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Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

02 Nov 00 - 07:18 PM (#333123)
Subject: Lawrence Hammond lyrics
From: Seth

Lawrence Hammond was a singer who played in the Bay area in the mid 70's. He made one album of great songs for Takoma "Coyote's Dream" He also was with a band called MAd River before that. I think that hedropped out of music completely, haven't heard anything by him in years, which is too bad. He's a great singe and wrote some wonderful stuff. I'm looking for the words to a song he wrote, but possibly never recorded "Take this Plane to Heaven" Anyone got a clue about the song or the artist?

Seth from China

02 Nov 00 - 08:48 PM (#333164)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lawrence Hammond lyrics
From: Dale Rose

Nope, got the Coyote's Dream, and listen to it every now and then ~~ great things there, including the original of his song, George Gudger's Overalls. Never heard of the song you are asking for, but I will keep a look out.

05 Feb 06 - 04:59 AM (#1661989)
Subject: Lyr Add: FLIGHT 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,lemondracer

^^FLIGHT 641
(Lawrence Hammond)

I been pilot for Ozark Airways
For nigh on 15 years.
I flew The Hump from Burma (1943)
On a rig that weren't much more than a prayer.

And once on a foam-covered runway
I set her down at the speed of fear.
Yeah, but the worst was an hour out of Cairo (Illinois)
When I felt cold steel next to my ear

    "Take this plane to heaven," cried the stranger with the gun.
    "My Mother's there in Glory. My banker's down below.
    My wife she took the mobile home,
    Split with my best friend.
    We're riding home to Jesus,
    Captain, set your course and go"

I sent the girls back into the cabin
To keep the good people calm.
With a voice I was sure would betray me
I told them, "Now, do not be alarmed.

"There has been a slight change in the flight plan.
And we'll go home the long way round.
But we're bound for a friendly country, I am certain.
Please stay in your seats until we're on the ground.

    "Take this plane to Heaven" cried the stranger with the gun.
    The little man was shiverin'. his eyes commenced to run.
    And then the plane she staggered like a hooker drunk on rum,
    And I cried, "Please subtract my sins, O Lord, when you add up the sum."

But the hand of Jesus held us.
So gently He set us down.
On a runway engraved with the Scriptures,
And the ground crew of angels swarmed around...

They found the wreck on the foggy hillside.
And alone I'd escaped the flames.
I woke up with my limbs all in traction
And the doctor was asking me my name.

    "Take this plane to heaven," the poor stranger cried to me.
    And I've since pondered how the Dove of God became a DC-3.
    And, Doctor, hallelujah! 'Though my flying days are done.
    I was hijacked to Jesus on Flight 641

Words & music copyright Lawrence Hammond

These are the correct words to this lost song. Was never recorded. LH left music, went off to Harvard Medical School, and practices in the Pacific Northwest. Songs got recorded by The Judds, Doc Watson, and Larry Sparks.

05 Feb 06 - 05:42 AM (#1662001)
Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heav
From: GUEST,Dale

Well thank you for that, lemondracer! I was surprised to see my name there when I opened the thread.   I certainly had forgotten about it.

I just checked and it would appear that Seth from China has not posted here since February of 01. It's possible that some here may know his e-mail and could let him know. I will check around. Others who read this thread may do the same.

Thanks again.

I posted his Legend Of the Pale-Eyed Companion back in 99.

05 Feb 06 - 06:49 AM (#1662022)
Subject: Lyr Add: SAN CARLOS (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,lemondracer

Here's another little-known Hammond saga that seems to belong together with Legend of the Pale-Eyed Companion.
(called San Carlos, or San Carlos Fiesta, I think it was written when he lived in New Mex (Silver City?)

(Lawrence Hammond)

Fall came early that year in the Sangre de Cristos.
The snow on the mountaintop gleamed in the moon cold and clear.
The 13th of August the sly full of geese heading homeward.
And the wolves ranged the lowlands stalking the young running deer.

In the corral that morning I was breaking the buckskin caballo.
The heat of his breath it smoked in the cold mountain air.
Consuela in the kitchen, baking bread for San Carlos Fiesta.
And in the sunlight by the doorway my little Carlito played there.

"Daddy, come quick! A big kitty, Que Gatito Grande!"
His little voice filled up with laughter as he called me once more.
Then a scream cut the hillside 'til the pinion nuts broke from the branches.
As the buckskin shied madly I raced down to my cabin door.

Consuela ran crying, her shawl streaming down the barranca.
The lion that took my Carlito, he crested the hill.
There he turned, there he dropped him and his snarl echoed round the montana.
He was gone in a heartbeat, but my treasure lay broken and still.

"How can a pine box so small hold so much of my sorrow?"
I asked Father Pedro as he stood by the grave next to me.
As he blessed the hard ground, oh Santa Maria, please forgive me.
His words were just babbling from somewhere far over the sea.

Consuela she lay in the darkness with eyes like the twilight
As I cleaned my old Springfield and polished the stock till it shone.
Not a word did she speak, but the old saddle groaned as I mounted.
She whispered his name in the dark as I rode of alone.

I picked up his trail on the hillside where the bloodstains were fading.
For 4 days and nights rode his track high above the snowline.
More than once I saw him, too far off, just watching me, waiting.
Till slowly his trail circled back to the scene of his crime.

On the 5th day at dawn on the hillside above my ranchita
I lifted my rifle and prayed that my aim would be true.
But in the gun sight his cold eyes they mocked,
"Man, why do you hunt me? For I've done no more Than the Lord made me able to do."

"Gato" I said, "There's no answer to what you have asked me.
But you took what was mine, and there's nothing but that you must die."
Then the sound of a shot, and the powder smoke billowed up past me.
I watched as the blood it drained slow from his cold laughing eye.

Consuela stood there not 10 paces from where he lay broken.
My old pistol in two hands it shook as she fired 5 more rounds.
But in my hands the rifle was cold. Not once had it spoken.
A faint little smile, and slowly she sank to the ground.

I carried her down the hill shivering that cold winter morning.
She carried her silence one year; spoke no more than a stone.
Till Fiesta San Carlos, in the bed a new man-child was born in,
She brushed back his forelock, and smiled as she named him...Leon!

Lyrics by Lawrence Hammond
There is another one that sounded musically southwest cowboy, called Nevada McCloud, don't have the words, though.

28 Feb 06 - 11:23 PM (#1681889)
Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,I saw him live

Lawrence Hammond was a very talented writer / singer. I saw him live in the late 60's / early 70's in San Francisco and he let us record this song on a reel to reel in a club one night. God knows where it is now. I am not surprised that he went on to become a physician. A very talented man.

28 Feb 06 - 11:24 PM (#1681891)
Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,correction

should be

15 Jan 08 - 12:28 AM (#2236699)
Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,Karl

This sure takes me back! My friends and I were Lawrence Hammond fans back in the mid 70s. When Lawrence Hammond and the Whiplash Band played at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, we were there. When their album, "Coyote's Dream", came out, my girlfriend bought a copy. Sadly, when we split, I had no copy! I've seen it on eBay, but never bid high enough.

In the later 70s, Lawrence left music, as Lemondracer says. At age 30, I found myself once again a student, at Merritt College in Oakland. At the first meeting of my Math class, I saw a vaguely familiar face. Turned out it was LH, also in his 30s and starting back to school, aiming at pre-med.

We developed a casual acquaintance, stopped and chatted when we ran into each other over the next few quarters, then both transferred to other colleges. I'm glad to hear he got his MD. Harvard, yet! Yes, a very talented guy who deserved a better reception in music.

15 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM (#2237373)
Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: Peace

coyotes dream - all music guide review

Not a very well known entity in the Takoma catalog, this LP is a solo outing by a singer, songwriter and picker who had previously been involved with a psychedelic country combo based originally out of Antioch, Mad River. The Ohio group predictably flowed its way onto the San Francisco scene during an era when hippies and more importantly hippie musicians embraced country and western.

The music of this cultural fusion was well documented and includes some famous masterpieces. Despite some obvious drawbacks, Coyote's Dream rates right up there with any great country rock moment, sometimes even surpassing the threshold with a track such as "Trucker's Nightmare", a superb, hard-edged ditty that doesn't appear to have ever been included on any of the numerous compilation sets devoted to songs about truckers.

Ignoring this album may have been something of a religion, yet certain listeners seem to cling to it. For example, a highly accomplished steel guitarist carefully copied the vinyl to distribute in burned CD form to other prospective fans, complete with hand-drawn cover and notes in which no knowledge of any particular sidemen accompanying Lawrence Hammond is admitted. Actually some of the sidemen are the same dudes who played on similar material from the period that achieved much more commercial success, particularly fiddler Byron Berline. The fine pedal steel player is Bill Weingarden.

Hammond`s singing style may have been one of the problems if reactions of music critics can be trusted, not always the right philosophy but basically considered reasonable in this case following careful comparison of said voice and said criticism. Yes, "a voice to crisp an aardvark's nose-hairs" is a little mean. Meanness may be excused as a reaction, however, after absorbing a few of the man's stylistic mannerisms, among them a falsetto maneuver as uncomfortable as someone unwanted sitting down at a campfire.

"I spent the entire album listening to each word, waiting for another one of those falsettos in sheer dread" commented a member of the network that had received dubs of the project as a further distribution of the steel guitarist's original donation. The reactions of a varied group of enthusiastic music listeners is interesting in any case, demonstrating the great appeal of this LP as clearly as it underscores the frightening aspects of Hammond vocalizing.

A critic who had always seemed kind of kinky--yet an expert in country and western of all sorts nonetheless--admitted that he had become a prisoner of the first track, unable to proceed further, not out of dislike but the total opposite. Feelings like this about a song entitled "George Gudger's Overalls will not seem extreme to anyone who has experienced the song itself. It is one of the few songs in the history of music about a pair of pants and if that is not enough includes a round of indecent exposure at close, the songwriter coming up with good rhymes for both "in the raw" and "in the nude."

Another reaction touches on lyrics as well, speculating whether even the great Roger Miller had managed to come up with a rhyme based on the name of union thug Jimmy Hoffa. Unfortunately the latter listener became more enamored with Hammond than emotionally healthy, lapsing into a severe depression when nobody actually showed up to "sit a spell" and "drink a few" as promised in an endearing portrait of "Uncle John Mills".

Not exactly sure of what to make of the following reaction, it is included because of the relevant reference to twangy guitars, a really attractive part of the entire album: "Hey this was the first thing I listened to after replacing one of my headphone earpieces with a wad of scotch tape. I am not sure what happened to the earpiece, I think it got dragged the length of the corridor in a hotel on a marble floor. Anyway I like the scotch tape better, it twitches and tickles my ears when the guitars are twangy, I like it so much I am going to revisit my entire country collection."

The record also sounded good to a film projectionist who while not admitting it actually was experiencing even worse playback deficiencies then the aforementioned head-taper, as opposed to home-taper. "I had the soundtrack to Exodus playing in the background, it sometimes drowned out the Coyote`s Dreams." Finding a copy to form an individual judgement in pristine audio conditions will no doubt take longer than listening, the album features only eight songs and lasts just a bit longer than a half hour. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

06 Jul 08 - 02:09 AM (#2382174)
Subject: RE: Req: Lawrence Hammond: Take this Plane to Heaven
From: GUEST,lemondracer

check out Lawrence Hammond at My music. Site has a couple of unreleased tunes on it, including "Texas Fiddler" which has an opening recording glitch I think, and "Nevada McCloud." Some great
instrumental work, wonder who is playing and when the recordings were made.

01 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM (#2645880)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Max R

"By day I drive a school bus in Elko, Nevada
I used to deal out blackjack at the Desert Jewel Cafe
got a shack outside of town where the dry wash meets the highway
there my poor heart's achin' for my flow'r that's blown away

As the cards fell from my hands I'd watch her face and she'd be smilin
servin coffee to them drivers on the Frisco-Denver run
but when some Nevada tumbleweed stole away my darlin
I could not finf a reason in this world for keepin on

I'm the cold coyote master of a tumbleweed plantation
I'd have made this dry ravine a garden if she'd been my wife
and when thwe cold wind drives the snow down from the mountain 'cross the basin
I know that this old desert's just as lonely as my life"

(I forget the next verse -)

"....looking for my darlin in the brown glass of a bottle
with my fingers round the bedpost rail and teardrops in my eyes

I'm the cold coyote master of a tumbleweed plantation
I should quit this town tomorrow, leave the past and turn the page
but I guess I've just decided, Lord, I'm here for the duration
til my life becomes a desert wind that blows across the sage"

-I met LH in Berkeley in 1971 at the F&S. I was 20. I had just sung a song I'd learned from a Mad River album (Cherokee Queen). I got off the stage and was approached by a rather beautiful woman who said her "old man" (was a standard phrase at the time) had sung the song on the record and was going to stop by the Freight later that evening.

He did, he played Flight 641 and another good song "Pale-Eyed Companion", and the "Tumbleweed Plantation" I wrote down above, which he taught to me at his home on Milvia St. a day or two later when I stopped by for a hero-worship opportunity. He couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years older than me - but way out of my league as musician and esp. songwriter.

"You gotta be able to play it in your sleep"

Well, I'll check out the MySpace link sometime soon.

08 Jul 09 - 01:57 AM (#2674403)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,sienna tenayo

2nd verse of Lawrence Hammond's "TUMBLEWEED PLANTATION," as I remember it, went:

When she ran away I could not get my forward gears a-turnin
I just lay out on my bed and heard that highway pass me by.
Lookin for my darlin through the brown glass of a bottle
with my fingers 'round the bedpost rail and teardrops in my eyes

Now they say a sorrowin man should give his mind some occupation
so with a schoolbus full of laughin kids I drive until I'm blind
But the nighttime brings me emptiness, and there's no consolation
In last week's Reno papers and California wine

We heard him sing this at some club in LA in about 1975 or 76. He was with a bunch of friends from Mexico, 2 of which got up and and sang backup on "Flight 641" (and played mandolin and bass. He sang about 2 or 3 songs in Spanish and left with a interesting looking young woman with almost white hair and dark skin. He was kind enough to scribble out some words to "Tumbleweed" for us after he sang and I learned that song after a fashion.

Where is this guy now?

12 Jul 09 - 07:24 PM (#2678648)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Barbara Lee Laughton

Wow! I stumbled on this thread while looking for a replacement vinyl disc for my worn-out copy of "Coyote's Dream." In 1977 or so, I think after he had dissolved the band he had been playing with I saw him play 2 sets in Boston. He sang a song about a kid in a rodeo ("Little Britches Rodeo?") and "Tumbleweed Plantation," a song about a ranch women who dies in an accident ("Nevada something") and "Coyote's Dream" as well as "Take this Plane to Heaven Cried the Stranger with the Gun." He ended with "Coyote's Dream." I bought a copy of that LP which became one of my favorites. In 1985 I became quite ill and landed in the hospital in Boston. My resident doctor from Harvard looked sort of familiar, but I was too sick to make the connection to his nametag until I started to get better. When I mustered the courage to ask him if he was the same one, sort of laughed and rolled his eyes and said, "yes, but that was a lifetime ago." He took great care of me then, and I always wondered what became of him.

12 Jul 09 - 09:58 PM (#2678729)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Seth from Olympia

I'm "seth from China" ten years on. Came back from two years teaching 5th and 6th graders English at a private school in Henan Province. I used a banjo ( of which there are almost none in that area) to teach them lots of songs. We covered the range of American music from Woody to Nat King Cole and everything in between. We made a whole class production based on " Coat of Many Colors", " It Should have been Me", "Dream of a Miner's Child" and "Straighten Up and Fly Right". Far and away the best job I ever had.
I also saw LH at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley in the mid 70's and really loved his stuff. Been carrying Coyote's Dream around with me all these years. I knew that " Take This Plane..." was not on a record, Now I'm looking for another song that I only heard him sing once called "Papa Redwing"
It's slow rainy Sunday here in Olympia. I was really tickled to find this thread today.

13 Jul 09 - 04:23 PM (#2679380)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Siennna Tenayo

Papa Redwing started something like:

Well the redwing's call
got 67 different notes in all
When I hear that song I wanta flap my hands along.

I'm ..........(don't know this line)
seems like it ain't for the crops
it's so the damn backbirds get something to eat.

