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Travis Edmonson ill (Dec 2008)

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GUEST,TJ in San Diego 17 Dec 08 - 04:40 PM
katlaughing 17 Dec 08 - 04:46 PM
katlaughing 17 Dec 08 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 17 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM
katlaughing 17 Dec 08 - 07:54 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 17 Dec 08 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,Mike at UCR 27 Mar 09 - 06:20 PM
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Subject: Travis Edmonson ill
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:40 PM

I have just learned that Travis Edmonson, the surviving partner from Bud & Travis, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Doctors are optimistic that it was noticed early. Travis was incapacitated by a stroke caused by an aneurism several years ago and has been unable to play guitar since then. He has remained as active as possible, with many fans and friends around the world. He has resided in Mesa, just outside Phoenix, Arizona, for some time. He was a pioneer in introducing some of the beautiful Mexican folk and, especially, the "bolero" form to American and international audiences.

Travis was a frequent visitor to the folk camp put on by the late John Stewart, Bob Shane and the late Nick Reynolds each year. We're losing that generation all too quickly. I would encourage anyone who has not heard Bud & Travis, Travis as a solo performer or with the Gateway Singers in the 1950's to give a listen. His CD's are available online and so are some YouTube snippets of past performances.

Though not, strictly speaking, a folk musician, he and Bud Dashiell both played unamplified classical guitars almost exclusively, often backed by a "guitarron," or Mexican bass guitar. He composed many songs performed by others, including the Kingston Trio and John Stewart. Travis could use some good vibes right now.

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Subject: RE: Travis Edmonson ill
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:46 PM

All good wishes going out to him from Colorado. There's a very touching video of him at a surprise celebration for his birthday this last Sept:HERE. He's even singing along.

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Subject: RE: Travis Edmonson ill
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:49 PM

THIS ONE is really neat!

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Subject: RE: Travis Edmonson ill
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM

For those who aren't familiar with Bud & Travis, here is a snapshot:

Bud and Travis were the best.
No one of their ilk could even touch them.
When they got on stage and did their thing,
there was nothing like it. Wonderful.

--Erik Darling, The Weavers

Of all the American acts that surfed the "Folk Music" craze back in the late 50's and early 60's BBD (Before Bob Dylan)—people like Ian & Sylvia, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Kingston Trio, and of course The Weavers—Bud and Travis were my favorite. I think it has a lot to do with what we used to call authenticity, even though we didn't really know what that meant in the context of entertainment.

