Monday, January 21, 2008

So Long Lonesome Picker

Photo courtesy All Music Guide

I learned of the passing of John Stewart late last night, too late to post. John Stewart helped to define the role of the singer/songwriter during the unsettled 1960s and ‘70s. John Stewart first gained recognition when his songs were recorded by the Kingston Trio. He formed the Cumberland Three in 1960 and they recorded three albums. Their two records, Civil War Almanac Vol. 1 (the Yankees) and Vol. 2 (the Rebels) were well received, but the band broke up before one year was up. Stewart was invited to join his mentors, the Kingston Trio, in 1961. His fresh writing kept the Trio on the charts through the ’60s.

In 1969 John Stewart released his first true solo album, California Bloodlines. The album didn’t achieve the success that it warranted until years later. Rolling Stone magazine included California Bloodlines in its list of the 200 best albums of all time. Although his songs have been recorded by as various a group of artists as Anne Murray. Rosanne Cash, Nanci Griffith, Joan Baez, The Beat Farmers, The Four Tops and others His biggest hit as a songwriter was “Daydream Believer” which the Monkees had a number 1 hit with.

Perhaps John Stewart’s most popular album was Bombs Away Dream Baby recorded with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac.

John Stewart suffered a fatal stroke Saturday. The Los Angeles Times has a complete and touching obituary. Read it here.

John Stewart - Lonesome Picker.mp3
Buy California Bloodlines at

YouTube video of John Stewart performing “Gold” Live at the Birchmere in 2001

Rest in peace, Lonesome Picker.


Blogger Minerva said...

hi ed,
farewell to John Stewart. I was only reading about him and his contributions last night whilst doing my Sinnerman post.

January 22, 2008 8:43 AM  
Anonymous john said...

His "Bombs Away Dream Babies" is a classic but my all time favorite, for some strange reason, is a completely instrumental album called "American Sketches". It's a disc I found in a cut-out bin and fell in love with. I subsequently went back and bought all of the remaining copies for various friends.

January 22, 2008 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the note on John Stewart. I always loved his music, and particularly liked the song "Lonesome Picker" -- I used to try to play it on the guitar myself.

Take care,

-- andy --
-- san rafael ca --

January 22, 2008 7:45 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

"American Sketches" is a great album. Too many of Stewart's music was under appreciated when it was released.

January 22, 2008 9:23 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

As I searched my collection for a representative song to post "Lonesome Picker" was the first song to come to mind.

January 22, 2008 9:25 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

Wow! We've lost another great one. Whenever I listen to the radio these days, it just doesn't sound like the songwriting torch has been passed appropriately. I hope I'm wrong. Farewell, John. To quote a line, "If there's a rock and roll heaven, there must be one helluva band".

January 24, 2008 6:50 PM  

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