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Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson

Barry Finn 25 Oct 99 - 11:58 PM
Liam's Brother 26 Oct 99 - 02:40 AM
kendall 26 Oct 99 - 10:36 AM
JedMarum 26 Oct 99 - 11:21 AM
Songster Bob 26 Oct 99 - 01:10 PM
Sandy Paton 26 Oct 99 - 01:55 PM
Liam's Brother 26 Oct 99 - 02:03 PM
Liam's Brother 02 Dec 99 - 10:20 PM
Sourdough 02 Dec 99 - 11:32 PM
Seamus Kennedy 03 Dec 99 - 12:22 AM
RiGGy 03 Dec 99 - 08:19 PM
RiGGy 03 Dec 99 - 10:52 PM
Barry Finn 03 Dec 99 - 10:58 PM
Lisa Null 04 Dec 99 - 05:59 PM
Susanne (skw) 04 Dec 99 - 08:56 PM
Barry Finn 04 Dec 99 - 11:15 PM
Liam's Brother 05 Dec 99 - 01:01 PM
Suzy Rothfield Thompson 05 Dec 99 - 10:36 PM
Seamus Kennedy 06 Dec 99 - 01:19 AM
Dick Waterman 06 Dec 99 - 01:45 AM
Jacob Bloom 06 Dec 99 - 06:02 PM
David Jones 31 Dec 99 - 09:11 AM
Barry Finn 14 Aug 08 - 01:08 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Aug 08 - 04:46 PM
RiGGy 15 Aug 08 - 11:18 AM
GUEST 16 Aug 08 - 01:06 PM
Barry Finn 16 Aug 08 - 10:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Aug 08 - 10:29 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Aug 08 - 06:03 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Aug 08 - 06:45 AM
Susanne (skw) 20 Aug 08 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,David Stacey 10 Sep 08 - 11:35 AM
Barry Finn 10 Sep 08 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,David Stacey 11 Sep 08 - 02:36 AM
Bruce Markow 05 Apr 09 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,PJ Johnson 13 Apr 09 - 12:42 AM
Barry Finn 13 Apr 09 - 02:26 AM
GUEST,Ranganath Nayak 06 Jan 13 - 08:42 AM
Elmore 06 Jan 13 - 10:16 AM
Elmore 06 Jan 13 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,PJ Johnson 10 Apr 13 - 12:17 AM
GUEST,Julie vesselle 25 Jun 13 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,jassplayer 26 Oct 13 - 05:57 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 14 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,john winkler 09 May 17 - 06:39 PM
Elmore 10 May 17 - 11:13 AM
Thomas Stern 13 May 17 - 02:53 PM
Elmore 14 May 17 - 12:26 PM
keberoxu 14 May 17 - 01:30 PM
Thomas Stern 14 May 17 - 03:57 PM
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Subject: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 11:58 PM

On another thread I mentioned Peter Johnson. Boston during the 70's & early 80's was experincing a folk music slump. There were a few coffeehouses, Passim's being probably the top of the crop & the Boston Folk Song Society these were organizations, there was one person who may have done more, on his own, than any of the other groups (maybe combined). This was Peter, he wasn't a hustler (quite the oppisite) he just loved to bring what he considered great music to the public because that's the music he loved to hear. He had no backing & made very little money. Kind of sad he was heir to the Johnson & Johnson kingdom & was disowned because of his unproductive life style. He was forever finding & bring over people like Maggie Barry, Sean Tyrell (who in a radio interview recently thanked Boston for the likes of Peter). There's not many of the early super groups from across the pond that hadn't been hosted by Peter. Peter hosted parties for any visitor & found a spot on stage to help them kick off what hopefully would be a tour. Always was putting on benifits at Passim's that became known as Peter Johnson night, all the local talent would turn out for these. After the slump ended Peter disappeared (maybe 15 yrs ago). I don't think that there's an old coffeehouse around here that if you listen hard enough doesn't speak his name in whispered tones. Part of why I'm posting this is that when I get together with old friends Peter name pops up more ofter than not & sometimes just the memory of some of those long ago concerts or parties envokes thoughts of him. The next reason is that a couple of weeks ago I walked into our local singers session & Peter was there ready to sing, he said that he might be thinking of getting back to music maybe by coming through the back door (he's a bit shy & wouldn't think himself more than a long ago stranger in from the cold). I felt awful that he thought he'd have to sneak back to the music he helped to keep to alive & IMHO helped Boston to be the folk mecca it is today. And I quess the last reason was to let some of those that knew him, know that he's OK & he's finally come home. Barry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 02:40 AM

Amen. Peter is a gem.

