John Hartford

John Hartford

1937-2001

I was raised on a TV diet of Andy Griffith, Saturday morning cartoons, Saturday night scary movies, and whatever my dad wanted to watch on TV. We only had one TV back then, and back then, if the man who paid for the TV was in the room, he got to watch what he wanted to watch – which ended up being Lawrence Welk, The FBI, The Fugitive, and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. I still recall all the players popping up out of the seats in the audience and realizing that there was something sorta offbeat about this straight-looking crew — which included Steve Martin and John Hartford.

It was in the mid-’70s when I really came of age, and I recall going through a time (as I suppose many naturally rebellious people do) of wanting to reject my roots and find my own identity. Bluegrass? Folk? I didn’t want those associations. I’m not like those people. I wanted to be a beatnik. I wanted to be a hippie, I wanted to be cool, and this bluegrass stuff was just not cool to me — until I somehow ended up with a Dillard-Hartford-Dillard album.

Hey! Here’s that guy who was on The Glen Campbell and he’s singing with those guys from the Darlin Family from Andy Griffith• and• and• they’re singing a song that went, “Tryin to light a roach while I’m weavin’ down the street/It was too small to smoke and it was too big to eat/Smoke a lot, get the munchies, and grow a big ass/Screws up my memory and gives me gas“… Whaaa?

At that point in my life, I was grabbing onto the offbeat and sorta weird musical stuff. John Hartford hooked me and he reeled me in. Along with songs like “Granny Won’t You Smoke Some Marijuana” and “Boogie,” they’d catch me in a state where I didn’t wanna expend enough energy to get up and change the LP, and they made me listen to “Bear Creek Hop” and lots of other straight-forward bluegrass type stuff. I listened, and it was good.

John Hartford made me realize something.

Thank you John.

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