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Obit: Larry Penn 2014

Related threads:
Lyr ADD: Flamingos (Larry Penn) (15)
Lyr ADD: Time to Go (Larry Penn) (15)
Lyr Add: I'm a Little Cookie (Larry Penn) (2)
Lyr Req/Add: The Whiskey's Gone (Larry Penn) (18)
Get well quick: to Larry Penn! (2)

Phil Cooper 08 Oct 14 - 02:37 PM
Mark Ross 08 Oct 14 - 04:17 PM
Thomas Stern 08 Oct 14 - 08:39 PM
Mark Ross 08 Oct 14 - 09:59 PM
GUEST,Tinker from Chicago 08 Oct 14 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,Guy Kaplan 09 Oct 14 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,Dave Humphreys, Two Way Street Coffee House 09 Oct 14 - 09:31 PM
Waddon Pete 12 Oct 14 - 12:19 PM
Mudjack 12 Oct 14 - 10:11 PM
Elmore 13 Oct 14 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,David W. 14 Oct 14 - 04:15 PM
Joe Offer 14 Oct 14 - 06:25 PM
Bill D 14 Oct 14 - 10:32 PM
GUEST,David W. 17 Oct 14 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,Dennis Ostrowski and Cory 18 Oct 14 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,David W 03 Nov 14 - 10:28 AM
Joe Offer 24 Oct 22 - 05:07 PM
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Subject: Obit: Larry Penn
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 08 Oct 14 - 02:37 PM

I just heard from Craig Siemsen and Mark Dvorak, that Milwaukee area songwriter and performer, Larry Penn has passed away. I don't know any details. Larry lived a long, full life and wrote a lot of wonderful songs. May he rest in peace.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn
From: Mark Ross
Date: 08 Oct 14 - 04:17 PM

Larry was 87. Passed away in his sleep last night. He was a fellow member of the Rose Tattoo with Utah Phillips, JB Freeman, Rik Palieri,
Kuddie, "Haywire Brack" Bruce Brackney, Bob and Diana Suckiel, and myself, and others. A great songwriter, he will be missed.

Mark Ross

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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 08 Oct 14 - 08:39 PM

a brief scan indicates he recorded quite a few CD's.
One I enjoyed is a 2CD release with Bruce Phillips - May Day at the Pabst,
Recorded at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, Wis., May Day 2006.



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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn
From: Mark Ross
Date: 08 Oct 14 - 09:59 PM

Here's link to some videos of Larry. Damn, he was a great songwriter;;

Larry Penn

Mark Ross

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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn
From: GUEST,Tinker from Chicago
Date: 08 Oct 14 - 10:50 PM

Goodnight, Larry. You will be missed.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn
From: GUEST,Guy Kaplan
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 09:09 AM

A Wisconsin Legend will never be forgotten.
People have been suggesting for some time now, that Rev and I ought to put out a recording. So for those audience members of impeccable taste, that keep asking us when we were going to make a record: Here it is!                                  Larry Penn

"Like a sip from the
Preacher's whiskey flask"! ...

The Dean

Around The Campfire - Walking Stick - Shorty George - Hallelujia I'm A Bum
In The Mist Of Colorado's Mountain Railroads - Freight Train
I Want To Be President - Drill Ye Tarriers Drill - The Ballad Of Steam Train Maury
Glide Sully Glide - The Popular Wobblie - Bloom Where Ya Planted
Midnight Special - Chaser
Around the Campfire $15.00   CM-10

"War Stories may well be Larry's finest achievement to date. Taken as a whole the result is a stunning and moving tribute to our Citizen Soldiers" ...
Jym Mooney -
Mootown Records

Army Life - Sgt. Plisco - Rueben James - Dewey Pratt - Tramp Tramp Tramp
The Daring Young Man In A P-38 - Stand To Your Glasses Steady - The Sullivans
Lili Marlene - Sins Of The Father - Hinky Dinky Parley Voo
A Cannon For Washington Square - Green Beret - Body Bag - A Moment Of Silence
War Stories   $15.00                CM-08

A double C-D featuring Utah Phillips and Larry Penn. "Recorded Live" at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ~ May Day, 2006
Larry's set...

