Raga Mama Raga

Perhaps the greatest guitarist in the world. --Derek Taylor, Beatles' Press Agent

Flamenco Returns East by Drone

Would you like to know a secret?
It's just between you and me.
I don't know where I'm going next,
I don't know where I'm gonna be;

But that's the other side to this life
I've been leading,
But that's the other side of this life.
--Fred Neil

Woefully Almost Forgotten Guitarist

Peter's great LP, Rainy Day Raga, from 1967 was a major influence on my music. I think he's a wonderful player and I like what he's doing now, but I can understand if one doesn't have that context of his earlier work and not be a flamenco fan in general, then his music might seem one dimensional to some. --Jack Rose

Perhaps Grateful or Ungrateful Dead

Jack Rose (1971-2009), who played with Peter many times, and as recently as 2008, was one of many guitarists in this shared eclectic genre of world music, folk, jazz and esoteric but who are no longer with us.  Many of these deceased had the deadly drug demons never exorcised from them. Others gone on who have played with Peter Walker -- or influenced him -- or were influenced by him, included: sitar master, Ravi Shankar (1920-2012), lute-like sarod maven, Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009), songwriter Fred Neil (1936-2001), 12 string guitarist, blues banjoist and vocalist, Karen Dalton1 (1937-1993), slide guitarist, John Fahey (1939-2001), psychedelic blues guitarist, James Gurley (1939-2009), folk artist, Tim Hardin (1940-1980), composer and vocalist, Robbie Basho (1940-1986), drummer vocalist, Levon Helm (1940-2012), and experimental stringed instrumentalist, with whom he was close, Sandy Bull (1941-2001).

Still Living and Loving Music

Peter Walker, is also a kindred spirit with others who are today's survivors: percussionist, guitarist and more, Bruce Langhorne, jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, (who said Peter was, "One of the most original practitioners of contemporary music"), flutist Jeremy Steig, tablaist Badal Roy, (who worked with Miles Davis), Orthodox Priest and drummer, Maruga Booker, folk music legend Joan Baez; and certainly not last or least, tamboura player, guitarist, songwriter,2 poet, actress, Sharmagne Leland-St. John. Sharmagne (a.k.a. The Countess), continues to join Peter in musical cooperative endeavors to this day. From the new generation, Ben Chasny, with his Six Organs of Admittance project, carries on this guitar tradition. He said of Walker's first album from 1966, Rainy Day Raga:

Scanning the back cover, the words “raga guitar” and “Timothy Leary” stood out like rubrics in a hymnal; hinting at but not exactly explaining the genesis of the beauty in Walker’s technique: a playful pair of hands calmly annihilating the American Primitive and British Folk dichotomy. My entire understanding of Peter Walker’s music came from those liner notes and the personal switches he flipped in my own brain. No matter what I thought I knew about the man, however, nothing really explained how he could create a record so damn joyful from an acoustic guitar.

To our delight you could have viewed this video link, (before some recent copyright hassles had it taken down), of "Bahia Banderas" performed by Peter Walker and our own Sharmagne Leland-St. John in about 2001. As of this writing in 2014, he will be appearing April 11th at McCabe's Guitar Shop, a place started in Santa Monica, CA in 1958, which soon became a venue for so many early folk, bluegrass and rock pioneers.3

Boston baked being

July 21, 1938 was the happy date the Walkers of Boston could welcome another musician to their family. His father was a folk musician playing mandolin or guitar, and Walker recollected that as a lad he would help turn the sheet music pages while his mother studied her four hand piano pieces of Mozart. This wide dimensional sound would challenge Peter to duplicate that same fullness on his acoustic guitar.  He recalled later he wanted to emulate, "the multiple lines, inverting and weaving, and the nice, tight, logical endings."

Opry Instead of Opera

He explained to the Scene while at his Woodstock, N.Y. residence, why country music was his first influence: "I could only receive two radio stations:  one was WSM's the Grand Ole Opry, and the other was WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia." In 1952 the young teenager, so endeared with the scene, left for that Tennessee mecca Nashville (home to WSM), where he reminisced:

I sat on the front steps of the Grand Ole Opry for an entire morning, and played my harmonica.  Then I found the route out of town and stuck out my thumb. Traveling through the Deep South when I was 14 years old, being able to play "Dixie" came in handy.
His guitar style would now be influenced by Bluegrass picking and Chet Atkins' virtuoso finger picking.

