Tuesday, October 23, 2018


My neighbor has three BIG pumpkins.

Leaves are fastly falling upon the woodland way.

Soon I arrive downtown at the LimeRed Teahouse where I look out the window as I enjoy my tea.

From there I pick up some fruit at the Haymarket for consumption later.

Heading to the bus stop, I pass Sid the cat out on his morning walk. He lives at Shop Therapy.

Later, at the UMass library, I examine this exhibit about events that occurred in the Pioneer Valley and elsewhere fifty years ago, in 1968.

Not surprisingly, the founding of the Brotherhood of the Spirit is featured.

Included in the exhibit is a rare copy of the album by the commune's band Spirit in Flesh, although that record was not released until 1971.

To read about my own adventures among the Brotherhood, click here.

Meanwhile, Granny Warren was on the warpath in Western Mass this week. Her release of a DNA test suggesting she might have a tiny trace of Indian blood has made her a national laughing stock.

More footage has surfaced of New Bedford's Quinn Sullivan at the MGM New England Jamband Festival in Springfield last month.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

of fall things

Has anyone noticed how the wooley worms are really wooley this year? That's supposedly a sign of a cold winter.

Has anyone noticed what a shrimp Jay Gonzales is next to Governor Baker?

Wise voter in Amherst.

Amherst is not Trump territory, but they are building a wall around the Kendrick Park roundabout.

At UMass, the Quadrangle was advertising for interns.

Rain, rain, go away. Come to UMass some other day.

Fissure Cat (Tom Matherly) playing at Iconica in Hamp last weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


It had just stopped raining when I arrived at Union Station in Springfield.

There I had to wait almost half an hour to catch the bus across the river. Boredom can sometimes lead to video making.

Eventually, I arrived at the Eastern States Exposition.

It don't change much.

My reason for meeting my friends at the Big E was the fact that what's left of the Jefferson Starship was playing an afternoon show. With Grace Slick a nearly 80 year old recluse, Marty Balin sidelined with health issues and Paul Kantner dead, this was truly a last gasp version of the band. Yet, if taken on their own terms, without focusing on who used to be in the band, this version of the Starship is a solid ensemble and a worthy vehicle for carrying on the group's legacy of being one of the few bands who can claim to have had Top Ten hits in three decades - the 60's, the 70's and the 80's.

When the show ended, I did what every veteran concert goer does, which is head right behind the stage to find the back door. Hey, they have to come out some time! I was not alone, there were about a dozen other back-door-johnnies (and janes) also in attendance. Sure enough, Donny Baldwin was the first to emerge. He was the drummer on some of the Starship's biggest 80's hits, like the infamous "We Built This City."

The person we were really hoping to see was David Friberg, who after an illustrious career with Quicksilver Messenger Service, jointed the Jefferson Airplane in 1972, remained after Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady quit and the band regrouped as Jefferson Starship, then stayed onboard through all but a few of the next forty years.

Soon he appeared, carrying his guitar in its case.

He seemed delighted to see us and waved as we cheered. David Friberg turned 80 years old last month.

He even paused to chat for a bit, and one person asked Friberg how Marty Balin was doing.

Friberg reported that Balin was "doing poorly." What none of us knew at the time, is that Balin's death would be announced just a few hours later. Here is Marty Balin performing at an outdoor concert in Northampton in 2007, as captured by Jeff Ziff.

Interestingly, that same day that Jefferson Starship was playing in West Springfield, Hot Tuna, the Airplane breakaway band that Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady have played in for almost half a century, were performing in Northampton. In his blog, Jorma recounted hearing that Balin had died.

I was more than saddened yesterday to hear of Marty Balin’s passing. Jack and I were in Northampton, Mass. at the Academy Of Music and we were just getting ready to do our sound check. I stood there in the little room in the wings, stage left… struck dumb.

Jorma also took the above photo of the Academy, which he described as "quite simply a lovely venue." For the record, here is the band's set list that night.

Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady
The Academy Of Music
Northampton, Mass.
Friday, September 28, 2018

First Set:
1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
3. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
4. Search My Heart
5. Barbeque King
6. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
7. How Long Blues
8. Sea Child
9. Trial by Fire
10. I See The Light
11. San Francisco Bay Blues

Second Set:
1. Been So Long
2. Dime For Beer
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Come Back Baby
5. River Of Time
6. The Terrible Operation
7. Full Go Round
8. Sleep Song
9. Good Shepherd
10. I Am The Light Of This World
11. Candy Man
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
13. Encore: I Know You Rider

Let's close with this underrated Balin tune.