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Bob Coltman

DigiTrad:
BEFORE THEY CLOSE THE MINSTREL SHOW
CAPTAIN HANLEY AND SWEET MAZIE
DEATH OF JOHN KENNEDY
DEVIL IN THE GARDEN
HONEST FARMER or BOLL WEEVIL
KISSING SONG
LONESOME ROBIN
PATRICK SPENCER
RED RANSOM
VALLEY FORGE
VANDY VANDY
WEAVER BIRD
WISH TO THE LORD I'D NEVER BEEN BORN


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Lonesome Robin (16)
Songs of Bob Coltman (23)
Lyr Add: Bob Coltman's Son of Child songs (23)
Bob Coltman CD: Lonesome Robin (15)
Bob ColtmanCD: Before They Close the Minstrel Show (21)
Lyr Req: Web of Birdsong (Bob Coltman) (43)
Seeking Bob Coltman (6)
Lyr Req: Before They Close the Minstrel Show (12)
Lyr Req: Middle Class Life the Best of All (24)
Req: The Last Minstrel Show by Bob Coltman (18)
Lyr Add: Valley Forge (Bob Coltman) (8)
Lyr Req: Web of Birdsong (4) (closed)
Lyr Req: Web of Birdsong (Bob Coltman) (2) (closed)
What song is this? (Close the Minstrel Show) (16)


kendall 01 Feb 05 - 09:36 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 01 Feb 05 - 09:53 PM
kendall 02 Feb 05 - 02:50 PM
KathWestra 02 Feb 05 - 03:01 PM
Barbara 02 Feb 05 - 04:37 PM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 05 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Bill the Collie 03 Feb 05 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Nina Nana 03 Feb 05 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Schoolmaster 03 Feb 05 - 09:58 AM
Bill D 03 Feb 05 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 03 Feb 05 - 02:50 PM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 05 - 03:21 PM
Jeri 03 Feb 05 - 06:06 PM
KathWestra 03 Feb 05 - 08:19 PM
jacqui.c 03 Feb 05 - 09:38 PM
jacqui.c 03 Feb 05 - 09:39 PM
Charley Noble 04 Feb 05 - 08:37 AM
Dreaded Thumbpick 06 Feb 05 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Feb 05 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,curmudgeon 07 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM
Barbara 07 Feb 05 - 09:25 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 08 Feb 05 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,Nina Nana 10 Feb 05 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 10 Feb 05 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 11 Feb 05 - 02:42 PM
Stewie 11 Feb 05 - 08:35 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 11 Feb 05 - 09:32 PM
Stewie 11 Feb 05 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 12 Feb 05 - 12:00 AM
Stewie 12 Feb 05 - 12:49 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 12 Feb 05 - 10:03 AM
GUEST 19 Jul 09 - 05:03 PM
kendall 19 Jul 09 - 07:19 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Jul 09 - 09:22 AM
Celtaddict 20 Jul 09 - 10:37 AM
Art Thieme 20 Jul 09 - 10:51 AM
dick greenhaus 20 Jul 09 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Andy Cooper 30 Mar 14 - 02:28 PM
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Subject: Bob Coltman
From: kendall
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:36 PM

Is the real Bob Coltman among us?


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:53 PM

Yeah, Kendall. I was kinda bowled over when he said hello to me... haven't heard from him in many years..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: kendall
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:50 PM

He is one of my very favorite song writers.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: KathWestra
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 03:01 PM

Hi Bob. Welcome! Your Child ballad rewrites, "Lonesome Robin," and your long-ago vinyl LP remain way up there on my favorites list! I will be in touch with you very soon to find out about permissions/royalties for "Lonesome Robin," which Helen Schneyer sang in a concert that is being made into a CD. What a song! (and I'll need to know where to send you a copy too).
Best, Kathy (formerly Hickerson) Westra


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Barbara
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 04:37 PM

Bob, if you actually joined Mudcat (no charge) you could swap personal messages here with all of us. I understand you have a recording out (and available?) that has Lonesome Robin on it, and some of your other songs that I have been trying to locate tunes to for years.
Would love to have a list and/or discography of where your songs can be found.
Welcome to Mudcat, and greetings from the left coast.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 08:43 AM

Indeed, a fine song writer!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Bill the Collie
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:47 AM

Hail Bob the Coltman!


