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John Dwyer - Songs & Stories

Related threads:
Lyr Add: Notice to Mariners (John M. Dwyer) (13)
Photos of John Dwyer and Friends (9)


Stewart 05 Jan 01 - 01:57 PM
Don Firth 05 Jan 01 - 06:43 PM
Deckman 05 Jan 01 - 07:15 PM
Deckman 05 Jan 01 - 07:56 PM
Don Firth 05 Jan 01 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Maggie Dwyer 05 Jan 01 - 10:58 PM
SandyBob 06 Jan 01 - 12:54 AM
Mark Cohen 06 Jan 01 - 01:43 AM
Deckman 06 Jan 01 - 11:29 AM
StillyRiverSage (inactive) 06 Jan 01 - 11:51 AM
Stewart 06 Jan 01 - 12:23 PM
Don Firth 06 Jan 01 - 04:38 PM
Stewart 06 Jan 01 - 06:07 PM
Don Firth 06 Jan 01 - 07:16 PM
Mark Cohen 07 Jan 01 - 02:16 AM
Deckman 07 Jan 01 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Cat Haston 07 Jan 01 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 07 Jan 01 - 04:39 PM
Deckman 07 Jan 01 - 05:52 PM
mg 07 Jan 01 - 07:21 PM
StillyRiverSage (inactive) 08 Jan 01 - 12:00 AM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 09 Jan 01 - 03:16 PM
MMario 09 Jan 01 - 04:00 PM
Barbara 09 Jan 01 - 07:33 PM
StillyRiverSage (inactive) 10 Jan 01 - 12:18 AM
Deckman 10 Jan 01 - 12:38 AM
Stewart 10 Jan 01 - 12:29 PM
Don Firth 10 Jan 01 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Bruce Baker bpbaker@msn.com 12 Jan 01 - 01:07 AM
StillyRiverSage (inactive) 20 Jan 01 - 12:18 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Dec 01 - 12:46 PM
Deckman 18 Dec 01 - 01:30 PM
Deckman 18 Dec 01 - 07:35 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 01 - 11:56 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Mike Nelson 19 Dec 01 - 12:20 AM
Deckman 19 Dec 01 - 12:36 AM
Stilly River Sage 19 Dec 01 - 01:25 AM
Deckman 19 Dec 01 - 02:57 PM
Don Firth 19 Dec 01 - 03:36 PM
Deckman 19 Dec 01 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Mike Nelson 19 Dec 01 - 09:55 PM
Deckman 19 Dec 01 - 10:53 PM
Deckman 20 Dec 01 - 08:55 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Dec 01 - 02:36 AM
Stilly River Sage 28 Oct 02 - 01:04 AM
Jon Bartlett 28 Oct 02 - 02:21 AM
Deckman 28 Oct 02 - 07:52 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Oct 02 - 12:32 PM
Jon Bartlett 29 Oct 02 - 10:42 PM
johnross 30 Oct 02 - 10:19 PM
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Subject: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stewart
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 01:57 PM

A recent thread on the song "Frozen Logger" drifted to a discussion of other songs about the Pacific Northwest. I posted "Notice to Mariners" by John Dwyer, a song about the Bremerton ferry running aground in the fog. I suggested a new thread on John Dwyer and Don Firth thought that would be a good idea, so here it is. By the way, Don wrote a nice article on John, who died in 1997, in SingOut! vol 42 # 4 p.29. I knew John for only about a year; there are many who knew him better and, I hope, can contribute to this thread. John was a founding member and regular participant in the Seattle Song Circle, which I joined in 1996. He was a crusty curmudgeon, but good friend, a consumate punster with a warped (off-the-wall) sense of humor, a writer of outrageous parodys and songs about historic events in the Pacific Northwest, and an authority on traditional ballads. He sang with a good and strong bass voice, mostly traditional traditional songs or songs with a humorous bent. He rarely missed our weekly song circle, and was always the first to arrive and the last to leave. I remember the Sunday evening in November 1997 when he did not appear at song circle. I had a strong feeling that something bad had happened. It turned out he had died suddenly and alone in his home in Marysville. I wish I had known him better. So, from those of you that did know him and his songs, it would be fun to hear some stories of John and some of his original songs.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 06:43 PM

I don't really know much about copyrights and such. Although I aspire to be a published writer (I am currently working on a memoir -- gad, that sounds pretentious -- about my bizarre adventures as a folksinger in and around the Pacific Northwest during the Fifties and Sixties, but oozing on to more recent things, like how the idea of the Seattle Song Circle got cooked up after a workshop at the 1977 Northwest Folklife Festival), my only published work so far is (sadly) the aforementioned article about John Dwyer in the Sing Out! Last Chorus column. If I own the article -- and I will probably have to check with Sing Out! about this -- I would be more than happy to post it here for those who don't have access to the magazine, provided anybody wants to read it. It runs about 700 words.