He did more for folk music is Boston than anyone and he has always had a broad taste so everyone benefited. I met him through Margaret Barry who stayed with both of us when she came to the States.

He put me on in concert a few times as a solo and with my band, The Flying Cloud. This was in the mid-'70s when, in order to describle a group like The Bothy Band to virtually anyone, you would have to say something like "imagine if the Clancy Brothers and the Chieftains combined." I'm not kidding.

Peter was always good to the local singers and musicians. A lot of people who put on bigger names like to put down locals. Not Peter. He had no ego in that sense. He saw value in everyone.

The kookiness (and I'm not being unkind) Peter brought to the business of folk music allowed him to do things other people wouldn't touch. He would just go out and rent a hall, print up some flyers and take to the streets putting one in every coffee shop in Cambridge and one in the hand of everyone he met enroute... and it worked!

I'm going to be in Boston on 1DEC and I hope to run into him. It's great to hear he's back.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: kendall
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 10:36 AM

If you see him, tell him kendall morse remembers the evening at the Joy of Movement Center with my friend Marshall Dodge. Peter is one of the good guys.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: JedMarum
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:21 AM

I never ran across Peter, that I recall, but I do remember Passims and the Boston Folk Song Society. There was another club I played in Cambridge from time-to-time in the 80's called the Idler. Is that still around?

There was a bit of a folk drought in those days, most of the paying gigs were in the local gin mills. Folkies would have to apss themselves off as Pub singers! I played a few Happy Hours at Jonathan Swift's in Cambridge; is that place still there? I moved to Texas in '86 and lost touch with all these places.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Songster Bob
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:10 PM

Pleasant and Delightful, vols 1 & 2, were just one of Peter's projects. These were sampler records of local and not-so-local folks that were issued in the late 60s and early 70s. I went up to Boston and recorded some tracks for what would have been vol. 4 had it ever seen the light of day. Peter heard me sing a song at a Fox Hollow campfire and asked me to record it for the collection. Of course, if I'm going to Boston to record, it's going to be more than one song, even if he only uses that one, so I spent a Saturday mid-day singing and playing guitar and banjo, including a little home-made original banjo tune that I can't even remember how it goes. Whatever became of those master tapes, I wonder?

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:55 PM

After meeting Peter, probabl;y at Fox Hollow, he sent us a photograph of himself wearing a chicken suit and passing out advertising materials on the streets of Boston. Later we did a concert for him and partied in his basement apartment with other musicians. Great time! But what really impressed me was the impromptu dramatic recitation Peter did on the street before we went into the apartment. Absolutely brilliant! We've often wondered what happened to him. Glad to hear he's back and doing okay. Kooky? Sure, and truly wonderful.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 02:03 PM

Yes, Sandy. I remember the chicken suit.

Songster Bob, your master tape is sitting next to my master tape.

All the best,
DAn Milner


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 10:20 PM

Hi!

I'm very pleased to tell all of Peter's many friends that there was a sighting of him last night at the weekly Boston Folk & Traditional Singers' Club. I was busy doing a few clerical things when Shay Walker called to me and asked whether I knew Peter. He was sitting next to me. Overcome with sheer joy at seeing this unconventional wonderman for the first time in 20 or so years, I gave him a big bear hug and a kiss on the cheek. Peter had not shaved recently; I now understand and will be more considerate to Liam's Sister-in-Law in future.

Peter handed me a flyer (not a surprise, really) that advertizes a "Family Gathering with Xmas Carols, Spirituals, Folk Songs and Popular Antiquities" on Tuesday, 21DEC, 7 - 9PM at the First Congregational Church, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge. I hope all his Greater Boston friends can join him. Songster Bob should know that Peter intends to record a CD that night!

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Sourdough
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 11:32 PM

Kendall -

Your mention of Marshall Dodge reminded me his wonderful "Bert and I" albums. When I moved to Cambridge in 1963, I took a room in a house on Hilliard Street. We used to receive mail for Marshall Dodge (I was the only one who knew who he was). THey were requests, orders, for "Bert and I" but I had no idea how to reach him so presumably the orders never got filled.

