Sunday, July 31, 2011

Plugging in to Newport

By Al Tays

Paste this link into a new window and listen up:

Join Al Tays for the first Sunday
at the Sanctuary "Name That
Acronym" contest. Hint: Newport
Folk Festival won't win. Clue:
What words might be used to
declare a fiddle ban.
Never made it to either Newport, R.I., music festival, Folk or Jazz, despite growing up near Boston, just a hop, skip and an ungodly traffic jam away. Didn't appreciate jazz until much later in life (thank you, Herbie Mann) and by 1971, when I was a senior in high school and just starting to venture beyond the local concert scene in Boston and Cambridge, the Newport Folk Festival closed up shop for several years, reopening in 1985.

Newport, with its beautiful harbor brimming with sailboats, is a wonderful place to do almost anything on a summer day, but listening to great roots music is one of the best things.

Unfortunately, Newport is best known for one of its darker days: the occasion in 1965 when Dylan had the audacity to play an electric set, backed by some members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

On Saturday, watching the live feed of this year's Newport Folk Festival on (it continues through today), I noticed that some people are STILL angry about electric instruments being used. Hey, I was part of the Dylan-is-a-heretic movement back in the day, but we all evolve. What was it the "Willie Brown" character said to Ralph Macchio's acoustic-guitar-playing "Eugene Martone" character in "Crossroads"? "You got it all wrong. Muddy Waters invented electricity!"

Anyway, it's great to catch up with this venerable music celebration after all these years. Even if you've never seen it, it's worth a look. Check out that link if you haven't already.

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