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Obit: Jay Smith [The Press Room] (2002)

curmudgeon 05 Sep 02 - 07:58 PM
SINSULL 05 Sep 02 - 09:02 PM
Jeri 05 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM
Bat Goddess 05 Sep 02 - 10:35 PM
Big Mick 06 Sep 02 - 12:56 AM
Bat Goddess 06 Sep 02 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Mainer 11 Sep 02 - 03:46 PM
curmudgeon 11 Sep 02 - 03:57 PM
Midcoaster 13 Sep 02 - 02:49 PM
Bat Goddess 14 Sep 02 - 09:44 AM
Nancy King 21 Sep 02 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,Barry, Cookieless at the moment 22 Sep 02 - 12:52 AM
Bat Goddess 22 Sep 02 - 04:39 PM
Bat Goddess 05 Sep 12 - 01:32 PM
Nancy King 05 Sep 12 - 05:40 PM
Bat Goddess 06 Sep 12 - 08:54 AM
Charley Noble 06 Sep 12 - 09:46 AM
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Subject: Jay Smith
From: curmudgeon
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 07:58 PM

Today, with the passing of Jay Smith, folk and traditional music has lost one of its most dedicated participants and supporters.

While it is highly unlikely that most of you knew Jay, it is equally likely that some of you did. While I knew Jay for nearly thirty years, it was only l;ast year that he mentioned having served in the army with Tom Paxton.

Posessed of one of the richest singing voices I have ever heard, Jay also was comfortable with guitar, banjo, mandolin, bodhran, and concertina.

It was nearly 26 years ago when Jay established The Press Room, in Portsmouth NH, a pub for good music and good beer. He offered the first draught Guinness in the state. Over the years, this club presented some of the greatest purveyors of our music, Staines, Killen, Van Ronk, Geremia, Paley, Skye, Roberts, kust too many to list; and I apologise if I left any of you off.

Soon after opening, he added jazz. Nearly every major jazz player who played Boston found time to come North to this little pub.

But more important than the famous musicians he booked were the unknowns who were equally welcomed and supported. More than a few are quite well known now. Jay was one of the factors in making coastal New Hampshire one of the richest musical enclaves in the country.

His support of the arts in general was great, yet virtually unknown as a result of his modesty.

Whether you knew Jay or not, please join me in a pint or glass in his memory, sing a song, play a tune, and if at all possible, vote Democratis. Thats the way he would have liked it -- Tom


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: SINSULL
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 09:02 PM

Tom,
Celebrate the life. Accept the loss. Democrats and Guinness all 'round.
Sorry,
Mary


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM

I only knew Jay for about 15 years. If it weren't for the Press Room, my life would have been a lot different. Finding the session there in 1987 was a turning point. I found music again and I found friends.

I will miss Jay and his magnificent voice. I can't quite accept the fact I'll never hear it again.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 05 Sep 02 - 10:35 PM

Jay Smith did more for music in the Seacoast (New Hampshire), particularly folk and jazz, than anyone else in the area. He was also a major supporter of the arts and good political causes. Not to mention the fact that he had an incredible voice. The real tragedy is that he wasn't recorded more. (Besides a couple things I have on tape, I don't know what else was recorded -- and none of it "officially" or available to the public.)

I, for one, will very much miss singing with him.

And very much miss hearing him sing.

Linn


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 12:56 AM

I think back to last summer and my dear friend Jeri inviting me up to The Press Room sessions. On the first night I was there, Jay bade me welcome. To say he had a rich voice is classic understatement. Wonderful singer, and a wonderful man for maintaining the Friday night sessions, even when it probably made no economic sense whatsoever. Reading Tom's wonderful obituary makes me realize that I was in the presence of a very large figure in our genre.

Tom, Linn, and Jeri, as well as all the regulars at The Press Room, please know that I will visit the hill with the old Low D in hand. I will give it it's head and play a bit for Jay. Then down to O'Neil's Pub to drink the jar, sing a song..............and vote Democratic.

