From the folknik March/April 2004
(Volume XL, Number 2)

e-zine of the San Francisco Folk Music Club
(click here for membership info)

The San Francisco Folk Music Club is a nonprofit corporation
dedicated to the enjoyment, preservation and promotion of
acoustic music in individual, family, and community life.

Table of Contents




Memorial Day at Taylor Park

This Memorial Day campout is at a new park: Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Marin County. It's a beautiful, creekside setting of redwoods and other trees.

Our reservation is in the Madrone group area. We are very close to another camp and will have to observe the 10:00 p.m. curfew. The site holds 25 people and 10 vehicles up to 24 feet long. Parking areas are a short walk down from our campsite.
Park facilities include showers and toilets, hiking and nature trails, bike trail, picnic area, and dump station for RVs. Our facilities include the usual jamming, singing and concerts. For information on park day use, call the park at (415) 488-9897
The reservation coupon is here; reservations can also be made on our web site In case of problems with the website, phone the SFFMC at (415) 661-2217. Directions to the park are sent when we receive your reservation. Make your reservations early!

General Meeting Highlights

SFFMC's annual General Meeting was held at Camp Harmony at noon on January 2, 2004. Discussion centered on Camp Harmony and its future. Due to reduced attendance, there is an anticipated loss of approx. $5000 this year on a total budget of about $60,000.

[N.B. As of 1/14/04, figures show there may be little or no deficit this year due to the number no-shows who have not requested a refund, as well as a high number of drop-ins. However, the general trend is down.]

Possibilities to alleviate future deficits were laid out: encouraging more people to attend, fund-raising, running a smaller camp (i.e. Camp Campbell without Camp Harmon), making camp one day less, or using a less expensive location. Several suggestions for other locations, for outreach, and for fund development were discussed.

It was decided to form three new subcommittees of the Camp Harmony Committee: Site Search, Fund Raising and Outreach and Publicity.

Some discussion of Camp Harmony logistics (starting time of concert, reduced fees for families, extending definition of folk music to include more of interest to the TV generation, etc.) as well as some specific suggestions for fund-raising and outreach.
Our Corresponding Secretary will write to thank Camps Campbell and Harmon for the many improvement that we noticed at Camp Harmony, such as better lighting on the path between the camps, new paths, etc.

Fold-in/Folk Sing April 25

The fold-in is at noon, Sunday, April 25, at the home of Abe & Joan Feinberg.
The more, the merrier, to help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards, and to make music. Bring a potluck dish and instruments.

Musical Meetings

Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl and Parnassus Streets in San Francisco. Singing and jamming in three separate rooms start at 8:00 p.m. Snacks are provided through $1 food kitty donations or finger food contributions. Guests are always welcome, no one is expected to "perform", and there is no charge.

"There is no standard set for the singing here, but we set a very high standard in listening."
-- motto of the Góilín Traditional Singer's Club, Dublin, Ireland

Date March 5 March 19 April 2 April 16 April 30
Setup Melissa Sarenac Melissa Sarenac Stephen Hopkins KenHayes Melissa Sarenac
Bulletin Board Debbie Klein Yvette Tannenbaum Joy Salatino Faith June
Host/ess Carolyn Jayne Yvette Phil Morgan Ed Bronstein Dean
Host/ess Faith Mary Anne Greab Pazit Zohar John Kelly Estelle Freedman
Singing Room Estelle Freedman Phil & Margot Dean & June Yvette Melissa Sarenac
Theme Wind, rain, storms Dreams Funny Songs Past, present & Future Traveling
Cleanup Joe Levelle Chuck Oates Faith Chuck Oates Chuck Oates

Board Meetings

The SFFMC board meets on the second Tuesday of each month-potluck at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 8:00 p.m. All Club members are welcome to attend the potluck dinner and the Board meeting.
March 9: Phil Morgan's house
April 13: Marian Gade's houseback to top

Club News

Peter Kasin, Ranger at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, reminds us that chantey sings on the historic square-rigged ship Balclutha, at the Hyde Street Pier, are the first Saturday of each month, 8 p.m. to midnight. Free, but to get in phone (415) 556-6435 or with your name and the size of your party. All are welcome to lead or sing along.

