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Bruce Olson. RIP, Oct 31, 2003

Related threads:
Bruce Olson Website Gone? (40)
Help: Bruce O's website (5)
BS: From Bruce O. (110) (closed)
Welcome back Bruce O.! (12) (closed)


dick greenhaus 02 Nov 03 - 08:45 PM
Murray MacLeod 02 Nov 03 - 08:53 PM
SINSULL 02 Nov 03 - 09:00 PM
Sorcha 02 Nov 03 - 09:07 PM
Susanne (skw) 02 Nov 03 - 09:12 PM
Stewie 02 Nov 03 - 09:15 PM
Amos 02 Nov 03 - 09:17 PM
paddymac 02 Nov 03 - 09:44 PM
katlaughing 02 Nov 03 - 10:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Nov 03 - 11:03 PM
Padre 02 Nov 03 - 11:12 PM
Joe Offer 02 Nov 03 - 11:25 PM
georgeward 03 Nov 03 - 12:06 AM
katlaughing 03 Nov 03 - 12:24 AM
Alice 03 Nov 03 - 12:24 AM
Barry T 03 Nov 03 - 02:12 AM
nutty 03 Nov 03 - 03:30 AM
RoyH (Burl) 03 Nov 03 - 04:17 AM
Brian Hoskin 03 Nov 03 - 05:02 AM
MartinRyan 03 Nov 03 - 05:15 AM
Liam's Brother 03 Nov 03 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 03 Nov 03 - 07:42 AM
MMario 03 Nov 03 - 08:02 AM
jeffp 03 Nov 03 - 08:10 AM
wysiwyg 03 Nov 03 - 09:16 AM
Carly 03 Nov 03 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 03 Nov 03 - 09:58 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 03 Nov 03 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 03 Nov 03 - 11:19 AM
Wolfgang 03 Nov 03 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Big Mick in Indianapolis 03 Nov 03 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,JohnB 03 Nov 03 - 11:43 AM
Bill D 03 Nov 03 - 11:44 AM
M.Ted 03 Nov 03 - 12:21 PM
Bill D 03 Nov 03 - 12:51 PM
Wolfgang 03 Nov 03 - 01:09 PM
Bill D 03 Nov 03 - 01:31 PM
Bill D 03 Nov 03 - 02:09 PM
Charlie Baum 03 Nov 03 - 02:18 PM
harpgirl 03 Nov 03 - 02:56 PM
Mark Clark 03 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 03 Nov 03 - 07:02 PM
GUEST 03 Nov 03 - 09:26 PM
Mark Clark 03 Nov 03 - 09:34 PM
Bill D 03 Nov 03 - 10:18 PM
GUEST 03 Nov 03 - 11:29 PM
Mooh 03 Nov 03 - 11:54 PM
alison 04 Nov 03 - 01:59 AM
open mike 04 Nov 03 - 05:22 AM
catspaw49 04 Nov 03 - 08:54 AM
Bill D 04 Nov 03 - 11:01 AM
open mike 04 Nov 03 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,MMario 04 Nov 03 - 03:33 PM
Mark Clark 04 Nov 03 - 03:41 PM
Jon W. 04 Nov 03 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 05 Nov 03 - 09:36 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 03 - 10:03 AM
Bill D 05 Nov 03 - 10:35 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 03 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Lighter 05 Nov 03 - 02:22 PM
Jeri 05 Nov 03 - 02:51 PM
Roger in Baltimore 05 Nov 03 - 06:31 PM
Bill D 10 Nov 03 - 01:06 PM
sian, west wales 10 Nov 03 - 01:13 PM
Fortunato 10 Nov 03 - 03:20 PM
Ferrara 10 Nov 03 - 04:21 PM
Bob Hitchcock 10 Nov 03 - 04:36 PM
Peter T. 10 Nov 03 - 05:16 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Nov 03 - 07:10 PM
KathWestra 11 Nov 03 - 11:50 AM
Bill D 11 Nov 03 - 12:07 PM
John in Brisbane 11 Nov 03 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,Just someone 12 Nov 03 - 02:59 AM
PaulineL 18 Nov 03 - 01:13 AM
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Subject: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 08:45 PM

