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Obit: Jonathan Eberhart (18 Feb 2003)

Related threads:
Hurray, It's here!! - Boarding Party's Third CD (24)
Boarding Party CD from Folk Legacy (20)
Help: Boarding Party: Tell me about them! (20)


Carly 19 Feb 03 - 11:03 AM
Rick Fielding 19 Feb 03 - 11:08 AM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 11:21 AM
MMario 19 Feb 03 - 11:25 AM
curmudgeon 19 Feb 03 - 11:29 AM
DeanC 19 Feb 03 - 11:34 AM
dick greenhaus 19 Feb 03 - 11:39 AM
Art Thieme 19 Feb 03 - 12:21 PM
kendall 19 Feb 03 - 12:48 PM
Fortunato 19 Feb 03 - 01:45 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM
KathWestra 19 Feb 03 - 03:26 PM
Nancy King 19 Feb 03 - 04:17 PM
Nancy King 19 Feb 03 - 04:29 PM
Bat Goddess 19 Feb 03 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Riki Schneyer 19 Feb 03 - 08:10 PM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 03 - 12:01 AM
Art Thieme 20 Feb 03 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,Sandy Paton 20 Feb 03 - 03:17 AM
Charley Noble 20 Feb 03 - 08:25 AM
Ferrara 20 Feb 03 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Riki Schneyer 20 Feb 03 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 20 Feb 03 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Alan Oakes 20 Feb 03 - 11:49 AM
Carly 20 Feb 03 - 12:46 PM
Fortunato 20 Feb 03 - 01:06 PM
Carly 20 Feb 03 - 01:57 PM
Bill D 20 Feb 03 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Skivee1 20 Feb 03 - 08:52 PM
Jon Bartlett 21 Feb 03 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,Sandy Paton 21 Feb 03 - 04:00 AM
Charley Noble 21 Feb 03 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Guest-Knitpick --Jennifer Woods 21 Feb 03 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,David Diamond 21 Feb 03 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,David Diamond (continued) 21 Feb 03 - 01:38 PM
Padre 21 Feb 03 - 03:28 PM
Padre 21 Feb 03 - 03:33 PM
Dan Schatz 21 Feb 03 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,Joan 21 Feb 03 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,maddy 21 Feb 03 - 11:17 PM
Art Thieme 21 Feb 03 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,Sandy Paton 22 Feb 03 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,Myron Bretholz 22 Feb 03 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Bob Hitchcock 22 Feb 03 - 10:00 PM
Debbie Hutton 23 Feb 03 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Mark Washburn 23 Feb 03 - 01:01 PM
EBarnacle1 23 Feb 03 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Cookieless Kathy Westra 23 Feb 03 - 07:08 PM
Art Thieme 23 Feb 03 - 08:19 PM
Fortunato 23 Feb 03 - 09:05 PM
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Subject: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Carly
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:03 AM

It is with deep sadness that I must report that
Jonathan Eberhart died yesterday.A brilliant musician,
Jonathan was probably most widely known as a member
of the Boarding Party, a group devoted to songs of the
the sea. In his younger days, he sailed on the
Clearwater, and performed extensively at the
Japanese World Fair, developing an enduring love of
sushi, and, predictably, collecting songs of
Japanese fishermen while he was there.A mainstay of
the Folklore Society of Greater Washington,
Jonathan performed at numerous festivals and other
venues here and across the pond.He recorded with
Folk-Legacy, both as a solo (Life's Trolley Ride)
and with the Boarding Party.Illness confined him to
his bed during his final years, but he never lost his
great love of music.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:08 AM

R.I.P. I never met the man, but enjoyed his music for years.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:21 AM

...I expect so many stories of Jonathan to appear as this sad news spreads...NOTHING we type can do justice to the depth, humor, artistry, knowlege and pure energy embodied in that one man!

Jon was at one time the only person who had never missed a Getaway, and his "songs of the shower" (those strange little things you know but seldom sing in public) was for years a regular workshop. Jon loved all forms of music, and was also for years a writer for "Science News", specializing in space exploration. He was at Jet Propulsion Labs for various launches when he had to use a walker to get around.

He was a gourmet, a curmudgeon, an organizer, a mischievous jokester....and a consumate musician....and sometimes these things overlapped.(I have posted before my story of how he sat beside Roy Book Binder one evening, noted one of Roy's guitar strings was 'out'...and reached over and re-tuned it without Roy even noticing!...and both sighed with relief and grinned at me happily to have gotten away with it.)

