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Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series

Teresa 11 Oct 04 - 12:08 AM
Ebbie 11 Oct 04 - 12:30 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 04 - 04:55 PM
DonMeixner 11 Oct 04 - 08:41 PM
Ebbie 11 Oct 04 - 10:47 PM
freightdawg 11 Oct 04 - 11:22 PM
katlaughing 11 Oct 04 - 11:36 PM
Seamus Kennedy 12 Oct 04 - 12:31 AM
katlaughing 12 Oct 04 - 12:40 AM
GUEST,JD Fan 12 Oct 04 - 04:34 AM
freightdawg 13 Oct 04 - 12:00 AM
GUEST,Juan P-B 13 Oct 04 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,denise:^) -- cookieless at work 14 Oct 04 - 04:25 PM
Teresa 15 Oct 04 - 04:13 PM
Seamus Kennedy 18 Oct 04 - 03:15 AM
Teresa 18 Oct 04 - 03:53 AM
jimmyt 18 Dec 05 - 05:34 PM
Folkie101 19 Dec 05 - 03:27 PM
GUEST 26 Oct 10 - 04:40 AM
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Subject: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Teresa
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 12:08 AM

Just saw this re-broadcast of a Nature episode from 1997. It relates John Denver's work in the wild and includes some songs, including one called "Yellowstone" which he was unable to record for the documentary. However, a home movie was played of it. Amazing program that made me love his work all over again. His experimental plane crashed before the Nature documentary was finished.

Let This Be a Voice

R.I.P.

Teresa


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 12:30 AM

I agree. His death, imo, is one of the saddest of our losses in recent years.


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 04:55 PM

Have to agree with you Ebbie! When he first hit these UK shores the TV company wouldn't risk any money on guests for his shows so there was just him and Bill & Taffy Danoff - I remember him getting a guy out of the audience to kneel down and JD stood on his back to juggle three balls in the air - The second series they couldn't give him ENOUGH money - He certainly changed my musical direction and it's a direction I still follow!

I was severely p*ssed off when the newsman announcing his death on the BBC said "His lightweight style of entertainment left him always on the sidelines of popular music" What utter b*ll*cks!! JD was a legend and for a number of years was the biggest thing touring the UK

I saw him two or three times and to me he was a god!
JP-B


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: DonMeixner
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 08:41 PM

It is funny how we view some musicians over the course of a life time. When I first became aware of John Denver it was 1970. He just release his second album and he was doing fairly well for the new kid. He was succeeding to limited extent at gaining a more mainstream audience than were many of the folksingers at the time.
I liked a lot of the music he was doing.
   Tom Paxton had made an effort with "Jimmy Newman" but it wasn't what the market wanted it seemed. Where Tom seemed world weary John was a fresh voice. By whatever reason you wish to chose John pulled ahead and Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs and BUffy St. Marie and others remained where they where. Respected and admired but not growing popular in the mainstream.
"Country Roads" was first song I ever heard so much I learned to hate it. Rewriting a very poor third verse to a perfect verse in Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans" seemed a last straw for me.
From that point on I only was aware of the cutesy stuff like "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and The Muppets stuff. I never was really aware of some of the lesser known and better songs on his recordings and if I were I gave them no credit because of who was doing the work.
   I gave John a second chance when The World Wildlife Fund concert came out. I really was surprised by this concert. I discovered many songs he had done and done well worth learning. I still didn't care for everything done but I did see what I should have been aware of all along. John was a master at stage craft. He knew not only how to sing a song but also how to preform it. And he was a passionate believer in his music and his causes. He was also a very good musician.
   Now I quite often refer to a tape I have of this concert to see how John would have performed a certain type song. Not necessarily to do that particular song but to get some ideas of how to do it. There is more to performing than just singing and if I ever learn to handle a stage half as well as John did I'll be pretty OK.

Don


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 10:47 PM

One of my brothers and his wife went to every John Denver concert they could get to. JD was my brother's favorite performer- not just because of his music but as Don Firth said, Denver's stagecraft and his rapport with his audience. At my brother's memorial service we played John Denver's 'Good to be Back Home Again.'


