Barstow: Eight Hitchhiker’s Inscriptions


Program Note

1. Today I Am a Man
2. Gentlemen
3. Considered Pretty
4. A very Good Idea
5. Possible Rides
6. Jesus Was God in the Flesh
7. You Lucky Women
8. Why in Hell did you Come?

The legendary 1969 Columbia recording of Barstow imprinted the work in the imaginations of a generation, and like US Highball that followed, it underwent numerous orchestrations. Originally written for Adapted Guitar I & voice in 1941, tonight’s performance marries the long lost 1942 guitar & chromelodeon version with the infectious percussion ritornello from 1968. Hitchhiker graffiti is put to music, telling the tale of eight wanderers – some funny, some sad, but always engaging when seen through the lens of Partch’s re-telling. He gives us an earthy and poignant first-hand account that is unique in the world of music, one that is sure to become a permanent part of our American cultural landscape. Taken along with the rest of his Americana from the 1940’s, Partch has created a body of work that places him shoulder to shoulder with the two best-loved storytellers of the era, John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie. – j.s.

About Harry Partch

Partch was born in Oakland, California, on June 24, 1901, and spent much of his early years in the American Southwest, where he was exposed to music and sound from…