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Hootenanny-another definition

Coyote Breath 07 Jan 03 - 12:33 AM
Deckman 07 Jan 03 - 01:26 AM
open mike 07 Jan 03 - 02:52 AM
Uncle_DaveO 07 Jan 03 - 09:04 AM
Amos 07 Jan 03 - 09:16 AM
reggie miles 07 Jan 03 - 09:37 AM
Bill D 07 Jan 03 - 09:59 AM
Coyote Breath 07 Jan 03 - 03:33 PM
Deckman 07 Jan 03 - 03:48 PM
Don Firth 07 Jan 03 - 03:55 PM
Coyote Breath 07 Jan 03 - 04:01 PM
Don Firth 07 Jan 03 - 04:09 PM
Ron Olesko 07 Jan 03 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 07 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM
BH 07 Jan 03 - 07:27 PM
Don Firth 07 Jan 03 - 07:46 PM
BH 07 Jan 03 - 08:23 PM
Don Firth 07 Jan 03 - 09:06 PM
Coyote Breath 08 Jan 03 - 12:12 AM
BH 08 Jan 03 - 06:39 PM
Stephen L. Rich 08 Jan 03 - 06:49 PM
reggie miles 08 Jan 03 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Q 08 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM
Deckman 08 Jan 03 - 07:15 PM
johnross 08 Jan 03 - 08:15 PM
Deckman 08 Jan 03 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,Q 08 Jan 03 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,Q 08 Jan 03 - 11:33 PM
Deckman 08 Jan 03 - 11:49 PM
johnross 09 Jan 03 - 12:07 AM
Deckman 09 Jan 03 - 07:00 PM
Deckman 09 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Wildfire 01 Aug 11 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Guest - Lin 02 Aug 11 - 03:12 PM
Don Firth 02 Aug 11 - 03:47 PM
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Subject: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 12:33 AM

My friend Nancy and I were invited today to attend a hootenanny this Saturday. I was sort of surprised as I haven't heard that word used recently. I was even more surprised to learn that the person who invited us described what I would call a barn dance (literally, it is being held in a local barn!). Turns out that the New Haven Saddle Club is having one of their regular 'hootenannys' at a local horse farm, in the barn. We are all to bring a snack dish. The host will supply the music and the guests will be dancing country couples and line dancing.

I have never heard of hootenanny used this way. Has anyone else ever attended THIS kind of hootenanny? I will bet that this is closer to the original use of the word.

Ya learn something new every day.

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 01:26 AM

Hi CB ... I would suspect that this person who invited you perhaps has fine intentions but maybe doesn't have a clue as to the historical definition of the term. Over the years, I've run into a lot of "hootenanny wannabees," meaning people who perhaps saw a bad TV show, or a bad movie, and decided that they could do it better. So at this point, it's strictly up to your good graces and your perception of proper manners. Are you a performer? If so, look out, as this person might be expecting you to perform ... for free ... into a plan you know nothing of. Just trying to be helpful! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: open mike
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 02:52 AM

I always thought a HOOTENANNY referred to a singing event not a dincing one. perhaps it is just a hollering goat?


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:04 AM

When I was a kid, long before TV or Pete Seeger or any of that, "hootenany" or "hootenanny" was just a thingamajig, a whatchacallit, a thingamabob.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:16 AM

Dave is just trying to convince people he is very old and experienced. The truth is, he's a 24-year-old virgin -- but don't tell anyone I told you! :>)

And he's right. From the Am Her:

NOUN:        Inflected forms: pl. hoot·en·an·nies
1. An informal performance by folk singers, typically with participation by the audience. 2. Informal An unidentified or unidentifiable gadget.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: reggie miles
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:37 AM

There was a big fuss in the courts over the use of the term when a local singer/song writer/entertainer and early tv star Sheriff Tex, who played a contraption, a washboard/sound effects gizmo he called his Hootenanny Annie, contested the use of the term by the tv show Hootenanny. He claimed that he had created the word and therefore held the rights to it's use and that their use of it for the program was an infringement. I don't know how the courts decided. I do have a copy of the song Hootenanny Annie on a 78rpm which places it's use by Sheriif Tex well before that of the 60s tv show.


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:59 AM

just another case of someone taking a convenient or interesting word and attaching their own content.

Not against the law, just not very considerate. Why not just SAY it was a dance?

(I deal with this all the time in woodworking, where dealers want to call obsure woods some version of "rosewood" or "walnut", simply because those are recognized, saleable terms.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 03:33 PM

Well, the people who invited us are pretty much guileless types and use the word with innocence. I suspect they might be using it to mean a musical gathering of sorts and since they stress dance as an organization (after horse stuff) it seems reasonable if mis-assigned.

