Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hard Times

In 1971, I was a young man at the very edge of the world. Everything beckoned. Fortunately, I didn't need much.

In January, 1972, I was in Boston at a conference. It was bone-cold and snowing. I'd been reading in different places about the show that George Harrison had thrown for Bangladesh. And the record was being released that week. In the U.S., I read in the paper, it was being released first in Boston. I was in Boston.

At lunch, I excused myself from the bunch I was with and walked five miserable blocks from the hotel to a record store that I had looked up in the Yellow Pages. I gave $12.50 for the album and walked back.

Of course, I couldn't listen to it until I got back home. But, when I did get to hear it, it was overwhelming. Gods of our time, Harrison and Dylan and their lesser angels, Billy Preston and Leon Russell. Dylan did a long set and sang everything wrong. Two months later, I couldn't hear those songs any other way.

A year later, I escaped from the stock market with $274 left in my stake. But I had a good job, paying $15,000 a year.

In December, 1978, I was at a conference in Washington. It was a two-day affair, but after the first day, I excused myself from the bunch I was with and flew back to Atlanta so I could see Dylan perform at the Omni. There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air.

Hard times.

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