If the gig at gather doesn't produce anything else, it did give me the pleasure of hearing Maria Muldaur call me "darling." Here's a clip from my latest column, an interview with Maria on her latest release, Naughty, Bawdy & Blue.
Maria Muldaur is in a RV on her way to her next gig somewhere in Iowa when her cell phone rings.
"So, where's the show?" I ask.
"Clear Lake," she answers, which gives me pause. I've never been to Clear Lake Iowa, but the name brings a flood of memories from books and movies anyway. A skinny young man in horn-rimmed glasses, an improbable rock star, blasting out a Bo Diddley beat; teenage girls in pleated skirts doing coordinated dance moves, a heavy-set guy thumping a tambourine, dancing onto the stage, surprisingly light on his feet; now a grinning Chicano kid coming out and adding his guitar to the mix. And the orchestra keeps the beat going, the horns lifting Not Fade Away higher and higher as the group laughs, unplug their guitars, and wave goodbye to the audience as they walk off-stage one-by-one.
"Thank y'all! See you next year," the last one, the tall, skinny guy, calls back to the crowd... and they're gone.
Clear Lake is one of those iconic rock places, like Max Yasgur's farm - or maybe the Altamont Speedway. It was the last stand of the Winter Dance Party of 19 and 59.
"Whoa," I say, back in the future but totally thrown out of interview gear. "Buddy Holly territory."
"Yeah," Maria answers. "We're even playing the same place, the Surf Ballroom. But at least we're not flying out."