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Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution (May 2008)

Roger in Baltimore 08 May 08 - 09:53 AM
Jeri 08 May 08 - 09:18 AM
Joe Offer 08 May 08 - 02:38 AM
Anglo 08 May 08 - 01:46 AM
GUEST,Eugene 08 May 08 - 12:32 AM
Janie 08 May 08 - 12:11 AM
TRUBRIT 08 May 08 - 12:04 AM
Ron Davies 07 May 08 - 11:51 PM
Big Mick 07 May 08 - 11:50 PM
GUEST,Nerd 07 May 08 - 11:33 PM
Nancy King 07 May 08 - 10:11 PM
Big Mick 07 May 08 - 09:29 PM
karen k 07 May 08 - 09:07 PM
ranger1 07 May 08 - 08:59 PM
Padre 07 May 08 - 08:17 PM
Bill D 07 May 08 - 07:32 PM
Ebbie 07 May 08 - 07:17 PM
Bill D 07 May 08 - 06:51 PM
curmudgeon 07 May 08 - 06:08 PM
Barry Finn 07 May 08 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Dan Schatz (laptop) 07 May 08 - 05:08 PM
Jeri 07 May 08 - 04:28 PM
MMario 07 May 08 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Songster Bob 07 May 08 - 04:18 PM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution (May 2008)
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 08 May 08 - 09:53 AM

Dick helped to teach me tolerance. The first time I heard him sing I thought "He has no business getting up in front of people." As I got to know him, I realized his love and enthusiam for the music and the good songs he could present. I always suspected Dick was tone deaf with a love of music. He seemed not to know when he or his instrument was out of tune. But he was always enjoying his presentation, not out of ego, but out of his love of the song.

May he rest in peace.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution (May 2008
From: Jeri
Date: 08 May 08 - 09:18 AM

I remember the Getaway at Ramblewood and the Saturday night concert in the 'TV room'. Dick had signed up for a spot and I watched as he sat down with that hurdy gurdy. Well, he started playing and singing the Mingulay Boat Song and everyone began to sing along. I don't know if he planned it, but he sure seemed to be happy with everyone singing. It was one of those 'is this really happening' moments, an exquisitely beautiful surprise.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution (May 2008)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 May 08 - 02:38 AM

I guess we'll all chuckle a bit when we think of Dick, but I think we all liked him. He was a good man.
Rest in peace, Dick. I'll think of you every time I hear a hurdy gurdy.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Anglo
Date: 08 May 08 - 01:46 AM

Many here have spoken of his hurdy-gurdy. He had it for a long time - he built it himself. And it did sound awful. I heard it many times over many years. But I bought one anyway, quite a long time ago. Dick will surely be missed. I am sorry to hear of his passing.

JR


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: GUEST,Eugene
Date: 08 May 08 - 12:32 AM

I have many memories of Dick.

Dick will probably always be the first person that comes to my mind and my personal reference-standard for the instrumentalist and singer that I never want to be or to become. But he had many redeeming qualities and his knowledge and enthusiasm was always clear and substantial. Dick not only knew many songs but he knew the history of many songs and he never lost his passion for music.

Dick had the worst sounding Hurdy-Gurdy I have ever heard. I was remarking to someone only a month ago that there is a lot of beautiful Hurdy-Gurdy music; but I added that Dick's instrument was an exception which should be avoided at most any cost.

Dicks fiddle playing was hard to cope with. Dick once remarked to me that "you play a lot of notes and every so often you hit a note that is right on and it sounds really good." Dick was sincere when he spoke those words and I had to bite my tongue almost literally to avoid laughing.

My exposure to Dick's singing and playing is the most prominent reason why I have always been shy about playing my music around other people: I never want to even come close to annoying people through off-key playing the way that he did.

A few odd recollections about Dick include that he at one time in the early 1970's ran for Congress; albeit briefly.

