I’ve got a new “Think Again” column called Good Journalism is not “free” and Somebody’s Got to Pay for It,”and that’s here
I had a big music weekend. Saturday and Sunday night I caught the last Phil and Bob (“Further”) shows at the Garden, and Monday night I got to go to the benefit, “One For Woody,” organized by Warren Haynes at Roseland, and featuring the North Mississippi All-Stars, Government Mule and the mighty Allman Brothers Band. The show was a tribute to the late bassist Allen Woody who, like Haynes, played in both the Mule and the ABB, and I guess had a lot of friends. It was a real family night, however, Woody’s daughter, Savannah, sang “Soulshine,” with Government Mule, and Berry Oakley Jr. played with the boys. (Dangerous job, ABB bass player. Kinda like playing keyboards for the Dead, alas.) I caught the second half of the Mule’s set—I never saw them before and they were pretty damn good. They did a terrific “Stay with Me” with Rich Robinson & Artemis Pyle, and the Allmans, when they finally came on, had more guests than I could count, much less identify. They did Who’s Been Talking (w/Hook Herrera), One Way Out (w/Rich Robinson & Berry Oakley Jr), Statesboro Blues (w/Berry Oakley Jr), The Weight (w/Audley Freed & Danny Louis), Franklins Tower (w/Chuck Garvey, Vinnie Amico & James Van de Bogart—though not, as many people expected, Bob and Phil, who after all, were in town the night before), Southbound (w/Hook, Luther, & Cody) the encore was Whipping Post, followed by an interesting Wish You Were Here (Warren w/ Berry Oakley jr., Gordie Johnson, Danny Louis & Matt Abts) at the end. (Funnily, the second to last song played by Furthur was “Time,” so everybody’s dipping into the Pink Floyd catalogue. Anyway, I walked in the back door with Greg, and he looked just fine with his new liver. (Unlike Phil, Greg does not make a public service announcement on behalf of organ donors—one that actually got me to do it.) And the band was great. They always are. The Allmans are the most dependable thing in life after Bruce. But it had a real nice extra vibe going owing to this Woody thing, and Haynes and Derek in particular, were on fire. (Oh, and your correspondent accepts your gratitude for staying up late enough to write about a show where the band in question did not come on until midnight—on a school night.)
The Altercation gift-Buying Guide, Part I
40: A Doonesbury Retrospective (Andrews McMeel Publishing). This is the perfect gift for anyone who is half-decent in any way. How could anybody not want it? The list price is $100, but you can find it cheaper. It’s worth a hundred bucks, easily. With forty years worth of strips, the organizational issues had to be challenging ones. They’ve divided it by character, which strikes me as correct, because that is at the fulcrum of one’s emotional attachment to Trudeau, and the primary narrative thread though which Mr. Trudeau has become perhaps our nation’s most important real-time historian; playing a role in sanity-saving not unlike Jon Stewart but not only before his time, but for four straight decades. (There is a four page foldout map of–“ the mind-boggling matrix of relationships” that have evolved over the years.) If you were a kid like me, back in the seventies, Woody Allen and Doonesbury were all you had to keep you sane, particularly in the years the Mets sucked (and before Bruce broke). This book is big in every way. It’s so big, it’s hard to hold. That might be a problem for some, though some of us can use it for weight-training. Seriously, I could spend a lot of time singing Mr. Trudeau’s praises. But Garry Wills has done a better job of it than I could, here. I also like Gerry’s idea that a ”great modern American history course could be taught using this volume of collected strips, stretching from Watergate to Afghanistan.” I might just do it. I’ve even made a few calls on it already. Overall, this is one of the great intellectual/artistic accomplishments of the past half-century, irrespective of category. Do I really need to keep going here? Sorry, I need to get paid for that. Anyway, Amazon has it incredibly cheap, with plenty more info, here.