september 12, 2007
I am a bass player, and I have a jazz/fusion/bluegrass/pop/gospel/swing band. I love Wes Montgomery’s version of Windy, and I was hoping to get the chords from you. Also, it’s a great tune, and it really captured the feel of the era. I used to play this tune back in ’79 with a different band, and I am really looking forward to playing it again.
Any help would be appreciated. Also, Black Coat is an amazing poem. I take it your grandmother was a holocaust survivor. I have a number of close friends whose families were almost entirely lost to the blackness of what we remember as the holocaust. May we remember the past, lest we stupidly repeat it.
Blessings upon you, and thanks for Windy!
september 8, 2007
I guess this note qualifies as one of those "only because of the
Internet" events. We have never met, true, but I'm very happy after
all these years to belatedly make your acquaintance in this fashion.
I've known about your music for many years, coming from three sources:
1. "Windy." I was a great admirer of the Association, particularly in
their early years, because of their superb musicianship and
songwriting talent. Though they were sneered at as "unhip" by most of
those in my circles in the '60s, I listened carefully to their
recordings and learned a lot from them. I still regard their second
album "Renaissance" as one of the great unheralded classics of the era
(no small distinction). Your "Windy" was an entirely successful song
of its type, in my view. I do wonder what your original version
2. Petrus. I attended Stanford University for two years and remember
being knocked out by the band at a Palo Alto club performance. I was
also knocked out by you in your (I guess brief) incarnation as a rock
"lead singer." I showed up out of curiousity that night to hear you (I
already knew of Peter Kaukonen), felt that the group had some
excellent material and, if memory serves, a really fine bass player. I
looked forward to hearing the music on an LP in the not-too-distant
future. I don't know what happened to sabotage that, but it was
certainly a project to be proud of.
3. "Constant Companion." At the end of 1968 I left California and
started my own odyssey as a musician. While living in the Midwest in
1970 I came across your fantastic solo album and fell in love with it
right away. The material is so original and so personal, a record to
be treasured by sensitive souls anywhere. I'm so sorry for you that it
wasn't a big seller; your material stood tall then and still stands
tall today. It was one of the very best solo singer-songwriter efforts
of the time -- a precursor, really. You were a heckuva musician, and
I'll bet you still are!
I guess I'm writing this simply to let you know that there's one more
fan you haven't known about who was moved by your work. ... From your
website, you seem to be doing well in your life these days. That's
good to hear.
I am four years younger than you and had a fitful music career in New
York City in the '70s, making and producing a few records but
eventually giving up the business and becoming a journalist in San
Francisco for over 20 years. I live today in San Diego County and am
writing my own brand of hybrid classical music full time. I wonder
whether what we're each doing musically today have any points of
Anyway, greetings to you, Ruthann. Please write back if you feel like
All the best,
august 19, 2007
First apologies for the familiarity, but its the USA and celebrities who publish become automatic family somehow to their fans, and I've been a fan since I recieved that bit of vinyl back in 1969 I believe, as the reviewer for the Frumious Bandersnatch here in Tucson. (Excellent Review BTW)
I still have the disk, the cover, and the press stuff in pretty good condition last I looked.
Just this Thursday I was driving home from school where I teach art, humming Fairy prince rainbow man, fantasizing a career based on covering your album seeing as when I looked a few years ago you you were not active with it. I was thinking how fresh it still sounded in my memory and maybe it would find its generation today...
So just now I Googled the lyrics and My! My! not only is the Album a CD on Amazon but a NEW CD is available!!!!!!! gotta get that! AND you have a website -- hooray!!!
Welcome back... not that you were ever gone or out of mind for many weeks. The old LP may be defunct currently but you get frequent headplay as one of my all time favorite albums for the past almost 40 years. Piper's call, Fairy prince rainbow man, Too late to be mourning, Looking back over my shoulder, are my favorites.
Been so long since I wrote a fan letter I sure can't remember it.
(FWIW My wife was born one summer's day in NYC and we've been married 28 years as of a few days ago)
Best wishes and thank you for your music!
Guy and Jamie Taylor
Fri,17 Aug 2007
a few weeks ago I heard the first time of you and your music. Always curious about music I immediately bought ‘Constant Companion’ and felt in love with the music thereon and with your beautiful voice.
