Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine

DigiTrad:
HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE
SHORTY GEORGE
SHORTY GEORGE 2


Related threads:
Chords Req: He Was a Friend of Mine (Dave Van Ronk (27)
Tune Req: He Was A Friend Of Mine (8)


Johnhenry'shammer 16 Dec 06 - 01:18 AM
Peace 16 Dec 06 - 01:28 AM
GUEST 16 Dec 06 - 01:39 AM
Johnhenry'shammer 16 Dec 06 - 01:40 AM
Peace 16 Dec 06 - 01:46 AM
Johnhenry'shammer 18 Dec 06 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,Julieann 21 Dec 06 - 08:39 PM
pdq 21 Dec 06 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 22 Dec 06 - 02:54 PM
Johnhenry'shammer 22 Dec 06 - 05:44 PM
Johnhenry'shammer 22 Dec 06 - 05:51 PM
pdq 22 Dec 06 - 06:27 PM
Amos 22 Dec 06 - 06:32 PM
Joe Offer 22 Dec 06 - 06:58 PM
pdq 22 Dec 06 - 07:31 PM
pdq 22 Dec 06 - 07:38 PM
pdq 22 Dec 06 - 09:02 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 22 Dec 06 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 22 Dec 06 - 09:20 PM
pdq 22 Dec 06 - 09:56 PM
C. Ham 23 Dec 06 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,Julieann 26 Dec 06 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,Julieann 26 Dec 06 - 03:22 AM
Joe_F 26 Dec 06 - 08:18 PM
lefthanded guitar 19 Oct 07 - 01:48 PM
Seamus Kennedy 19 Oct 07 - 02:08 PM
Barry Finn 20 Oct 07 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Oct 07 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Dexter Payne 24 Jan 10 - 07:35 AM
Mark Ross 24 Jan 10 - 12:31 PM
Don Firth 24 Jan 10 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Gerry 24 Jan 10 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,nietzsche66 10 Mar 10 - 01:56 AM
GUEST 15 Apr 15 - 03:44 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 01:18 AM

The origins to this song are very disputed and I just realized that there's no thread to discuss them. The story I've heard is that this was a Dylan song that he would perform at the Gaslight in the early 60's. Van Ronk, emcee at the Gaslight at the time, heard it and liked it and then recorded it making it the first Bob Dylan song to ever be commercially recorded. I've heard a few other stories and I was wondering what you all had to say...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Peace
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 01:28 AM

DYLAN SONGS COVERED BY DAVE VAN RONK:
"He Was a Friend of Mine"
(Bob Dylan rewriting of traditional song)
(on Dave's first Prestige album, 1962)

NEW INFO RE "He Was a Friend of Mine", Aug 13, 1996.
"All Over You"
(as "If I Had To Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You") (with The Red Onion Jazz Band, "In The Tradition", Prestige 7800, 1963)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sadiejane@folly.org kindly allowed me to include the following info, Aug 13, 1996:
DAVE VAN RONK at Club (47) Passim 8/10/96 DYLAN CONTENT
I caught Dave van Ronk in Harvard Square tonight. Nice little show (short) but sweet. He told two Dylan stories. The first was really about Noel (Paul) Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) who was at that time performing his own brand of standup comedy in the local clubs with Dylan, Van Ronk et al. He was famous for his imitations of the Indiana 500 and a toilet flushing which he would execute with the help of a microphone. He also liked to do an imitation of Charlie Chaplin with the help of a hat and cane and apparently, BOB DYLAN's jacket. Dave went on to say that they got pretty tired of this Charlie Chaplin routine and ambushed him one night with a lemon meringue pie.
The best story of the night came as an introduction to "He Was A Friend Of Mine." First he explained, "I learned this song from Eric von Schmidt, who learned it from DYLAN, who learned it from ME" and then went on to say that each had added and changed the song to suit his own inclination until really neither of them could make claim to it's original authorship.

"About 20 years ago," he said, "we finally all got together to try to figure out where the song started," Dave, Bob, Eric and a bottle of rum. Half way through the bottle they came to a vote to split the royalties for the song three ways. "It was a democratic vote... two to one"

On his 1995 CD release, "Dave Van Ronk, From Another Time And Place" he credits two tracks to Dylan: "The Old Man" and "He Was A Friend Of Mine."