Cambridge, the Village Wannabes

If we take the MTA backwards at the speed of light, perhaps we might enjoy the fact that at Harvard in 1888, the American Folklore Society was initiated by mid-19th Century Francis James Child who collected 305 traditional British Isle folk ballads. (I wonder whether Peter Walker's father was involved with the Society). It was the post World War II generation that discovered roots music, especially in the coffee houses (based on European cafés ) that became venues for jazz and then folk artists. Though one of the first, a plain wrapper affair, the Coffee Grinder, opened near Harvard Square by Tulla Cook in 1955 on Mount Auburn Street, had no live music.

The Beatniks of the 50s, especially of New York City's Village, were into poetry and jazz, and some of the following in the Boston area, the Cafe Yana, the Salamander, the Golden Vanity, the Unicorn, and Club 47 (now the Passim Coffeehouse on Palmer Street) billed similarly but added more folk music as the decade moved into the next. Dick Zaffron, (later Doctor Richard Zaffron) played around these coffee houses, and then mentored the guitar and vocally talented Joan Baez. Her 1958 debut at the Club 47 only came after her cajoling the predominantly jazz oriented management to let her take the stage; doing bits like the Carter Family mixed in with "Child Ballads." (They are named after those aforementioned [Francis J. Child's collection.) After the jazz peoples' jaws dropped, she then finagled her way to the spotlight in her own whole show the following Sunday. The place packed out, and folk music was seen as a way to get that, "greenback dollar." (Hoyt Axton and Ken Ramsey wrote Greenback Dollar, which became notable when it was sung by the Kingston Trio. They also played at Boston's Storyville when they began to tour.) Walker had more than a musical bond with Sandy Bull, who played this circuit, and of whom he said, "was on the cutting edge of Eastern exploration." Those coffeehouses Peter Walker also frequented, but the twenty year old had wanderlust again.

Some people say I'm a 'No count',
Others say I'm no good.
But I'm just a natural born travelin' man,
Doin' what I think I should, oh yeah,
Doin' what I think I should.

And I don't give a damn about a greenback-ah-dollar,
Spend it fast as I can.
For a wailin' song and a good guitar,
The only things that I understand, poor boy,
The only things that I understand.

The Fingers Are Frisky In Ole Frisco

So Walker made his way to San Francisco, where he told an interviewer:

I remember teaching chords to Jim Gurley in the "Bagel Shop" at Grant and Green. Jim developed into a monster player later became guitarist for my dear friend Janis Joplin, and Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Finally in California he was brave enough to play for an audience. And he stumbled on the opportunity to hear Ali Akbar Khan, master of the classical music of Northern India, on the sarod. It is a double gourd-like instrument whose 25 strings are played with a bow, or 10 of its strings can be plucked with a coconut shell.  He studied under him in an all day session at Ali's College of Music in Berkeley (later San Rafael). Of course since Ali's brother-in-law, Ravi Shankar came from the same East Bengali ashram, Ravi's drone like sitar that was heard in a concert enthralled Walker immensely.  Peter would study later in Ravi's Los Angeles Kinnara school founded in 1967. Walker would even travel to Mexico to study their guitar style and deal instruments as well. He told a marvelous anecdote about those times:
John Barrymore ripped the sound system out of a car and gave it to me and ran it on a car battery, and we played Ravi Shankar tapes in Mexico in the early 1960s.

The Gypsy Played and Danced Before Crying

There is a relation to the ragas that the Hindustani music has to Spanish Flamenco, it is the Carnatic or Karnāṭaka Saṃgīta system.  Peter Walker traveled to Granada to learn from several flamenco guitarists. These Roma, Rom or Romani people, who speak Romany, continue music from an 800 year old tradition that started in Northern India and Pakistan. (The misnomer "Gypsy" was derived in 1537 from "Egyptian", and the derogation "gypped" came from stereotypes and prejudice) These ancient people came from the Rajput caste and continue this oldest maintained musical format existing. Walker expounded, “It was the smoking gun, the connection between East and West, right there in the city of Granada.”

Walker explains this music was derived while parts of India were under Muslim rule. Eventually females, as wives or slaves from those Hindustani locations, were brought to Spain along with their traditions during its Moorish domination. He comments of his relation with this sometimes dangerous community:

I got kind of popular with the Gypsies, because I could take their flamenco piece and trace it back to the raga, and then play the raga and come up with the flamenco, and than infuse it with jazz, which is also what they like.

