Fred Neil, 1967

Nineteen sixty-nine, nineteen seventy, Bellingham’s south side featured one stunning aisling and three great taverns: the Kulshan, the Fairhaven, and Pluto’s. The Kulshan once a bank had a great walk in vault in the back and sixteen ounce schooners for a quarter. The Fairhaven was next door north; it featured a longboard with serious grooves that favored regulars. Its owners, Emily and her brothers were not much older than most of us, early twenties. I remember one brother as kind and generous barkeep. Emily was the south side’s aisling— it never hurts to dream. Pluto’s was a block and a half away and hosted blues greats like Big Momma Thornton and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee. The Fairhaven had a decent sound system with albums. For me, the soundtrack for these years was Fred Neil, the eponymous album with “Everybody’s Talking” Fred’s tune Harry Nilsson made famous in Midnight Cowboy. We’d request it over and over as we tried to win beer money playing shuffleboard. In the forty-five years since, Fred Neil holds up. In my heart, Emily’s wears the face she wore before Nixon ‘ended’ the war. Agnew’s still dead and spewing lies, and I am an old man with six grandchildren. Occasionally I try to get people to listen to Fred sing “Faretheewell” his version of “Dink’s Tune.” I love Fred’s refrain from “The Dolphins”—‘sometimes I wonder, do you ever think of me.’ Often.


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the museum published Kevin Miller‘s poetry in Issue One.

To read “Dink’s Tune” click here.