Club News

Musical Meetings

Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl & Parnassus Streets in San Francisco. Singing and jamming in three separate rooms start at 8:00 p.m. Snacks are provided through $1 food kitty donations or finger food contributions. Guests are always welcome, no one is expected to “perform”, and there is no charge.

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Date September 12 September 26 October 10 October 24 November 7
Setup Ann Haebig Joel Rutledge Melissa Sarenac Melissa Sarenac Joel Rutledge
Bulletin Board Susan Wilde Debbie Klein Estelle Freedman Debbie Klein Marisa Malvino
Host/ess Kathy Lutes Dave Kahn Betsy Bannerman Paula Joyce Debbie Klein
Host/ess Carolyn Jayne Yvette Tannenbaum Melissa Sarenac Pazit Zohar Susan Wilde
Singing Room Faith Petric Debbie Klein Susan Wilde Melissa Sarenac Marisa Malvino
Theme Celebrations Cure-alls, Ills, Hope Food & Drink Flora & Fauna Reflection, Solitude, Enlightenment
Cleanup Morgan Cowin Paula Joyce Joel Rutledge Dave Sahn Marlene McCall

Board Meetings

 The SFFMC board meets on the second Tuesday of each month -- potluck at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 8:00 p.m. All Club members are welcome to attend the potluck dinner and the Board meeting.

 NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday, October 26, at
Abe and Joan Feinberg’s.

Club News

New Members

Welcome to the following new Folk Club members who have joined since April:

Jamar AndrewsDennis JaffeRandall Potter
Nancy BanghCynthia JohnsonJane Preston
Ruth BennettNancy KarrigacaCarol Randall
Marion Kay CookJo Anne KellerBruce Sherman
Eve DonovanReinhard KummerleMark Smith
Jay EsteyMartha LeeThomas Sola
Jonathan GillTom MeskoJudy Spiegel
Richard GliddenMike MurphyBrigitte Stein
Laura Goldbaum Derek/Pamela O'NeilJohn Taylor
Peggy GriffithKevin OlsenRobert White
Heather HarrellMarilyn OremDeidre Young
Heidi HubrichPamela Osgood

Woody Guthrie Tribute Hootenanny

Come to the International Café at 508 Haight St at Fillmore, SF, on September, 13, 2008 for the club's monthly Hootenanny Night. September's show features Sam Misner & Megan Smith and lots of local singers paying tribute to the one and only Woody Guthrie. More info at Free!

Songs of Sea Labor

Labor Day, Monday, September 1, noon-1:30 pm, aboard the historic sailing ship Balclutha, Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco, CA. Admission: $5. Free for those under age 15 and for those with national park passes.

Celebrate Labor Day aboard the tall masted ship Balclutha at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park with a performance of "Songs of Sea Labor" by folk club members and noted sea music performers Dick Holdstock and Allan MacLeod.

Holdstock and MacLeod perform authentic songs of their homelands England and Scotland, and of North America. New insights into history and old customs are revealed in these work songs of the people. Joining them will be Richard Adrianowicz, Jim Nelson, Denis Franklin, and Ricky Rackin. The show will be introduced by Ranger Peter Kasin.

Admission to the concert is simply the cost of boarding the fleet of historic floating vessels berthed at Hyde Street Pier (see above). Ticket booth is located halfway up Hyde Street Pier. No advance reservations.

Holdstock & MacLeod CD Release Show

Friday, September 5, 8:00 pm, the Palms Playhouse, 13 Main Street, Winters, CA. Admission: $15.

Dick Holdstock and Allan MacLeod have performed together at maritime musical events and festivals for over thirty years (info: To celebrate the release of their new CD, Deepwater Return, which includes sea shanties and songs of the sea that Holdstock and MacLeod have never recorded before, they will be performing with a chorus of Bay Area shanty singers and musicians who sang on the CD. Be prepared to sing along on the choruses!

July 4 Campout

-- Phyllis Jardine

The July 4 camp at Boulder Creek Scout Reservation went well, with good weather -- warm, but not so hot you had to swim in self defense. There were a few mosquitoes and yellow jackets, but we didn't hear of any yellow-jacket stings. We had a good time.