As far as performing for nothing, that's all I do anyway but they weren't thinking of having live performence at their dance. I have been thinking of it though and would LOVE to put together a string band from our local talent and play at such events. No one makes a profit from dances around these parts. Sometimes the dances have a "fee" but those are for the purpose of raising money for a good cause. This "Hootenanny" is free (well maybe the snack can be considered a fee).

I think that they didn't say "dance" because that is usually a more formal event hereabouts. In a way it DOES fit.

I appreciate the feedback, especially that the word has not just one but TWO definitions. Never heard of the Sheriff Tex issue.

I hadn't heard the word at all until 1960 when it was used to describe what we now call "open Mike" events or "sessions". I ended up not caring to use the word because of the TV show, which I loathed.

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 03:48 PM

Hey Reggie, I well remember watching Sheriff Tex play that thing. As a matter of fact, I sang on stage with him when I was 14. I also remember reading in Pete seeger's book that they (Pete, Woody) coined the term in Seattle (of all places) in 1942.


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 03:55 PM

Lots of stuff on previous threads. A good place to get started would be Hootenannys, history and such.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 04:01 PM

Well, ya know that certainly makes sense (the Pete/Woody thing). I will bet it DOES go back to the second definition as applied to the eclectic music events of that period. And that second definition became second because more people commonly used Hootenanny to describe an informal musical gathering than to describe a gadget.

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 04:09 PM

I just reread that thread. It looks like I made my feelings pretty clear. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 04:11 PM

Pete and Woody did not "coin" the term - they borrowed the term when they heard it used in Seattle. It was a nonsense word from that locale, used in the same fashion as "doo-hickey" or "thingamabob".   They liked the sound of it and used it to give attention to their gathering of musicians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM

The term Hootenanny was coined in the folk music world I believe by songwriter/publisher Bob Miller ("Rich Man Poor Man"). He has a song with Hootenanny in it dating back to I believe the early thirties. Maybe earlier. Pete Seeger did promote the term which in his view, and I'm almost quoting him, not quite, is a gathering of performers from different musical disciplines that bring the audience in as participants. We once talked about how you would lead an audience in singing a jazz descant line to How High The Moon.

Of course the word has had other meanings. We all know that. But it's association in the folk music world is pretty specific. it would be in my view just as appropriatly misleading to refer to the country barn dance as a concert.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: BH
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 07:27 PM

I, somehow, recollect the origin of the term comes from the Northwest region of the U S. Woody Guthrie ( or so the story goes) was in the Northwest (State of Wash. I believe) and there was a woman called Annie who organized union supporting get togethers. She had quite the loud voice and there was much singing at these get togethers---and, so, Woody called here "Hootin' Annie. Then, of course, it evolved into Hootenanny.

Wishing I could recall the exact source of this now, it does seem plausible.

The whole thread is a "hoot".

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 07:46 PM

Apocryphal, Bill. That's supposed to be a joke. Once again, I refer folks to a previous thread HERE. It contains just about anything anybody would want to know about the definition and derivation of "hootenanny," including a quote in Pete Seeger's own words.   

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: BH
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 08:23 PM

Then the question is---where did the joke come from? Could it be Woody G. who loved to play with words? My point.

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 09:06 PM

From Merriam-Webster's Word for the Wise:—
So how did this dingus synonym come to be applied to folk songfests? No one knows for sure, but back in 1946, Woody Guthrie offered this explanation of hootenanny's origin:

We was playin' for the Lumber Workers' Union. We was singin' around in the shingle mills. There was a lady out West out there in the lumber camp and her name was Annie and so every time they'd have a songfest Annie would outshout all of them. So people got to call her Hootin' Annie but the name got spread all over and so out there when they are going to have a shindig they call it Hootenanny.

Colorful, yes. Imaginative, too. But even if Guthrie's tale rings true, how do you hook up the modern meaning of hootenanny with its older gizmo sense?

Put your explanation to music, then send your song our way. Our email address is wftw@aol.com. Our street address is Word for the Wise, 318 Central Avenue, Albany, New York 12206.
A joke. Told by Woody Guthrie

But—for a more authoritative explanation of the connection of the term with folk music, I refer you to The Incompleat Folksinger; Seeger, Pete; Edited by. Jo Metcalf Schwartz; University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1992; p. 327). I quote this page in the thread I linked to above.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 12:12 AM

Well folks! I am impressed with the depth of knowledge displayed in this thread and right glad that I started it but I have a confession to make.