Although he never made any recordings and he didn't go on concert tours and such, from 1960 on, John Dwyer was a major figure in folk music in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. He was a pretty colorful guy in his own way, and lots of people knew him. There ought to be a lot of memories and anecdotes out there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 07:15 PM

Don, Was that word antidotes, or antic dotes? John Dwyer was famous for actions that produced both. Do you remember the famous 'sexist' wars he would start at sing-alongs? He and I sang a concert at Apple Jam in Chehalis, Wa, about 100 years ago. With no pryer warning on his part, and to goad Linda Allen, he started singing sexist war songs. At that point, I had to throw the planned program out the window and decide if I should join the new theme, referee, or call the cops. I don't remember exactly what I did, but I do know that I returned home with my manhood intact! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 07:56 PM

... by the way, I remember that Flip Breskin, of Bellingham was there at that concert! Where are you Flip? This is your chance to tell stories about John, or maybe get even! CHEERS, Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 09:00 PM

Back in the late Seventies, shortly after the Seattle Song Circle got started, we were having a small (not song circle) party and songfest at Phoebe Smith's house. About a dozen people were there, including John Dwyer. Mary Wilson arrived late, and as she was taking off her coat, the following conversation took place:

Mary Wilson: "I had trouble finding this place. I wandered around so long I was beginning to feel like Sacajawea."

John Dwyer: "You were beginning to feel like a sack of what?"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: GUEST,Maggie Dwyer
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 10:58 PM

Don and Bob,

Thanks for the heads up about this thread. Even after three-plus years, I often find myself with an outrageous pun on my hands, wishing I had Dad to send it to. As it happens, I do have many recordings of his on my hands, though they are in storage right now. I'd love to do something with them both academically and Song-Circle-wise. One of these days I'll be able to record some of his tapes onto CDs. And I do intend to make both the recordings and his books available to those interested in collecting folksongs.

As an adult I find I still have a child's response to some of the songs he sang during my childhood. Last year someone made a remark about the Ezra Pound parody "Winter is a Coomin In" (I may have misspelled this) and I made a remark about "egg you hath my ham" making no sense. But then, I learned that song when I was in my Dr. Suess days. Dad explained a lot of his songs to us, but that one got past me. A Shakespearean scholar friend nearly fell out of his chair laughing, then explained it was "ague hath my ham," an ENTIRELY different meaning. Many of Dad's songs were sung when we were supposedly out of earshot, but all it took was one hearing of some of them and we had them down. And usually sang them at the top of our lungs in the back yard as we played on the swingset. All of those hoots, when you were singing in the living room downstairs, we were sitting upstairs at the heater duct listening. ;-)

Don Firth wrote a wonderful article about Dad that appeared in _Sing Out!_ some months after his death. I work (not surprisingly) in a university library, and have been reading a fair amount about copyright issues. I can't say whether _Sing Out_ is copyrighted, but I would be willing to guess that Don didn't give away all rights to it when he submitted it. As the author it is his to give or sell, and I doubt he would encounter difficulties if he ran it here. And it might bring a few more readers to _Sing Out!_.

My two cents-- Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: SandyBob
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 12:54 AM

I liked John because he sang bawdy songs well and other politically out-of-favor songs and didn't care a fig about what others thought about it...he gave a lot of us permission to do the same. I also found him to be a gracious man. He heard a song I wrote sung at at a camp somewhere and went out of his way to look me up and tell me he liked it. Sing on where ever you are, John.

Sandy Bob


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 01:43 AM

In a previous life before I moved to Hawaii (1985-90)I was a faithful member of the Seattle Song Circle, and of course that means I remember John very well. I particularly remember him belting out "It's a Long Way From Amphioxus", which was always a favorite of mine, as I was both a parodist and a biology major.

One day John arranged for a few of us Seattle songsters to perform, as it were, at the San Juan Islands National Park (that's probably not the real name of the park, but that's ginkgo deficiency for you....something John never seemed to suffer from), which was either at English Camp or American Camp on San Juan Island. A fine time it was, educational (I learned more about the Pig War than I ever wanted to know), musical, and fun. As I recall, we were there because Maggie, who just checked in above, was a park ranger there that summer.

I also remember a delightful day at John's house on the water in Marysville, sharing music with Linda Allen, who was just starting to collect what became "Washington Songs and Lore," including John's "Notice to Mariners", with the immortal last line, "Don't navigate by cow!"

Thanks for starting this thread, Stewart. I hope Mary G. and other past and present Seattle Song Circlers will check in.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 11:29 AM

One of the many vivid memories I have of John was the passion with which he sang "The Good Boy."