I've Been Workin' On The Railroad
It's Just A Rose
So Long Partner
The Spike
Pretend We're Married
Come Bugle Blow
Sins Of The Father
Been On The Job Too Long
The Ghosts Of Bay View
Rondinellie's Castle
Time To Go

Utah's set...

Railroading On The Great Divide
It's Only A Wee-Wee
I Will Not Obey
The Preacher And The Slave
Ship Gonna Sail
Halleljah, I'm A Bum
So Long It's Been Good To Know You

Spiced with stories as only Utah can tell them, and concluding with a fine duet of Solidarity Forever

The set ~ $15.00                     CM-07

"What a fine CD. Great renditions of beauteously vivid tales."

..... Art Thieme   

Queen Of The Short Line Railroads ~ I've Been Workin' On The Railroad ~ Run Kate Shelley Run ~ Danville Girl ~ J. Gould's Daughter ~ The Code ~ Tuscan Red Rose ~ On The Way To Omaha ~ The Chessie Kitten ~ Pheobe Snow ~ Railroad Wife ~ A Railroad Life For Me ~ Once Upon The Katy Railroad Line ~ Julia Bullette

Railroad Queens Of The Past CM-04

"I bought your cd from you at Britt this year, and everynite I put it on when I climb in bed."

..... a Fan   

A Ride On The Westbound (Lord Open Road) ~ Danville Girl ~ Casey Jones ~ Bob's Train Ride ~ Watching Lake Michigan Roll ~ Down By Maco Station ~ The Bannockburn (May Day) ~ John Henry ~ Little Stream Of Whiskey ~ Ambrosia ~ Once Upon A Katy R.R. Line ~ Potato Man ~ Sing Me A Railroad Song ~ A Cannon For Washington Square ~ Go To Bed Kid

A Ride On The Westbound   CM-02

"When the melody starts going around
in your head, you'll never get it out"

The Whiskey's Gone - Put Your Arms Around Me Babe - Biff's Riff - Old Time Aeroplanes - Mabelo - I'm a Little Cookie - Maquiladoras - Take It The Way It Comes - On My Grandma's Patchwork Quilt - Why Don't A Tow Truck Haul Toes - Rondinellie's Castle - Little Piece Of The "Q" - Gypsy Nocturne - It's Time To Go

Cookie Man Music Co.    CM-92

Originally produced for the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin from the singing of Larry Penn, Marianne Mohrhusen, and Mark Dvorak. This combination of traditional and original tunes comes with a reader friendly libretto to expand your traveling music pleasure...

"Penn's voice has the gritty texture of railroading itself"
...Trains Magazine

Wabash Cannon Ball - John Henry - Run Kate Shelly Run - End Of The Train Device - Waiting For A Train - Mulligan Stew - The Alphabet - Engine 143 - No Self Respecting Hobo - A Spike - Hobo's Lullaby - Railroad Wife - Old 901

Cookie Man Music Co.    CM-91

The marketing plan was to reach the truckers with one side and the railroad workers with the other. The Teamsters wouldn't buy it because of the train songs, and the Rails wouldn't have it for the trucks. The songs will stand though, and after ten years out of print, it's good to be back on the road...

"he practically compels the audience to smell the smoke laden, oil heavy atmosphere"
...Transport Fleet News

Been Rolling So Long - East Chicago Run - 548 - Old Corn Binder (And A Load Of Steel) - A Trucker's Song (Gypsy Nocturne) - On My Grandma's Patchwork Quilt - End Of The Train Device - Come Bugle Blow - A Railroad Life For Me - No Self Respecting Hobo - Tucson Red Rose - The Spike

Collector Records    1943C

Stickin' with the Union is accompanied by a 34 page booklet that includes lyrics, photographs, illustrations, and a short discussion of the historical genesis of each song. Some might call it the "folk process"... Available in Cassette or CD

"it's a comforting and reassuring thing to hear Penn and Holter singing their songs of a vision shared"
...Milwaukee Weekly

Fifty Years Ago - Babies In The Mill - Ghosts Of Bay View - Saturday Night - Frozen In Time - So Long Partner - Willie The Scab - Which Side Are You On - Cowboy Days - The Wreck Of The Carl D. Bradley - Love And The Shorter Work Week - Putting The Blame - So Long It's Been Good To Know Ya - Union Maid

Collector Records    1948C

A Dozen Railroad Songs and Some Poetry

With musical notation edited by Milwaukee's master musician, Patty Stevenson...


