A personal tale involving Jorma...this was once part of a node that was nuked (deservedly) but I felt (unashamedly) that I should save this text. The original node asked a GTKY question, and my answer was the song North Wind Rise
by Hot Tuna
. Here's why I love that tune.
North Wind Rise by Hot Tuna.
Off the album HOPPKROV that finally was released on CD about two years ago. Before then, I had a bit of a tale finding it! I first heard it on a mix tape made by a friend at around age 10. However, I became obsessed with finding it again around 1984, when I heard it playing on a passer-by's radio. Not until the summer of 1986 would I come close; I was in a used record store in Ithaca, NY where I was volunteering for the summer. While carefully checking through all the used records, as I did meticulously in every record store I visited to find a copy of that album (in those pre-web days, it took me a year to find out what album it was on) I attracted the attention of one of the shop employees. He helpfully asked what I was looking for. When I told him, he just looked at me, then said something like:
"That song is impossible. It was a small print run, and it was performed live while the rest of the world was watching the Apollo moon landing, so no one bothered to really promote it. I've worked in record stores for ten years; I've never seen a copy of HOPPKROV on sale."
At this point, I began to think of crying, but gamely held out, which was good, because he then said: "But you're in luck." Joy! How??!?!? "I'm a DJ on a local station, and they have it. Listen in at 9:00pm tonight and I'll play it for you."
I thanked him profusely, rushed back to my dorm room and obsessively prepped my tape deck. At precisely 9:00pm, he came on the air, and said "This is for a young man I met today in the record store. Hey, man, you got your tape ready? If not, you got ten seconds. I'll wait." Then he whistled. I was, of course, ready. Finally: "Okay, bud, here you go..." ...and the most beautiful song ever flowed out of the air onto my tape.
That's not the end of it, though. The tape kept me warm and comfy at night for four years before it was lost forever when my car was burglarized. I was *so* pissed and depressed, I can't tell you. Around this time (maybe two months later) my eating club (yeah, I went toPrinceton) had one of its twice-weekly parties; however, this time due to a budgetary oops we hadda spend some cash or lose it, so we hired Jorma Kaukonen to play our living room. That's right, 1/2 of Hot Tuna! He got there early and was hanging out in the officer's suite with myself and a couple friends who were Jefferson Airplane fanatics, making small talk, and it all of a sudden hit me who he was. I jumped up. He looked surprised.
"Dude! You're Jorma Kaukonen!!!"
He looked shocked, patted himself a couple of times then grinned and said "Holy cow, I am!"
"Oh my god, one of your songs is the most beautiful thing in the world and I never could find the vinyl - it's on HOPPKROV-"
"Oh yeah, man, that thing is like hella rare. What tune?"
"North Wind Rise."
He got a really faraway look on his face, then walked over (from my bed where he'd been sitting) to the wall and got his guitar, sat back down on my bed, and...
PLAYED ME THE SONG.
In a way, I'm glad I was too blissed to tape it; that would have ruined it. As Captain Sheridan once had it explained to him by Kosh, "One moment of perfect beauty." I must've elevated off the bed. He played it for me twice, and then I hugged him (which he gracefully tolerated) and, crying my ass off, worshipped him that evening at the show. Jorma, if you're out there, you ARE THE MAN.
And finally, a couple of years ago, they released HOPPKROV on CD, and my torment ended.
Up in the morning watch the North Wind rise
bringin' fire down from the skies
and though I got a long way to go
keep on lovin' me and make it slow...