Inquiries into the early years of SJI

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Merry Prankster riffs off St. James Infirmary

In this video Ken Babbs (Merry Prankster who was engineer and chief conspirator on that "psychedelic bus" called Further that rolled across America in the 1960s spreading a message that there are many many ways in which we can view our world) riffs off "St. James Infirmary." His lyric recalls his good friend and fellow Prankster Ken Kesey. Kesey died in 2001 at the age of 66. Babbs is still a force to be reckoned with at 76.

Babbs and Kesey are probably best remembered through Tom Wolfe's account of their journeys, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. And so they are both forever linked to the popularization of LSD in Amerika. I think they felt that the country and the world, everybody, was in very deep trouble and needed a quick wake-up. They did not hold any notion that this substance could be used for entertainment; rather they saw it as a way of helping us see the urgency of our situation, and the need for personal change.

"Where is the Revolution at?" Babbs asks in this video:

Mercy comes before justice
The carrot comes before the stick
And Love is the only compass

You can trust to guide you
Down the mean muddy mad streets
Of Mainstreet America.


(You can see this full-frame at YouTube by clicking here)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Neil McCormick's 100 Greatest Songs

Neil McCormick - musician and music critic for the Telegraph - recently listed, with comment, his 100 greatest popular songs of all time. "Any such list will always be personal rather than definitive," he wrote, "we all have songs that sing in our hearts."

Not only do we find the usual names from these sorts of lists - Bob Dylan, The Beatles, David Bowie, and so on - but also Vera Lynn, Chet Baker, Julie London, etc.

Way up there at the number 7 spot is a song from 1928: Louis Armstrong and "St. James Infirmary."

Ahhh, Neil, you are a man of taste.

Interested? Click HERE for the link.