Time To Go
Run, Kate Shelly, Run
Tuscan Red Rose
End of Train Device
Come, Bugle, Blow (Milwaukee Road)
A Railroad Life For Me
Queen Of The Short Lines (V&T)
Little Ah Sid
John Allen's Railroad
On The Way To Omaha
Old 901
No Self-Respecting Hobo
3 Short Railroad Tales
Breakfast With Fry Pan Jack
I Still Play With Trains
Grimy Box Car
A Spike
Quill Me A Lullaby

46 poems on various topics, with a blue collar bent.....

Any songwriter worthy of the salt has this drawer full of unfinished work saved, in hopes that somehow the Muse will reconsider: stuff that died on the vine before the light of day; stuff that never got the right tune; stuff that was never honest in the first place.

Pete Seeger knew this, of course, when he asked what I did with mine. "Make poems out of them," he said,   "that's what Woody Guthrie did!"

The current nationwide interest in poetry, suggests it is time to test the wisdom of Pete Seeger's advice. But, if it is not, at least there will be this little monument to myself.


Gone to the Doggerel

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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn
From: GUEST,Dave Humphreys, Two Way Street Coffee House
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 09:31 PM

Songwriter, poet, performer, wit, mentor, friend. Larry was all of these, and so much more. Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. He lives on in all our hearts. Thanks for the memories, Larry!

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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 12:19 PM

A thread that deserves refreshing! I heard the news when I was away from home and expected to see a rather longer list of posters by now. However, thanks to Mark Ross for taking the time to post links to the video collection. Worth a look if you haven't already been there. Larry was a representative of much shared history and his musical prowess was well-known. A sad loss indeed. I have added his name to the "In Memoriam" thread.



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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: Mudjack
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 10:11 PM

Sad news...Larry Penn's music was introduced to me by way of Larry Hanks at a beach week end campout in Oregon. Instantly recognized these songs were really above the average. Promptly ordrered his CD. He did only mail web sales.
I missed his OR appearance with regrets, Francie hosted a concert for him.

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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: Elmore
Date: 13 Oct 14 - 04:28 PM

Glad I got to see him perform at a festival in upstate New York one time. Sorry to hear of his passing.

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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: GUEST,David W.
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 04:15 PM

I was introduced to Larry Penn back in the 1980s by his song "Run Kate Shelly Run" and heard him and his songs on various public radio programs many times over the years. A great songwriter and down-to-earth performer.

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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 06:25 PM

There's a very nice obituary for Larry Penn in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

    Larry Penn remembered for his musical prowess, and compassion

    By Jan Uebelherr of the Journal Sentinel Oct. 9, 2014

    Larry Penn was once a Teamster, a ponytailed truck driver for the Ladish Co. whose love of folk music grew from playing the air guitar to a real one — at the suggestion of his wife — and writing songs. Truckloads of them.

    Penn, best known for a song called "I'm a Little Cookie" — recorded by the late legendary folk singer Pete Seeger and local folk singer Claudia Schmidt, among others, died Tuesday at his Milwaukee home of complications of diabetes and heart problems. He was 87.

    "He represented a lot of history that we as a people share — labor history," said his good friend, Chicago-area folk singer and songwriter Mark Dvorak, who met Penn in the late 1980s and performed and recorded with him.

    "When I first me Larry, he took me around to all the spots where things had happened — the Bay View massacre, scenes of strikes. People don't always like to hear about it, but that is a part of our shared history and he wasn't afraid to bring to the stage," Dvorak said.

    In the folk music heyday — especially the 1970s — Penn would work an eight- or nine-hour day driving a truck, then perform.

    He caught the attention of Joe Glazer, a performer and owner of Collector Records, in 1976 — the bicentennial year — when labor was also "searching for its roots," Penn later recalled. Glazer invited him to sing at what was then the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Md. Glazer also issued Penn's first album, "Working for a Living," a collection of labor songs. And things began to take off for Penn.