In the meantime this record is truly a ‘Constant Companion’ to me. And I can’t get ‘Piper’s Call’ out of my head.
Yesterday I surfed through the web and found your Homepage. It is a very, very well-done page. And it is a great pleasure to learn about you, your life, music, inspirations (musically and literarily), your poems and some of your companions. Some of them mean a lot to me, too. For example I am a big Van Dyke Parks admirer.
I read that new songs are on the way. I hope that they will be released soon. And I hope that some day you will come to Germany (especially Berlin ) for playing some gigs. That would be great.
P.S.: A year ago –at the age of 43- I started to learn to play guitar. I am not the gifted one and it is hard work for me. Less time (family, work) is another handicap, but I still keep on fighting on. Such Songs like ‘Piper’s Call’ or the work of John Fahey whom I admire, too, will egg me on not to give up. Is there a possibility to buy somewhere the notes/tabs for ‘Piper’s Call’? It would be a pleasure to try to learn this song to play on the guitar.
Thanks for the great web site. I’m glad to see that you’re still making music and enjoying life. Last year I read the book ‘Hotel California’ and loved it. I was fascinated by the stories of the Troubadour club and all the great music that came out of that time and place. After I read the book I stumbled on a short story called ‘The Troubadour’ by Jo Ellen Doering on her Bombies web site. She wrote about the time when she and you first met and you had just written ‘Windy’. So I looked you up and found this great web site of yours with all kinds of wonderful information about your life and music. I really envy all of you folks that were part of that great music scene in the ‘60s. I’m sure you realize how fortunate you were to be part of that. Unfortunately I was in Viet Naum at the time but I did enjoy listening to all the music. I loved your song ‘Windy’ and I’m going to order one of your CD’s so that I can experience some more of work.
I hope all is well with you and your family and that you have many more years of having fun and making music. Thanks again for the great web site.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Wednesday June 20 2007
I just got HURRIED LIFE this week and have listened to it about 20 times already. What can I say except absolutely fantastic. I especially like Southern Comfortable and Little Girl Lost & Found. Besides the mystery of life I can't understand why your name is not a household word. Peter Kaukonen emailed me a couple of days ago and said that you are recording four new songs with Peter helping on production. Any chance of a release in the near future.
Also, your writing style in the linear notes for Hurried Life is very much engaging. Have you ever thought of writing an autobiography or a book of poetry/lyrics. You have a way of writing that not only is easy to relate to but also touches both the heart and mind.
Anyway, I hope to make it down to Fairfax next week.
Monday May 14 2007
Dear Ms Friedman:
A brief and entirely age-inappropriate note from someone who should
havelong since outgrown writing gushing fan mail. But I just wanted to let youknow how very much I am enjoying the reissued CONSTANT COMPANION and thepreviously unreleased material collected on A HURRIED LIFE.
The two discs seem to have taken up permanent residence on my CD
player. In entirely different ways - COMPANION as a folk rock tone poem, LIFE as a musical collage boasting note-perfect thematic and emotional unity despite the fact it’s the product of so many years
of work - both CDs are nothing less than compelling. The polished-to-a-high-gloss singing, the playfullyrics - enchanting and at the same time elusive - and the lack of overly earnest (or naïve) clichés that marred otherwise flawless music from this period combine to make both CDs endlessly listenable.
Many years ago I befriended Terry Kirkman when the reformed Association was performing at a hotel in Bermuda. He kindly (and extremely patiently) filled in the chasm-like gaps in my knowledge of the 1960s folk rock scene in Los Angeles (I was only five-years-old when Windy was released), prompting a lifelong interest in the music and personalities of that era.
He told me more than once that CONSTANT COMPANION was essential
listening,far more than just another easy listening musical time capsule of that period. He described it as both a celebration of and unofficial requiem for an unprecedented flowering of American popular music, an unfairly neglected minor masterpiece.
Over the years I searched for CONSTANT COMPANION and never found
anything but the most warped, scratched and virtually unplayable copies in remainder bins at used record shops in New York and Toronto and London.