William Bruce Olson, retired physical chemist and longtime song and ballad scholar, died Friday afternoon, October 31, at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Gaithersburg, Maryland. He was 73.
    The cause of death was listed as severe pancreatitis, Olson's son, Kenneth, said. His father, however, also suffered from kidney failure and severe emphysema.
    Olson -- who preferred to be known by his middle name -- entered the hospital to treat breathing problems with a continuous oxygen supply. Fatalistic, and complaining too of severe pains in his lower back, he told a friend he was not sure he would survive.
    Olson spent his professional career at the National Bureau of Standards -- now the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Hired as a physical chemist -- in that subject he earned his doctorate -- Olson became expert in both infra-red and molecular spectroscopy as tools for testing materiels.
    Caught up in the folk song revival of the 1950s, Olson became interested not in performing but in researching the songs others were singing. Over time, he delved into the history of particular songs, and through that began to catalogue the all but untouched body of 16th, 17th and 18th Century song and music collections. A hobby first became a passion and then a consuming avocation, he explained to a friend.
    Olson came to take special pleasure in the access he earned to libraries devoted to what he deemed as serious scholarship, particularly the Folger Library in Washington. That library holds a large song collection which Olson knew better than the staff.
    At the same time, because of his lack of formal training and credentials, he was never certain of his acceptance by academic folklorists.
    Even so, it was as a so-called private scholar, that is, a serious student of both musical and textual relationships of stage, popular and folk musics of the pre-Victorian British Isles that Olson earned an international reputation among students of folk song. (Indeed among this last requests even as he lay in his hospital bed were for the personal telephone numbers of two scholars in Great Britain, Steve Roud and Jack Campion, and instructions how to dial them directly. He also asked for the number of American Norm Cohen, like Olson a retired chemist who conducts research into folk song. Olson intended to say goodbye personally to them, he told a friend.)
    Like all true scholars, Olson was generous with his research. A stranger's query on any of a half-dozen listserves to which Olson subscribed would produce a lengthy reply culled from his large database -- and an addenda correcting errors in his first, hastily pasted message.
    "That was just like him," his son Kenneth said. "All his life he couldn't just answer yes or no. He always had to give a full answer, an explanation."
    It was that which drove his ballad research as well.
    Olson is survived by his wife, Barbara T. Olson; three sons, Douglas of Laurel, Maryland, Bryan of San Jose, California, and Kenneth of Gaithersburg, Maryland; and two sisters, Beryl of Bremerton, Washington; and Carol Kimsay, a resident of California.
    Olson's voluminous research -- updated a final time just days before he entered the hospital -- is posted at Olsonw@erols.com. Arrangements will be made, Kenneth Olson said, to permanently archive his website.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 08:53 PM

He ruffled a few feathers here on Mudcat, but his contributions were always well worth reading.

R.I.P


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 09:00 PM

I looked for him at the Getaway and was surprised he hadn't appeared. Didn't know he was ill. I was one of many who received voluminous amounts of information in response to some simple questions. Bruce was generous. My library contains more than a few BruceO recommendations. I wish I could have known him better.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 09:07 PM

Even tho I was one of the ones who's feathers he ruffled, his website is fantastic. He will be missed...... RIP, Bruce.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 09:12 PM

What a loss! I didn't know him, but it feels like I did, and I was glad to see him reappear on the Mudcat after he'd left so publicly. I could never aspire to his devotion to scholarship and breadth of knowledge in his chosen field, and that's what I'll miss him for.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Stewie
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 09:15 PM

His knowledge of folksong was staggering, his database mind-boggling and his generosity exceptional. It was good to see that he posted occasionally to the forum over the last few months. Vale.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Amos
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 09:17 PM

I only hope what he accomplished will not be lost to the world. I am saddened by his passing, even though I never met him -- he stood out, to my mind, as a unique force.

Go with style, man. Ya done good work.

A


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: paddymac
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 09:44 PM

He was, and shall be remembered, as a mudcat treasure.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 10:11 PM

I know I ruffled his feathers, as he did mine, but I always had a great respect for his knowledge and sharing and am saddened to hear that he has passed.

Dick, please give his family our condolences and let them know he was appreciated here whether he thought so or not.

RIP,

kat


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 11:03 PM

He will be greatly missed. He was always willing to answer a query.
I hope that his exceptional website will live after him.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Padre
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 11:12 PM

I will miss Bruce's tremendous scholarship in folk music. He passed on a great deal of information on obscure sea songs to the Boarding Party over the years. Thanks. Bruce.

