SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.
By Jim Caligiuri,
9:17AM, Sat. Mar. 18, 2017
Musicians have documented their place of origin since minstrelsy was invented. Florida native Richard Barone moved to the Big Apple in time for punk and New Wave, and eventually settled into Greenwich Village in the lower part of New York City. In the Sixties, it became ground zero of the folk explosion.
Bob Dylan, Fred Neil, Dave Van Ronk, and many more wrote and sang their own songs there and helped revolutionize the era. Barone’s latest album explores some of those compositions and at his SXSW showcase Friday night at the Driskill, he expanded the concept by having an array of singer-songwriters from around the globe sing them.
The host introduced the evening with an explanation of what was about to unfold, a “marathon” he called it, five hours of groundbreaking songs. Kicking it all off, he shared Phil Ochs’ “When I’m Gone” in a clear tenor bundling obvious reverence. The 90 minutes that followed provided more than enough remarkable moments, performances that perfectly melded singer and song.
Robyn Hitchcock provided the standing-room-only crowd with its first such moment, a breathless reading of Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom.” Peter Lewis of Moby Grape and his daughter Arwen paid tribute to John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful with a rugged version of “Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind.”
The early highlight occurred with the appearance of a true Sixties hero, Jesse Colin Young, who told of his early days as a folk singer in New York and how he stole the Dino Valenti-composed “Get Together” from Buzzy Linhart for his band the Youngbloods.
Austin came represented by the Band of Heathens, Colin Gilmore, and the Mastersons. Meanwhile, Barone surprised everyone with his introduction of the Irish-born Joolz Jones, grandson of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, who made his American debut leading the hootenanny on Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”