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Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)

DigiTrad:
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SWINGING?
KEEWANAW LIGHT
NEW HARMONY
NORTH COUNTRY TRAGEDY


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The telling takes me home (2)


Charley Noble 28 Mar 08 - 04:25 PM
Big Mick 28 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM
dick.hamlet 28 Mar 08 - 06:05 PM
Art Thieme 28 Mar 08 - 08:01 PM
Charley Noble 28 Mar 08 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,David Owens 28 Mar 08 - 10:47 PM
Art Thieme 29 Mar 08 - 12:46 AM
Jim Dixon 30 Mar 08 - 06:24 PM
Charley Noble 30 Mar 08 - 09:13 PM
Big Mick 30 Mar 08 - 10:09 PM
Charley Noble 31 Mar 08 - 04:33 PM
Charley Noble 31 Mar 08 - 04:45 PM
Cool Beans 31 Mar 08 - 05:41 PM
Big Mick 31 Mar 08 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,David H. Owens 06 Apr 08 - 03:17 PM
Charley Noble 06 Apr 08 - 06:26 PM
Big Mick 06 Apr 08 - 06:48 PM
Bat Goddess 07 Apr 08 - 10:59 AM
Bill D 07 Apr 08 - 12:27 PM
Bat Goddess 07 Apr 08 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Cookieless Kathy Westra at work 08 Apr 08 - 12:41 PM
denise:^) 13 May 08 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,bingb 12 Nov 11 - 01:41 AM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Nov 11 - 09:02 AM
Charley Noble 12 Nov 11 - 10:09 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: KEWEENAW LIGHT (Craig Johnson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 04:25 PM

I've been thinking about this song for some time that I first heard Sally Rogers sing while I was living in Michigan. This is how I remember it but it may have strayed over the years. Craig Johnson composed it and it's a fine song (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

Words and music by Craig Johnson © 1980

KEWEENAW LIGHT

C---------------------G7-----------------C------------F
I have traveled this country from the Keweenaw headlands,
-------------C----------------------------D7------------G7
Where the wild gulls do cry from the rocks to the sea;
-----------C------------G7------------C----G7-F
From the cold inland ocean to the Manitou Islands,
----C-----------------------F------C-------G-C---G-C
Far away from my homeland, strange places to see.

Chorus:

C-------F---------------------------------C-------------F-C
And the stars will shine bright on the south shore tonight,
---------------------------------D7-------G7
The Keweenaw Light swings over the bay,
--------C---------------------G7—C—G7-C------G----F
And if dreams could come true, I'd still be there with you,
--------C-------------------F—C-----G----C-G-C
On the banks of cold water at the close of the day.


I've drifted through boom towns a century dying,
By the ruins of smelters and rusted head frames;
From Ahmeek and Mohawk, Centennial and Laurium,
And other sad places which passed without name. (CHO)

I've counted the cross ties, dry bones of the railroad,
That stretch from the sunrise to the closing of day;
And counted the miles between me and my true love,
The lines of the highway that took me away. (CHO)

Now the leaves have turned brown and summer's nigh over,
Wild geese sweep low over Lake Manganese;
In a far away country you walk by slow rivers,
Alongside cold waters 'neath whispering trees. (CHO)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM

Charley, isn't the correct name "Keweenaw Light"? That is how I have always known it. I think The Blue Water Ramblers did a version of this, and I know Wanda Degen did as well.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: dick.hamlet
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 06:05 PM

A small thing, but Craig writes poetry:

It's "the lies and the highways that carried me away" in
the third verse.

_Dick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 08:01 PM

It is on my first CD for Folk Legacy Records called -- "Art Thieme-THAT'S THE TICKET" --. Wanda got it from me I think.
www.folklegacy.com

Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 09:29 PM

"the lies and the highways that carried me away"

Wow! That's certainly not how I interpreted what I heard being sung but it certainly could be.

Wanda Degan probably got the song directly from Sally Rogers, or from Karrie Potter whom she also sang with in their group Lady in the Lake. But then Art certainly made periodic appearances at the Ten Pound Fiddle and Michigan folk festivals so it might have been the other way around. But then Cathy Fink and Marci Marxer were also part of that mix, and were friends with Craig Johnson when they all moved to Alexander, in the DC area, so many years ago.

Gee, I used to know this kind of stuff!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: GUEST,David Owens
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 10:47 PM

White Water (the Premo family of Amasa) sing some different words yet. Has this ever been published or printed anywhere, as Johnson wrote it? And that was in 1980?