Senior musicians and singers meet Tuesdays 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Rossmoor Hillside Clubhouse in Rossmoor. This is a gated senior community but younger folks are welcome; to find out more, phone Bob or Marcet Tuttle at (925) 256-6376 or .

Lu Cordova, now in Boulder, Colorado, is putting together house concerts and would love to have visitors and musicians come and play. Contact , with a cc to , phone Lu at 303-545.2279 or write 6301 Willow Lane, Boulder CO 80303. So go now and play in Boulder!

Adam Miller, folksinger and autoharp virtuoso ( leads a workshop Sunday, March 7 at 20111 West Ridge Ct., Unit 10, Castro Valley, 1-3 p.m. Contact Sally Schneider at (510) 690-1775, , to register ($25). All are welcome to join in a potluck from 4-5 p.m. followed by a jam session.

Kerry Parker, longtime member and Membership Secretary, offers beginning and intermediate fiddle and mandolin lessons to children and adults at her Noe Valley Studio: Irish, Old-time and Bluegrass by ear or by reading. She's studied with Katie Wreede (of the Turtle Island String Quartet) and Radim Zenkl (modern mando-monster) and wants to start you on a lifetime of joy through music! She's at (415) 282-5868.

Riggy Rackin has a Lowden S-10 guitar for sale at $1500. Call him at (707) 829-7182 or .

Judy Fjell's Wo-Ma-Mu (Women Making Music) spring camp is at The Bishop's Ranch near Healdsburg April 2-5. Classes in guitar, vocal, harmonica, mandolin and dancing. Scholarships and work exchanges available. Details ; (541) 245-9540; fax (541) 245-9570.

Jillian Tallmer leads Yiddish Sing-Alongs the second Sunday of each month (except May, when it's the fourth Sunday) 2-4 p.m. at the Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis, San Francisco. Everyone welcome, no previous familiarity required. Jillian's also with The Loose Canons, singing April 24 and 25 in Pleasant Hill and San Francisco; see the Calendar for details.

Diamond Dave hosts an open mike for poetry and songwriters 8 p.m. Wednesdays at Brainwash, 1126 Folsom, San Francisco,. where his son Ubi hosts a blues jam 8 p.m. Mondays. Dave can also put you on radio live at 3 p.m. Thursdays on KPOO. There is also an open mike at the Dennis Kucinich campaign headquarters, 13th and Mission, San Francisco, Saturday nights until election day. Call Dave at (415) 440-5530 for more information on any of these.

Camp Harmony Thank Yous!

The Club rang in 2004 in a joyous celebration at Camp Harmony, continuing our tradition of a great many years. And despite our predictions of doom, we made a little money for the folk club, but I'll have more on that in the next issue. Though our attendance was a little down, we had a great camp. Here are a few of the people that made Harmony 03/04 what it was: Charlie Fenton, the Committee Chair, Camp Liaison, Board Rep, Setup Supervisor, and the guy who makes it all happen; Mary Luckhardt, Committee Secretary-Treasurer and Registrar.

Our local committee members Ray Frank, Phillip Garrison, David Luckhardt, Trish Waldon and Katie Grist, who come to meetings, and Robert Reed and Laurie Vela, who live too far away, but participate electronically. Ray is our Health and Safety Officer, Kitchen Advisor and Crew Chief, and Concert Coordinator; Robert is the Parking Czar; and Laurie organizes Arts and Crafts and the Kids Chorus. Phillip keeps us sane and organizes our equipment rental, David heads the Take Down crew and Katie organized the prescheduled workshops and put up all the camp signs this year.

