My first TV show
A night with folk
singer song-writer
Phil Ochs You will
also find links to various
websites devoted
to a very talented broadside
BALLADEER

My First Mystery Guest Experience

Happened because I was in a place at the proverbial right time. In the fall of 1968, there existed a "Zen Macribiotic" Restaurant called the PARADOX on E. 7th Street in Manhattan's "Lower East Side" - or, The EAST VILLAGE as it was known to hipsters, musicians, and cultural undergrounders during those years...I would often go there, peeling shrimp in return for a brown rice, seaweed, and sauteed vegetable platter. I was frequent enough there, that one afternoon, one of the guitarists who frequented the place, asked to see my guitar, an Epiphone Texan blond spruce wood flat-top model...this player than informed me he was in quite a bind...he was opening for Canadian folk duet Ian & Sylvia...and one other act at the Cafe Au Go Go on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. His problem was that his guitar was in a repair shop and would NOT be ready on time!

A Free-bie for one becomes a foursome...

He offered to get me in as a guest if I'd bring along my epiphone for him to use...I quickly thought of a friend I knew from my college days - by this time I was simply living and working in the city...and a friend of hers from Chicago...I called my brother in NJ...Yes, he was interested, and would pick up my friend in NJ and meet her friend who was living with me at the time...So, I asked the opening act guy, can we stretch it to four? SURE, was his quick reply...plus, we'd be welcome back stage. I had already been on a WNET-13 concert show that featured Phil Ochs, and the Boston-based TOM RUSH (see the box to the left) had been a guest in our radio station studio at Seton Hall University's WSOU-FM, so I was a bit familiar with how to comport myself, and was delighted to be introduced as the fellow who had saved the gig for the opening guy...then I noticed a blond woman about my height, who seemed to be somewhat nervous...my host walked me over to her and introduced me to her, and informed me that this was Joni Mitchell, the special surprise guest of Ian & Sylvia...I quckly realized that Joni - at least at that point in her upward arc of fame - was the type that must be very focused before a performance, and after pleasantries were exchanged, I remained back a bit, rather than trying to chat...unlike the streets and parks wher buskers choose to play...back-stage can be excruciating for some performers on the verge of "the big time" - my experience with busking has always been, as soon as you place yourself out in public, you are open to folks coming along...and must develop a repartee which is sometimes your only defense...in what I'm sure the reader will understand if I call it FROGGY...

The night at the Cafe Au Go GO progressed, Joni stood in the limelight and performed song Tom Rush & Ian & Sylvia had already worked into their