Day By Day

Monday, August 04, 2008

John Stewart

I just today learned that John Stewart died a few months ago. He had been one of my favorite singers from the folk era. He was a cut above the others because he had, and his music reflected, a deep affection for America and respect for its people.

In some ways he was a conventional liberal -- he campaigned for Bobby Kennedy in 1968, and was friends with Tim Robbins' family -- but that was not the measure of the man -- his music never reflected the ironical snark and cynicism and resentment expressed by so many of his contemporaries. He and his wife, Buffy Ford, were together for forty years until his death. There was something solid about Stewart, and it came through in his music

He recorded a dozen records with the Kingston Trio, several more as a solo act. As a songwriter his biggest hit was "Daydream Believer" which was recorded by the Monkees. As a solo his biggest song was "Gold" on which Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham sang backup. His most successful album, and my personal favorite, was "California Bloodlines," although the "Phoenix Concert" album ranks a close second. Here he is just a few months before his death singing "Mother Country". He had suffered several minor strokes, and it shows, but his love for America and its people shows through stronger.

John Stewart was a singer and songwriter, and he did it pretty up and walkin' good.