I had supper with my girl friend this evening and SHE said! "OH no, Shirley (the gal who had extended the invitation to her in the first place) didn't say Hootenanny!, she just said hoot!" (as in "It will be a HOOT.") She went on to tell me that SHE used the word hootenanny but that she hadn't meant to.

Now; ain't THAT a hoot?

But, to keep this thread alive, perhaps we could discuss how "hoot" was derived.

I think it is from a description of raucous laughter. The kind you emit when having entirely too much fun.

Like now.:)

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: BH
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 06:39 PM

And, so, as this thread winds down I guess we can say---as I did earlier---it was a "hoot"


Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 06:49 PM

And we should all be grateful that nobody has thought to bring up that old joke about crossing an owl with a goat.*G*

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: reggie miles
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 06:56 PM

Hoot could have it's meaning in the fact that most of these events last well into the evening when the owls come out to hoot. Like howling at the moon, the participants hooted, laughed and sometimes howled with delight at the entertainment presented whether it was a song, story, skit or dance. Those were the days before sound bites and tvs, when radio was the chief means of amusement and many folks still entertained using such means as stories, songs, poetic recitation, skits and dancing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM

The word appeared in the 1920s. Defined as an informal session, or as a gadget.
"American Speech," 1929: Meaning the same as gadget.
1940: "The New-Dealers' Midsummer Hootenanny."
Seems to me that trying to limit the definition ain't a-goin' to work. Certainly a barn dance is an informal gathering, and we used the word for that in the 1930s in the west. Coyote Breath, that is exactly the way we used the term. Set up a table for food and hooch in the barn (the only place on the farm big enough for dancing and general hoop-te-do), all the wives brought food, and some locals played for the dancing. Sometimes there was a bucket to collect donations.
Several people seem to have claimed the term, but probably their claims are based on wishing that they had coined it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 07:15 PM

Hi Reggie ... I've got news for you. These are STILL the days when some of us entertain ourselves without radio, T.V., and whatever else you mentioned! CHEERS, Bob (by the way, I've decided that TV is just a passing fad. I doubt it will ever catch on).


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: johnross
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 08:15 PM

At the risk of killing off a perfectly good thread with some actual scholarly research, the best history of "hootenanny" as a folk music event is an essay entitled " 'Hootenanny: The Word, its Content and Continuum" by Peter Tamony, which appeared in the July 1963 issue of the journal Western Folklore. It's been reprinted in several places, including The American Folk Scene: Dimensions of the Folksong Revival, edited by DeTurk and Poulin (Dell, 1967).

The first Hootenanny was advertised in the Washington New Dealer (July 25, 1940 p. 4). It promised "Dancing, Refreshments, Door Prizes, Uncertainty".

By 1943, they were a regular institution in Seattle. The New World (July 15, p.3) [The New Dealer became The New World earlier in 1943] reported that "The New World's famous Hootenannies will celebrate their third birthday [on July 31st]. The first Hootenanny was held in July, 1940 and the affair was such a success they have been held regularly since that time."

Regarding the choice of name, Tamony quotes a letter from Terry Pettus, who had been editor of The New Dealer/New World:

"It is true that I suggested Hootenanny. It came to mind as a result of the need for a designation for monthly events which would follow no particular format. I remembered that in my youth in Southern Indiana the word Hootenanny was used to designate a party which just seemed to happen as against being planned.

"These affairs were held in Polish Hall. The downstairs consisted of a large room with a bar and a small stage, plus the kitchen. The upstairs was a pretty good dance floor. Thus, depending on 'special attractions' etc., a Hootenanny could be a dance--a stage show--a concert by some visiting troubadour--a beer drinking, record lisening evening--or a combination of all or some of these ingredients. From this flowed the need for some all embracing designation."

Time and later Fortune quoted Guthrie's "hootin' Annie" story in 1946, but it seems safe to believe that Woody was not a reliable source.

Terry Pettus was born around 1900 (I remember meeting him in his eighties, around 1982), so the word must go back to his childhood at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The Dictionary of American Regional English offers five definitions that all come down to "dingus" or "thingamabob"--some kind of unspecified gadget.

The Bob Miller song, and the claim by Texas Jim Robertson (Sheriff Tex) probably pre-date the 1940 parties in Seattle. But it's pretty clear that it was indeed the New Deal/New World events that inspired Seeger and Guthrie. And the modern use of the word to describe a folk music gathering started with Terry Pettus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 08:28 PM

Hi John ... great post! Terry used to give inncredible hoots on his houseboat on Lake Union. I never knew that "hootenanny" came from him. Thanks again! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 08:41 PM

Johnross, thanks for the post. The folksingers sort of hijacked the word for their doin's. Terry Pettus' remembrance of a "party that just seemed to happen" forms the basis of the definition of the event that I remember, except that the initial impetus usually came from a few well-oiled couples at the local watering hole, one saying the weather is good, lets hootnanny, and some luckless friend with a good barn or storehouse or flat open area was picked to hold the affair. Generally he was woke up well after midnight and plied with liquor, until he nodded his head.

