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CD135 -

Chicago Town & Points West - Art Thieme LIVE

Chicago Town Blues
Groundhog
I'm Gonna Leave Old Texas Now
Chicago Town Blues 3:31
Wreck of the Tennessee Gravy Train 3:00
Diamond Joe (Jo?) 5:00
Jim Bridger and the Winter of 1830 7:00
Sioux Indians 3:11
When I was A Cowboy/Roy and Trigger 4:12
Stealin' 3:45
A Scottish Soldier 3:23
Lazy Bones 2:44
Groundhog 2:16
The Hills of Roane Coounty 2:46
Molly Darling/Mary Charlotte Anne McGhee 4:05
The Biggest Whatever 2:33
San Antonio Rose 1:46
Soho On Saturday Night/No More Booze 3:48
Hard Times In the Mill/A Dollar Ain’t a Dollar Anymore 4:16
I'm Gonna Leave Old Texas Now 2:45

Art is America's best-loved troubador.
Many years ago, a great singer by the name of T. Texas Tyler was known as "the man with a million friends". Unfortunately, Tex is no longer with us, but that title has passed on to Art Thieme. Art is a one man skiffle band. His main instruments are his guitar and banjo, but he plays everything from the saw, to the jew's harp, to the nose flute, as well as another dozen or so weird gadgets. None of them, however, is as wierd as his sense of humor. He tells the most outrageous puns and stories so well that you laugh even if you've heard them a dozen times or more. He has donated his time and talents to getting dozens of folk clubs started. He has taught children to make and play home-made instruments. He has taught other musicians, as well. He shares his songs with anyone who will listen. He has written many articles for folk publications. He has folk music radio shows. He he has performed in schools, in concert halls, at concerts, by campfires, and on riverboats. He has collected songs (and bad jokes), while travelling across the country, from hoboes, children and other musicians. Like a real balladeer, he may never sing or play a song the same way twice, but adds new interpretations with each performance. He is a real treasure!

Don Stevens, All Music Guide








Art Thieme: Chicago Town & Points West

Chicago Town Blues 3:31
This is my warts and roses love song to my home town. Chicago continues to be my musical, intellectual, and inspirational home even though Carol and I now live in Peru, Illinois. —Recorded at the Equinox Festival in the middle of State Street—Madison, Wisconsin by Wisconsin Public Radio—September, 1979

Wreck of the Tennessee Gravy Train 3:00
From Uncle Dave Macon.Here is a song that could be taken rightout of today’s headlines. Recorded by Fritz Schuler at the University of Wisconsin, Manitowoc in March of 1979. Fritz and Mary's wondrous Golden Ring Music Store and Folklore Center is a must stop in Wisconsin.

Diamond Joe (Jo?) 5:00
From the singing of Parchman Farm prisoner Charlie Butler in 1937. Here I sing it with my altered nine-string Martin D-76 guitar at the Madison, Wisconsin Folk Singing Festival. ( I am possibly wrong about my steamboat connection idea as expresses on this CD—but the romantic side of me wants my theory to, somehow, prove true.)

Jim Bridger and the Winter of 1830 7:00
From a tall tale I heard in Oregon—combined with a tall tale Richard Chase told at the first University of Chicago Folk Festival in 1961. This tale, like most tall ones, does not have a punch line. These “lies told on purpose” helped people deal with, belittle, and get the best of all sorts of hard times—like terrible winter storms. Recorded at the Madison, Wisconsin Folk Singing Festival.

Sioux Indians 3:11
Learned from the singing of Alex Moore and included on one of the old Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song’s 12-inch long play record albums. Surprisingly, there is a modicum of respect shown in this song for the Native American chief and his fighters.My rendering of this great ballad (story song) was recorded at Stages Music Hall on Clark Street in Chicago—November 14, 1979—by Rich Warren for WFMT-FM radio.

When I was A Cowboy/Roy and Trigger 4:12
From Leadbelly—Recorded during a song swap with good friend Jerry Rasmussen at the wonderful folk club and restaurant Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Fine singer, Bill Camplin and wife, Kitty Welch, make the best pizza in the world there.

