Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday Coffee House

Note FYI: If you have problems playing the songs, for the past month or so, I often can't get songs or videos to play when I use Firefox as my browser. Up to that point I had no problems with Firefox; music and videos do play OK when I use IE or Opera.

Allow me to introduce you to two of the most breathtaking folk singers I have ever heard: Bob Gibson and Bob Camp.

Singer-song writer Bob Gibson was traveling the United States performing folk songs in his early 20s when he found himself in Chicago in 1956 just as Albert Grossman launched The Gate of Horn, a club specializing in folk music. After an 11-month gig at the Horn, Gibson was famous among folk singers, not only in Chicago, but across the nation. By 1958 he was a leading light in the folk renaissance, had recorded 4 LPs, was appearing as a regular on the Arthur Godfrey show, and been one of the singers who initiated the Hootenanny craze in New York’s Greenwich Village.

Bob (Hamilton) Camp was an actor and comedian as well as a folk singer. Although not seen, millions of folks enjoyed Camp who was the voice of several Smurfs on animated TV series. He was seen on TV as the manic salesman Del on WKRP in Cincinnati,” the insane Boots Miller on M*A*S*H and Mary’s height-impaired date on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Bob Gibson and Bob Camp joined together as a duo in the late 1950s. Both Gibson and Camp stood just a few inches over five feet tall; their mutual friend, Shel Silverstein said that when they were on stage together, Gibson and Camp looked like two crooked English jockeys fixing a race.

The live performance from which the songs in this Wednesday Coffee come, At the Gate of Horn, has been called (by Richie Unterberger) one of the most influential folk albums of the early 1960s, striking a chord with many young musicians with its dual harmonies, verve, and irreverent humor

Chicago Cops

If you have lived in Chicago or even visited it extensively, the references in this song will be familiar even if the event it describes happened before your (not my) time. The song is introduced with the words: This ballad marks a very historic event in the city of Chicago. A whole bunch of cops got busted.

The Thinking Man/Johnny Has Gone for Soldier

These are two parodies: the first is of the song John Henry and the second is as it is entitled. Be sure to have your laughing face on as you listen.

Old Blue

If you are an animal lover and the only version of Old Blue you have heard is the Peter, Paul, and Mary comedy version, you’ll find this (close to the original) version a very special song.

Betty and Dupree

We will close Gibson and Camp’s performance at Nick’s Bytes Wednesday Coffee House with the song that ends the LP of their performance at the Gate of Horn. Before I heard their version of Betty and Dupree, the song was already part of my music repertoire. After I heard it, my way of playing and singing it was changed for ever. (I really wish I had not been forced to sell my 12-string guitar a couple of years ago to make a mortgage payment!)


  1. cool! I love the ol' coffee houses. thanks for sharing the music!

  2. Familiar with both artists, and sadly was too young at the time to ever be in a coffeehouse when all the up and coming performers played.

    There's no way the coffeehouse today is anywhere near the way it was in the 60s and hundreds of years earlier.

    Look forward to what you comeup with every week.

    Oh, I did see the New Christy Minstrels when Barry McGuire was in the group. My Dad worked for UAL and they played a Christmas show at the airport in SF for UAL families only. They were great! ; )

  3. PINK: Thank you. This coffee house thing is really fun for me. It brings back memories—lots of memories—and I have lots of songs and even recorded poetry (Ginsberg, Kerouac, etc.) to share.

    COFFEE MESSIAH: During my freshman year in college I had a neat grad student teaching me English. If I remember correctly, his name was (perhaps) McCrown. He impressed me not only because he introduced me to the works of people like Sartre, Camus, Kerouac, etc., but because he had a full, almost burgundy colored beard and drove a British racing green MGA.

    Something about my writing—or maybe it was something about me—must have touch him because toward the end of the semester he invited me to have coffee with him at a local spot near campus. He talked a lot about my writing and suggested that I consider it as a profession. He also said that if I wanted to became a “real writer,” I should drop out of college immediately (before “college ruined” me) and “hit the road.” Then, after the world “educated me,” I could return to college.

    That was in 1964. There are times when, as I have learned of the people who were on the road in those days, I wish I had taken his advice. There are coffee houses I have heard of in Greenwich Village, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, San Francisco, etc. that I wish I have visited in those days. When I think of the people I could have met… well, I didn’t and can’t change that now. But still, I wish I had!

  4. Nick,
    Thanks for introducing me to Gibson and Camp. Are they still around? They surely are a coffee house team.
    The Bach

  5. BACHELOR: You are most welcome! To the best of my knowledge, both Gibson and Camp have moved on to that great heavenly coffee house, wherever it may be.

  6. Once again Nick, you have expanded my world a bit! Thank you!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Great offerings Nick...I'll be back to listen to the rest later. Cheers my fellow Aquarian!!

  9. What a fantastic way to wake up on Wednesday morning. I'm loving these posts. Thanks!

  10. Hi Nick,

    For some reason, I can't get the songs to play, so I'm just singing to myself - a distant second choice to hearing your offerings of tunes.

    Thanks for the folk music education. I hope to get the audio part soon.

  11. Bless you, Nick, for remembering my home town (Chicago) and making folk cool again. I grew up loving folk music until I developed a drug habit, then it was rock. But my roots are folk.

    Coffee M--I'll be by to visit.

    Nick, I just got a kitten, Artemis, goddess of the hunt. My cat Muffin is highly displeased.

  12. You played a 12-string?? That is so cool!

  13. Nick,I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the coffee house music. I almost forgot about it totally.
    As a fellow Aquarian I thank you for Friendship. I can just picture someone playing a Hammered Dulicimer at a coffee house.Oh yeh I have at Roscoe Village. Here in Ohio.
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Big Time Hugs and God's love and Blessings headed your way.

  14. This coffeehouse is a great idea. Thnak you.

  15. nick, i so love to read your memories! some good, some not so happy, but, all touching!

  16. Nick, this coffee house Wednesdays brings back so many memories. I remember Betty and Dupree so well. And I remember you playing it on your twelve string guitar. Do you remember that coffee house in Greenwich Village? I think it was on Bleecker Street. Susan took you there and I tagged along. And the one at Hike’s Point? So many memories! I wonder if we really could appreciate how great life was back then.

  17. Hi Nick. Interesting. I haven't heard of them.

  18. Interesting Post. I loved the photo of Alex helping with the 1000th post. Peace

  19. I am enjoying your coffee house.

  20. Thanks for sharing your music Nick, I've never heard these before .

  21. I appreciate these songs and your coffeehouse, sir.

  22. Your monday jokes always give me a smile.

  23. I am most impressed with this Coffee House, Rev Saint.