Miriam Sundheim organized family housing, Jane Doyle organized special needs housing. Joan Hall-Feinberg recruited workshops leaders and loaner instruments. Elizabeth Douglas organized the evening dances, and Adam Cavan organized Swing Nite. Maxine Gerber and Brendan Doyle organize the supplies, know where everything is and who's bringing it next year. Arlene Immerman was our On Site Registrar and the Daily Supervisor every day. John Gregorin designed the buttons. David and Mary took home and recorded all the Lost and Found.

In the Kitchen this year, working with our fabulous chef Debby McClatchy, were Merilee Buster, Cass and Quena Crain, Sharyn Dimmick, Anselm Engle, Dan Engle, Erik Hoffman, Linnet Millikan, Joe Offer, Charlotte Patterson, Ed Silberman, and Rory Solomon. Debbie Grainger of Camp Harmon cooked breakfast. Tim Hudson did all the recycling. Bettine Wallin organized the hot drinks in the Reg Room and Rachel Levin brought all the Rent-a-Mugs. Also in the Reg Room was Carol Chapman, who brings Arts and Crafts to all of us with box making, and this year magnet making. We thank Carol also for being available as a backup Registration resource, ready to answer questions or help sort out problems at the Reg Desk.

Let's not forget the workshop leaders who fill the schedule with songs, jams, dance lessons, music theory and instrumental sessions (and yoga, massage and arts and crafts, too!). Since we are a do-it-yourself camp, these folks give their time and expertise to all of us without even a chore credit! Many thanks to all these folks for making this year's Camp Harmony so wonderful. If you missed it, too bad. Watch this space in September for YOUR application!
- Mary Luckhardt

Camp Harmony Lost & Found

Lost: Jim Saxe's black rubber boots.
Found: grey-green blue knit cap; ladies' glasses, no case, oval gold wire rim, tortoise-shell earpieces; boys' Large 14-16 blue/black nylon jacket; Gap medium-large yellow nylon anorak; child's pink size 6 jacket; green sweat shirt with zipper; children's "It's OK to be different" T-shirt and pair of light blue jeans; large tights–blue; black tights; black half-slip; low shoe rubbers and black panties in plastic bag; La Crosse black rubber boots, size 5 (not Jim's); men's dance shoes; various towels, some blue; book from Santa Cruz library, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff; LED flashlight, red; guitar amp, Roland-Boss MG 10; assorted noisemakers; plug for keyboard or something Sharp AC adapter 5v; BMUG bag; aluminum commuter mug; green carabiniere; corkscrew, waiter style, old leather tan-colored fanny pack; black nylon guitar strap; Dalmatian puppy toy – Laurie Stoerkel has it; small tape recorder, black, GE, recording of Ray Frank at concert is the last thing on tape.
Call David and Mary Luckhardt at (510) 233-5065, before 9 p.m., or .

Camp Harmony Online Group

A new online group has been created as a tool to promote and improve Camp Harmony. Formed at the request of the Camp Meeting this past year, the group is focused on organizing general Camp improvements as well as being a discussion list and tool for the new sub-committees formed at the meeting (Outreach, Site-search, and Fundraising).
This group will not replace the , which has become a very popular general SFFMC announcement list. Camp Harmony announcements will still be made on the email list, as will any general requests for information, volunteers, etc.
Any SFFMC member is welcome to join, either to just get email or to use the website to read email. To join, send an email request to the moderator () asking to be invited to the group.

Dues Increase Coming

Because of increased expenses for camps and folknik printing, dues will increase soon. We may have a sliding scale, with a $10 basic rate. Watch the next issue of the folknik for more details.

Hootenanny March 13

The March Hootenanny features local singer/songwriter Caren Armstrong (; Waterbound, with Jessica Bryan, Tom Clunie and Malcolm Rigby, playing traditional music from the British Isles and America (this is their CD release party!); Tinker's Damn, playing  Scottish and Irish music; Peter Kasin and Richard Adrianowicz leading sea chanteys; and the Carolyn Jayne Combo singing familiar favorites from many genres. A folk jam follows. Come to the Café International, 508 Haight St. at Fillmore, 7:00-10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 13; free admission.