2nd question: Does this refer to a particular lighthouse? I like to think it's the one in Eagle Harbor, because we have a place there. We don't really have a bay, nor does Copper Harbor. But we're both in Keweenaw County.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 12:46 AM

I stayed in that house with Cathy and Craig Johnson. It was a hot summer afternoon that Craig sang his songs for me into my cassette recorder. There was a party their that night with some fine music---Mike Seeger--Alice Girrard and jars of amazing moonshine. At one point craig was carving up a watermelon like a pumpkin---and Cathy Fink stuck it on his head..

Actually all of those photos I took that day are at my photo website at

http://rudegnu.com/art_thieme.html

My records with Craig's songs were the first recordings of his created gems. And the rest is history...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 06:24 PM

I'm inclined to think Big Mick is right and the correct title is KEWEENAW LIGHT (although I suppose it's possible the song has been recorded under more than one title).

The following albums all contain a song listed as KEWEENAW LIGHT, and credited to Craig Johnson:

The various-artists album "Music of the Great Lakes" published by The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor North in 1997. (I assume the album is out of print because the club's web site doesn't mention it, although Allmusic.com lists it.)

White Water's album "Live."

The Raisin Pickers' album "Handed Down."

Wanda Degen's album "Of Woods and Water."

John Berquest's album "Fire in the Jack Pine."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 09:13 PM

Sally Rogers also titles the song "The Keweenaw Light" on her album LOVE WILL GUIDE US. I'm not sure where I got the title at this point.

I did get a chance to sing the song again at a song party last weekend. It's got a fine chorus.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 10:09 PM

Charley, where did you get this verse?

I've counted the cross ties, dry bones of the railroad,
That stretch from the sunrise to the closing of day;
And counted the miles between me and my true love,
The lines of the highway that took me away. (CHO)


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 04:33 PM

Mick-

What is the original verse?

I do tend to process songs that I hear or mishear, and this one I heard back in the 1970's when I wasn't making many notes.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 04:45 PM

Here's a link to what's in the DT: Click here!

Evidently I've changed "sweeps" to "swings" in the chorus as well.

I should have done my initial search for "Keewanaw." Although it's the "Keewanaw" Peninsula, I will note for the record that the peninsula is located in "Keweenaw" County.

No wonder I left Michigan!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Cool Beans
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 05:41 PM

Lee Murdock has also recorded this great song. One of these days I'll get to the Keweenaw. I've only lived in Michigan for 30 years.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw County (Craig Johnson)
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Mar 08 - 08:20 PM

It is a ruggedly beautiful place. One of the problems with visiting it is that you have to drive through so many ruggedly beautiful places, interesting detours, quirky towns, dead towns, and natural wonders....just to get there.

I asked, Charley, because I was listening to The Raisen Pickers version, as well as the New Lost City Ramblers, and they didn't include that verse. But I see that it is part of the original and I really like it. Oddly enough, I hadn't sung this one before, but I am adding it to the repertoire now. I guess it isn't really that odd, as songs of my home State, and the Great Lakes, haven't been my forte, but I am adding them on now that I am doing more solo stuff.

Great song. I have to get Art Thieme's version next.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: DT Correction: KEWEENAW LIGHT (Craig Johnson)
From: GUEST,David H. Owens
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 03:17 PM

I found two sets of words for "Keweenaw Light" on the internet (one here), and listened to two recordings (White Water & Raisin Pickers). Among them I found at least thirty places where there were differences, most of them small.

Since I couldn't find an "official" version, I set out to find Craig Johnson. It said here that he moved to Alexandria VA years ago. I found one Craig Johnson listed in Alexandria, but that number had been discontinued.

It also said he had played in the Double Decker String Band, so I figured if I found ANY of those people (whether or not the group was still together), they would know where he was. The band IS still playing, and Craig Johnson is in it. Their website led me to Bruce Hutton (one of the musicians), and he gave me Craig's phone number. He now lives in North Carolina.

So I was delighted to actually talk to Craig, and was surprised to find he used to live in Ann Arbor (where I live, when I'm not in Eagle Harbor watching one of the Keweenaw lights), and he had never lived in the U.P.!

He wasn't particularly concerned whether there was an "official" version, but he went through all thirty+ differences with me, and told me how HE sings them. Though on a few, he said he has sometimes sung them the other way. So I intend to use the following as my official version, and you can too if you choose.

KEWEENAW LIGHT
(Craig Johnson)

I've traveled that country from the Keweenaw headlands,
where the wild gulls do cry from the rocks to the sea,
o'er the cold inland ocean to the Manitou Island,
far away from my home, strange places to see.

    And the stars will shine bright on the south shore tonight,
    and the Keweenaw Light swings over the bay.
    And if dreams could come true, I'd still be there with you,
    on the banks of cold water at the close of the day.

I've drifted through the boom towns, a century dying,
past the ruins of the smelters and the rusted head frames.
Through Mohawk and Ahmeek, Centennial and Laurium,
and other sad places that pass without names.