His name came up the other day on NPR. THere was an interview with a monologist who's name refuses to run up to my fingers as I type but I recall that his most famous monolog was "Swimming to Cambodia" and that he is a sporadic regular on Prairie Home Companion. He credits Marshall Dodge with setting him on the route that became his profession.

I did know a Peter Johnson in Boston but he was a writer/actor for a children's program on Channel Five called Jabberwocky. I wonder if he is the same person you are talking about.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 12:22 AM

I used to sit in at sessions in the Plough with Johnny Beggan, Shay Walker, Declan Hunt and Clive Collins back in the '70's with my partner at the time, Tom O' Carroll. Peter Johnson was responsible for a lot of us getting gigs, and we were really grateful for them. he helped Tom and me get our first gig at Passim, even though we were a 'bar-band." Peter is one of nature's gentlemen, and I'm delighted to hear that he's back. God bless him. Seamus Kennedy


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: RiGGy
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 08:19 PM

Hello Seamus !! I last saw YOU in Monterey with my deaf son !! I miss the other Seami, Walker & Connelly, my old Boston Budi. The Battering Ram was the Plow Session group that used to play for Peter's occassional concerts. Peter used to use my tiny "pad" above Discount Records, at the very apex of Hahvahd Squayah, for the after-concert parties. Long, steep stairway up from the street. After the McGarrigles [sp?] concert, Kate was climing those stairs & met Peter coming down naked with toothpaste on his nipples and genitals..... she turned around and never came up...


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: RiGGy
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 10:52 PM

BTW- the "other" Peter Johnson was the leading man in my 1976 production "THE WHALE SHOW", a semi-historical musical that married authentic ship's logs to traditional whaling songs. Born out of Cambridge's Proposition Theatre, it went on to tour hot spots like Mamaroneck[sp?], NY. Several other concertina players took over when I left, notably Jerry Epstein and Sandy Davis. The original musicians included Eliott Ribner, Steve Woodruff & me 'umble self. RiGGy


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 10:58 PM

RiGGy, how could you? Peter aways dressed in style, even a bit outlandish at times but he'd never scare off anyone. I guess Kate wasn't used to seeing a dream man.
Hi Seamus, you were quite the bar band, you left Boston for the southard's & the Ol Village Coach House went belly up. Henry forgives you though. From an old Coach House regular. Barry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Lisa Null
Date: 04 Dec 99 - 05:59 PM

If Peter is out there, pass on my affection and fond memories of almost forty years standing. Does anyone remember his wonderful escapades with Margaret Barry--leading an escape over windowsills of tall buildings from an exploitive musical partner? Gallantry! I remember how much fun it was to play at Joy of Movement Center. Mostly I remember long talks by the Charles River.

--Lisa Null


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 04 Dec 99 - 08:56 PM

I knew the name was familiar! Never met Peter, but Hamish Imlach devoted a whole page to him in his memoirs, including picture with chicken suit. Hamish also claims young Peter married Margaret Barry, then in her seventies, when she was threatened with deportation from the US because she didn't have a work permit. He does sound like one of life's gentlemen. - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Dec 99 - 11:15 PM

Hi Lisa & others, I'll most likely be going to Peter's shindig on Tues. Dec 21(as posted above by Liam's Brother) & I'll bring along this thread for him. My singing partner Neil Downey also tells stories of Peter & Maggie trying to get boots for her in downtown Boston in the mist of a snowstorm trying, Peter trying to convince the salesperson to let her try them on barefooted the way she walked in & then trying to convince her to try them on.
Hi Songster Bob suprising enough Peter mentioned he still has tapes from yrs ago that he'd still like to record, but don't make book on it & please realize Peter's intention is only & always selfless & good, no grand, he just gets sidetracked through the years.
Yes Susanne you could say he was husbanded to Ms. Barry. And if Hamish Imlach devoted page to him you can bet there's a book that can be written.
During one of the Peter J. nights at Passim's (Peter MC'ing) after bring up Peter Kiro (sp?) he sat back on stage after probably going his usuall non stop 24-7, he fell asleep & started snoring so loud that Peter K had to stop performing to wake him but you had to see the love that he was woken by & that he woke up to. Barry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 01:01 PM

Fact, folklore, fiction and mystery. How distinct are these?

