Pass it Around

"If I made records for my own pleasure, I would only record Charley Patton songs." - Bob Dylan

David Crosby Goes on Record (and stage) about the Kennedy Conspiracy He Was A Friend of Mine

Saw what you will about David Crosby, and I American hero who was at the right place for fifty years, save the decade of horrible drug addiction which he finally overcame.  Prison, the love and respect of Graham Nash, his wife Jan and his unmatched passion for singing finally got him through.

Here Mr. Crosby takes a stand at a time it was unpopular and downright ill-advised.  In some cases it got folks in big trouble.  At the time, witnesses (and Jack Ruby's strippers) were dying of mysterious circumstances.  He speaks his mind about what many believe is the only coup in America.  

I have my own beliefs about the killing.  This is not the place, but you can easily read the biographies of Carlos Marcello and Johnny Roselli and make up your own mind.  Ultimately, whether you believe Oswald did it alone or not, it was the US Government attempts to kill Castro with the help of the mob that prevented the whole story from coming out way back when.  We had just gotten through the Cuban Missile Crisis, and let's just say we were skittish about letting the world know we were trying to remove the beard.  Who has also lasted over fifty years, but I don't see any tributes on US television.

Every singer from Willie Nelson to the Leaves has sung He was a Friend of Mine, including most famously the Byrds.  It was NOT written by Bob Dylan, though many think it was.  The melody comes from a blues song traced back to Lomax and an African-American prison inmate named  Smith Casey.  Dylan's version goes back to 1962, (of course, not then about JFK) and the song was attributed to him in the film Brokeback Mountain.  

It was the uptight Roger McGuinn who changed it into a lovely tribute to Kennedy, around the same time he changed his own name from Jim to Roger, I guess.  The Byrds released it on their 1965 LP Turn! Turn! Turn!  McGuinn took far less chances than Croz over the years, and he can't sing as well either...but he did create a jingle-jangle guitar sound which will help Tom Petty last fifty solid years too.

The Byrds Monterey Pop version, chopped up here, was released in 2002 on a box set The Complete Monterey Pop Festival.

Hear the Leaves do their version at 10:31 HERE.  I know I can crib, crop and locate it for you, but I'm busy and you HAVE to stick around for the following version of Hey Joe anyway.

Books and Ebooks by Jim Linderman are available HERE