I've counted the crossties, dry bones of the railroad,
that stretch from the sunrise to the close of the day.
And I've counted the miles between me and my true love,
the lies and the highways that carried me away.

All the leaves have turned gold, summer's nigh over,
the wild geese sweep low over Lake Manganese.
In that far away country, you walk by slow rivers,
alongside cold waters 'neath the whispering trees.

Craig Johnson, ca 1975, © 1980

Two things more. When I asked him if he wrote the song in 1980, he said no, more like '74-'75, but didn't copyright it until 1980. But, I asked, did you sing it in public before 1980. Oh, I probably sang it at the Ark (our local folk song venue). That's pretty public.

And I asked if he had any particular lighthouse in mind (hoping it would be Eagle Harbor). He said it was the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, because he generally camped near there when he came to the area.

David Owens
DOwens@Pasty.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 06:26 PM

David-

Thanks for making all that effort to tidy up this thread.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Apr 08 - 06:48 PM

Well done, David!! That is the version I will use.

Will we see you at the Utah Phillips benefit at the Ark on May 14?

All the best,

Mick Lane


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 10:59 AM

Another song that Art Thieme sings that I need to learn (also Soo Line) because of my Upper Midwest and Yooper heritage.

I was born in Stambaugh, MI but left (under parent-power) before I was a year old, but I grew up on Lake Michigan's shores further south in the west 'burbs of Milwaukee.

I've never actually set foot in Lower Michigan -- and I haven't been to the UP since the late '50s, alas. Just enjoying some photographs this morning of the Lake Superior shore and discovered that Miner's Castle lost one of its spires a few years ago. When I was last there, you could walk out onto the formation, the surface was level. I noted in the last photo I had seen (on a UPS calendar from about 10 years ago) that it didn't look like anyone was allowed out there -- the surface was too sloped and friable.

I've been living amidst the glories of coastal northern New England for close to 40 years -- but the beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula still haunts me.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 12:27 PM

...and Craig's songs haunt a number of us. I was fortunate to be 'there' when Craig arrived in the Wash DC area and saw him a number of times. He even did a house concert in my basement.

There are several of his songs that have not, as far as I know, been commercially recorded...more's the shame. Maybe he'll relent one of these days.

Besides his own songs, he has become quite proficient in Old-timey music...which you can sample thru his recordings with Double_Decker.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 07 Apr 08 - 01:03 PM

There's another that I need to learn -- I got Kathy Westra to sing it into my tape recorder a few years ago and Caroline Paton stopped to add a lovely harmony. The title escapes me right now and I've just discovered I haven't finished the J-card in my computer archives. (We won't even talk about the organization of the archived tapes...)

Linn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: GUEST,Cookieless Kathy Westra at work
Date: 08 Apr 08 - 12:41 PM

It was "New Harmony," Linn. And no surprise that Caroline harmonized! Caroline and Sandy recorded that lovely Craig Johnson song as the title song on one of their Folk Legacy recordings.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: denise:^)
Date: 13 May 08 - 10:13 PM

I've recorded "The Keweenaw Light," too...but I think it's one of those songs that just can't be recorded too many times!

:^)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: GUEST,bingb
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 01:41 AM

I have seen it recorded under the title "Banks of Cold Water"and as Keewenaw {sic}Light.. yup spelled wrong.
To clear up someones comment above "Keweenaw" county makes up part of the "Keweenaw" peninsula along with part of Houghton county..only keweenaw for the whole area is the correct spelling..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 09:02 AM

People may be wondering what this term Keewenaw actually means. It comes from the geology of the region. Here's some interesting info:
==============
    The Keweenaw peninsula is in Upper Michigan and extends into southern Lake Superior (the world's largest fresh water lake). The peninsula is approximately 150 miles long and 50 miles wide. The preserved geologic history consists of rocks from the Precambrian (1.1 billion years) and Pleistocene ( 2 million year) glacial deposits.

    The Keweenaw peninsula contains one of the largest and most unique copper deposits in the world. It is the only district where native copper was the primary mineral mined throughout the life spans of the mines.

The Keweenaw fault extends along the length of the peninsula and marks the boundary between the Mid-continent rift and continental rocks. The rift valley was filled with a combination of extrusive volcanic rocks with minor amounts of intrusive igneous rocks and sediments derived from the igneous rocks.

The Greenstone flow is one of the largest lava flows in the world. It can be mapped for 90 km on the peninsula and is also found on Isle Royale 90 km northwest on the other side of the rift valley. It has a thickness of up to 400 m with an volume estimated to be between 800 to 1,500 km3 of lava. Other flows on the peninsula can be mapped for lengths up to 160 km.
===========
I'm off now.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 10:09 AM

Nice to have this Craig Johnson song revived again.

Charley Noble


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