The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157256   Message #3710402
Posted By: Don Firth
20-May-15 - 04:35 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Miner's water bottle
Subject: RE: Miner's water bottle
Reminds me of "Sully's Pail," written by Dick Gibbons.

I met Dick Gibbons when I was going to the University of Washington back in the 1950s (when dinosaurs roamed the earth). Dick and a friend took off to bum around the country and wound up doing some coal mining in Idaho where one of his co-workers underground told him a story—and Dick, an aspiring poet, wrote the story into a poem. Dick was not much of a singer, but he cobbled together a functional tune, and a song, "Sully's Pail," was born.

Dick is an avid listener to folk songs and he and his wife, Gela (Angela), often host "hoots" in their home. It was at one of these many years ago that he trotted out "Sully's Pail." A couple of local singers learned it, (e.g. Bob [Deckman] Nelson, among others) and a few people added to their repertoires.

I have no idea how or where Tom Paxton heard it. After he'd been doing it awhile, he had a gig in Seattle, where he and Dick met (and learned that the name was "Gibbons," not "Giddons"). Paxton made it a point to see that Dick got proper credit (and royalties) for the song.

More pertinent poop HERE, and HERE.

Dick has written a whole bunch of stuff, including a couple of novels, as yet unpublished (one spy novel about a plot to blow up the World Trade Center—and then he got pre-empted by Reality [9/11])!! He's a very good writer, both prose and poetry, and he's still cranking it out.

We're both getting kinda creaky around the edges, but we still get together from time to time.

Don Firth