Padre


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 11:25 PM

I really enjoyed Bruce. He was a real gentleman, and he was very generous with his knowledge if you took the time to talk with him. He was very quiet, almost distant - until you asked him a question. Whenever I needed to find out something about a really old song, I knew I could count on him for a thorough answer.
I really got a kick out of it a few years ago, before I got my scanner, when he would dare me to type up long ballads I had found. He'd repay me by posting a really interesting song he knew I'd never seen. I've always liked folk music, but it's only in that last ten years I've learned a lot about it. Bruce enjoyed tempting my intellectual curiosity, and I enjoyed having him as one of my mentors.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: georgeward
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 12:06 AM

There are many kinds of performance, and scholarship is one kind. I found some of Bruce's posts as inspiring as any stage performance. -George


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 12:24 AM

I always enjoyed this one of his postings: I went to a one room school, but it was a parochial school, and all we got besides the 3 R's were hymns and sermons. The 3 R's were interesting, but the rest I've tried to forget, and have succeeded reasonably well.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Alice
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 12:24 AM

This is a great shock to me. Bruce Olson's knowledge was one of a number of reasons I kept coming back to Mudcat in the first few years. He was truly generous with his knowledge and time. His passing is a loss to traditional music.

Alice


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Barry T
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 02:12 AM

I agree wholeheartedly, Alice. Whenever I recommended the Mudcat to prospective new members, I always promoted the knowledge and generosity that they would find here. Without fail, I would mention Bruce as one of those treasured sources.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: nutty
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 03:30 AM

So sad a loss to folk music ........ I have lost count of the number of people I have pointed to his site, particularly when folk on the Internet was being bad-mouthed.

He so generously shared his knowledge, I hope that there is an organisation in the States that can honour this.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 04:17 AM

This is sad news indeed. I learned much from his postings on the Mudcat. Although we never met I held him in high esteem. Sincere condolences to his family. Roy Harris


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:02 AM

I remember his contibitions to this forum as always scholarly and remarkably thorough, and underpinned by an enormous passion for his subject. I hope that his work will be properly preserved and made readily available, so that his generosity in sharing knowledge may continue long after his passing.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:15 AM

Sad to hear the news. A great, conscientious and thorough ballad scholar.

Regards

p.s ... never knew he was, like me, a physical chemist by training.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 06:44 AM

Very sorry to read this this. Bruce was a true scholar and a fine gentleman.

Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 07:42 AM

I much regret this. It is welcome news that his work is to be preserved. I hope his library and papers will be lodged where it can benefit the community to which he gave so much.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: MMario
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:02 AM

Devastating news. Bruce's posts were always worth reading - and worth searching for among the archives!

I'm sure he will be missed as greatly on ALL the lists forums where he contributed - not to mention the FSGW.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: jeffp
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:10 AM

A tremendous loss. Rest in peace, Bruce, and thank you for all you've done.

Jeff


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 09:16 AM

RIP.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Carly
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 09:40 AM

I am heartsick. In losing Bruce Olson I have lost a long-time friend and we all have lost a brilliant and generous scholar.My first memory of him, at some FSGW event,was his coming up to me to discuss the origins of a ballad I had just sung. A few days later, an overstuffed envelope showed up in my mail-more information he had dug out for me. His presence, his enthusiasm, and his knowledge will be sorely missed.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 09:58 AM

Dang. I don't know what to say.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 10:56 AM

A scholarly, passionate gentleman. Thanks for letting us know, Dick.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:19 AM

Dick, thank you so much for letting us know. What a sad shock! I hope his family will see this thread. Bruce has been a part of the Mudcat I've known, from the beginning. Although I didn't know him personally, I've respected & appreciated his contributions through the years. What a loss to us all. Rest in peace, Bruce.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:34 AM

A very sad loss. I'm hoping his work lives on as a tribute for his passion.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,Big Mick in Indianapolis
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:36 AM

What a blow!! This is a loss, yet life insures death, and that we will lose those that offer the most. As others have said, Bruce and I had disagreements over what the Mudcat should be, but I always found myself in awe of his amazing store of knowledge and resources. One of the beauties of the age we are living in is that the music he loved, and his contributions to the understanding will live on always.

And now, we must look for his voice in others. Given his generosity with that knowledge, that will not be hard to do.

