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Dylan's 70th Coming Soon!

Yes, well. I'm not a big fan of cars -- not the band, The Cars, I love them, but I mean the actual vehicles. Cars. I'm not crazy about them. It was one of the reasons I loved living in New York City for 26 years. Now -- taxis, I love. What's not to love about taxis? You can stay out late drinking without worrying about a DUI; you can wear extremely expensive and very high heels knowing that the cab will drop you at the front door of wherever it is you're going.

However, back here in Happyland, Ohio, it's all about cars. Otherwise you can't get anywhere. And as far as taxis are concerned, if you need one to, like, get you to the airport, at 5:45 AM some lovely morning, don't expect them to be on time around here. In fact, it would probably behoove you to expect more that you will almost miss your flight.

That said. I am back in Ohio these days and, because of that, my stalwart cousin bought me a really great car when I got here a few years ago. I do love my car, as cars go; it has never failed me and it is incredibly great on gas mileage. I have a 1997 Toyota Camry, which is now seriously gaining in the rust department -- but I try to see the car's inner beauty instead. And you know how these old cars had cassette players???

Okay.

When I left New York, I left almost all of the cassettes with my soon-to-be ex-husband. I never, in my wildest dreams, ever guessed I would want ready access to cassettes again, ever. Now, of course, I scrounge around in the boxes in storage in the basement to see if, by some miracle, some sort of cassette tape might appear. Subsequently -- or is it consequently? -- I drive around listening to the weirdest stuff & then I find myself singing the songs all day. You might find me pushing my shopping cart down the grocery aisle while singing quietly to myself, "Beat Me, Daddy, 8 to the Bar", or some other of the Greatest Hits of the Andrews Sisters. I am also a big fan of Mitch Miller and his Gang, singing old-timey favorites, like "5 foot 2, Eyes of Blue". Or, certainly, The Ventures! But their songs don't have any words. So I go around "singing" a la surf guitar: "da-da-don-da-DAH-da" --which of course is the theme song from Hawaii Five-Oh!

But even these eternal favorites can wear thin after listening to them 716 times in a row in the close confines of a moving car... so in my fervent search for SOMETHING/ANYTHING to listen to in the car yesterday, I positively struck gold when I found a very old cassette of the Kingston Trio's Greatest Hits down in the basement!! Fresh! New! Pop-arranged-Folk songs! From the early 1960s!!

Wow, gang. For those of you who are new to this blog... Back in the early 1980s, I was a professional folk singer in New York City. I also sang country, but it was more like "Folk & Western." Anyway. I really did truly love those early days of my career, when it was just me and my guitar, or a couple back-up singers and a percussionist on stage with me. And I played in the old folk clubs in and around MacDougal Street.

So, suddenly hearing these old folk songs sung in those really pretty (although intensely pop) harmonies of the Kingston Trio... gosh, it brought unexpected tears to my eyes. Seriously, I got all choked up while driving and listening to "Scarlet Ribbons" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" I really, really LOVED being a folk singer. (But, alas, I hated the music business -- as it was in those days, anyhow.)

Anyway, when this last classic came on (below), of course it made me think of Bob Dylan, of his love for Woody Guthrie  -- in those very early days of Dylan's career -- and the whole folk music thing that was going on back then (20 years before I went to New York, thank you very much; I am not turning 70 on my next birthday, just FYI.) And I rewound the song and played it over & over & over again while driving around; singing along at the top of my voice and just loving life and happy that people like Dylan, and Woody Guthrie, and the Kingston Trio, and all of my own old folk-singing cronies from Greenwich Village have been alive on earth and have existed at all. Life is so cool, gang, if you stick around long enough to unveil it's often very simple secrets. It's all about JOY, baby! (So much so that "Joy", is in fact my real middle name.) (Seriously. It actually really is.)

[The Kingston Trio: This Land is Your Land]