TOM LEHRER – Mathematician and Musical Satirist, by Stewart Hendrickson

Sometime in the late 1970s there was a student/faculty talent show at St. Olaf College where I taught chemistry. My colleague Dewayne Wee, a piano professor in the music department, and I decided to perform a song. We wanted to look very professional and appear musically cultured, so we dressed in formal tuxedos. Dwayne sat down at the grand piano, and I stood beside it and began to sing a beautiful love song: Continue reading “TOM LEHRER – Mathematician and Musical Satirist, by Stewart Hendrickson”

BORROWED TUNES AND WORDS, by Stewart Hendrickson

In 1966 I heard Lu Mitchell, a Dallas singer-songwriter, sing She’s Someone’s Grandmother (The Kugelsburg Bank), her song about a white-haired lady who over many years embezzled millions of dollars from a Texas bank (a true story). It had a lovely tune, which I suspected was not original, but I didn’t know its origin. A few years ago I heard a hammered dulcimer player play it as the traditional tune Bendemeer’s Stream. A little research on the Internet revealed that Thomas Moore (1779-1852) wrote lyrics for this tune as Bendemeer’s Stream. But Moore borrowed the tune from an older Irish air.  Continue reading “BORROWED TUNES AND WORDS, by Stewart Hendrickson”

NEWMAN LEVY – BARRISTER BARD, by Stewart Hendrickson

Newman Levy

When I was a student at Pomona College (Claremont, CA) in the late 1950s, folk music was just appearing on the scene. A classmate of mine was a little unusual since he was one of the few students who had a beard, sang folk songs and played guitar. One of the songs he sang was Thais, a five-minute humorous synopsis of the opera with witty verses and clever rhymes. With thirteen verses, it is an epic poem set  to music.

THAIS

One time in Alexandria,
in wicked Alexandria,
Where nights were wild with revelry,
and life was but a game.
There lived, so the report is,
an adventuress and courtesan,
The pride of Alexandria,
and Thais was her name.

Continue reading “NEWMAN LEVY – BARRISTER BARD, by Stewart Hendrickson”

PNWFS in the Numbers

SIXTY-FIVE  –  The Pacific Northwest Folklore Society was founded sixty-five years ago in 1953 by Walt Robertson and friends in the University District of Seattle.

ELEVEN  –  The Society was revived eleven years ago by Stewart Hendrickson, Bob Nelson and Don Firth with a Reunion Concert featuring Bob Nelson & Don Firth on October 14, 2007, at Central Lutheran Church in Capital Hill.

TEN  –  The first edition of the NW HOOT was published ten years ago in October, 2008.  The first Coffeehouse Concert was April 11, 2008, with Jim Portillo, Isla Ross and Alan Kausal, at the coffeehouse Kaffe Shachor in West Green Lake. We then moved briefly to the Library Cafe on Crown Hill and then to the Wayward Coffeehouse in Greenwood from October, 2008, through April, 2010.  You can listen to a CD – Seattle Coffeehouse Live! – of recorded concerts at the Wayward from 2008-2010.

EIGHT  –  Eight years of Coffeehouse Concerts at Couth Buzzard Books began in May, 2010. With your support we look forward to many more years of wonderful live music.

A COWBOY POET AND A SONG ODYSSEY, by Stewart Hendrickson

Charles Badger Clark

Roundup Lullaby, Badger Clark, Clifton Barnes,
and the Pomona College Men’s Glee Club

I first learned the song, Roundup Lullaby (Desert Silvery Blue), as a freshman student in the Pomona College Men’s Glee Club in 1955; it was sung as an encore at most of our concerts. It was based on a poem by Badger Clark, set to music by Clifton Barnes, and arranged by Prof. Ralph Lyman for the Pomona College Men’s Glee Club in 1938. This song has stuck with me for some sixty years and is still a favorite.

Roundup Lullaby, sung by the Glee Club on “Pomona College Songs” in 1967.

Continue reading “A COWBOY POET AND A SONG ODYSSEY, by Stewart Hendrickson”

Elijah Wald – Folk Musician, Writer, Ethnomusicologist, by Stewart Hendrickson

Elijah Waldself-described “ramblin’ hobo folksinger”was born in 1959, the son of Nobel Prizewinning biochemist George Wald and Harvard biologist Ruth Hubbard. Opting for a career outside of science and following his heart, he became a folk singer and studied guitar in the 1970s with Dave Van Ronk. In his book, “The Mayor of MacDougal Street,” he captured some of the early Greenwich Village folk scene that inspired the Coen Brothers’ movie “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Beginning at age 18, in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, he wandered around Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America with his guitar, busking, playing small gigs, and immersing himself in all kinds of folk music. See Elijah Wald, biography. Continue reading “Elijah Wald – Folk Musician, Writer, Ethnomusicologist, by Stewart Hendrickson”

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, August 17-19, 2018

The Eleventh Annual Princeton Traditonal Music Festival takes place in Princeton, B.C. Canada this August 17-19. The whole town of Princeton comes out to support the festival. Near-by “locals” come from the Okanagan area, and others come from Vancouver, other parts of B.C., Washington, Oregon and points even further away. The main focus of the festival is the traditional music and folklore of British Columbia, but it also includes traditional music, liberally defined, from other areas. This festival is enhanced by the friendly people and the small-town atmosphere of Princeton.   Continue reading “The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, August 17-19, 2018”

PNW Folklore Society – A New Plan, by Stewart Hendrickson

In the April/May issue I wrote that I was stepping down as Director of the PNW Folklore Society, and after next October I would no longer actively book new concerts. In the absence of a new director and other volunteers, the Society would wind down and concerts would continue only on an occasional basis as new performers and volunteers came forth. This prompted an encouraging reaction. Continue reading “PNW Folklore Society – A New Plan, by Stewart Hendrickson”

Juba Music – The Earliest Roots of American Popular Music, Part I, by Tom Berghan

Dance Boatman Dance: An early favorite song of the Minstrel Troupes of the Antebellum Period. Attributed to Dan Emmett and Virginia Minstrels. Featuring Banjo, Jawbone, and Singing by Tom Berghan. To play, move cursor to left part of audio player and click.

Juba Music?  What is that?!  It pre-dates ragtime, jazz, blues, hokum,  jugband, hillbilly, country, and in fact most of what we term today as “American Folk Music.” It is from the time we call the Antebellum (before the Civil War, from about 1750 to 1850). Continue reading “Juba Music – The Earliest Roots of American Popular Music, Part I, by Tom Berghan”

James Stevens – Paul Bunyan and the Frozen Logger, by Stewart Hendrickson

The CD, Songs of the Pacific Northwest, has songs contributed by sixteen regional musicians. Since logging played a big part in our history it is not surprising that a number of these songs are about logging. One of the most well-known logging songs is The Frozen Logger. It was written in 1929 by James Stevens, who lived in Seattle during his later years. Who was this guy and what other things did he do? How did Paul Bunyan fit into this? Continue reading “James Stevens – Paul Bunyan and the Frozen Logger, by Stewart Hendrickson”