God be good to him,

Mick


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 06 Sep 02 - 09:13 AM

The Portsmouth (NH) Herald just got its articles on Jay Smith up on its website:

HERE

3 articles under "Local News": Public figure did good works behind the scenes; 'He made sure The Music Hall survived'; and Press Room is Jay Smith's legacy.

No obit yet.

Linn


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: GUEST,Mainer
Date: 11 Sep 02 - 03:46 PM

There was an obit too, with sketchy information - but probably as much as he would care to have people know. There was a two-hour + service yesterday at the Music Hall - a wonderful tribute, both musical and spoken. The place was pretty full - and and it seats something like 900.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: curmudgeon
Date: 11 Sep 02 - 03:57 PM

Thanks for the thoughts and words, Mainer. I wish I had known you were there; Bat Goddess, Jeri and I would have dragged you off to the Press Room, one of Jay's many great works, for a pint or two.

Please send me a PM so I may know who you are -- Tom


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Midcoaster
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 02:49 PM

Well, to begin with, I shouldn't have called myself Mainer because there is alread an official Mainer; so I apologize to the REAL Mainer and anyone who was confused.

Now I have registered myself properly, as Midcoaster. I'm Lois, Jay's former wife - I read a letter of his early in the service.

I did go over to the Press Room, after going with old friends of Jay to see the park he had made on State Street. But by the time we got there there was no room to move, either upstairs or down. I couldn't see any of the folks I know down there except those with me, or figure out where to go; so we just went over to Jack Quigley's for a quiet dinner instead. We figured that might be appropriate too and there was good music there.

I know I missed a lot of the "real" memories and good stuff, and feel sad about that; but to tell you the truth, I was in circuit overload by then.

I'll tell you one thing: his friends were his family, and you were the best family he ever had. You should feel good about that, because it's true.

Thanks for doing him proud. ALthough he would have hated all that attention.

Lois


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 09:44 AM

Lois, Tom and I left about 8 -- the crush of people, no room to sit, stand, move, put your drink down, take pictures (but I did anyway), and the incredible noise level (making a Friday session sound like a library!) making it impossible to carry on much of a conversation let alone listen to the music that was attempted (by Bob McQuillan and Dianna Stiles).

I'll PM you. (Watch the blue lettering above "Create a New Thread" that will tell you if you have a personal message waiting.)

Linn


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Nancy King
Date: 21 Sep 02 - 11:16 PM

I'm coming in a bit late on this remembrance, because I've been out of town, sans computer, and then – er – recovering from being out of town. In fact, I was at my place on Sebago Lake in southwestern Maine, and was thus close enough to go to the memorial for Jay. Somewhere I have a picture of Jay and Lois on my porch swing in Sebago, taken at least 35 years ago.

I knew Jay at Colby College in the early 60s, and then for a number of years thereafter, during his marriage to my Colby roommate. I saw him only a few times since then, once or twice at the Press Room (probably not The Boarding Party's finest performance, but definitely fun), and most recently at a memorial service in 1997.

I remember Jay for his beautiful voice, both singing and speaking. He was a wonderful TV news anchor – intelligent, handsome, mellifluous, and obviously a real person. I remember talking to Lois via long distance phone one time -- "Gotta go," she said, "Goldenthroat is on the tube." As I recall, he was occasionally at odds with the station managers, because he didn't consider supermarket openings to be legitimate news.

I remember him for the songs he taught me, several of which I still sing regularly. Note I didn't say "songs I learned from him," because he patiently dictated the words and showed me the chords.

I remember him for good conversation and a fine sense of humor.

I remember him for the Press Room, which I only visited a couple of times, but it was clear it had become a power in the cultural life of Portsmouth very early in its existence. I was very pleased to learn (within the last two weeks) of all the other wonderful things Jay did for that city, and to see the Music Hall and the beautiful little park on State Street, and so many buildings Jay was involved in rehabilitating.