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Nina Nana
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:52 AM

All hail Bob the Coalman.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Schoolmaster
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:58 AM

Wanna hear a dirty joke?

Jock the coal man!


The first joke I remember from childhood

(needs to be told with Glesga accent - sorry).


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 11:01 AM

??? first some serious inquiries, then 3 off-the-wall bits of silliness. Strange.........


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 02:50 PM

Hi gang from the Coalman...I've been called worse. Hopeless Copeless was my name in early gradeschool... Hello Kendall and Jerry, long time no see.

Hi Kath, here's the info:

bcoltman@mdc.net

PO Box 4085 Chelmsford MA 01824

And many thanks for the nice words you guys. Rather a shock to find myself the subject of a thread...I keep thinking I'm so durn obscure.

As to where my records can be found, I have no clue. If there is a recording, CD or otherwise, available now, no one has informed me of it. My LPs for Minstrel, still less the early stuff, is long OP.

Discography (all from the 60s-70s):
Numerous singles on Fonotone (some of these may still be available from Joe Bussard, 6610 Cherry Hill Dr. Frederick MD 21702)
Jolly Joe's Jug Band   Piedmont (from Fonotone singles)
West Maryland Highballers Biograph (from Fonotone singles)
Lonesome Robin   Minstrel
Before They Close the Minstrel Show   Minstrel
Son of Child   Minstrel

Once again, the stuff hasn't been in print for 20+ years and I personally know of no way to get any of these, except possibly from Joe Bussard as above. Write him and ask for a current catalog of his Bob Coltman stuff and see if he has any.

Hope that helps...Bob


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 03:21 PM

Thanks for responding, Bob.

Charley Noble, aka Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:06 PM

A couple of years ago, Rick Fielding gave me your phone number, and said, "Call him! You gotta get your hands on "Son of Child!" At one point, I got the courage to try (I would have blamed me on Rick), but your line was busy. Then I went back to being a chicken. I write a bit, and Rick had a very high opinion of your songs. Me too, but I've only ever heard three of 'em!


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: KathWestra
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 08:19 PM

Hey Bob,
Thanks for checking in. Look for an e-mail from me! And thanks for the discography. I think Jerry Epstein still has some of the Minstrel inventory (vinyl) kicking around somewhere. I have all of them, but Jeri and others might want to check with Jerry E. Jeri, find yourself "Son of Child." It's a masterpiece.
Kathy


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: jacqui.c
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:38 PM

Bob, I first met you at our friend, Bill Bonyons 80th birthday at his place in Westport Island Maine. Then we were on the same bill somewhere (they all run together after all these years) and I lost track of you. I'm very pleased that you have surfaced here, and I hope you will stick around.Everytime I go through Chelmsford Ma. I almost stop and call you, but I'm usually in a hurry to get somewhere, and, well...
You know you are more than welcome to stop in here anytime, don't you?
If I ever get my voice back I want to record Minstrel Show and Lonesome Robin. You wont get rich on the royalties, but there will be some!


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: jacqui.c
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:39 PM

That was not Jacqui, it was I, Kendall. She has been on my confuser again.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 08:37 AM

Kendall-

I was also there at Bill Bonyun's birthday party and remember it well. In addition to Bob Coltman there were members of the Puleston family from Brookhaven, Long Island, from whom I learned a large number of bawdy drinking songs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Dreaded Thumbpick
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 09:04 PM

Oh Cripes! If they'll let Bob contribute to these threads, they'll let anyone.

I keep meaning to call and drop by when I go to Phoenix, but I hardly ever go to Phoenix. Or Boston either. I miss you, I miss your music but most of all I miss Amba Lee. I hope you're both well.