But I'm goin' to fly away
Papa Redwing's goin' to lead my way

13 Jul 09 - 10:09 PM (#2679604)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Would very much appreciate lyrics to Coyote's Dream.

17 Jul 09 - 02:28 PM (#2682361)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,John

I was looking for the chords to "the legend of the pale-eyed companion" and came across this thread. I too became a fan of LH when he played the old Freight and Salvage (when it was north of University on San Pablo Ave). I never understood why he was not more popular--his lyrics were powerful, his melodies unusual and his chord changes a whole lot more complex than most of his contemporaries. At one memorable performance he was accompanied by a woman flautist who did some spectacular solos both on pale-eyed companion and on "Tornado's comin' down--I swear that when she played, the lights in the place changed to that pale-green you don't want to see if you are in tornado country! I am happy to hear that he landed well. If anyone knows the changes LH used on pale-eyed companion, especially in the bridge with the cow-bells, I'd be much obliged.

21 Jul 09 - 03:21 AM (#2684280)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,brdalton

I saw this man perform @UCSD in about spring of 1976, solo, never having heard of him before. One song called "Little Britches Rodeo" really stood out for storytelling. I bought his LP. The following day I noticed him sitting with a woman in a cafe and approached him to say I had enjoyed his performance. He was kind enough to invite me to join them for a beer. He seemed disinclined to talk much about music and most of the discussion, as I remember it, was about the health situation in East Africa. He and the lady spoke in Spanish together (his wife maybe?) and I believe she was a medical professional who travelled in an international role. LH did write out the chords to the rodeo song for me before I left but it seems it was never recorded, and I can't remember the melody.Does anyone know this song? It whould rank right up with the best coyboy ballads.

On the "Coyote's Dream" record it sounds like "The Legend of the Pale-eyed companion" is in the key of B, but when I watched him play it I am pretty sure he played it in C. Working out the middle bridge from the record on the piano, the chords would be: Em--Fmajor7--C--C#dimin--Dm-Bflat--Bflat--D7--G--then back to the verse in C. I am pretty sure this is right..His melodies and chord progressions were always adventurous. Does anyone know who put up the My Space webpage?

22 Jul 09 - 04:09 AM (#2685091)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,brdalton

oops. think I messed up on those chords. I think its Em--Fmaj7--C--C#dimin--A7--Dm--Bflat--D7--G7 then back to verse in C.

02 Aug 09 - 07:50 PM (#2692491)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,John

To brdalton-Many thanks! I've tried transposing your chords to B and playing along with the record--you are very close. a whole lot closer than I was!--but he is doing something a little different. Still your arrangement is a tremendous improvement over mine, so thank you. This song is wonderful, but it has been driving me nuts and I truly appreciate your help. PS--Hammond certainly loved using diminished chords (Trucker's nightmare for example). I wonder, given your experience of him in concert, if he also slack-keyed his guitar?

03 Aug 09 - 03:52 AM (#2692635)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,Seth from Olympia

I wonder how many other people saw and heard him at Freight and Salvage? That was a great little coffeehouse, wasn't it? I saw a lot of artists there: Rosalie Sorrells, Laurie Lewis,Kathy Kallick, Mance Lipscomb and LH. I got my nose open, that's no lie, and my ears too. Now I find I still grab anything by these artists that I can find. It occurs to me that LH was in another band called"Mad River" and they put out an album, not as good as his solo one, but there was a great song on on it that he used to do about being a counterfeiter with a press that was " crankin' out those twenty dollar bills" Maybe we were all there on the same night. My wife and I always sat at a table (did they even have tables?) toward the back. I was the guy with the long hair, beard and glasses who didn't have a guitar.

03 Aug 09 - 07:02 AM (#2692682)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: Beer

Fascinating thread to read.
Seth, there is a thread called "Little known '60s Folk Singers" that has about 700 hits. If you haven't already, you should have a look and maybe you will find other lost friends and memories.
Beer (adrien)

17 Aug 09 - 12:17 AM (#2702024)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,stevenmcnight

I heard LH and his band in about 1976 at The Drinking Gourd in San Francisco. I cannot even remember who he opened for, but he stole the show I thought then. I particularly remember "Tornado's Coming Down" and him taking the encore with a solo version of "Dustcloud" There was that pause after a song ends and before the applause where an audience lets you know something extraordinary is still sinking in. I saw him again hunched over a guitar off the wall at McCabe's guitar store writing down words to a song and playing a phrase over and over. The guy could really play. I believe he was with the same woman the other posts mention above, she did have almost white hair and dark skin, wore a bunch of bracelets, and they spoke Spanish to each other, which is interesting, since a lot of his stuff has a Mexican ranchero feel to it. (This lady seemed to have a real love of music. I wonder if they are still together?). I was surprised some years later to hear Larry Sparks and then The Judds do "John Deere Tractor" It seemed they took a fast and sort of ironic song, and changed the chords all around, then made it slow and sad (try Larry Sparks on youtube). I am pretty sure LH never sang the song that way. I think the best recording of this song is on Larry Sparks album "40" where Allison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, and Stuart Duncan do harmonies and fiddle.

17 Aug 09 - 11:04 PM (#2702800)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,stevenmcnight

CORRECTION: The gig in question was actually at The Boarding House, not the Drinking Gourd.Gettin' old! lousy memory for names

12 Sep 09 - 08:26 PM (#2722629)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,brdalton

John: I noticed LH used a drop-D tuning on occasion, and did a song about his hound-dog in an open-G tuning. Seemed he usually played in standard tunings, though. That hound song had a great line: something about floppy ears that swept away the morning dew. Think of it every time I see a beagle!

21 Sep 09 - 03:19 PM (#2728236)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,lucia de vega

I have been aware of this thread for some time and wish to comment on a couple of things: the woman companion referred to above would have been Secorra Gutierrez y Plarres-Montes (1945-1976), who, at the time she and LH met, was my roommate. Although her many international commitments with the UN and WHO as a nurse-practitioner placed a long-distance strain on them, these two seemed determined to make a life together. A passionate music-lover, she inspired not only his later commitment to health care but also certain strains of his music. When she died in Paris in '76 while their relationship was still young, LH seemed to lose all heart for writing and singing and dropped out of sight musically. Fortunately, after she was lost, his determination brought him to medicine, and he married, I think in '84 at the end of medical school (to another physician), raised 2 musically-accomplished children and is once again writing songs!

27 Sep 09 - 05:53 PM (#2732689)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,John Patterson

This 7-year thread amazes me. Like many of you, I consider "Coyote's Dream" one of my "desert island discs", alongside Hammond's Harvard schoolmate, the late Luke Baldwin, whose only album, "Tattoo on my Chest", was also played frequently on KFAT radio in the '70s. All "FATheads" learned to love them.

A couple obvious questions: If there are two apparent studio cuts to be heard on his myspace page,, where can one get clean copies of them? Are there more where they came from? Will there be new recordings from this incredibly talented songwriter any time soon?

Songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey, when asked if he plans a follow-up to his 1972 album, is fond of coyly answering, "why, what was wrong with the first one?" or somesuch. I hope Hammond won't follow the same path. I, for one, look forward to more from him.

05 Oct 09 - 03:20 PM (#2739044)
From: GUEST,RPeters

Wow! this is a long thread! Saw LH at Berkeley's F&S and once in some place on Union St. in SF. Copied some unusual words.
I think "PAPA REDWING BLACKBIRD" went like this:

Well the redwing's call
Got 67 different notes in all.
When I hear that song I wanta flap my hands along

I'm an old earth doctor
I put my fields to seed.
Seems like it ain't for the crops, it's so the damn blackbirds get something to eat.

But I'm going to fly away
Papa Redwing's going to lead my way
Bye-bye, babe. there'll be no more cryin'
Gonna sit all day with my firends on the old clothesline.

Just a broke-dwon coonhound
And blisters, all I got to show.
Papa Redwing you're laughin', is there somethin' I don't know?

Well I've lived this here grey life
One whole year too long.
Now they're payin' me not to plant and I'm learnin that blackbird's song.

Bye-bye, babe.
Missouri Girl, bye-bye....

I remember lots of very fast fingerpicking in this one. I have not ever been able to replicate the fingerings, though. Does ANYONE have a recording of this incredible song?? Or insight into the chords or fingerings. I have tried a number of things over the years, and it would make an interesting bluegrass song.I think the flutist who used to play with LH sometimes was Leni Isaacs. Googled her...involved with LA symphony management.

16 Nov 09 - 04:24 PM (#2767282)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,lizabethtarver

I keep hearing rumors that there is a CD in the works including mid-late 70's recordings he made. Would love to know more about this. Does anyone know anything about this, and, if it exists, what songs it includes? I too would love a recording of "Papa Redwing!"

16 Nov 09 - 08:29 PM (#2767449)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,enrique paredon

There IS such a CD. I knew Secorra Plarres-Montes from our work together in Africa, and through her met LH. Five years later I provided percussion for a recording of "Flight 641" with LH at a studio in Los Angeles in 1981. Also on this track was Jorge Calderones playing bass, and a pedal steel guitar player from Tucson. If I remember it right Lawrence played guitar and overdubbed a track of dobro. There was also a wonderful fiddle player and a banjo player who I think was John Hickman. As I recall, the backup singers were very drunk during the recording. At this time LH was also finishing a long long track about La Migra (US Immigration). Included on that was Lupe Arrellano on cello and Lawrence on viola, as well as the same steel guitar player from Tucson. Lawrence was in medical school at the time and did not expect that these songs would be released. I believe someone has transferred the tapes to disc, however, along with other songs recorded between 1976 and 1981 or 82.
I have recently spoken to someone who has heard these. Thank you Lupe de Vega for calling my attention to this thread!

29 Nov 09 - 10:06 PM (#2776449)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heaven...
From: GUEST,robopicker

What a treasure trove of info this is.It answers questions I've had for years about this songwriter ..and raises even MORE. Thank you to whoever it is that maintains this site! Let's hope more recordings exist and somehow get out there! There have been very few songwriters who make you feel like you are reasing Steinbeck yet still constantly surprise you musically. Hammond was one for sure.

01 Dec 09 - 03:26 PM (#2777805)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641: 'Take this plane to Heave
From: GUEST,sean de leger

My vinyl of "Coyote's Dream" is practically warn through to the other side! Who has the master copies of this unusual record? Why haven't they re-released it on vinyl? Is it still Takoma? I've learned a lot from deading these entries. Can anyone enlighten us on this question???

09 Dec 09 - 11:31 PM (#2785108)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brdalton

I have asked around and discovered that the Takoma catalogue was sold was sold off to Fantasy Records. They presumably would have the master tapes to "Coyote's Dream." But whether they have any previously-unreleased stuff is not clear. Wish they would get with the program and give us that finerecord on disc.

02 Jan 10 - 02:32 AM (#2801239)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,fretfly

Well...this was a pretty interesting find that answers some questions I have had about this guy and whatever happened to him. The catalogue of his songs that are out there is pretty slender, but what strikes me about them now and what struck me at the time I first heard him in '76 is how visual the songs were. When he sang these I had the movie running in my head. Some of the posts above give some explanation of how it was that someone who could evoke such images could just disappear from the music world apparently so completely. It is great to know that other songs might someday be released. I wonder about that one I heard him sing up in Sonoma, CA about the kid who sees his dad make an epic ride in the rodeo. I think that mini-novel is the one Ms Laughton mentioned above. When I sit through a reading of cowboy poetry I always wish folks could hear this one

11 Jan 10 - 06:52 PM (#2809532)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,benjinelson

I also found this while looking to replace my "Coyote's Dream" vinyl. That rodeo song had the line in the chorus where the cowboy tells the bucking bronc "I aim to sign your unemployment check with the fine point of my spurs, and I aim to make my working year a few seconds longer than yours!" Great line! Does anyone know where you can download Hammond songs?

11 Jan 10 - 11:36 PM (#2809681)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Q, back in July you asked for the lyrics to Coyote's Dream.   Due to inattention to Mudcat at times, I had missed ALL of the 08 and 09 additions. Much to digest there. I will try to come up with those for you. Not tonight, but soon. I will write myself a note.

As so many have been saying since Seth started this back 10+ years ago, it was a very interesting album, and yes I still play it.


11 Jan 10 - 11:47 PM (#2809691)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Well, NINE+ years. My math really is better than that. Listening to Trucker's Nightmare right now. Thanks, Dr. Hammond.

26 Jan 10 - 05:05 PM (#2822015)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,yuki nizaki-moore

This is neat! I blundered into the Lawrence Hammond MySpace site completely cold and was intrigued by the songs , so I ordered a vinyl copy of Coyote's Dream I found online. I would love to hear the music from that San Carlos Fiesta song Lemondracer posted. Does anyone know it? or have a recording? The theme is very similar to he one in "The Pale-Eyed Companion:" Vulnerable human against a relentless supernatural animal force. New Mexico setting. The cougars are still thriving in that state. I saw a family of them while driving through the Gila Wilderness 4 years ago on the way up the the cliff dwellings, and saw one more up in the Sangre de Christo Mountains in 2007. The 2 songs give me the cold chills!

01 Feb 10 - 04:55 PM (#2827566)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,benson

Best capturers of US Southwest in song, I think, are Guy Clark, Townes Van Zant and Lawrence Hammond. Other candidates anyone?

01 Feb 10 - 08:16 PM (#2827715)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,BRdalton

Marty Robbins? I am guessing Hammond would be the 1st to acknowledge his debt to Marty.

02 Feb 10 - 01:05 PM (#2828271)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: blogward

"...her soft doeskin backside kept me warm in the night". Quite a line.

15 Feb 10 - 10:01 PM (#2840560)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,herringbone-28

I heard Hammond sing in San Diego in about '76 as well somewhere near the UCSD Campus. This may have been the same gig BR Dalton posted about above as I also noticed him before and after the gig with the same striking-looking woman noted by Dalton. He sang a very fast bluegrassy song about a small-town jail called " I'm in the Do-Right Hotel" I think it was. There was a line about the jail consisting of the courthouse flagpole with all of the arrestees handcuffed to it and ended with describing the "jailbreak" (or flagpole-break). This was a very wry song. Does anyone know this one? Would love to have the words and chords.

01 Mar 10 - 04:01 PM (#2853396)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brdalton

Thank you for jogging my memory herringbone 28! The 1st verse of "Do-Right Hotel" as I remember it went:
The Man in this town is at the head of the chain
and he sits upon a Harley that's as long as a train
that he parks next to the front door of my favorite bar
to remind me that the courthouse really ain't so far

For years I've been tryin all that I could devise
just to slip my misdemeanors past his all-seeing eyes.
And there's one in particular that keeps croppin up
when I's lookin at the bottom of my whiskey cup

There my recall fails me. I think the chords are:
A7 -A7 -A7-A7
F- F-D7-g
C- C- G7-G7
F-F7- A7- A

The chorus chords I recall are really wierd and wind all over the place. If someone could shoot me the words, I think I could figure them out, though

16 Mar 10 - 02:53 AM (#2865017)
Subject: Lyr Add: DO-RIGHT HOTEL (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,RBones

After review, some small corrections that I think are right:

Words and Music
By Lawrence Hammond
Copyright 1971


Well the Man in this town is at the head of the chain
And he sits upon a Harley that's as long as a train
That he parks right by the front door of my favorite bar
To remind me that the Courthouse, well it ain't so far

Now for years I been tryin all that I could devise
Just to slip my misdemeanors past his all-seein eyes
And there's one in partic'lar, Lord, that keeps croppin up:
When I'm lookin at the bottom of my whiskey cup

Do-Right Hotel, I'm in the Do-Right Hotel
I overshot my quota and I'm here for a spell
Don't you fail me come and bail me
Right out of the Do-Right Hotel

Well last night I sat gambling with my back on the floor
I kept holdin up my glass and sayin "Deal me one more!"
When the Sheriff come in I dumped my ace in the hole
All over his britches and I'm here once more

I blew up their balloon and it pointed to me
It said "Drunken disorder in the highest degree!"
With justice so swift the Judge he did not sit down
I got a thirty-day vacation in the heart of the town

Do-Right Hotel, I'm in the Do-Right Hotel
I overshot my quota and I'm here for a spell
Don't you fail me come and bail me
Right out of the Do-Right Hotel

Well before they constructed this here awful ol hole
They used to handcuff all us rounders round the old flagpole
With the tall ones a-standing and the short ones crouched down
And on Friday night that was nearly half of the town

Till one night me and a rounder name of Squirrel McGee
Well, we shinnied over the top and by God we was free
Went out on the town and really bent one on
When we come back next morning all them jailbirds was gone

Do-Right Hotel, I'm in the Do-Right Hotel
That drain-hole in the floor there that's my wishin well
And I wish that you'd bail me
Right out of the Do-Right Hotel
(Doncha fail me)
Right out of the Do-Right Hotel
(Come and bail me!)
Right out of the Do-Right Hotel

24 Mar 10 - 10:34 PM (#2871237)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,BRdalton

OK. thank you RBones. Another great song! I think the chords to the chorus must go:
F-Db-F#m B7-E-E7
A-A-D7-E7- A (back to verse).
I remember Hammond used to say at the end as the guitar faded out, "And THAT was the great St Clair County Jailbreak." (where the hell is St Clair County, anyway? Have to look it up sometime
.This song needs to find a bluegrass group to play it. Anybody have it on tape or disc??