He could hear this as he played in their caves of Sacromonte. He said of this correlation,

 In both raga and flamenco, the music creates an effect. If you play a predetermined series of notes, it will have a predetermined effect. So it was the process of creating that effect that fascinated me. You get a drone, you get a wall of sound going, and then you play melodies into it, which are entertaining or rhythmically changing.
He fondly remembers also:
Playing for a Gypsy audience in Madrid was one of the high points of my life, I played with the Gypsy band, then I played solo, and they really got into it. The Queen of the Gypsies said I was proof that Gypsy souls come back in different bodies.

Not Leery About Leary

Timothy Leary's dead.
No, no, no, no, He's outside looking in.
Timothy Leary's dead.
No, no, no, no, He's outside looking in.

He'll fly his astral plane,
Takes you trips around the bay,
Brings you back the same day,
Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.
--R. Taylor, Moody Blues

About the same time Peter Walker was exploring a more spiritual kind of music to be incorporated with his acoustic six string, in Northern California, Harvard Psychology Professor Timothy Leary (1920 - 1996), took what was initially a physical trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico with colleague Anthony Russo, that became a life altering Psilocybin mushroom trip -- for his first psychedelic or entheogenic experience.4

Leary would never again the person he said he was before, "an anonymous institutional employee who drove to work each morning in a long line of commuter cars and drove home each night and drank martinis ... like several million middle-class, liberal, intellectual robots."

Walker was introduced to Leary when he was back in Cambridge in 1962 selling guitars, about the time Leary set up the International Foundation for Internal Freedom with Richard Alport.

Lab Rats and their Higher Education

Walker also visited Timothy Leary At the Newton House Project, named for the Andover Newton Seminary students experimented upon, first in Cambridge then later at Millbrook, NY.  At first Peter Walker was just one of the more than 500 people to imbibe hallucinogens, but eventually Peter Walker wrote and played the music for what would be called "Celebrations." Leary's quote on Walker's first album is, “Peter Walker plays on the ancient protein strings of the genetic code.” And Walker recalled his first impressions of Leary:

I liked Tim immensely. He was a dear man. He never had a conversation with somebody when he didn't reach out and touch their minds in a positive way. He was an instinctive psychologist. So he could see at a point of initially meeting someone some need they had, whatever it was, and he would stroke it, or he would be perceptive.

Others would call these scientific gatherings, parties, where the leader (Leary), instead of one who was supposed to be observing, participated; and indeed it got unwanted attention from the FBI and the FDA looking into illegality.

On or Under the Millstone at Millbrook

The Harvard Corporation fired Leary in that Spring of 1963, (for not showing up to teach his classes), but fortunately some Mellon heirs, the Hitchcocks, helped him secure an estate in Millbrook, NY, not far from Poughkeepsie. Sharmagne, his ofttimes musical partner in "Celebrations," (and to this day a continued friend), said, "When we were out at Millbrook, we stayed in what looked like a Swiss chalet and was a bowling alley: Goats outside the door and all." They would be harassed quite a bit by the local district attorney, G. Gordon Liddy, even arrested by him. (In a life-takes-strange-turns-kind-of-way, Leary would tour with Liddy in the 80s as friends and ex-cons). Eventually neighbor Hamilton Fish, Jr.'s (1926 - 1996) complaints brought an end to the escapades there. (Ironically Fish beat Liddy in a Republican primary in 1968.) The spiritual side to these drugs began to become more prevalent, and Walker became the official music leader by 1965, and it was at this time he began working on his first album. He remembers how they responded,

The way I played, in its own particular way, was carrying people away...that was the point of it. Take someone out of themselves for a while, give them a nice experience and bring them back.

George Harrison, (who was at Kinnara with Walker), Roger McGuinn, and others who used their electric guitars to get that droning, spiritual sound, influenced by Eastern music and religion (and mind altering pharmakeia). (Walker with Sharmagne Leland-St. John did Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown) in a more raga way for Harrison, (and a rendition is on his first album).  However, Peter Walker preferred his acoustic guitar for his shared inward journey. Sharmagne had met Walker a little bit before their gig together at Hugh Romney's (Wavy Gravy) newly founded Hog Farm in 1965, at a female couple's wedding - way ahead of their time. She recalls in Quill & Parchment her background and musical instrument:

I am a Native American from the Confederated Colville Tribe of Nespelem, Washington. I am a former concert performer. I play the tamboura which is an Eastern Indian instrument made from a gourd with a very long neck and sympathetic strings. Basically it is the Indian bass.