Wally


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 05:23 PM

Wally, I didn't know they were still letting you out of solitary for an occasional email.

Amba Lee wants Berta to know she (and I) still howl over Berta's Incredible Magic Show. The best entertainment on the coast. Any coast. Amba Lee says she has "mastered" two of the tricks, but she won't tell me which ones. Ah, vimmens. Ah mens.

Toodle oo

Bob


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,curmudgeon
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM

Good to see you here Bob. I first encountered your name and songwriting talents some forty-odd years back when I was in college. There a younger singer from Jackson Hole, Charlie Love by name,taught me the "Web of Birdsong." I've been meaning to re-learn it for the past thirty years, but haven't been able to place my hands on the bit of paper its written on.

Keep on posting; you're a welcome breath of fresh air here -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Barbara
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 09:25 PM

Tom, it's here in the digital tradition database. Just put some of the words in the search engine, upper left, and you will have it again.
Did you do a search here, Bob, and see what of yours lives here?
0.8169 - LONESOME ROBIN
0.8169 - CAPTAIN HANLEY AND SWEET MAZIE
0.8169 - BEFORE THEY CLOSE THE MINSTREL SHOW
0.7967 - WEAVER BIRD
0.7967 - VALLEY FORGE
0.7967 - RED RANSOM
0.7967 - PATRICK SPENCER
0.7742 - WHAT KIND OF SHOES YOU GWINE TO WEAR
0.7742 - WISH TO THE LORD I'D NEVER BEEN BORN
0.7742 - KISSING SONG
0.7742 - HONEST FARMER or BOLL WEEVIL
0.7742 - DEATH OF JOHN KENNEDY
And I lied. Web of Birdsong is not in the database, but you can find the words here: Web of Birdsong in the forum.
Also, I've been told you wrote "Middle Class Life (is the best life of all)". Is that true?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 07:38 PM

Barbara: True. I did write "The Middle Class Life is the Best of All." For quite a while I pursued a crooked trail writing some fairly cockeyed folksongs for suburbia; that was one of the early ones.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Nina Nana
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 09:27 AM

You write The Coalminers Daughter, oldtimer?


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 08:15 PM

Bob,

I just heard the original old-timey version of "Wish To The Lord I'd Never Been Born" or whatever it's called. You did it great, yes, but a stranger lyric I've rarely heard. Simply just plain bizarre juxtopositioning of beautifully bizarre images and phrases that seem like they ought never to've logically been put next to each other.

Just a great lyric. But what do you make of it -- and take it to be saying???

Art


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 02:42 PM

Art,

   Maybe the best way to start off is to admit that, just because I put it on a record, that doesn't mean I understand it! (Dire folkie confession there. We're all supposed to be such good scholars of at least our own stuff.) Notably, I cannot be sure I've got all the words right. For instance, White Oak mountain might be some other soundalike mountain, etc. etc.

   As to elucidating the song, I feel pretty daunted. But here's how I see it (and, in places, can't quite see it), based on the Charley LaPrade/Blue Ridge Highballers version, sung by band member Luther B. Clarke.

The first verse, I take it, is clear, though I'll talk about it in a future post if you like.

2ND VERSE:

Wisht I'd never been a co-op, or listened to T.H. Wilson,
I'd be ridin' in a four-horse dray, and a-payin' my bills and a-whistlin'.

My take on this: the singer is participant and victim in one of the south's various cooperative farming/haying/milking/etc. schemes, whereby, inevitably, the big man (presumably T.H. Wilson) gets the money and the farmer gets screwed. The dray is an open question: it's usually understood as a one-horse two-wheel cart, specifically for carrying stuff. It can also be understood as a heavier four-wheel wagon such as a draft (work) horse or ox might pull. But Clarke seems to be using it in the sense of a wealthy man's four-horse carriage, two ranks of two horses abreast. Could "dray" mean that, locally? Not impossible, I guess. Sounds unlikely, though.

