John Stewart was a friend of Frank Zappa in the
late 1950s, before he joined the Kingston Trio in 1961. That folk group
(founded in 1958 in San Francisco) was at peak of its popularity, after a
string of successful albums (five of them had reached the top of the pop
charts). In 1967 the Monkees took his
Daydream Believer to the top of the charts, and Stewart decided it was
about time to start a solo career.
Signals Through the Glass (Capitol, 1968) is the work of a folksinger
in the acoustic style of the Greenwich Movement movement, and contains the
original version of July You're a Woman.
California Bloodlines (Capitol, 1969) remains one of his most moving
collections (California Bloodlines, Omaha Rainbow,
Pirates Of Stone County Road).
Willard (Capitol, 1970), that contains
Julie Judy Angel Rain and
Great White Cathedrals,
Lonesome Picker Rides Again (Warner, 1971), that contains
All the Brave Horses and Freeway Pleasure,
Sunstorm (Warner, 1972), that contains
Kansas Rain and Light Come Shine,
Cannons in the Rain (RCA, 1973), that contains
Anna On A Memory and Armstrong/Spirit,
Wingless Angels (RCA, 1975),
and Fire in the Rain (RSO, 1977)
went mostly unnoticed.
A better production (Lidnsay Buckingham) and electric guitar turned
Bombs Away Dream Babies (RSO, 1979) into a bestseller
(Gold, Midnight Wind, Lost Her In The Sun),
but the popularity lasted only till
Dream Babies Go Hollywood (RSO, 1980), that contains
Wind On The River and
Wheels Of Thunder.
Blondes (Allegiance, 1982), that contains
The Queen Of Hollywood High and Angeles,
and Trancas (Homecoming, 1984)
did not add much to his repertory, but the
all-instrumental Centennial (Homecoming, 1985), reissued as
American Sketches (1990), was possibly his masterpiece.
Stewart continued recording dignified stories of America,
despite his poor sales:
Punch the Big Guy (Cypress, 1987), that contains
Runaway Train and Midnight Of The World,
Bullets in the Hourglass (Shanachie, 1992),
Theresa and the Lost Songs (Crow, 1992),
the all-instrumental Savannah (Crow, 1992),
Rocket Roy in the Real World (Crow, 1993),
Last Campaign (Crow, 1996), that contains Dreamers On The Rise,
Rough Sketches (Crow, 1996),
John Stewart & Darwin's Army (Appleseed, 1999).
He is also the author of Sweet Dreams Will Come,
Shadow Of The Angels Wings and
I Remember America.
Gold (2000) is a double-CD career anthology.
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