by Richard Lewis


There is so much happening at Freewheelin' that I just can't keep up. So many writers to get used to, so much to read. One of the reasons that I enjoy my work with slow learners at school is that I can empathise with them as I too learn slowly. It is taking me a while to get to know the newer Freewheelers' styles and just as I think I have an idea along comes another one!

The end of term has been the usual hectic scramble to meet report deadlines so I have only just managed to fully read the last few Freewheelins. Having got some idea of how Robert, CP and Paula write I am now starting to get a handle on Jim and Russell. What a varied bunch!

Since Christmas I have especially enjoyed the pieces by CP Lee. In particular the articles about his sea cruise, Baltimore and Lord Buckley. In the last issue I really enjoyed his piece on Grass Eye and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969. It struck a chord with me. Back in Freewheelin' # 168 (August 1999) and available in the public Freewheelin' Vol. 14 I put down my experiences of the IoW in a piece called "A Roving Minstrel". As I start to pack up everything I need for a camping holiday in France I can't believe how na´ve we were back then.

A month before the IoW I had been to the 5th Cambridge Folk Festival which featured amongst others Ralph McTell, The Johnstons (featuring a young Paul Brady), Al Stewart and Bob Davenport (singing "Memphis Tennessee"). I took with me a sleeping bag, a bin liner, a can opener, several tins of baked beans and a single gaz burner. I slept under a fir tree as I didn't have a tent and it only rained a bit!

Back to the Isle of Wight. Looking back now I think the most remarkable thing about Dylan's performance was his decision to include "Wild Mountain Thyme" in his set. This beautiful song, often assumed to be traditional but actually written by Francis McPeake, was chosen, I believe as a complement to us his British audience. I can still remember my surprise as I realised what he was singing. A beautiful moment.

Dylan - Isle of WightDylan - Isle of Wight