"I have led a good life, full of peace and quiet, I shall have an old age, full of rum and riot, I have been a good boy, wed to peace and study, I shall have an old age, ribald, course and bloody.

I have never cut throats, even when I yearned to, Never sung dirty songs, that my fancy turned to, I have been a nice boy and done what was expected, I shall be an old bum, loved but unrespected."

Can't you just see that grin and the twinkle in his eye!

CHEERS, Bob Nelson (deckman)


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: StillyRiverSage (inactive)
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 11:51 AM

I've spoken to Bob Nelson, Jean Smith, Bruce Baker and a number of others, as well as people in music and special collections at several university libraries about Dad's collection and the collections of folk singers past and present. It looks like there is a real need for some serious funding to pull this together, preserve it, and make it available to researchers and singers. We're talking about folk singers here, so there's no MONEY in it, but there is a need.

I haven't planned my work toward a Ph.D. ("piling it higher and deeper," as Dad called it, but he was very pleased when I told him I wanted to do this) to collect music, but we do accumulate certain skills along the way as academics: research, writing grants, and patience in general seem to be what are needed. Having a core knowledge of the people and the songs helps. One of these days I'll stop paying good money to the storage locker people and I'll be able to look at what all I have in the boxes and boxes of stuff I packed of Dad's. Hopefully taking stuff out of storage will conincide with getting out of Texas (yeah!) and getting back into the squishy Northwest. Don't start pulling all of those boxes out of your own basements and attics yet, but I'll start doing some research on funding a project like this.

Maggie

P.S. Mark--good to hear from you again! I always figured when you folks left the island that day (you'd been at English Camp in San Juan Island National Historical Park) you were singing Emma Rounds' words and Dad's tune in "The Ballad of the Merry Ferry."


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SAN JUAN PIG (John Dwyer) ^^
From: Stewart
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 12:23 PM

Mark, your comment about singing with John on San Juan Island and his telling you about the Pig War prompts me to post his song which tells the story. An 1846 agreement extended the boundary between the U.S. and Canada along the 49th parallel to the west coast and from there to the "middle of the channel" through the islands southeast of Vancouver Island. A war between the U. S. and England almost erupted in 1859, triggered by the killing of a pig and disagreement as just where the "channel" went — whether the San Juan Islands were British or American.

SAN JUAN PIG — John Dwyer, 1978

Let me tell you of a story of a San Juan pig.
It wasn't worth much cause it wasn't very big,
But it rooted in a garden and it nearly caused a fray,
Between the King of England and the U. S. A.

Now the Pig it was Canadian, the settler was a Yank
What the pig did to his garden was more than just a prank,
For it dug up his potatoes and it tore down his fence,
Since it wasn't just the first time Cutler's anger was immense.

When he saw the pig a-rootin', Lyman Cutter, he got sore.
He grabbed up his musket, for the pig he tore.
The pig saw him comin' and headed for the woods,
 But he stopped at the edge, and Cutler shot him good.

Then Cutler felt regretful and went down to Hudson's Bay,
And told the clerk in charge of the porker he would pay.
Griffin said, "One hundred dollars, he's a prize breeding boar."
Cutler told him "I'll pay three, and not a penny more."

Then up stepped A. G. Dallas, and said, "See here, my man,
You're already trespassing upon Canadian land.
You know it's British country from Rosario to the west,"
"Not so," said Lyman Cutler, "East of Haro is U. S."

Well, the settlers they backed Cutler with their muskets in their hands.
The British thought it wiser not to make a stand.
The stars and stripes were hoisted to celebrate the day,
And were seen by General Hamey a-sail in' on the bay.

The general came ashore and he listened to their tale.
He was a man of action and to help he did not fail.
To Fort Bellingham he sent 'ere he sailed away again,
And down came Captain Pickett with a company of men.

Then up sailed the British with war ships one, two, three,
Which made a few too many for Pickett's company.
They had to find a way to even up the score,
So he sent to Fort Steilacoom and got five hundred more.

 Well they argued in the Senate, and in the House of Lords,
And they didn't make much progress but they used a lot of words.
So they asked the German Emperor the boundary to define,
And tell those treaty makers where to draw the line.

 Now the Kaiser gave his answer in 1872,
And said that Haro Strait was where the line went through.
Well they called it a war, but it wasn't very big
And the only one got killed was a little British pig.

Cheers, S. in Seattle^^


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 04:38 PM

Outrageous! Howdy, Mark. I remember, you and I rode up to San Juan Island together (in 1985 I think it was -- thanks for the lift, by the way) for the songfest at English Camp. And well do I remember Maggie in her park ranger's uniform and Smoky Bear hat, who, I think, set the whole thing up. Marvelous afternoon.

