Saturday, April 09, 2011

Memory Safe #4 Gentle On My Mind

John Hartford. I almost forgot John Hartford. I saw him dance on salt at Alice’s Champagne Palace in Homer, Alaska many years ago. He laid down two sheets of plywood with mic pickups underneath and then poured salt on top of them so he could soft shoe around in his big cowboy boots. He played the fiddle and sang all the familiar songs: Tall Buildings, Gentle on My Mind...I don’t know what else. I barely remembered him today even though at the time I couldn’t believe that John Hartford himself would be playing at a bar in Homer, Alaska. He was not the only great to end up on plywood at Alice’s. David Bromberg, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Prine, even Taj Mahal – who I opened for with sheetrock mud still on my pants from work that day. There are only two reasons that any of them would be there: They really really wanted to be in Homer. Or somebody made them do it. Those are the only two reasons anybody is there.


Anonymous Callan Bentley said...

I was saddened to learn that Alice's had closed when I last went to Homer in 2006. It was a classic place.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Carri said...

Great memories, Tom! since then we have been graced with the likes of Richie Havens ( I listened to him tell his Woodstock story while holding court over coffee at the bakery while I was on the other side of the counter making soup, I never wanted to stand there and chop mushrooms so bad in my life!) and Bruce Cockburn as well as many others. You can tell by the looks on there faces when they's like,' what the heck am I doing here?!' By the time they leave, though, I think they are happy they came. Except maybe that time with Greg Brown...but that's another story!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Wow a single post which mentions two of my favorite song-writin' singers of all time, Jerry Jeff Walker and John Prine...

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Eric S. said...

Tom, everyone really, really wants to be in Homer.

(Oh, and Alice's is not gone, it's still there, just a little different inside)

1:11 PM  
Anonymous jennifer pastrick said...

Was in Homer last week. Alice's just ain't the same. But the Salty Dawg is and we had a great time.

Sad to drive back up to Eagle River and go to work. But someone has to drive past Turnagain and look for belugas.

Come home Tom. Alaska misses you! They still carry your books at the Bookshelf in Homer. Bought a couple to send home with guests.

10:12 AM  

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