Sharing a stage with John Stewart was not for the weak at heart. John could be generous onstage or he could be cranky. The two people who saw the most of this were Dave Batti and Chuck McDermott.
Yesterday, as I was listening to the two cd set recorded at the Floral Pavillion in Merseyside, England, I found this track that features Chuck on a song called Evangeline. It’s a very nice song and Chuck does a great job on it but the intro by John is Classic Stage Stewart. I think Chuck wrote this song and I don’t know if it was ever released on an album.
Here’s Chuck McDermott singing
While I was researching the song, looking for it’s history, I found another Evangeline. In fact, I found two. Same song but very, very different versions. John loved to tinker with his songs. Sometimes inadvertently but most often because it made them more interesting to him. Some, like Daydream Believer, Pirates and Mother Country, remained intact. Others became fair game for his artistic pleasure.
Here is Evangeline from the Rough Sketches album, recorded in 1995:
and here’s the same song from the Bandera album. I believe that the Bandera album featured a group of Scottish musicians who called themselves Lies, Damned Lies. John met them through his great friend Andy Fergus who brought about the recording of Bandera, recorded in 1997:
One of the great things about seeing and hearing John onstage and live was that you couldn’t always be certain what he was going to do or how he was going to do it. Just ask Dave Batti the next time you see him.
Rough Sketches version remains my favorite but at this point in time I’d almost rather listen to one of John’s funny, rambling intros than to the music. Miss him so much.
I seem to recall that “Lies Dammed Lies” contained the son(s) of Andy Fergus. John toured the UK with them in the late 90’s