Dick had a remarkable knowledge of American history which I at times found very interesting and on occasion I would ask him questions about history because I knew that he would have good answers to provide.

I will think of Dick often in the future.

-E


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Janie
Date: 08 May 08 - 12:11 AM

I too am saddened to learn of Dick's passing. Like others, I only knew him from the Getaways, where I did occasionally have the pleasure of him leading me in a lovely, smooth, waltz. He was an odd bird, even among so many of us who are odd birds. He seemed uncomfortable in his own skin, but determined to both wear it and not let the discomfort stop him from doing what he loved, and sharing what he knew. I admired his tenacity.

I know I will acutely notice his absence at the next Getaway.

Fly free, Dick. Fly free.



Thanks for letting us know Bob.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: TRUBRIT
Date: 08 May 08 - 12:04 AM

As a relative 'newbie' to all this, I am almost embarrassed to post. He couldn't sing and he couldn't play (but then neither can I) and you had to admire his courage to get up there and do it anyway.........


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:51 PM

He also wrote some just wonderful songs--like "The Great Bethesda Buffalo Stampede"--that's Bethesda, Maryland--hilarious--and very loosely based on a true incident. But it was hard to get him to perform them more than once every 3 years or so.

And certain songs his style fitted perfectly, to my way of thinking--like "The Dreary Black Hills". I can't imagine anybody else doing it better. I always thought he did it the way a cowboy who sang it really might do it.

And he seemed to have known everybody 40 or 50 years ago--present at the creation of the folk boom in the US, without a doubt.

He will definitely be missed.

RIP, Dick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:50 PM

I think the song that I will remember him for is "Wild Mountain Thyme". In fact, that is the song I am going to sing for him at Getaway.

Good man gone.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 07 May 08 - 11:33 PM

Another event Dick liked was the monthly chantey sing at the Royal Mile pub in Wheaton. He was there most times. We heard he'd passed away in time to do some tributes to him there last night; Mike Bosworth sang "Fiddlers Green," and I sang "The Outside Track," both supported by our bandmates in the Ship's Company Chanteymen: Don Kenefick, Don Stallone, Myron Peterson, and Paul DiBlasi. Vince Wilding also dedicated his song to Dick, as did several other regulars. We'll all miss the man (the hurdy-gurdy and smallpipes, not so much!)

One thing that should be said about Dick is that he was very kind and generous with introductions for any new folk enthusiast coming to Washington, whether you came in the 80s like my girlfriend, or in the 00s like me.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Nancy King
Date: 07 May 08 - 10:11 PM

Bob is right in calling Dick an "FSGW Institution." He was just ALWAYS there. He never missed a Getaway (though he usually stole away on Sunday afternoon to sit in his car and listen to the Redskins football game on the radio -- he and I would congratulate each other enthusiastically on the rare occasions they won...) or a Mini-Fest, or an Open Sing, or any other folkie event in the DC area.

He did miss the Open Sing last week, but he'd called the hostess to explain he wouldn't be there because he was in the hospital following surgery for an intestinal obstruction and seemed to be doing fine, so it's a real shock to hear of his passing. It's just hard to imagine him NOT being there.

We all put up with the off-key singing and the often out-of-tune guitar and the strange grating hurdy-gurdy and the screeching fiddle (I count myself fortunate to have missed the pipes...), because it was so obvious that Dick's love of the music and his knowledge of the history behind it was so great and so contagious.

Bob, thanks for posting the news and for the biographical information.

Bill, thanks for the picture.

Dick, thanks for your enthusiasm and your knowledge and your friendliness. We'll miss you.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 May 08 - 09:29 PM

I am so sad to hear this. Dick was one of those folks that makes the FSGW such a wonderful patchwork quilt of folkies. The one thing about the FSGW crowd is that they truly love, and do all they can to preserve and perpetuate, this music we all love. From the most talented to the least talented, across the board they are savvy, know the music, and put the leather to the floor when the work of passin' it on has to be done. In the short 9 years that I have come to know, respect and love these folkies in the Greater Washington area, Dick has been right at the front of it. He was such a fixture, and such a font of information, that the FSGW (for all his foibles) will not be the same organization without him. He loved the music with all his heart, he was friendly to a fault, and he had a lovely curiousity about him.

