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Are you experienced? Your first Burl Ives concert.


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I remember mine like it was yesterday. late 60's, outdoor festival in central Park, New York. Burl was in his prime and his young opening acts, Cream and Alice Cooper were shooting for his crown. They never made it through their sets.

Burl had a raucous following and in no uncertain terms did they let the two amateur acts know that they were not the ones who drew this crowd, and they needed to get their sets over with. Even though the bands left the stage in tears, a young Eric Clapton, mesmerized by the blinding technique of of the master Mr Ives, sat silently off the stage eyes transfixed on Burls fleet fingers.

As the show reached it's climax, the fans completely spent on the emotional rollercoaster and having taken in enough talent to kill most, Burl encored with a stunning 17 minute version of " Big Rockcandy Mountain."

Standing by me in the crowd that night was a young Chaim Witz, later Gene Simmons, who very nervously approached Mr. Ives after the show, Asking for career advice. Burl was known to pull no punches, but seeing the nervousness of the young man, placed a hand on his shoulder, smiled tenderly and said" If you ever wish to get anywhere son, you had better cover your face in a lot of makeup. Now if you don't mind, Burl has some tail to pound."

As Burl drove away with at least ten women in his limo and young mr Chaim was beaten by security, I knew somehow I had witnessed both history and majesty.

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