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Slackjaw

Folk Music Police Blotter

A caller reported hearing loud acoustic guitar music with off-key, sarcastic lyrics from the brownstone next door.

Photo by Courtney Kenady on Unsplash

A caller reported hearing loud acoustic guitar music with off-key, sarcastic lyrics from the brownstone next door. Dispatch sent two officers who were accomplished Thursday night open mic musicians and they reported a domestic dispute but did not see the need to request backup singers at the time. The officers convinced the couple to sing a few duets a cappella, and they appeared to fall back into love. The officers then advised the couple to get new strings and to practice every day or they would never make it as a folk duo, or have a successful and happy relationship.

Dispatch received a report of a solo accordion player in the subway who was reportedly caterwauling about personal identity issues and how everyone should love one another. Dispatch advised the caller that this could possibly be considered folk music, depending on the folklorist consulted, but in any event, the performer was probably not breaking any laws and advised the caller to not conduct a citizen’s arrest because accordion players bruised easily.

A caller said he was at the edge of a roof ten floors up and was threatening to jump because Bob Dylan had gone electric. Dispatch sent an officer who was old enough to remember when Dylan went electric and who also happened to have previous success in talking jumpers down. The officer deployed a boombox with a cassette of Peter, Paul, and Mary, and the jumper eventually felt that there was good enough reason to live. The officer then prescribed regular follow-up doses of early Joan Baez and weed.

A caller told dispatch that he had just arrived at the rail yard in a boxcar from Iowa with his knapsack and guitar and a Woody Guthrie songbook and he was fifteen years old and wanted to know where the folk scene was. Dispatch sent an officer who was an experienced busker and who took the caller to several coffee houses in Greenwich Village. One owner took a liking to the kid and said he could crash in the backroom in exchange for washing dishes and playing two nights a week and he wouldn’t call his mother. The officer advised dispatch that the situation was resolved successfully and it had him a little choked up because he had been able to help save the kid from a life on the streets.

A caller complained that Bob Dylan was selling his soul by selling his new celebrity whiskey. Dispatch told the caller that according to those around the precinct, the whiskey wasn’t bad, and although the nose could be caustic, the finish was verbose with bright notes of hard-won wisdom. The caller told dispatch he might try a bottle even though he thought Dylan had too much money for a folk singer. Dispatch advised the caller to accept the fact that folk singers could be rich, and that he should sample the whiskey while listening to the remastered vinyl Blood on the Tracks, but to enjoy both responsibly.

A caller reported a disturbance at an East Village co-op during a pickling party between a Millennial playing clawhammer-style banjo and a Pete Seeger look-a-like Boomer. Dispatch sent an officer who reported that the disturbance was merely a riff-off competition over the attentions of a rather comely blonde woman. The officer reported to dispatch that the situation peacefully resolved itself when the woman left with her share of the pickles and the upright bass player, and the two spurned banjo players took to drink and vowed to start writing country and western songs.

Dispatch received multiple butt-dialed calls from the same number but heard only some loud noise that could possibly have been music. A local teenager who served as a consultant to the department identified the noise as a Metallica show and wished he was there. Several dispatchers were traumatized and the captain said they could go home for the night. The captain then gave permission to the rest of the precinct to open a bottle of Dylan’s whiskey and announced that counselors were available for all those who needed someone to talk to.

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