Yeah, he could bug folks too. That man absolutely drove me crazy with his Northumbrian Pipes. He owns a lovely set in cherry that he has been tinkering with for years. The bag is shot, the reeds are made of some of the damnedest materials I have ever seen, the joints leak, and the whole rig smells of cigarette smoke. I remember chewing his ass about taking them to a pipe builder, I even recommended folks in the area. I begged him to sell them to me so I could repair them. He would just kind of chuckle and tell me he was sure he could get them going. And he would try, and the noise was more than another piper could bear...... I still chuckle at the thought of watching him pumping like crazy and doing his best, and then asking me if I recognized it. I would tell him no, and try to convince him.....again..... to sell me the pipes to no avail. Odd as it seems, I will miss our annual argument over those pipes.

God be good to you, Dick. You will be missed and I will sing a song to you at the Getaway this year.

To Bob, Jennifer, Kath, Charley, Lisa, and all my dear FSGW friends, please accept my condolences on the loss of your friend.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: karen k
Date: 07 May 08 - 09:07 PM

I'm sorry to hear this. Yes, there will be a huge hole in the Getaway. He, as has been said, was not the best musician or singer, but his love of the music sure was contagious. Dick, you will be missed. Rest in peace.

karen


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: ranger1
Date: 07 May 08 - 08:59 PM

Much like Ebbie, I didn't really know Dick except for having met him at the Getaway. The two things that stand out in my mind are his hurdy-gurdy and his graceful dancing. I remember being amazed that such a gangly man was such a fluid, graceful dancer.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Padre
Date: 07 May 08 - 08:17 PM

I'm sorry to hear about Dick's passing - he was one of the good guys.

Padre


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Bill D
Date: 07 May 08 - 07:32 PM

*smile*


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 May 08 - 07:17 PM

I'm sorry. I didn't know Dick although I remember him well from the two Getaways I have attended so far. What I remember most about him is his enjoyment of everything around him.

RIP, Dick.

(St.Peter, Bill? My, how things change. *G*)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Bill D
Date: 07 May 08 - 06:51 PM

So many thoughts...I met Dick at a Smithsonian Festival...about 1975 before I even moved here in '77, and he has been a part of the scene ever since.
He was a genuine **character**, who could delight you with a story one minute and exasperate you with a badly tuned fiddle the next. The man KNEW folk music, and knew much of the history associated with the songs....which he would tell you, at interminable length, each time the song was done in his presence. *wry grin*. "Yes, Dick, we KNOW there were many different versions of how many holes were bored in the bottom of "The Golden Vanity"!"

   One of his 'specialties' was Cowboy songs, and he did a quite credible version of "The Gol-Durned Wheel", about a cowboy trying to ride a bicycle. He also made a certain kind of point with a spirited and poignant version of "The Black Sheep". I have wondered more than once if it had deeper meaning for him.

Dick did a number of things....as Dan says, he danced, and THAT he did well. He also played golf...whenever he could afford it. He even commissioned and took possession of a set of elaborate Northumbrian Smallpipes!...which he 'almost' learned to play. Sadly, one of the things he did was smoke...which no doubt contributed to his health problems the last few years.

He was ummmm....'thrifty'...when I first knew him, he had a $2 styrofoam beer cooler which he took to festivals and other events. When I moved here, he still had it...albeit with some duct tape added....and he nursed it along for a couple more years! When I teased him, he just laughed because HE felt it was an accomplishment...and by golly, it was!

I can't count the times Dick provided missing words for someone whose memory failed...but on stage HE would forget the same words.

