Thanks to the best news weekly in the greater tri-state area for the imspiration for me to get off my keister re my music preforming (as they say in the White House) . Something “registered” when I read the news about free listings for local musicians, so I created FOLK Salad to let my people KNOW — via mon response to IT and my creation of a new page at my arts site..
Before I tell you where, I will tell you why. I was given my first guitar about age 10. It was a $15 Harmony from Sears, and when I received it on Christmas circa ’57, I thought I had been handed a ticket to the moon! (Gossamer wings optional.) It was just one of those things. Elvis was arriving; the Everly Brothers were arrived. When Mom brought home a book from the library about how to play a guitar, I knew I’d have to settle for what we then-called “pantomiming” and we today call “lip synching.” The book was hardbound with a black cloth cover and about the size of a John Steinbeck short story anthology, but a heck of a lot harder to comprehend. I needed something simpler with bigger pages.
In the meantime, I pantomimed my performance of the Everly Brothers “Problems Problems” and “Bird Dog” . . . . . . (“Hey bird dog, get away from my quail. Hey bird dog, you’re on the wrong trail.” I could still sing it today, but I don’t expect to, even though NOW I can play the chords. Singing two-part harmony with myself is the real challenge) . . . . . ..at a Blackhawk School variety show. I amso ‘mimed Neil Sedaka’s “I Go APE” — NOT the civilized, sanitized, revisionized version he performs today like a Mike Jagger atrophied into Joe Lieberman, but the ORIGINAL. . . . . and that version was excellent.
By 9th grade at Franklin, Mom or Dad had found the Mel Bay “how to learn guitar” books, and they were my pathways to fame and four tunes. I was delighted! I could understand Mel Bay! From “Red River Valley,” I progressed to “On Top of Old Smokey,” Camptown Races” and “Undecided.” UNDECIDED? “First you say you will, and then you won’t. Then you say you did and then you don’t. You’re undecided now, so what am I gonna dooooooo?” I also remember the refrain, but I’ll spare you. Yes, it was a very modern book. I even performed two or three songs, accompanying myself on my own guitar in Mr. Bob Nika’s ninth grade choral singing class. And I remember the first comment by the first person after my first song, which happened to be “Undecided.” When Mr. Nika said “Does anybody have any thoughts to share?” Nancy Rose, probably the best-looking blonde in the history of Benjamin Franklin Junior High School, said, “Yes, I do. Job, I couldn’t understand a word you sang!” And you know the God’s honest truth? I was not insulted or hurt. First of all she was NANCY ROSE for goodness’ sake, and second, she was absolutely right. I seldom practice or perform a new song without thinking of Bob Nika and Nancy Rose. My hand to God, that is the happy truth.
I won’t bore you with the rest except for a summary. Played with a folk group comprised of Jim Richardson, Carl Russo, Steve Baker and me in high school. Later played a lot in college at SCI and MacMurray, mostly. Played at all the Springfield coffeehouses in the 60s except Rudolph’s Bean. I went there once without guitar, and the campy scholastic kitschyness scared me away. I took some pictures during my days as a regular at The Somethin’ Else at Fourth at Capitol and have posted them at a web page you can access through the CIVAG Site Map.
I’ll share more as I get some 21st Century performances under my belt. I billed myself for a long time as “Springfield’s Oldest Living Folkinger” but now that I probably am, I resent the approach, even though I used it for about three and a half days.. So now it’s FOLK Salad. Job Conger, his six-string and his 12-string acoustic guitars. Lettuce entertain you. Unplugged, umpresentious and unforgettable.” Vist the page www.civag.com/FOLK.htm
Sing long . . . . . and proper.