Semi Self Serving Concert Review – Two Old Guys and a Blonde

By Art Podell

Art Tracy and Dolan at Coffeehouse Gallery 100dpiThe three of us characters were there at the beginning of it all and our lives were touched by the early popular folk revival of the sixties. Dolan Ellis and I were original members of The New Christy Minstrels before each of us went on to the rest of our lives. Tracy Newman is no stranger to this readership and we all know how elevated she can make an audience feel with songs that every songwriter in the audience wishes they had written. Tracy added her newest song about her new grandson Logan and brought down the house which was packed (Bob Stane smiling at the back of the room of course).

Dolan returned to Arizona after his stint with The Christies and has been named by 13 consecutive governors of the state ‘The Official Balladeer’ of the state of Arizona. He gave us a glimpse into Arizona heritage with his resonant baritone (I hate him!) and stories all accompanied by a video presentation. He sang songs about the beauty of the state and he sang songs about his Jeep and finished with his signature ground shaking rendition of Ghost Riders In The Sky. Dolan entertains Arizonans regularly with songs and stories that he’s collected. He founded the Arizona Folklore Preserve which stands to this day as a cultural center in Ramsey Canyon, Arizona.

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Me? I do what I do…my usual smart-ass remarks, and the songs I’ve recently written. I made sure Harriet Schock got the credit she deserved for the contribution she has made to my art these past years. The three of us literally planned the show in the dressing room (generous description of the back closet). We just got up there and let the show happen. I wrapped things up with my tale about an experience at the White House in 1964 and we finished with an old Christy favorite Mighty Mississippi and that’s when ‘it’ happened. Clarence Treat, another ‘original Minstrel’ was in the audience and joined the three of us on stage and magic descended on the room. His clear tenor voice with the precise harmony part we needed turned the music into bliss. We followed with an encore of another New Christy Minstrel hit, the song Today to close the evening. How did we do? We got a ‘Standing O’ and Bob wants us back ASAP. Late August perhaps.

I hear Carnegie Hall is looking for an opening act.

Art Podell was one half of the iconic Greenwich Village duo Art and Paul before moving to L.A. in 1961. An original member of the New Christy Minstrels, Art wrote songs for many of the artists of the day. He continues to perform and write and he rotates as a host of KPFK’s Roots Music and Beyond.