Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Jesse Colin Young with my old buddy Mark Hunter at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA. Mark and I go way back to our college days together as we became fast friends in our first year at San Diego State in the Toltec Dorm in 1975. We used to meet in the Toltec commons area where they had a big console TV and we watched several of the first episodes of Saturday Night Live during that year.
For high school graduation, I had received a rather large stereo system as a gift from my parents, and managed to cram that into my little dorm room with my roommate Kevin Kuhlmeyer. Anyway, my room became a kind of hangout for listening to music and my girlfriend, Mary Kit would bring her Zapotec girl dorm friends over, so it was kind of a happening place for a nerd like me.
We listened to all kinds of music as some would bring over cheap beer and their albums. Mark would drop in with either his Martin guitar, or have some really cool records in hand to listen to, like Jesse Colin Young.
Now I had seen The Youngbloods (Loggins and Messina opened) at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1972, but really didn't know much about Jesse Colin Young who like Mark had lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mark provided this introduction so to speak.
After that first year, Mark and I broke from the dorms and got a two bedroom apartment together about a mile from campus. We listened to a lot of music that year, because we were both broke and I remember us heating tortillas up on the stove and eating peanut butter burritos many a night.
It was during that school year of 1976-77 that I got my stereo system stolen after we had left the windows open during a heat wave.
No worries, I downgraded where I found an ad on campus and got a simple record player. Both Mark and I took that cheap stereo with us to another apartment on a street actually named Jessie St. I'll never forget that time thanks to Mark, listening to Jesse Colin Young's hot streak of albums through the 70's including, Song for Juli, Lightshine, Songbird, On the Road, and Love on the Wing.
So, it was incredibly fitting that Mark and I would get together all these years later and spend an evening together listening to Jesse Colin Young with his wonderful band of young people. I say that because it seems Jesse went shopping one day at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and literally recruited all these talented, young musicians to be in his band. Actually, Jesse saw all these musicians as students performing at their graduation ceremony with Jesse's son Tristan Young, also a graduating student at Berklee, and now bass player in the band.
Mark commented how brilliant it was for Jesse to assemble this group and take them out on the road and into the studio together. As good as Jesse is to his band, they are equally good to a 76 year old legend who has suffered greatly over the years as he was not correctly diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Jesse said last night that ten years ago he thought he'd never be able to perform again and now that he is being treated for his disease, has been given another chance to be the troubadour he has always been. Now, he gets to do his thing surrounded by a fresh group of young people that give a real pop to the Jesse Colin Young jazzed infused sound of folk rock of the middle 1970's.
Here is my shot of the group from my cool loft seat at the Belly Up last night.
It was truly an evening to remember. Jesse has all these great songs he has written over the years as a folk singer in Greenwich Village, leader of the Youngbloods, and then his successful solo career. I had forgotten how many great love songs he has written that still touch me today. In this week's playlist, I got a chance to catch up on some "newer" songs that I had never heard before and look forward to his new album coming out in early 2019.
So Mark, this one's for you, thanks for all the good times- past, present and future!