Tuesday 16 October 2012

Jackie Guthrie

Last Sunday, October 15th, the wife of a good friend passed away, and I didn’t know about it until today. Some good friend I am!

She lost her battle with cancer and has gone on to a better, more fulfilling plane of existence. I never had the opportunity to meet her or for that matter my good friend of close to 45 years. I am as saddened by the loss of her gentle spirit as much as I would be any friend.

Like I say, I never met Arlo Guthrie or his wife Jackie but my life is the better for having him in it. I knew about his dad before I had heard of him and I suppose most of us have been singing songs written by Woody all of our lives. When “Alice’s Restaurant” came out in the theatres in 1969 I found a new friend. The movie became one of those moments in my life that just seems to resonate and make me better for experiencing it. I guess it was love at first sight and sound.

I have followed his career as best I could, getting his albums and whenever he was on the TV, I would be sure to see him. He believed in all of the causes that I did, the only difference is that he actually did something to improve the world. I still will listen to his music whenever I need a lift of spirits and Arlo is the yard stick that I use to measure other performers by. Like most married men, he couldn’t be the person that he was without the support and love of his wife. I don’t know how you can carry on after watching the person that gave you 43 years of love and companionship move on. Luckily, he has the support of his family and a belief in how the world and existence works which will give him strength.

I saw Arlo perform at Massey Hall on November 12, 1976 and I can say that it was a high point in my concert going career. Since then, there have been opportunities, but I have either been too broke, too far away or just plain didn’t know he was doing a concert close by. Arlo continues to bring joy to me with his music and through him I have started to listen to his daughter Sarah Lee, who is continuing the Guthrie family tradition of good music and protest songs.

Here is a link to Arlos website and you can read for yourself how Arlo is dealing with the passing of his partner in this life and the next.

Jackie Guthrie
July 25, 1944 - Oct. 14, 2012

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