Mudcat Café message #2103487 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #75122   Message #2103487
Posted By: Don Firth
15-Jul-07 - 02:20 PM
Thread Name: Little known '60s Folk Singers
Subject: RE: Little known '60s Folk Singers
Mike Atwood. Of the singers who sang at Pamir House, he probably had more longevity there than anyone else. For several months in 1961 in particular, but off and on for a couple of years, I also sang at Pamir House. On Friday and Saturday evenings, usually perched on stools up front (or against the back wall, depending on how you looked at it) and reading from left to right would be me, Mike Atwood, and most evenings, Jerry Murry, and/or Jim Wilhelm. Sometimes either replacing or adding to this mob would be Sue Hall, Judy Flenniken, Nancy Quensé, and occasional others (not all at once, of course). Generally no planned program, we just bounced songs back and forth and played off each other. Kinda like a party/songfest. I'd say that, as far as the entertainment was concerned, people were getting their money's worth! Most people seemed to really enjoy the informality of the whole thing.

After the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, I went on to do most of my coffeehouse singing at The Place Next Door (later, when Stan James bought it, it became The Corroboree), and Mike pretty much stuck with Pamir House. I didn't see him very often during that time. Sometime in 1963 I think, Mike, riding his motorcycle, got hit by a car in an intersection and lost a leg. After that, I understand that he moved in with his mother in Arlington, Washington (some miles north of Seattle). I know he did go to the 1964 Berkeley Folk Festival with three or four other people (Pamir House regulars like Jerry Murry and Jim Wilhelm). I ran into them there and we had an after-concert party one night.

The last time I saw Mike was at a "Pamir House Reunion" concert, held at a club/tavern on Ballard Avenue in Seattle in 1991 (I've got the T-shirt!). All kinds of people showed up, some folks who hadn't seen each other in a couple of decades. Those who were still singing (most of us) each sang a brief set. Lots of fun and gobs of nostalgia. Big party at Paul Gillingham's house afterward that went on to the wee small hours of the morning. I chatted with Mike a bit at the party. As I recall, he said he was still living in Arlington, but wasn't doing much singing (not much opportunity there).

And this I hesitate to mention, because I don't know if it's true or not, but a little while later, someone told me that Mike had passed away.

I'd like to hear some of your memories of Pamir House and the folks there, Knutson. Do I know you?

Don Firth