CATCH THE BUZZ – Spieth Road Stories

In real early June I was sitting in a hotel room somewhere close to the Portland, Oregon airport after a two day, three talk, hangin’-round-the-book-booth-MotherEarthNewsFair weekend in Albany, just down the I-5 corridor, half-heartedly checking one of next month’s articles for the magazine and bein’ tired and worn. It’s just after 8ish at night, and I’m flipping channels on the TV at the same time to see if anything good is on, when an announcer shouts ‘Here’s Joan Baez” that gets my attention.

He’s just finished one of the many breaks in the show and is introducing Joan Baez as the star of her 75th Birthday Concert. Joan Baez, 75 years old. OM Gosh! Can Joan Baez really be 75? No! But Yes, apparently time’s following her as close as it is all the rest of us. Oh so long ago and far away I sat in her audiences, listening, singing along, humming the tunes, swaying with the crowd, feeling the love…so long ago, so far away. I’ve always had a bent toward folk…and rock and roll, the good stuff from the 60’s, late 50’s…music pretty much quit being good about then as far as I’m concerned…more music showed up, but … well, the good stuff still shines, and it’s all more than 50 years old. Time is the test, and that stuff still passes as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway. I wrote about this some time ago…not quite 50 years ago, but quite a while ago anyway, about PBS and their fund raisers, which this birthday party show was. They put on a program showing off somebody, this time Joan Beaz, appealing to who…not millennials that’s for sure, but that’s a good thing. Millennials are still living in the basement with mom and dad, don’t have jobs or money and can’t find their way out of the neighborhood. Well, that’s what the marketers tell us anyway. I know that’s not completely true, but it is true that there’s more that are still living at home than not, so who knows. Anyway, I’ll bet the only ones that listen to Joan Baez are living with their grandparents, and that would be a good thing.

But no, the folks who tuned into Joan Baez’s 75th Birthday party are…all… real friendly with that 75 number themselves…me included. And, almost all of us have enough money that if we choose to buy one of the many CDs PBS sells during the breaks we won’t be taking food off the table or clothes off our kid’s backs.

PBS picked the perfect performer, playing all the old favorites with all the old singers helping her out for a crowd that both appreciates the music so is most likely to tune in, and then put it on early enough in the evening so us old folks haven’t gone to bed yet, and at the end of the weekend when we’re a tad tired and relaxed and easy prey for their requests. Genius.

And they’ve been doing that for years because it keeps working. I’m a sucker for it every time because I still buy CDs. I haven’t yet figured out how to get music out of the cloud and want something I can actually hold in my hand and put in a machine. Lots of us old fogeys are the same. Change is hard, same is easy, and the music is still the best.

Kim Flottum