Happy In Bag

Monday, July 04, 2005

Brewer & Shipley

It’s perversely apt that ‘70s folk act Brewer & Shipley entertained a small Fourth of July crowd on the lawn of the Prairie Village, KS, police department headquarters.

Near a petting zoo, inflatable moonwalks and a display in which police allowed curious kids to handle their handguns and rifles, the regionally-based duo joked on stage about nickel bags and their aging constituency. Many of Brewer & Shipley’s core audience, also now in their ‘50s, live in this interior Kansas City suburb.

After their biggest hit, the drug anthem One Toke Over the Line, received a warm ovation, one said, "I wondered where all the hippies went. They live in Prairie Village now." His partner retorted, "Yeah, they’re Stepford hippies."

Thirty years after their glory days, they continue to sound just as lively and engaging as their old records. They’re still so groovy that as I listened to them I found myself ruminating about how beautiful the green leaves were as they gently waved against the blue sky. It was that far out. Sure, the folk music spoof A Mighty Wind targets Brewer & Shipley and their ilk. For better or worse, they exemplify the folkie sincerity that’s so easy to mock today. On a gorgeous holiday afternoon, however, their harmonious sound couldn’t be more charming.

Furthermore, the carefree anthem Witchi-Tai-To sounds incredibly fresh today. I’m convinced it’s an ideal anchor song for a Honda or Microsoft television campaign. And the world would be a better place for it... man.


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