I am awed looking over the albums that I listened to in 1971 listed on the sidebar. It is hard to place the branching and broadening of musical creativity (and with it the art and artistic consciousness that accompanied everything musical back then) in context with the daily images of death and destruction coming from Vietnam via the news. The mainstream mindset had not yet given up on the idea that to oppose the war was analagous to being a traitor. So finding myself in the outcast role, I did not think about having a career, owning a home, driving a nice car, or even having a television set. There did not seem to be much of a future to imagine. Even Lennon's song was an ideal set way up on the mountaintop. The imaginists were dead, never made it out of their 20s.
What we did have was very much in the moment. We had all read Be Here Now by Ram Dass, and we did have the means to intensify and deepen the experience of the moment. There was an awakening of sorts going on, and awakenings are not always pleasant. Reality was shocking, like the Manson killings, or the Weather Underground bombings. The feeling was something like a runaway roller coaster- exhilarating and scary- and with too much momentum to stop.
As James Brown sang- Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved- Something had to give, something had to change.