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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Stefan Wirz Lyr Add: Bamboo (Dave Van Ronk) (20) RE: Lyr Add: Bamboo (Dave Van Ronk) 08 Apr 03

"The only song I ever wrote that made me any money, and I hate it. It started out as a guitar exercise, but since I usually taught songs in those days, I needed lyrics. Vaguely remembering a piece that Dick Weissman used to do on the banjo, I carelessly flung together some nonsensical doggerel and used Dick's chorus - "River, river she come down." My students seemed happy enough, and that should have been that, except that Peter, Paul & Mary, who were in the process of getting their act together, took a fancy to it. Renamed 'Bamboo,' PP&M performed it on their first album, which sold seven trillion copies. Particularly embarrassing was the way some of the pop music critics homed in on the lyrics. I cringed when they called them 'surrealist.' One erudite soul (I forget who) compared them with Garcia Lorca. Fortunately, the Muzak version was an instrumental. I shared the royalties (and the chagrin) with Dick.' (from Dave's liner notes to The Folkways Years 1969-61)

The Journeymen (John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, and Dick Weissman) recorded 'River come down' (giving credits to 'John Philips/Richard Weissman') on their 1963 debut album Capitol ST 1629 (also on 45rpm Capitol 4625). Rereleased - among others - on Rhino's CD 'Troubadours of the Folk Era Volume 3'

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