Sadly, another old friend, Mark Richmond, passed away at the end of January 2015. At my age, it's difficult when friends are no longer with us, there are less and less of my generation still living. A certain loneliness creeps in.
I'd known Mark since college days in the late 60's, and at his passing began to realize how much he influenced my life. I was just a Midwest farm boy hitting the "big city" for my college years when I discovered that the real college classroom was a gathering place called the Huddle. Of course the 60's was a period of immense social and political upheaval, and we were all swept into it.
Mark introduced me to so much... blues and folk music, the Beat writers, the IWW and Joe Hill House. He and his group of friends became mentors as well as compatriots.
In the late 60's I started the Cosmic Aeroplane with Steve Jones. Around the same time, Mark became the original guitarist in Smoke Blues Band.
The band was reasonably successful around town (decades later Smokey Koelsch and I would release a CD of Smoke's recordings... it is still available here). Mark would eventually move on to concentrate on a teaching degree and his new family. He taught high school in Wyoming, Southern Utah, and Arizona, becoming an important influence on many underprivileged and troubled youth.
We would see each other a few times a year when he traveled here to visit family. There was always so much to talk about and never enough time. I had hoped to record his music (he wrote many great songs over the years) in my fledgling studio, but, alas, it just never happened. Opportunities lost.
He will be missed, so sad he left us so soon. A very eloquent and comprehensive obit can be found here.
One last picture, from a visit with Smokey in Wells, Nv. "only a hobo but one more is gone"