3RD VERSE:

Never sow on an open floor, you just wait till fall,
I'm agonna drive in Delaware, I can hear Sam Robinson call.

This is a tough one. To sow on an open floor makes no obvious sense, and I've worked on farms. But if you let seed fall on a threshing floor belonging to the owner, maybe you don't get your seed back for spring planting. The rest of the verse is clear enough, I guess. From the Charley LaPrade/Luther B. Clarke/Blue Ridge Highballers stamping grounds (Martinsville and Danville, VA, Spray NC of Charlie Poole fame) to Delaware sounds like a long shot, but it wasn't. In the 40s as a kid I worked with an itinerant farmer from North Carolina who'd plunked himself down in the east Pennsylvania corn country, not to stay, just to make a few of those northern dollars for a few years and go back home again. Don't know who Sam Robinson was, but if he was a Delaware farm owner hiring itinerants, that would work.

3RD VERSE

I want to hear Sam Robinson say, I'll drive in the White Oak mountain,
You've been a durn fool long enough, you can drink right at this fountain.

There's a tiny community in PA called White Oak...only place by that name in my atlas, though with time on the internet I might be able to scare up a White Oak Mountain someplace else. The last half of the verse I have always taken to be addressed to a horse (a Virginia horse being driven in the White Oak Mountain no doubt, and thus in strange territory) who's balking at water--lots of horses do, for reasons of their own--telling him to drink the durn stuff.

4TH VERSE

Henry Payne carries the mail, sometimes drives a mule,
Ain't got time to cuss no more, he's busy in that pool.

All but the last half line seems clear enough, though why any of these, as you say, bizarre jagged images turn up in this rather expressionistic/surrealistic song is anybody's guess. "He's busy in that pool" sounds like (a) a garble, or (b) maybe we're still talking about that horse standing in the water refusing to drink? Your guess is as good as mine.

Summing up, this is one of those intensely vision-laden songs I love, that just entangle you deep in the brush and mire and dust and deep woods of somebody's intensely felt locality. Another is Obray Ramsey's wonderful "Jim Gunter and the Steer." They tend to be intensely local, with references to individuals nobody ever heard of who were locally known at the time. Luther B. Clarke and fiddler Charley LaPrade are dead, I'm pretty sure, and perhaps no one can now say who Henry Payne and T.H. Wilson were, or what Sam Robinson did to be such a deliverer figure.

Hope this is helpful...with the proviso that it's all guesswork. Surely this is one of the least straightforward songs I know.

Best wishes, Bob


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 08:35 PM

Kinney Rorrer's sleeve note to 'Blue Ridge Highballers' County 407 perhaps sheds some light:


Clarke sang on the remaining three sides. Clarke, who was blind, recorded two traditional mountain ballads, 'I'll Be All Smiles Tonight' and 'The Bright Sherman Valley' plus a composition of his own, 'Wish To The Lord I Had Never Been Born'. This last song was particularly interesting since it dealt with a local farm problem. Many tobacco farmers in the area had joined 'co-ops' in order to sell their tobacco directly to the tobacco companies without having to go through the middlemen at the locally-owned tobacco warehouse. The 'co-op' warehouse system was largely a failure by the mid-1920s. Clarke sang the song from the point of view of a farmer who had lost money through the 'co-ops' and was now regretting he had not sold his crop through the regular warehouse system. In the song, Clarke mentions several local people who were then involved in the 'co-op' controversy.



To my ears, the lyrics of the song differ in a number places from what is in the DT transcription. To decipher some of these old-time recordings, you need as many pairs of ears as possible. Here is where I hear differently:

Stanza I:

Wish to the lord I'd never been born
Died when I was a baby
Wouldn't been left to shed a tear
And eat so much old gravy


Stanza 2:

In this stanza, I cannot hear 'four horse dray', but what I do seem to hear makes no sense: 'I'd been ridin' in a four-day sale'.