Some say that the term originated with Hoot and Annie Gibson in their early Hollywood days- could be true, certainly a lot of people in the movie industry showed up at Hoot 'n' Annies for the parties. Whether this meaning of the word spread generally, I don't know, but that pair were well-known all through the west.

There is a good song, fairly new I think, by Maggie Brandon, that fits.

Hootenanny

Way cross town just inside the state line
There's a place they like to party while they drink their moonshine
A stone throw from the river cross the marsh out on the dock
A bucket and a harp and they know how to make it rock.

Lawd dawggy we're goin' to a hootnanny
Get up get down turn around and shake your fanny
Five girls to every guy so come along and up the ante
Lawd dawggy we're goin' to a hootenanny. And so forth...


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 11:33 PM

Trying to run down the "Hoot and Annie" story. It may be just a story. I have found two wives for Hoot, neither one of them Annie. I know I heard the story from my parents a long time ago, so it has been around for some time.
Hoot Gibson war World Champion Cowboy at Pendleton in 1912 and World Champion Roper at Calgary the same year, then went on to Hollywood. His first good role came in John Ford's first feature, "Straight Shooting" in 1917. After 1920 he became a Universal star. He divorced his first wife Helen; can't find his wife in the 1920s, if he had one. There was another in the 1930s, also not Annie.
The word is supposed to have originated on the west coast, but no real evidence. It could have come from the Midwest area where Pettus found it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 11:49 PM

I am curious about terry Pettus' connection to the midwest. As I remember, and I've been known to remember poorly, he was pretty much from the NorthWest regions. I well remember that he founded the "Floating Home Association" of Lake Union and Lake Washingtion fame, that stopped Seattle in it's tracks! I also remember several hoots where we came close to sinking several houseboats due to revelry. Ahhh ... those, were the days, my firends, I thought they's never end, .... Bob


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Subject: RE: Hootenanny-another definition
From: johnross
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:07 AM

Here's a bio for Terry Pettus from Seattle's HistoryLink.org:
http://www.historylink.org/output.CFM?file_ID=2682

Says he was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1904, came to Seattle in the 1920's.

In 1983, when he was honored by the City of Seattle for his activities with Floating Homes and having survived long enough to have become a living legend or something, the mayor who made the presentation said "several of my predecessors are probably turning in their graves to know that we are giving Terry this recognition. There's now a Terry Pettus park overlooking Lake Union.


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Subject: RE: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 07:00 PM

Ross ... I want to thank you for posting that site about terry. I'm going to notify Sandy about this thread as I think he used to sing on his houseboat also. It funny, as I was reading the bio on Terry, a lot of memories came back. I really learned little new, but i had forgotten just how early in his life he became an activist. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 07:14 PM

John ... Another thought. I suppose this is a serious thread creep. Maybe the thread creep police will come after me. Re-reading Terry's bio reminded me of why so many of us sang those "commie songs" in those days .... it was because they had the BEST songs! Well DUH! Bob


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Subject: RE: Hootenanny-another definition
From: GUEST,Wildfire
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 05:24 PM

A hootenanny is a old hillbilly tradition everyone is usually involved. Usually at courthouse square with the townsfolk take turns playing hills music and dancing the jig. Other words a he'll of a party and good time, usually moonshine is present


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Subject: RE: Hootenanny-another definition
From: GUEST,Guest - Lin
Date: 02 Aug 11 - 03:12 PM

A barn dance?? This is the first I have ever heard that word used in reference to a barn dance.

In California & I imagine anywhere in U.S.A. a hootenanny was a gathering of folk singers in an informal setting, a coffeehouse, small folk venue, etc where several different folk singers were performing, sometimes known folk singers other times unknown singers.

Matter fact, many folk LPs from the early & mid 60's had the title of the LP "Hootenanny" with just a gathering of different singers with guitars & banjos. I still have a few of these LP's somewhere.
:-))


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Subject: RE: Hootenanny-another definition
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Aug 11 - 03:47 PM

Uh--GUEST,Wildfire, have you read what has gone before in this thread, and read threads that have been linked to?   Click here:   "Hootenannys, history and such."

I don't know where you got your information, but there is some really authoritative information here on wnere the term "hootenanny" came from and how it has been used (and abused) during the last seventy-some years. I suggest you read and learn.

Don Firth


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