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: freightdawg
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 11:22 PM

Ok, Teresa, you pitched a softball right down my sweetspot with this thread (a little thread drift, but it is playoff season, you know.)

My wife came to believe that I was an okay guy because I like John Denver songs. In the past 5-10 years we have grown to love his music even more. Some wag once said that if you are not a conservative when you are old you don't have a brain, and if you were not a liberal when you were young you didn't have a heart. Well, I find myself in some ways becoming more liberal as I age and one reason is the profound thoughts captured in so much of John's music. John loved the outdoors, and used the natural resources he loved (skiing, fishing, rafting, etc) but he knew we had to protect the environment or all those uses would vanish. As Don said above, his music aged like a fine wine. Some of his earlier stuff is pretty hard to listen to now, but his later songs simply cannot be equaled, in my opinion. The other aspect of his music that has me so mesmerized now is his guitar playing. Much of his playing is based on simple patterns, but John knew just how to vary a pattern, or how to hit one note with just a little more flair, to make a song truly remarkable and memorable.

We have his Wildlife concert and his Harbor Lights concert on cd. What is truly amazing to me is that he performed both concerts when he was over 50 years old, and his voice was stronger in some ways than it was when he first started out. He had a little more trouble with the yodels, but hey, I can't yodel like that and I'm mmumblemumble years old.

I really appreciate Don's comments. I too watch his Wildlife concert and listen to his other concert cds to try and absorb how he communicated with his audience, not just perform for them. My wife got to see him perform. I count it as one of my great losses to have not been able to see him. What a loss.

Thanks for the thread.

Freightdawg.


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Oct 04 - 11:36 PM

I've always loved his music, but was REALLY impressed in the early 80's, I think it was, when he did a docu on trumpeter swans coming back from the brink of distinction in the Rocky Mountains. It was stunning photography coupled with his quiet, folksy kind of ardor which really conveyed a very compelling message about conservation and this old ball of clay we live on.

When my youngest was only a couple of years old she knew the tail end of every refrain in Country Roads. We'd sing and she'd chime in on "roads," "home" etc. It was so cute and such a good song to sing with everyone.

When I was going to hospice to play my dulcimer for folks, I always included a few of John's songs...easily recognizable and easy on the heart and ears when one is in such straits.

Thanks for the thread,

kat


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 12:31 AM

Like just about all folkies, I had a few John Denver songs in my songbag, and in the early '70's they went over well with audiences. Great for singing along.

Well, one night in the early '80's, I was performing at the Dubliner in Washington, D.C.
John Denver and Raoul Julia were in the audience. JD was in town lobbying with NASA to go up in the space shuttle, and RJ was in town promoting a movie. They were friends and they met in the Dubliner for a few drinks.

I sang a parody of "Country Roads" called Concrete Roads, and they were both tickled; in fact John Denver came and stood in front of the stage and wagged his finger at me in mock admonishment, laughing.

On my break Raoul Julia asked me to get John up to sing a few songs.
I said, "Oh, God, I couldn't do that. The man has the night off. He's not working. It's not right."

Raoul Julia just said, "He LOVES to perform. Go on, just ask him."

So I started the next set, sang a song or two and said," Ladies and Gentlemen, you've all noticed a very special performer in the audience, and I'd like to ask John Denver if he'd be kind enough to come up here and favor us with a couple of songs."

No sooner had I said it than he was up on stage beside me.
"I'd be glad to do a few songs; may I borrow your guitar?"
I gave him my old Martin D-28, and he said," Now I'd like to do Country Roads MY way!"

He did about 10 minutes explaining how he came to write the song with Bill and Taffy right there in Washington D.C. after a gig at the Cellar Door. Then he sang it and everyone in the place sang along. He sang a couple more, and then said, I'd like to ask Seamus to come here and sing one with me.

I got up and said "Do you know any Irish songs?" He said, "Nope."
I said "Then let's do one of yours." He said, "After what you did to Country Roads, I don't think so!"
He asked if I knew Home On The Range. I said "Sure."
So we launched into it; I sang lead and John Denver played guitar and sang a sweet tenor harmony beside me into one mic.

