Monday, 30 July 2018

Tom Pohlman's magical Prayer for John, USA 1970

A mystically beautiful folk record from 1970 from a one-off artist called Tom Pohlman (actually quite similar to the Entourage-related Bob Brown I just posted) thematically addressed to John. (See below for info.)

If you click on the first link there above this sentence you'll notice there's a record available to you for purchase, in the amount of 1600 dollars.  The lowest it sold for apparently on discogs was in the 700s.  So really, be prepared for the fury of your wife.  Or, instead, you can just follow this blog and save yourself a whole load o' cash.  I remember long ago reading Tom Hayes saying that albums described for example on popsike or record collector's guide as 'superb loner folk or psych' really just boil down to simple songs with vocals on acoustic guitar with nothing progressive to get us excited about.  Well this record really does fit the bill here.  Consider how beautiful the instrumental ST opener to the second side is:

The Ganges' soaring emotional grace and beauty just left me speechless:

It's a shame the vocals were so badly recorded (on what is a private pressing I guess) it's very hard to tell what he's saying.

Can you believe it?  After so many albums hunted for, caught and bagged, eviscerated and set up on the wall as trophies?

Thanks be to all those who help in the quest, as always... Please, I beg you, don't let the flow of beautiful gems ever end.... that would surely break my heart... 
(though have the opposite effect on my family...)

PS. Note the following information clearly contemporaneous from this post:

1970 folk music recorded in the Baltimore area, including musicians Tom Pohlman, Bill Campbill, Howie Bloom, Mike Parloff, Jim Queen, Mark Seidelson, and Janet Miller. Corner and edge wear, splits beginning in about 3 places, light rings front and back...

A Prayer for John (U. of Md. Diamondback) by Dave Bourdon 

Tom Pohlman is looking for the right girl. In that way, perhaps, he's no different than any other guy on campus. 
What sets Pohlman's search apart from others is that while he has met the girl he seeks, he does not know her name, anything about her personality or background. In fact, he knows only one thing about her. She is a human being. 
Pohlman met her while walking back to his dorm room. Crossing the mall, he spotted her crying underneath a tree. 
"When 1 saw her," he recalls, "it seemed like the whole tree was crying, too. I went over and said, 'Either you have a very bad cold or you're crying'...she said she was crying and I asked what the matter was. She said 'you wouldn't understand' and I said maybe I would. 
"Then she told me her brother had just been killed in Vietnam. 
"It really set me back. I sat down and said that perhaps I did understand a bit because my father had died last June." 
Pohlman spent about five minutes comforting the girl. Finally, he says, "I asked her if she was religious and she said yes. I asked her if it would be prying if I asked her brother's name and she said it was John. I told her I'd say a prayer for John." 
The chance meeting was still preying on Pohlman's mind that night. An amateur songwritier, he took his guitar, pencil and paper and walked to the floor stairwell. In half an hour he had composed a soft ballad intitled "A Prayer For John." 
But when he woke the next morning, he realized he "could not use it unless it was all right with the girl. It was a personal thing even if it didn't mention any names. It was as much her song as it was mine." 
The search began. Pohlman posted notices in every girls' dorm asking "the girl who was crying for John" to contact him. 

He also advertised in the Diamondback. For his efforts, Pohlman has thus far received false alarms and prank calls. 

At this moment, then, the fate of Pohlman's song is in limbo. Although he is quite opposed to the war, the song has no political overtones for several reasons. Essentially, he says, the song was meant to mourn the death of a human being, to express the sorrow of a close death, whether by war or any other cause. He says it best, "John is a human being. That's all John is. That's all I know about him." Another reason for his political abstention is that "perhaps the girl has feelings about the war. I'm sure she wouldn't like to hear he died for nothing." 
Pohlman still has hopes of finding the lost girl, but he realizes his chances are dimming. "But mainly," he says, "I hope she's not crying anymore." 
published in The Crescent student newspaper, November 21, ...~

1 comment:


    new up Fallabrino Music for Sensations, as requested