We have missed him for several years as his illness got worse...now we must process his loss, and it will take awhile.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: MMario
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:25 AM

for years a writer for "Science News", specializing in space exploration

Thanks Bill - now I know why the name was familiar to me - though I have to admit to being ignorant of his music.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: curmudgeon
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:29 AM

Big voice, warm heart, keen wit, enquiring mind, fellow curmudgeon. You will be missed Jonathan -- Thanks for all the songs and good memories -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: DeanC
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:34 AM

I guess Jonathan was one of my folk heroes. It was because of Jonathan (and a few other early FSGW regulars) that I got involved in the music. He was a wonderful, engaging performer, and I always liked the same music he did. That's saying something because he had a wide range of tastes in music. For years I really only knew him from his stage performances, but eventually I got to know him through the Washington Folk Festival. We were on the program committee together for several years. Contrary to his satge persona I found that he was not an easy man to know. He was irascible and did not suffer fools well. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the man and his enthusiasm for music greatly. We had many a great conversation on our way home from committee meetings (I often drove him home). You never knew what you might end up talking about because of his wide range of interests (he had been the space science editor for Science News Magazine before his illness forced him to retire). Jonathan was a mainstay, both as a perfomer and an organizer, of the folk scene in DC for years. I miss him greatly.


Dean


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 11:39 AM

A bloody shame. You can hear him on a Folk-Legacy recording (It was on vinyl, but I'm pretty sure Sandy can cobble up a custom CD). Definitely was a man worth knowing, and a musician and singer worth hearing.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 12:21 PM

Hard news, this ! A fine singer and an alarmingly complete researcher of songs. Read through those unbelievably thorough notes booklets he and the rest of the guys wrote for their albums on Folk Legacy Records. Those were one of the many reasons that made me so proud to be a part of Sandy Paton's fine record label. (Those notes also led me to make my own notes more abreviated, succinct and to the point ;-)

When Jonathan took me aside at one of the Folk Legacy Festivals in Hartford, CT to say how much he liked what I had done with the ballad "Robin Hood's Death", I was amazed and greatly gratified to have that input from him. It made me feel that, just maybe, I was doing something correctly after all. He also let me know that he generally didn't like what modern folksingers of the day (early 80s) did to the British ballads when they took them over.

Jonathan was, as Bill said, hard to know. There was so much going on in his active life and in his mind, all the time, that the news he was bedridden seemed so unbelievable and unacceptable to his friends. I was glad I made a phone call to him to try to gain insight into my own fight with MS. What I found out from him then is that this disease rarely is the same in two individuals. It only hits you where it thits you---and it takes it's own sweet time. That was good for me to know. Talking to others about it only makes you aware of how it has hit them. But the talking of it does help-----so I found a decent support group where, mostly, I just make jokes.

For rhose of you who think he died of MS, keep in mind that from what all I can see, nobody dies of MS-------something else is always the culprit---with MS being a complicating factor (or two or three ;-)

Losing Jon is, indeed, a huge loss.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: kendall
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 12:48 PM

This is indeed sad news. He will be terribly missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Fortunato
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 01:45 PM

Jonathan was a friend of mine.

Some great memories were made in the 1980's at Grant's Tomb where I ran an open mike. He sang there with the Boarding Party many times and the great songs and harmonies lifted the whole club up in song and carried us away to the Chesapeake Bay or the South Seas.

John and I shared a love of Japanese poetry, and I treasure a book of collected poems he gave me as a birthday present.
Years ago, (when I was brash and more than a little wild at times) I came to a Folklore Society halloween dance costumed as Rasputin, or the mad monk. I had teased my long hair out so that it stood straight up and painted my face white with black shadows, and I wore a robe and huge wooden cross around my neck.
I snuck up behind Jonathan, spun him around, slapped the cross against his chest and screamed REPENT! John eyes rolled up and his hair stood on end and he was struck dumb. When he recovered, moments later, he called some very interesting things.

He had a way with words. We argued often over obscure words and usage. He usually won.

If there's anything on the other side, Jonathan, I hope they have a road house piano where you can hit them with "Rolling and Tumbling", that'll let them know who's just got into town. Chance


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM

when Jonathan moved into his little apartment over 10 years ago, he had dozens of boxes of LPs stacked in the middle of a side room..surrounded by his amazing collection of strange musical instruments from all over the world. He knew I was still working in a cabinet shop, and proceeded to hound me to build him a wall of record shelf/cabinets...so the last thing I did at that shop was to get those done!

When I installed them, (after moving them dozens of boxes of records..*grin*) I asked if he'd like to put a few ceremonial records out...so we opened a box...first record out was something like "Javanese jazz played on Calliope" (well, you get the idea)..and Jon said "oh, wow..the 3 track on side 2 of that is amazing...it..."...record 2 was Greek dance tunes, and Jon said.."that one was recorded live in a bistro in Paris, and featured an old...".....and so on.....Jonathan knew EVERY track on every record and could hum you the tunes! His breadth of interests cannot be exaggerated.

