You Gotta Change

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Fifth Estate # 82, June 26-July 9, 1969

A recent addition has been made to the folk scene in the name of John Stewart. He is currently touring key cities to promote his new Capitol album, “California Bloodlines.” The Fifth Estate spoke to him at Baker’s Lounge.

His producer is Nick Venet who has given us such sounds in the past as The Association and The Lovin’ Spoonful.

The album was recorded in Nashville, not for the sake of saying it was recorded in Nashville, but as Stewart explains, “The pickers are really cooperative and a lot of time is saved due to their helpful attitude.”

Bob Dylan was recording “Nashville Skyline” the same time Stewart’s album was recorded and both artists traveled across the street to check the other’s progress.

Recording and performing is no new business with Stewart—he spent seven “hellish” years with The Kingston Trio. Although he feels he benefited partially by the association he grew very little, musically speaking.

“Dylan,” says Stewart, “has grown and progressed during his career while we were quite stagnant.”

For the past two years since the demise of the Trio, he has performed with Buffy Ford, campaigned with RFK, written extensively for others as well as for his current album, which represents a collection of songs written by Stewart.

His style is quite unique—a sharp but pleasing voice appropriate to the type of music he performs. Stewart says, “The songs are just photographs, songs you can touch; they are feeling songs, its the feelings that are important—lyrics about real people, forgotten people, stories—musical snapshots.”

The album features on side one, “California Bloodlines,” an anti-city song with a soothing sound that shows the artist’s feeling for his California home. “You Can’t Look Back” is a personal commitment to change, while “Mother Country,” which has been released as a single, is a stirring plea against a dying America.

“July, You’re a Woman,” is an expression about a man’s love for his woman and his unfulfilled desires. “Never Goin’ Back,” the final cut on side two is a fitting ending to a fine collection of songs that summarized the performer’s feelings of time wasted in his past.

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