Delia ain't dead, but all the friends she ever had are gone...

That is from here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 01:39 AM

He says the vote was two to one...I wonder who the dissenter was. Thank's for that Peace. Very interesting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 01:40 AM

That was me by the way. Sorry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Peace
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 01:46 AM

Welcome, buddy. However, the remark about it being 'traditional' makes me then wonder from whence it came before those three guys.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 02:19 AM

refresh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Julieann
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 08:39 PM

Who was the song written about?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: pdq
Date: 21 Dec 06 - 08:53 PM

There is a rumor that Hoyt Axton brought this song into the folk circles, and Dylan stole it. Also rumored that Dylan paid Hoyt off quietly, just as he did Paul Clayton and others for songs he swiped.

Hoyt's version has "he died on the Gila Bend run" which suggests either the man was a rider for the US mail or the Pony Express, or that he was delivering something illegal such as guns or moonshine.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 02:54 PM

...only a hobo but one more is gone...

And then there was the old folk song about "Shorty George"----a sadistic prison/chain gang straw boss.

"Shorty George, he ain't no friend o' mine"

Art


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 05:44 PM

All of the "thieving Dylan" rumors really tick me off. None of them seem to have any real facts or evidence behind them. Like this one for example, Dylan never recorded "He Was a Friend of Mine" so it would be totally pointless for him to go through the trouble of paying off some guy that he stole the song from. I think that these Dylan rumors are esentially the same as the claim that Shakespeare didn't exist in that people find it hard to believe that two seemingly average people could write so well so stories are created to make these figures more believable. That's just my take on it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Johnhenry'shammer
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 05:51 PM

Correction: Bob Dylan did record the song during the sessions for his first album but it didn't make the cut. This version was released in 1991 on "The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3." Dylan is only given an arranger's credit. All signs point to this being a traditional song. The question then becomes, how did Dylan learn it?

Some more info from Wikipedia:
"He Was a Friend of Mine is a traditional folk song in which the singer laments the death of a friend. It has been recorded by Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Cat Power, Dave Van Ronk, Mercury Rev and Willie Nelson. The version recorded by Willie Nelson was used in the film Brokeback Mountain and is credited to Dylan, who arranged an early version of the tune in 1962"

"In the Byrds' version, John F. Kennedy was the friend whose death was lamented. The melody is changed considerably and Roger McGuinn takes a songwriter's credit."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: pdq
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 06:27 PM

Dave Van Ronk, who was an established perfomer at the time, recorded "He Was A Friend Of Mine" in the April 1962 sessions that produced "Folksinger", the album that Dave is most remembered for. Dylan recorded the song about one month earlier but did not choose to release it. Dylan took writer credit for Van Ronk's version, giving him some of his first royalties. He was one of many starving wannabes at the time and needed the money to live. Nobody knew he would become the most important songwriter in the last half of the 20th Century, but he did.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Amos
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 06:32 PM

I knew this song as early as '62, from ordinary folkie friends of no renown, so it was already sweeping that demographic, anyway. I intuit from its tone and its semantics that it is not a traditional song, and probably dates no earlier than the 50's. Tell ya the truth it sounds to me like Tom Paxton's work, but that could be just my imagination.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 06:58 PM

For the record, here's what's in the Traditional Ballad Index:

He Was a Friend of Mine

DESCRIPTION: "He was a friend of mine (x2), Never had no money to pay his fine..." "He died on the road, Never had no money to pay for his board." "He never done no wrong, He was just a poor boy a long way from home." "I stole away and cried...."
AUTHOR: reportedly Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Eric Von Schmidt
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 (recording, Bob Dylan)
KEYWORDS: rambling friend death
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Silber-FSWB, p. 60, "He Was A Friend of Mine" (1 text)
DT, FRNDMINE

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Shorty George"
Notes: In 1964 Roger McGuinn rewrote the song as a tribute to the recently assassinated President Kennedy. - PJS
File: FSWB060

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2006 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The version in the Digital Tradition is an exact transcription of the lyrics in Silber & Silber's Folksonger's Wordbook.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: pdq
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 07:31 PM

The Grateful Dead used to do this song until the mid 1970s.

