Category Archives: Music

“…he not busy being born is busy dying…”

The Great Speckled Bird 5/12/69 vol 2 #9 p11

[The layout of the following article and lyrics was nonlinear, with sections and paragraphs arranged around photos and other graphics.]

 “I will secretly accept you,

And together we’ll fly South.”

 “Leave your stepping stones behind

There’s something that calls for you.

Forget the dead you left, they will not follow you.

The vagabond who’s rapping at your door

Is standing in the clothes that you once wore.

Strike another match–go start anew,

And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.”

 “And I’ll tell it and speak it and think it and breathe it

And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it.

And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’

And I’ll know my song well before I start singin’.”


“In a soldier’s stance I aimed my hand

At the mongrel dogs who teach.

Fearing not I’d become my enemy

At the instant that I preached.

My existence led by confusion boats

Mutinied from stern to bow–

Ah, but I was so much older then,

I’m younger than that now.”

 Bob Dylan chronicles a newborn musical soul in fetters: hillbilly theatrics and black-face minstrelsy stifle its expression and obscure its real identity. The guitar is raucous and untutored, its forms a parody of the strengths of black bluesmen and white troubadours who sang of hard times. Only the harmonica sings. A rough, fresh humor explodes through all the tradition and the intense preoccupation with death. The sound is uptight, confined. Woody Guthrie is mentor.

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan begins the pendulum swing away from the experience of the black man. Traditional white folk and “topical” forms are explored and expanded in a relaxation of the musical tensions of the first album. Interaction between voice and guitar is the keystone–both rough, both searching for a style and a form, but this time creating music in the process. Superlative harmonica offerings continue to hold the straining parts together. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” presages the sounds to come: a perfect musical and lyrical creation with guitar, vocal and harmonic textures intermeshed in an autonomous unit. The humor is still present, tempered by a growing bitterness.

 The Times They Are A-Changin’ continues the reformulation of the topical “protest” song, but this time the humor is absent. The singer becomes a preacher. The harmonica is distilled sadness and anger and fear while the guitar learns discipline.

 Another Side of Bob Dylan is the nadir of instrumental and vocal performance. Previous song forms are now totally inadequate: the new wine is bursting the old skins. The voice is increasingly strained and laden with self-pity, the instrumental accompaniment demoralized.

The next album is Bringin’ It All Back Home, but the trip is not into the past, but forward into the present. The sound turns on. Electric instruments are added. The total music is more alive than ever before. The term “folk music” is reinterpreted: the sounds which once came from the broadside now emanate from the jukebox. Teenagers all over the world have the subterranean homesick blues. There is a force, a fire long absent or suppressed. The harmonica soars, the electricity flows freely through the new expanded instrumentation, and the voice begins to work within the path created for it by the music: Guthrie has become the tambourine man.

 Highway 61 Revisited lets it all hang out. The musical psyche of youth weeps, laughs and lashes out violently at the absurdity of the old forms it has inherited. Freedom is not a goal to be won; freedom lies in the struggle against these old forms. It is a personal as well as a collective thing.

 Blonde on Blonde expands the electric sounds further and mellows them. Musical subtleties abound. Everything bristles, everything sings; the song, the singer, and the sound find a new realm of wholeness where they can move together. The turn-on has proved permanent and produces a vibrant palette of tone colors.

 John Wesley Harding is a distillation of all that has gone before. Instrumentation is simpler, more pungent, the song forms less complex and more elliptical. The sound plunges deep into the roots of white country music, and the voice handles its new eminence with grace. The forms are more regional, yet, mystical, more traditional, yet freer, pop but earthy. The voice evokes, it does not preach.

Nashville Skyline is the birth of a new voice: Dylan sings! Both the harmonious and discordant elements latent in the first album are now fused and reintegrated into a new sound. Johnny Cash joins Woody Guthrie. Humor returns not as an imp but as a lover. The old has produced the new. Dylan is now the country cosmopolite. Another struggle, another cycle begins.

The young Bob Dylan is full of words, but they are not his, nor are the forms in which they are expressed: the song is either “to Woody”

“Here’s to Cisco and Sonny and Leadbelly, too

And to all the good people that traveled with you;

Here’s to the hearts and the hands of men

That ‘come with dust and are gone with the wind”,

–or the experience it speaks of belongs to the black man.

“I’m walkin’ kinda funny, Lord,

I believe I’m fixin’ t’ die.

