Bruce Langhorne, artist, composer and extraordinary instrumentalist died on Good Friday in Venice, CA. He had been in a hospice following a debilitating stroke. A friend Cynthia Riddle announced it on Sunday. AP correctly calls him a musical prodigy. Though he is best known as the "Arabian drum playing" inspiration for Bob Dylan's song "Mr. Tambourine Man", Langhorne had a long and full career of composing, recording and scoring films like Peter Fonda's "The Hired Hand". He is survived by his wife Janet Bachelor. They were married 29 years.


Far away from Tulsa

Though Langhorne, as a teenager living in Spanish Harlem with his mother, began playing classical violin he moved to the guitar and as a guitar player, influenced a generation of pickers with a particular lick that provided a break between vocal lines. A derivative sense of it can be heard in Rodney Crowell's playing on the nicely produced version of "Tulsa Queen" by Emmylou Harris. If you listen to the very end you will hear a classic Langhorne lick. It is the last sound of the acoustic steel string guitar on the recording.

The supremacy of now

Geniuses venerate their minds as a supreme gift, see the whole of things, do not judge and live supremely in the now. Bruce said he was no scattershot sort. "I plan", he said. He plays all instruments on his various tracks.

He created a studio out of tar paper. We have our own Venice and Trump will never go there save maybe in a version of Dickens' 'Christmas Carol".

Rich bail, poor run

Bruce lost three fingers when young but would rank way up there on a list of guitar wizards.

This is not one of the features of his life story. His life story was whatever was happening now. That is not hippie idiocy. It is a purchase on life that is more real than trying to make anything great again.

Something made Bruce run. Poor folk must run. When they do wrong there is no daddy to bail them out. There is no Fred. But there is Mexico. He went there, came back and then ruled New York's West Village. He did not appreciate Dylan until the boy from Hibbing began writing his own songs.

Two meanings of rip

There is a remarkable but almost disturbing video of Peter Fonda visiting Bruce near the end. He sits by the bed and there is back and forth. But mostly it is Fonda movingly at times telling Bruce things.

It seems Bruce's wife may be off camera. There are a plethora of things on YouTube regarding Bruce. You can spend an hour or so turning the past into now. The name is all you need to find what you may like better than what is here. A death means you can remove your mind from Trump flip flops and go where rip means rest in peace.