(if, as Fortunato mentions, there IS anything on the other side, Jonathan will bully the management into a trip to Mars before he settles into the music scene, so he can SEE the places he wrote about to in "Lament for a Red Planet"....a song you need to hear...)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: KathWestra
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 03:26 PM

Jonathan was indeed (as Art so aptly put it) a hard man to know. But his emotional depths as a person, which he rarely shared in conversation, are ever so evident in the songs he wrote and recorded. I'm eternally grateful to Sandy and Caroline for recording them. My personal favorites: "Laurel," a gentle love song written for a friend of mine to whom I introduced Jonathan during one Getaway weekend and with whom Jonathan became hopelessly smitten; "Lament for a Red Planet," written when Jonathan became hopelessly smitten by Mars when he was covering NASA's Mars explorer mission for Science News; and the "Winnie the Pooh Rag," a delightfully silly tumble of words that always, always makes me grin when I hear it.

His work with the Boarding Party--and those liner notes Art raved about--was a showcase not only for Jonathan's prodigious musical talents, but for his dogged persistence in finding (and finding out about) really wonderful, unusual songs. I still remember his excitement at discovering the oyster dredger song from the Chesapeake Bay (and his tireless search for recipes for the "corndog" and "sourbelly" mentioned in the song), or at meeting the descendant of the C&O Canal lock-keeper whose song the group was going to record, or at finding and arranging the breathtaking version of "Go Down You Blood Red Roses" that the group first performed for an FSGW event way back when. When Jonathan was excited, you couldn't help but be excited with him. And those meticulous research notes (with lots of organizing help from folks like Nancy King and Mia Gardiner)provide a roadmap to Jonathan's journey of discovery that the rest of us can share.

On a personal note, Jonathan (along with Helen Schneyer)took me, a Midwestern girl new to the big city, under his wing when I first came to Washington in February 1976. He introduced me to Orpheus Records, to sushi and sake, to his friend (and now mine) Pete the Spy, to Japanese woodblock prints, to the hottest Indian food I've ever had, to cutthroat wordplay..... His interests were wide and varied, and he delighted in sharing them. His generosity was great. Like Chance, I received gifts I treasure from Jonathan. A beautiful Japanese teapot, an appliqued cushion with a whale on it that I still use every day.

And then there are the famous "Jonathan" stories. I'd guess everyone who knew him has at least one. He once set a friend's hair on fire at a party at Helen Schneyer's house; it wasn't intentional. He was making his famous Enewetak drink recipe (named after the atoll where the U.S. conducted nuclear tests), which called for flaming the concoction, a gazillion-proof mixture of several different liquors and brandies. The alcoholic fumes were so intense that when a match was lighted a couple of feet away, the fumes jumped from the pot on top of the stove and flambeed Kit's hair. He was at the center of many crazy times.

I hope that Jonathan has found the "rest and sweet peace of mind" he wrote about in "Life's Trolley Ride."
Kathy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Nancy King
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:17 PM

A sad loss indeed. Jonathan had been bedridden for quite some time and we'd missed him at many gatherings, but now that he's really gone it's harder. And he was only 60 years old.

He was not just a member of The Boarding Party, but the driving force behind the group. It was his insistence on high standards of musicianship and scholarship –not to mention humor -- that made the group such a fine one. He researched the history and lore of every song, and those exhaustive notes were written entirely by him. He was well known for seeking out "new" old songs, and often asked waiters in ethnic restaurants if they knew any sea songs from their countries. He also asked them about performing groups, as he was constantly looking for new acts for the Washington Folk Festival, which he helped create and worked on for many years.

Jonathan was one of the most articulate people I have ever known and his writing skills were prodigious. He won a number of journalism awards in the course of his career as Space Sciences Editor at Science News.   A couple of his original songs ("Lament for a Blue Planet," on his solo album) and "The Solar Privateer" (on The Boarding Party's long-delayed third album, which we hope will be released before too much more time passes) were inspired by his deep interest in space exploration. Some of his other songs have already been mentioned: the beautiful "Laurel," the funny and tongue-twisting "Winnie-the-Pooh Rag," based on one of his favorite pieces of literature, and the title song of his album, "Life's Trolley Ride," which he said he dashed off as kind of a joke, but which grew on him – and the rest of us – as time went on. In addition, he composed melodies to a number of poems/songs for which he and The Boarding Party had found text only.

Art, I understand your gratification at his complimenting your music. Such compliments were VERY rare. I don't think I ever got one.

Jonathan was not only a difficult person to know (and I'd known him since 1964); he was often a difficult person to get along with. But he was also a genius. Just when you'd reached your limit, he'd come out with something so brilliant and/or hilarious that it (almost) made up for the aggravation.

No doubt there will be many memories and anecdotes at the memorial gathering, for which plans are not yet firm. We'll let you know.

Meanwhile, farewell, old buddy.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Nancy King
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 04:29 PM

Ooops! Kathy's right -- the Mars song is "Lament for a RED Planet." Sorry, JE. Great song, whatever the title...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 07:46 PM

What a mind! I'm grateful for every conversation I ever had with him. Better than any debating master, he forced me to organize my thoughts and the way I expressed them and to back up my opinions in a methodical manner.