24 Mar 10 - 10:45 PM (#2871247)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: Suffet

Lawrence Hammond has an active page on MySpace. However, he hasn't logged onto it in nearly two years. Anyway, here is a link.

--- Steve

24 Mar 10 - 10:48 PM (#2871250)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

I'm sure there are probably more, but there is a St. Clair County in Southwestern Illinois -- E. St. Louis, Belleville, Cahokia, etc.

29 Mar 10 - 04:02 PM (#2874964)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Marte Cosette

I discovered this forum while collecting memories from my prior workplace. As regards the muse of this man"s later work: I oversaw the work of Secorra Plarres-Montes in the Paris immunization project where she was working at the time of her death. I met the young Hammond during a brief 4 or 5-day visit in 1976. I cannot add anything to the comments on much of his work since, as I am French, much of the idiom is foreign to me. these two were a very charming couple and I remember Secorra as a very striking, well-travelled, vibrant woman with a palpable compassion and tenderness with her pediatric patients. On the day of her death, when she uncharacteristically did not appear at work I went to her apartment and had the concierge let me in after she did not answer. She was lifeless in the apartment, claimed by a late effect of the illness that had nearly killed her several years earlier. Her 6-year-old son (who spoke no French but was able to communicate with us in a smattering of English) who told us what he had experienced. This young man, Manolito, a child by her previous marriage, went on to become a brilliant art student but died tragically young at 21 of HIV. Secorra's previous husband, Manolo, with whom she always remained close friends, died I believe in Argentina in 2008. He apparently sang background on a recording LH made but I do not know the details. I remember listening to LH sing several gorgeous songs, including 2 in Spanish, that he wrote for Secorra. I do not know if they were ever recorded or ever will be. I flew to Guaymas to Secorra's memorial and was with LH and Manolo on the boat as her ashes were spread on the Sea of Cortez. She was, perhaps, even more a muse to him in medicine than in music. I am an old woman now leafing through memories, and this episode is one that shines brightly, if sadly.

29 Mar 10 - 04:48 PM (#2875015)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

And we thank you so much Marte, for taking the time to stop by and share your memories with us. I think I can speak for all in saying how much we appreciate it.

I think that this thread has now become more than it was ever intended to be and should be recognized as the definitive Lawrence Hammond thread. I will move my transcription of The Pale-Eyed Companion over here as time permits.

Again, Thank You Marte.


29 Mar 10 - 04:58 PM (#2875022)

It wasn't as hard to find as I thought it would be. I still owe Q the transcription of Coyote's Dream. It's mostly done, just needs a few little things done that I haven't quite got yet. (Has it really been since July? ACCK! Some people are just slow.)

(Lawrence Hammond, Desert Jewel Songs BMI, 1972)
As sung by Lawrence Hammond on "Coyote's Dream," Takoma 1047, 1976

They say a New Mexico winter
Will drive old Satan from his home,
And the poor cowboy who's caught in the blizzard
Well he knows that he's never alone.

'Cause the Devil's on the range in the winter.
His eyes are the color of snow,
And they call him the Pale-Eyed Companion.
He's got the shape of a wolf 'round his soul.

I ain't a man of superstition,
But there are things beneath the sky
That can make a long-time cowboy
Lay down in the cold snow to die.

He feeds on the flames of your campfire
To stoke up the fires of his soul,
And he'll creep up when the wind starts to howlin'.
Lord, he'll leave you at the mercy of the cold.

Now a blizzard it caught me north of Clayton.
I had fifty head to go up to Raton.
The prairie dogs they froze down in their burrows,
And every step another steer was gone.

I ain't a man of superstition,
But there was something caught their eye
That made them longhorns sure get edgy
When I built me a fire for the night.

The blizzard it sang.
The cowbells they rang.
The note in the wind got so strange ...
When I turned 'round in fright,
Two eyes in the night
Put the winter right into my veins.

I drew out my rifle and sighted.
I whispered a prayer to the skies,
But I found I could only stand and shiver
In the light of his pale snowy eyes.

And them longhorns they'll die if you run them
Too fast in the high drifted snow,
But I saddled my pony and I drove them
Just as fast as any longhorn will go.

I ain't a man to run from danger.
Many's the time I've walked Boot Hill,
But the ghost of the Sangre de Christos
Never blinked as he closed for the kill.

I never have rightly remembered
How I rode myself in from the range,
But I remember that trail boss a-swearin'
As I left just twenty head on his hands.

I stayed drunk the rest of the winter.
Now they say that I'm touched by the moon,
But it's because there's a Pale-eyed Companion
Who waits for me outside the saloon.

Nobody wants a drunken cowboy,
But whiskey's warm and friends are cold.
Now they say I'm just tellin' stories
'Cause I rode them longhorns down in the snow.

08 Apr 10 - 11:44 PM (#2882578)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Marte Cosette

There were two other memories of the young Lawrence Hammond that I have from Paris. He had a friend from London, an older woman named Mary who was a South African in exile because of her anti-apartheid activity. This woman had a beautiful tape of a song by LH called "Empty Rails in Garfield County" on which the instruments were just guitar and one violin. I thought this performance was more haunting and desolate than the one on the "Coyote's Dream" recording, and I wish I still had it. One night I when visited with this Mary and Secorra Lawrence sang a song in French which I believe was called "Un Canadien Errant" (A Wayward Canadian). A beautiful song of exile. I almost wept to hear it. That evening the playwright Athol Fugard, a friend of this Mary, called and asked to speak to LH to say he had heard the "Empty Rails" song and admired it. LH, who loved this playwright's work so much was very touched. I believe this was one of the last times in Paris where we were all together. I saw Hammond very briefly once again when he was in London during his final year of medical school and visited Paris.

09 Apr 10 - 09:59 AM (#2882836)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Seth in Olympia

"Empty Rails in Garfield County " is also on LH's Takoma LP " Coyte's Dream" A really beautiful, haunting song. I would have to dig the record out of my garage to get the words.....

12 Apr 10 - 03:56 PM (#2884996)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Carver in Marin

I was always a fan of Mad River's slightly manic dark edge and saw them live many times. Friends with similar enthusiasm always wondered why MR veered toward country and folk on their 2nd album and how Hammond wound up with the solo career in country-folk like he did. In 1968 I was at a gathering at the home of Harvey Brooks. Nick Gravenites was there, and their band The Electric Flag was signing with Capitol. I believe the lawyer Richard Hodge was there with Mad River to discuss whether Capitol would be a good fit for them. I remember Hammond as a skinny blond kid hunched in a corner listening to one Merle Haggard record after another. That MR eventually veered from psychedelia and that Hammond ended up writing the music for "Coyote's Dream" never seemed too odd to me. He sure did it with a novelist's eye. It would be good to hear more from him. I discovered this site while looking to replace my MR albums online. Hope more folks do.

14 Apr 10 - 03:43 PM (#2886637)
Subject: Lyr Add: LIGHT AS A COYOTE'S DREAM (L Hammond)

I am reluctant to actually admit how long ago I promised Q that I would come up with the transcription for this. But anyway, here it is.

I solicited input from Arkie, Gene, Joe and Stewie and this is the final result, or at least as final as we could come up with. As you can see, there was one word that we couldn't seem to work out no matter how many times we listened. Hammond's rhymes aren't always all that exact, but style does come closest to smiled. Neither of the two choices makes all that much sense. You can listen for yourselves at the myspace link Suffet gave back on 24 Mar 10 - 10:45 PM. There are four songs on the site, Coyote's Dream, Pale-Eyed Companion and the two previously unreleased songs Texas Fiddler and Nevada McCloud. All are worth the time it will take you to go to the site and give them a listen.


Light As A Coyote's Dream
Lawrence Hammond
As sung by Lawrence Hammond on "Coyote's Dream," Takoma 1047, 1976

The last tired stars are fadin'
The wind is cryin' low
The rollin' weeds go whinin'
Like tires down a far off road.

These brown hills of Nevada
So blue in the desert moon
But not as blue as her eyes like the Washoe County skies
Where the fallen stars once bloomed.

She was sweet as a mountain wildflower
With a voice like an easy rain
And the kiss that she laid on these tired old lines
Was light as a coyote's dream.

But with lights those eyes were smilin'
With such sweet laughin' ??sounds/style/something else??
That hard old man up in Heaven
Well, I think even he must have smiled.

Far cross them old Slate Mountains
Another man holds her there
Like mine, his hands tremble softly
Smoothin' down her long yellow hair.

She was sweet as a mountain wildflower
With a voice like an easy rain
And the kiss that she laid on these tired old lines
Was light as a coyote's dream.

Way down in the arroyo
Where the mesquite blooms so deep
Wakin' from his dark dog's dreamin'
Some coyote hears me weep.

She was sweet as a mountain wildflower
With a voice like an easy rain
And the kiss that she laid on these tired old lines
Was light as a coyote's dream.

20 Apr 10 - 02:24 PM (#2890751)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brdalton

The lyric sheet on the inside of my vinyl disc sleeve says "style." think that makes sense, too.

26 Apr 10 - 03:04 PM (#2894743)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,RobbiePreston

I think there is a last "Coyote's Dream" verse that was not on the album cut. I have sung this song for over 30 years and can't remember where I got this final verse. It goes:

These hills ain't got no conscience
This valley ain't got no shame
To watch a good man cryin'
And never know his name

I have always thought those lines echoed the last verse in "Empty Rails in Garfield County"
that go:

As the mountains looked down without no understanding
A few hard tears were washed down in the flood.

I lived in Palo Alto in the mid 70's and used to drive over to Freight and Salvage to catch High Country, U. Utah Phillips, and Hammond and his very cool band fairly often. Also caught Hammond solo one night at a club in Palo Alto where he sang a gorgeous old jazz/blues song called "Lotus Blossom." I've hunted for that on the web and found a faster New Orleans-style band rendition, but it did not have the intensity and loneliness Hammond's version did. Anybody know that one?

Thank you guys lots for this thread. What a great find!

04 May 10 - 04:03 PM (#2900013)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Rod in England

incredible. See, I was always a huge fan of Mad River, which was a minor cult over here in Great Britain, and I actually heard MR's Rick Bockner play solo over on this side of the pond over a year ago. For some crazy reason, I was never really aware of Lawrence Hammond's solo stuff until quite recently when I scored a vinyl "Coyote's Dream" (mint copy still in plastic wrap with the lyrics on the record sleeve and all of the gorgeous lonesome-west photography). I paid a lot for it too! Although the studio quality was very much 1970's, the words really hit me--and I haven't been a huge fan of country. But, like the liner notes say "this is country music, and then it isn't. ". The instrumental playing on the album is top-notch, especially on "Trucker's Nightmare." And "Coyote's Dream" and "Pale-Eyed Companion" are just hugely memorable. is the incredible thing:

I worked in international relief projects for about 30 years and was involved in the Uganda refugee airlifts out of there during the Idi Amin rampage (have you seen "The Last King of Scotland?"). I am pretty sure I knew Secorra Plarres-Montes during that time, not positive, but she was fairly unmistakable. Think she was going by a different surname at the time though. Sad to think of that particular life cut so short, but what we did was often pretty risky. I contracted all kinds of crap, including malaria, in Africa. It would be an amazing coincidence, as I was already a fan of Mad River's two albums, which, by the way, seem to resist dying off. It would have been a kick to run into Hammond during that time. Is everyone aware of the extensive interviews with Hammond and MR on the web-archive about the San Francisco poet/novelist Richard Brautigan?

21 May 10 - 05:02 PM (#2911552)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,L.E. Mondracer

Holy Toledo! I have not logged on to this site for over 4 years and am just amazed at how this thread has grown and the amount of info it contains. There is just precious little else of worth on the web about this man. When I met him on a sunny day in the park in Silver City New Mexico he had 2 young children in tow. He was genial, but, I thought a bit dismissive of his time and his accomplishments in the music world. I got the impression these were painful times for him, but he did provide me with some song lyrics and spoke with some feeling about his US Public Health Service years on the Montana Indian Reservations. He was clearly in love with Montana and the southern New Mex landscape, and I wonder what made him leave there and go back to the Pacific Northwest. If I am remembering it right, he alluded to an upcoming chamber music concert (!) he and his wife and some friends were giving at a local church. I am pretty sure he said that he and his wife were going to play Debussy (!?) He mentioned she was a violinist and pianist and had been one of his teachers in medical school. I still sing "Empty Rails in Garfield County," and have been humming "The Pale-Eyed Companion" for years. Am grateful to BR Dalton for his hints on the chords! Keep this going. soldiers!!!

22 May 10 - 02:54 AM (#2911820)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,herringbone28

Hmm. Am thinking that "Coyote's Dream" line is actually:
"And the kiss that she laid on these tired old EYES
was light as a coyote's dream."

As for the "Lotus Blossom" query from Robbie Preston, I have heard on old jazz record by Julia Lee that seems maybe to be the same song. I wonder if that is where Hammond picked it up. The first line of that one goes:

"Sooth me with your caress, sweet lotus blossom, I'm beggin you
Help me in my distress,sweet lotus blossom, please do."

Is this the same one?

24 May 10 - 03:42 PM (#2913330)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,RobbiePreston

Think it is the same :Lotus Blossom."

24 May 10 - 04:24 PM (#2913358)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Herringbone28, EYES was what I heard for all these years, but in careful repeated listening when I was transcribing the lyrics, I made the change to lines as that was what it sounded like.

It would have been a whole lot easier if I could have found the liner notes, but who knows where they might be after all these years? Brdalton and others have mentioned having them. He made the confirmation that the other line in question was definitely STYLE. I'm guessing that if the other was wrong he probably would have said so. Like I say, that's only a guess.

Getting back to my comment Neither of the two choices makes all that much sense. in reference to sound or style, that was a poor choice of words. What I meant was that I couldn't hear either of the choices, not that they weren't sensible.

01 Jun 10 - 03:23 PM (#2918437)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,50Marks

After scoping out these posts, I went to the Lawrence Hammond My Space site. Wow! Who do you suppose are the fiddlers on that "Red-Dirt Texas Fiddler" cut.? The gorgeous, moody "Nevada McCloud" song on the site really has echoes of Marty Robbins. I heard Hammond a couple of times in the mid-70's. Once at The Boarding House in San Francisco and later singing solo at UC Riverside in about 1977. Until now I had no idea why or how he vanished from the music world. Thanks to everyone who has posted to clear this up. If there are unreleased Hammnd recordings out there, SOMEBODY should rescue them somehow. Does Enrique Paredon know who has or owns these recordings. And if Fantasy Records has the "Coyote's Dream" masters, does Fantasy still exist?

29 Jun 10 - 03:18 PM (#2936789)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Mickey

Living here in Campbell River, B.C., we don't get a lot of live music, but we hear an amazing amount of good music on a little 50-watt station out of Cortes Island (about a 1 hr ferry ride away). Lawrence Hammond and Mad River were well before my time, and I only had read about them. About 2 weeks ago I heard a radio interview with all 5 members of Mad River, who were apparently having a reunion of sorts on the island. The DJ played some of their cuts, which were pretty intriguing, so I set about finding a way to get the music myself., which led me to this site. It was interesting to find that Lawrence Hammond's band mate Rick Bockner lives over on Cortes. He plays concerts around here sometimes. I have found a copies of both the Mad River albums and the Hammond "Coyote's Dream." which has some really haunting stuff. Also think "Cherokee Queen" on the 2nd MR album pointed to the direction Hammond would take after Mad River. Hope we hear more from this talented bunch.