Great job, favored son. See on the next leg.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:43 AM

A great loss of shareable knowledge to us all.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:44 AM

I am almost hesitant to post. I have known Bruce for 25 years, and he had called me a week before the Getaway, ostensibly to tell me of a few things he had found to add to some items he had given me a year ago..(tools & such) ...but I felt then that he was 'making contact', because he told me how ill he had been and how he 'almost' didn't get out of his first stay in the hospital. He had an almost uncanny awareness of the state of his health, and a similar acceptance of what it was. He noted at the time that he 'probably' would not make it to the Getaway because he didn't want the hassle of supplemental oxygen interfering....but he left open the possibility of coming for daytime events.

Bruce was am amazing man...he knew so much about so many fields, and when the internet and computer access to MORE music recources became available, he taught himself the necessary skills to create that web site


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 12:21 PM

I only knew Bruce from his contributions here, but had great respect for him, not simply because of his knowledge, but also because he gave so freely and thoroughly to anyone who wanted to know something.

The thing that strikes me is that his contributions here set a high standard for the discussions that we have had, not only his special interests, but for everything else, as well. If you posted after a "Bruce O" post, you knew that your facts had to be accurate and your comments had to be well reasoned or you were out of the discussion--if you posted posted before him, you kept checking back to see what he had to say about it, because you knew that more often than not, he had the missing pieces--

When I read mudcat threads, even when they are not about music, I am amazed by detail and care that people tend put into their responses to questions, and I can't help but think that, after reading so many of Bruce's posts over the years, folks just figured that that is what is expected--


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 12:51 PM

(sorry...hit wrong button!)

Bruce was am amazing man...he knew so much about so many fields, and when the internet and computer access to MORE music recources became available, he taught himself the necessary skills to create that web site and post tunes in ABC format and analyze other ways to do music notation. (He said on the phone that if he had realized how logical music theory was, he'd have done a LOT more with posting!)

When I first moved to this area, I immediately began attenting our "Open Sings", which were held at the Washington Ethical Society, and Bruce was the one who, as a WES member, opened the door, set up the hall, bought refreshments and monitored the door, even to the extent of missing some of the music so he could keep the system going for everyone else. He was not much of a singer...*wry smile* (he once bought a dulcimer, thinking it might help him find the pitch, but soon gave it up and went back to what HE did best, listening and educating.)

When FSGW started our yearly free festival, we were TOTALLY volunteer, and relied on generous folks to do the background work that keeps a festival going...and Bruce, bless his soul, somehow ended up directing traffic in the parking lot...for several years, seeing very little of the music he loved! He never complained while he was doing it, but when he decided that was enough, he said so in a very "Bruce-like" way and began attending the show!

As others have posted, if Bruce thought you cared, he would do whatever was necessary to add to your knowlege about a song or ballad...I have several packets he sent me with information about songs Rita or I had sung or enquired about.

When Mudcat was fairly new, it was I who mentioned it to Bruce, and though non-commital, he soon began showing up and answering questions about old songs. Yes, he sure did get frustrated as Mudcat drifted into many things besides music, and he told me personally several times how tedious he found it to wade thru the BS to find interesting threads. He was quite pleased when the BS was mostly moved to the bottom *grin*. He seemed not to be around for a long time, but I KNOW he was always lurking, and I know of one thread where a "guest" replied to some arcane question, and a couple of people simply replied "thanks, Bruce", as the post could not have come from anywhere else.

Bruce got into some tussles with those who didn't appreciate his no-nonsense "music-first" approach, but he also, in the process, provided one of the funniest, cleverest bits of 'anonymous' writing to appear here, doing a parody of his own research about non-existant people and musical influences. Then he blew it by forgeting to delete his signature a few posts later...*grin*

I have so many memories of Bruce Olson...some of them of trying to gracefully get AWAY when he was determined to relate one more fact about an old song or tune..*wry grin*...but mostly of a generous, brillant man who was focused, unswerving and dedicated to his passions...and we are all the beneficiaries of that dedication.

