30 Years Ago in the VFSS: Linda Chobotuck

Linda Chobotuck says she’s been lurking around the VFSS since it met in the Granville Island Community Centre. She was lured in by then-president Anna Holbech Bjarnason. [Ed.: Our records show that Bjarnason was president in 1980.]

“I grew up in a folkie family with a mother who came from a parlour-singing tradition and was an early disciple of the folk revival. Surrounded by folkies, everybody I respected as a musician was also a songwriter, so from an early age I also wrote music. I’m not very prolific, but I’ve been doing it a long time and it adds up.

“My notebook says that ‘Give the Boss his Due’ was written in October 1985, but it was certainly brewing earlier than that because the third verse was inspired by an industrial psychology course that I dropped in disgust. The whole song is basically a tribute to my father’s attitude to work; the proper relationship a responsible worker should have to his or her job. You owe your co-workers to pull your own weight, but your obligations only go so far.

“After sleeping, people actually spend most of their time working, so I am perhaps best known as a singer and writer of labour songs, the most widely recorded of which is ‘Canning Salmon,’ which I wrote while working in a cannery in Richmond.”

Chobotuck performs “Canning Salmon” on a compilation CD titled The Cannery Shed put together by Washington folksinger Mary Garvey. As for a CD of her own, Chobotuck says that’s another project for some indefinite future. Until then, you can enjoy “Give the Boss His Due,” which was recorded live at the VFSS in 1991.

50 Years Ago in the VFSS: Barry Hall

Barry Hall grew up in what was then called the [Vancouver] Folk Song Circle during the 1960s, first attending at an early age and wowing everyone with his prodigious talent on banjo. In 1964, he was asked to record an album for highly respected Folkways Records (now Smithsonian Folkways). As you can see from the album photo, he was still incredibly young at the time. According to the Folkways website, this was Hall’s only commercial recording.

The VFSS audio archives include a number of live recordings of Barry Hall, including these two blistering instrumentals recorded on October 21, 1970. The first one seems to be identified as “Mason’s Apron.” The title of the second one is not provided.

This blog is intended to initiate dialogue on this topic. I know that there are others in the Folk who know much more about Barry Hall than I do and I would welcome shared reminiscences and information in the comments.

Vision 2030

VISION 2030 Workshop: Thanks to everyone who sent in their replies to the question: What is one experience connected with the Folk that really stands out for you? Why? We’ve received some great stories and would love to hear from more of you Folk enthusiasts! We’ve extended the response window to Sunday Aug 9th – please reply to: vanfolksong@gmail.com  and put ‘VISION 2030’ in the subject line.

Cheerful Songs for Trying Times 5

Casting about for a way to share some of the good cheer and community that we experience at our Folk Song Society Wednesday evenings, I came upon a recording of a full songcircle that I made back on April Fool’s Day, 2015. Since our songcircle that would have taken place on April 1 would have been on a similar theme, it seems appropriate to share selections from that recording now.

Here is Rick Pollay singing the Wompom song from our Parodies and Silly Songs night.

Cheerful Songs for Trying Times 4

Casting about for a way to share some of the good cheer and community that we experience at our Folk Song Society Wednesday evenings, I came upon a recording of a full songcircle that I made back on April Fool’s Day, 2015. Since our songcircle that would have taken place tonight (April 1) would have been on a similar theme, it seems appropriate to share selections from that recording now.

Here is John Neilson singing his song from our Parodies and Silly Songs night.

Multi Track Video

The video edit on this clip is pretty good. I suspect they are using ProTools which is pretty expensive and they are pros.   

We can achieve the same effect as follows:

  1. Create a click track on an mp3 file.    Sound recorder and a metronome will serve.
  2. Each musician records the song using whatever they have to create an mp4.   A smart phone on a tripod works pretty well.  Count the start in 1 2 3 4 to sync the tracks.  We cut this out of the final production.
  3. We pick the most likely version and each listen to it while re-recording our own part.
  4. The tracks are mixed into a video using LightWorks or ShotCut.  
  5. We could post the individual .mp4s on vfss.ca  so we don’t need to email huge video files.

 The mix is the big job I think I can do it in a day or so.   I’ve created a demo with SHOTCUT, just me playing two videos rhythm and lead side by side.  When you see it remember I don’t play all that well but the video and sound quality is pretty good.   The video shows the process for creating the combined track which is the last part of the presentation.   Two tracks are harder than one but three or four will not be that much more difficult.

Multi Track Video Demo

Cheerful Songs for Trying Times 3

Casting about for a way to share some of the good cheer and community that we experience at our Folk Song Society Wednesday evenings, I came upon a recording of a full songcircle that I made back on April Fool’s Day, 2015. Since the upcoming songcircle we will be missing would also have taken place on April Fool’s (2020), it seems appropriate to share selections from that recording now.

Here is Mary Armitage singing the third song from our Parodies and Silly Songs night.

See more from Mary on her performer’s page.

Cheerful Songs for Trying Times 2

Casting about for a way to share some of the good cheer and community that we experience at our Folk Song Society Wednesday evenings, I came upon a recording of a full songcircle that I made back on April Fool’s Day, 2015. Since the upcoming songcircle we will be missing would also have taken place on April Fool’s (2020), it seems appropriate to share selections from that recording now.

Here is Christina Ray singing the second song from our  Parodies and Silly Songs night.