You get the Big Mike treatment two ways on this first day of June:
First: The latest installment of Big Mike’s B-town runs in today’s Limestone Post magazine. I profile Michael Waterford, who — as we speak — is fixin’ to kayak down the entire length of the Mississippi River. He was my guest on Big Talk back on May 4. Here’s the link to that chat on WFHB, 91.3FM.
Second: The latest edition of Big Talk runs this afternoon at 5:00pm on ‘FHB. My guest will be Hondo Thompson, the new main stage emcee for the John Hartford Memorial Festival, taking place — again, as we speak — at the Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground in Bean Blossom, just north of Nashville, Indiana. I never knew much about Hartford until I set Hondo up for our Tuesday morning recording. Turns out he was quite a known guy in the bluegrass/newgrass/Americana music rackets. Hondo’s a big aficionado of said strains and he’s got a jillion stories to tell. So tune in this afternoon or click on the links I’ll post tomorrow AM for both the 8-minute radio feature and the entire original interview.
Gentle On My Mind
This song made two guys rich. One was John Hartford who penned it, and here’s the backgrounder on it: Hartford had just seen the movie Dr. Zhivago, starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. He fell in screen-love with the female lead and told a pal, “I’d drink Julie Christie’s bathwater.” He promptly sat down at a picnic table and wrote, in 20 minutes, “Gentle on My Mind,” an innovative folk-y, roots-y, ‘grass-y thing that broke all the rules. Among Hartford’s crimes and misdemeanors:
- The song — as written — ran for four minutes, an eternity in those AM pop radio days
- It didn’t follow the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/solo/repeat roadmap supposedly vital to a hit record — he employed a series of rapid-fire poetic stanzas, each leading to the climactic title line
- It had a banjo part
Julie Christie As Lara In “Dr. Zhivago”
The other guy who raked in the dough thanks to the song was Glen Campbell, whose 1967 version of it became a monster hit. Before G-on-M-M, both Hartford and Campbell had been mildly successful in their chosen musical arenas but after Campbell’s 45 charted, each became a big time star.
Give a listen: