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Life Phases

cassette cover of Don Freed's album Live Arr

My Don Freed cassette. All I need is the player.

I was thinking about the singer Don Freed today, mainly a lyric of his from a song about growing up and being in high school.

The line is Donald, you're so moody! which is something Cindy and I say to each other all the time and then we both laugh.

In the song, it's said by his high school girlfriend, when Don is trying to be all cool and mysterious. Buying Blonde on Blonde and playing it over and over again when his friends wanted to hear to top 40 pop hits of the day.

That song makes me laugh every time I think about it. I say think about it because I only have it on cassette, purchased at a folk festival back in the '90s, and none of Don Freed's music is on any of the streaming services.

There may be a million artists on Spotify and Tidal, but lots of my musical heroes from the Winnipeg and Regina folk festivals are not part of the million, that's for sure. Which is too bad, especially as my memory fails. Maybe it's time to buy a cassette player with a USB connection so I can digitize it.

But while I was trying to remember the rest of the lyrics to the song, I went on a hunt to find Don Freed's music online somewhere. No dice. But I did find a really cool CBC article from 2019 about all the work Freed did with kids, especially Métis and Indigenous kids later in his career.

I remember the last time I saw Freed in concert, back in 1992 or so, that he had just discovered he was Métis. You could tell the new knowledge moved him deeply and he spent many years learning about his heritage and helping kids in his community.

That's doubly cool because when I used to go watch him perform, folks used to talk about how he was nearly super-famous; how he knew Johnny Cash and was romantically involved with Joni Mitchell back in the day too. He's a guy living a complex life, that's for sure, and I only saw him during his light-hearted, funny song phase.

I wonder if that's the way life goes. Phases. An earnest phase, a funny phase, a phase of discovery, one of service, etc. And whether the people you were close to in one phase stick with you through all of them, or stay behind with the memories of the earlier phase.

Or maybe it's all there all the time and you just present a certain aspect depending on the day. Because my memory of Don Freed performing was that there seemed to be a lot going on there behind his eyes.

At the end of the article it said Freed now lived in an apartment in Victoria. I wonder if our paths will cross here. I wonder who I might see.