I know this is a bit of "thread creep" which I don't want to do, particularly on this thread, but I just have to stick this in: I have a family connection with the Pig War and all that. When the British were trying to establish a presence on the San Juan Islands (they claimed everything down to the Columbia River, while the Americans were yelling "Fifty-four-forty or fight!") they asked the Hudson's Bay Company in to see if they could use the islands somehow. In 1858, my great-grandfather, Robert Firth, who worked for the Hudson's Bay Company, was appointed by Governor Douglas in Fort Victoria to head the Belle-Vue Ranch at the south end of San Juan Island with the idea of running about 6000 head of sheep on the island. By the time the thing finally got settled by Kaiser Wilhelm and the San Juans stayed on the American side, my great-grandfather had settled in, was raising a family, and decided to stay. My grandfather (another Robert Firth) and my father (also Robert Firth) were both born in Friday Harbor (my great-grandfather came originally from the Orkney Isles, as did many Hudson's Bay Company employees, and I understand that, even now, every third male in the Orkneys is named "Robert Firth"). I learned some of this from Maggie, some from another park ranger on a later trip to the San Juans, and some from a couple of books on San Juan history.

John's song is factually right on! That's what happened -- names, events, everything! I'm amazed at the accuracy, but since it was written by John, I'm not at all surprised.

Incidentally, the Captain Pickett, who was in command of American Camp on the island, resigned his commission after a year at American Camp, went home, and joined the Confederate Army. This is the same George Pickett who led the heroic but ill-fated "Pickett's Charge" at the battle of Gettysburg.

By the way, Stewart, you wouldn't happen to have the tune for this, would you?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stewart
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:07 PM

Don, here's the tune to John Dwyers song "San Juan Pig" CLICK TO PLAY. Thanks to NoteworthyComposer it's pretty easy to set up. And thanks for the background info on the Pig War and your family history, that was very interesting.

S. in Seattle ^^


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 07:16 PM

Stewart,

Once again, many thanks!

I've e-mailed Sing Out! to ask them about the copyright situation on the article about John. As soon as I get the okay from them (assuming I do), I'll post it the article.

I'll e-mail you or send you a PM shortly.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 02:16 AM

Don, I knew your name sounded familiar, and now that you've reminded me that you were in my car that weekend, I can put a face (and a fine resonant voice) to it! Good to hear from you.

By the way, it's not really possible to talk about John without mentioning his long-time friend and singing partner, Susie, whose last name is lost in my hippocampus somewhere. She was a fine songwriter in her own right, as I recall. Somebody else, or perhaps the lady herself, can probably provide more info.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 04:08 AM

Her name is Suzzy McAleer ... I'll give her a call. CHEERS


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: GUEST,Cat Haston
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 09:40 AM

Hi - gosh it was nice to find this thread (thanks Jean). My family and I moved to the Seattle area for a year or so in April 1997 from Sunny Scotland (JOKE!!). As a traditional singer over here, it was great to find such a thriving Song Circle over there, and I went along as often as I could. I'll never forget the first one I went to - how I got there I'll never know, between being newly arrived, driving on the wrong side of the road, no sense of direction whatsoever and a pathological inability to read maps. However get there I did (somehow)to find this wee old guy sitting in the corner and beaming with approval whenever I sang an old ballad, particularly in a version he'd not heard before. At the end of the night, when I had to ask the assembled company if anyone knew where the I5 was, he insisted on driving all the way into Everett so that I could follow him, and he could be sure I'd got home safely. Moreover, he came and collected me personally every week thereafter and taught me how to get everywhere I needed to go. Not only that, but the amount of songs and ballads we exchanged in the car during those journeys....... Yes, he could be an old curmudgeon and drive everyone mad, but he was also one of the kindest and funniest people I ever met. I missed him horribly when he went, and it would be great if some of his vast collection could be published. Love to all, Cat


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 04:39 PM

I am glad to see this thread. I was looking through a box a cassettes for the car and came across a cassette that John and Jean Smith did of songs they thought Margaret and I would like. Margaret and I were booked to play for the Seattle Folklore Society in fall of '93 and spring of '94. We met John on our first visit. He liked Margaret's singing of Dick Gibbon's "Sully's Pail." We also chatted some about MacColl/Seeger's "Long Harvest" collection of ballad versions.

To make a long story short, he had a box of tapes of the long harvest when we returned in spring of '94. We only talked with him twice and he made a lasting impression. When I'm old and cackling in a wheel chair about my past, John Dwyer will be one my best memories.

