Saturday, June 26, 2010

Linking around a Web of ragged memories

As a pre-college-graduation present to myself many years ago, I bought a guitar from a guy who bought it from another guy, named Dave Lindorff... whom I have just stumbled upon, thanks to a Web link to some of his journalistic work. And one link does tend to lead to another.

I'm not sure I ever heard Dave play -- although I did learn a tune or two from his brother Gary. And I don't think I knew that Dave and I both chose journalism as a career some 40 years ago.

Strangely, though, one of the first songs I played on that old red sunburst Epiphone Frontier, with its pickguard decorated in cactus flowers and lariat loops, was "Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag," which Dave apparently updated a few years ago and still has on his MySpace page, playing roughly the same guitar part... which I guess we all learned from some combination of Country Joe, Jim Kweskin and Dave Van Ronk.

I still use the same guitar lick, which works on a medley I start with "Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" -- not as politically meaningful, but timeless in its own way.

Mr. Lindorff, however, is now down in my record book as the only person I know of to attempt "City of New Orleans" on the Appalachian autoharp.

(As for the Epiphone, I traded it years ago for a Martin with a fatter fingerboard, but I saw one just like it at Gruhn Guitars last month and was momentarily tempted...)