Turn On, Tune Up, and Tape All

American Folk Raga … applies the Indian concept of starting with a drone, adding a scale based on the drone, then a melodic line based on the scale, then weaving, reweaving, and interweaving the melodic line so that a freely improvised piece is constructed. When playing ragas on the guitar my approach is to set up a drone pattern usually based on the first, fifth, and fourth intervals of a western scale, and when I feel that a steady pulse of the drone has been established to work in a melody line based on a popular American folk song, or just any melody line that I find appealing.   — Peter Walker, from the Rainy Day Raga liner notes.

Also during the late sixties, Walker was shuttling down the road to the Village where he could get regular gigs at the Café Au Go Go. He was accompanied by Sharmagne in these appearances, where she remembered more of their adventurous times together:

We first began performing together we performed as Peter and the Countess. When Lowell George and Bruce Langhorn joined us we became the original Orient Express. This was before Lowell joined Little Feat. Peter will be playing McCabe's April 11th and I'm hoping he'll invite me onstage for a couple of songs. We did all the music for Tim Learys "Celebrations." We played the Fillmore East and West psychedelic Super-mart in Boston. When we signed with Nick Grillo, the Beach Boys financial manager, he had us playing the high school circuit. We lived at the Chelsea and mostly performed at the Au Go Go for 5 bucks a set.

Peter also played the Club 47 and Boston Tea Party before we got together and he ran the Folk Lore center in Boston or Cambridge. ... We played the Ash Grove in L.A. and lots of coffee houses along the way in SF and The Ark. Peter produced Ali Akbar khan at the Boston symphony for the aid of Bangladesh. We were invited to play at Monterey, so I bought an old DeSoto named Matilda for $75.00 and we hit he road with peter's manager I think his name was Eli Blue. We never got onstage because other acts ran way too long, but we had fun hanging out in the green room which was a huge tent.
He also was a studio musician while in New York City for Columbia records playing with folk guitarists Monte Dunn (1946 - 2007) and Bruce Langhorne (Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man"). His attempt to introduce an electric guitar at the Au Go Go got him catcalls, he had no problem not repeating it as he explains:

It's hard to get the subtle nuances through an electric guitar, I keep referring to the decay rate, the length of time before the strings stop vibrating as you go to put another note in. With those long strings of the electric guitar, it's hard to control that factor.

You want a clean note to come out, because then people will hear it and it will have the desired effect. And I can't do that with an electric guitar. I can play lots of notes, but I can't make them resonate within your soul.

He played on NYC's WBAI radio with Monte Dunn on the Bob Fass show. But another good thing happened at the Café Au Go Go, Maynard Solomon president of Vanguard records was so enamored of Walker's playing that night he offered him a contract, accepted after a couple days pondering it. He had begun to have choices of which label to promote his specialty.

He brought into the studio over four sessions, his musical friend Langhorne, who provided percussion via bells and African tambourines, acoustic guitarist Monte Dunn, flutist Jeremy Steig,  Alex Lukeman backed him with 12-string drone, Jean Pierre Merle kept the tamboura beat; and listed on the credits is Peter Winters for the Om.  Of these artists he gushed, "I always used the same guys until we all went our separate ways in life."

Rainy Day Raga Tracklist:

  1. Morning Joy
  2. Norwegian Wood
  3. White Wind
  4. Bianca
  5. Spring
  6. Sunshine
  7. Rainy  Day Raga
  8. Road To Marscota
  9. April In Cambridge
  10. River

In 1968 he followed up his first album with his second in the same "acid-folk" genre, Second Poem To Karmela, or Or Gypsies Are Important with Vanguard again. His furthering the East-West fusion included sarod and sitar. He added flutist Jim Pepper, who once helped the NYC avant garde shock folk artists, the Fugs, and  helped out on sessions with jazz Trumpet player, Don Cherry. (1924 - 1995).