RIP, Bruce..(and if there IS a Heavenly Choir, you can bet they'll be getting some advice on versions of their repertoire )
Bruce at various events, doing what he did best, listening and thinking


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 01:09 PM

Thanks Bill, for reminding me that parody:

Bruce's parody on musical influences upon the Celtic Music

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 01:31 PM

ohh..YES...thank you, Wolfgang! I did some hurried searching, but failed to find the exact thread. This is worth reading s-l-o-w-l-y in its entirety. A wonderful tribute to Bruce, and no better example of how his mind worked..(well...with the possible exception of the thread on "What do physicists think about")


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 02:09 PM

I note that arrangements are being made to archive Bruce's web site, but ever cautious, I decided to have my own...just in case.

I used this FREE, open source program. It will exactly mirror a site on your machine and allow you to browse it as if you were online..but faster. Bruce's site came out to just over 9,000,000 bytes....barely a blip on new hard drives. (He made a point of saying that almost everything was plain text to make searches easier)


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 02:18 PM

Off-line, Bruce could be shy when you first met him. Then, he'd go into reference librarian mode and tell you everything there was to know about some old ballad or song, and his expertise could come off as overwhelming if you weren't used to him. But if you could get beyond that, there was a wonderful warm person with a great sense of humor.

I'll miss the reference librarian, but take comfort in the idea that much of his information will be preserved. But I'll really miss the Bruce Olson that would show up at Folklore Society of Greater Washington events, and that Bruce is irreplaceable.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: harpgirl
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 02:56 PM

Dick, this is very sad news, indeed. Bruce was one of the many, many mudcatters I admired and whose posts I read eagerly. I am sorry I never met him in person. I'm resolved to attend next year's Getaway. There are so many mudcatters I have never met who've touched me in some welcome way...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Mark Clark
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM

I too am saddened to learn of Bruce’s passing. For the reasons everyone has so eloquently set forth, Bruce was a huge resource for anyone interested in folk music.

I’ve been trying to go back and reread some of Bruce’s postings. He once posted what he called his final post but of course his interest and dedication wouldn’t allow that intent to stand. Early on he used the Mudcat name Bruce O but later started a new member name, Bruce O., that he used until January 2000.

Often, he’d post as GUEST,Bruce O. or GUEST,Bruce O.

If there are handles and posts I’ve missed, perhaps others can help fill in the gaps.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 07:02 PM

I never met the guy, but had a few email exchanges.

Anyone who 'ruffles' Sorcha and Kat is good in my book.

Sleep well, Bruce


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 09:26 PM

How do you access Bruce's archive? www.erols.com appears to be a telecom company.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Mark Clark
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 09:34 PM

Click here on Bruce Olson's web site or use Google and search for his name.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 10:18 PM

for those in the DC area who might wish to pay respects, a note has been added to the website about a memorial service this coming Friday, Nov. 7.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:29 PM

Wow.

I've had my "Guest" disagreements and run-ins with him. He definitely had an abrasive side. But he was definitely someone to respect on a scholarly level.

Wow.

M


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Mooh
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:54 PM

Well that's a drag, one of those folks I would have liked to have met on this side. I sense his was a life well lived, and he sure made this place better. It's time to go back and re-read his collective Mudcat wisdom. Thanks Dick for letting us know.

Peace Brother Bruce, teach those angels what to sing!

Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: alison
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 01:59 AM

thanks for letting us know... he was very generous with his knowledge

I'll miss him...

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: open mike
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 05:22 AM

i guess he posted under "anon" too?


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 08:54 AM

We obviously had problems but I had great respect for his unbelievable research and knowledge and I really enjoyed his participation in threads about physics and science in general. We all knew how he felt and his contributions as "Guest#1" were beweath him but somehow I always felt that in 3D we may have seen each other and many others too in a different way, a different light.

No matter, his passing is a great loss, but he leaves a great legacy and I am pleased and thankful his work is being archived.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 11:01 AM

It is well to note that Bruce had mellowed (or simply decided to shrug *smile*) quite a bit the last year...mostly because Mudcat had moved the BS threads to the bottom and because there were simply more genuine music threads for him to peruse. Recent signed posts were his acknowlegement that this place had it's virtues, and I suspect he would have done a lot more if fate had not intervened.

If there is any moral in all of this, it is that there can be a place for all here if we manage our disputes more gently and go easy on the complaints. Bruce was not the first to succumb to the temptation to use anonymity to voice dissatisfaction, but I hope the point is not lost that it is usually a counterproductive exercise.

