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Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson

Thomas Stern 15 Oct 20 - 10:35 PM
Thomas Stern 11 Oct 20 - 12:12 AM
Thomas Stern 05 Oct 20 - 08:26 PM
GUEST 24 May 20 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,PJ Johnson 02 May 20 - 03:10 PM
Bat Goddess 13 Dec 19 - 03:04 PM
Thomas Stern 12 Dec 19 - 10:05 PM
Bat Goddess 12 Dec 19 - 02:25 PM
Elmore 13 Oct 19 - 01:42 AM
Thomas Stern 15 Jul 19 - 03:52 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 04 Jul 19 - 03:50 PM
Thomas Stern 03 Jul 19 - 08:50 PM
GUEST,anglo 27 Jun 19 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Jeanie Stahl 24 Jun 19 - 07:08 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 23 Jun 19 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,Jeanie Stahl 22 Jun 19 - 11:02 PM
Thomas Stern 14 May 17 - 03:57 PM
keberoxu 14 May 17 - 01:30 PM
Elmore 14 May 17 - 12:26 PM
Thomas Stern 13 May 17 - 02:53 PM
Elmore 10 May 17 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,john winkler 09 May 17 - 06:39 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 14 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,jassplayer 26 Oct 13 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Julie vesselle 25 Jun 13 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,PJ Johnson 10 Apr 13 - 12:17 AM
Elmore 06 Jan 13 - 11:09 AM
Elmore 06 Jan 13 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Ranganath Nayak 06 Jan 13 - 08:42 AM
Barry Finn 13 Apr 09 - 02:26 AM
GUEST,PJ Johnson 13 Apr 09 - 12:42 AM
Bruce Markow 05 Apr 09 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,David Stacey 11 Sep 08 - 02:36 AM
Barry Finn 10 Sep 08 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,David Stacey 10 Sep 08 - 11:35 AM
Susanne (skw) 20 Aug 08 - 08:05 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Aug 08 - 06:45 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Aug 08 - 06:03 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Aug 08 - 10:29 PM
Barry Finn 16 Aug 08 - 10:19 PM
GUEST 16 Aug 08 - 01:06 PM
RiGGy 15 Aug 08 - 11:18 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Aug 08 - 04:46 PM
Barry Finn 14 Aug 08 - 01:08 PM
David Jones 31 Dec 99 - 09:11 AM
Jacob Bloom 06 Dec 99 - 06:02 PM
Dick Waterman 06 Dec 99 - 01:45 AM
Seamus Kennedy 06 Dec 99 - 01:19 AM
Suzy Rothfield Thompson 05 Dec 99 - 10:36 PM
Liam's Brother 05 Dec 99 - 01:01 PM
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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 15 Oct 20 - 10:35 PM

Peter Johnson's son PJ is coordinating the LAUGHING LESSON
reading event. NOV 7 2020, 7pm.

signup:
Peter Johnson Laughing Lesson reading

RSVP to laughinglesson@gmail.com

facebook: https://fb.me/e/3tKmP7L5Y


Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 11 Oct 20 - 12:12 AM

Hi Mike Butler,
I've e-mailed you some information.
Cheers, Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 05 Oct 20 - 08:26 PM

On NOV 7 a ZOOM session will present Peter reading from his
memoir THE LAUGHING LESSON, along with music from some of the
performers on the Boston area folk scene.

Details, sign-in etc. will be forthcoming.

Save the date!

Cheers, Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 20 - 03:26 PM

Hello! It is Peter's son PJ, here. He is turning 85 tomorrow, and if you could send a short video wishing him happy birthday that would be incredible. If you can muster a song that would be magnificent, but a simple happy birthday will suffice as well. Thank you!


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Subject: Peter memoir is out!
From: GUEST,PJ Johnson
Date: 02 May 20 - 03:10 PM

Hi everyone!

I am happy to announce Peter's memoir came out this fall. It is called "The Laughing Lesson" and chronicles Peter's journey from his rejection of upper class Newport to his evolution as a legend at Passim's, and everything in between.

Since many of you know Peter from his days in Cambridge, you may know about some of his antics. The book covers them! From when he worked as the Hayes-Bickford promotional gorilla to his days as the Turkey Man, and of course folk music.

The book chronicles his music from his first Ceilidh at Passim, to founding Living Folk, all the way to the present. I believe many of you are mentioned!

To buy the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Laughing-Lesson-Founder-Records-Concerts/dp/1942155301/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+laughing+lesson&qid=1588443594&sr=8-1

Please leave a review! Thanks!

If you want to contact Peter, email me at pejohnson10@gmail.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/The-Laughing-Lesson-Book-100595378232266/


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 13 Dec 19 - 03:04 PM

Mudcat's own Barry Finn is also mentioned in the book as is Neil Downey and Jan Downey.

