Author Topic: Ian Tyson, music, and shop class  (Read 279 times)

TC Chris

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Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« on: March 13, 2017, 12:05:41 AM »
I was out working in my shop Sat. night, and played a compilation CD my brother made up.  One of the songs was Neil Young singing "Four Strong Winds."  I'd never make it as a singer, because songs like that one always choke me up.  I couldn't remember who wrote it, buy Google helped me to remember Ian Tyson.  It also reminded me that he wrote "Someday Soon," another one of those songs that I can't get through without the eyes leaking.  Tyson is from Alberta, and I think you can hear the big open spaces of Canada in his songs.  They're wistful and a bit melancholy or lonesome. 

Music of all kinds is a constant in my life.  We owe a lot to the artists who write and make our music.  And it's something that we humans have done for a very long time. We seem to have some sort of drive to make music (and other arts).  I'm always puzzled by people who argue that arts education is a "frill." 

I just hung up a simple plywood board out in the shop.  It has 8 cup hooks on it, and from them hang 8 squares of wood of different species.  It was Mr. Sonnevil's teaching device--his students had to identify the woods.  Mr. Sonnevil was my 7th and 8th grade shop teacher.  He taught mechanical drawing and basic wood, metal, and electrical skills to me and my brothers in those grades.  We talk about Mr. Sonnevil all the time. At some point the schools decided not to teach shop any more to grade school kids.  My mother went to the sale.  She didn't me one of the elegant Oliver wood lathes, but she did buy this sample board.  But the lives of kids are poorer for not having a guy like Mr. Sonnevil teach them that they can make things.   The other day I made a new handle for a brass corkscrew.  I had some scrap sheet brass for the handle part, and secured it with a rivet I made from the shank of a broken brass or bronze screw.  Mr. Sonnevil was in my mind as I peened it over.

He died at 96.  A couple years before that, I took all the shop class projects I could find, put them on a blanket in the back yard, and snapped a photo.  I sent it to Mr. Sonnevil with a note about the Campbell kids' fond memories of him.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 10:04:44 AM »
That is a nice tribute to your beloved teacher.  I'm sorry to hear of his passing, but you have many fond memories.


If I had to select a favorite teacher, it would have to be Mrs Jackson.  She taught high school English. 


If I had to pick out a favorite song writer, for me it would be Harlan Howard.  There have been many good songwriters throughout time.  The ones writing nowadays do not connect as well with me, but I assume that would be a normal generational type of thing.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

19and41

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Re: Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 12:36:11 PM »
It's good that you took the time to let him know how he touched your life.  That is an important gift for someone in a craft such as his.  Many folks will pass out of this life not knowing what you related to him so simply.
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TC Chris

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Re: Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 12:35:29 AM »
I've tried to express thanks to a variety of teachers along the way.  It always surprises the hell out of them.  It's a small effort compared with the work that it takes to teach people, especially high school kids (are they people?).  I think that the two indispensable professions are teaching and journalism.  Maybe the songwriters ought to be added to the list--they enrich our lives in many ways, over & over.

Harlan Howard gets into heaven with Patsy Clines help for "I Fall to Pieces."   Lots of times I think to myself that if I had written one of those songs that sticks in my memory, I'd consider it a life well lived.  The 20th century was a period of really valuable songwriting from the tin pan alley crowd, those writing for Broadway, the Nashville ones. 

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 09:18:02 PM »
Chris, you mentioned "Four Strong Winds."  The song by that title that I'm familiar with was recorded by Bobby Bare in, say, 1968 or so.


"Four strong winds that blow lonely,
Seven seas that run high,
Are the things that won't change, come what may."


Is this the song you are referring to?  It is a beautiful song, but I'm not sure I connect with the "water works" part.  What about this song holds such a special meaning for you?


Patsy Cline never recorded a bad note.  Unless some exist that I'm not aware of, I have every note ever recorded by both Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves in their relatively short recording careers.  We have to remember that Patsy died in 1964 after being "discovered" in 1957. 


Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Faron Young, Cindy Walker, Wayne Walker, Charlie Walker, Webb Pierce, Johnny Wright, Johnny Bond, Mel Tillis, Bordaleau Bryant, Moon Mullican, Eddie and Dearest Dean, Pee Wee King, Marty Robbins, are some other writers I can think of who have written some pretty good stuff over time.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

TC Chris

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Re: Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 11:04:58 PM »
Chris, you mentioned "Four Strong Winds."  The song by that title that I'm familiar with was recorded by Bobby Bare in, say, 1968 or so.


"Four strong winds that blow lonely,
Seven seas that run high,
Are the things that won't change, come what may."


Is this the song you are referring to?  It is a beautiful song, but I'm not sure I connect with the "water works" part.  What about this song holds such a special meaning for you?


Patsy Cline never recorded a bad note.  Unless some exist that I'm not aware of, I have every note ever recorded by both Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves in their relatively short recording careers.  We have to remember that Patsy died in 1964 after being "discovered" in 1957. 


Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Faron Young, Cindy Walker, Wayne Walker, Charlie Walker, Webb Pierce, Johnny Wright, Johnny Bond, Mel Tillis, Bordaleau Bryant, Moon Mullican, Eddie and Dearest Dean, Pee Wee King, Marty Robbins, are some other writers I can think of who have written some pretty good stuff over time.

Lots of people have recorded "Four Strong Winds," but the Ian & Sylvia version seems to speak of the vast western spaces (US and Canada), the small populations, the loneliness.  I like a song with a bit of melancholy to it.  I was thinking about that... "Wichita Lineman" has the same effect on me.  And the 1971 movie by Peter Bogdanovitch, "The Last Picture Show," set in rural Texas.

The older I get, the more amazing the world is and the more I'm moved by things.  Geez, I can't sing the U-M alma mater, "The Yellow and Blue," without getting choked up.  Or, since I heard Garrison Keillor read the poem on the radio one day, I can't actually speak the final lines to Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods" without the same problem.  For me, the poem had been spoiled by the Rocky & Bullwinkle version, by then Garrison read it one day while I had the radio on at work, and it struck me what a strong poem it is. 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Gets me every time now.  Nobody ever told me how much more interesting and moving life would be when I got old.  Or maybe they tried to, and I didn't listen.  I like very large and long form music, and the 3-minute-limited popular songs too.  Chuck Berry's "Promised Land," that wonderful little adventure story compressed into a song, with its great victorious last line:

Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin'
And the poor boy's on the line.

Maybe I'm just nuts, but life as an old guy is just a whole lot more impressive than life as a teen or 20-something.

Chris Campbell


electra225

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Re: Ian Tyson, music, and shop class
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 12:20:20 AM »
Elvis Presley singing "Mansion on A Hilltop" puts a lump in my throat every time I hear it, so I get where you are coming from.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....