May-June 2018

TERROR AT 3000 FEET

OR, WHY LARRY RAMOS LIVED TO A RIPE OLD AGE

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A GROUP OF TOURING MUSICIANS

By Art Podell

LakeCentralDC 3 smNovember 1, 1958: A Cubana Vickers Viscount en route from Miami to Varadero to Havana is hijacked by Cuban militants.

April 15, 1959: A plane is hijacked from Cuba to Miami. The hijackers were four members of Batista's Army.

May 1, 1961: Antulio Ramirez Ortiz hijacks a National Airlines flight from Miami International Airport to Cuba.

Read more: TERROR AT 3000 FEET

March-April 2018

TIRED OF YOUR HARLEY? GET A GUITAR!

By Art Podell

fancy guitarHere they come. The Cocobolo, Carpathian Burled Elm, and Quilted Maple Whatchamacallit guitars. Just when you thought your 1958 Goya G-10 was the cat's meow. Suddenly, your 1972 Martin that sounded like heaven yesterday now seems like the high-school girlfriend you ran into last week at the market in front of the day-old bread bin.

You glance outside at the empty spot on the driveway where the Harley once waited for you. You know... the one you bought seven years ago when you reached 60 and retired from the firm and decided you deserved something special? You walked into the local cycle shop and saw the machine that you only dreamed about back in the day when you were making do with a busted out Sportster. One thing leads to another in those places, and you ended up with more stuff crammed between two wheels than Henry Ford could ever have envisioned in a wet dream. A flamed enamel paint and chrome hot fudge sundae. But the dream machine now lives in the garage under the Chukchansi Indian blanket and seemed to satisfy your inner rebel for only so long. The near miss on the 405 two years ago didn't help. Then your wife 'accidentally' misplaced the keys. Sigh...

Read more: TIRED OF YOUR HARLEY? GET A GUITAR!

January-February 2018

HOW THE TROUBADOUR WAS RESCUED FROM BECOMING AN AUTO PARTS STORE

By Art Podell

Troubadour cropThere seems to be renewed interest in the history of The Troubadour, the once-upon-a-time iconic folk club which still stands at the outer reaches of West Hollywood nuzzled against the green pasture esplanades of Beverly Hills. Reunions, old friends from ‘back in the day’ reconnecting. Reminiscences on Facebook. Yesteryear’s waitresses have become today’s stars. It’s precious.

So why do I wince? Permit me. The reminiscences and stories I read about ‘the good old days at the Troub’ all seem to begin somewhere around 1964 or 1965. Not true by at least ten banjo frets! Why? (You didn’t think I wouldn’t tell you, did you?). Here it is: if it weren’t for the serendipity of events chronicled below, the Troubadour would most likely have become an auto parts store or some such establishment by the time Crosby decided that he enjoyed harmonizing with Stills and Nash, and Joni needed to make a splash in Los Angeles.

So - grab an espresso from the hissy gargling machine below, climb the stairs to the left of the showroom door, take a seat in the balcony and ‘llow me to add a lick to the tune.

Read more: HOW THE TROUBADOUR WAS RESCUED FROM BECOMING AN AUTO PARTS STORE

November-December 2017

ALSO-RANS

By Art Podell

Puff the Magic DragonI thought that I would take an opportunity to thank those of you were kind enough to read my first two columns. For those of you who did not read them, the first two consisted of recollections of some unique early experiences of mine during the “popular” folk music world of the sixties in Greenwich Village and in Southern California. I’ve received some nice comments about them and they have encouraged me to continue to write more. I look forward to sharing them with you as we go forward.

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September-October 2017

THE BLACK PEARL - 1958

By Art Podell

 Rabbi Shlomo CarlebachThe following is another of several episodes that chronicle some of my experiences in the music business during the popular folk music revival period of the fifties and sixties. The stories are true. They happened to me. My hope is that they will add a smile and perhaps some dimension to some of the drama that flirts on the fringe of just about every noteworthy event or person.

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July-August 2017

ART AND PAUL AND THE SLIPPERY DRAGON

By Art Podell

ArtandPaulThe story below is true. It is my hope that it will add a smile and perhaps a smidgen of color to the events that flirt on the fringes of just about anything noteworthy.

“...Albert doesn’t want us to record it. He thinks it’s too controversial. I thought you guys might like it.”

It was Peter Yarrow and we were in the apartment on Fifth Street off Second Avenue that Paul Potash and I shared. Today they call it the East Village, but in 1961 it was a multi-cultural mish-mash of a neighborhood that defied formal description. Our first album on Columbia Records Art and Paul - Songs of Earth and Sky had been declared a “cult phenom” (do I have to translate? I think not). Our second album on Columbia Records, Hangin Drinkin and Stuff was in the works; The Brothers Four had suddenly become the darlings of the Columbia execs, which added to our anxiety, winter was upon us, and Paul and I were considering moving to the budding west coast folk scene for salvation and some much desired warmth.

Read more: ART AND PAUL AND THE SLIPPERY DRAGON