In a world just beginning to line the threadbare pockets of savvy entrepreneurs like Albert Grossman (Dylan's manager) and Seymour and Maynard Solomon (who founded Vanguard Records), Bud Dashiell and Travis Edmondson came from someplace down deep inside themselves. They sang about life as they knew it to be, and though their music was definitely glossy and professional, and in spite of the fact that they were nothing like household names, (they never had a hit record), they transported their audiences whenever and wherever they found them.
They were born on the same day in the same year at nearly the same hour, but they lived in two different worlds.
Oliver "Bud" Dashiell was the son of an American correspondent and an English Folies Bergere dancer. He was born in Paris, grew up on the Bull Run battlefield in Virginia, and enlisted in the Army just in time to become an artillery officer during the Korean War.
Bud met Travis Edmonson in the late 40's after Edmonson's older brother—an army buddy—brought Bud home on a visit. Travis was a California kid who grew up on the Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona, as the musically-gifted black sheep in a family of educators. Edmonson was an anthropologist who had actually lived with a Yaqui tribe while helping to compile the only existing dictionary of the Yaqui language.
They didn't see each other for a number of years after that first meeting, each performing solo in the nascent folk music era, but finally they started playing together at San Francisco's famous Purple Onion.
From the very beginning (and perhaps this is one reason they made such beautiful music together) Bud and Travis were like oil and water. Their personal relationship was notoriously stormy. "We fought nine-tenths of the time, no doubt about that. Tooth and nail. In fact, we hated each other," said Edmonson candidly in 1997.
Regardless, onstage they were miraculous. They played acoustic nylon-strung guitars and were famous for uncanny harmonies and beautiful arrangements of traditional tunes as well as—uniquely—Latin American boleros, which Travis had heard and loved during his childhood.
Their concerts were punctuated by hilarious patter between songs, years before The Smothers Brothers borrowed the idea. Since Travis was actually Tom and Dick Smothers' landlord for about a year in San Francisco, this is not so far-fetched as it might seem. "It was like owning a couple of trained bears," said Edmonson regarding the Smothers. "They were angels, but they were cuckoo. You never knew what to expect!"
Bud and Travis's relationship ended acrimoniously in 1965 when, according to Frank Hamilton, a Folkways Records recording artist, Bud punched Travis in the nose for suggesting that the Korean War combat vet had "no cajones." Travis remembers the altercation differently: something about a scuffle, being shoved against a wall, having his head bloodied. Nonetheless, first and last stones had been thrown and the team broke up.
Hamilton called them "the Gilbert and Sullivan of folk music", Travis the wild and irresponsible "artist", Bud the conservative but outspoken idealogue.
They released eight albums between 1959 and 1965, and there were two more post-breakup compilations from Liberty Records (their original label, now defunct) and a "best of" pressing from Collector's Choice in 1998. They are the only perfomers to have sung before both houses of Congress, in order to have Bud's anti-war song The Time of Man entered into the Congressional Record.
Their effect upon American music—at a time when American music was being redefined—is undeniable. David Crosby (who was Edmonson's gofer if you can believe that) and Linda Ronstadt, famously, acknowledge the duo's influence. The Mexican songs from Travis's boyhood in the Sonoran desert, Florecita De Mi Cielo, Rayito De Luna, Vamos Al Baile and their signature piece, Malaguena Salerosa are still being reinterpreted by 21st century artists such as Los Lobos and Ronstadt herself.
Personal favorites of mine, songs that I can still sing and play (badly) to this day, nearly forty years after I first heard them, include the anti-war ballad Two Brothers, the pure-American Abilene, Joey, Joey, Joey, Red Clay Country, their cover of Dylan's Tomorrow is a Long Time, and especially the rhapsodic Golden Apples of the Sun, adapted from the poem The Song of Wandering Aengus by William Butler Yeats.
Bud Dashiell died in 1989 of a brain tumor. Travis Edmonson (also stricken with a brain aneurysm at about the same time as his partner) is still with us, moving somewhat slower, with all his years.
Their music together remains timeless.

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Subject: RE: Travis Edmonson ill
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:54 PM

Thanks for that, TJ!

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Subject: RE: Travis Edmonson ill
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 09:39 PM

I'm sorry to hear of his ails. I guess the past twenty years have not been kind to his health. Although I have seen pictures of Travis as an older man, I somehow still see him (and Bud) as lithe, vibrant entertainers. Such is the beauty of memory. I wish him well.

I think I told the story of how I heard of Bud's passing, but in case...In the early 90's Mrs. Sunset Coast and I used to go to hear a singer, Joanne Montana, whom we had gotten friendly with. One night she introduced one of her songs, crediting her guitar teacher, Bud Dashiell. After the set, I asked about him, and she told me he had died about 4 or 5 years earlier. That news ruined my appreciation of her second set.

I think it's harder to take the death of someone whose work you appreciated, but had not heard or listened to in a long time...such as Bud, such as Odetta or Ed McCurdy, what? about four years ago.

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Subject: RE: Travis Edmonson ill
From: GUEST,Mike at UCR
Date: 27 Mar 09 - 06:20 PM

Best wishes to Travis.

I heard Bud and Travis at the University of California, Riverside, in 1960. Still remember the humor and aliveness of the performance. Have a couple of their LPs and listen every little once in a while.


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