....nuff said. I will attend his memorial service with my head full of good memories of this amazing man.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: open mike
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 03:18 PM

looks like his last post was on jan 19 2000?


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 03:33 PM

no - he was posting this summer


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 03:41 PM

He posted quite a bit lately. If you check my post above, you'll be able to find most of his posts. The last one I've found in which he identified himself is stamped 03 Oct 03 - 09:40 AM.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Jon W.
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 03:59 PM

I too appreciated Bruce's scholarship and willingness to share. We won't soon forget you, Bruce.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 09:36 AM

SO sad to read this! Life is short and we don't get to do all the things we'd like to do, and I never got the chance to tell him how much I appreciated his scholarship and willingness to share it!


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 10:03 AM

From another anon poster, all I can say is the only thing sadder than Bruce's passing is the hypocrisy being exhibited in his memorial thread by those who trashed him in life, yet for their own personal self-aggrandizement, come here praising him in death. How typical of the Mudcat Royals, who WERE the members who trashed him in this forum and drove him out of their midst.

Perhaps that is the best Mudcat memorial of all to Bruce--that their hypocrisy will remain in this thread for all to see.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 10:35 AM

*sigh*....as I said above......


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 02:14 PM

*sigh*...one man's opinion doesn't negate another's...no matter how hard some might try.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 02:22 PM

He knew more about old songs than any ten of us combined. "Irreplaceable" is right, and in more ways than one.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 02:51 PM

I also noticed he wasn't at the Getaway. I knew he'd been in the hospital prior to that and wondered if he was OK.

I guess I thought he sounded a bit terse on Mudcat, but didn't think it was as big a deal as some did. I do remember his GUEST#2 stuff, but he wasn't very good at being a meany. (And I remember the Physicists thread where he got on an anon rant, slipped up by posting his name and came back with something like "Whoops...oh well."

I met Bruce a few times, and only spoke very briefly, I got a bit more of an impression. He didn't seem to do small talk well and seemed a bit shy. Get him talking about songs though, and he'd share whatever information he had with whomever wanted to listen. The vast amount of research he'd done and knowledge he'd accumulated was a bit intimidating to me - that was just due to my own shortcomings and nothing he tried to do or, I think, would be happy about. (I've been intimidated by some of the most incredibly positive people.) He was as passionate in researching music as some of us are in singing or playing it.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 06:31 PM

There is not much I can add, so I will repeat for emphasis.

I am awed everytime I meet some one who is so involved in their hobby that they are better at it than those who are paid for the same work. When it came to folk songs, Bruce was one of those people.

He was one of the people I really wanted to meet when I attended my first Getaway. He did not disappoint. He looked like a scholar and he was a complete gentleman.

If I asked him about a song, I always learned more than "I" needed. And he did this "off the top" without referring to any literature.

I remember how disappointed I was when I read his "last post." I sent him a PM to tell him I understood his feelings, but I wished he would change is mind. I also told him I would miss him.

It gladdened me to later read anonymous posts that could only have been Bruce. Later he used his Mudcat name.

I know the angels have a whole lot more songs to sing with Bruce up in heaven.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 01:06 PM

For a totally overwhelming and impressive list, written by Bruce, of his publications in spectroscopy and in folk music research, you might want to look at this site. It's worth seeing, I think.

Rita Ferrara using Bill's ID...


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: sian, west wales
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 01:13 PM

This is very sad news. I always respected his knowledge.

sian


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Fortunato
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 03:20 PM

Nice quiet fellow. Unassuming. I knew him somewhat less well and a couple years less than BillD. His genre was not mine; we exchanged greetings and little more. I occasionally helped him set up or put away chairs at the FSGW events at the Washington Ethical Society Hall. He was all right.

Chance


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Ferrara
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 04:21 PM

The memorial service for Bruce was wonderful. It wasn't a church service but a sharing of memories, starting with each of his three sons, and followed by a man he worked with and several members of FSGW. (And then followed by great banjo music, and lots of excellent food....)

His sons wryly acknowledged what a number of us have learned: When Bruce wanted to tell you something, he wanted to tell you EVERYTHING about it. This had its ups and downs! A telling anecdote: Son Ken said that at a time when he was "having trouble with learning the times tables," Bruce drew a diagram at the dinner table of a piece of new spectroscopic equipment he was designing, and it never occurred to him that at that age his son couldn't understand the design or the explanation he was giving.

