Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Queens County Revisited: The 1970's (35)

Unlike me, Barry didn't write his own songs; and he only knew how to play and sing cover songs. But, in the 1970's, he played his guitar at a more technically advanced level and in a more technically sophisticated way than I did; and he knew how to play a guitar using a finger picking style, rather than only by just using a flat pick, more rustic, primitive, mainly single chord-strumming accompaniment style, like the style that I relied on.

So at first, I then thought I might be able to possibly interest Barry in forming an Everly Brothers or Simon and Garfunkel-type 1970's duo, that would sing covers of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger folk songs, covers of early 1960's Dylan and Phil Ochs folk songs, and my late 1960's and 1970's original folk songs, in New York City area coffeehouses; and perhaps, eventually, even in some local Manhattan folk music club like Gerde's Folk City.

By the time I moved in with Barry, however, he was more into spending his evening weekday hours after work and Sunday evenings watching tv programs in the basement apartment kitchen, where his television set was located, than in spending much time practicing his guitar or singing songs in the basement apartment.

But a few weeks after I moved into the small, curtained-off living room/bedroom of the Jamaica basement apartment, Barry offered me one of his joints one evening, after he heard me practicing my guitar; and he then took out his own guitar from its case; and he then played quite skillfully for me his cover version of Dylan's "My Back Pages," while singing in a voice and style that sounded almost exactly like the way Bob Dylan sang the song on the "Another Side of Bob Dylan" vinyl album.

It turned out, however, that Barry in the 1970's was much more into liking and listening to the pop songs of more "AM consciousness" rock singer-songwriters like Neil Diamond and Elton John than into liking and listening to performers-songwriters like Dylan, Ochs, Seeger, Guthrie or Baez, as I was; and Barry was just interested in briefly showing off to me how he had performed a Dylan cover song, before he lost his interest in performing in public or singing cover songs at home, for his own entertainment, in his spare time.  

Also, after I played and sang for him one of the original folk songs I had written, Barry seemed to focus more on how rudimentary my guitar-playing technique was relative to his, rather than on whether the melody and lyrics of the folk song might interest a 1970's audience. And he seemed to quickly conclude that there was no commercial or moneymaking potential in whatever song I might ever write; and that, since my guitar-playing technique wasn't equal to his, rehearsing songs or jamming with me much in his spare time would hold less interest for him than spending his spare time making money or looking for new "chicks" to add to his "bull pen."