Folk Music on TV: Update

No folk music programming on San Francisco's cable Channel 29? There could be. We got this response from Doug Wilcox:
"SoCoFoSo (Sonoma County Folk Society) has about 20 episodes of 'Santa Rosa City Limits', a program featuring Bay Area (mostly Sonoma County) performers, including John Roberts, Peter Krug, Scott Gerber, Perfect Crime, Doug Wilcox and others. We'd be glad to share these with Channel 29. Each is about 30 minutes long.
"We are also working on a video documentary about the folk music and musicians of this area circa late 60s through mid-80s. We're looking for photos, recordings, publicity, reviews, movies or videos of the era. Eventually we'll be doing interviews. This is a folk, not a commercial enterprise. If you can help, contact me by or (707) 823-0785."

San Francisco Free Folk Festival

The 28th Annual San Francisco Free Folk Festival will take place on June 26 - 27, 2004 at Roosevelt Middle School. Join us for two days of dances, workshops, concerts, an open mic, a music & craft marketplace, food and continual fun featuring all styles of music.

The festival is for everyone who wants to smile a lot, make new friends, and be surrounded by music, dance and a wonderful community! Admission is (yup) free. The festival is easy to reach by MUNI lines 1, 2, 4 or 38. On-site parking is limited but street parking is available within walking distance. The event is wheelchair accessible.Starting in late March, the festival web page at is updated continually with performers and workshop leaders. And right now you can check out last year's page!

Locally and (inter)nationally renowned artists and open-mic sessions which anyone may sign up for.

Music & Dance Workshops
More than fifty music and vocal workshops (beginning to advanced) cover a wide range, including fiddle, guitar, harp, song circles and harmony singing. Workshops are led by experienced teachers from our local community and beyond. 36 dance workshops cover basics like waltz, hambo, contra and International dance. We expand our horizons with swing, Irish, Scottish, English and many more.

Family Activities
Include a concert, crafts, storytelling and children's workshops. We welcome ideas for family shows, crafts, or other family-oriented activities; please contact Michael Jones at (650) 622-9598 or .

Be A Star! Volunteer! Perform!
Would you like to perform, lead a workshop, or volunteer? It takes about 200 volunteers to make this festival happen. Opportunities to help range from helping schedule performers to being a performer yourself. We need workshop leaders in instrumental music, singing, and dance. We also need leaders of children's or family-oriented activities, such as sing-alongs, dance/movement workshops or hands-on craft activities. Be creative and ask your kids and teens to participate! And we need organizers of volunteers and volunteer tasks before and during the festival. (Just so you don't think it's all work, volunteers have been known to start jam sessions in the instrument room, at the information desk, in the parking lot...).
To volunteer, please contact Michael Jones by .

Performance Opportunities
Singers and musicians, soloist or groups, may perform in venues ranging from the Main Stage to the Cafe Cabaret small stage. For information on performing please contact Karen Imperial at by .

The FFF Committee Needs You
We'd love to infuse the Free Folk Festival committee with new blood. Two big roles that need filling are Music Workshop Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator, but many more great jobs than these need doing. Please contact Michael Jones by if you're interested in helping put on this wonderful event.

Our Teens And Young Ones
We want to continue to expand the festival activities for young people. We always invite ideas from you and your children. Kids are welcome to become involved. Our children are the future of the festival, the folk club, the music and dance we do and more! Help keep the spirit alive for future generations.

Sing in a Chorus

Ellen Robinson who currently performs with the nationally acclaimed women's a cappella sextet Vocolot is also the director of the Anything Goes Chorus and the Swingshift Singers in San Francisco and Oakland. She sent us information and invites us to join the fun.

The Anything Goes Chorus, a mixed chorus for men and women, started in 1980 and is still going strong today. Her choristers say: "It's fun! Singing in a group can give great pleasure even to someone who has less than a great voice. Harmonizing in song lends harmony to my whole life." The chorus is open to anyone with a desire to sing, a sense of humor, and a willingness to interact with others.