Here is what they say (subject to the vagaries of time and mind):

Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt, Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt, 1961
Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger, Dave Van Ronk, 1963
The Folk Blues Of Eric Von Schmidt, Eric Von Schmidt, 1963
Turn! Turn! Turn!, The Byrds, 1965
Hey Joe, Leaves, 1966
Fred Pike, Bill Rawlings and the Twin River Boys, 1967
Inside Dave Van Ronk, Dave Van Ronk, 1969
Ain't Nothing But the Blues, Judy Roderick, 196?
Best of the Byrds: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, The Byrds, 1972
Return Of, The Byrds, 1976
Play It Like It Is, The Country Gentlemen, 197?
The Byrds Box Set, The Byrds, 1990
Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3, Bob Dylan, 1991
20 Essential Tracks from the Byrds Box Set (1965-1990), The Byrds, 1992
Monterey International Pop Festival Box Set, Various Artists (Byrds), 1992
Friend Of Mine, Bill Morrisey, 1993
Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom, 1950-1970, Various Artists (Dave Van Ronk), 2001


Recorded by Dylan, on Nov 11, 1961, for his first album but not used until issued on the Bootleg Series in 1991. Dylan has said that he adapted it from a song he learnt from Blind Arvella Gray, a Chicago street singer.

Roger McGuinn used the Dylan arrangement but rewrote the lyrics for the Byrds version. Writing credits are sometimes given on recordings to Bob Dylan or Roger McGuinn.
It should be noted that there is substantial variation between some of these versions of the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: pdq
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 07:38 PM

There is a nice guitar tab (plus lyrics) right

                                                                              here



Note who is still getting 100% credit. (hint: think Zimmerman)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: pdq
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 09:02 PM

From liner notes from Country Gentlemen album. They did not record the song until MAR 1969, but this is what they have to say:



Leading off the album was a folk sounding selection called He Was A Friend Of Mine. Eddie Adcock recalled that the tune was not too popular with the band. "Duffey cussed He Was A Friend Of Mine. Charlie hated every inch of it...he probably still hates it. He may have got to like it because we got to clowning it up towards the end. John used to sing like Joan Baez on it, [he] would pretend he was throwing his hair back like Baez used to do. Charlie was mocking Bob Dylan. It sounded awful." John Duffey however characterized it as "one of my favorites". Charlie Waller couldn't recall the source for the song but remembered that it was one that they were doing.

The band was rather vague about the source, citing it as "an old PD thing." In his liner notes to "Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 Rare & Unreleased 1961-1991," John Bauldie wrote the following account of the song: "He Was A Friend of Mine was recorded for, but not used on, Dylan's first Columbia LP, "Bob Dylan". When he was interviewed for the liner notes to the record, Dylan [said] that he'd adapted it from a song he'd learned from a Chicago street singer named Blind Arvella Gray.

"The source for He Was A Friend Of Mine is a traditional Southern prison song entitled "Shorty George," which had been recorded by Leadbelly in 1935 and by several penitentiary singers for the Library Of Congress archive recordings. It was from those Library If Congress recordings that Eric Von Schmidt, who remembers playing his adaptation for Dylan in the early sixties, learned the song. Von Schmidt told Dylan's biographer Anthony Scaduto about Bob's reaction when he first played him the song: "He was very impressed by tht concept of being able to take the black expression in that kind of song and being able to sing it. He wasn't at that time quite able to handle material that related to the blues, and he was still feeling around for a way to do that.'

"Dylan admitted as much in the sleevenotes to "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan": 'I don't carry myself yet the way that Big Joe Williams, Leadbelly, and Lightnin' Hopkins have carried themselves. I hope to be able to someday, but they're older people...'