And I'm grateful for every song.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Riki Schneyer
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 08:10 PM

Oh, Jonathan, what can I say? He was my brother in all ways but blood. We certainly fought like siblings, at times! He was a lovable, brilliant, cantankerous, obstinate, impossible, and, not infrequently, loving son-of-a-bitch. I've known Jonathan since I was 11 and he was 20-almost-21--He was my mother's first "adopted child." He introduced me to, among other things, Stillbrook corn liquor and my first true love . Jonathan lived, for many years, in an apartment on 19th St., NW, in DC, and I remember spending hours and hours there, indulging in substances legal and otherwise, laughing, talking, and listening to music. Andy Wallace and I were just reminisching about the decor Jonathan favored--a stuffed snake (in a baby coffin), a polar bear rug (head intact), and a wall full of records. Then there was the coatimundi phase--it's name was "Plinth," as I recall. Well, every man needs a pet.

He did, in fact, set fire to my friend Kit's hair, one evening in my mother's kitchen. (Is it any wonder I've been in therapy for so many years?) Jonathan was a notoriously pleasant drunk. After a shot or two, he'd forget about the contempt he had for the rest of us and become affectionate and (dare I say it?) SWEET, and want to stay up late at night talking--We once talked half the night away over a bottle of Stillbrook in a train compartment headed for Vermont. I believe the subject matter was the vicissitudes of love!

One summer, Jonathan, my mother, and I spent a summer touring together, singing at festivals and putting on concerts. (Our unofficial name was "The Gospel Jews")We spent hours (and I do mean HOURS) on the road, driving from place to place, rehearsing in the car. At one point, to amuse ourselves (hour 1,273, I think), Jonathan and i decided to converse only in "Swedish"-sounding noises, interspersed with shouts of "Yah, yah, oh yah!" My mother threatened to leave us by the side of the road. (See earlier therapy reference)

I've missed my brother Jonathan for years, and now he's really gone. I'm sad as hell.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:01 AM

Now that I think about it, it's quite strange that I not only remembered Jonathan complimenting me on that ballad but it's a VERY VIVID memory. I didn't know Jonathan except in passing----- and that probably because we were both a part of Folk Legacy---yet his intensity ---his ((((((((((((VIBES))))))))))))))) informed me on the spot that this was something I ought to hold onto --- and take seriously.

Strange, also, is the fact that he was possibly the last person to tell me anything at all about that song---good, bad or whatever.

Go figure. Life's a gas, ain't it???

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:05 AM

Riki,

I don't think we've met, but be sure to give your mom my very best wishes. What a voice !!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 03:17 AM

I can't remember now who first used the word "genius" in the above messages, but I can tell you that I truly believe that Jonathan was the only unmitigated genius I've ever known.

I loved his music, his poetry in song, his power, his drive, his impatience, his continuous curiosity, his bawdy-house piano, his rough-and-tumble voice (which could also gentle down to a heartbreaking tenderness in a song like "Laurel" or his "Lament for a Red Planet " -- which is actually a love song, too), his brilliant wit, his vast vocabulary, and his willingness to express himself without reserve. He was larger than life, and now he's gone, and I am weeping.

I am glad I was given the opportunity to help capture a bit of his music for all of us to share -- his solo work, his part in The Boarding Party, and his extremely important contributions to Folk-Legacys two recordings of Helen Schneyer.

Fare well, Jonathan. I hope you know how much we'll miss you.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:25 AM

Fair winds and following seas!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Ferrara
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:42 AM

Thanks, all, for the memories you've shared. Really brings the memories back. For most of the years I knew him, I could only admire Jonathan from afar -- but I did that!

I told Jonathan about this years later: Before I found the Folklore Society, I used to go to a pseudo-folk venue called The Singer's Studio. One night the SS featured "Dr. Kilmer's Medicine Show." Don't remember the whole cast of characters, Marv Reitz was there, three or four others, and Jonathon literally was playing the bass line -- very well, too -- on a jug. That night I decided that all the other groups I'd seen at TSS were "pseudo" folk musicians and in comparison they were just "pseudo" musicians at all. These guys were something like "the real thing," almost in a different dimension, especially Jonathon. It's hard to explain. They weren't performing the music, they were living it somehow.

(Actually that different dimension bit can be taken several ways, can't it?)

Once I knew him better I too often thought he was a genius.

Jonathon was fascinated with dragonflies. He had a large collection of dragonfly jewelry and objects. A friend commissioned a woodburned box with dragonflies, to hold his stuff. When it was done, she didn't just give it to him. We got together, went for lunch at his favorite restaurant and made a presentation of the box. Why? Because she knew Jonathon would want to know EVERYTHING about it. So I told him about my research for the box, showed him the photos I took at a local pond to use as source material, and generally put this small thing into a context for him. Things weren't just things to Jonathon, they were stories.

