More than 50 years after your first album, you are back with a new one, Power in the Blood. Morrissey asked you to tour with him this year and you’re getting great reviews. How do you explain your longevity?
I didn’t get into the music business because somebody made me take piano lessons, you know. I got into music because I was a natural writer and had a lot of curiosity about sound. And in the 1960s there was an open window into what people call the music business. It’s really been a lot of luck. Actually, when I first got famous in the 60s, I got a little too famous and in order to escape showbusiness I moved to Hawaii. I’ve always had that attitude about my career: it’s something that I do but it’s not my whole life. I have a real life, a personal life: I’ve got a lot of chickens, I’ve got a horse, I’ve got a kitty-cat, I’ve got a lot of goats, I’ve got animals all over the place.
You were part of the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s, with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and many others. Where did you fit in to that scene?
I kind of didn’t fit in, in a way, but that was a time when misfits could have a career. I didn’t really sing folk songs like Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, and I didn’t come from a business family like Bob Dylan, or a music family like Judy Collins. But where I fitted in, I think, was that I didn’t think I’d last, so it’s not as though I was risking anything. And I think it was because of my uniqueness.
Unique in what way?
I was writing about everything. I was writing pop songs such as Until It’s Time for You to Go, which was later recorded by Elvis, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and everybody. I was writing about Native American things and I had written Universal Soldier. I think it was just very surprising and that’s why I got away with it. Even in this new album – similar to all of my other albums – it’s much more diverse than almost any singer you can think of.
Via The Guardian