"But by the time Dylan made this recording, his feel was much more certain, probably as result of having performed the song many times in the New York City clubs in the weeks before the recording sessions. Early in 1962, Dylan was to claim composer/arranger credits on the song, and his version was in turn adopted as standard by other Village folk singers including Dave Van Ronk, who included his own version of it on his 1963 LP, "Dave Von Ronk, Folksinger." Eric Von Schmidt also recorded the song, on his first LP, also from 1963, "The Folk Blues Of Eric Von Schmidt," a copy of which may be seen among the assorted bric-a-brac on the sleeve of Bob Dylan's 1965 album, "Bringing It All Back Home"."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 09:04 PM

Folks, as I said several posts ago, as far as I can see, as I've always said when introducing this song: IT IS THE SONG "SHORTY GEORGE" THAT IS THE ORIGIN OF "HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE"

Shorty George was the engineer of the train that brought women to the county farm for conjugal visits. He also took them away again. And that is why the song said:

Shorty George, he ain't no friend of mine,
Shorty George, he ain't no friend of mine,
Taken all the women and leave the men behind.

This was sung by IRON HEAD BAKER for Alan Lomax--1933

Art Thieme


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 09:20 PM

I took photos of Blind Arvella Gray singing on the street (Grand Ave. and State Street) in Chicago about 1966 or '67. They can be viewed at my 40 years of folk scene photos website at:

http://rudegnu.com/art_thieme.html

I can't imagine Dylan learning that song from Arvella. Maybe the other way around.

On the folk scene of the 1960s, this was ALWAYS Dave Van Ronk's song ----- and his alone. It was from Dave that we all learned it. Dylan was no part of that that I could attest to.

Art Thieme


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: pdq
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 09:56 PM

Here is the track list from the Rolf Cahn / Eric Von Schmidt Folkways record. Released in 1961, before Dylan ever heard the song:


Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt

"Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt"

Folkways Records - FW02417 1961


1  Grizzly Bear        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
2  Lazarus        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
3  Columbus Stockade        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
4  Buddy Bolden Blues        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
5  You Got to Hurry        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
6  2:19 Blues        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
7  Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
8  Wasn't That a Mighty Storm        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
9  Frankie and Albert        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
10  Who's That Yonder        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
11  Make Me a Pallet        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt
12  He Was a Friend of Mine        Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: C. Ham
Date: 23 Dec 06 - 03:43 PM

On the folk scene of the 1960s, this was ALWAYS Dave Van Ronk's song ----- and his alone. It was from Dave that we all learned it. Dylan was no part of that that I could attest to.

I've talked to Dave Van Ronk about "He was a Friend of Mine." Dave said that "Shorty George" was the source and that he, Von Schmidt and Dylan, who were all friends with each other, all contributed to the adaptation. They didn't sit down together to come up with the arrangement, it just evolved as they passed it around over a period of time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Julieann
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 03:08 AM

C. Ham wrote:
I've talked to Dave Van Ronk about "He was a Friend of Mine." Dave said that "Shorty George" was the source and that he, Von Schmidt and Dylan, who were all friends with each other, all contributed to the adaptation. They didn't sit down together to come up with the arrangement, it just evolved as they passed it around over a period of time.

Julieann writes: Has Dylan ever said anything about it? I mean the song and where it came from? Or what the thoughts were when adapting it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Julieann
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 03:22 AM

Johnhenry'shammer wrote:

All of the "thieving Dylan" rumors really tick me off. None of them seem to have any real facts or evidence behind them.

Julieann writes:
Didn't Scorsese refer to Dylan's earlier days in No Direction Home and talk about record albums? He said that Dylan "took" albums from friends. That some of his friends confronted him about it and he claimed to be borrowing them.

That might be where people got stories about thieving Dylan.

That was my take on that part of the film. Maybe I heard it wrong.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Joe_F
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 08:18 PM

I have not heard "Shorty George" for many years. However, the melody I remember for it is nothing like that of "He Was a Friend of Mine".

Also, my recollection is that Shorty George was the name of the train, not the engineer. But, once again, it's been a long time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Req: He Was A Friend of Mine
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 01:48 PM

I have googled several versions of this song,am wanting to perform it again.

The one I think I like the best is the Eric Von Schmidt/Dylan verson; though I don't feel the fourth verse 'sits well' with the rest of the song -where the narrator says he (meaning the narrator)" never had enough money and can't be satisfied." For some reason that seems to 'clash' in my mind with the lost friend he's describing. Unless google did a little 'folk processing' on that verse.

I think there is a Mark Spolestra and even Nancy Griffith version but not sure which I should be doing.

Is there one versionn of this song that is considered to the 'definitive' version?


thanks


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He Was A Friend of Mine
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 02:08 PM

I liked the Dian James/Greenbriar Boys version.

