Author: Campbell, Bruce

Were YOU Born Too Late?

If only I was born earlier. I could have seen Bill Monroe in his prime, Jim and Jesse with their natural hair color, and Jimmy Martin as a spry, brash young man. I could have been involved in the Bay Area bluegrass scene back when it was a well-kept secret, and hung out at Paul’s Saloon.

I would have seen the All Girl Boys, the original SideSaddle, and the Good Ol’ Persons. I would have seen the nascent High Country and even the Alhambra Valley Band.

I could have bought a 10 year old Martin D28 for a song in 1963, and wouldn’t it be a fine old guitar now!

I could have hung out in the Haight-Ashbury in the late 60’s and caught those legendary shows at the old Fillmore and the Avalon. I could have seen the Warlocks and the original Charlatans. I could have witnessed Duane Allman’s incredible slide guitar mastery, or Jimi Hendrix’s sonic pyrotechnics!

I would have lived in a neighborhood where nobody locked their doors, ice cream was a penny, and every kid knew how to behave, or else. There would have been no crime, no divorce, violence, perversion or needless suffering. If we had to go to war, well, it was against an easily identifiable madman who was bent on subjugating the world to his evil will. I would have marched right down to the recruiting office, lied about my age and enlisted.

I would hear Pat Boone’s hit version of Tutti Frutti on the radio, but treasure my 45 rpm single of Little Richard singing the “real” version of the song. I would dance to Elvis’ “That’s All Right Mama”, but know that the “real” version was by Arthur Crudup, because I would have been so worldly and hip.

I would have bravely marched in the civil rights demonstrations, arm in arm, risking my life with my brothers of any color. I would have bravely spoken out against Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt for suspected communists. I would have been pals with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

I would have hung out in coffee houses in Greenwich Village and reveled in the discovery of a young Bob Dylan, when I wasn’t hanging out at the Hungry I in North Beach discovering a young comic named Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl or Bill Cosby.

I am reasonably certain that if I had been born earlier, I would recognized the march of history all around me, and I would have made sure to spot all the timeless talent and back all of history’s winners!

But alas, I was born when I was born, and I can’t tell which things around me are going to be important to future generations, and my main solace for not being born earlier is, I’d be even older than I am now.

Posted:  7/26/2012

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