"Mexico" - CHARLIE

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"Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby LODGE4 on Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:32 am

The song Mexico starts - "Owsley and Charlie twins of the trade" - now we all know who Owsley Stanley is but who is Charlie ? Later in the song - " You're famous Uncle Charlie, for your Mexican smoke". Well he might be famous to Grace but in the 40 years I've been hearing the song I can't imagine who Charlie can be. Anyone out there know ??
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby Susan Butcher on Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:48 pm

I've often wondered who "Cosmic Charlie" was, the character in the Dead song of that name. One and the same?
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby PrayForPlagues on Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:40 pm

On a late 1970 performance of the song, Grace says 'Uncle Charlie, he's like the Owsley of the East Coast' before they play it.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby redrabid on Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:28 pm

Maybe it is not wise to blow his cover on the net.
Anyway, I always considerd it one of those things of the 60s and 70s that made me uncomfortable:
Making dealers into heroes.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby okeedoe on Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:15 am

"Cosmic Charlie" is supposedly based on Charles "Cosmic Charlie" Bosch, one of the characters on the scene in the Haight, who was 'so cosmic'.

http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/cosmic.html

Owsley's nickname is ''Bear'.''Bear Melt'' is a reference to him.
Allegedly he 's got plenty of body hair and he would dance like a bear when he was tripping on LSD.

Freakin' Google.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby Susan Butcher on Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:39 pm

He did work professionally as a dancer, I hear.

I think Owsley made LSD because he really liked it, not because he wanted to make tons of money. I don't regard him as a gangster, and it doesn't upset me that he's considered a hero. I find Shulgin harder to view heroically because he's responsible for STP, even though he's a purely a chemist. That drug was a disaster by most accounts.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby oldblue on Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:17 pm

Altman, Charles (a.k.a Charlie Brown)
The Wandering Holy Man

I recall Garcia referencing him as the subject of the Grateful Dead song, Cosmic Charlie.

Owsley's motivation for making LSD was characterized by the evangelism that radiated from the early acid scene. (more on this later; i'm at work)

In an interview somewhere he talks about having recorded a number of airplane concerts but the band was always out of tune and the tapes not usable. (hey the man is an obsessive compulsive perfectionist from all i can gather)
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby Susan Butcher on Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:38 pm

I've met him. He is! He kept his audience waiting an hour while he set up a special amplification system for a talk because he hated the the PA system at the venue.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby okeedoe on Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:20 am

Do you remember what was the subject matter and what did he say,Susie ?
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby redrabid on Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:35 pm

Obsessive, perfectionist, whatever the credits of the man were, he was right about the Airplane playing out of tune. Especially Jorma Kaukonen. It makes "Live at the Fillmore East" unlistenable for me. And why do you think Paul Kantner is so upfront and Kaukonen buried deep down in the mix of "The Woodstock Experience"? The answer you will find in other releases (and mixes) of some of the same Woodstock songs.
His out of tune playing affected the singers too, only Marty Balin managed to stand his ground.
Bill Wyman made the same remark once.
Okeedoe, am I too much of a cynic when I think the answer is "Feed Your Head"?
Susan, enlighten us!

Great pictures (1968?) of the band by the way. Never saw those before. Grace and Marty look ravishing.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby Susan Butcher on Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:33 pm

I couldn't hang around for the second talk, because he'd delayed it so much, and I had to give a friend a lift home. But the first one was about drug prohibition, and how it's made things worse for everyone concerned. Here's the first point he made. In mid-century Australia, because the law said pubs had to close by 6pm on Fridays in order to limit the consumption of alcohol, there'd be a rush to drink as quickly as possible after work. As a consequence pubs had tiled interiors so the vomit could be hosed off easily. That lack of thought has extended to anti-drug laws, where sentencing by weight of the substance seized makes only the most potent and dangerous version of a drug profitable to sell. He also claimed that the economic effect of illegal drug trading was the root cause of the global financial crisis. Something to do with the large amounts of money leaving America, I think. (I'd have to consult the handout on this.)
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby redrabid on Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:54 pm

Obviously the guy shall never be appointed as teacher in economics.
But, if I understand you well, he made the point that the limitations meant to prevent the use of drugs (alcohol incuded) actually enhanced the abuse of it. Implying of course that legalization would be a great solution to the problems of abuse.
Let me, living in a country where drugs are easily available, make a few comments on that.
The use of alcohol (legal age 16) is a serious, fast growing problem among young people (I mean really young people between 11-16 years of age). The number of young people who drank themselves into coma (yes, "coma-drinking" is very popular among children) and had to be hospitalized because of that has risen last year by 40% (!), compared to the year before. Lifting the limitations to drug use creates its own new problems.
The weed and hash of the country I am living in are famous throughout the world because of their potency (even to the point that some claim these drugs have to be considered as heavy drugs). This increased potency has of course nothing to do with the limitations concerning the amount you are allowed to possess (legally there are, but in practice these are obsolete for decennia). It is the demand of the users (addicts) and the greediness of the dealers that made this evolution possible
Last edited by redrabid on Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:52 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby redrabid on Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:19 pm

"Coffeeshops", once an elegant solution to illegal dealing, may have become part of the problem with their strong ties to the producers, especially the criminal ones.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby Susan Butcher on Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:17 pm

Most economic activities have criminal connections, because a certain amount of dishonesty is essential for success in business. Anyway, I don't think drug consumption can easily be limited by legislation. That much is true.

Although I don't think the drug trade caused the current crisis, it does involve huge amounts of money. Black market trading can't be regulated, or even monitored accurately, so it could well contribute to economic instability. That, I now remember, was his main argument.
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Re: "Mexico" - CHARLIE

Postby okeedoe on Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:12 am

Thank you,Sue.I think you'd make a pretty good lecturer.Better than Owsley anyway.
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