Anything Goes meets in San Francisco, at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp St., in the Mission (415-647-6015) and in Oakland at the First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison Street (27th and Harrison) (510-482-9520). There are two levels of groups.

Beginning in SF meets Thursdays 5:00 - 6:00 PM. All voices welcome. Learn basic vocal technique and music reading skills, how to sing in unison and rounds, how to harmonize in 2 and 3 parts. New songs taught each week: folk, pop, jazz.

Intermediate/Advanced in SF meets Thursdays 6:10 - 7:50 PM and in Oakland on Wednesdays 7:30 - 9:30 PM. Students need to be able to sing in tune, hold their own while singing in 4 part harmony, and have basic music reading skills. Learn better vocal technique, how to harmonize in different musical styles and improve your music reading skills. New songs taught each week: jazz, popular, Broadway, a cappella, oldies. Annual show.

Swingshift Singers is a daytime women's chorus for all women who want music in their lives. Like a girls' night the morning. Learn to sing freely, read music and harmonize in different styles: folk, pop, oldies, show tunes. Treat yourself to good music, good folks, good fun. All voices are welcome.

Swingshift singers meets Thursdays 10:00 - 11:30 AM in Oakland in the Pilgrim Fellowship Room of the First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison St. (27th & Harrison) (510-482-9520). For more information please contact Ellen at

San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers in Concert with Alasdair Fraser

The San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, led by world-renowned fiddler Alasdair Fraser, return to the Bay Area for another unforgettable concert tour. Come hear fiddle tunes, song and dance with 60 or more fiddlers plus guest soloists, piano, drums, guitars, and more:

Friday evening, April 30 8:00pm
Ohlone College, Fremont.
Smith Center, 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA
$20 general admission/$12 students & seniors
Box office: (510) 659-6031

Saturday evening, May 1, 7:30 pm
Veterans's Hall, 255 South Auburn St., Grass Valley, CA
$16 advance/$18 at the door, $12 students/seniors
Info/Tickets: (530) 477-0708

Sunday afternoon, May 2, 3pm matinee
Santa Rosa High School, 1235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, CA
$20 general admission/$12 students & seniors
Info/Tickets (707) 527-0693
Group rates available for this show on request

Festivals ’n’ Such

Mariposa County Storytelling Festival March 12 - 14
Mariposa, CA, near Yosemite. Magical weekend of storytelling. Info: 800-903-9936, ,

Brookdale Bluegrass Festival March 12 - 14
Brookdale Lodge, 11570 Highway 9, Brookdale CA. Info: 831-335-3662, ,

18th Annual Calaveras Celtic Faire March 13 - 14
Calaveras County Fairgrounds, Angels Camp, CA.
Celtic music, jousting, Highland games, storytellers, bagpipe bands, Celtic marketplace, whiskey contest. Info:

Old Town Temecula Bluegrass Festival March 20 - 21
Temecula, CA. Bluegrass and old-timey concerts, jam sessions, workshops, camping. Info: 909-678-1456

19th Annual Jewish Music Festival March 20 - 27
Various locations in the East Bay, San Francisco and Marin. Week-long celebration of klezmer, Yiddish, Sephardic, classical and world music and dance. Info: 925-866-9599,

Augusta Heritage Workshops March - October
Davis and Elkins College, Elkins VA. Wonderful workshops in everything. This year: Traditional Mexican, Dulcimer, Cajun, Blues, Swing, Irish, Bluegrass, Old-Time. Highly recommended. Info: 800-624-3157,

Dance Awakening April 2 - 4
Harbin Hot Springs, outside Calistoga, CA. Contra dancing, great music and calling, workshops, hot springs. Info: 805-649-5189,

CBA Annual Spring Camp Out April 16 - 18
Yolo County Fairgrounds, Woodland, CA. Jam 'til your fingers turn to mush. Camping fees $15/night. Info: 916-989-0993, ,

Two Day Town April 23 - 25
Lake Del Valle, Ohlone Wilderness, Livermore, CA. Live music, family and kids activities, nature hikes. Info: Cheryl 510-523-2486, ,