13 Jul 10 - 03:01 PM (#2944467)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,summerstorm

Yes! I have loved that " Cherokee Queen" song forever and I REALLY wish Hammond had recorded it again on his solo album. We did ask him to play it again at a performance in Boston in maybe '76 pr '77. THe song was written by SDS founder Carl Oglesby who apparently was friendly with Mad River during their Berkeley years. Hammond when solo mostly performed his own stuff but I do remember him sometimes slipping in a Billie Holliday or Merle Haggard . The 2 songs that really got to the audience at the Boston thing were that rodeo song "Little Britches" and "Tornado's Coming Down". I wonder if I was at the same gig Barbara Lee Laughton cited above. My boyfriend (now my husband) and I approached him after the show. He was kind and friendly, signed a copy of his record for us and showed my BF how to do the Cherokee Queen chords and the kind-of-odd chords to the tornado song, but he seemed sad, as if keeping something painful deep under. Maybe the info posted above explains this, but I've always remembered this impression of him, especially when he was singing something melancholy (like Cherokee Queen" or "Coyote's Dream)"

15 Jul 10 - 03:43 PM (#2945760)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Vern Slatter

Is there a website that tracks Bay Area musicians careers? Sort of a where-are-they -now?

17 Jul 10 - 03:50 PM (#2946844)
Subject: Lyr Add: CHEROKEE QUEEN (Carl Oglesby)
From: GUEST,djfrantz

These are the words to "Cherokee Queen" ( by Carl Oglesby) that Lawrence Hammond sang on Mad River's "Paradise Bar and Grill:"

Said the Cherokee Queen
Are you goin' my way?
Is that a road map I see
Clutched in your tremblin' hand?
My warrior so brave laid his ambush
in a place where the moon made him blind.
And we couldn't get word down the river in time.
And all we could hear in the night
was the sound of him dyin."

My tall bronze man
with the cloud-colored eyes..
There was a ruby in the forehead of my love.
But the circle-of-silence was broken,
and no one could remember the plan.
And the wise-men just cringed in the temple all night
waiting for word or the newcomers' final demands.

Now the ceiling fan
turns slowly in the night,
and the winner deals me another hand of lies.
Oh yeah..playin' again with the master
I draw two, the old pair of freaks.
And prayin' again for disaster to come
bleeding with whiskey I dream of my old Cherokee.
Bleeding with whiskey
I dream of my old cherokee..

Lawrence Hammond had a pretty good sense for a good song. I have often puzzled over the words to this one. It seems to me to be sort of hallucinatory portrayal of the devastation and demoralization of native peoples ground under by the encroachment of Europeans, but it does not seem to be just a specific picture of the oppression of the Cherokee, the Trail of Tears etc.

The production on this track is so much like what Hammond ended up sounding like (think "Coyote's Dream") , simple and haunting. I heard him play when I was a student at UC Berkeley.We love him here in Germany!

19 Jul 10 - 04:27 PM (#2947847)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,deliriousgirl

never heard of this guy before. checked out the tunes on his MySpace site. "Nevada McCloud:" Nice!! Am only 19, so he could be old enough to be my dad! Will look up more of his stuff. Is he really a doctor?? That's unusual! How can he have any time for music?

28 Jul 10 - 05:01 PM (#2954038)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST, Gendleman's agreement

THis long thread is very interesting to me.. I have always thought the "Coyote's Dream" album was a bit uneven, but a way-too-long ignored 1st solo effort from a pretty amazing songwriter, poet actually. The production is uneven and a bid scratchy, although the instrumental work is fine. I imagine the budget was tiny, as for most Takoma issues. The dobro playing on "Dustcloud" is inferior to Hammond's own sparse dobro on the other tunes. The voice and lyrics on "Uncle John Mills" are too far down in the mix to highlight the great lyrics. The absolutely vivid words to "Tornado Comin' Down'" are poorly supported by a rather muddy instrumental track (highlighted however by some terrific whirlwind fiddle ending from Byron Berline). That said, how do you top lines like the picture of a tornado "writhing like the devil trying to wring his own neck" or ""The blizzard it sang, the cowbells they rang, the note in the wind got so strange. When I turned round in flight, two eyes in the night put the winter right into my veins." Or: 'I pray to God and Jimmy Hoffa, please fellas get me offa this rig's brakes are going right down to the floor." It was always my hope that a followup album would arrive with production values and marketing worthy of the talent. Yet it was always clear that Hammond was too far left of center musically, too literate, too adventurous to crack the country market. As the alt-country music world grew, he might have had a long musical career though. So he goes into medicine. Wonder if his career there was half as creative.

10 Aug 10 - 03:15 PM (#2962288)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

As LH's daughter, I can tell you that he is working (in between long hours at the hospital) on self-releasing an album of remastered tracks of many of the songs mentioned in this thread (Flight 641, Little Britches, Nevada McCloud and others). Some of his best stuff, in fact. I'm sure more information on how you can get a hold of a copy will follow.

He's still writing music and has passed on that love to my brother and I. My earliest memories of my dad and music were of him playing San Carlos to me - a deeply moving and evocative song, even for a five year old.

By the way, Mad River recently had a reunion gathering and some old forgotten recordings were unearthed...

14 Aug 10 - 08:54 PM (#2965381)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Jackalope

Good news from young Hammond. Please keep us posted.

15 Sep 10 - 04:26 PM (#2987486)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,queenmaureen

I think I first heard him in San Diego in about 1976. After 35 years I can not get that song 'Empty rails in Garfield County" out of my head. Such a stark and desolate longing that the singer sets in a beautifully lonely landscape to an eerily gorgeous melody. I have tried to imagine another singer who might do it, but it is hard to imagine who might pull it off (maybe Merle Haggard?). I probably heard him do the song 3 or 4 times in person. While the singing on the LP version of the song is wonderful, I think I would have preferred it with just Hammond and guitar. A friend of mine had a studio tape of him doing this song with just a fiddle and guitar accompaniment. I copied that on to a cassette, which I played over the years until it disintegrated! Wish I had it now. Does anyone out there have such a tape? Does his daughter who posted briefly above? . It is encouraging to hear there ARE unreleased recordings out there and that they might one day surface. IT is fascinating in this long thread to piece together the life of this unique songwriter, who I had always assumed had died or dropped off the face of the earth. If he is still writing songs of the caliber of "Coyote's Dream" and"Pale Eyed Companion" that would be a treat for the music world.

20 Sep 10 - 11:28 PM (#2990626)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Sybelle Brouilliard

Many vivid memories! both of this blond cantador and of Secorra Plarres-Montes (2/20/46-7/24/76). Together we often searched out Brazilian, Latin-jazz, or bluegrass groups in 1974-75. Secorra and I sat through some memorable performances by LH, both with his band and singing solo. I still have quite a vivid memory of her in bare feet on a beach under a Ramada, dancing alone with a huge grin and eyes closed while Lawrence played some samba on the guitar. Secorra and I worked together over a 4 year period, mostly in Africa and Central America, and were working on the same Yucatan immunization project in late 74 when she suddenly fell ill and was flown to intensive care in Mexico City. She survived (after about 7-8 days), but was pretty fragile for most of a year after that. It is true that during this time her hair turned white, and she became an amazing-looking person. She did receive permission from her medical team to come back to work in 1976 (in Paris) and was very excited about that despite the separation. I believe that during this time Lawrence Hammond had already decided to enter medical studies. Her abrupt death was terribly upsetting for all of us and very devastating for him. She was kind of the lively glue that held a whole diverse community of friends together. There are many people who still miss her, and miss his music. It is nice to know that he is still making music and still is in medicine.

25 Sep 10 - 03:51 PM (#2993587)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,herringbone28

What is that Hammond song about the guy in the Border Patrol? Words included a chorus in Spanish. Seems to me it was pretty long and that he seldom performed it live. Wonder if he recorded it. Anyone know?

05 Oct 10 - 11:50 PM (#3000674)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Robin

I remember border patrol as one of Hammond's best songs, but I believe it was a sensitive subject with him. Given the subject matter I can see how it might be.

06 Oct 10 - 09:42 PM (#3001475)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,RobbiePreston

I think I may have words to "West Texas Border Patrol" and will look for them. Can't remember the melody though. I will post them if I find them and have time. It is true that he seldom sang this. I believe the only place I ever heard him do it was at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. I think this must be the same song Enrique Paredon posted about above, so that means he did record it. We have got to get those unreleased recordings out there somehow!

22 Oct 10 - 02:18 PM (#3013171)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Dennis

If the music is on tape there may be a hangup tansferring from analogue to digital. The numbeer of people still having pro-quality analogue equipment is really dwindling.

03 Nov 10 - 05:22 PM (#3022859)
Subject: Lyr Add: BORDER PATROL (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,RobbiePreston

OK: I promised I would post the 'Border Patrol" lyrics. I hope I've got them right. Not quite sure of the Spanish words. It looks like they mean exactly what the following English line in the chorus means.

(Lawrence Hammond)

When I patrolled the Texas border at Terlingua
I was something of a honcho, I must say.
But if I knew a hungry man must swim the border,
I'd contrive to turn my head some other way.

'cause the mayor of the town across the border--
like the geese that wing together we was friends.
And the cross his oldest son wore to his christening
I'd gave to him with a proud godfather's hands.

But one election year they tightened up the border
while the Texas son it tightened up my heart.
Pity those who tried to swim into the Kingdom,
'cause our orders aimed our shotguns in the dark.

There's moving shapes upon the water,
there's crickets screaming out their tune
Oh, they swam in unprotected.
There's bullet splashes in the moon

Con tanto sange, Senor, nos ponemos infecundos.
With all this bleeding, My Lord, we're going dry,
and the big bird wheels round in the sky.

A sudden silence fell across the water
as I stumbled down to see what I had done.
Then it seemed they took my heart upon a stretcher
in an ambulance that took off at the run.

Cause a silver cross on the neck of that young dead man-
for a moment in the moonlight Lord it blazed.
Then I knew my heart was dead upon arrival
It might have been his father's tears upon my face,

Con tanto sange, Senor, nos ponemos infecundos.
With all this bleeding, my Lord, we're going dry
and the big bird wheels round in the sky.

My old friend, he met me in his doorway.
And as I held his boy and cried he held his gun.
And he said, "My friend, you are no longer welcome,
and I can't answer for the blood that's sure to come."

And so the Immigration service sent me to Montana.
They spoke of vengeance on the Rio Grande.
And for months I stared along the northern border
with my coffee growing cold there in my hand.

"til one morning revenge came to my window
and four shots split the wall above my head.
I cried, "Senors, pleased do not stand up with your pistols!"
But as they stood my rifle spoke and cut them dead.

Con tanto sange, Senor, nos ponemos infecundos.
With all this bleeding, my Lord, we're going dry
and the big bird wheels round in the sky

Now a bitter man named Saul, he stoned the Christians,
and later they say that he became a saint.
Saul, oh Saul, why do you persecute me"
When the lord spoke thus Saul fell down in a faint.

Oh, but me, I have been to see the padre.
He just laughed, he said, "My boy, now don't complain."
And the heavens are as hard as brass above me.
When I cry out my own voice comes back again.

Con tanto sangre, Senor, nos ponemos infecundos.
With all this bleeding, my Lord, we're going dry.
And the big bird wheels around in the sky
Oh Lord, give me a sign


04 Nov 10 - 12:22 AM (#3023121)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,seth from Olympia

I'm quite a bit grayer than I was when I started this from the middle of China in "00. It just tickles me to see it going on. Good on ya L.H. and all those words that flew by me in a stream almost forty years ago!-but I've still got the LP in my garage-had a roof leak one winter and lost a lot of records, but that one was high and dry .                     best to all....

08 Nov 10 - 01:53 PM (#3026869)
Subject: Lawrence Hammond
From: GUEST,Guest and old fan and guitar student

So happy to see people here posting about a truly under appreciated musician and story teller.

Having seen him so many times at the old Freight here in Berkeley, I still measure all other songwriters and songs against his songs ... so sensitive, thoughtful, vivid (and yes, clever) and heartfelt.

Lawrence, if you're out there and still like to perform, come out to Berkeley to the new Freight and Salvage in the downtown area and bring back your magic one more time.

And to his daughter, please keep us up to date on Lawrence's new recordings and where to find them.

08 Nov 10 - 03:38 PM (#3026973)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Like Seth who started this thread just over 10 years ago, I am beyond pleased at how much information and love for LH and his music have flowed out of this thread over the intervening years.

I posted just an hour and a half after Seth, then the thread lay dormant for over five years before lemondracer (L E Mondracer) came up with the lyrics that Seth had requested. After a small flurry of posts, a couple more years went by before there was another post. Now look at it.

Old friends, family and fans have all contributed to one of the most interesting and eventually informative threads at Mudcat.

If LH himself has looked in, I suspect that "even he must have smiled."


17 Nov 10 - 08:44 PM (#3034781)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,JanineFoulks

I think one of the things that slipped by people because his songwriting was as compelling as it was, was what a fine guitar player he is. Just listen to the intro to Nevada McCloud, or (if you ever were lucky enough to hear it), the intricate picking on Papa Redwing Blackbird, or the short sweet fill between verses one and two on "Coyote;s Dream." When he played with his group he (rightfully) deferred the guitar spotlight to David Robinson and later to the amazing James Parber, but when you heard him solo you realized what a lot he had going on on that instrument. I especially remember a long long double solo Hammond and David Robinson played one night at a show in Berkeley...that song about his hound.
I am somewhat embarrassed to say I sort of tried to pick him up one night 33 yrs ago in Riverside after a gig. He was gentle and politely distant and, after reading the incredibly rich threads above I understand why. It didn't matter, I still love his songs.
I also thoroughly expect to hear his voice and music, new and old, again.

19 Nov 10 - 10:32 PM (#3036435)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,robertmarsden

Does anyone know the words and chords to "Tornado's Coming Down?" I heard this tune recently on a college radio station and googled the singer I am on a remarkable site. I have visited the My Space site and listened to the songs there, and would like to find more of Hammond's music and lyrics, especially the tornado song, which is a pretty good portrayal of where I grew up. Please post the words if you have them. If I had the chords I think I could remember the melody!

21 Nov 10 - 12:21 AM (#3037164)
Subject: Lyr Add: TORNADO'S COMIN' DOWN (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Sienna Tenayo

As best I can tell there are the "Tornado" words robertmarsden requested:

It's mighty still that this day's been sleepin"
Ain't been one bird a-peepin"
Thunderheads been creepin' cross the
golden Oklahoma fields.
Somethin' 'bout that that sky I've seen before
that sets a memory burnin, churnin' like the clouds are turnin'
in an angry wheel.
Well Jody run and get your sisters down from the hayloft
pray your mom gets held up down in town.
Tornado's comin' down

Above the quiet fields the sky is seethin'
Ani't one livin' thing that's breathin" easy
when the Lord of Light
Hurls down the demon of the sky.
Just now Greg MacCay drives up
rolls his window down and shouts, i just make out some words about
my haystack's gonna fly
Well, Jody, son I sure wish now
that we'd had time to bail them.
Just make sure you nail them windows sound.
Tornado's comin' down

And now we're runnin' for the storm cellar
Sky's a-turned that darkish yeller color
that a man don't wish to see but once in all his life.
Hurry, girls, Amanda don't you worry about Daisy
She's a big dog she'll run somewhere she'll be safe where she can hide
Hear the wind a-screamin' and
the air's alive with things of Man
whose rightful place was rooted on the ground.
Tornado's comin' down

And here she comes, touchin' down in sweet grain
Drivin' my poor windmill insane
Lickin' down the furrows towards the place my Pa was laid to rest.
A rattler twistin' down from some old hook,
strikin' like a scythe, writhin' like the Devil tryin' to
wring his own neck.
suckin' up long years of toil
as if that sky was cravin' soil
Roarin' down a curse on fertile ground
tornado's comin' down

Hope this is helpful. The Devil tries to wring his own neck! Jeez! Some image!

