John Stewart and His Dreams of Neon

As many of you may know, I began working with John Stewart in early 2000. I’d been a fan for many years and had seen him in California and in the midwest. Like many of his fans I was too intimidated to speak to him. He had that effect on some people. That all changed one afternoon when we found ourselves struggling to hook up a video projector at the John Stewart Ultimate Weekend in Naperville, Il. We started talking and soon became friends. John had many interests and I shared a good many of them. After the Weekend was over we found ourselves talking by phone almost every day. Then he convinced me (and Dave) to get the Motorola Talkabouts so we could email each other any time we wanted. Sort a Pre-Tweet thing.

At this time, John was releasing some material with Appleseed Records. Jim Musselman was a good friend to John and John fit well with the Appleseed lineup. But John also loved to tinker and when home recording of cd’s came around he spent many hours working on new songs. Many of these became cd’s that he would sell at gigs. Sometimes they had music on them and sometimes they were blank. It was a little primitive back in those days and sometimes he didn’t pay attention to what he was doing. When he did something new he would send the cd’s to me and to Tom DeLisle, A few days would go by and Tom would email and say “How did you like it?” and I’d say “I thought the volume was a little low.” Then we’d call and make some excuse about how we had damaged the disc and could he burn us another. If he were with us today I’d be getting the dog-stare right now.

In any case, Kris and I began helping him with Neon Dreams. we had the cd’s mass produced and inserts printed. It was far from slick but the quality of the music was always good. One of the last projects we worked on was the Tanforan cd. John wanted to do a cd of older material but sung in his mature voice and sung as he would experience the songs at his age. The title was going to be Macon, 1957. The first song he did was July You’re A Woman.

I think this was recorded at Jimmy Dukes’ house in the San Diego Hills. Dave Batti on bass, Dennis Kenmore on drums and John Hoke on guitar. John referred to the band as Johnny and the Nasty Britches.

Here it is, sung as a ballad. I hope you enjoy it.

July- Sung as a ballad

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