A friend of mine died recently. Jim was a few years older than I. When we met, in the late-1960s, he was a significant player in the local folk music scene here. At that time, I was starting out in the professional folk-singing world and he served as an unofficial mentor to me.
I soon left Cleveland for New York, where I recorded and toured and did all of the things that go with that business. A few years later, I returned to Cleveland to re-group, so to speak, and figure out how to proceed. While I was trying to determine what kind of musical project to start next, in that early-‘70s July, Jim offered me a gig backing him up in a club that was filled every night with Mafia-related figures and Mafia wanna-be figures.
This upstairs restaurant/downstairs bar was a nice spot in a wealthy section of town. It was the kind of place where every man who came in wore a jacket and tie—and carried at least one weapon, which he had used before and would, no doubt, again.