Stealin' 3:45
A fine old love song from the Memphis Jug Band. Also recorded at Café Carpe by Tom Martin-Erikson for Wisconsin Public Radio.

Gene and Champion/Riding Down the Canyon/Cowboy’s Lament 5:58
Gene Autry and Smiley Burnett wrote Riding Down The Canyon in the back seat of a car on the way to a gig near Chicago when both were with the WLS NATIONAL BARN DANCE in that city. It surely paints a lovely picture. Cowboys Lament is a famous traditional cowboy ballad. This was at the No Exit Coffeehouse in the 1970s. --- During the thirty-seven years I played at “The Exit” (as we often called the grand little place) it was owned, first, by Joe Moore, then, by Peter Steinberg, and last by Brian and Sue Kozin. They've all been wonderful friends who provided great coffee, unique bathroom graffiti plus probing and inspiring conversation on more than a just a few occasions. It was a combination oasis, living room, hash house, library, and personal true-love dating service - all right there by the Chicago Transit Authority elevated train tracks for ease of access.

A Scottish Soldier 3:23
From the singing of Andy Stewart in the early 1960s. --- Ben Franklin said, “There never was a good war – or a bad peace.” Realizing the total truth of that, I honor the sacrifice, the valor, and the memory of those who fought. I also believe just as strongly that we should honor those whose valor, commitment, and sacrifice led them to resist and protest emphatically while trying to end the wars that killed so many just like this Scottish soldier.

Lazy Bones 2:44
I've always loved this song from Hoagy Carmichael. Doing it on a 5-string banjo was my own idea—as inspired by Pete Seeger (Blue Skies), Billy Faier (world music), Bob Gibson (Andalucian Dance), Stuart Halliday (Scotland The Brave), Cathy Fink (Monkey Music and much more), and Frank Hamilton(Miserlou).—These friends/mentors of mine all pushed the banjo's musical envelope. Being children of the city in love with Old-Timey southern music, it was possibly natural that we took our northern urban music and tried to rural-ize it.


Groundhog 2:16
Self explanatory. With a Jaw/Jew’s/Juice harp.

The Hills of Roane Coounty 2:46
Sung at the No Exit—in the 1980s. Learned from the old-timey band Philo Glee And Mandolin Society—1959-60. Here's the story: "The Killer Poet."

Molly Darling/Mary Charlotte Anne McGhee 4:05
Both of these songs are for Carol Anita Thieme and our darling granddaughter, Chloe Moon Thieme. ( Rec. at No Exit)—John Hartford told me Molly Darling was written by Will B. Hayes in the 1800s. I learned M.C.A.McGhee from Bill Chipman of Senath, Missouri. I tape recorded Bill at Chicago's Old Town Folklore Center where I was assistant manager in 1966.

The Biggest Whatever 2:33
A creature song from The Dillards—No Exit.

San Antonio Rose 1:46
By Bob Wills—banjo solo—very loose—Recorded at No Exit—a song swap with Cathy Fink who, with her partner Marcy Marxer, won their FIRST GRAMMY in 2004. Congratulations! You two are the best!!

Soho On Saturday Night/No More Booze 3:48
Recorded by Paul Stamler at a house concert at his home in St. Louis, Missouri. Paul also produced my 1998 CD for Waterbug Records called THE OLDER I GET, THE BETTER I WAS. Soho On Saturday Night is a song of Pittsburgh that I got from Vivian Richman. I learned No More Booze from the singing of Canadian Ed McCurdy.

Hard Times In the Mill/A Dollar Ain’t a Dollar Anymore 4:16
H.T.I.T.M. was learned from the monumental folksinger extraordinaire, Pete Seeger. As I say on the CD, it contains my favorite line in all of folk music! --- A.D.A.A.D.A.M. is from a 78-rpm record by The Union Boys.

I'm Gonna Leave Old Texas Now 2:45
Learned from Bob Gibson—1959. This is how I sang it to end my portion of the show to aid the then injured folksinger Michael Cooney at Stages Music Hall—Chicago—Nov.4, 1979. (Michael is fine now!!!) This little song really says exactly what I feel about my life spent in the American folksong revival: I'm a better man for just the knowin’ of you.

    
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