--Phil Cooper


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 05:52 PM

One of the enjoyable things I'm noticing about this thread is the consistant theme we're seeing: John was very encouraging and kindly to fellow singers, be they experienced or beginners; how deeply he touched so many diverse lives. Would that we all could be remembered this well! Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: mg
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 07:21 PM

I had been thinking of doing a workshop at Rainycamp in honor of those we have lost the last few years...Liam Callen, Bob Kotta, Pat Bezio and John Dwyer...maybe more..those are just NW people...so I guess I'll do it. mg


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: StillyRiverSage (inactive)
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 12:00 AM

Phil, Bob,

I have Dad's copies of the albums of the MacColl and Seeger's "Long Harvest" collection. One of these days, as I mentioned above, I will do something useful with them.

And Bob, you're right, he did encourage a lot of people in their singing, but he always deeply, *deeply* enjoyed the works of others in the group, Song Circle, Seattle Folklore, etc. and aspired to do as good a job with his music as these others did. In particular he admired Don Firth; I remember when Dad first started learning guitar from Don, how animated he was after those lessons. I realize now that he caught on quickly, as befits the passionate student in any field. But when I heard Don sing the first time, I knew why he felt the way he did. Others, like Stan James, and John and Sally Ashford, many I'm forgetting right now, and more recently that scamp Bob Nelson, some names that go way back to my early childhood, were role models. He talked about Suzi and Jean all of the time, and the places they were all singing. (I'm sure I'm not the only one in the group who had singing phone calls when he was learning a new song).

Me, I learned songs as a willing but nonetheless captive audience. I was about six when he started taking guitar lessons. He used to ask me what the words were if he forgot them while he was learning the guitar part. He used to sing to each of us in our bedrooms at night, and when Dad was sitting on the edge of the bed, you were essentially pinned by the covers until he sang all he was going to sing. This was usually a mix of new stuff and requests.

Songs influenced our lives, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. We lived in West Seattle until 1965, and used to take the Fauntluroy Ferry to Vashon fairly often. I remember my sister, sitting next to the window watching one of the deck hands walk past, asking "Is that the dirty little cabin boy?" ;-D

Keep up the stories, I love them. (If this runs low on folksinging stories, I could always tell you a few fishing stories...).

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight. Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 03:16 PM

Dear Maggie,

As I mentioned, I thought that John's copying the whole set for us (since they were long out of print) was one of the nicest things someone could have done for us. The second time we played Seattle, he handed us the box with the tapes. There was a nice note on the top forgiving Margaret and I for the puns we used in the previous fall performance. It only takes a couple of live faces in the audience to make a performance stand out in your mind as "a good time." John was a true enthusiast in the best senses of the word.


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: MMario
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 04:00 PM

stewart - you wouldn't be able to e-mail that NWC file out, would you? say - to Joe Offer, or Me?

MMario


Yeah, Stewart, if you've got a Noteworthy Composer NWC file and can put the lyrics of the first verse in so we know how to match it to the notes, please send it in to me as an e-mail attachment. thanks.
-Joe Offer (click to e-mail)- ^^


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Barbara
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 07:33 PM

I remember complaining to John at Singtime that too many of the bawdy songs were the same and told from a man's point of view. I think I might even have said boring. And darned if he didn't take off with a whole set I'd never heard before, and much more entertaining. I think he even sang Willie the Weaver... though he may also have sung the Ball of Ballynoor... someone did.
He taught me Zeke's outrageous parody to Maire's Wedding, the chorus of which goes: "Toora loora loora loo,
You hate me and I hate you
But there's nothing we can do:
There's no divorce in Ireland!

Was he a curmudgeon? I never noticed. I thought he was a flirt, and charming. Sure could sing wonderfully! Stayed up half the night with about 10 of us one year to sing songs with harmonies.
I miss him.

Mary, don't forget Becky Benton(?) who died this last year and wrote all those wonderful NW songs.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: StillyRiverSage (inactive)
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 12:18 AM

Barbara,

The wake/hoot/potluck dinner we did for Dad in January of 1998 (set up by Jean Smith--thanks again, Jean!) saw a packed room at Camp Long in West Seattle. And as the Song Circle singing started, it was clear that this group knew him well. There were some beautiful ballads sung, and through the evening there were some sincerely sweet and sad songs sung in his honor. Invariably after a sweet song, the next guitar would pluck out a few tones of the next song, and an audible groan and laugh would rise from the group as a bawdy or particularly punny song would rock the gathering. Though I don't remember what it was now, Stan James sang the most agonizingly, ironically, grim song I've ever heard in my life. I remember at my turn asking for the group to sing "The Golden Vanity," figuring everyone would know it.

That evening so impressed me of the importance of his work in gathering songs and music that I went out to the house that night afterward and packed up the remaining albums and books so they wouldn't become lost in the process of settling the estate. I then flew off to Texas to get on with life for a while. When I returned in February to clean the house to put it on the market, I knew full well that the shelves (over by the door out to the deck) were empty. The entire house was completely empty. I stood in the sunset-lit room one evening, so sad, wishing there was some sign from him that there was something remaining of him there. My attention was caught by something protruding slightly from the top of those book shelves. I stretched up to find a slim volume, I have it here--The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs--from the high school library where he was librarian before moving to Everett Community College. Probably the first book he ever checked out (and never returned!) to start learning songs. I examined it, and it dropped open to "The Golden Vanity." I haven't been able to get that same result with that book since then.