Attendance. Campers came in gradually, and by Saturday night, we were anxious about being able to pay the camp fee, which is $1,200 per night for the second and third nights. We asked for donations, and received about $200, which was a help. Many thanks to those who made donations to help keep the 4th of July camp.

We held a brief meeting at camp, with several Board members and other interested members attending, to discuss the July 4 campout financial problems and what to do in the future. Several people gave suggestions, which will be discussed at the September 9 Board meeting.

Boy Scouts. Shortly before camp, I received an e-mail that some Boy Scouts were coming Sunday about 1:00 p.m.; they had been forced out of their camp at Pico Blanco by the fire near Big Sur. Some of the scouts and leaders arrived Saturday, however, and others in the morning Sunday, causing minor disturbances in the parking lot. Several SFFMC campers complained and asked if we could get a partial discount. We wrote a letter to the ranger, requesting a discount. The scouts gave us a $200 discount for the third night, which helped with the finances.

Future July 4 camps. We cannot continue with the July 4th camps like this, financially. We have requested reservations for July 4, 2009, but we will have to make some changes to be able to afford the camp. If you have suggestions, we would be glad to hear them. Send them to Phyllis Jardine, and we will discuss them at the September 9 Board meeting. As usual, members are welcome to attend Board meetings; see Board meetings for meeting information.

The Music of All God's Critters

-- Robert Rodriquez

"All God's critters got a place in the choir; some sing low, some sing higher, some sing out loud on the telephone wire, some just clap their hands, paws, or anything they got now."

What folkie does not know the chorus of this classic Bill Staines song, in which critters of all sorts, shapes, and sizes make their voices ring in harmonious song and music? It should therefore be no surprise to learn that critters who sing and make music, or think they can sing and make music, show up in tales from around the world.

From the world's oldest collection of fables, the Indian Panchatantra, comes the tale of a cunning jackal who, making mischief, convinces a foolish donkey that he can sing. When the donkey raises his voice in what he thinks is song, some nearby farmers fall upon the poor critter and quickly dispatch him to the great concert hall in the sky. Centuries later, this same ploy resurfaced in Europe as part of several cycles of beast fables. In Finland, a fox played the same trick upon a bear, with similar results to the unfortunate ursine beastie, while Reynard the fox did the same to poor Isaferim the wolf in the famous beast cycle, which would see print for the first time in 1486 on William Caxton's printing press. Reynard's Mexican cousin, Tio Zoro, did the very same thing to hapless Coyote in a tale which also cropped up in the Hispanic southwest.

In Jamaica, they tell stories about Ananse and his many tricks. He taught the monkeys a song in which he tricked them into telling tiger how they stole food from him, thus angering him so much he chased them up into the nearby trees, where monkeys have lived ever since. Tiger, however, was so ashamed of how he'd been humiliated that he slunk off into the remote forest and jungle, where he has lived ever since. And Ananse, fearful that tiger would eventually hunt him down for his treachery, wound up hiding in the rafters of houses, where he has been ever since as well.

In a story from Bangladesh, a cunning and resourceful cat acted as a go-between for two lovers, helping the young man win his true love by serenading the lady outside her window and convincing her that he couldn't live without her. Eventually, with the cat's musical aid, they married and lived happily ever after, with the cat as their constant companion.

From Germany and the Brothers Grimm comes perhaps the best known tale in which critters take center stage, the Brementown Musicians. Knowing that their masters would put them out to pasture to fend for themselves when they passed their prime, a donkey, rooster, dog, and cat joined forces and ran away. They headed to Bremen, to become town musicians, but before arriving there, they discovered a robber's house deep in the woods, and using their musical talents, frightened the miscreant away, taking possession of the house and all that was in it. They lived comfortably and happily and made music every night to their hearts' content.

In a classic tale from Iceland, a fellow named Jack, in selling three cows to keep him and his mother from starvation, came into possession of a harp-playing bee, a mouse, and a bumclock (a type of beetle). When the bee played the harp, the mouse and bumclock danced and made other folks, and even inanimate objects like pots and pans, dance. Meanwhile, the king of Ireland had a daughter who had never smiled or laughed in all her life and her father promised her hand in marriage to anyone who could change that situation. Enter Jack and his minuscule menagerie and before story's end, Jack's critters made her laugh three times, and of course he won her and the kingdom. Even his dear old mother lived happily in the king's palace.