Oh well, I’m walkin’ kinda funny, Lord,

I believe I’m fixin’ t’ die.

Well I don’t mind dyin’ but I hate t’leave my children cryin’.”

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan begins to make his own personal statement, but the old forms continue to dominate. Enter the “message”. Even here “issues” become a cul-de-sac, and moralism gives way to a desire for change itself. Former issues of Right vs. Wrong are compressed into one comprehensive issue–new vs. old: “Get out of the new road if you can’t lend your hand/ For the time’s they are a-changin’.”      

This new emphasis upon a radically altering universe of values opens a door to a whole new experience. A verbal manifesto is required as a ticket to ride.

“Good and bad I defined these terms

So clear, no doubt somehow:

Ah, but I was so much older then

I’m younger than that now.”

 Love is impossible. “Go away from my window.”

 Bringin’ It All Back Home: Rock and Roll brings it all back home to the 20th century. Folk means pop, and the lyrics become looser with greater room for complexities and shifting priorities of meanings. The new freedom allows a place for love minus zero, no limit.

 Highway 61 Revisited submerges the Word, now harsh and biting into an orgy of imagery and electric sound: “the songs on this record are not so much songs but rather exercises in tonal breath control (B.D.) “‘Message Man” is now the villain of villains:

“You’ve been with the professors

And they’ve all liked your looks.

With great lawyers you’ve discussed lepers and crooks.

You’ve been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books,

You’re very well read, it’s well known–

But something is happening here, and you don’t know what it is,

Do you, Mr. Jones?”

The word clusters are now too dense and evocative for any “message” Mr. Jones the Print Man might be able to seek–“There oughta be a law against you comin’ round/ You should be made to wear earphones!”

Blonde on Blonde accepts the new complexity as basic. The savage humor is mellowed and the love strain is amplified. The sprawling, inward turning images can construct a hymn to a “sad-eyed lady of the lowlands” or say simply, “I want you”.

John Wesley Harding compresses the lines into stark, enigmatic song forms in which “Nothing”–and everything–is revealed”. The simple eloquence of country music lyrics is inspiration. Song and setting are one and the same. Words are a means of expression for the voice, now used as an instrument within a total sound.

Folk, pop, country, rock – Nashville Skyline reformulates all the lyrical ingredients of all the previous verbal concoctions into a new, whole in which the voice supersedes the song–“love that country pie”.

 Bob Dylan is schizoid, an explosive energy source of youth in a new age struggling to express itself in old forms. Black experience is exploited ruthlessly and wars with the spirit of the dust bowl. A young soul is stretched taut between competing masques. Intuition and fear of death is accurate, but it will be a psychic death, a destruction of the ego. Precariously balanced equilibrium.

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan has some room to walk around. The mannerisms and affectations of false experience are channeled into more accommodating vessels. Preoccupation with death becomes horror at the condition of man in the 20th Century, and fear of The Bomb. White folk forms are infused with humor and the balance is maintained.

The Times They Are A-Changin’ tips the scales to the dark side. Humor is gone. Despair, outrage, protest, even vengeance come to the fore. Change is seen as an end in itself.

 The split occurs in Another Side of Bob Dylan. Uncertainty rules. The old answers become questions. Withdrawal, beginning of psychosis. Turning inward. There is only one issue now: being “hung up.”

Bringin’ It All Back Home discovers a new source of strength with which to face the trial ahead: electric rock, a new folk music for a new age. The door to the unconscious is opened, the past is irrevocably past.

Highway 61 Revisited gets down in it. All travel is within the psyche. The outside world is a manifestation of the horrors within. Chaos reigns, humor is savage. New forms, new shapes, all is accepted.

 Blonde on Blonde reveals a psychic implosion. Dylan gracefully rides the crest of his own mind wave. He has found his own frequency, and the love and humor can again have free play. The conscious and the unconscious are opposite sides of the same experience.

John Wesley Harding forms a synthesis. The wounds begin to heal, and a new vision appears. Rage and humor mellow into wisdom. White soul roots are deeper, flight is unrestrained. Passage from within to without is smooth and free. The Self.

Nashville Skyline is the birth of a new voice. All elements are balanced. Free-flowing sound. Wounds have become strengths. All blends into the love strain. Integration of the individual into the world. A new cycle begins.

“Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet

We’ll sit here stranded, though we’re all doing our best to deny it

And Louise holds a handful of rain tempting you to defy it

Lights flicker in the opposite loft

In this room the heat pipes just cough

The country music station plays soft,

But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off

Just Louise and her lover so entwined

And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind.”