If that isn't enough, on another day, I whimsically thought to myself "I wonder what else he can produce in these book shelves" and I found, to my surprise, another book, this time The Sex Lives of Slugs. I knew it was Dad maniputlating the shelves! I think, just on the off chance that there's something magical about those shelves, I packed the boards up with the stuff I put in storage.

If this doesn't seem too maudlin, I still have Dad's ashes. I've been intending to scatter them into Puget Sound off of the back of a ferry. I don't think the family is ever going to get together at one time to do it, so next time I'm in the Northwest, maybe I can find a fine day and anyone who is interested can go along on one of the ferries. I'll ask the captain to let me scatter his ashes--I hear this is pretty standard on the Sound. I wonder how the accoustics are in Washington State Ferries for folk singing?

My parents were divorced back in the late 1960's, and my mother, Carol Husby, died six months after Dad. Her death was not so sudden, and there was time to reflect on the process. I sat in the hospital room with Mom and my sister one day in May, 1998, when they discussed Mom's funeral plans. And that Mom wanted to have her ashes also scattered from the deck of a ferry. It was so sad, and yet so funny, to have my mother say "I will be scattered off of the Kingston run, so you'll have to scatter your father off of the Mukilteo ferry."

I don't feel bound by this plan, however; if anyone has suggestions of a particularly good run let me know. Which run would be the one with the admonishment "don't navigate by cow" from his "Notice to Mariners"?

Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 12:38 AM

Maggie, thanks for sharing. Count me in on the celebration. If you're not careful, you'll SO MANY FRIENDS that you'll have to charter the whole damned boat. I'll have to do a little thinking, but I suspect the Seattle to Bremerton run would be appropriate.

Hugs to you, Bob


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stewart
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 12:29 PM

Thanks everyone for your stories, particularly Maggie for sharing in your last post. Although I sat in a circle singing with John most every Sunday evening for a year, I've learned a lot more about this remarkable person. I'm looking forward to hearing from other people who haven't contributed yet. And how about some more of his songs?

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 05:32 PM

Maggie, count me in, too. Yep, Rich Passage. That's the Seattle-Bremerton run.

Thanks for the e-mail. I'm up to my ears in busy-ness right now, but I'll be answering you sometime within the next few days.

Don


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEAD DOG CIDER^^
From: GUEST,Bruce Baker bpbaker@msn.com
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 01:07 AM

This brings back alot of memories of John. He was such a musical sponge. One of my favorite tunes of his was sung at Song Circle last Sunday -- Dead Dog Cider

In the year of 1642, in a little cider mill
A poor old dog lay down to sleep, for he was feeling ill
He chose a most precarious perch, above an apple press
And in hie sleep he tumbled in, and perished in distress

Which caused hsi master for to grieve, likewise his mistress too
And for their sorrow to relieve, they sampled of that brew
Gadzooks! said farmer Atwater, the likes I ne'er did sup
Come summon all the neighbors in and bid them drink a cup

Well everyone that drunk that night, got drunk as drunk could be
They marvelled how that cider had acquired such potency
But the farmer kept his counsel as he had another drop
When all at once that poor old dog came floating to the top

Well a silence fell upon that crowd and everyone did frown
They recognized poor bendegal, though he was upside down
The parson lost his collar and collapsed upon the floor
While the squire lost his britches in his rush to reach the door

Fear not said farmer Atwater, for in all me life I vow
Ben never bit no man nor beast and he wont bite noone now
And this shal be his epitaph, here lies poor faithful Ben
What perished in a cider vat and quickly rose again

Now if your down in Devon, and you goes into a bar
Just ask for dead dog cider, thats the best there is by far
Accept no imitation and you'll sleep just like a log
You'll always recognize it by the hair of the dog

Great to hear from you, Don and Mark -- its good to know that you are well. By the way, that party in 1998 spawned an annual gig -- this year will be sometime in February at Mercer VFW - by the name of "Founder's Music Evening"

Bruce

HTML line breaks added. -JoeClone 1-Apr-01.


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: StillyRiverSage (inactive)
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 12:18 PM

Another thread has introduced the topic of Bawdy Songs--and it's no huge segue to come back to the John Dwyer thread with bawdy songs in mind. I grew up with his learning songs from the McCurdy "Daliance" and "Son of Daliance," etc. I'm resuscitating this thread to see if anyone else thinks of "bawdy songs" and "John Dwyer" in the same synapse?

Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 12:46 PM

I'm reviving this thread momentarily to call some of the Washington State contingent's attention to a little "remember when" article in the Everett Herald last week (yeah, I know, it's just "THE Herald" these days). Visit here for a glance back 25 years. I think I have the posters to this somewhere around here.

Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 01:30 PM

Hi Maggie ... you just saved me a postage stamp. I have that article in an envelope all set to mail to you! And yes, I find it almost impossible to separate the image of your Father and the "Dalliance" songs. I'll post more a little later today. Right now I have to go out and build a deck in the freezing rain! CHEERS, Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 07:35 PM

Beyond the bawdy ballads John knew so well, I also enjoyed his readiness to inflame the "gender wars." ... for lack of a better term. I remember one time, back in the 60's I think, he and I traveled from our homes North of Seattle to Centrailia. The beautiful Linda Allen was running a wonderful coffee house called "Apple Jam." John and I were supposed to perform a formal 'concert' centered around historical folk songs of American History. As usual, we had planned well, rehearsed, and drove down together singing all the way. We did the first half of the concert as planned, and then after intermission, the plans went to hell. John had been visiting with Linda Allen during the break and he invited her up on stage to sing with us for the last half. I didn't know her well yet, and in front of my unbieliving eyes, John starting singing the gender challenging songs ... you know, female put down songs, etc. I started squirming onstage, and the next things I knew, Linda grabbed her guitar and gave him one back ... then two back ... then three back! After a half hour of this marvelous repartie (sp?) I started looking for the back door. As I remember, we all parted friends. CHEERS, Bob And thanx for re-introducing this post. It's GOOD this time of the year to remember dear friends.


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 11:56 PM


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: GUEST,GUEST, Mike Nelson
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 12:20 AM

New to Mudcat and diving in and out of the threads. John Dwyer's name familiar so looked in. Didn't know John but had heard of his work. Bout forty years ago I DID know Don Firth who expanded my new found interest in folk music and threw in the odd guitar lesson as well! I remember many a late night with a bunch of folks from the coffee house scene on the Ave; the Pamir House comes to mind. All these familiar names ( and some faces) are coming back: Phil and Viv Williams, (we were the old Turkey Pluckers), the Ashfords, Alice Stuart, Nancy Quense, Mike Loeb, Judy Flenniken (?) DECKMAN,if you're the same Bob N., many more. Great to hear you are still around and singing! Guess I better register, would surely like to get in touch and get up to date on happenings over the years. Nice surprise!

Mike


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 12:36 AM

Mike Nelson ... you olde son of a gunn. Get in touch with us. "US" is me and Judy Thompson Barberie Nelson. And yes, you and I did sing at the "P" house, lo those many years ago. I'll give you my private e-mail address: thedeckman@earthlink.net ..... Judy and I have been looking for you! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 01:25 AM

Mike,

Your name sounds familiar, though I wasn't old enough to be part of that folksinging circle at the time you mention. I was one of the kids sent to bed when people started getting serious about the songs (and into more adult content. So I adjourned upstairs, supposedly tucked into bed, and listened at the heater vent). If you want to see Don Firth in action, visit this Mudcat thread.

John Dwyer died in November of 1997.

Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 02:57 PM


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 03:36 PM

Good grief, yes! I remember Mike Nelson! Took a few guitar lessons from me at one time, sang at the Pamir House, The Place Next Door, and various other places, then kinda vanished from sight, at least from where I was milling around.

Bizarre situation. Mike Nelson and Bob Nelson were each other's doppelgänger. Both had (obviously) the same surname; in age, they were within a year or two of each other; physically they were about the same build; they both wore glasses; they tended to dress alike; they both looked like they'd got their hair out of the same box of Brillo pads; and they both sang folk songs. Before they even met, they were constantly being mistaken for each other. Those who could tell them apart and didn't know better, automatically assumed they were brothers. Endless confusion with great potential for mistaken identities and comic-opera plots. When they did finally meet (at Howard's Restaurant in the University District, if I remember correctly) they both stared at each other for a long time and slowly circled like a pair of wary tomcats. After all, each had been accused several times of being the other (outraged fathers, angry husbands, etc.). Had they ever decided to form a duo, it would have been like something out of the Twilight Zone. Fascinating!

Good to hear from you, Mike! How are you? Where have you been? Where are you now? What have you been up to all this time? Dropped me a line. donfbarbarap@eartlink.net.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 06:08 PM

You know, I REMEMBER that first time I actually met Mike, and it was pretty much as you described. The weirdness even continued after I quit singing on the "Ave", just before we left for California. I had been singing for Stan at the Cooraborrie (sp?) on Friday nights and when I left, Mike took over. For the few weeks I stayed in town, I would often run into paying customers on the ave that complimented me on "last night's performance!" Pretty strange, but good memories. By the way Don, have you ever thought of being a comic? CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: GUEST,GUEST, Mike Nelson
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 09:55 PM

Maggie,

Thanks for the direction to the hootenanny thread! Brings back a lot of old memories as do Don and Bob's postings.