Then vinyl became extinct as did my hopes of ever finding a playable
copy.Until a few weeks ago. That’s when I happened upon your website
(after following a link from The Association’s Wikipedia entry) and
immediately ordered the two CDs. Terry was right about CONSTANT COMPANION (although Icould quibble with his use of the word “minor” in conjunction with “masterpiece”). And A HURRIED LIFE is a treasure trove of small musical gems, deserving of a far larger audience than it is likely to attract.
Thank you for making COMPANION available again and for deciding to
release the songs on AN UNHURRIED LIFE. And if you and your family should ever find yourselves in Bermuda, don’t hesitate to contact me. It would be a sincere pleasure to meet you.
Editor, Mid-Ocean News
Sun, 15 Apr 2007
I was listening to Constant Companion today w/ my 5 year old son, and told him that I was probably the only one still listening to your wonderful voice and amazing lyrics for over 30 years running! I am SO glad to be wrong! There have been few artists I have been faithful to for this amount of time, and you are one of them. so just for the hell of it I googled you and am unbelievably pleasantly surprised! My tape of your album is understandably quite old.. and am looking forward to getting the CD. Are you playing anywhere in California this year?
The main reason I'm writing is that I've been listening to your
record an awful lot lately, and last night I had a dream about you. I don't remember anything from the dream, and I guess you didn't look like you really do, but when I woke up I had a strong feeling I should mail you. Hmm I think I should introduce myself shortly. I'm 25, from Lahti, Finland, have been studying art for a couple of years now and umm...
You know it's really hard trying to figure out important things about yourself to a complete stranger especially on a situation like this. I stumbled upon your record by a recommendation from a friend, it sure was hard to track down, but I finally found it, and I love your music!
I've been having a rather difficult time in my life right now, last december I broke up with a girl who has meant more to me than anyone before her (and not to mention the finnish winter that really
creeps inside your head, last week was minus 30 celsius (I'm not sure what that is on fahrenheit) and the lack of sun really sucks your strenght and happy thoughts from you, and basically all your senses are blocked - you can't see anything but white, the nature seems dead, nothing is moving, there are no sounds, no smells..), and your album has truly been a companion and a friend to
me. I guess I want to thank you for bringing me some consolation. (oh, I just googled and found out that your album has been re-released as a CD! I will
order it immediately :) Is there hope of hearing some new songs from you?
The delightful 'Hurried Life' collection makes a wonderful companion piece to the CD re-issue of 'Constant Companion' and confirms you as my musical discovery of the year. As I wrote in a previous e-mail to you, even in the crowded singer-songwriter market of the past 40 years or so yours is still a truly original talent.
All the best for a happy and musically productive 2007.
Just heard the song "Looking Back" for the v ery first time on KCRW.
I had to play it like 6 times in a row on the archive page!
I wanted to let you know that the song made my day and I can't wait to turn my friends on to your CD.
If Amoeba doesn't have it I'll get in online.
Thank you very much,
My wife Susan and I started singing "Too Late to be Mourning" tonight spontaneously, remembering the song as we have off and on over the years since I bought your LP in 1970. Susan remembers perfectly all the excruciatingly mournful intonations--sorry, you might've said it was too late, but you really ARE mourning soulfully there! Susan asked me if I'd ever looked you up on-line, and I said yeah I did a couple years ago but didn't find anything. Just for the heck of it I tried again tonight, and . . . there you were/are/still are/again! Oh Joy! I still have the Constant Companion vinyl which has migrated with me through many moves and many years from Indiana to Kentucky back to Indiana then to Georgia. It still plays beautifully; but I can't wait to get the CD re-release and "A Hurried Life" as soon as it comes out. Bless you. Bless you.
Jonathan in Athens Ga.
I'm a longtime record collector and former music bus
exec, who owned Constant Companion and enjoyed
it during the 70's. I bought it for the first time, because it was
on Warner Bros. and I loved the cover.
I just got it again on CD (I'm a huge Devendra/Vashti Bunyan/etc fan and somehow through this became aware it had been reissued) and am LOVING IT ALL OVER AGAIN.
I just can't stop playing it and thought I'd send you a fan email. So wonderful and fresh sounding, nearly 40 years later.