Poem To Karmela Tracklist:

  1. Second Song (5:21)
  2. I & Thou (3:23)
  3. Southwind (6:31)
  4. Tear (2:57)
  5. Barefoot (5:20)
  6. Gypsy Song (3:47)
  7. Circus Day (5:24)
  8. Blake Street (1:15)
  9. Socco Chico (5:59)
  10. Mixture (7:44)

Dropped Out

These two albums would fall out of print (copies are very rare today), and for familial reasons he dropped out of the public eye, and both were almost forgotten until decades later. He moved to Woodstock New York right after his sophomore effort, and stopped the drug part of his inner spiritual journey, devoting himself to thoroughly studying guitar and raising his and his wife's three children. He had recorded what could have been his third album in 1970, at NYC's Mercury Studios, Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms at a time he was living in the rowdy Garwood Mansion outside of Detroit, as a house-band that opened for their all week, all night party concerts. However he sat on that solo project (he could not secure a good contract), that not only featured him on acoustic guitar (using a 10 finger style), but also vocals. He lived and played by Woodstock's Joyful Lake in the 70s as well.

He found time to record at nearby Levon Helm's place, when the drummer was out of town; but the "Lost Tapes" of 1970 were stashed in his car until the "Reissue King," Joshua Rosenthal. Paul Butterfield was with him at Helm's sessions, but could not incorporate his blues into their more free-form jams.  Josh Rosenthal was previously with Sony and Polygram, now the CEO of his own Tompkins Square label looked up Walker in 2007 to get him up to speed, bringing out. Walker elaborated:
My kids came along and I had to raise them, so I got a job doing legal work; I put my kids through school and paid off my mortgage and then I was able to turn my attention back to music, so I went to Spain to study. And then they came and found me for the Raga record. I was packing to go back to Spain again and Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square came and knocked on my door.

Freedom's Just Another Decade

I’m playing in the morning, laughing at the sun,
Falling in love and telling everyone.
Me and my lady, my lady and I,
And has anybody seen the hangman?
Tell him not to— Tell him he don’t have to die,

And has anybody seen the hermit?
He’s living in his room and he’s got-
He’s got it all together and he’s returned to his room,
And has anybody seen my lady?

Sometimes she comes so close and then she runs so far away,
And sometimes I can even touch her but her mind.
Stays so far away and so close and so near,
She’s here now;
And has anybody seen our freedoms?
We wonder where they went---"Me and My Lady", Peter Walker
He returned to the studio in 2006 to record Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms? This would not be available until released by Mark Linn's Delmore Recordings in March of 2014, which had liner notes with a long essay and interview by guitar aficionado Glenn Jones. He was pictured with his friend activist William Kunstler, after they had discussed the John Sinclair trial. His (Sinclair was busted and was sentenced a "dime" for selling a couple of joints to some narcs, eventually overturned.) He became so interested in law, he became a paralegal, after additionally paying the bills as a Mercedes mechanic. About this belated release Walker remarked:
Everything’s come full circle. If this had been released in 1970, it would have been premature for its time. All of those songs are love songs to a specific person I traveled with for a couple of years back in that era, now I’m finally talking to them again.

Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms? Tracklist:

  1. Me and My Lady (5:31)
  2. Johnny Cuckoo (4:58)
  3. Early in the Morning (2:53)
  4. Pretty Bird (4:54)
  5. Grey Morning Sun (4:56)
  6. Fifty Miles (4:34)
  7. Wonder (7:55)
  8. Untitled (3:19)

He was invited to play at SXSW (South by Southwest) in 2007, with Sharmagne as his musical comrade again, and one night with Jack Rose. This was also the year he labored on an all-flamenco recording, released the next year, Echo of My Soul (Eco de mi Alma)

Echo of My Soul Tracklist:

  1. Cante Gitano (Gypsy vocals) (3:23)
  2. Flore de Noche (The Poinsettia) (3:22)
  3. Caminar por La Tarde (Evening Walk) (3:13)
  4. Manitas Juntos (Hands Together) (3:04)
  5. Sacromonte (Sacred Mountain town) (3:11)
  6. Cueva de Pepe (Pepe's Cave) (3:12)
  7. Eco de Mi Alma (Echo of My Soul)(2:46)
  8. Poema de Amar (Love Poem) (2:39)
  9. Jaleador (Door knob) (3:12)
  10. Sóleo (Just You) (2:36)
  11. Cante en Medio (Singing in the Middle) (3:46)
  12. Por Rosa (For Rosa) (2:42)
  13. Granadita (2:31)
  14. Bailarcito (2:15)
And followed up with another simply but aptly titled, Spanish Guitar,

