Lex Neon on John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful)

Lex talks about his love for the man and his songs. Happy birthday to John, whose birthday lands on March 17.

In 1987, I had the pleasure of listening to “The Goodtime Music Show” on terrestrial radio. Hosted by singer / songwriter / musician John Sebastian, he’d play great folk, blues, and early rock ’n’ roll sides. He made the music come to life for me with stories of the 60s Greenwich Village scene, his rooming with blues great Lightnin’ Hopkins, and his role within the Lovin’ Spoonful. He made a wonderful disc jockey, and a huge source of information regarding the pre-Beatles days of music.

My first memory of John Sebastian is “Welcome Back,” the theme from the television show Welcome Back, Kotter. I hadn’t realized that he was also behind the music of the Spoonful. I also didn’t realize that I had been playing snippets of his songs on my clarinet while simultaneously watching television spots selling “The Best Of the Lovin’ Spoonful.”

The connection came with my first viewing of the film, Woodstock. I finally put a face to the name. In the film, John sang “Younger Generation,” one of the Spoonful’s melodies I learned to play on clarinet. At that instant, my mission was clear; I had to have Spoonful and solo Sebastian records.

Throughout junior high and high school, I was on the hunt for any Spoonful vinyl I could get my hands on. One of the first was a low priced “Best of,” which included the big hits like “Do You Believe In Magic,” “Daydream,” “Summer In The City,” and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind.” Beyond those great hits lay a fountain of beautiful songs that really got under my skin.

My personal favorite Spoonful songs:

  • “Lovin’ You” from Hums Of The Lovin’ Spoonful. There’s just something about the complex simplicity of the song, message, and arrangements. It sounds like it should have been in a 30s musical, but with 60s country pop cool.
  • “Younger Girl” from Do You Believe In Magic. Still one of the best acoustic songs ever written. Beautiful and tender in tone and lyric, you have to love the fact that the autoharp makes it sound like it was recorded in heaven.
  • “Pow!” from the What’s Up, Tiger Lily soundtrack. There are enough interesting things going on in this song to keep you entertained even 42 years later. The playful lyrics show a side of John’s writing that no one else can do.
  • “Beautiful Girl” from the You’re A Big Boy Now soundtrack is an overlooked pop / rock gem from the Spoonful catalog. Check out the film sometime; it marks the directorial debut of Francis Ford Coppola.
  • “Six O’Clock” from Everything Playing is one of my favorite singles of all time. There is something very infectious about the double rhythm track, the instrumental arrangement, the driving harpsichord, and vocals that give me goose bumps when the band hits the spot “Now, I’m back alone.”

For more of John’s music, check out his solo albums, especially John B. Sebastian. He gets to stretch his musical mind and experiment with rock, jazz, country, and folk. Dig “Red-Eye Express” for rockin’ out, or “I Had A Dream” for its lovely instrumentation (including a harp).

Anywho, Happy Birthday John. Thanks for the great music, and thanks for many hours of learning about the early folk and blues scenes. I’m glad you’re still here and performing. Please come back to Vegas soon; I want to put you in front of a microphone and onto a Poppermost recording!

Note: The date listed on the album shown below is for the remastered version. The original was released in March 1965.

Currently listening :
Do You Believe in Magic
By The Lovin’ Spoonful
Release date: 09 July, 2002

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com)


~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

2 Responses to “Lex Neon on John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful)”

  1. […] I think my readers would enjoy this post, I’ll put a link to you right now. […]

  2. Thanks for reading, and for giving me the chance to find you in turn. Cheers.

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