I used to know the story of the Barry-Johnson nuputals years ago but the details have completely slipped from my mind. However, I'm inclined to be a disbeliever.

Why? Because Margaret was already married to an American.

Margaret stayed with me for 3 months and then again for another month in 1973-4. I negotiated for her with some pretty tough NYC bar owners and did a few opening spots at folk clubs like Lena's in Saratoga.

Another thing we did together was to record an interview of 6 or 8 hours in length which was bascially her life story. About 1982, I passed the tape on to Mick Moloney and asked him to find an archive for it. Sometime afterwards, I was staying at Mick's when we heard a (false) report of Margaret's passing. He got the tape out and played it from start to finish. Possibly on the tape but, more likely as a side comment when the wheels weren't rolling, Margaret made a statement that she would give up the music when her husband was finished with Hollywood.

Hollywood? Yes, Margaret confided in me that she was secretly married to the movie actor Robert Mitchum. Things, she said, were not going well for Robert and that she hoped he would soon come to his senses, leave Hollywood and return to her.

Not too long afterwards, Robert's career took off again when he appeared in a tv mini-series and, as far as I know, this long hoped-for reuniting of the lovers never did take place.

There, folks, you have it! I ask only that, if any of you meet Peter Johnson, that you do not reveal this story. Who knows what it could do to the man?

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Suzy Rothfield Thompson
Date: 05 Dec 99 - 10:36 PM

Wow! I always wondered what became of Peter Johnson. I am sure he doesn't remember me but I remember him vividly. I met him when I was in my late teens and was touring with the British ballad singer Frankie Armstrong. She made a wonderful connection with Peter when we were in the Boston area. This would have been in 1974, probably. It's great to hear that he is coming back into "the scene". I live in Berkeley Calif. so I will not be able to make it to Peter Johnson night, but I am sure it will be great! If you think of it, please give Peter my regards even though I know he won't remember me.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 01:19 AM

RiGGy, you must be the one and only Rick Rackin, concertina player extraordinaire. Too many big box players and not enough weebox players these days if you ask me. On the subject of Peter Johnson, do you remember the full story of Peter getting the Battering Ram a gig in Passim opening for Aztec Two-Step ( I think it was)? Anyway, one of the members of the Battering Ram, who shall remain nameless, had to take a wicked leak, so he left his bandmates on the stage and went behind the curtain where he found what he thought was a suitable empty vessel into which he could relieve himself. When he heard the sound of his widdling coming through the P.A. system, he realized he was actually peeing into one of Aztec Two-Step's conga drums which had been miked for sound. The lads on stage thought there was a phantom bodhranist who couldn't quite find the tempo. On the subject of Hamish Imlach and Peter Johnson, I was present at a great session one night with Peter, Hamish, the Sands family after their gig in the old Harp & Bard Pub in Norwood, MA. We pulled an all-nighter and finally passed out about 8:00a.m, and we woke at about 11:30 to the sounds and smell of Hamish Imlach making one of his famous hot Indian curries for breakfast.A hangover had no chance against one of Hamish's curries!


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Dick Waterman
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 01:45 AM

We seem to have lost touch with each other over the years. I am now living in Oxford, Mississippi, and get to see Paul Rishell a few times a year at festivals.

I see Bonnie pretty often and she often asks about you as we say how much we miss Reeve . . .


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Jacob Bloom
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 06:02 PM

As an audience member, I found the best thing about Peter Johnson concerts, after the music, was how easy it was to make friends at them. This was especially true at the concerts at the Joy of Movement center, where you sat on the floor. If you saw people you knew when you walked in the door, it was no problem to squeeze in next to them, but if you didn't, you sat down anywhere and joined in one of the conversations going on around you. The informality of sitting on the floor made it possible to start talking to people without seeming intrusive. I made many friends at those concerts, and at the singing parties that always followed them at one house in Cambridge or another. (There was also the woman I met at one of those parties - but that's not Peter's fault.)

Peter also sent out a newsletter describing the upcoming concerts. It contained some truly inspired typos. The best one was the time the band named "How To Change A Flat Tire" somehow became "How To Fix A Flat Trio".

Say hello to him for me!


