Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Couple of the Good Ones

We lost a couple of the good ones this this week.

A number of bloggers have rightfully mourned the loss this week of the wonderful writer Molly Ivins. Shrub was one of the very few books I've ever read in my life that I could not put down until I finished. I loved not only the content, but her very readable style-- it was like Tom Robbins was translating Bob Herbert. She'll be missed, at the very least as one of the few journalists who consistently stood up to the incredible bullshit of this administration.

Also, we lost Eric Von Schmidt, a guy who was a big influence in the old Greenwich Village scene. In the New York Times Obituary, a story is recounted of Bob Dylan showing up at Von Schmidt's door in Cambridge, Massachussets (Cambridge's thriving folk scene at the time included Dylan's future girlfriend Joan Baez), and the two becoming fast friends. In Bob Dylan's original cover of "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down," on Dylan's first album, he name-checks Von Schmidt, who taught him the song, an old Blind Boy Fuller tune. Von Schmidt had an encyclopediac knowledge of traditional music and was generous about sharing it. He popped up in every book I've ever read about the old folk scene, the Phil Ochs bio "There But Fortune," and "Positively Fourth Street."

They both strike me as people I would have loved to have sat and had a drink with.

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