Gotta Mind To Ramble

by Richard Lewis

Amazing! As someone keeps reminding us - it can only get better! And it does. What a great weekend! Special thanks must go to Keith Agar for his superb organization and his incredible introductions. As the man sitting next to me, turning to his two companions just before Steve Gibbons set, said “It’s worth coming just for this bloke (Keith Agar) never mind anything else” before doubling up with laughter again. 

Sure there were a few equipment malfunctions but generally all went well. Once again I shared the reception duties with Paula and we worked out how we could both see and do what we wanted as well as looking after the desk. We both started off by buying a few books and of course “Live ‘64” complete with large poster (thank you Badlands). I went in to see CP Lee’s talk “Sniffing A Mighty Wind” as the film had been one of the best and funniest things I’d seen and heard in ages. Despite a few technical hitches which I thought he coped with very well it was an hour well spent. Its not often you get the chance to see and hear The Almanac Singers or Gus Cannon or even The Rooftop Singers plus mentions of the wonderful PF Sloan. 

Cold Overture were fine and I loved the juxtaposition of “New Pony” and “Tomorrow Is A Long Time”. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Johnny Cash Sing-a-Long tribute but it more than lived up to expectations. Once again this was down to Keith and his brilliant slides and it was the first time I’ve seen several grown men playing “air banjo!” The slides of the Royal Family as we sang “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” had everyone falling about with laughter and then the video of “Hurt” brought it all to a dignified and moving close. 

I’d not heard Peter Stone Brown before although I had read about him. I wasn't too keen on what I took to be his own first three numbers with one of them being truly awful. However once he started singing Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty” things got much better. He then went into a long rambling intro about how he discovered Dylan and the effect that this had on him from 1963 on through ‘64, ‘65 and into ‘66.1 enjoyed it all, especially the bit about Dylan coughing during “Gates of Eden” and saying “excuse me but I just got over a case of leprosy”. Johnny Cash’s “Big River” with help from Trevor Gibb was also really good. 

Headliner Steve Gibbons was also on top form. I love the way he weaves in bits of Dylan to his intros so you think he’s about to do “Man In A Long Black Coat” but it actually turns into “I Am A Lonesome Hobo”. Great to hear his version of “Mississippi” and his Johnny Cash song was “Ring of Fire”. Too many good songs to mention but I think my favourite is his superb version of “Sweetheart Like You.” 

Of course the real highlight was the chance to end our Freewheelin’ meeting, not with a group hug but with the fabled Freewheelin’ handshake. On to the next time.