So 50 (yikes) years ago this day, which was also a Monday was for me a life defining moment. The entire summer I’d been at a camp in Maryland on the shores of the Chesapeake day where I learned to water ski (imagine that) and shoot a rifle. Some of the songs on the radio that summer were “So Much In Love,” by the Tymes, “Easier Said Than Done,” by the Essex, “Ring of Fire,” “Heatwave,” “Fingertips” by Little Stevie Wonder and “Blowin’ In The Wind” by Peter, Paul & Mary.” Every week we’d go outside camp to either an amusement pier or a roller skating rink. I refused to roller skate and while hanging out the second or third time, I noticed a sign by the front door along the lines of the management reserves the right to refuse admittance to anyone it pleases or something like that. Suddenly it dawned on me what the sign meant, and the next time at the music pier I noticed similar signs.
So my dad picked me up at the end of the summer which was that Saturday, and took me to a new home where they’d moved over the summer in North Jersey, so he could be a computer programmer at Bell Labs. My brother and my step brother went to different camps, and there was another kid on the way.
So the next day my brother gets home from a far hipper camp. He was already playing guitar, but over the summer, he learned a whole different way to play, and also had acquired a couple of harmonicas and a harmonica holder. And he starts telling me about this new singer who was following in the steps of Woody Guthrie, and plays me a couple of songs like “Don’t Think Twice” on the guitar, and suddenly, I put “Blowin’ In The Wind” together with two songs I’d seen Pete Seeger sing two months before. And he says, this guy is gonna be on TV tomorrow night.
And so it was 50 years ago tonight that I watched a show on Channel 5, WNEW TV called “Songs of Freedom,” that also featured Odetta and The Freedom Singers, and saw Bob Dylan sing “Only A Pawn In Their Game” and “Blowin’ In The Wind,” and that’s how it started.