Aereo-Plain – John Hartford

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

Aereo-Plain, by John Hartford

  • Released in 1971, the eighth studio album by John Hartford.
  • Hartford is best known as the writer of the mega hit Gentle On My Mind. My first memories of Hartford were seeing him on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on TV in the late 60s. My friend Bill got hooked on him, and we totally fell for him when we saw his one-man band concert at The Birchmere in Alexandria VA.
  • Hartford is labeled as blue grass – rightfully so, though his music is unique compared to traditional bluegrass. Many referred to it as ‘newgrass.’ He plays banjo and fiddle, as expected for blue grass, but he adds percussion by dancing on a piece of plywood that had guitar pickups built into the wood, and amplified to a speaker.
  • Hartford won 4 Grammy awards for his music. He died in 2001 of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, at the age of 63.
  • He didn’t sell many records, but I ended up buying 16 of his 35 studio albums, including Hartford at his hippy-est – Aereo-Plain. Here’s a live version of one of the songs, Steamboat Whistle Blues. 

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