22 Nov 10 - 02:37 PM (#3038135)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,robertmarsden

Thanks, Sienna, for these words. It sounds like the chords to "Tornado" might be:
G-D-C-D-C-D--G then back to head of the verse.

Is this on the right track, for anyone who knows this unusual song?

01 Dec 10 - 02:23 PM (#3044329)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brdalton

Have not posted to this for 9 months, but have watched it grow.
The "Tornado" chords are right. . Could be Hammond's shortest song, but a lot goes on in it, or rather, a lot goes up in the air. Some bluegrass band should pick this one up.

01 Dec 10 - 06:02 PM (#3044496)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,seth in Olympia

I'd like to get the chords for "George Gudger's Overalls". The lyrics sound as if he took them right out of James Agee's "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men". I think that WIllie Nelson covered this song, but I'm not sure about that....

01 Dec 10 - 10:11 PM (#3044594)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Off hand, I can only think of the Doc Watson version that led me to post the lyrics back in 99. thread.cfm?threadid=16347#151816

I had forgotten about that. I'm no use when it comes to the chords, though. I expect someone can help sooner or later. Could be a few years in this thread, though couldn't it? :)

Here's a really nice cover by a fellow named rbutler at youtube. I expect you could watch his fingers.

Top flight job he did there; he's got good equipment as well, easy on the ears and eyes both!

06 Dec 10 - 12:30 AM (#3047230)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,herringbone28

Thanks to all who responded to my "Border Patrol" query and for the words to "Tornado's Comin' Down" These are probably the longest and shortest songs respectively that he wrote. As for Doc Watson's cover of "George Gudger," his cover of the song on the album "Portrait, "featuring Sam Bush on mandolin came out about 6 months after Doc and Merle wandered n to the Freight & Salvage one night while LH and his band were on stage. I was sitting a couple of tables behind Doc when they launched into the song. Always assumed that was the moment this unusual song changed hands. Pow! Witness to history!

06 Dec 10 - 04:58 PM (#3047702)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,summerstorm

Thanks, DWR for the link to rbutler's version of "George Gudger." A nice job. It catches that song's wry tone real well, I think. I've noticed the James Agee link in this song too,

12 Dec 10 - 12:25 AM (#3051427)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,birminghammer

I am a college student writing a paper on photographer Walker Evans, who co-authored "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" with James Agee, in which the real Gudger 1st appeared, and somehow landed on this thread, so I checked out the song by Hammond, with whose music I was unfamiliar, as performed by RButler. Since I am from Alabama, the subject matter seemed close-to-home. Clever words and story! Reading through the Hammond lyrics posted above was a revelation. Lively writing! Am motivated to look up Hammond's recordings, which I gather are rather few. Did find the Doc Watson version of the song.

01 Jan 11 - 03:24 PM (#3065145)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brinnelsen

At last a cache of info about Hammond! I interviewed Hammond in Spring 1976 in LA for an article that never got published. Had caught him solo at a gig in Northridge, I think. Song that struck me the most was that kid-in-the-rodeo song "Little Britches." Am pretty sure I must have the words to it among my papers somewhere, but where?? Have collected bits and snippets about Hammond through the years. He was with the graceful Ms. Plarres-Montes at the interview, as I remember. This must have been shortly before she died and less than a year before he disappeared from performing. It was clear Hammond had a keen intelligence , so not surprising he went to med school I guess. If anyone has the "Little Britches" lyrics and chords, would appreciate them posting them here. What a loss to American music! Notice his daughter posted above. Does she have lyrics to some of his lost songs? If he is still writing, what and how?

03 Jan 11 - 04:04 PM (#3066464)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,JanineFoulks

I had a copy of that version of "Garfield County" with just the fiddle accompaniment too. Agree it was a lonelier and more stark performance. It was made in an LA studio before Coyote's Dream was ever recorded. I got it from the engineer Doug on a cassette copy that also had a "Pale-Eyed Companion" version with just guitar and voice. That cassette has long-since come apart and was discarded, but sure wish I had them now. Looking at the "San Carlos Fiesta" words placed here years ago but L.E.Mondracer, I wonder if the musical feel of that lost song is similar to "Pale-Eyed Companion" in spookiness. Why doesn't this singer get up a REAL website? Please?

14 Jan 11 - 08:57 PM (#3074848)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,L.E. Mondracer

Musically I remember "San Carlos' Fiesta" sounding more like a Mexican Corrida, kind of like "Nevada McCloud" as posted on the My Space site

15 Jan 11 - 08:54 PM (#3075433)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Lou Judson

Nice to re-read this old thread... I worked with him once or twice (I am a soind engineer) and now I have to go back and see if it was at the Freight, or back in the 70s when I did a live music program called People Playing Muaic on KPFA. I have tapes of all the old programs, and if I DO have that one it is time to get it out and give it a listen. I knew there was a reason to save everything!


16 Jan 11 - 11:25 PM (#3076132)
Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE BRITCHES (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Dan

I went to a party up in Washington State over the holidays with some medical people, and this man was there with a beaut of an old beat-up Martin. He sang this song about a kid at the rodeo and I begged the words and chords off him. Found this thread when I went looking him up and it looks like people have been looking for the words to this song, so here they are:

(Lawrence Hammond)

I got the sulks this mornin' 'cause my Pa didn't let me know
They was gonna have the thing they call the Little Britches Rodeo,
When kids my age climb in the chutes to ride the bucking steers
And catch a case of bow-legs that lasts for 60 years.

Well Pa's friend Buck he's standin' 'round so I swallows back my tears.
He chuckles when he hears the words, "Son, wait just another year."
Then he says to Pa, "Remember back to your first time in the chutes?"
Pa hangs his head and draws a Texas map in the sand there with his boot.

Then he looks up proud and when he grins, I just can't hold a frown.
Then I think maybe I've won the match even though I've lost the round.
Pa walks off towards the chutes to see the horse that he has drawn,
And they say he's drawn the meanest bronc, the one called Short-Term Loan.

Near the fence this mangy pinto stands; his eyes are rimmed with white.
Pa stares back and he chaws a bluegrass stalk, and his jaw is clamped down tight.
Then I know that he's a conjurin' as he chaws the bluegrass down,
'Cause no sane cowboy feasts on fresh-picked herbs where horses are around.
CHORUS: Then he leans down to the outlaw, whispers in his wooly ear:
"You buckin' broncs you only work 3 minutes every year.
I aim to sign your unemployment check with the fine point of my spurs,
And I aim to make my workin' year a few seconds longer than yours!"
Eight seconds on the cyclone, the rider he must do.
Well, I've seen my Pa stay up for twelve and I've seen him dumped in two.
Now Short Term Loan's white eyeballs may mean anger, lust, or fear.
Yeah, but his nostrils say, "I'll waste the first vaquero that comes near.

"So you'd best take home your Daddy, son; my hooves don't fit this track."
Pa just grins and he grabs the beam and clumps down on his back.
Then the gate-man runs the big gate round; what's next I'm left to guess
From a hat up there in orbit between Austin and Juarez.
CHORUS: I can hear Pa's voice a-callin' as the cowboys give a cheer.
"You buckin' broncs you only work 3 minutes every year.
I aim to sign your unemployment check with the fine point of my spurs,
And I aim to make my workin' year a few seconds longer than yours."
Now in my chest some fool is marchin' round beatin' on a drum.
My shoulder finds Buck's hand has got a Vise-Grip for a thumb.
Then the bell it rings, Pa's made his time, and the pick-up man swings round,
But Short-Term veers sway and Pa's left hangin' upside-down.

His trailin' spur has snagged the strap, a freakish accident,
And Short-Term's tryin' to rub him off by runnin' along the fence.
The spur-points like a harrow-rake, they plow the horse's side,
And the furrows spring up roses that seem to blind my eyes.
CHORUS: Then the maddened pony turns his course and he pivots on his heel.
My daddy rolls across the sand like a slow-unfoldin' wheel.
Then from far away a kid's voice comes, I've known but long forgot.
In the sudden silence of the crowd it cries the words, "Git up!"
But a rodeo ain't a football game; I've heard the cowboys talk.
The stretcher is an insult; best to let the poor man walk.
Buck walks out in the arena like a feller on a stroll,
Leans down and slaps Pa on his butt, half to comfort, half to scold.
CHORUS: Oh so slow Pa gets up, and his silent lips they cuss.
Lord, he don't look up as he limps to where his hat lies in the dust.
I start for him, but Buck, he says, "Best let your Daddy be.
Son, an hour alone be better than the likes of you or me.
"But I don't reckon that your Pa'll be buyin' his own drinks for awhile."
Then I feel my face a-tryin' like hell for the first curl of a smile.
And later, there's a party; folks stop by to say nice things
About this man they say I favor, who's starin' down at his drink.
CHORUS: I can see his lips a-whisperin' as he leans down to his beer.
"You buckin' broncs you only work 3 minutes every year.
I aim to sign your unemployment check with the fine point of my spurs,
And I aim to make my workin'-year a few seconds longer than yours—
Just a few seconds longer than yours."

This really is just a cool piece of cowboy poetry. As he sang it, it fit real tight with the tune too. This thread was revelation. Had no idea who he was and that he had a musical career, although he came along a few years before I was old enough to be listening, I can't believe I was not aware of him. Will hunt up "Coyote's Dream" but sounds like it is hard to find

23 Jan 11 - 10:49 PM (#3081158)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brinnelsen

Wow. That is great, thank you Dan. Nifty song. Where was party? Seattle?

24 Jan 11 - 08:37 PM (#3081810)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Dan

Party was in Spokane, WA. LH said he has a son living in Seattle and did part of his medical training there.

08 Feb 11 - 05:36 PM (#3091355)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,summerstorm

Where can we hear the MUSIC to "Little Britches?" When oh when is there gonna be a CD release?

09 Feb 11 - 05:33 PM (#3092052)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Brinnelsen

Great! Thank you, Dan. That was a serendipitous meeting. I notice that Fretfly also posted above looking for this song. I am not always glued in to Mudcat, but am impressed what a catalogue of Hammond lyrics lies herein! I think somewhere I had a photo, taken at the time of my interview, of Hammond, myself, Ms. Plarres-Montes but am having trouble retrieving it, with my film files fragmented by passing years and many moves.

Now we have to track down the music and chords to that song.

14 Feb 11 - 03:40 PM (#3095245)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,fretfly

"Little Britches" is a real find. Thank you, Dan! I had given up hope of finding the words and confess I had not been paying attention to Mudcat lately. If someone does not come up with the music somewhere, I am gonna be tempted to add my own! Would love to have any other news about this wonderful songwriter. Does anyone among the many who have posted above know if there is a recording somewhere of this classic rodeo story?

16 Feb 11 - 09:34 PM (#3096847)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,maury

Met L. Hammond when he was a med student living in Beacon Hill in Boston and studying at Harvard. This must have been in about '81. We got together a couple times to play and share songs. The number and quality of songs he had written were fairly astonishing to me at the time. At this time I think he was sort of hooked up with the mercurial Deborah Henson-Conant, who has gone on to become a famous jazz harpist and quite a fixture on the Boston music scene. I enjoyed picking with him, and really did not completely appreciate until later how well-written those song-stories were. I was just tickled to find this site and to re-acqaint with these lyrics. He did record the Little Britches song, and I remember he played me a tape of it he had recently finished in California. He also recorded the Border Patrol song about the same time, and I remember the track was long and very haunting with some interesting instrumental work. I moved on to Oregon and I guess he went on the finish his medical training in Boston. Does not surprise me he wound up in New Mexico, at least for awhile, but Washington State does surprise me. Enjoyed the cover of "Coyote's Dream" on you tube (but who is the singer?) . Mr W. Nelson should record that song!

09 Mar 11 - 03:36 PM (#3110620)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,blueRRtrain

have grown up playing "George Gudger" from Doc Watson's performance. Knew nothing about the writer. Never had a clue he had written so much other stuff. Am gonna try to score an LP copy. Sounds like I've been missing something.

12 Mar 11 - 03:07 PM (#3112521)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,madmaximum

yeah, who IS that singer on the youtube cover of "Coyote's Dream?"

12 Mar 11 - 07:08 PM (#3112661)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Bill Lowe (Backwoods Bill)
Springville, Utah

As found here

12 Mar 11 - 07:10 PM (#3112663)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Better make that Backroads Bill!

13 Mar 11 - 10:32 PM (#3113244)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Cindy Caldwell

Heartbreaker of a song. I'm gonna chase down Hammond's own recording of it. From the web, it looks like vinyl copies of that album are getting scarce. Saw him play a couple solo sets at U.Nevada-Reno in about '77. Or rather, he had a mandolin player (from Mexico I think) and a string bass for about 6 or 7 tunes. The cowboy tunes were pretty unique. He did do that Little Britches thing as I remember. I thought to myself, there's a story I've been missing here. Then he disappeared from the scene. Had his finger on a whole lot of musical threads. Hope I hear more of him. Mudcat is really cool, you know? I've found out so much about so many musicians I had lost track of over the years.

08 Apr 11 - 12:34 AM (#3131052)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Sophie Rochambault

I think of that time in the 1974-76 era with longing. During this time I also worked in Africa alongside Secorra Plarres-Montes and was in love with those songs of Lawrence Hammond that I heard tapes of, before I had through her a chance to meet him and see him play with that wonderful guitar-player he had, James Parber. This was a time we were all optimistic and committed, and tragedies just seemed to roll off of our backs.....until the one that didn't. I am happy to see that people remember her, her work, and elan, and remember too his haunting and inventive songs. They were a lovely pair and it was all too heartbreaking. I have through friends been told that his Coyote's Dream album is going to be rescued and more songs released besides but I do not know how imminent this is.

11 Apr 11 - 04:08 PM (#3133253)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,graphiceye

hey-does anyone know who is responsible for the great photo work on the Coyote's Dream album jacket? I loved the record, but I really bought it for the artwork!

22 Apr 11 - 04:22 PM (#3140570)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,redheaded siren

Was great wasn't it? My credits say Fumi Matsumoto. I googled. Teaches art in Juneau. A wonderful album and an seldom-recognized classic.

25 Apr 11 - 03:38 PM (#3142176)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Cindy Caldwell

Are there any other you-tubes of Hammond songs?

19 May 11 - 02:43 PM (#3157121)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,madolinorange

Nope, could not find any others. Wonder why "Trucker's Nightmare" was never included on any of the many trucking-song compilations over the years. Nothing else quite like it

19 May 11 - 09:09 PM (#3157301)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Cindy Caldwell

Hmmm. I found some you-tubes of Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers doing "John Deere Tractor" and another bluegrass group doing the same song (but not as well). You could make a pretty funny video out of "Trucker's Nightmare!

21 May 11 - 10:33 PM (#3158480)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Cian O'Meara

I just bought a used copy of "Coyote's Dream" at a farmer's market stall, mostly on the strength of the cover and the Takoma Records reputation. The artist was a mystery to me. Vinyl's in pretty good shape really! Was knocked out by the lyrics. How did this guy fly so far under the radar in the 70's? Did the music biz totally have its head up its arse? At least someone at Takoma didn't, but maybe they did....Why was there no 2nd record. I checked, could not find one, but I see above that one WAS made. Takoma folded and perhaps that record was a casualty of their demise. The playing on the record is really very good, apparently from the band backing him at the time, and the melodies and chords are just off-scale for country at the time (even now) so no surprise Nashville did nto come knocking, but somebody should have. Did not realize he wrote the Larry Sparks/Judds "John Deere Tractor" song, but after listening to their versions again, I have a hard time envisioning Hammond doing the song that way. This thread is pretty loaded with info, thanks to all who posted. I learned a ton.

17 Jun 11 - 09:09 PM (#3172121)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Brinnelsen

I found some info on his musicians at The Steel guitar Forum website. Worth checking it out!