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: David Jones
Date: 31 Dec 99 - 09:11 AM

What memories of Peter. I lived in Cambridge in the early '70s, and did many concerts for Peter in the most unusual places. Somewhere, I have a copy of his memoirs that he gave me, "Peters Progress", additional chapters were planed. Peter was given the annual Eisteddfod award by Howard Glasser,one of Howards most inspired choices. Howard is still living quietly in Assonet, MA. it would be great to see him and Peter together. Sorry I missed the Dec. 21 event. Didn't know about it. David


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 01:08 PM

I'm refreshing this thread cause a mudcatter had just PM me about Peter & I happen to run into him at an Irish session about 3 weeks ago & we had a good chat (he looked & sounded very well), then I just saw this advert in the Boston Folk Song Society's newsletter.
Here's the advert as follows;

"In the fall of 1986 I gave a course at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA-Boston) sponsored by the Department of Musical History. It was an introduction to Anglo-Celtic folk music which included discussions, lectures, listening to recordings and workshops with musicians who played & discussed their material. I'm looking into offering this course again."

"the course will include a brief survey of ballad scholarship, general characteristics of folk music & a comparison to other forms of music-primitive, popular & composed art music, folk music in it's cultural setting, the structure of ballads, theories of ballad origin, supernatural ballads as archaic survivals, the cycle oforal transmission & composition, ballad themes, nature of folk tunes, balad migration & variants and an appreciative understanding of the folk aesthetic".

"As soon as I know more about the status of the course, when & where, I'll make that information available in the FSSCB newsletter"

"Cordially
Peter Johnson"

My take on this is that if you've never met or don't know Peter the course would be worth the taking just on that alone. Peter has been activily promoting folk music & musicians since he left the Navy (or the Navy left him) in 1959. Aside from his qualifiactions to go on about the above areas of folk music he has a head full of personal settings & experences with so many luminaries in the folk world that this would not be just an academic course on folk music itself but it would also be an account of the living folk & how it breathes, eats & it's daily slice of life.

If & when Peter presents further info about this course I'll present it here.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 04:46 PM

I would sure go if I were anywhere near that side of the Atlantic - I have very fond memories of the concerts and events Peter put on in the Boston/Cambridge area, which brightened my time there no end. Let us know more as it happens. I suppose there's no website? (Nah, thought there wasn't.) Any hope of Peter posting on (or joining) Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: RiGGy
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 11:18 AM

SOMEBODY, please take that course and bring a digital recorder to class !!   I'd bet thousands of people would buy CDs of it !!
Esp me !    Riggy


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 01:06 PM

Hi to Peter, Im so glad to know Peter is well and i hope still singing. Met Peter years ago in the Harp and bard Norwood .we played there with hamish imlach.the sands family n ireland.thanks for the great times.THESANDS FAMILY are still playing away.with Anne Tommy Ben and Colum.Is the harp and bard still there .denvers and No rwood .Would love to here from Pete ,all the best Anne Sands .         email anne.sands@btinternet.com


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 10:19 PM

Hi Anne
My wife's from Norwood & remembers the Harp & Bard but seems to think it changes hands & style around the very early 80's.
When I see or talk to Peter next I pass on your hello's, same goes for you Bonnie, I'll let him know about this tread when ever I see him but I can't even guess when that might happen.

Hi Riggy, I'll also pass on your idea to Peter, seeing as he loves to record everything. I won't be seeing you this summer, the wedding was scaled down to 4 invites.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 10:29 PM

I did a concert for Peter back in the 60's, and was astonished that he asked me. I had never done a full concert, at that time, and had no idea how he even knew about me. I suspect that my friend Howard Glasser had shared a tape of my singing with him. I was grateful for his support, even though it turned out to be the weirdest concert I ever did.

When you're starting out, it means everything when someone thinks you're good enough to book. I'll always be thankful to Peter for that. Even if it was the weirdest concert I ever did.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 06:03 AM

OK, I'll bite: Weird, how?


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 06:45 AM

At least for the concert that I did, Peter allowed anyone who did a guest set to get in without paying the admission fee. There didn't seem to be any limit on how many people got up to sing before the concert started, or how many songs they did. Everything was very free form. One person ended up doing five or six songs. A friend of mine who was living in the area came to hear me, who I hadn't seen in a long time. I wasn't living ib Boston, and it was a chance to see him, and for him to hear my concert. There were so many people who did guest sets that my friend finally had to leave, because it was getting late. He never did hear me sing.