He said the reason he loved dragonflies was that a dragonfly had saved his life. He was visiting a temple in Japan and stopped to admire a dragonfly perched on a wall. Just then a huge rock fell from high on the temple and smashed into the spot where he had been about to walk.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Riki Schneyer
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 10:48 AM

Hey, Art--We may have met once or twice, way back in the dinosaur era--Perhaps in my mother's very living room! No doubt Jonathan was there, as well--he seemed to think my mother was his birth mother, and generally referred to her as "The Duchess." He also once wrote a tender ditty about her travails with hot flashes. What a sentimental bugger! On the event of my first wedding, he gave me a toilet plunger and a pair of enormous furry mittens. The marriage did not live up to the promise of these fine offerings, but no doubt the plunger and mitts are still floating around in the debris of my household, almost 30 years later. God; 30 years!! My mother, inimitable institution that she is, is alive and well in Vermont. I spoke with her last night, and we reminisced for a good while about life with Jonathan. I suspect I am the only person alive who can claim to have received letters from Jonathan when I was a teen-ager off at Labor Zionist summer camp! I still have each and every one, too. One of them, he signed "folkily yours."   XXOO, Riki


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:24 AM

sad news even though expected. Damn. Trying to organize some of my Jonathan stories in my head. . . one of the last of the Renaissance Men good in whole bunches of different fields and sometimes the two fields would bisociate (good word, Koestler!) and something really new and different would come out. . . wow.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Alan Oakes
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 11:49 AM

I remember Jonathan Eberhart.

Jonathan and Helen Schneyer started feeding me sushi about 30 years ago (in Silver Spring, I think. Is that where that old resturant was?) Back before sushi became popular. My resulting love of sushi put me in good stead with and amazed the engineers I visited in Tokyo on business in 1976.

Jonathon and I shared a deep interest in space projects and an anger about the direction manned-space-flight took in the US after Apollo.

And, of course, we loved the same music.

I have many memories of Jonathan, but most of all I remember that it was always fun to spend time with him.

Godspeed, Jonathan Eberhart.

-Alan Oakes


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Carly
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 12:46 PM

Even though I began this thread, I am still having difficulty realizing that Jonathan is gone.Riki,Nancy, Sandy, Kathy, Chance--we have all been luky to have known this brilliant, talented,irritating, compelling man. I agree, genius is the right word for Jonathan.

I first saw him on stage, with Pete Seeger and a group of singers I later came to know and love: Helen Schneyer, Andy Wallace,Bob Clayton and Mike Rivers. I sat in the auydience with my roommate, Merle, singing on all the choruses, completely overwhelmed by the power of the music. I had been listening to "folk music" most of my life, but this was a revelation! We went back to our dorm at the University of Maryland determined to find other people to sing with us. Several adventures later, we were taken to an FSGW open sing-we had never heard of FSGW-and there were those same magic people, singing with us, and ASKING ME TO SING!Although I certainly did not realize all the ramifications of it, I was aware, even that night, that I had come home.Jonathan was first, to me, the core of this community. Later, as I worked with him on various committees, and especially when we acted as coordinators of the Washinton Folk Festival, which he,along with Mia Gardiner and Debbie Hutton, founded and ran, we became friends, and I saw and learned to know the off-stge Jonathan.He was sometimes difficult and downright obnoxious, often stubborn, obsessed with getting the details right, exhausting to try to keep up with, hilariously funny, a master of wordplay, my sushi guru, a Tabard Inn regular who also loved eating in diners,and an everflowing stream of information on the most amazing topics.I also was the recipient of a Jonathan compliment about a song, which I cherish, knowing it to be a rare gift. He could seem impossible, and yet in a very bad period of my life he offered me compassion,sympathy, and true friendship. I have many years' worth of Jonathan memories; I will cherish them.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Fortunato
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:06 PM

Yeah, Carly, it's just beginning to take hold now. Memory upon memory. Getaway memories. WFF memories. Helen and Riki's house memories. Koji's (Samurai Sushi-ko) memories. Yes, I think I first ate sushi in the company of Jonathan and Bob H.

I think we need a wake.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Carly
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 01:57 PM

Did I type "luky"?! Jonathan would have a great definition from some obscure source. We have been lucky.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:16 PM

Jonathan used to play a little 'solitare' game of some sort on paper with dots & circles ...and lines between them, like new logical 'sets'. He would sit, making arcane decisions, adding dots and other marks in patterns...I sat beside him at a meeting... (he could play the game and still follow everything that was going on)... and finally got up the courage to ask "does that have a set of rules?"

He hesitated, and said "yes, but they are hard to explain",...and that's all I ever learned about it. I have always wondered if it a game of his own invention, or something he picked up somewhere....

