Uncle Tommy Gabriel passed away last week. The same Uncle Tommy from "When Sinatra Played Juarez." Golden times on the border. The clinking of cocktail glasses. Cheap divorces.
Greyhound races. Jai Alai frontons. The Kingston Trio played in Juarez and sang "Tom Dooley."
Nat King Cole rattled the keyboard and sang "Route 66" and "Mona Lisa." They're killing people over there now inside one of the extended drug wars. I heard the rat a tat tat of tommy guns on the streets outside the Geronimo Bar a few years back. Geronimo would have been right at home. But they shipped him off to Florida. Dave Gahr also died last week. Or this week. He was 85. Photographed Bob Dylan and all the great folk writers. I have a signed book of his called: 'The Faces of Folk." Old Dave was a character among Brooklyn characters. One night Ian Tyson and myself shared a few bottles of wine and staggered over to Dave Gahr's brownstone studio in Park Slope Brooklyn. I was dating a gal named Edie, from Lone Wolf Oklahoma, and she came along for the ride. The photos from that night are wonderful, because Gahr knew how to get a rise out of even the most arrogant and stoic folksinger. He'd laugh at you and say: "Oh, you're such a hard ass. You are a very bad guy. What if Marilyn Monroe was sitting in your lap right now, Mr. Hard guy?" You'd crack up and Dave would snap the photo. He treated everyone that way. From God to Emmy Lou. The passing and the passing and the passing. Like a line from a Tim Hardin song: "Goodbye Hank Williams, my friend. I never knew you, but I've been to places you've been."