And, of course, all the Irish and English singers and musicians Peter put concerts and events together in Boston for.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 10:05 PM

https://www.irishecho.com/2019/11/from-brahmin-to-bohemian/


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 02:25 PM

My copy of Laughing Lesson arrived in my mailbox Monday, but I didn't have time to open and peruse it until late that night after my Press Room weekly trad session.

The Laughing Lesson

Alas, there's no index , but I paged through the photographs and concert posters — so many familiar names: Howard Glasser, Maggi Peirce, Kossoy Sisters, Allan Block, Sandy Sheehan, Barbara Carns, Joan Sprung, Lisa Neustadt, John Roberts and Tony Barrand, Rick Lee and Lorraine Hammond (then Lee), Cliff Haslam, Paul Geremia, Sara Grey, Kendall Morse, Tom Gibney, Jerry Epstein, Linda Morley, and even Gill Burns, a singer from Liverpool whom Tom and I met early in 1981. Oh, and Tom's old singing partner in the Cuckoo's Nest, Jack Whyte, and Johnny Beggan, Seamus ("Shay") Walker, and Declan Hunt. And Mudcat's own Curmudgeon, my late husband Tom Hall makes his appearance on several pages. And so many more, but these are the people I've met over the past 40 years since I first got together with Tom/Curmudgeon.

I started reading the book the next morning with great gusto and I now (Thursday) have about 50 pages to go.

I first met Peter at a Watersons concert in 1981, but Tom told me many stories about him from Tom's Boston days and I've got his letters to Tom so I'm really looking forward to reading the book. Peter recorded Tom once on a compilation 2-LP set. Alas, Tom only got the LP that he WASN'T on.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Elmore
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 01:42 AM

Peter's memoir "The Laughing Lesson" has been released recently. The publisher is Peter E. Randall of Portsmouth, NH.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 15 Jul 19 - 03:52 PM

Peter's book is titled "The Laughing Lesson - Antiquated Privileges & Popular Antiquities."

scheduled for fall publication.

Over the years various chapters have circulated - Peter has provided
some notable quotes regarding his writing:

"Wonderful Stories and well told" - Pete Seeger

"A great human victory" - Margaret Mead

"artistic triumph" - Betty Friedan

"very courageous writing" - Jonathan Kozol


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 04 Jul 19 - 03:50 PM

That's brilliant Thomas, thanks for the heads-up. Please be sure to post details here when they're out. Looking forward to it so much -


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 03 Jul 19 - 08:50 PM

Peter is doing well, now into his 80's.
The exciting news for all who know him and the wonderful ceilidh's,
concerts and albums he produced, is that his biographical memoir
is being prepared for publication.
The manuscript has been edited and is in the hands of a publisher.
Anyone lucky enough to have read Peter's Progress will have a good
idea of what to expect - tales of growing up in an oppressive socially regressive wealthy family, but exposure to traditional arts through family employees, and of the weird and wonderful path to producing superb traditional music events in Boston/Cambridge.
There will be more details available when a publication date is set.
Cheers, Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,anglo
Date: 27 Jun 19 - 12:56 PM

I know him well, and still occasionally get letters from him. I played at a number of the concerts he produced at Odd Fellows Hall in Cambridge MA. I was told he was at the Caroline Paton memorial gathering in May, but I didn't see him there. It was, sadly, a cold miserable day and a number of people left relatively early including your truly.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,Jeanie Stahl
Date: 24 Jun 19 - 07:08 PM

So glad someone remembered Boop! Boop! I was wondering if I imagined it.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 23 Jun 19 - 07:19 PM

I do! Those were the first words that popped into my head when I saw this thread had re-surfaced. Jeanie, we were hanging around the same places, at more or less the same time, from the sound of it - we probably passed each other at some stage. What a fantastic guy: a true original.


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Subject: RE: Boston's folk music man Peter Johnson
From: GUEST,Jeanie Stahl
Date: 22 Jun 19 - 11:02 PM

I was thrilled to find this thread after much googling trying to find what became of Peter. Today I was cleaning out some files and came across Peter’s pamphlet of original stories, Peter’s Progress, with an inscription by him. Someone earlier In this thread also mentioned the booklet. I had totally forgotten about Peter and was delighted to come across his name and writing. At dinner I told my husband about him and what a wonderful character he was and such a great proponent and lover of folk music.

When I met Peter, in the 1970’s, I was either still in college or just out and starting to perform at coffee houses in the Cambridge/Boston area, of course hanging around Passim, but also attending some of the fabulous jams at the Plough and Stars occasionally having the nerve to bring my guitar. So nice to read the fond memories of others. Boop, boop! For those of you who recall that.


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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,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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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