“Now the moon is almost hidden

The stars are beginning to hide

The fortune telling lady

Has even taken all her things inside

All except for Cain and Abel

And the hunchback of Notre Dame

Everybody is making love

Or else expecting rain

And the good Samaritan he’s dressing

He’s getting ready for the show

He’s going to the carnival

Tonight on Desolation Row.”

                                                                        –miller francis, jr.




Haynes McFadden interview

catacombswall2Haynes McFadden was typical of the experimental artist of the time. He came from the world of photography and got interested in color. He helped the Electric Collage Light Show rise to acclaim. He was involved in some of the early ‘scene’ in Atlanta. He  resided in South Africa until his death. Haynes Carter McFadden passed away June 10, 2012 at 69, after having resided in Omaruru, Namibia, since 1998. He was a pioneer for the Baha’i Faith in Germany and Namibia, photographically chronicled a number of major Baha’i events and later focused on training and empowering Namibians through both his business and his Baha’i activity.
Here are his stories from his Atlanta days.

      All recordings copyright the strip project

Moving into the pre-Strip area


Experiments with color

The Electric Collage

The Catacombs

the Bands

The area transforms

Oglethorpe University area

work in Theater


Shady Theaters

Shady too

The Atlanta Pop festival

about Alex Cooley

The Onion Dome

Light art



Bucky Wetherell interview

Photo by Haynes McFadden. Bucky is left behind the projector.

Bucky Wetherell was at Atlanta School of Art when ‘the scene’ started, worked with early light shows at The Catacombs  with The Electric Collage Lightshow. He then became part of STOMP.  STOMP was a tribal musical like Hair, but actually created by hippies. It started in Texas, matured here, moved to New York and returned to be firebombed in Atlanta.

Mother David , king of Atlanta hippies according to the papers, was a model at the Atlanta School of Art by The High Museum where a lot of the ‘scene’ started.

Introduction to Bucky

The Strip

The Catacombs

Light shows

Light show techniques moved into movie making and into Atlanta’s Electric Collage Light Show. Lots of creativity tales centered around the High Museum area.



High Museum

Haynes McFadden

Stomp – on stage

Stomp arson.

Palinurus Gallery, 15th street


Richards nightclub

Alex Cooley

The scene blossoms in 1969. People and places emerge.

Cliff Enders


Wallace Brothers

Bucky’s best experience

Richard Greene

Bucky’s worst experience around The Strip

Places I remember

The 12th Gate


Joe Shifalo (Pig Iron) and Toni Shifalo (La Banana)


Pig Iron aka Joe Shifalo
Pig Iron aka Joe Shifalo

Joe Shifalo, aka Pig Iron, loved music and played guitar and harmonica. He was a lawyer and civil rights activist, and he retired as executive director of the Little Five Points Community Center. The unofficial ‘Mayor of Little Five Points’. (photo on right by Boyd Lewis)

RIP Pig Iron March 2009
Toni Shifalo (aka La Banana

Joe’s partner Toni Shifalo is a local celebrity in her own right as La Banana.

Among other accomplishments she founded the Groundhog Day Juggler’s Festival. She  was interviewed a year after Joe’s death and  gave an interesting counterpoint to Pig Iron’s story. Amazing how they parallel.