12 Jul 11 - 05:05 PM (#3186276)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Sandie Harley

I also heard LH play "Texas Border Patrol " in @ UC Riverside somewhere around 1976-77. As my husband was later posted in the Patrol, I have hunted off-and-on for the words to this rather unusual song for years. It is odd to finally find it here and to discover what became of him. I play guitar and piano, and I wonder if anyone can come up with the chords to this one. I think I can sort of remember the melody (enough to fake it!) I remember he was not playing with a full band A few years ago I found a vinyl copy of "Coyote's Dream" and bought it online. Was disappointed this song was not on it, but as it is a long one I see how they might not have been able to fit it on. At Riverside, he was playing with a string bass player and a mandolin player for some of the tunes., but they were not the musicians pictured on the record sleeve.

28 Jul 11 - 11:15 AM (#3197290)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,nigel

this is a great site that lawrence knows about - he's still practising medicine every day up in the north west.

good news is that hopefully a lot of the unreleased material you've all been talking about will see the light of day in the months to come. plus some unreleased recordings by his late 60s band, mad river.

i am based in london, uk and in the process of writing an article for the online music magazine, caught in the act about lawrence's 70s musical endeavours and will post a link in due course - this will cover the various line ups and recordings of the whiplash band including 'coyote's dream' lp and the 'lost' second album.

more soon

25 Aug 11 - 12:50 PM (#3212582)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Gilles de Gireau

I knew both Lawrence Hammond and Secorra Plarres-Montes in 1976, near the end of her short life. I heard him sing at a party in Paris with some of her team comrades. His guitar playing was intricate and smooth and his songs seemed very unusual, although my English at the time was less fluent than I am now. She was working on an immunization project in Central America in 1974(?) and fell ill with encephalitis and then an inflammation of the heart. I know she spent about 10 days in an intensive unit in Mexico before she recovered, and was frail for about 10 months after. She seemed lively and strong in 1976 and we were very shocked by her death. I would like to hear more of his music from that time, but from reading the above, I remember hearing the 'Coyote's Dream" song, and the "Redwing Blackbird" one as well.

30 Aug 11 - 06:25 PM (#3215502)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,dalydouble

Gosh. I had this wonderful man for a doctor for almost 3 years! I was sort of aware he was a musician. But I had no idea of any of this. I found this website when looking him up to see where he went after he was no longer practicing in our town. . My husband plays fiddle, so we listened to a couple of his songs we found on the web. There is a song called "Pale Eyed Companion" (see the words to this above) now on youtube, no video with it. I also listened to the MySpace website, and my husband and I enjoyed the fiddle playing on a song called "The Red-Dirt Texas Fiddler. Recommend it!

15 Oct 11 - 02:12 PM (#3239465)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,alyssawardworth

Searching last night for the writer of "Coyote's Dream" after hearing the YouTube version of the song by "Backroads Bill," I found that someone has posted on YouTube Hammond's own recordings of "Legend of the Pale-Eyed Companion", "Coyote's Dream," "Trucker's Nightmare," (that track is great, and very different from his other stuff it seems!) and 'Uncle John Mills." There are no videos accompanying, just the beautiful, iconic "Coyote's Dream" album cover, but really, someone could have fine time putting together a video for these captivating stories.

This Mudcat thread is amazing for how far back it goes. I'm wishing this songwriter would come out of his musical retirement and start performing again. I' am sure his medical career must be demanding, but I for one would make it a point to go out and hear him sing.

01 Nov 11 - 03:27 PM (#3248680)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,fretfly

I discovered all of the "Coyote's Dream" album has been posted on You Tube by someone. In re-listening to "Empty Rails in Garfield County" I am again struck by the magical chord progressions. But the really welcome event is having the classic "Trucker's Nightmare" available. Cannot quite figure out why that was not a radio hit at a time when Commander Cody wagon the airwaves with "Hot Rod Lincoln" and "Mama Hated Trucks." The lead guitar player is hot.

(Well I DO why it wasn't on mainstream country radio).

Also up is "The Legend of the Pale-Eyed Companion" entered in Mudcat by DWR. That is one atmospheric performance for a cowboy ballad!

19 Nov 11 - 09:10 PM (#3260244)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,D2828

OK, I went looking on you tube. Where is it??? Could only find that Garfield County song....?

24 Nov 11 - 01:06 PM (#3262767)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,nigel cross

hi all,

i am pleased to let you know that 'jersey sloo', the mad river book and 12" i mentioned is now out and available from

the lawrence hammond article looking at his 70s music should be out shortly in the online mag caught in the act issue 8

more details

best wishes


29 Nov 11 - 10:27 PM (#3265824)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Sienna Tenayo

Well, speaking of Mad River, which was apparently mostly off on its experimental late 60's course, the standout track they recorded was, for me, "Cherokee Queen." That also really pointed to the direction LH would go in the next 6 or 7 years. Song had a great mood, wonderful harmonica part, strong vocal performance. Wonder if Hammond did any other Carl Oglesby songs. Never heard him do any live. Thanks to DJFranz for posting the words above.

Now, who has a recording of "Papa Redwing???"

29 Dec 11 - 08:21 AM (#3281432)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,nigel cross

hey folks -

hope the following will throw a little light on lawrence's 70s career.

i also just unearthed a nice interview with lawrence in BAM (bay area music) magazine may 76 (he's also the cover star)

wishing lawrence friends and fans a great 2012

spread the word


22 Feb 12 - 07:43 PM (#3311936)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,tasmin ondondware

In 1972, my parents were murdered by Idi Amin's soldiers in Uganda. I was 4 years old. I was taken by my brother in the middle of the night to a hiding place in the north of the country, and from there we were discovered by aid workers and taken to a temporary orphanage. In early 1973, we were flown out of Uganda to the UK. I believe the pilot of the plane, a woman, was the late Sheila Bell, who died in Scotland not too long ago. I was terrified on the airplane, and was, for most of the long flight, held on the lap of a young woman dressed in a khaki jumpsuit. She spoke some English but mostly spoke to her co-workers on the plane in French I think, and they called her Cori or Correy. I still remember the smell of her dark skin and the curls of her blondish hair almost better now than the feel of my own mother's arms. She comforted me and the other children on that plane. After our arrival in Britain, we were placed in a refugee camp. It was winter and very desolate there. I told her I did not want her to leave me there. She came to visit me and my brother twice that winter but said she had to go work in Central America (I had no idea where THAT was). I did not ever see her after that, and for years after I have searched for some trace of her. Now I find myself here on a site about the music of a man from another culture, but I am certain, that woman was Secorra Plarres-Montes who is mentioned in these posts. I am very sad that she died so young. She has a place in my heart. I am now grown, with a family of my own, and am a great lover of music. Out of curiosity about her, almost more than anything, I have sought out Lawrence Hammond's coyote album. I am trying to reconcile in my mind, these songs with my intense memories of that young woman. Thank you to Mudcat for providing (at least some) answers for me

06 Mar 12 - 11:46 PM (#3318496)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Dev Manoranjan

My family, which had been in Uganda for several generations, also lost everything and, almost, every person to Idi Amin's rampage. Though I was not orphaned like Tasmin was, I was separated from my parents by government thugs. My parents and my sister found their way out of Uganda. Like Tasmin, I was flown out with, mostly, other children. Before I could be united with my parents and my sister, my mother died of wounds she had received earlier. I too found myself in a camp in what seemed like a very cold UK. However, I do not remember anyone on the plane matching the description of Ms Plarres-Montes. But, there was a nurse or doctor who visited the camp several times after my arrival and treated an infection on my face (I was 8 at the time). My memory of this is quite vivid. She did match the description. An angel really. Many of the kids seemed to know her and she was swarmed. I left the camp, and my family eventually made its way back to Asia. I work in the music business now and have very eclectic tastes. I have been researching an article on modern American cowboy music, both from the US and the Argentine Pampas. I became interested in Lawrence Hammond's songs. So, I found my way to this site quite by accident, but could not rest replying to Tasmin Ondondware's post. Seems we were both very lucky to be touched by someone so remarkable!

18 Jun 12 - 02:39 AM (#3364811)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Sal Morzitzky

"Light as a Coyotes Dream" must be one of the most beautiful and sweet cowboy love songs ever written.

This is a terrific and informative thread about a singer whose very brief musical career produced some real gems in terms of imagery, laughs and melody.

21 Jun 12 - 07:55 PM (#3366426)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,blueRRtrain

These hills ain't got no conscience
This valley ain't got no shame..
to watch a good man cry in'
and never know his name.

(last verse to "Light as a Coyote's Dream" (not included on the album cut for some reason.

Hopefully more people will come to know the name of this too-long-unheralded songwriter. We need another album! Hello????

22 Jun 12 - 10:22 PM (#3366914)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,lucia de vega

It is said that those lost recordings of Lawrence Hammond's songs, which include "Papa Redwing Blackbird" will never be released, but I have heard that they are to come out on some tiny label in the U.K. if at all. Let us hope they do not languish in the void. Also, thank you to the friends of Secorra Plarres-Montes who have posted their memories above. The entries from Dev and Tasmin were very moving.

25 Jun 12 - 09:54 AM (#3367739)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Jan, from Holland

This morning, looking for info this morning, looking for any info once again about the life and contemporary whereabouts of Lawrence Hammond, and really not expecting to find any, I finally managed to stumble across this thread, and I tell you all: I am totally flabbergasted, deeply impressed and overwhelmed by this incredible phenomenon:

This evergrowing story, which I have read top-down, skipping nothing, has lived for almost TWELVE years now ... and seems to in time have brought together a complete community of concerned and quality-loving folks, including not only the daughter, a musician herself, but music lovers bringing on lyrics for songs that sometimes were never even released, fugitives from Africa's '70's that reacted to Lawrence Hammond's muse miss Secorra Plarres-Montes, guitar players that share chord progressions, and so forth: I say: Forget the 'social media' blabla about FaceBook and all that: THIS here is a social medium!

As a guitarist, fingerpicking my way through 'Harfy Magnum' in the early '70's, the incredible voice of Lawrence Hammond for me has risen slowly: I could never forget his singing, I have been playing the records until they were grey and almost transparent, and finally digitized them myself, straight from the record player, all the time getting more intrigued, and wanting to know: "Where has he gone after 1976?".

I am so glad to have found all this information, I really wish to greet you all from Holland!

03 Jul 12 - 10:44 AM (#3371291)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Tom Ordon

There is a new magazine from the UK called FLASHBACK with a big cover story on Mad River. Great stuff. Lots of info I never knew.

11 Jul 12 - 01:06 AM (#3374776)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Buck Freundlich

This isn't a post about music, I guess. In 1973 I was in Uganda (well, in and out of it) assisting with the evacuation of Asians and Europeans. We had clearance for a flight out of Gulu, I think it was, and I was doing ground prep. We had a crappy airfield jammed with terrified women and children (I still shudder to think of what happened to the men), mostly Asian, several Europeans desperate to get out, a few black people considered to be likely supporters of Obote, and all penned in by a bunch of stupid illiterate thugs in army uniforms. Just getting the OK to refuel the incoming plane out the local captain was only possible because Amin wanted all those people out of the country and fast. Got into a shoving match with one of the thugs (which you really didn't want to have happen). Everyone was bloody hungry, some of the kids starving practically, some had been shot and the wounds were clearly getting infected. Many could not even walk and were being thrown out of the only home they ever knew. After a while, an old plane lumbered in...I think that was an old Martin 404, with more dents than a tin can on a fencepost in Tombstone. The door opened and 3 young women stepped out, just 3 not counting the pilot, to shepherd this whole mess. One young lady took charge and began to immediately triage all 90-some kids, quietly giving orders in French and English (of a sort), moving down the rows, whipping in IVs, separating the worst. She had chocolatey skin, sort of blondish hair, and these unusual light grey eyes. I had a lot to do, but could not take my eyes off her. The army captain confronted her while she was cleaning out a kid's wounds, demanding her papers. Without taking her eyes off what she was doing, she quietly said she would bring her IDs to his office when the last kid was stabilized. He became foolishly polite. There was this one kid with a bullet in his thigh, who had lost blood and was running a fever. I held him down while she pumped in some morphine and begun to dig around with a scalpel and forceps until she had it. She picked him up and carried him onto the plane with both of the meager 2 antibiotics we had running in. 7 and a half hours later in the middle of the night, with a plane stinking of wounds and vomit, and a din of screaming kids we took off. She never stopped for anything but water all the way over to Monrovia, then up to Morocco, but as we landed there I went to wake her where she was drowsing with the bullet kid in her arms. He did not look so good, and she shook her head. I last saw her heading toward the ambulance at Rabat carrying him, with about 4 other kids limping behind her like a mother duck. Caught up to her and leaned in the ambulance to say bye and thanks. "I am Cory," she said in French. "I'll see you maybe on the next flight." But I never did. Had to be the same lass. Aways wondered about her in following years, worked in some of the same lousy spots, but our paths did not cross again. This has to be the woman mentioned several times above. Don't know much about music, but love it all. I never heard of Lawrence Hammond, but am aware of Mad River--demented, crazy stuff. She was a quality human being, too sad she died young, but if she loved Hammond, he must have been quality too and I will sure give his music a listen

28 Jul 12 - 01:17 AM (#3382541)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,old Freight fan Fred

Interesting thread here.
I remember seeing Hammond, David Garthwaite for Joy of Cooking and Annie Johnson do a terrific impromptu version of the old Fiesta hit "So Fine" in 3 part harmony. What a lively and great coffeehouse that was at the very beginning of the 70's...the guy went on to write some creative stuff, gathered some good musicians around him, put out an interesting album on a shoestring (in all probability), played a bunch of gigs around California with that bunch. Then I saw him do a solo night at the Freight with a bunch of new material. Then he just vanished. I always thought something dire had befallen him. If he has more recorded material out there, I'd like to hear it

15 Aug 12 - 01:49 AM (#3390321)
Subject: Lyr Add: FREIGHT YARD THUNDER (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,mark p. former guitar student

in 1973 and 1974, when Hammond was in town, I would drop by for a guitar lesson at his Oakland house. I learned a lot of stuff and technique from him, but also a lot about how songs and chords are put together, stuff I still use every day. I kept in touch with him intermittently up to about 1982 and even looked him up once in Boston during a visit (he was in med school at the time). After that, I lost touch and really have wondered for years what became of him. One day while I was waiting for him to finish up some stuff before a lesson I leafed through a pile of his song lyrics. Most of these were familiar to me from his shows, but there was one called "Freight Yard Thunder" that I had never heard, so I asked him to play it for me. I can't completely remember the tune to it now, but it was in a minor key and had a driving rhythm with a lot of percussive stuff from the right hand. I never heard him do it with his band, but he DID play it one night after he had dissolved the Whiplash Band, and was playing in Santa Barbara with a string bass player and a mandolin player. I asked him at that lesson if I could copy down the words, and believe it or not I still have them, so here is this rare and unknown song:


There's thunder tonight in the freight yard.
I hear them shuffling' em 'round
All night it drums in my restless sleep,
makes me groan and toss around.
Must be a hundred men like me lyin' sleepless
in the seedy part of Abilene,
listening to the freight yard thunder rollin'
out on the moonlit plains,

Hot cinder smell down the window well
on a sweat-stained bunk in the Railroad Hotel.
In a room I've been sharin' with a closed-mouth gent
who stares all night at the ceiling vent.
Maybe he's runnin' from the laws he broke,
like I'm running' from the words she spoke
that keep on repeating like an evil joke
through the freight yard thunder and the diesel smoke

Freight yard thunder...
they're makin' up my train.
And I just wonder,
will I ever ride away all my pain?
I keep thinking' there's more to life,
keep finding' there's a whole lot less.
But there's got to be more than this freight yard thunder
that's all that I got left.

Mama died when she born'd me in a roundhouse up north.
When the 2 AM rolled by my crib would skate across the floor.
Left home when I was 14 with the north wind at my back,
the same year that my Pa was killed lyin' drunk across the track.
The rest is nothin' else, just a rumble and a whistle,
one more town on down the line.
In my dreams, I'm always caught there half-way cross the trestle
with a fast freight screaming' up behind

(repeat chorus)

Gus McDill he's the meanest bull who walks the yard.
His horns are cruel and his hooves are hard.
He broke my hands 10 years ago when he caught me on a train.
I used to pick the Wildwood Flower but I'll never play again
That guitar was the only thing I loved like some old friend.
Now the petals of the Wildwood Flower are scattered in the wind.
And when I heard those words you spoke something broke again.
It doesn't even matter now just how the story ends.

