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Thread: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

  1. #1
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    For the folkies on the Cafe, noting the death of Bill Staines on Sunday. A week ago, he announced his retirement from touring at age 74, due to the effects of metastatic prostate cancer. Over a 57-year career, beginning in 1960's Cambridge coffeehouses, Bill logged over two million touring miles, almost all driving, as detailed in his 2003 book, The Tour.

    Two add just a smidgen of mando content, I took my Stahl mandola onstage at one of Bill's last performances, last September at our Turtle Hill Folk Festival in Rochester, and played back-up while he sang one of his best-known songs, Place In the Choir:

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




    To me, one of the most loved voices in folk music; I'll miss him.
    Allen Hopkins
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  3. #2
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    Thanks, Allen.

    Perhaps Bill has a Place in The Choir Celestial.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    Oh, dear. Sad news, indeed. I've seen him several times over the years. mostly at festivals, but a couple of times at coffeehouse-type split bills. He wasn't my destination performer, being interested in the other act on the bill. Also, at the time, I was focused on the burgeoning wealth of talent emanating from the pool of younger female artists blowing up the Northeast - Patty Larkin, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, etc., etc. But I have an ear for talent and creativity, which I could tell he had a-plenty. In his own unassuming, quiet but steadfast way, he was a towering talent. RIP, sir. Thanks for the songs.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  7. #4
    Ted Heinonen
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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    We lost a gentle soul. He was generous every time he visited the northland here by the unsalted sea. I remember over 30 years ago he performed at the Northshore Music Festival that was on the shore of Lake Superior. A memorable 3 day festival at the Lutsen Mountain Ski Resort. He taught an afternoon workshop of yodeling... on that mountain - with a large artist tablet on an easel with handwritten phonetically spelled yodel phrases. He had more fun writing out the phrases and listening to everyone trying to yodel. The echos of the workshop still drift down the mountain there. He was still in the area for awhile and just dropped in to our Wednesday nite jam session here in Duluth. Just popped in with his guitar and asked if he could sit in... We played into the evening with smiles all around. I'll have to sing the Roseville Fair tomorrow night, maybe The River or My Sweet Wyoming Home.... He will be missed. Thank you Bill you were a gentleman.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    Ah, yes, "Roseville Fair" - thanks for the reminder. I knew there was one of his songs I just loved, but couldn't call it up. I think I heard it from Nanci Griffith first, and lord knows she did a fine version of it. Now they're both up yonder and they can swap verses as much as they want.

    Nice that both of these versions include fiddle and banjo.



    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

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  11. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    ...Nice that both of these versions include fiddle and banjo...
    Got to –– they're in the chorus. Roseville Fair is probably his best-known original song; Secondhand Songs website lists 12 cover recordings, Griffith's the best-known, but also Makem & Clancy, about ten more.

    Bill Staines probably played a dozen times in Rochester over the past ±40 years, mostly for Golden Link, our local folk club. We had a 50th anniversary this year, and he was unanimously picked to be a feature at our little Turtle Hill Folk Festival. My wife Joan sat and talked with him at a picnic table for about an hour at the festival, and he made no mention of his cancer, or of his imminent retirement from performing.

    Not given us to know -- thankfully, I guess -- when lives will end, if we avoid Death Row and suicide. Bill's family had started up a funding page to assist with his medication (he probably had the standard folk singers' medical coverage, i.e. others' generosity). I made a "gallows humor" reference in discussion with a friend, that Bill probably had one of the shortest intervals between retirement and interment I've seen. Still, I hope to be playing and performing as close to the end as I can, and I would wish that for the other musicians I know, and those I don't know but enjoy and admire.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. #7
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    Ah man, this is sad news. I saw Bill perform many times. He had such a gentle spirit. I think many of his songs stand with the best of the American folk tradition.

  13. #8
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    This is terrible and sad news. I saw Bill perform several times. Years ago, he came to our local wildlife center (Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee) to perform, and the staff had rigged up little stuffed animals on monofilament lines in the rafters of the auditorium, and on the chorus of "All God's Critters," they fell from the ceiling and danced around.

    As I get older, and have now been married for over thirty years to someone I met ten years prior to marrying, "Roseville Fair" means more and more to me. The next time I play it, I am sure there will be tears in my eyes.

    RIP and godspeed, Bill.
    Kit
    Guitars, Mandos, Violins, Dulcimers, Cats

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    Default Re: Bill Staines passes (NMC)

    Bill was just here a couple of weeks ago. My guitar playing partner was a fan way back in Boston folk days. We pulled out a bunch of his tunes for our Lions Club audience this past week. Even we 2 can’t mess-up Roseville.
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