Damn, I miss that brillant curmudgeon!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Skivee1
Date: 20 Feb 03 - 08:52 PM

Jonathan was ever a hero to members of my band , the Pyrates Royale. The Boarding Party is one of our prime sources of material and authenticity. The copious notes mentioned earlier are still important to scholarly shanty singers everywhere.
His depth of knowledge was astounding, his dedication to music inspiring. He could be an intimidating guy, surly, and all that; but
he could beam like the sun while discussing some wonderful archanity.
Full sails.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 01:15 AM

I met him just the once, at Wolf Trap in 1976, with Helen and Rika Schneyer, Andy Wallace, et al. Whenever I thought about visiting the East, I thought about meeting up with and singing with him again. And now he's gone. I envy those of you who had a lifetime of him: one weekend was all I got, but it's stayed in my mind these last 27 years.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Sandy Paton
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 04:00 AM

So many people have mentioned his introducing them to sushi. He did the same for Caroline and me one weekend when we were down in Washington to take photographs of him at the Trolley Museum to serve as the cover illustration for his solo recording -- "Life's Trolley Ride." Apparently Jonathan had picked up a good bit of the Japanese language while singing in Japan with Andy Wallace and Mike Rivers. Anyway, he had been looking for a particular Japanese love song, only a fragment of which had he previously heard, so he asked our lovely Japanese waitress if she knew it. She did, and he coaxed her into singing it for him. Then, in a gallant gesture of exchange, he offered her a song of his own, namely, the title songs of his solo album. Yep. "Life's Trolley Ride." It was not done maliciously, either, but quite innocently. Still, it was delightful to hear the poor girl try to get around all of those "L" sounds with a tongue that was not familiar with them.
    I won Jonathan's friendship, I think, not for a version of a Robin Hood ballad, like Art, but for my successful response when he introduced me to the Limerick game in which player #1 writes the first and last lines of a limerick, preferably with no noticeable connection between them. The player #2 takes these and adds the connecting three lines. Here's one of the results:
    Jonathan gave me "With the grace of a fragile gazelle" (line 1) and "Was a secret no one could tell." (line 5). I played with it and handed him back:

    With the grace of a fragile gazelle
    Moved the late actor, Zero Mostel.
    How he'd glide cross the stage,
    At his girth and his age,
    Was a secret no one could tell.

Another that grew the same way:

    To the sound of the funeral drum (Jonathan's line 1)
    The mourning procession did come.
    How their cries did resound
    For their priest, who had drowned
    In a vat of Dominican rum. (Jonathan's last line)

Like "Fictionary," it's a great game for word play, folks. Try it, in remembrance of him.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 08:54 AM

Sandy-

How about an update on the status of that mythic third Boarding Party recording? Any hope that it will see the light of day? Would reservation sales be of help?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Guest-Knitpick --Jennifer Woods
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 12:28 PM

I remember Jonathan being so kind when I broke up with a boyfriend, and being one of the hands pushing me towards my now husband, Bob Clayton. And really introducing me to really "Japanesy" tasting sushi -- a memorable birthday outing to Sushi-Ko with him and Carly for her 30th -- his making us try the most "japanesy" and fully expecting us NOT to like 'em! And actually, we like most of them! One is still one I ask for often at Japanse restaurants -- Plum paste and Shito leaf, hand rolled please!

And that is to say nothing of the music, the scholarship, the genius, and yes, the snide remarks. I've never felt as stupid as JE sometimes made me feel. But I still admired and loved him.

jennifer woods


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,David Diamond
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 01:13 PM

Like many others, JE took me under his wing. In short order, he took me from a drop-in singer at the weekly Red Fox get together to a solo gig at the (I think it was third) Washington Folk Festival. Then a gig was in the offing when the Tall Ships visited Washington, a small group of us formed to take the gig and crystalized round JE to become the Boarding Party. He led us musically, with his perfectionist approach and his drive - when he said rehearse, we rehearsed - time for chat later at the Ethiopian or Japanese restaurant (yes, he and the rest of the BP inroduced me to sushi too. He led us, too, in his attitude. We were wonderfully positive - curmudgeon or not, I felt encouraged into singing better every time - I don't remember a discouraging word in those rehearsals (though he once sighed soulfully when a difficult harmony was escaping us, and said "I wish Andy were here!").

A couple of stories - JE encouraging my 10 year old twins to sing "My teacher's got a bunion, and a face like a pickled onion" at the getaway.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,David Diamond (continued)
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 01:38 PM

I must have hit the send button in the middle of my JE stories - sorry. I hope there are not too many typos....

- J pointing at me in a japanese restaurant and saying 'sing' - so I did! He then got a Japanese family at the next table to sing too!

