and your place in it, or how to open a can of beans. Everything except how to run the Sphinx, which was strictly Ramrod Ricks’ job and nobody messed with him when the Sphinx was involved.

Oh ya, and except when the name Mustang Sally came up (real name Susan Sharpe, Michigan, 1959) the Captain’s "main squeeze" girlfriend. Except when she wanted to be squeezed by someone else. Then the Captain saw red, or some hot color but that is not what I want to talk about because almost every guy, including me, has had a blind spot for some woman since about the time old-time Adam and Eve were playing house.

So this story is not going to be about dames, or about guys getting hung up hard on them since that is not a subject the Captain handled too well. What he did handle well, and nobody questioned that, was helping you figure your place in the non-girl obsessed universe. And his most famous success, although he might not call it that, was with Jimmy Morse, you know, the lead vocalist for the Blood Brotherhood. And although it didn’t have anything to with girls, women I mean, a woman was involved at the start, Mustang Sally, of course.

Sally had a thing for young musicians so once the Captain organized the bus back in ’66 and Sally was the first who came on board she was always, Captain grinding his teeth, on the look-out for such guys. So down in the desert, the high desert just east of Joshua Tree, she “found” Jimmy living among the rocks with some Indians, some renegade tribal warrior band of Hopis, complete with their own shamanic medicine man.

See, Jimmy knew he had the music down, the beat, the rock beat like a million other guys who came of age with Elvis, Jerry Lee and Chuck in that blazing 1950s be-bop rock night. What he was missing, knew he was missing, knew he wanted to be not missing was that cosmic karma thing that separated you out from some so-so- joe be-bopper. Ya, Jimmy had it bad, star-lust bad. So there he was among the rocks. Sally, and I know this because she told me one night when we talking about past lovers and were cutting up old torches in general, went for Jimmy real quickly. But it was also over really quickly she said, like some fade-out burning ember charcoal thing.

But that is where the Captain took over. The Captain, as much as he hated Sally’s hankerings, was a serious musical guy. Music was hanging over the bus all the time. So while Sally wanted their bodies the Captain wanted their muses, or to be their muses if a guy can be such a thing. So when Jimmy came on the bus, and he stayed for about six months, a time before I got on the bus, the Captain kept pushing him to find his inner spirit. And that inner spirit was found, I guess, through many acid trips. But not just that though. See the Captain kept pushing Jimmy toward that shamanic medicine-man-cure-the-wounded-earth-thing that he had started to get into with the Hopis. So when you see Jimmy whirling dervish, trance-like, evoking strange (strange to us) sounds just remember who “taught” him that.

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