Freight yard thunder
They're makin' up my train.
And I just wonder
will I ever ride away all my pain?
I keep thinkin' there's more to life,
keep finding' there's a whole lot less.
There's just got to be more than this freight yard thunder
that's all that I got left.

I always thought this song sounded more like something Mad River would have done later in their brief career. It has a sort of stormy brooding tone that would have suited them well. Anyway, it was a real find to happen on this Mudcat site after so long with no info. Glad I could add to the mix!

21 Sep 12 - 11:50 PM (#3408550)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,cinderman

Heard Lawrence Hammond sing "West Texas Border Patrol" in Boston in what was probably early 1977. I remember at the time thinking that it was not just a song about the illegal immigration mess, but a story that looks at the whole thing from more than one angle and makes no judgements. I mean it was not preachy. I also got the words from him after the coffee-house gig. I am pretty sure he sang "and that black bird wheels around in the sky" although the words on the lyric printout he gave said "big bird." It is very interesting to read about this song and Hammond's life during this time. I can believe he WAS reluctant to perform this, in light of all the stuff revealed above. It's challenging stuff and not strictly speaking entertaining. I found this thread while looking to see if this (or anything else) was ever recorded, and the hints that another "missing" album might exist and actually be released, and that the song actually WAS (according to Enrique Paredon above) recorded. Although I was aware a the 60s psychedelic group Mad River, I had never actually heard that until recently (there are some tracks on U-tube, and had no idea Hammond was a member. What he did after seems very different. What does stand out in the MR stuff is the musical adventurousness, and that on the "Coyote's Dream" record was way ahead of its time for country music.. Why has no one re-released that album? He was an impressive performer and had some pretty funny stories to tell between songs. Had an upright bass player and another guy who doubled on mandolin and guitar, and I think both had latino names. Who
were those guys?

02 Oct 12 - 08:52 PM (#3413373)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brdalton

Came across this notice on web "Coming soon fall 2012. Lost Lawrence Hammond recoirdings "Presumed Lost"

Don't know what or who shagrat records is, but it looks like their catalogue includes a number of lost 60s and 70s recordings, archives.

This looks promising!

06 Oct 12 - 12:42 AM (#3415251)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Shebe N'Touru

At the age of 7 in 1973 my mother and I left Gulu in Uganda on an airplane bound for Morocco and then the U.K. My father had been taken away by Idi Amin's soldiers several nights before and we never heard any news of him again, ever. He was not political at all, but, says my mother, personal grudges were settled in those days by accusing people of supporting Obote and his party. My memories of the trip are not clear. I do remember that only about what seemed like 5 or 6 people, mostly women, which I was told included the pilot, were involved in getting us out, and that the airplane and the airfield. We had been at the airfield for 1 or 2 nights and had had no food, and not much water. It seemed strange even to a mild child's eyes that the only men among us trying to leave Uganda, or being forced to, were foreigners or non-Ugandans. It is true, they had all been murdered, and many of us were already orphaned or had lost fathers, but did not know it yet. I myself do not remember specific things about the flight or medical crews other than that they had their hands full with other children and women who were wounded and a whole planeload full of sickness. I do remember everyone was terrified of flying in an airplane, and of the frequent gunshots around the airfield, and that everyone was vomiting and airsick for what seemed like an endless trip. I better remember arriving in the UK. It seemed the young women in the medical team stayed with us for several days. I think that if I had been less terrified at the time, I might have remembered these women better, but it seems likely that Buck Freundlich, who has posted above, and I might have shared that same flight, maybe even with Ms Plarres-Montes whom so many above have remembered. I have always been hungry to piece this story together, and I have found fragments in the strangest places. Thank you to all who have told their stories here. I have read the posts about the woman mentioned here to my mother. She is elderly now but still has a fine memory, and nodded at the descriptions of this young women, agreeing that she was there on that flight.

13 Oct 12 - 01:16 AM (#3418974)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,zingopossum

I used to free lance photos of musicians and actors in the Bay Area and NYC music/theatre scenes in the 60's and 70's. Although I never had a whole lotta success at the time, some of the shots I took might have been worth something by now. Unfortunately, I lost over half of my negatives and prints in 1990 in an auto theft. I used to have 3 shots with Lawrence Hammond in them. One was a shot of LH talking side-stage with Mary Travers of PPM and Tim Buckley at a benefit of some kind at the Mt Tam amphitheatre in about 1968. In the background it looks like the Airplane is one the stage. There was one from NYC of Hammond and Tim Hardin which I took backstage at Town Hall in 1970 or 71. A third one was Hammond with Mimi Farina at a Bread and Roses benefit in about 1975 (?). Also in this was a tall dark-haired guy with a beard, not sure who, and Hammond with his arm around a dark-skinned lady with white hair. I think the tall guy was someone LH played with, not sure where or how, and I had the impression the woman was someone he was romantically attached to, perhaps the person who figures in various entries above. I know I no long have prints of any of these and am going to search to see if negatives exist of the latter. In the Mary Travers shot Hammond would still have been playing with Mad River I think.

21 Oct 12 - 01:06 AM (#3423353)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,luke toms

21 Oct 12 - 01:12 AM (#3423355)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,luke toms

Sorry. hit the wrong key and just posted an empty note.
I heard Hammond play many times in California, but never heard him sing "Freightyard Thunder," so that is intriguing.

Someone asked here if he sang any other Carl Oglesby songs besides "Cherokee Queen". Although I don't think he recorded any others I heard him sing "Le Chinois" on 2 different occasions. This mysterious song begins:

Your houseboy's body floating facedown in the river,
Does anybody dare to speak his name?

I remember this is a dark dark song with a melancholy melody. Does anybody know the rest of the words?

22 Oct 12 - 06:13 PM (#3424399)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,seth in Olympia

Yeah I never give up, just keeping showing up like a bad penny as my railroading granpa used to say. I was with my friends singing the other night, and somebody busted out with the old Freddy Fender tune : Before the Next Teardrop Falls"   
Heard LH just throw that out there i nthat noisy, clutterd club space that was the Freight, and I gotta say some people were cappin' on LH for his falsetto, but friends he was made, made to sing that song.
If Freddy Fender has been there I think he would have put his guitar back into the case and just headed for the bar around the corner....
love this thread
makes me happy
Passing this on to the the younger ones as well as I can/leaving for the wilds of Panama/no more Oly winters for me
my best to all
seth from Olympia

08 Nov 12 - 08:08 AM (#3432944)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,nigel cross

Dear all,

as promised here is a link to the site selling lawrence's 'presumed lost' cd -

'le chinois' is on carl oglesby's vanguard album.

i heard carl passed on this year.


28 Nov 12 - 05:43 PM (#3443933)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Jackalope John


Got my copy today -- thanks. It's all I'd hoped for. The recording quality is great and the packaging and booklet are gorgeous. And of course Hammond's songs and voice and all the top-notch supporting musicians. It's a treat to finally hear the songs that have been discussed here over the years.

I'll be featuring this album on my next Swing Boogie shift on KKUP, Cupertino. Thanks again.

29 Nov 12 - 11:59 PM (#3444668)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Here it is, folks, the long-awaited companion to Coyote's Dream:

05 Dec 12 - 06:19 PM (#3447726)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Soliz Rosario

Is this a music site or is it appropriate to post other information? Looking at the many entries about Lawrence Hammond here I will add some of my own comments. Secorra Plarres-Montes was my oldest childhood friend since we war about 8 years old, I think. I met LH several times when they visited me in Mexico in 1974-5, and then when my husband was posted in Paris in 1976, the year of her death. A friend has just mailed me a copy of the new release of his music (Presumed Lost) from the USA. As I have just listened to this, many memories were stirred up, and I have heard several of the songs on this CD before (live in person). "Texas Border Patrol" and "Papa Redwing Blackbird" stand out. I also know Enrique Paredon, who contributed some of the percussion, and knew Roberto Gallardo, whose flute adds so much to Papa Redwing.

Secorra went through a period of frustration with the collapse of her 1st marriage and threw herself into her relief work in Africa and elsewhere. I would say she seemed somber during this time, quite unlike the lively and funny person I had grown up with. She was visibly angry about what was being done in Africa, especially to her pediatric patients. When she met Lawrence Hammond, she calmed down, rediscovered laughter, and seemed truly content for the 1st time in a very long time. After her recovery from her near-fatal 1974 illness, she stayed with me for a while while she gathered her strength, and mostly from that time I remember how silent she became. She just spent hours listening to music of any kind and sitting in my garden. By the time we were together again in Paris, she was completely a live wire again, and crammed her days with more activities than most of us could manage. At this time she and LH had finally seemed to have a plan for how to be together (geographically I mean). Her sudden death was a shock. It is still a shock 35 years later. I am so glad people whose lives she touched have remember her here. I last saw LH in Boston in 1981, while he was still in medical school. I did have a sense that he was carrying on somehow with what she had started. He must have just finished the last pieces of Presumed Lost about then. How remarkable that Shagrat Records discovered these and released them after so long. There is certainly a piece of her in this music. Now if someone could figure out how to release Coyote's Dream on a CD...

17 Dec 12 - 09:22 PM (#3453556)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,sophie rochambault

A friend has mailed me the new CD "Presumed Lost" from North America. This is a lovely record, very handsome packaging too by Shagrat Records. The singing and musicianship seem top-flight and the songs are just so original. In a way, it is a very fitting tribute to my friend Secorra Plarres-Montes who must have heard some of these songs in their early stages. I was particularly struck by the somber song "Love for the Hunter", with its mysterious lyrics and spooky singing. I had never heard this before.

Well. I recommend this one, everybody!

09 Jan 13 - 09:12 PM (#3463815)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,brdalton

Got a "Presumed Lost" copy from a friend. Some great songs here and LH does some fine singing on this one.. Notice someone has posted Papa Redwing Blackbird with its spectacular harmonies, and Love for the Hunter on YouTube. That song is spooky! What does it mean.?Especially I was just flattened by Hammond's guitar playing on Papa Redwing...and the booklet says it was not even a studio take. Am trying to figure out how he does that. Really enjoyed the guitar on Nevada McCloud too, and the stance and haunted arrangement on West Texas Border Patrol. Album is all and more than promised. Dig this guy out of Montana or wherever he is hiding out now and put in ON STAGE!

29 Jan 13 - 12:44 AM (#3472789)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,homestretch55

I heard a song called Little Britches on a radio station in theNYC area Ocean City Radio and went looking for the writer. Thanks so much to whoever posted the words here. Am always on the lookout for great cowboy songs, and am so glad fantastic ones are still being written. Am looking into how to get an album copy. I understand there are now 2 albums out there but that one is only available used in vinyl.

I read through this 10 year long thread with great interest. A doctor yet! I hunted up the Judds' "John Deere Tractor" cover and the Larry Sparks version, realized I had heard the former in the past. But the best surprise was finding Doc Watson's version of "George Gudger's Overall" in my own collection. That is the best!

10 Mar 13 - 10:31 PM (#3488974)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,ozzie knopf

I have had 3 of Hammond's songs in my repertoire since the 70's: "Tornado's Coming Down," "Tumbleweed Plantation" and "Light as a Coyote's Dream." I actually learned Tornado and Empty Rails from his "Coyote's Dream" LP. I used to play "George Gudger's Overall" but forgot the words and lost the lyric sheet that was the sleeve for the vinyl disc (mine is worn and scratchy but still plays--his website indicatea the CD can be purchased from there. I can agree with the chords to "Tornado" that BR Dalton has entered in an earlier post. I had been wondering what became of Lawrence, but sort of quit trying to find out what a few years ago.

I recognized him (grayer hair and a few more wrinkles since I saw him at one of what must have been one of his last live performances in Northhampton, MA in about 1977) about 3 weeks ago in a guitar shop in Missoula. This was because I was struck by the guitar style of someone playing an aisle over. Peered around and there he was. Asked him what he was up to, and was astonished to find he has been an MD the last 29 years, but if had had known about this website I would have been in the know. Since he mentioned a CD of previously-unreleased songs was recently released, I went online to find more. I appreciate all of the info other fans have put about him into Mudcat. I also found an apparently new website about his music which came up when googling him (with an interesting section about the rock group Mad River). Lyrics to some songs are posted there too..

Lawrence said he is living and practicing medicine in Hamilton, MT, within an hour's drive of Missoula, and is starting to perform a bit again. What intrigued me was that he said he is still writing and has accumulated more than a CD worth of unrecorded material. I always thought his imagery and his ear for rural American speech made his songwriting unique among songwriters working the Americana lode. Songs were always just real visual, and the melodies just unusual and adventurous enough to catch your ear, while still keeping a foot in the Cowboy-Country-Bluegrass vein. He still gets together to pick with David Robinson, the amazing lead guitarist from Mad River, and Rick Bockner Mad River rhythm guitarist, who has released several albums is hands-down the finest ragtime guitarist still around. For those who have not heard Bockner it is worth seeking out his gigs and CDs.

I asked about "Tumbleweed Plantation" and another great one of his called "Papa Redwing Blackbird" and found these are on the new CD. Apparently the "Papa Redwing" version is not a studio cut. These 2 alone will be worth the price.

This website is great! Learned a whole lot tonight about other artists I've been wondering about.

17 Mar 13 - 09:05 PM (#3491578)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,mark.p.

For BR Dalton, many thanks for the tips on guitar chords to the Hammond songs. As for "Love for the Hunter" I THINK it is a love song. I visited the new Lawrence Hammond website, which has a bunch of his song lyrics up on it, and discovered "Coyote's Dream" as a CD can be purchased from there.

I managed to transfer my vinyl copy to CD a couple of years ago. That vinyl LP is still available on EBay, I have noticed.

05 Apr 13 - 12:42 PM (#3499222)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,ed griffiths

Have been on the official website, to try and purchase/replace a long lost vinyl copy of Coyote's Dream, but every time it gets 'blocked' when i try to select "shipping".
Even the contact page knocks me back!!
Can anyone out there help?

07 Apr 13 - 08:52 PM (#3500253)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Patience Orowiru

I am yet another of the "lost Ugandan children" checking in. My parents, my brother and one sister were murdered by Idi Amin's killers about 2 months before I got out of Uganda. I was 11 years old at th time. My parents were not political, but I understand fell victim to family grudges. During that awful My relatives heard that flights were leaving from the Gulu airfield for the UK, and they took me out there twice. The first time, the soldiers guarding the field would not let us in, but we could see many people sitting by the runway and hangers. The next time we went back we were allowed in, with what little food we had carried. It was 2 days, mostly raining hard, before the plane arrived. I remember that the crowds, almost all women and children, wanted to rush the plane and were beaten back hard by the soldiers. We were almost all women and children, and I must have been one of the oldest of these. The lady pilot and 3 women came out of the plane and were were lined up at a tent and each one inspected by these nurses or doctors. The sickest or the wounded children were treated 1st, and I was healthy so it was quite some time before I came before the women in charge, who was small, and thin with brown skin like mine and light-colored hair. I had had a nap and she looked very tired, but she looked right into my eyes and said in French (which I studied in school) 'You are going to be all right." After so much fear for so long I remember bursting into tears and her putting her arms around me briefly. When we were all finally on the plane after many hours (and what a noisy mad flight that was) I tried to find a place as close to her as I could. My auntie came on the next flight. We went all the way to Monrovia, I think, then Morocco and then to the Midlands of the UK. I saw these 3 women again about 2 weeks later, when they came to where we were housed with more kids from Uganda and elsewhere. Approaching the lady who hugged me in Gulu, I asked (bold child that I had become!) if I could come live with her! She kissed my cheek and said, 'Dear child, right now I live nowhere." I thought this was a very strange answer for a doctor, but I told her I would go live with her there! She smiled and went on her way and I never saw or heard of her again, but I have always wondered who she was. Now I think I know. I found this site, much of which is about music unfamiliar to me, while looking for answers to my past in Uganda. Thank you to whomever keeps it.

12 May 13 - 03:29 AM (#3514113)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Berk Whitfield

Have heard rumor Hammond is coming to the UK to play some dates with Mad River's great lead guitarist David Robinson backing. Is there any truth to this one?