- A phone call at 3:00 in the morning when I was in England. He and a gang of folkies had been attending some festival (WFF, maybe). He led them to a phone box, apparently, called the State Dept, got them to put him through to the Embassy in London, and got the Embassy to connect him to my house, so everyone could say hello. He seemed to have rounded up a huge number of people - but who could say no if Jonathan told them to come talk on the phone? I happen to know how hard it is to get past the switchboard in the London Embassy - a minor miracle in itself.

- Jonathan standing at the top stairs in my house in London as I came through the door, having collected KC King from his flight from Saudi. I had taken Nancy (soon-to-be) King to meet him, the two of them not having seen each other for many months (they were engaged at the time). I thught this a romantic situation was was trying to think of some cool way to leave them alone together. Jonathan simply told KC to come in and start rehearsing, then and there. Jonathan's priorities seemed to impose themselves on everyone around....

In the course of a chat with Tom McHenry (now a minister in the Roanoke area), I used the phrase "You certainly knew he was there!" and we both laughed. With the impact he had on all he met, I like to think he still there for us, and if you listen carefully ....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Padre
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 03:28 PM

Here a few more Boarding Party/Jonathan memories:
   The gig we did for the Washington Area Council of Cultural Organizations [WACCO] when they invited the Australian Aboriginal Dances to see American 'culture' BP had them up and dancing, and Jonathan kept asking if there were any aboriginal shanties! We have since known this as the WACCO Abbo gig.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Padre
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 03:33 PM

I still haven't learned how to not send messages before we're through.

    I think we may have drunk the very last bottle of Stillbrook in the civilized world at Pontardawe wales with Jim and Johnny - I blew out my voice at the pub sing the night before, but Stillbrook brought it back.

    Jonathan worked so hard with Bachu Roy of Ganga to get us to learn the words, and harmonies, to Oray Sujan Anaya (sp?) - we could never get beyond the first verse.

    Farewell Jonathan - Fair winds and calm seas.

                               Tom McHenry +


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 05:50 PM

I cannot remember a time when Jonathan was not a part of my life, both musically and personally. He was not, as others have said, the eaasiest person to know, but he was talented, fun, passionate about old songs, and kind. He was forever speaking of "finding songs in old trunks" - so much so that I thought immediately of Jonathan a few years ago when driving by the sign for Old Trunk, Nova Scotia, in Cape Breton. If I'd had more time, I would have collected a song there and brought it back to JE.

His Folk legacy album is still just about the best folk album I've ever heard, and I've sung at least half of the songs on it at one time or another. Like others, I particularly love "Laurel" and "The Winnie the Pooh Rag." At a Unitarian Universalist service focusing on Science Fiction this past summer, I sang "Lament for a Red Planet" and "Solar Privateer." (The latter will be on the new Boarding Party album). Jonathan had as much influence on me as a musician as any other artist, and though it had been too long since I'd had the chance to see or sing with him, he was a mentor and and an inspiration.

His last years were not easy, and I am grateful that he is no longer suffering. The rest of us weep to lose a friend. We can take some comfort from singing his songs (and I do, I do!) and the songs that he collected over the years.

We'll miss you, Jonathan....

Warmly,
Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Joan
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 10:31 PM

I'd just about forgotten Jonathan's Limerick Game, Sandy. Everyone at the table gets a paper and pencil. You put down your first and last lines, and pass the paper to the person next to you, then accept your neighbor's. With only those two lines in front of you (which often seem to have no connection to each other), you must complete a limerick somehow, and one that makes sense, to boot. Many artful and charming ones emerge, especially when there are word folks present. Those were gorgeous, Sandy!

Other than singing and our Folk Legacy association, that was my particular connection with Jon: words. I can echo the sentiments of nearly everyone who's contributed to this thread in my admiration for his intellect, enthusiasm, musicianship and scholarship. It was hard to watch his disease cause physical deterioration, but our collective memories of a brilliant and vital man keep going on and on to transcend sad fact of his illness. "No one dies as long as there are people who remember..."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,maddy
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:17 PM

standing around backstage at one of the folk legacy festivals at the sounding board in hartford - jonathan hanging around, grousing at musicians jamming on irish tunes - "how can they play the same thing over and over?" remembering his affection for things Asian, i suggested he just think of it as a mantra, and got a hug for it.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 11:35 PM

So many people in this thread I think I know. If Maddy is who I think she ius. And Joan. Jennifer and Bob too. Jon Bartlett, I've been looking for your cassette with "The Wild Goose" on it for ages. So many songs and harmonies come flooding in. Thanks to you all. And thanks to Jon Eberhart and this sad thread for pulling us together again. Onward----

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Sandy Paton
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 04:07 AM

The second Boarding Party album will be among our next batch of "made-to-order" CDs, Charley. We're hung up on getting the permissions we need for the use of the painting we want to use for the third one. Besides, there's almost too darned much on my plate right now. Trying to keep this enterprise afloat in the midst of the Bush economy is consuming much of my time and energy. When folks are deeply concerned about rising fuel costs, rising medical costs, failing businesses threatening many with layoffs or cutbacks... well, if your choice is buying the medication your doctor has just prescribed or buying a CD, which would you do? I can certainly understand the problem faced by many in these tough times. I'll get to the third Boarding Partry recording as soon as I can. Bear with me, please.

