When Albert died in ‘86, Woodstock began to feel like the Church of the Good Shepard. One after another, hellion companions of halcyon days fell away. Then one cold night in the winter ‘93 Barry required a pasta in white clam sauce from Rousseau’s an easy 30 miles away. Nothing else would appease his evil mood. Finally, his friend Vinnie Donalon agreed to ride shotgun. As it turns out the meal was a terrible disappointment. They walked out, Barry resumed the wheel and was proceeding home when two drunken officers from the local Sheriff’s department ran the light, smashing his lightweight Toyota to smithereens. Vinnie walked away, Barry was taken by ambulance to Albany Medical hospital. Shortly thereafter Mary Travers arrived and begged the doctor on call: “Keep him alive. There’s not another son of bitch in the world like him.” From that day forward, despite the modern day miracle of his wife Judy, Barry’s smile became increasingly harder to win.
Yet now and again something would really please him. Like Grandchildren! Like Bananas, loyal-to-the-end. The Dylan projects came together. I don’t know that the enigma named Bob ever proved a more loyal a friend to anyone — not Woody Guthrie, not Jesus Christ. Mrs. George Harrison was always generous in her praise and actions. Another bright moment: Stewart Levine created a definitive boxed set of CD’s for The Crusaders. He brought the project to Barry and the result was breathtaking…and the face on the knight of olde in shining armor atop his faithful steed — is black! A few month’s earlier Tommy LiPuma called saying: “Mac is back with a beauty of a record and I want something special on what used to be called ‘the cover’ — I need you, Barry.” This was Afterglow. The close-up portrait Barry took of Dr. John, hands folded atop his walking stick, reveals a satisfied perfectionist, eyes rapturously closed — an image brimming with the love and trust epitomizing Feinstein’s gift. “That photograph is like a Rembrandt,” LiPuma muses tonight over the phone, “glowing with an interior light. And looking back…that cover together with The Crusaders project before it, were bookends on Barry’s career. Despite the accident and all the misery to come, his last work was as good as anything at the beginning or beyond…Creatively speaking, for my money, he went out a champion.”
Barry Feinstein died early in the morning of October 20 at Kingston Hospital of natural causes. He is survived by wife Judith, step-children Jake, Jasper, and Erica; his daughter Alicia, son Alex, and beloved grandchildren: Nicholas, Jesse, and Jules. Later in the year, his ashes will be scattered on his land in Joshua Tree National Park, the one place on earth he described as “God’s country.”++