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Bill Crowfoot? / Bill Crofut-died about 1998/9

Night Owl 20 Mar 99 - 03:31 PM
Susan A-R 21 Mar 99 - 12:13 AM
Sandy Paton 21 Mar 99 - 01:26 AM
Night Owl 21 Mar 99 - 11:11 AM
Joe Offer 09 Jun 20 - 12:27 AM
CupOfTea 10 Jun 20 - 12:54 PM
CupOfTea 10 Jun 20 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Starship 12 Jun 20 - 09:26 PM
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Subject: Bill Crowfoot
From: Night Owl
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 03:31 PM

I'm searching for a source for Bill Crowfoot recordings, and am desperate to find the album with his version of "Grandfather's Clock". Tried the Database, Folk Legacy, music websites etc and come up empty. (I believe he had his own recording label.)


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Subject: RE: Bill Crowfoot
From: Susan A-R
Date: 21 Mar 99 - 12:13 AM

I'd like to figure that out as well. He came to our community when I was in highschool and performed the wackiest, most wonderful collection of songs. First time I ever heared "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm." Is he still alive/singing?? (Highschool was 23 years ago, so ya never know.)

Susan


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Subject: RE: Bill Crowfoot
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 21 Mar 99 - 01:26 AM

Bill Crofut died thispast year, I'm afraid. He was living just north of us in Massachusetts, but we'd only seen him once in recent years and had heard from him but a few times. He was still performing, often with Chris Brubeck, Dave Brubeck's son, and had made some recordings with a classical baritone whose name escapes me at the moment.

Go to one of the major search engines (I use Metacom) and type in "Bill Crofut" and you'll be presented with several sites to explore.

It has always bothered me a bit that, after they parted company, Steve Addis was never mentioned in any of Bill's publicity releases. One would read about Crofut doing the State Department tour 'way back when, but never say that he was performing as a duo then with Steve. Must have been a very unhappy situation when they stopped playing together. Anybody know the story?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Bill Crowfoot
From: Night Owl
Date: 21 Mar 99 - 11:11 AM

Sandy, boy am I glad you're here! I guess my computor thinks I should know how to spell names correctly. I had never seen Bill's name in print and always thought it was Crowfoot. I'm working with a patient who has had a dramatic positive response to his voice and apparently knows Grandfather's Clock. His version is slow enough for her to sing along with him. I'll try Metacom with the correct spelling this time! Sincere thanks from both of us.


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Subject: RE: Bill Crowfoot? / Bill Crofut-died about 1998/9
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jun 20 - 12:27 AM

Needs to have some updated information, especially about Addis and Crofut.


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Subject: RE: Bill Crowfoot? / Bill Crofut-died about 1998/9
From: CupOfTea
Date: 10 Jun 20 - 12:54 PM

Oh, but I adored Bill Crofut! He was a local guy, from Shaker Hts, the next suburb over. I had just recently been utterly frustrated at not being able to find video on YouTube that I KNOW I had previously watched, to show band mates a particular song.

I first heard of him in the early 1980s as part of a duo with Ben Luxon, a well regarded British operatic baritone, on WCLV's Saturday Night program (alot like Chicago's Midnight Special) where Bob Conrad played their first album Simple Gifts, which was then on the "Uncle Jack's" label. The songs on that album have sunk into the deepest part of my folk consciousness.

Some of what I remember is likely from introductory tales from Bob Conrad: They met when they were both singing lieder in Germany, and realized they knew songs that were a bit different on each side of the Atlantic, and delighted in exploring the differences. Their recordings, and performances, played on this ("Old mother Fipper-flopper..." "NO Old mother Slipper-slopper"). Also on WCLV were broadcasts of other concerts - some of the FOLKSTAGE from WFMT, not sure if the one I'm thinking of was that, or another recording, but in it Bill talked about learning banjo from Pete Seeger, and how he made up songs. "Coffee Creamer Blues" was a recitation of all the ingredients on a non dairy coffee creamer container that had caught his attention at an airport cafe. He also had a delight in putting poetry to music, and "In Just.." an e.e. cummings poem, was one he performed. It may have been the first time I heard "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" on a banjo - expanding the banjo's use was part of what he was about, too. Ben had a delight in Victorian nonsense, and did an absolutely charming period song "Are you there, Mr. Bear" about a small child's imaginary night frights.

A later Luxon/Crofut album came with audience singing, recorded, I believe at a Mennonite college. I was able to see them perform, with the larger ensemble, right at the start of 1986 or 87 in Orchestra Hall, Chicago. I'd driven back to DeKalb in the snow, from Cleveland, but heard about the show on the radio as I hit Chicago broadcast area. Went home, dropped off the dog, got dressed up, snagged my friend Robin, and drove back 2 hours to Chicago for one of my top 5 concerts, ever. "Two Gentlemen Folk" is how they got billed, but there were more than two - one was Chris Brubeck, whose family was close to Crofut. The song I'd been seeking was on a PBS "Two Gentlemen Folk" special, which had had the same backup musicians, and was much like the show I saw. In it was the most gut-wrenching version of "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye." Starts out with Bill drumming a tattoo on the banjo head, while Ben sings, with rising wrath and grief, and the banjo comes in, underlining it. By the time he gets to "You haven't an eye, you haven't a leg..." every. single. hair. on my body stood up. There are some recordings of the two of them left on You Tube - but that particular song is only available on a multiple artist video from Wolftrap.

About 15-20 years ago I came across a copy of "Troubador," (I THINK that's the title, but I lent it out to someone who never gave it back) Bill Crofut's account of the time he and Stephen Addiss performed through Asia, and in particular, Vietnam, as cultural ambassadors for the State department. Wish I had the book, it might have answer to Sandy's question. Also, I wonder if that period got downplayed because of lingering resentment about the Vietnam war - that's my wondering, without the book to hand I can't say for sure. I do think they performed for the troops as well.

A few years ago, after Bill's name came up in chat at church coffee hour, a woman allowed as how Bill had grown up next door to her, and would I like some of the things she was given over the years? Oh, yes, certainly! There were a couple CDs that weren't as folk-oriented as I'd wished. Some jazz experimentations with the Brubecks - I'll have to see if I can even find them. Then there was a lovely, beautifully illustrated (by Susan Crofut) songbook of the poems Bill had set to music: "The Moon on One Hand - poetry in song" that included the e.e. cummings poem cited above as well as Randall Jarrell's "The Chipmunk's Day" also included in that concert. Published in 1975, the back cover flap quotes from a review of a New York's Central Park Concert "taking a sabbatical from his usual association as part of the folk-music team of Addiss and Crofut..." Darius Brubeck on harpsichord was part of that concert, and the two guys he had creating the more involved arrangements, (2 & 3 parts) going for different styles, in the book, were very cognizant of the use of harpsichord for some pieces. One of the arrangers, Kenneth Cooper, was also part of a duo with Bill: "Folk & Baroque." Bill died way too early. Ben's singing career was tragically cut short by health problems, though he was still teaching, the last I heard (this may not be current info). Had I money enough and time, I'd see if a video of the PBS show was purchasable.

Joanne in Cleveland, now having to do some domestic archeology...


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Subject: RE: Bill Crowfoot? / Bill Crofut-died about 1998/9
From: CupOfTea
Date: 10 Jun 20 - 12:58 PM

PS. Wickipedia has some great information:
Bill Crofut bio


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Subject: RE: Bill Crowfoot? / Bill Crofut-died about 1998/9
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 12 Jun 20 - 09:26 PM

Much to be found on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE74F0hvulBxMsl_xuIda8Ua5A-TmQzar


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