That night, I stayed over in Peter's apartment, with some other guy who was passing through. The thing that sticks out in my mind is that he tried to get me to buy a couple of bushel baskets of organic carrots. He'd gotten a real good deal on them and figured he'd make a handsome profit selling them. The only problem was that they were old. If you wanted to buy a flexible carrot, he was the man to see.
You could have put eyes on them, and with a few strokes of a knife, made an orange Gumby out of them. Some of the thinner ones, you could bend into a complete circle and make a handsome organic bracelet out of them. There were infinite possibilities.

A couple of weeks, I was home visiting my family and called an old friend of mine. He had told me that he never answered the phone because he was sick of getting phone solicitations to buy stuff. When his answering machine came on, and identified myself as a salesman for organic carrots, and that I was offering a special price per bushel. It's strange how the mind works. I hadn't thought of Peter Johnson and the organic carrot salesman in years.

As I said, Peter has a special place in my heart for offering me one of my very first concerts.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 08:05 PM

Hi Anne! Do join us on Mudcat and provide some more pleasant memories of travelling the folk circuit, please! And I'm glad you liked the tapes, of course.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,David Stacey
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 11:35 AM

Peter very kindly allowed me to stay in one of his cellar rooms for about 6 months towards the end of 1969. All I had to do in return was sing the odd song at any of his sessions, mainly in Passims. I even appear on Vol 1 of the Pleasant and Delightful series mentioned earlier in the thread (I still have a copy of the LP but nothing to play it on!). His chicken suit was supposed to be a turkey when he had a job as the WBZ turkey man one thanksgiving - he was supposed to be handing out vouchers for a free turkey to any one who could identify him:- many stories grew out of that as anyone who knows Peter can imagine. A confrontation between Peter in his chicken suit and myself masquerading as a London Bobby (I was handing out leaflets for COPYCOP, a photocopying outfit!) was filmed somewhere in the business district. Jack White, a whistle player and singer was often around at that time; is he still? I shall actually be in Boston for a week this November and hope very much to bump into Peter who I'm trying to get in touch with. If anyone sees him tell him I'll be in town 19-25th.
David Stacey UK


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 01:46 PM

Jack White is still around & usually can be found playing whistle at the Monday night Irish sessions at the Green Briar pub/resturant on Washington st in Brighton. Jack could probably put you in touch with Peter.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,David Stacey
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 02:36 AM

Barry, Do you have email or contact for Jack which you can send off-list? david.stacey63@ntlworld.com I haven't been back in Boston for 40 years and will be involved in an academic conference (American School of Oriental Research!) so my schedule will be crowded.

thanks

David


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Bruce Markow
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 10:04 PM

I'll revive this thread again, after nostalgia for my folk-dues days in Cambridge got me googling Peter Johnson. He was a frequent and important presence in my, and many people's, musical world during the 70's. So good to hear he is out and about. I hope this "Hello" makes it to him.

I remember Peter as a wild man with a spirit of extreme generosity and a laser focus for creating top notch, folk music events that brimmed with vitality. I'd credit his efforts as a big source of my own American-British Isles folkloric education.

Peter's energy and concerts gave wings to my projects -- to learn every instrument I could lay my hands on and perform with my newgrass band (The Astroturf String Band) and duo (The PineToppers). I internalized some of his confidence and cockiness and, as a newly emerging folkie, found my way to play Joy of Movement Center, then Passim's, then festivals, etc.

As rousing as the concerts were, and as easy as Peter made it to take for granted seeing formidable musicians from near and far, the inevitable after-show parties were where the folk process took off: we locals jamming and swapping songs with the featured artists; enthusiastic networking in the spirit of community and camaraderie.

Once I hosted an only slightly surprising (but totally exhilarating) post-concert party for Peter's birthday. Well attended by people wanting to return some love to Peter, it drew numerous homemade cakes with gushy good-wishes-laden icing. We'd done just about enough jamming... when the food fight erupted, nearly straight out of a traditional drinking song. After the icing cloud finally cleared, a line of revelers snaked from the shower through the bathroom out into the hallway.

These days I'm Brooklyn based, performing solo as a singer-songwriter, primarily using my own material (with some comping and session work that draw heavily on the era I described), but those expansive days in Peter Johnson's Cambridge are still alive in my memory as roots to be grateful for.