Dick was a lot of things...some amazingly fascinating, some tedious...but he was a iconic part of FSGW for all of its history, and by God, we WILL miss him!

Will we miss the Hurdy Gurdy? Yes, I think we will. The rest of you have your banjo joke and accordian jokes...WE at FSGW had dozens of Hurdy Gurdy jokes, "It'll never quit squealing until you stop twisting its tail, Dick!"...and Dick put up with them in reasonably good humor for many years.

I hope St Peter doesn't laugh TOO hard when the harp is refused and a Hurdy Gurdy is requested.

'Bye, Dick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: curmudgeon
Date: 07 May 08 - 06:08 PM

Sad news: Dick had an unbounded enthusiasm for the music we all love.

While we were both at the Getaway in '69, we never met. But fortunately, we did get acquainted in '05. I will never forget the memorable experience of accomanying Dick on concertina; a bit of a challenge, but well worth it -- Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Barry Finn
Date: 07 May 08 - 05:17 PM

Thanks from me too Bob for your nice & kind write up of Dick. I only met him at the Getway when I started to go in 99 (I think) & then got to seeing him at verious festivals, he always had a great grin & a cheering smile. He was always warm & welcoming to me & others around him. He had a great spirit & love for the music we all love & he certinally shared that with the rest of us. I hope he had a peaceful passing, I'll miss seeing him.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: GUEST,Dan Schatz (laptop)
Date: 07 May 08 - 05:08 PM

I have known Dick all my life - he's one of those people who has just always been around the folk music community in Washington, DC. And he did indeed know and care as much about traditional folksongs as anyone out there. He was also a very good dancer - smooth and graceful. It's hard to imagine the FSGW without him.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: Jeri
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:28 PM

Bob, I'm so sorry! I can't believe I won't see him at the Getaway. When I lived in the DC area, I'd see Dick at open sings and he was the first person to tell me I really had to go to the Getaway. I didn't go until a few year after I moved away from the area, but I remembered what he'd said about it. I'll always remember him too.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: MMario
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:25 PM

What a loss! I only knew him from Getaways -but I know I will miss him.


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Subject: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:18 PM

FSGW stalwart and folk music enthusiast Dick Rodgers died at age 70 of a heart attack on Tuesday, May 6. Dick may be considered "FSGW member number one,” joining the Society as soon as it was founded. Though he was not one of the crew that met in Chuck Perdue’s kitchen to found the Society in 1964, Dick has been there ever since. Famed for his enthusiasm and friendliness, as well as his often slightly off-key performances and his penchant for seeking the oddest, most obscure ballad or broadside, Dick has been a regular at every Open Sing, WFF, mini-festival, “pick-nik” (yes, we used to have those) and program for the entire 44 years of the Society’s existence.

Born and raised in Ohio, Dick finished his military service and came to Washington in the early ‘60s. He was a regular at various coffee houses, including one he ran, and a member of the Washington Folk Music Guild, a precursor to the Society. He used to publish a small folksong newsletter, “Washington Folk Strums,” with news, performer interviews, recording reviews, and a full-page ad on the back for Dale Music (in payment for which he got the Martin classical guitar he always played). Dick’s other regular instrument was a homemade hurdy-gurdy, which he could regularly be seen playing in the picnic area at Washington Folk Festivals and at the Getaway.

In recent times, Dick limited himself to Open Sings and FSGW festivals, though he presented a nice workshop on “Washington in the ‘60s” at this year’s Minifestival, in which I joined him to present a few of the songs we were singing “back in the day.” That was Dick’s last “public” performance, and his presentation was well-received.

Sometimes annoying (at a long-ago FSGW Getaway, his performance of a long, turgid and obscure broadsheet ballad was enough to cause Nan Goland to light his word-sheet afire) and sometimes inspiring (Dick knew lots of songs, and even if he didn’t perform them so well, he could make you think “What a great song! I’ve got to learn that!”), Dick Rodgers will be remembered.


Bob Clayton


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