    At 58, Penn retired and turned his full attention to his music. Over the years, he often performed and recorded with Lil Rev and others, including singer/songwriter John Sieger of Semi-Twang.

    "It was unfair to be on stage with Larry," said Sieger, who played several times with Penn at Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson. "The guy who followed him would always lose. Larry didn't have any clunkers."

    Penn represented a vanishing breed of folk singer and songwriter, he added.

    "He didn't write about himself. That's what folk music is now — it's a mood ring," Sieger said. "He wrote about trains and trucks and union men and people shooting each other and people who were different."

    He pointed to an anti-gun song called "The Shovel is Brother to the Gun," the title borrowed from a Carl Sandburg poem. "It's both funny and deep," Sieger said.

    In a 1988 interview with the Milwaukee Sentinel, Penn had conceded that he was not your typical truck driver. He had a pony tail and beard before truck drivers did that kind of thing.

    "I was never the darling of the truck driving set, that's for sure," he said.

    But with an undisputed blue-collar pedigree as a "working stiff," he became the darling of those who appreciated great folk music.

    "Train songs — it's almost impossible to write a bad one," he said in the 1988 interview. "You can't hardly write a train song people don't like, at least to listen to." The 1988 feature story called "End of Train Device" one his finest train tunes, "a lament for the gradual replacement of the caboose with a computer sensor."

    And then there was the cookie song. It was inspired in part by a long-ago Milwaukee cookie factory, and in part by a song he and his wife, Pat, heard at a music festival. The song was about being an "illegitimate child." His wife, who worked at Penfield Children's Center, wondered why there couldn't be a song about emotionally disturbed and "damaged" children.

    Penn told the tale of the cookie factory in the liner notes of his 1983 album, also called "I'm a Little Cookie":

    "We had a cookie factory here in Milwaukee that used to hang up a shingle every week or so. It read, 'Broken cookies!' Then the people ... could go and buy pounds of broken cookies for $1.25. You could take those home and just pig out, but after you got into 'em you realized that they tasted just as good as the cookies you bought in the store and got maybe eight in a package for 89 cents."

    Penn explained, "Once the two ideas met, the song took about three minutes."

    He recalled that Pete Seeger told him, "Any fool cold have written this, but no fool did."

    He added, "Actually, there's no big brainstorm about the song."

    "He was very much a poet," Dvorak said, and a focused, natural songwriter. "He was a hard thinker. I'm not sure he knew how he did it...I think he just found that place."

    It helped that he was focused on a cause. Dvorak remembered being on a boat fishing with Penn. "He gave me a lecture. And I couldn't get away from this one. Couldn't change the subject either," he said. "He told me about the role of labor and his opinions about it. What I learned is, you can't turn your back on this stuff as an artist, if you know about it and care about it.

    "And he cared about it because it matters. We hear the word 'passion' a lot these days. We don't hear the word 'compassion' a lot. He had compassion for working people."

    Penn is survived by his wife, Pat; daughters Genevieve Penn, Nancy Penn, Terry Penn and Sharon Monahan; seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.

    A private memorial service is planned. A public musical celebration of life will be 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Anodyne Coffee Roastery, 224 W. Bruce St., Milwaukee

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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Oct 14 - 10:32 PM

A special place in my heart for a man who could do this: I asked, and Art Thieme provided it.


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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: GUEST,David W.
Date: 17 Oct 14 - 04:56 PM

An obituary of Larry Penn from Sing Out!

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Subject: RE: 2014 Obit: Larry Penn
From: GUEST,Dennis Ostrowski and Cory
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 09:50 AM

We went to one of Larry's concerts and he said "Nice to see ya, but you heard my show before". I said "Yes, but not often enough!" Larry took time to teach me some riffs for "I'm a Little Cookie" at the Fox Valley Folk Festival one year. Still do a lot of his material down here in Alabama and they love it! Larry will always be with us.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn 2014
From: GUEST,David W
Date: 03 Nov 14 - 10:28 AM

A rememberance of Larry Penn from Peter Berryman:

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Subject: RE: Obit: Larry Penn 2014
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Oct 22 - 05:07 PM

Joe - post Preacher's Whiskey Flask
Sing Out!
Volume 55#3 — Spring/Summer 2013

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