I was chuffed to find out that our warm friend Livingston Taylor is celebrating 50 years as a musician, performer, and educator. Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18th, will officially be declared “Livingston Taylor Day” by both Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. It gave me pause as I reflected on what Livingston Taylor has meant to our lives.
My wife and I have been dedicated fans of Liv’s music for 47 years. We have been blessed by Livingston’s charm and wit 10 times in concert.
I recall the first concert at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, in July of 1970. Livingston Taylor was the opening act for Jethro Tull and unknown musician to us but he melted our hearts quickly. He sat directly on a stool in front of us playing acoustic guitar. We became enthralled as Liv sang, “Carolina Day”. We hunted down his first vinyl LP the next day and played it often during our dating years.
The next concert was three years later, in December 1973 at the University of New Haven. I made arrangements with his manager Don Law to interview Livingston before the concert. I was forced to conduct the interview with a fellow WNHU-FM air personality. I warned this person NOT to mention James Taylor during the interview. I had been warned it infuriated Livingston Taylor to be asked or compared to his brother. That person swore to me he would not do that.
We get to the locker room before the show and Randy Newman, Liv’s opening act is pacing the floor and frequenting the restroom. He stood off to the side as we interviewed Livingston Taylor. Don’t you know the idiot I am doing the interview with asks Livingston, “So what’s it like to have a famous brother like James? Livingston looks at him and then me and says, “Sorry, interview is over.” I pushed the saboteur off the locker bench, telling him, “Thanks for screwing this up for the station.” Randy Newman then said, “Hey guy, you really blew it for your buddy there.”
Many years later I had a good laugh with Livingston recalling that moment with him at The Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, NY. We saw him perform there four times, once with his sister Kate Taylor. Livingston was always cordial after the show, willing to sign his CDs and chat with us. We would get seats right next to the stage and order dinner/desert. Livingston would come out of the kitchen, ascend the stage and ask us, “How was the desert? They have the best deserts at The Towne Crier.”
Note: Livingston Taylor will be performing the debut of his new album, Safe Home at the Towne Crier Cafe which is now located in Beacon, N.Y., on Saturday, Jan. 21.
His signed book Stage Performance has proven invaluable to me as an educator. It has helped me refine how I connnect with my students. I have a peer in music and education with Liv giving me solace 🙂
So that has been our cherished 50-year journey with Livingston Taylor. We’re looking forward to seeing him receive his honors in Boston tomorrow. We won’t be there in person but we will be attending in the music of our hearts.