Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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This was a program that had a remarkably long run through the 1960s and early 1970s. It was really intended to be a different sort of talk show. It's supposed to be more or less spontaneous events at an exclusive cocktail party. The guests included politicians, psychics, comedians, and lots of musicians. For our purposes, however, we're pretty much focused on the musical guests. The top offering has clearly been taken from VHS sources. They're decent quality, given VHS quality back then. There is a little overlap with the second offering, but not too much. The second source contains all of the little introductions and interviews, which I appreciate very much. There isn't a great deal of footage from this time period of Jerry Garcia just having a casual conversation, for example. There isn't much footage of Pete Seeger at all. He was banned from television for 17 years, because he wouldn't sign a document that declared that he wasn't a communist.
The Noel Harrison interview is really quite profound if you think about it a little bit. I should probably warn you that the remainder of this will just be me ranting. Please feel free to ignore it. The song could be taken two ways - 1) The experiment with electric instruments is over. This was suggested by the interviewer & dismissed by Mr. Harrison. 2) society's experiment with electricity is over - that we should all return to a rural, simpler way of living. For those of you who are not familiar with a group called The Amish, they reject much of modern life, especially electricity. Let me assure you that they aren't any happier, on the whole, than any other group or subgroup of people in the world. Pre-Industrial civilization was full of hatred, genocide, jealousy and all of humanity's weaknesses. These things haven't changed to any perceivable degree with the introduction of technology. Beyond this inescapable reality, Mr. Harrison, in pursuit of his career, is appearing on a television program. The musicians in his band are using electrical instruments. Certainly, the microphones are electrical. So, he's advocating one lifestyle, but actually leading a different one. This is all so mind-bogglingly hypocritical that it makes it seem, well, unreal, like a cartoon.
This madness aside, I really like the song. It's pleasing and non-substantive, like a lullaby.