I just ordered your "new" old album on Amazon too (and just found
about it via your excellent website.)
Constant Companion came my way in '73 or so, when I was working in a record store in LA; ironically, in the 90's I became
the Exec.VP/General Manager of Warner Bros. Records. Fortunately I
escaped the label business at the end of the 90's and now spend my time buying and selling high end rare records & memorabilia. So
fortunately I have lots of time to listen to the music I love--
and your album is at the top of that list this month.
Congratulations on your resurgence, and long may it last.
I always loved WINDY too !
I honestly cannot believe that I found you. My sister had your album, and when I was in the 5th grade, I used to listen over and over again to your songs. To this day I can still remember all the words and tunes to the first few songs on the album. (I noticed that you didn’t include the lyrics to Topsy Turvy Moon on your lyrics page.) I would sing your songs to friends sometimes, but I have never met anyone who knows who you are. For some strange reason, today I looked up your name on the web. I look from time to time through the years, but never had any luck.
What can I say but…welcome back! I’m very happy to see you are making music once more. The world needs as many loving gentle voices as we can find.
I bought "Constant Companion" in '73. I was 16 at the time.. I played it for anyone I thought had any taste in music and it had alot of miles on it. My older sister learned to play "No Time" on the guitar and that really raised her stock with me in a big way. Now after many years I have the CD and I'm able to share this gem with good friends just like back in the day. Those songs meant alot and they still do. So I just wanted to say thanks for the music and I'll keep hoping to hear more in the future.
Ruthann, because I'm a fan of 60s songwriting and a lover of songs in general, your name has long been familiar to me, albeit in a vague sort of way! Although the Association's recording of 'Windy' inexplicably never charted here in the UK I suspect it will be very familiar to anyone over the age 40 and still gets regular plays on 60s orientated radio shows on the good old BBC. I've always been very interested in hearing albums by writers best known for having their songs recorded by others - Laura Nyro and Jimmy Webb are particular favorites - so I was immediately interested when I first got news of your CD re-issue, and what a revelation it was! Beautiful, haunting, unique songs, charmingly sung and with great guitar accompaniment. I look forward to the release of the CD of previously unreleased songs and demos.
Hi Ruthann !
I heard your song Piper's Call when I was surfing through the net on an radio show (playlist for Hatch) and I nearly fell down.
Such a beautiful voice and so gentle song. Unbelievable. I have never heard before about you.
Anyway, I played that song on my Radio Show and a lots of people called who was the singer and so on.
I found out you recorded in 1969 an LP Constant Companion which must be a real gem, I guess. I would be glad to play it over here
on the National Radio Of Slovenia - Radio Trbovlje. Are there any chances to give me a hint where to buy it. Has it been released on CD?
I found your website and wanted to write. I heard Constant Companion for the first time in 1998 when I bought the old vinyl at a library record sale here at Western Illinois University. After playing it only twice, I knew I had landed what is possibly the best folk record ever made. I am just amazed that the album has been neglected to the extent it has though the years. But I am also very happy to see its appearance on the Water label, and will be buying it early next month when I have some spare change again.
Anyway, just wanted you to know that "CC" is a perennial favorite in our house and even though it's nearly 40 years old, it still attracts new listeners. I hope sales of the CD reissue are good and would be very interested to hear if you are planning to release any new material.
Thanks for your time and best wishes from a relatively new fan. . .
While surfing online I was surprised(and not) today to discover that
your LP on Reprise had been reissued on CD.
i have been a fan of your LP since it came out... or nearly then.
Constant Companion fell out of my radar for a long time but came back
when i was working as an art director for Warner/Reprise Records in the
90's and requested a cassette of the record from the vaults for my
listening pleasure. It fell out of my radar again only to think of it
when i was speaking with Pat Thomas about a potential project with an
artist and label I am affiliated with. It was my suggestion to have
Pat investigate your record for release on Water. He seemed to jump on
Funny how these things happen. Funny too how music finds it's way into
the consciousness of culture in new ways. I hope your overlooked record
gets the praise and accolades it didn't receive when it was released
My very best wishes to you. I look forward to picking up a copy of the