Brandy from the Summer of Love
by Lloyd Kahn
Went into Mill Valley liquor store earlier today looking for a bottle of brandy. Guy behind the counter, well-trimmed beard and moustache, and I start talking about various brandies. On one shelf are some very high-priced bottles $70$100 range. I spot a $210 bottle of brandy, vintage 1968, and remark on it. Yeah, he says, same year as the Summer of Love.
He starts reminiscing. Remember when Dylan went rock and roll, he says. Yes, I say, Isaw him do a concert in Providence, Rhode Island in fall, 65 where the first half was folk and the second half rock and roll. I had hitchhiked across the country in 65 and ended up going to a concert in Providence RI with a bunch of newly-met friends from Rhode Island School of Design and the first half was (to me) boring folky but after the intermission, five musicians came out, Dylan sat down at the piano, and they played blues and rock and roll. I had a camera and told the cops I was press and spent all my time at ringside, shooting pics and listening to some great music.
It was incredible back then he says, and I agree. I keep trying to write something about it, he says, but it never comes out. Same with me, I say, I just cant get it down.
Thinking of when Dylan went R&R makes me think of other musical stunners of the 60s. Like buying a copy of Sgt. Pepper in Monterey that December and returning to a hilltop house in Big Sur with views of the ocean and putting on this amazing record.What IS this? Or hearing The Band for the first time. Where do these guys come from, so musically tough and mature? Or Traffics first album. Or Procul Harums Salty Dog, an opera of sailing ships and pirates and far-off shores. Mike Bloomfield introducing B. B. King to white kids, If you guys think I can play, listen to THIS guy! Otis appearing in a green tux Saturday night at the Monterey Pop Festival. Whoa!
An amazing few years, yes it was.
As I get ready to leave he mentions Woodstock and I say, You know, Monterey was the one, before Woodstock.
Yeah. he says, I know. You just cant describe it unless you were there.
And with that I take my leave, but its a discussion well resume, Im sure.