Spanish Guitar Tracklist:

  1. Midnight (Media Noche) (4:11)
  2. Castles (Castillos) (3:55)
  3. Memories of the Triana (Recuerdos de Triana (6:08)
  4. Lamento Minor (2:46)
  5. Antonio's Cave (Cueva de Antonio) (5:15)
  6. Moment Alone (Momento Soleo) (2:36)
  7. The Light and the Waterfall (La Luz y la Cascade) (3:41)
  8. 3rd Mode of E (4:13)
  9. Call for Thee (Jaleo Para Ti) (4:06)

Everybody who followed Peter Walker became excited when he had another recording session with him featured on four tracks, and another six by his protégés.

Raga for Peter Walker Tracklist:

  1. Day at the Fair - Peter Walker (4:17) 
  2. Hot Fusion - Peter Walker (3:30)    
  3. Spiraling Skeleton Memorial (7:47)   
  4. Truly We Dwell in Happiness - Greg Davis (4:28)   
  5. Cathedral et Chartres II - Jack Rose (6:15)   
  6. Dirt Raga (5:09)   
  7. Black Drink (7:52)   
  8. Blue Mountain Raga (11:43)   
  9. Jaleo Para Angela - Peter Walker (3:27)  
  10. Celebration - Peter Walker (4:23)

Recently Walker has finished a more intense and thorough mastery of the guitar, whose tests on fretboard theory did not come easy, as he explains what he accomplished:

It makes me freer. Completely free. It opens doors left and right. You can shift from mode to mode almost effortlessly. Some of it's reflected on the new record. That's why I was so excited to get the new one out, the one that's coming out next year. I'm glad we did this raga album and that was a great chance to have those four ragas be heard, but what's exciting in my life is the Spanish-influenced pieces I'm doing now.

If you're really, really in tune, you'll find that you're getting overtones to help you along. The instrument will produce little sympathetic notes by itself, but you've got to be perfectly in tune. The math is wonderful. I'm not a mathematician, but I can see it, the perfection of the notes...the notes are all frequencies, and as these frequencies merge, it becomes beautiful. Like the resolution of a long piece on a final notes. It all comes together.

Since 2007 he has performed in various cities, making reviewers wonder why his tremendous talents have not been more known, but, the kind of fans Peter wants, are out there. One can discern this by all the webpages devoted to either reviewing or selling his albums, or by their giving accolades after seeing him do his most unique work live.



Rainy Day Raga 1966
Second Poem To Karmela, or Or Gypsies Are Important 1968  
Echo of My Soul (Eco de mi Alma) 2007
Spanish Guitar 2007
Long Lost Tapes 1970 (archival) 2009 
Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms? (archival) 2013


"White Wind" / "Loop" 1966 • Peter Walker / The Velvet Underground

A Raga for Peter Walker 2006 • Album • Various Artists   
American Primitive Guitar 2007 • Album • Various Artists
Galactic Zoo Dossier - #8 (Summer '09): I Can't Get It Out of My Turn to Stone Head - Unearthed Expansive Sounds 1968-Present 2009

V/A Compilation

Tompkins Square Label 1st Anniversary Sampler 2007 

To see a full list of available CDs for sale go here 


1During his time in the folk scene, he became close with Karen Dalton, he had supposedly said, "“I sold this guitar to Karen Dalton in 1962, and she sold it back to me for the same price in 1992. Everybody calls her beauty.” In 1993, he had a sad and bizarre experience while he watched over her dying of AIDS. He was there with her for many hours after she had already passed on, not wanting to wake the sleeping friend. He also wanted to set the record straight about her:

Let me put to rest these ideas that she died in destitute poverty and drug addicted homelessness. She was perfectly functional mentally. She was living in Hurley, in upstate New York between Kingston and Woodstock. She lived with AIDS for more than eight years, but with an excellent quality of life considering the disease.

Karen was part of the crowd that hung around with Tim Hardin. They all loved her because she was the cover girl for the Ode Banjo company, the most traditional of instruments available only through mail order.
Some wondered whether Bob Dylan dated Dalton around the time they played at the Cafe Wha' with Fred Neil. He gushed about her in his Chronicles: Volume One p.12:
My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton. She was a tall white blues singer and guitar player, funky, lanky, and sultry. I'd actually met her before, run across her the previous summer outside Denver in a mountain pass town in a folk club. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday's and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed and went all the way with it. I sang with her a couple of times.