When we'd finished, he got down to tumultuous applause.
He went to the bar and bought 2 pints of Guinness; he brought one over to the stage and handed it to me. We saluted each other with our pints and he went back to join Raoul Julia.
I finished my set.


Seamus


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 12:40 AM

WOW...that is awesome, Seamus.


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: GUEST,JD Fan
Date: 12 Oct 04 - 04:34 AM

I've been a fan of JD since forever. I am always amazed at the number of folks who run him down. More so because I am a musician and include quite a few of his lesser known tunes when I perform or jam with folks. The ones who run him down are always the same ones who say "my what a great song"...who wrote that??? I think hits such as Annie's Song, Country Roads etc are all folks are aware of. They are my least favorites of his work.   

Tremendous insight and passion in his writing and performing. He was a treasure as is his music.


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: freightdawg
Date: 13 Oct 04 - 12:00 AM

Hey Seamus,

That story is one for the ages. I would like to add that you, too, are another performer that can communicate with a crowd the way JD could. I know that fer a fact 'cause I have seen you perform.

Thanks for sharing a wonderful memory.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: GUEST,Juan P-B
Date: 13 Oct 04 - 04:35 PM

Oh Seamus! You lucky, lucky guy!

I am just SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous!

and Guest JD FAn - I have to agree that 'Annie's Song' is prpbably about my least favourite JD song but only because I didn't like it!

I dunno why I didn't like it - Over the years I've tried to warm to it but it never impressed me and I still don't know why.

I first heard 'Country Roads' on my first trip to the US with the Royal Navy back in 1971 and fell in love with the man and his music from that time.

I think if I was dragged kicking and screaming and was tortured into choosing a favourite it would probably be "We Don't Live Here No More"

I miss him so much
JP-B


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: GUEST,denise:^) -- cookieless at work
Date: 14 Oct 04 - 04:25 PM

I have been a John Denver fan for a number of years, and, like many of you, my favorites are the lesser-known of his songs.

I recently opened for a house concert here in MI, and had JD's "Alaska and Me" in my set. What a fun song to sing!

It is sad that he's gone...

denise :^)


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Teresa
Date: 15 Oct 04 - 04:13 PM

Wow, you guys! Seamus, I would have loved to hear that performance. :)

For my eighteenth birthday, I got a ticket to one of John's concerts. I was praying it would be just him and his guitar, and it was. He told stories and sang songs, and I thought I was hanging out in someone's living room rather than sitting in a large arena. I'll never forget that concert.

At summer camp, we sang a lot of his songs. I, too, love his less popular ones. I do love "Rocky Mountain High", though. I love to sing "the Eagle and the Hawk" and "Cold Nights in canada". I think my favorite album (but only by a teensy bit) is Rocky Mountain High, with that neat version of "Mr. Peabody's coal Train" on it. I think that song was a further nudge into folk music for me.

Some of the later stuff with the three tenors, etc. I wasn't crazy about, I have to admit. But I always knew his heart was in the right place, and that was what really counted. I miss him, too.

T


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 03:15 AM

Yeah, that was a magic night for me.
I also loved him in Oh God!
The Las Vegas stuff with Sinatra wasn''t the highlight of his career as far as I'm concerned, but John always put on a great show and sang his heart out.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Teresa
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 03:53 AM

Say it ain't so! Frank Sinatra? Or was that a bit of hyperbole?

Ok, won't get sidetracked onto that. I'm just glad he made such a difference in my life when he did. :) RIP

T


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: jimmyt
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 05:34 PM

John Denver Tribute on PBS right now! Wow, this was one fine performer. I really never appreciated him for the wonderful performer he was until watching this show. If you get a chance it is a great show.


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: Folkie101
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 03:27 PM

The other day on PBS, they showed a clip of John at the Sydney Opera House after a concert (in 1978.) He was in the audience section (no audience present), talking about the comfort of his guitar. He then sat and played "My Old Guitar". It was a moving performance (fine fingerpicking too.)

P.S.
Seamus,
Your John Denver story warmed my heart and made my day!

Merry Holiday,
Folkie


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Subject: RE: Review: John Denver On the PBS Nature series
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:40 AM

Has anybody recorded the John and Seamus duet? What a treasure it would be if a copy of it exists somewhere!


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