"Presumed Lost" now released by Shagrat, although it was recorded (apparently) over 30 years ago, shows what a startling songwriter he was and has some flat out beautiful words, music and performances. Should be a real treat to catch the elusive guy live after so many years, if rumors prove true.

By the way, some great tales and remembrances are posted above. Had no idea what a complex character he turned out to be. His life just seems to run in a million directions. I found a website he has up now, with a fair number of lyric sheets, some great photos, and also some Mad River memorabilia. Worth checking out.

29 May 13 - 02:45 AM (#3520258)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,oklahomie

Viewing the devastation in Moore, OK on a recent mercy run up there with supplies for the Red Cross, was reminded of Hammond's great song Tornado's Comin' Down and was thrilled to find someone had entered the words on this site. Was a long long time ago that was recorded and it had nearly slipped my mind, just as the old vinyl slipped out of print and memory (mine is slipping out of print too!) until recently. This is apparently still available on CD now through Hammond's website which I discovered in searching for the words. With "Galveston Flood" it is one of the better takes on a natural disaster, and made the Takoma label's " Coyote's Dream" such a gem 37 years ago. Was fairly astounded to find the lost followup to it has finally seen the light of day--("Presumed Lost" Shagrat records). Looking forward to chasing it down

07 Jul 13 - 05:50 PM (#3534823)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,George-Luc Pridieux

I am a retired pilot and flew many missions into North and East Africa with Secorra Plarres-Montes in the early and mid-1970s. Several of these were in Sierra Leone, 5 or 6 were into Uganda and were evacuation missions (1972 and 73). Two of the last I flew with her and her team were into Northwest Sudan. These were not intended to be for the purpose of evacuation, although as it happened, we did sometimes end up taking out some ill or wounded children. On the last of these in Sudan, we received a message that bandits were closing in on the airstrip where we had been conducting a clinic for the prior 3 days. This was before the days when the present Islamist regime was hiring the Janjaweed militias to do their ethnic-cleansing for them, so these guys were just tribal criminals intent on robbery. We scrambled very fast to get our supplies loaded onto the aircraft and were taxiing out onto the strip when the bandits rode in on their horses. As I recall, a few shots were landing around the airplane and people from the settlement were running alongside the plane hoping to climb on. I was told afterwards that a woman was trying to hand her infant up to the nurses on the plane. Ms Plarres-Montes was holding the ankles of Ms Sophie Rochambault who was leaning out trying to grab the child, and finally succeeded in this. Apparently the mother fell down and was struck by bullets as the plane moved away. Once we in the air, I was told that the child was already dead. This was a very upsetting event for all of us. We did not return to Sudan after this.

I came to know Ms Plarres-Montes pretty well and saw her socially in Geneva and Paris, and visited her in her mother's home in Lorraine once. She had an older brother who had been badly injured in an auto wreck and suffered chronic effects of a brain injury, requiring constant care. Secorra was quite dedicated and a very efficient medical person, so I enjoyed flying with her and her team, which was comprised also of Ms Rochambault and Ms Lucia de Vega, with whom I still rendezvous about every other year. I was also aware of Lawrence Hammond's music. We had a portable tape-player we used to fly with, and listened sometimes to his songs. I located his website (for his music) and was fascinated that he went on to become a physician.

22 Sep 13 - 08:06 PM (#3560460)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,ravalliranger

I discovered this site after hearing Lawrence Hammond play at the Afternoon of Cowboy Poetry and Song at a benefit for the Ravalli (Montana) County Museum. I was so impressed by the storytelling craft he exhibited in the 3 songs he performed that I accosted him briefly after the gig and bought a copies of both Coyote's Dream and Presumed Lost on the spot. Apparenetly it was the 1st time he had played in public for a number of years. He clearly had some great guitar skills. The songs he played, I notice, are all ones mentioned here: "Nevada McCloud" and "Little Britches" and also the unrecorded "Fiesta San Carlos," this last being one that just flattened the unsuspecting audience (I spotted one old cowboy wiping away a couple of tears at the end. I had never heard of Hammond, and certainly was unaware of his story as revealed by these posts and in the Presumed Lost liner notes. I was pleased to find that his music had jolted other listeners who have posted here. Hope he makes a 3rd CD. I am really enjoying these 2 I have. The Bitterroot Valley is a perfect place for him!

06 Dec 13 - 10:33 PM (#3582229)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,SandraMingo

I saw that show and also bought a copy of "Presumed Lost" which lead me to track down Coyote's Dream in vinyl. I missed a chance to pick up a CD of "CD" on sale at the museum. This is downright adventurous cowboy music. Lawrence Hammond has a kind of ornery wryness in the song lyrics that makes me wanta come back for more. I understand he has a career in medicine, but I am hoping he'll retire back into singing and writing. His guitar playing was special, anything but basic , just like those sorta unusual chord progressions-not the stuff you typical hear in country music, but sounding right nevertheless. Must say, I am surprised more artists haven't covered some of the tunes. Gratifying to see Doc Watson did. He always had a great ear for a good tune and story, Every one of Hammond's songs is a great short !story

02 Oct 15 - 05:38 AM (#3741266)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,jburrill

> Someone asked here if he sang any other Carl Oglesby songs besides
> "Cherokee Queen". Although I don't think he recorded any others I
> heard him sing "Le Chinois" on 2 different occasions. This
> mysterious song begins:
> Your houseboy's body floating facedown in the river,
> Does anybody dare to speak his name?
> I remember this is a dark dark song with a melancholy melody. Does
> anybody know the rest of the words?

I've just launched a new website about Oglesby's songs which includes an introduction to Oglesby and his music and links to all of his songs, as well as my arrangements of seven of them (so far) in PDF and JPG format with lyrics and chords:

Jim Burrill

20 May 16 - 04:45 PM (#3791379)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,aurelia correiles

How did I ever miss this site and these entries for so long? I also knew Secorra Plarres-Montes in the 1970s and flew as a nurse with her team in Africa 5 or 6 times, but generally to Liberia and Sierra Leone, never to Uganda or the Sudan. I also helped Secorra find her last position in Paris just before her death, when she had returned to work after her frightening illness. The descriptions above certainly capture her many sides, but what I remember is her steadiness under pressure, (when I knew she was as frightened as the rest of us in some of those disturbing situations we flew into). She also had a funny side and a wicked sense of humor and "black humor," which we all used to cope with grim situations. I understand now that her mother, her brother, and her first husband Manolo, as well as her son (who died of HIV at about 23 years), have all passed, so it is now only the shrinking community of friends and co-workers who remember her short and very graceful life. It is wonderful to find these many posts!

23 Nov 16 - 03:45 PM (#3822310)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,marie-louise bennon

I have stumbled into this site somewhat by accident and partly because of a casual mention by a friend who knew the California music scene well in the 1970s. But MY link here is to the boy I knew who I am now sure was the son of Secorra Plarres-Montes, "Lito" Gutierrez. Studied art with him in the late '80s. God, he was brilliant, a corrosively poignant draftsman whose stuff was socially very pointed. I don't know if any of his stuff survived his crazy lifestyle and his sad early death. He did show me 1 picture of his mother, whom he mentioned had died when he was 6. In reading through the posts of this thread, I would guess that was taken sometime in the early '70s as her hair appeared more blondish in the photo than the white described at the end of her life. It looked like this was taken on an airfield somewhere and there was the wing of a plane in the background. Out of curiosity, I have chased down recordings of Hammond and am struck by how many unusual subjects his songs were about, the precision of the imagery, and the musicality of the playing. This is a very unusual thread!

17 Jan 17 - 04:12 PM (#3833224)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,BR Dalton

Has this great singer and unusually talented songwriter just retreated into silence? I wonder, is he is not sitting on at least an album worth of new or never-recorded songs? In listening to Empty Rails in Garfield Country and Tumbleweed Plantation, The Legend of the Pale-Eyed Companion recently, I found myself longing to hear that desert-and-range sensibility reflected in new tales. What is he up to? Not a peep out of him since the 2013 Presumed Lost release.

01 Jun 17 - 07:40 PM (#3858379)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Fretfly

I have been listening to/rediscovering some of Hammond's later work with Mad River, in particular on their Paradise Bar and Grill album. The crazy harmonies and chord progressions of some of stuff on Coyote's Dream and Presumed Lost are not that far away from, and were telegraphed in songs like Revolution's in my Pockets and They Brought Sadness, and are especially noticeable in the acoustic rhythm guitar parts there. The great Dave Robinson lead guitar bits just magnified some of the odd harmonies. Those guy's were way ahead of the curve at the time!

It is cool to see this thread grow (over 17 years time at that)!

05 Jan 18 - 10:22 PM (#3897664)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Bennet Stolz

In about 1975 while visiting San Francisco I wandered into a pretty noisy club somewhere down towards the waterfront or lower Market St area near the Bay. Hammond and his band were on stage in what was a fairly raucous set. It seemed to me that they did play some original stuff despite the appreciative but really half-attentive audience. I had played around the bluegrass scene some in New England and New York so I was surprised to see and recognize (the late) John Herald of Greenbriar Boys fame wandering in. I wasn't the only one who noticed though, as Hammond shortly called him up to the stage, and launched into that great Floyd Chance song "Alligator Man," while handing his Martin off to Herald. That was followed as I remember by the Marty Robbins classic "End of a Long Lonely Day,". Herald was in fine voice and seemed astounded that all of the 5 other musicians on stage knew his stuff and carried the songs off without blinking, with Hammond on fiddle and his teenaged steel player and astounding lead guitar picker (Bob Weir's half-brother: I looked him up) taking their soloes. I accosted Herald after he left the stage and asked if that was all planned. He said (somewhat bewildered, I think) " Never saw these guys before in my life" I had been unfamiliar with them as well, but went to check them out on a tip from a friend. When I returned to the Bay Area again in '77, I was able to score the COYOTE's Dream album, which is really a classic of off-center 70's California country, but Lawrence Hammond had dropped out of sight and no one seemed to have any idea of where or why. I've always wondered through the years, and finally went looking online (following clues on his 2nd album liner notes) and ended up here. This is really a pretty remarkable thread. 18 years and counting: I suspect it is as extensive as it is because there is precious little elsewhere on the web and Mudcat just filled the vacuum. I recently chased down a burn of PRESUMED LOST and that has some wonderful playing and more REALLY unusual country songwriting. The stuff in this thread about his deceased fiancee is too heartbreaking. I understand he is (STILL!) practicing medicine. An unusual life, for sure

17 Mar 19 - 06:47 PM (#3982734)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Lawrence Hammond taught me guitar lessons in Berkeley...I remember him well... and David Robinson...who I used to wait on at Berkeley Fuller Paints...whatever became of them...I remember I learned a type of finger-picking from Lawrence...he said then he wanted to be a Dr. and David Robinson had a contracting office...Jemison Beshears

17 Mar 19 - 07:09 PM (#3982735)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Thank you! I discovered by reading above that Lawrence Hammond DID become a doctor...that he is in Hamilton, Montana. He works at Marcus-Daly hospital and he is an internist and has been for 29 years....

15 Jun 20 - 08:34 PM (#4059428)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Shel Stutz

Well, this is something! I was around the Bay Area in the ’70s and caught Lawrence Hammond and the Whiplash Band multiple times at various clubs, always an enjoyable show for me and my then-wife. Then he just vanished from the music scene and I had always wondered what the hell happened. I Moved up to Montana in 2006. About 10 days ago my girl and I went to an outdoor restaurant near Missoula after a round of golf where a local cowgirl Charla Baumann was playing (a couple rock tunes, a lot of classic country). Accompanying her on fender telecaster (some blistering chops there too!) and singing harmony (and occasional lead on a Bill Monroe tune and one Hank Williams) was a skinny gray-haired guy in jeans, western shirt, and boots. The 2 of them were pretty good and their arrangements were quite inventive. As we were leaving I glanced down at the handbill they had by the stage and it said the guy was Lawrence Hammond. I was kind of amazed to see him obviously quite content to be a backing picker. I lingered a bit, in hopes of chatting him up, but they were less than halfway through their 2nd set and we had to move on. Tonight I finally got around to looking him up and came across this thread, which is honestly quite remarkable and provides all kinds of answers from myriad sources. Thanks to everybody who’s posted. I plan on going to see these two play next time they are in Missoula.

12 Feb 21 - 05:49 PM (#4092868)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Solid Rosario

As there is very little elsewhere on the web about LH and especially about Secorra Plarres-Montes, I offer as follows: I have previously withheld certain things about Secorra, my oldest childhood friend, because I felt that they were not mine to share. However, nearly all of the people involved have now passed. First, “Lito “ Gutierrez (mention by Ms Bennington above, and by Marte Cosette) was not Secorra’s son by birth. He was her ex-husband’s child by a different relationship. Second , because if something it is NOT my place to reveal, Secorra was unable to have children of her own, a grief that tormented her to the end, as she adored kids. Third, in another piece of the tragic circumstances of her short life, her brother, ( alluded to by Mr Prideaux above) who had been a genius-level mathematics and physics student, got involved with a troubled young lady in the UK who had a child ( Mireille,) whom she was really incapable of mothering because of her (eventually fatal) drug use, so Secorra’s brother was attempting to gain custody at the time of the terrible accident that left him brain-damaged and destroyed his mathematical career. Secorra, with great difficulty, was able to gain custody and adopt Mireille as her own child after S’s own mother ( religiously very rigid) refused to do so., and took her back to Geneva with her. When Mireille was 4 the child contracted brain fever, (meningococcemia?). Secorra rushed her to hospital but the child died in a matter of hours. Secorra never stopped grieving this lost child. The terrible irony of S herself dying of late cardiac complications from viral brain infection is like some awful clamoring jest played by a cruel universe. This site, as a music site, is perhaps an inappropriate place for such obscure biographies, but this remarkable thread seems the only one connecting all of these people, many of whom are now really seeming to fade into darkness.

12 Feb 21 - 06:22 PM (#4092872)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,#

'Presumed Lost' by Lawrence Hammond is on YouYube--all 55 minutes of it.

13 Feb 21 - 06:25 PM (#4093010)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: Mrrzy

I remember Ozark Airlines...

14 Feb 21 - 03:32 AM (#4093046)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Gert Lettorp

Presumed Lost is collected and produced by Shagrat records (UK)
Very different kind of country music.
Unfortunately Coyote’s Dream seems lost and not available in any format. However I managed to contact LH by email and he was apparently willing to male a transfer from vinyl to cd ! and send it. As it was the costs of intetnational cheque etc (me being in Denmark, Europe, became too heavy. So I continue to enjoy my vinyl.
Great musicisn !!!! Love this thread that I keep on my iphone

17 May 21 - 09:52 PM (#4106447)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Ron D

17 May 21 - 10:03 PM (#4106448)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)

Great to find this thread! I have searched for info on Lawrence since I first got internet access in the 90's, with very few hits. This is a treasure trove! I saw him perform several times at Freight and Salvage and bought Coyote's Dream when it came out. I actually bought several copies (4, I think) and gave some away.
It is nice to see that I am not the only one who wished to have a recording of Little Britches. I also love his rendition of John Deere Tractor. Someone above pointed out that the Judd's version is slowed down and that is certainly true. They are great singers, but LH just did it so much better!
In all my searching, the most interesting thing (prior to this thread) I found was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead. Turns out he was a half brother to James Louis Parber of the Whiplash band. The whole story is here: There is also a letter to the editor regarding the Weir article from LH's brother and another from one of James' brothers.

16 Mar 23 - 07:04 PM (#4167766)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Flight 641 (Lawrence Hammond)
From: GUEST,Fretfly

Haven’t posted on this thread for years. Wonderful to see it’s still up and spinning. These days LH’s JOHN DEERE TRACTOR, having gone through iterations from Hammond to bluegrass legend Larry Sparks to the hit version by the Judds who subsequently apparently re-recorded the vocals over the original instrumental track for rerelease on their LOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE album, this Lazarus of a song is now all over the place in its latest iteration by bluegrass phenomenon Billy Strings. Strings adheres pretty lovingly to the Sparks version. Not too sure what Hammond is up to these days, but it appears from my internet search that he is still backing up singer Charla Bauman out in wild Montana. Hope the airwaves yield up some reward for this long-under-appreciated songwriter.