 2 Sharmagne wrote this song, with a Cornish feel, and performed it with Peter Walker originally in about 1967 and again in around 1980:

I pluck thee roses
and I whisper to thy tiny ear
and I sing thee a melody
so soft and so clear
Thine eyes sparkle
As I kiss thy lips so dear
The sound of thy breathing
Is all that I hear?

My soul bows to thy soul
Tha has't naught to fear

and I pluck thee roses
and I pluck thee roses
as I hold thee near
as I hold thee near

3At this shop in 1967, Bob Riskin made a Martin 12 string from a six string, that then inspired Martin guitar to start their own production of them.

The probably not quite complete folk and others "who's who" list of McCabe's guests:

Brownie McGhee
Chambers Brothers
Michael Bloomfield
David Grisman
Jerry Garcia
Doc Watson
Elizabeth Cotton
Emmylou Harris
Jackson Browne
J.D. Crowe and the New South
Joseph Spence
Linda Ronstadt
Los Lobos
Ralph Stanley
The Ditty Bops
The Rooftop Singers
The Stone Poneys
Woody Guthrie
John Fahey
Elvis Costello
Jesse Winchester
Warren Zevon
Taj Mahal
John Hiatt
Flaco Jimenez
Dave Alvin
Richard Thompson
Bill Monroe
The Plimsouls
Peter Case
Rosanne Cash
Gillian Welch
Dwight Yoakam
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Blass Band
The Swell Season
Travellers 3
T-Bone Burnett
The Rising Suns
Tom Paxton
Roy Book Binder
Bobby Neuwirth

4The psilocybin was in a drink, form, teonanacatl. Russo had told Leary earlier about his own experiences ingesting the stuff considered sacred by the Mazatec indigenous peoples, as reported by R. Gordon Wasson in the May publication of LIFE magazine. After that article, Frank x. Barron, a psychologist specializing in creativity tried in vain initially to persuade Leary to try them. Ennui became the impetus to delve into it. University of Mexico's Gerhardt Braun, a historian, anthropologist and linguist, (even of Aztec Nauhatl) knew where a they could use the services of a curandera named Juana to procure the mushrooms.

Dr. Gerald L. Klerman, (1928 - 1992) a psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, had been working with consciousness expanding substances including Psilocybin, LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide), and mescaline (alkaloid from Peyote flowers: Lophophora williamsii) since about 1955.

Upon his return to Massachussets in 1962, Leary and Richard Alport, a.k.a. Ram Dass, (1931 - ) established the Harvard Psilocybin Project to try to further understand "Exo-Psychology Neuropolitics". Allen Ginsberg (1926 -1997) signed on, another of many Beatniks becoming Hippies. Swiss Chemist Albert Hofmann (1906-2008), who accidentally discovered LSD, even made some as a synthesized version for which Leary could use to experimentally find out if the could get a lower recidivism rate (he did) on prisoners taking it. He was later to quip, "Instead of a 'wonder child,' LSD suddenly became my 'problem child.'"

Dr. Klerman had become worried that his research would suffer as he bemoaned: "some of their findings have been of interest," but stated, "there have been no adequately controlled and systematic studies of consciousness-expanding drugs indicating benefits to maturation and consciousness-expansion." He also defended the relative harmlessness of it saying, "on a purely statistical basis the incidence of these effects is rather low. However, they do occur more frequently than, say, with aspirin." Now call him in the morning.

Though Leary had many fans, none other than LSD pioneer Owsley Stanley, who detested putting it under the spotlight, thus causing its criminal use; and writer Hunter S. Thompson was less than kind to willy-nilly tripping in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, while Ken Kesey had kinder words about him.

By 1966 LSD was illegal, and even more legitimate researchers were hard pressed to obtain it. Contrary to Leary being too liberal with drugs, their group refused Tom Wolfe's requests for the drug.

In 1965 Leary admitted he "...learned more about... (his) brain and its possibilities... (and) more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than... (he) had in the preceding fifteen years of studying and doing research in psychology."


A little note on the below mentioned sites, (and Wikipedia), Peter Walker himself has complained about repeated inaccuracies in his biography. I am hoping to get updates and corrections on any misinformation.



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