I caught your post on the F.H. Irish music camp thread and was intrigued by your mention of the Nat. Park at the English Camp. Guess from Don's recollection earlier on this thread you worked there as a ranger? I grew up in Friday Harbor in the late 40's and early 50's. I remember a few years ago having a conversation at the English Camp with a lady in a rangers' uniform about the Crook family, the history of the area, etc. Could that have been you?

Thanks again and hope to meet you sometime.

Mike


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 10:53 PM

HEY MAX ... AND ALL MUDCATTERS! Just in case you need some justification for MUDCAT, let me tell you what just happened. Mike Nelson and I just spoke, person to person, for the first time in 39 years (1962 - 2001). He found bride Judy and I, and Don Firth, thru MUDCAT. Are you ready for this ... it turns out that he lives about ten miles from us and is a local phone call away! How's that for a surprise. Thankyou MAGGIE for reviving this thread!. CHEERS and Merry Christmas to all! Bob


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 08:55 PM


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 02:36 AM

Mike,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I'm trying to catch up with shopping and life in general after finishing a seminar paper for class last week (graduate school, philosophy dept., environmental ethics in particular).

I was at San Juan Island NHP in the summer of 1985. It isn't a big park, and when I was there I think there were four or five seasonal interpretive rangers, two of them women. I imagine the staffing has remained about the same level, but the seasonal rangers are just that--seasonal--and we have wanderlust in our hearts. I worked all over the U.S. before getting married and having kids stopped me for a while. (Unfortunately, it stopped me in Texas, not in Washington! I'll get out of here one of these days. The summers here are killers).

I'm pleased to see that Bob and you and Don are back in contact again. Now maybe you'll go ahead and sign up and be something other than "GUEST,GUEST,Mike Nelson"! And perhaps you three will expand on the stories of the good old days for the rest of us on the list?

Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 01:04 AM

I'm reviving this thread just to let a few of John Dwyer's friends know that I'm FINALLY unpacking the boxes of stuff from his house (it was in storage until this summer). I think there are 13 boxes moving boxes (small U-Haul) with pages of words, music, photocopies, liner notes, cassettes, etc. Once I get a place set up for sorting all of this stuff, you may be hearing from me.

Maggie (now logging on as Stilly River Sage--I wrote to this thread with my own name for a while, but I don't know how to access that account any longer--forgot the password and lost my cookie--so use SRS to reach me).


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 02:21 AM

John's connection to Vancouver and the Vancouver Folk Song Society should not be lost. He drove up from marysville to sing with us every first and third Wednesday, oftentimes with Jean Smith. He even served three terms (1986, 1987 and 1993) on our Board of Directors.

I believe I first met him and his outrageous sense of humour at John and Sally Ashford's parties at Seattle Folklife, which is probably ?1976 ?1977.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 07:52 AM

Hi John, I believe you are quite correct about meeting John Dwyer at John and Sally's in the mid 70's. I believe I was there also. I still remember that house echoing with the wonderful voices. I'd never heard such shanties before! I remember some of the treasures John had collected over the years. It might be interesting to see what material surface. CHEERS, Bob Nelson (Everett)


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 12:32 PM

I collected every bit and scrap of paper, along with cassettes, reel-to-reel, and his LP's. One brother got a chunk of the albums (those I thought I could most easily re-acquire for the collection) and the other brother took the reel-to-reel player, so I'll have to get my hands on one of those to find out what's on these tapes. I also kept the original recording cassettes that Dad was planning to tape over.

At this point I have all of his recording equpiment in one place, but haven't set it up. I'll report back once I start unpacking boxes.

Maggie


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 10:42 PM

Hi Bob, yes I do indeed remember. Come and visit up north some time! Our Wintyer Ballads & Blues is on at Camp Sasamat 22-24 November this year. Great food, good wine, songs, hot tubs... all for $90 Can (about $14.35 US I think!). Jon


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Subject: RE: John Dwyer - Songs&Stories
From: johnross
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 10:19 PM

Maggie: Within a few months, Northwest Folklife will have the equipment in place to make high-quality digital copies (better than CDs) of cassettes and reel tapes. And we've just convinced the City of Seattle to store our master tapes in the City Archive's climate- and temperature-controlled vault.

John was an important part of the Folklife Festival, and we would love to include copies of his tapes in the Northwest Folklife Archive--and we'll make copies on CD or cassette for you at the same time. Please get in touch with me via e-mail here or offline.


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