And the first shall be last. The initial post-Kingston Trio album for John Stewart, Signals Through the Glass, has been rereleased on CD a mere 36 years later. The LP was a joint venture with Buffy Ford, who has been Buffy Ford Stewart for many years and still accompanies her husband when she feels up to it. Ford suffered a brain tumor a while ago and is still undergoing chemotherapy. She has lost hearing in one ear (in the same club as Brian Wilson, says John) and suffers double vision in one eye, forcing her to wear an eye patch, which prompts some at her concerts to ask whether she's a pirate ("Yes, I am," she's reportedly fond of replying).
Stewart has written about pirates -- and astronauts, cowboys, drifters, blue-collar workers, romantics, losers, and homecoming queens. In short, he chronicles Americans and has done it for most of his 65 years. He's still best known for his membership in the Trio (1961-'68) and for the Monkees' smash "Daydream Believer." Stewart has also written a No. 1 country hit -- Roseanne Cash's "Runaway Train" -- as well as songs for Nanci Griffith, Joan Baez, and even the Four Tops. He scored a minor hit himself with "Gold" in 1979, an autobiographical tune delivered in his trademark deep, masculine voice. Stewart's production of new material slowed in the '90s, but he claims an album of new stuff isn't far off.