Seamus


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 12:12 AM

Shorty George, version 22-D from Bruce Jackson's Wake Up Dead Man. Recorded from David Tippen & Ebbie Veassley & group, Wynne Prison, Texas Dept of Corrections, July 1965. Jackson also recorded 3 other versions at Ramsey Prison (Texas) 1 from Louis "Bacon & Porkchop" Houston August 1965, & 2 from Matt Williams, Jesse "GI Jazz" Hendricks & Louis Houston July 1964

Shorty George (cotton & cane song)

Well it's Shorty George,
Ch: He died on the road (repeat both lines)
And how
Refrain: He died, it don't nobody know


Well some give a nickle
Ch: Some give a lousy dime (repeat both lines)
I would
Refrain: Give a quater, he ain't no friend of mine

If you see Roberta
Ch: Please tell her for me(repeat both lines)
Refrain: I got life on the river, I never will go free.

Jackson also gives a conversation with Johnny Jackson (p.119) about Shorty George. JJ says that Shorty George was a train with 3 cars that passed every day at exactly 3:35, says that the 1st day he was digging trenches everybody hollered "Whup", scared me, I said what's happening Somebody told me Shorty George just passed. I said "who's Shorty George? Where is he at"? They said they was talking about this little train just passing. I said "why they keep up with Shorty George"? He said "they know when Shorty George pass it's 3:35" Same thing every day at the same time. We'd be digging ditches & suddenly everybody's hollering, "Whup!" I'd say "what's wrong with'em, man?" Hw say, "ohg, shorty George just passed. Bosslook at his watch & say "3:35. Shorty George".

Others colected versions of SG including A Lomax back in 36 & 39 at least 1 of those from Leadbelly, J Lomax from James "Iron Head" Baker at Central Prison (Texas) in 33, Ruby & J Lomax from Smith Carson at Clemens Prison (Texas) in 39

The other 3 Bruce Jackson versions all start with the same 2 stanzas

Oh, well it's Shorty George
He wasn't no friend of mine (2x)
Oh, well it's Shorty George, he wasn't no friend of mine
Well he's taken all the women
And left the men behind (2x)

Oh, some give a nickle
And some give a lousy dime (2x)
Oh, some give a nickle and some give a lousy dime
I would give a quater
But he wasn't no friend of mine.

Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 12:29 PM

Here's a thought.

step 1. Sing 'He was a friend of mine.'
step 2. Sing 'Tumbling tumbleweeds.'

Are they the same tune? No. Are they a lot alike? Yes. Did one inspire the other? I think so.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Dexter Payne
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 07:35 AM

Judy Roderick's recording of "He Was a Friend of Mine3" on Vanguard album "Woman Blue" was released in 1965-66. Remastered by Vanguard and re-issued on CD in 93 after her death.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Mark Ross
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 12:31 PM

Dexter, good to see you here. If you become a member of the 'Cat you can PM me. Hope to talk to you soon.

Mark Ross


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:25 PM

The first time I heard the song was in a Seattle coffeehouse ("The Place Next Door") in late 1961 or early 1962. It was sung by a former guitar student of mine named Paul Gillingham. He and a fellow from Boston (whose name I can't recall) were singing together and they did it as a duet. Terrific rendition! I asked them where they had learned it, and they said they'd got it from the Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt recording.

Not that this necessarily means anything, but we hadn't even heard of Bob Dylan by then.

Doesn't Dave Van Ronk say something about this is The Mayor of MacDougal Street?

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 09:50 PM

He Was a Friend of Mine is on the Mitchell Trio album, Alive. YouTube has a recording. John Denver takes charge.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST,nietzsche66
Date: 10 Mar 10 - 01:56 AM

traditional folk song, who cares who did it first, though it definately was not ronk or dylan. just like house of the..... " most of those folk songs can be traced back to like pre-industrial revolution times. they just get manipulated over time, thats Folk!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: He Was a Friend of Mine
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 03:44 PM

"Shorty George... Recorded from David Tippen &" Tippen was reportedly born in 1895, Iron Head Baker reportedly in about 1870, Leadbelly in the late 1880s. Who were the other earliest-born people who knew "Shorty George"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 August 3:33 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.