If a bee can play a harp in an Irish tale, there are similar counterparts elsewhere, including several African tales in which jungle critters play and use magical drums to good advantage, a Syrian story in which a clever gazelle helps a wandering prince win a sultan's daughter for a wife by skillfully making music with a magic lute and a story from the former Yugoslavia in which a fox manages to take up the fiddle just in time to help save an entire village from being ensnared by the devil and a wicked magician.

Even ghosts in a graveyard were charmed by good musicianship in a tale from ancient Japan in which a magical fox creature kept a cemetery full of ghostly beings entertained all night through skillful playing of a biwa, a four-string instrument much like a lute.

And thus, whether it is whales in the sea who sing out lustily, doves or cuckoos who mourn for lost loves through plaintive music-making, or foolish and pretentious barnyard hens or roosters who fall prey to cunning foxes who convince them how well they can actually sing, tales from around the world amply show that even the lowliest of critters can make music when necessary. And so indeed, as Bill Staines says in his song, all God's critters do indeed have a place in the choir, and we folkies and story lovers are the better for it.

Artie Traum

Artie Traum, guitarist, songwriter and producer who brought the spirit of the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene to Bearsville, New York, near Woodstock, died on Sunday at the age of 65. His brother, Happy Traum, who occasionally performed with him, said the cause was liver cancer.

In a long and varied career, Artie played folk music and smooth jazz; recorded ten albums of his own and four with his brother; produced albums; composed film scores; created guitar-instruction books and videos; and teamed with his brother in producing an NPR radio program.

Having grown up in the Bronx, Artie gravitated to the Greenwich Village club scene in the 60s, listening to blues, folk music and jazz, and he was soon performing there. He made his first recording in 1963 as a member of the True Endeavor Jug Band. In the late 1960s, Artie followed Happy to Woodstock, and they began working as a duo, performing at Newport Folk Festival in 1969 and releasing their first studio album. Managed by Albert Grossman, whose other clients included the Band, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul & Mary, the Traums toured as an opening act with these groups and often headlined their own shows. They released additional duo albums in 1971 and 1975, and Artie's first solo album was released by Rounder Records in 1977. The Traums reunited as a duo for a 1994 album and continued to play concerts together.

In Woodstock during the '70s and '80s, Artie also performed and co-produced the Woodstock Mountains Revue, a folk group that featured the Traums, Pat Alger, Jim Rooney, Bill Keith, Larry Campbell, John Herald and John Sebastian. Guest artists Maria Muldaur, Rory Block, Eric Andersen, Paul Butterfield and Paul Siebel joined the group for recordings. The Revue recorded five classic albums for Rounder Records, and although Rounder allowed over 50 of their tracks to go out-of-print, the band is widely considered one of the premier folk groups of the time. "He was a real instigator, bringing people together from various styles," said Happy Traum, "and melding them into a conglomerate that became something totally different."

In 1988, the brothers co-hosted "Bring It On Home," a live folk show at NPR affiliate WAMC in Albany, New York, and Artie composed film scores for PBS shows.

Artie's songs and instrumentals were recorded by The Band, David Grisman and Tony Rice. He wrote dozens of instructional books and DVDs about music and guitar styles, published by Happy Traum's company Homespun Tapes. Artie also toured for Taylor Guitars, performing guitar clinics where he demonstrated the guitar styles he studied and performed for over 35 years.

The International Jug Band Festival

Saturday & Sunday, September 27-28, Sutter Creek, CA.

The International Jug Band Festival is produced by the California Jug Band Association, whose mission is to promote the preservation and performance of jug band music as an original American musical art form. This year's festival is expanding to two days, to be held in conjunction with the Sutter Creek Blues and Brews Festival. For additional information about the association or the festival, or if you are a jug band that would like to participate, or if you would like to volunteer to help with festival, check out the website at

I don't make jokes. I just watch the Government and report the facts.

-- Will Rogers