    I am told that there will be a celebration of Jonathan's life on the 15th of March in Washington. Watch for further information.

    Tonight, I went through a bunch photos taken at the Trolley Museum when we were working on the cover of his solo album. What an intense look he often had about him! Did he ever ring some kind of "Rasputin" bell with others?

    Sandy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Myron Bretholz
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 08:37 PM

Well here I was looking for the lyrics to some obscure folksong, and I saw the notice of Jonathan's passing. I hadn't seen him in probably twenty years or more, but my memories of him are vivid, and concur with many of the other wonderful reminiscences which have already been posted. I met him when I was just a fledgling deejay at WGTB-FM at Georgetown University... as I recall, he was co-hosting a program with Scott Sommers (whom I'd love to reconnect with as well... anyone know whatever became of him?), and the two of them (a) were playing some absolutely remarkable music and (b) took me under their wing and showed me the ropes, for which I will be forever grateful. Yes Jonathan could be prickly, but hey when you're a genius I suppose a bit of prickliness is allowed! But you ALWAYS knew where you stood with him, and his word was ALWAYS as good as gold... rare enough commodities in this day and age! In any event, I loved every minute I ever spent with the man, because I always learned something new from him, and he was more interesting, and (in his way) funny than ten other folks put together. Well Jonathan the world is a poorer, not to say less interesting, place now that you're gone, but I'm sure you are dazzling the angels right now with your amazing breadth of knowledge. And it was good to see so many other names from the (not so distant) past in this thread too...
Condolences to all who knew him and godspeed to him,
Myron


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Bob Hitchcock
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 10:00 PM

Reading all these threads about Jonathan brings back so many memories of my days with Boarding Party. I used to drive Jonathan to most of our gigs and spent many hours on the road with him discussing every topic imaginable.

Reading about the Limerick game reminds me of the times we would look out for road signs on the Highways, you know the ones with 2 town names on them, and try to make a persons name from them. Once we found one we then invented a character to go with the name, I recall some of them as Dupont Pittston (a wealthy mine owner), Magnolia Fallston (local woman of ill repute) and North East Rising Sun (Indian Chief).

He inspired me to be a better musican, and in doing so made me a better person. The world is a much poorer place since his passing, but I bet the heavenly choir has lot more bottom end than it ever did before.

Bob.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Debbie Hutton
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 12:11 PM

It's hard to think of what else to say about Jonathan, so many of you have said so much.   I was quite in awe of Jonathan when we first joined FSGW. He was very much part of the elite. I didn't always understand his references or get his jokes but boy did I enjoy hearing him sing.

Later through the Washington Folk Festival we spent quite a bit of time together and I like to think we were friends. I was not longer intiminated by him and felt free to express opinions that didn't always mesh with his.

He gave bruce and me one very special gift; A song "Daniel's Hand" to celebrate the birth of our first son. Daniel is now 25. (How can that be, bruce and I are still young!). Some years later at a recording session at the Patons the group recorded it for us. Just thinking about it brings back so many memories.

We have missed Jonathan for many years and will continue to do so.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Mark Washburn
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 01:01 PM

Jonathan was my mentor, colleague, and friend through many years and many planets. I met him as a science writer, but was fortunate enough to share some of the "folkie" side of his life, including a recording session with Sandy Paton back in the late seventies, and a couple of Boarding Party performances. I met some of his friends --- Pete the Spy, where are you?-- listened to his music, shared sushi, and had many, many great times with him. Reading the reminiscences here has been a warm and fuzzy experience for me. Thank you all for sharing them. You folkies should be aware that the same sort of mass mourning is going on in the space science community. Science News will have a memorial for him in its March 1 issue, and on its website. He will be missed by many. Damn.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 03:54 PM

Jon's name is one I will regret taking out of my phone book. I met him a few times over the years and called him once or twice a year to discuss ideas and music. One memorable call was about the Japanese phrase in "Waltzing with Whales." I shall miss him. I hope his passing was gentle.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: GUEST,Cookieless Kathy Westra
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 07:08 PM

Mark, Pete the Spy will be at the memorial celebration on March 15. You'll get to reconnect there with him, and many of the people who have posted on this thread. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 08:19 PM

Do wish I was able to be there. Give my regards to all.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jonathan Eberhart
From: Fortunato
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 09:05 PM

Art, I'll take some pictures. Perhaps there will be recordings as well. We'll see. If you'd like to hear a song or so, live, we might try a telephone call. Let me know; PM me. I could call from the Ethical Society on the afternoon of the service. Susette and I will be there for sure. All the best to you. Cheers, Chance Shiver.


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