Thanks, Peter.

Bruce Markow


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,PJ Johnson
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 12:42 AM

Hello all, as I was googling my father I came across this thread and felt obligated to update those who apparently were a large part of his life in Cambridge and folk music. I am his son, PJ, (yes, Peter has a child and is married for those who don't know) and am responding on his behalf because my father is the furthest thing from being computer literate. He is living well with his wife, Lorna, in Belmont and still is strumming away at his guitar on a daily basis. He is actually in the midst of finishing his autobiography called "Laughing Lessons", and I would not be surprised if one of you're names is in the book at some point. Let me know if you would like more information or would like to contact my father, as I am sure he would be quite flattered that all of you still have him in you're memories.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 02:26 AM

Please ask him to drop in & have a read& to say hi.
Thanks for posting young Peter

Barry


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,Ranganath Nayak
Date: 06 Jan 13 - 08:42 AM

I met Peter by chance a couple of months ago when I was canvassing for Elizabeth Warren. I knew nothing about Peter or him about me, but he was very friendly and sang a couple of snatches of folk songs as we stood talking on his door step, one in old Irish, and one in old French. He lives on School Street in Belmont, MA, and is listed under the name Pierrepont Johnson.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Elmore
Date: 06 Jan 13 - 10:16 AM

Got a 3 page handwritten letter fron Peter a few months ago saying he was looking for a publisher for his memoirs and asking me to phone his agent(?} to endorse the project. I was busy having heart issues at the time, and totally forgot it. I feel sort of guilty. Peter Johnson, as well as FSSGB ,kept the Cambridge folk scene alive when it was nearly extinct in the early seventies.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Elmore
Date: 06 Jan 13 - 11:09 AM

I believe I first met the late Barry Finn, who started this thread, at one of Peter's concerts.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,PJ Johnson
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 12:17 AM

Hello, this is Peter's son PJ. If any of you would like to contact my father, you can reach him at pejohnson10@gmail.com. I am sure he would love to here from you all. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,Julie vesselle
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 02:30 AM

Looking for Peter after 35 years.
Remember me?
808 281 1720
We were pals way back in the day.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,jassplayer
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 05:57 PM

Peter and a ragged group of ancillary folkies showed up last Monday at an open jam session I run at Kirby's Irish Pub in New Bedford. He seems fully recovered from his auto accident of several years ago, and we traded songs all night long. The folks at the bar turned off the Monday Night football game to take it in!

Ragtime Jack Radcliffe


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 10:29 PM

If anyone is looking for my dad is number is 617-840-8010 or you can e-mail me (he doesn't have e-mail) pejohnson10@gmail.com


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,john winkler
Date: 09 May 17 - 06:39 PM

I wonder if that is the same PJ I met around 1959 when we were taking an evening course at BU. Heard him sing much later, late 60's at Plough and Stars. Same fellow?


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Elmore
Date: 10 May 17 - 11:13 AM

Attn: John Winkler. More likely that the PJ you saw was a guy who called himself Peter C. Johnson and played with a group aptly named the Manic Depressives. I'm not sure of this though.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 13 May 17 - 02:53 PM

Hello John Winkler,
I spoke with Peter Johnson about your query. Peter left the navy
in the circa 1958 and audited some courses (English lit, philosophy)
at BU, but does not recall if it was 1959 or later. He performed at Plough and Stars as well as organizing ceilidh's at Passim's.
He knows of Peter C. Johnson, their mail sometimes being misdirected.
If you would like to speak with Peter Johnson, PM your contact info.
Cheers, Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Elmore
Date: 14 May 17 - 12:26 PM

Attn : Thomas Stern. Thanks for clearing up my mistake about Peter and the Plough and Stars. I guess Peter played all over the Cambridge area in those days.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 May 17 - 01:30 PM

I wonder if this is the fellow whom I recall from the late '70s and early '80s in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

He brought Hedy West to the Joy of Movement performance space, the only time I got to see Hedy West live.

Then there were all the Martin Carthy, Watersons, and MacColl/Seeger concerts.

Respect.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 14 May 17 - 03:57 PM

Hi Keberoxu,
One and the same Peter Johnson. He produced many wonderful
folk concerts (some recorded now in the archives at U Mass Dartmouth),
and produced recording on his LIVING FOLK label.
Best wishes, Thomas.


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