British Columbia, Canada
To give you a bit of a base background, my son’s Father was Bill Edmondson, the drummer for the Squires, which was “Neil Young and the Squires”, a band that existed from late 1962-1965, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The band dismembered in ’65 and Neil went back to Toronto to be with his Dad, Scott and formed a band called, “The Mynahs. “
When Todd (my son) was born in 1965, Neil was chosen to be Todd’s Godfather, and at the church service some 39 years ago he sang him a song he wrote for him. Boy, time flies.
So…I promised you a Joni Mitchell/Neil Young story so here is a little one from Nov. 1965. We were living in the attic of this huge house on Wentworth Street in Winnipeg, and the band as they always did, came back to our house to jam as they would after any gig. I had just had Todd a few weeks before, and he was still in a crib, (we didn’t have all those fancy contraptions back then,) so I stayed home that particular night, and the guys came back after they played.
This was a HUGE 4 story house and you walked up what seemed forever to get to our attic, which they had turned into an awesome suite. I just loved that place with its curved and angled ceilings, funny little windows, corridors, and spaces etc. Below us lived old Mr. Thompson, who was deaf, so it worked out great for the guys to practice at any hour until the lady on the main floor walked up to stop them if it woke her. Bill, (my husband) had two sets of drums, one was always kept in Neil's hearse, Mort, and one in our living room, so he didn't have to lug them upstairs. Neil's old gal, (his guitar,) was always over his back wherever he went.
This particular night they had played a club called, "The Fourth Dimension," a kind of beatnik coffeehouse out by the university and drive-in that got a lot of students. Well…Bill it seemed had brought home just about every performer that worked that night. Those were the days you got to see several bands or entertainers at one shot. It was great! However, this was now after 1 in the morning, and I had a new baby. My clean living room was full of people wishing to jam all night so it seemed, opening up bottles of beer, instruments, and moving pillows to the floor! I was not in the mood. I hauled Bill aside and told him to get them out of there and NOW! Just as we were arguing in the kitchen I heard Neil singing with someone, and told Bill to shush! They were singing that song I heard a girl sing out at the university rally, that new folksinger, I forgot her name, but I liked her. I never liked Neil's voice much LOL to be honest, and I looked out and sure enough there was Joni Mitchell, (her real name is Anderson), standing and singing Big Yellow Taxi with Neil. She married someone that year actually named Mitchell, and she and her daughter moved to Michigan. I had heard she gave her daugther up for adoption, but then they "found" each other so that was good to hear. I got to see them sing that song again in 1977 live on stage J She released that song about five or six years later, I think around 1970 or 71, and I bet there are not too many people don’t know it some 40 years later.
So many famous songs were written on our old floor on Wentworth Avenue, many of Neil’s are still being sung today by him and other artists. (I mean on the floor with a pen as well as being written there.) Gosh, so many of those “kids” made it to the big time that sat in our living room like Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings. I often wonder what happened to a lot of those musicians, and singers. Lots of great talent out of Canada we can sure all be proud of that is for sure.
I often wonder now if I have been a different type of person back then, and not been so uptight, I bet I could have had a ton of fun. I tried to mix the corporate world with the music world, and it was like oil and water in those days. I already had a really good job by that time, (which was to lay the foundation of me getting a better job in the media,) and a reputation I had to be very careful of, so I left Todd’s Father and started my own life. I just remember the good out of those good old times and try to forget the bad. Seems like each new adventure in my life was a different kind of learning experience that’s for sure.