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Ship’s Blog » TRAVIS EDMONSON

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Good-bye to Travis Edmonson

Friday, May 15th, 2009

 Travis Edmonson wrote “One for the Money”

Folk music pioneer Travis Edmonson dies at 76

5/12/2009, 2:47 a.m. EDT The Associated Press  

(AP) — PHOENIX - Travis Edmonson, a folk music singer and songwriter of the 1950s and ’60s who was considered a pioneer by artists such as the Kingston Trio, died Saturday. He was 76.

Edmonson died at a Mesa, Arizona, hospital, said longtime friend Mike Bartlett. Although Bartlett did not know the cause of death, he said Edmonson, who had a stroke in 1982, had been suffering numerous health problems.

Bob Shane, founding member of the Kingston Trio, was in college when he first saw Edmonson perform in San Francisco. Edmonson became his idol after that.

 

“He was probably the finest solo entertainer I’d ever seen,” Shane told The Associated Press from his Phoenix home. “He had a command of the stage that was just unbelievable.”

Shane said he and fellow member, Nick Reynolds, were inspired watching Edmonson, who at the time was a member of the Gateway Singers.

Born in Long Beach, California, Edmonson spent his childhood in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. His family’s proximity to Mexico helped to shape his passion for Latin music.

Some of Edmonson’s signature songs included “I’m a Drifter” and “Malaguena Salerosa.”

In the 1970s, Edmonson moved back to Tucson where he continued to perform and advise younger musicians such as Linda Ronstadt.

© 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Travis Edmonson

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Dear Travis Edmonson,

Although we have never met in person, I have a lot to thank you for.

You wrote a song: “One For the Money”.

Here is how your song has influenced me:
One day, a good friend Bruce Brackney, let me listen to some songs sung in concert by Fred Holstein. One of those songs was “One for the Money”.

Well, Mr. Edmonson, I loved many of the songs on that CD. But the one I “gathered” first was your song. I played it over and over. I dried off my wet hands (I was doing dishes at the time) and grabbed pen and paper and wrote out the words. I ran and got my guitar and I learned that song.
The next day I went to work. At that time, I worked as a teacher in a Psychiatric Hospital for Children in Victoria B.C., Canada. I worked with wonderful kids ages 5-12. These kids were in serious trouble, mainly because they had been born a bit different or vulnerable, or had become vulnerable due to events in their lives, or maybe some of them were just too clever and too fast-thinking and fast-moving for the rest of the world. Some of them were in trouble because they could see that the “Emperor Had No Clothes”, but they hadn’t been able to quite grasp the diplomatic way of pointing it out to the rest of the world. These kids were mostly boys, and mostly labeled as “Bad Boys”. They often would cuss and whine and refuse to do what anybody wanted them to do. Many had not been able to attend school for ages, and some had been removed from their families as well.

Funny thing, though, these kids loved to sing. Guess they just needed someone to sing  them real songs and belt out those songs with a real voice, and show them that singing was for the strong and positive, and also a way to share and experience big feelings. My students used to say, “A song is something no one can ever take away from you.”
I did this job for over 30 years, and never came across a kid who didn’t love to sing out loud and clear, and have a favourite song, and want to share it with others.

So, the day after hearing “One for the Money” for the first time, what did I do, but dash into school, pick up the guitar and shout, “Wow, wait till you hear this new song I just learned!” And guess what? Within a few minutes all the kids were singing it, my little ones and the older kids from next door, and all the Nurses and Doctors, Psychiatrists and Psychologists, Child and Youth Counselors, the Parents and Teachers and Visiting Professionals and the Custodians and Maintenance Staff. Everyone loved that song. Tears flowed through the grins. Everyone was so touched by the words and the music and the delightful structure that allowed immediate recognition and instant chorus-singing.

A few days later, I sang your song at the Victoria Folk Music Society Coffee House, and then at parties and other gatherings, and I flew to Toronto and sang it for my Mother (age 80+) and my brother and sister and their families. I even sang it at our wedding! Everyone loved that song!
One of the places I shared the song was Northwest TeacherCamp, a yearly gathering of enlightened teachers, whose thoughtfulness and reflection and caring are expressed in so many ways, and where music is an all-day, all-night activity. Everyone at Teachercamp loved the song.

A couple of years ago, I decided to change direction in life. I retired from teaching and began to prepare for a many-year voyage on the Wooden Schooner built by my “best friend and favourite dancing partner”, Tony Latimer.

Richard Scholtz, one of the founders of TeacherCamp and an amazing mentor to more folks than he remembers meeting, suggested that it might be a good idea to do a recording before we headed south. Richard is highly skilled in facilitating the recording of real live music, and so, in February 2007, a CD was made, with 12 of my favourite songs – the ones I most wanted to share.

The CD is called “We Need to Sing” and “One for the Money” was one of the first songs on the set list.

I spent hours on the telephone and on the Internet trying to find out who wrote the song, and no one seemed to know. After much, much digging, I finally found your web-site and wrote to Chantal. She was most gracious in her response, and the song was recorded.

Well, Mr. Edmonson, I am sitting here in San Francisco Bay on a 58 ft. Schooner and finally writing to you and sending you a copy of the CD. The folk process has been active, and so the words of your song are not exactly as written (I didn’t find you soon enough). I hope you will forgive me for that.

I started out to write you a short note, and here it has turned into a long one. What I really want to do is thank you for your song, and for the many hours of enjoyment it has given so many people. You have got to be a very special person, and I hope very much that one day we might meet in person. But whether that happens or not, I feel that our paths have truly crossed, and this one song is a demonstration of the powerful influence of music in the world. Thank you for that.

I know that you have had some health problems lately, and I am sending you heartfelt wishes for your health, comfort and well-being. May the joy you have given others through your music come back many times multiplied.
Now I am going to go and sing your song for myself and for you.
Maybe you will hear it in your mind, all the way from San Francisco Bay.

One of many people touched by your music,
Pat Thompson
On board
Schooner
Forbes & Cameron
Presently moored in
Alameda, California