  All recordings copyright the strip project

Coming to Atlanta – Joe

Coming to Atlanta – Toni

Living on 15th Street – Toni

Walking The Strip – Joe Shifalo

Toni on The Strip

A headstart trippin’ through the delta – Joe Shifalo

Shifalo Druid Wedding on 15th Street

Druid Wedding by the High Museum – Toni

Leaving The Strip area

Toni’s bad experience

The Allman Brothers in Piedmont Park

The Piedmont Police Riot – Joe Shifalo

Rebellion in the park and the streets – Joe Shufalo

Toni on Piedmont Park

Music in Piedmont Park – Joe Shifalo

Toni on Richards

Toni’s Woodstock Tale

The Woodstock album cover – Toni Shifalo

Little Five Points – Toni

Acid Sun – Toni

Joe on Toni

Robert ‘Joe’ Shifalo, musician, ‘mayor’ of Little Five Points
By HOLLY CRENSHAW The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday, March 29, 2009
There were too many forces pulling at Joe Shifalo — too many battles to fight, too many songs to sing, too many passionate pursuits to take up — for him to settle into a predictable life.
The unofficial mayor of Little Five Points, Mr. Shifalo was a lawyer with a beat poet’s soul. He battled poverty, spun blues records and folksy Southern tales on the radio, and championed the underdog whenever he could.
“If he could have made a living from music, he probably would have done that,” said his wife, Christena Bledsoe of Atlanta. “But he often said that then he would have missed out, because he also was very much the social activist.”
Robert M. “Joe” Shifalo, 65, died of a heart attack March 22 at his Atlanta residence. The body was cremated. Memorial service plans will be announced. R.T. Patterson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
The Florida native lived in New York City in the late 1960s, where he fell in with Dave Van Ronk and other Greenwich Village folk singers. He sang, played guitar and harmonica and performed jug band music and blues songs for the rest of his life.
Most Atlantans knew him under the stage moniker of Pig Iron, but after a bout with lung cancer, he jokingly referred to himself as the bluesy-sounding “Half-Lung.”
He recorded two albums and six CDs, appeared at festivals, coffeehouses and blues clubs, and often performed with his former wife and still-close friend, Toni Shifalo, holding down the beat on her washtub bass.
When the listener-supported radio station WRFG launched in 1973, Mr. Shifalo served as one of its original on-air personalities and launched its long-running “Good Morning Blues” program.
He persuaded the Atlanta Board of Education to rent an abandoned school building for $1 a year and transformed it into the Little Five Points Community Center. The building now houses WRFG and a handful of other arts and community nonprofit groups that help give the neighborhood its bohemian character.
He volunteered with the Atlanta Planning Board, spearheaded neighborhood groups and helped save the Candler Park golf course, on top of his career as an attorney and civil rights activist.
Armed with a degree from John Marshall Law School, he fought poverty through his work with Economic Opportunity Atlanta and battled discrimination as executive director of Metro Fair Housing Services.
“Joe was a child of the ’60s,” said Foster Corbin of East Point, the current executive director of Metro Fair Housing. “He thought all people should have equal access to housing and to the law and to all the things that white, straight males get in this country.”
Mr. Shifalo was free-thinking, unconventional and unconcerned with how people dressed or looked, his wife said. He created folk art paintings and loved to study the exotic birds near his second home in Cedar Keys, Fla. He gravitated to science-fiction novels, she said, because they made him think about the future.
“Joe really believed in social change,” his wife said. “He thought by now we’d be further ahead than where we are, but he loved to talk about how much things had changed since his childhood.”
When he retired in January as executive director of the Little Five Points Community Center, his send-off was a sprawling, sentimental shindig. When his death was announced on WRFG, admirers lit up the phone lines.
“Joe was a performer, but on a private level he was very tender,” his wife said. “After they told me he had died, I was touching him and could still feel all of this love coming out of him, because he had so much love for so many people.”
There are no other immediate survivors.

You survive in the folks of Little Five Points, Pig Iron.


Alex Cooley interview

alexcooleyAlex Cooley opened Atlanta to the music world, and vice versa. He also brought MidTown Music Festival to The Strip!
He has some very interesting things to say.


Thanks Alex for all the great music over the years.

Thanks especially for bringing The Grateful Dead to Piedmont Park.



img_3216 img_3217

Patti Kakes and MysterE  with Alex Cooley

  All recordings copyright the strip project

Second Atlanta Pop Festival at Byron

 more on Byron

Miami Pop Festival Dec 1968

The Strip

 more on The Strip

 worst experience associated with The Strip

 Peace and Understanding

 cycles of History

Alex’s Allman Brother’s story





The Bird Reviews Cream at Chastain

After Jimi Hendrix we really felt excited about Cream coming to Chastain park. This was among the most memorable moments for many, and is still a touchstone for many memories today.  My understanding mother brought a carload of folks for my going away to college concert. Hope you were lucky enough to have been there.


Apologies – have misplaced credits for the pictures of Cream in Atlanta. Contact if you know.

cream chastain cream3 cream2


Backstreet – hopping round the clock in the 70s.

Backstreet was a dance club off Peachtree. It was a gay club but welcomed those exploring all  freedoms. Remember oral sex in Georgia, even between a married couple,  could land you in jail before 2003!    Backstreet and later  The Limelight both served as battlefields against Georgia’s antiquated laws on sex.

Backstreet was where the music and dancing literally never stopped. No windows or clocks. People sometimes went in and came out a day later.