Bruce was raised in the depression and was frugal, with no interest in luxuries. A description of his one-bedroom apartment (I think by Stephen Wade) gave a picture of a "bedroom" where one half of the room was taken up with books and papers; and a "living room" in which one half of the room was taken up with incomprehensible electronic equipment. I know it was Stephen Wade who said that, if you went to Bruce's apartment, you were grateful that earthquakes are almost unknown in the Washington area, because of the papers, books and miscellany stacked in tall towers all around you. :-)

Stephen played quiet banjo music before and after the remembrances. He described working with Bruce on the complex origins of an American version of "Fennario," and played and sang the song for us.

FSGW's Carly Gewirz spoke of many memories of Bruce. The first was meeting him at an Open Sing years & years ago while she in college. She sang "Mary Hamilton," but she knew nothing of its history at the time. Bruce came over and started telling her where it came from and the events that inspired it, other versions, etc. As a ballad lover, she was enthralled. She didn't give Bruce her name, but somehow he located both her name and her address, and a few days later a large packet of additional information arrived in her mailbox. She says Bruce was a major influence on her decision to go to graduate school in folklore. They remained friends over many years.

Bill said much of what he has written here, with some additions.

A fellow scientist from the National Bureau of Standards talked about Bruce's contributions to spectroscopy. He said they are doing work now that features equipment Bruce designed at least ten years ago. A visiting Russian scientist, very good in the field, said this equipment was "practically perfect for its purpose." Bruce didn't publish all of his work at the National Bureau of Standards, and his former colleagues would like to see much more of it collated and published.

We met a lovely lady from the Scots music newslist who had been corresponding with Bruce for two years -- she said she had an inch-thick file of his e-mails -- and never knew they both lived in Silver Spring! She had tears in her eyes. She said she felt she was representing all the people who knew Bruce as a friend, but never met him.

I spoke up too, and said that for all the teasing about his curmudgeonly traits, there was a sweetness about Bruce. When he used to host FSGW open sings at the Ethical Society, he created a lovely atmosphere. He left the overhead lights off, placed folded tables flat on the floor in a circle, with pillows to sit on, and candles on the tables. Today when I think of Bruce, for some reason I remember most of all those candles and that cosy, inviting space.

Rita Ferrara


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 04:36 PM

This is truly sad news indeed. I first met Bruce in the late 70's when I moved to the D.C. area, he came up to me after I had sung a song (can't remember which one) and we ended up in a discussion about it's origin and variations etc. which lasted a good 2 hours. I have piles of papers in my files which Bruce was kind enough to send me over the years, which will serve as a reminder to his kindness as well as his scholarship.

I saw little of him over the past few years, but I will always be thankful that I knew him.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 05:16 PM

Bruce and I tangled from time to time, but with I hope mutual respect and love for the music. He was a treasure, and a treasure trove, and I will miss him and the encyclopaedic mind.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 07:10 PM

I am sorry to read this.

And more sorry to be untimely in saying so.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: KathWestra
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 11:50 AM

Thanks, Rita, for sharing the memorial service with those of us who couldn't be there. You captured it evocatively, and the stories you told reminded me of other "Bruce" moments. He really wanted everyone to care as much (and know as much) about each and every song as he did, and even his most reluctant students ended up knowing things because of Bruce that we wouldn't know otherwise. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 12:07 PM

BTW--Ed Cray, editor of "The Erotic Muse" was in frequent contact with Bruce, and will be working with the family to help archive and preserve the data on the web site. Other efforts are under discussion also, as the information is public domain, and Bruce would want it widely available....


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 10:17 PM

I remain in awe of the man and his work. May he rest as he wished.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: GUEST,Just someone
Date: 12 Nov 03 - 02:59 AM

Sad at his passing.

Happy for his life, thankful for his contributions.


I just saw his website:    http://users.erols.com/olsonw/

and noticed he had died. I'd be more happy if people read my words\work after my passing.

If you're curious, check it out. He lived to 74 and loved folksong, God bless him for that.

-- hope I can do the same.


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Subject: RE: Bruce Olson. RIP
From: PaulineL
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 01:13 AM

Rita, thanks so much for your posting about the memorial service for Bruce. I especially liked your own recollection. It showed me a warm and fuzzy aspect of Bruce's personality that I had not known.

Pauline


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