Omaha Rainbow : Issue 9


John Stewart's sister was over here in London at the beginning of May.  Now come on, O'Brien, own up.  John may kindly say I have more facts on him than his own mother, but I had no idea he had a sister.  For all I know there may be twelve others, but this one was Marge Hassanein and she took time out to pass on some messages from John.

He has definitely split from RCA and is now shopping around for a new label.  ''If it happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't," was John's laconic observation when I telephoned him after hearing from his sister.  There's been an album a year from John ever since 1968, so let's hope he is signed up very soon so that the sequence is maintained.

In fact, there will be new album out in September or October featuring John, though not one we may have expected.  He is going into the studio with Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds to cut an album called "Kingston Trio Reunion".  Ironically, it is a 'reunion' of a Trio that never performed together, as John replaced Dave Guard when he left in 1961.

If John does get signed to a new recording contract, he will be spending quite a bit of summer in the studios.  Marge told me he has a lot of new songs, some of which she's heard and feels they are among his best ever.  John is doing a demo recording of these and has promised to send me a cassette when this has been done.  Don't forget, John, I'm counting on you.

When I telephoned John I told him I had recently received a cassette of twelve JS songs under the evocative title, "January Music Demo".  Now what I think this must be is the legendary "Earth Rider" album which Capitol were all set to release as the follow-up to ''California Bloodlines".  I've got to get a copy off to John so that he can confirm or deny this supposition. Incredibly, he doesn't have a copy of those sessions himself.  He found it equally incredible that I should have received the cassette from Rob Heidstrom in Liverpool who, in turn, had got his copy from a guy in Australia!

So you all want a copy.  Write to Rob Heidstrom at 206 Blackmoor Drive, West Derby, Liverpool L12 3HB and enclose a s.a.e.  The tracks, in order, are Earth Rider, Looking for the way, Ain't Enough Water, Belly Full of Tennessee, Rivers of Light, Lady and the Outlaw, Josie, Lonesome John, Friend of Jesus, Marshall Wind, Anna on a Memory and Armstrong, and the whole thing would have made a fabulous follow-up to "California Bloodlines".

All these tracks are different cuts to anything you will have heard on record.  'Looking for the Way', 'Ain't Enough Water' and 'Rivers of Light' are all totally new to me, while it's fascinating to discover 'Josie' dates back that far, and has a different first verse.

Through Rob I've also heard the song 'Bertha' (or is it spelt 'Birtha'?) which I asked about in the last O'Bsessions column.  John Stewart meets Chuck Berry and the end product is a very different JS song, and one I would love to have him record properly. Hint .

Bertha overheated going down to L.A.
Found I had to drive on in the heat of the day.
Pulled on over to the side of the road,
Bertha making noises like she's gonna explode.
Stopped to get some water,
Wound up with the daughter
Of the guy they call Texaco Joe.

She got a little bored, she said, "What do you do ?"
I'm a rock 'n' roll monkey like you see in the zoo.
She said, "I never heard you but I'd like to some day
Maybe you could come to my high school and play."
Send me a Top l0 tune will you, Lord ?
I could buy a new motor for my '62 Ford.

Got an agent, got a manager, accountants, and such
But I ain't got the money, Lord, to buy a new clutch.
Well meaning people would let it be known
That I am going to make it if I make it alone.
Got a 6 o'clock sound check, I'm meeting the band.
This the story of a six string medicine man.

A word or two about the John Stewart discography.  The first thing to point.out is that I have listed all the American singles first, and then followed these up with the UK releases.  Now I'm sure I've missed out on a UK single release of 'Armstrong'. Nobody has won the American Capitol single of 'Armstrong' b/w 'Anna on a Memory' offered in the last O'Bsessions competition (To be honest, nobody entered.  Rod Wilson thought it was too difficult, and he was right.) This time around it's on offer to the first person to send me accurate details of that missing RCA single.  You can even send me the single if you're feeling particularly generous.

Oh, yes.  Words of thanks here to Bob Westfall, Maia Rehlin, Maureen Grimwade and Jonathan Morrish for their invaluable help in compiling this discography.  Maia has given me further details on the mysterious John Stewart cassette only release called "Armstrong" which was listed in the Schwann Catologues of February, March and April 1971.  The listed numbers were cassette Capitol 4XT-382, and 8 track cartridge 8XT-382.  Over to you.  Somebody out there must be able to put us all out of our misery.

If you are still searching for a copy of "Signals Through the Glass" your best bet is probably to write to Bruce's, 79 Rose Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, enclosing 3-75 pounds.  If you want to check with them, the telephone number is 031-226-2804. Incidentally, while talking with Hal Blaine, I discovered he was the drummer on this album. More from him in OR10.

More puzzles to finish up with.  Ray McCarthy has sent me an Arlo Guthrie single on Reprise RS.20994, the 'B' Side of which is 'Shackles and Chains', written by John Stewart and published by A.Schroeder Music.  Well, it wasn't John's song, and checking my only Arlo Guthrie album (I think I ought to have more) I discover 'Shackles and Chains', but now credited to Davis and published by SouthernMusic.  The single was published in 1971.  The album, "Hobo's Lullaby" on Reprise K44169, came out in 1972.  A good album, with Roger Bush, Doug Dillard and lots of other good guys and gals playing and singing along.

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