Stanza 3:

In this stanza, I hear 'sold' rather than 'sow'. I cannot hear 'Delaware'; the word Clarke sings sounds like it starts with a 'V' - something like 'Vanaware House'. The final line, I hear as 'And hear ol' Sam Rob's call'.

Never sold on an open floor
You just wait till fall
I'm gonna drive in ? [Vanaware House]
And hear ol' Sam Rob's call

I hear the last 2 stanzas basically the same as in DT - 'long enough' rather than 'all your days' and 'he's busy' rather than 'I'm busy':

I want to hear Sam Robinson say
Drivin' to White Oak Mountain
You've been a durn fool long enough
You can drink right at this fountain

Henry Payne carries the mail
Sometimes rides a mule
Ain't got time to cuss no more
He's busy in that pool

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 09:32 PM

Stewie, Bob,

Now I'm not sure where I heard that "old-timey" version of the song. (My damn memory these days for recent stuff is simply shot.)

Stewie, I thought I got it from one of the fine compilations that you sent. This www really is a super way to be connected!!

I'm gonna go and find that now and give it another listen---then post what I'm hearing.

Bob, this Stewie fellow is a great man and collector of music half a world away over on the North-left coast of Australia.

Be back later.

Art


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 10:39 PM

Art, you did not get it from me. I have not transferred that one from the vinyl. I look forward to reading what you hear.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 12:00 AM

I cannot find it---but I know I have it. Everything is in boxes to move sometime in the near future we hope. But I will continue to search...

A.T.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Stewie
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 12:49 AM

In respect of the title line, John Lomax recorded Fields Ward in 1937 in Galax, Virginia, singing 'Long Lonesome Road' which has stanzas expressing similar sentiments to Clarke's opening stanza.

Oh, I wish to the Lord I had never been born,
Or died when I was a baby,
Or died when I was a baby

No, I wouldn't a been a eatin' this old cold corn bread
Soppin' in this salty gravy,
Soppin' in this salty gravy

This was recorded by NLCR on their 'Gone to the Country' album.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 10:03 AM

Just a note to say thanks, Stewie, your careful listening has given me a lot to think about. I need to go back and listen to my old copy one of these days when I'm not spinnin' on some other turntable... Bob


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 05:03 PM

Hi all,

Can anyone tell me if it's at all possible to find the tab for "Got to Get A little More" -It begins "All over this country, shore to shining shore." I think this would be a really fun song to learn this summer.

Best,

Christina


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: kendall
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 07:19 PM

Christina, is your Mother's name Ann?


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 09:22 AM

Just to keep things updated, Bob's three recordings on the Minstrel label--Lonesome Robin, Son of Child and Before They Close the Minstrel Show--re back in print and are available from CAMSCO Music. Damn fine stuff.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Celtaddict
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 10:37 AM

Hurrah! If you don't have them, GET them!!


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 10:51 AM

...and the Bob Coltman biography of folksinger and folk song collector PAUL CLAYTON is available now as well.

"PAUL CLAYTON and the Folksong Revival" is published by Scarecrow Press--and is available wherever good books are sold. Dick, does Camsco carry it?

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 03:17 PM

Art--
I sold the book at a discount when it first came out---but I can't normally stock books (too bulky, too much cash tied up.) If a few people want a copy, I can generally place a wholesale order to satisfy them, but I can't really just buy 1 or 2 copies.

I definitely stock the Clayton CD.


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Subject: RE: Bob Coltman
From: GUEST,Andy Cooper
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 02:28 PM

I used to sing "Lonesome Robin" for years, but as happens to many of us old folkies, lost track of some of the words. Looking it up on the Internet, I found a version sung by Luka Bloom in Ireland (and those who recorded his version on YouTube) with significantly different lyrics that got me a little hot under the collar. How do I put this delicately? Is Bob still around? I want to know whether the refrain is "Robin no more" or "Robbing no more". I always assumed it was the latter from what I heard on the original LP.


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