Good job, old buddy.

Nancy

(PS -- welcome to Mudcat, Loie!)


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: GUEST,Barry, Cookieless at the moment
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 12:52 AM

Thanks Nancy for the heads up the other day about Jay. I didn't know & when you told me I just didn't think it was the same Jay. He looked great the last time I saw him (maybe a month or two ago).
Hi Tom, Lynn & Jeri, I hope he got the departing he so richly deserved, wished I had known, he was always the kind & unpretentious guy. I hadn't a clue as to his influence outside of the Press Room but then again I guess that was just another nice side of him.
Goodnight Jay
Barry


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:39 PM

The memorial service -- two hours of music, reminiscences, stories and photographs -- at The Music Hall was packed (The Music Hall seats over 800). As were both floors of The Press Room afterwards.

The memorial started off with 22 years worth of photographs of Jay singing, playing music, sailing, with friends, with cats, doing what he was usually doing -- odd jobs around his various properties, armed with hammer and duct tape. Bruce Pingree led us through the reminiscences and music starting with Sarah Bauhan and Art & Laurie Bryant, who were the first act to play The Press Room right after it opened, and closing the service with Tom singing "The Parting Glass."

Jay got top billing (which he would have hated) in the paper the morning after his death. Look Here

Linn


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 01:32 PM

Hard to believe it's been ten years...

Tonight there will be a gathering of friends at The Press Room.

Here are a couple articles --
Spotlight
and
The Wire (Portsmouth, NH)

I woke up this morning out of a dream with Jay in it. And the song in my head was "Sally Free and Easy"...with Jay singing it.

Linn


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith [The Press Room](2002)
From: Nancy King
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 05:40 PM

I wish I could be at tonight's gathering at the Press Room, but it just isn't going to happen. I still remember Jay very fondly, and was happy to see the articles Linn linked to, above. He was a great guy.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith [The Press Room](2002)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 08:54 AM

Thank you to whomever updated the thread title.

Tom and I got to The Press Room early as Tom needed an opportunity to climb the stairs (many more than he has done yet on his recovering ankle) without competition.

There was a very good turnout...saw people we haven't seen for awhile. But, especially after the music started, the noise level rose to even beyond Friday session levels to the point of hurting Tom's ears, so we had to leave. Conversation would have been impossible even if Tom still had his full voice.

Bruce put the photos from the memorial service 10 years ago on a continuous play loop on the stage -- a substantial number of the photos were ones I had taken, so there were photos of much younger Tom, Bob Frost, Ryan Thomson, John Roberts (from 1981) and Jay (and, of course, others) from 10 to 30 years ago constantly flashing on the screen...and the last photo I took of Jay 10 years ago with Sharron Kraus in the foreground.

Steve Smith (who was videoing the gathering) brought a blowup of his photo of Jay at the bar chastising Steve's parrot Noah for having a Guinness in his claw (or at least looking like it) -- though I'm sure then-bartender Bob wouldn't have served Noah if he was underage...

The hard part in leaving (besides leaving before the rest of the stories) was getting Tom through the crush to the stairs (even if I'd had a bullhorn, "Blind crippled guy coming through!" couldn't have been heard through the din), but the stairs themselves were mercifully deserted (Cormac McCarthy ran interference for us anyway.)

Woke up yesterday morning with Jay's voice in my head singing "Sally Free and Easy"...fell asleep with his voice singing "The Fugitive"... In between, heard the recording again of Jay singing "The Lakes of Pontchartain.

I really miss singing with Jay.

Linn


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Subject: RE: OBIT: Jay Smith [The Press Room](2002)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 09:46 AM

Linn et al-

Thanks for providing this update on Jay. Unfortunately, I don't think I ever met him, not frequenting the Press Room until later.

Charley Noble


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