San Diego Adams Avenue Roots Fest May 1 - 2
Adams Ave Park, San Diego, CA. Performances of bluegrass, folk, country, cowboy and more. Workshops, crafts. FREE! Info: 619-282-7329, ,

Claremont Spring Folk Festival May 1 - 2
Larkin Park, Claremont, CA. Concerts, workshops, crafts. Info: 909-987-5701, ,

California Autoharp GatheringMay 14 - 16
Mendota High School, Mendota CA. Workshops, concerts, dance, open mike, jams, etc. Info: Adam Miller, 650-8004-2049, ,

Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival May 16
Paramount Ranch, in the Santa Monica Mountains, Agoura Hills CA. Singing, playing and dancing, crafts, jamming! Info: 818-382-4819,

Northwest Folklife Festival May 28 - 31
Seattle Center, Seattle WA. Free! Experience cultures of the world through music, dance, performance, workshops, symposia, crafts and food. Info: 206-684-7300,

Country Roads Music Camp May 29 - 31
Mt. Madonna County Park near Gilroy, CA. Info Ron or Anne Green, 408-379-4090

Santa Barbara Sprung Floor Dance FestMay 29 - 30
Carrillo Ballroom, Santa Barbara, CA. Contra, English Country, and couple dances, singing and dance Workshops. Info: 805-969-1511,

Simi Valley Cajun Creole Music Festival May 29 - 30
Rancho Santa Susana Park, Simi Valley CA. Cajun and creole music, dance lessons, & a Mardi Gras Parade for the kids. Info: ,

Santa Cruz Blues Festival May 29 - 30
Aptos Village Park, Aptos, CA. Blues giants performing, food and crafts. Info: 831-479-9814,

Scandia Camp Mendocino June 12 - 19
Dance & music from Norway and Sweden. Lessons in Hardanger fiddle and nyckelharpa. Info: , 630-985-7192; , 510-215-5974;

CBA's 3rd Annual Music Camp June 13 - 16
Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley CA. Opportunity to learn from some of the best musicians in the bluegrass business. Register early! Info: 707-878-9067, ,

Father's Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival June 17 - 20
Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley CA. West Coast's largest bluegrass festival. Jamming, workshops, kid's programs, concerts. Info: 209-473-1616, ,

Huck Finn Country & Bluegrass Jubilee June 18 - 20
Mohave Narrows Regional Park, Victorville CA. Country and bluegrass music, country dancing, river raft building, catfishing, hot air balloon rides, camping. Info: 909-780-8810,

Swannanoa Gatherings June 18 - July 31
Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC. Workshops in folkarts of every genre. SFFMCers who have attended any of the various special music weeks here say they are the very best. Info: 828-298-3434, ,

Klezcalifornia June 20 - 25
Jewish Community High School of the Bay, S.F. Immersion in klezmer music, Yiddish culture, and folk arts. Classes, singing, jamming, dancing, evening concerts. All levels welcomed; children's program. Info: Julie 415-789-7679,

Fiddlekids 2003 June 21 - 25
Tehiya Day School, El Cerrito, CA. 5 day intensive for children 7-13 with minimum 1 year violin. Various traditional fiddle styles taught, emphasis on learning by ear. Register early! Info: Bobbi, 510-235-0370,


  • Send anything you would like reviewed to the SFFMC, 885 Clayton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.
  • Available for Review (second notice): 700 Miles of Curves, The Songs Of Mark Stephen Johnson. Stephen lives, sings, and teaches here in San Francisco. Book available at 885 Clayton, or phone 415-661-2217.
  • The University of Illinois Press spring/summer catalogue lists books available for review - including The Bluegrass Reader and No Lonesome Road, Selected Prose And Poems of Don West. The catalogue is available at 885 Clayton; review copies of books can be ordered free of charge, and reviewers can keep the book! Please order books through Faith.
  • Send reviews of books, CDs, and other publications to Kathryn LaMar, 21295 Birch Street, Hayward, CA 94541; 510 733 0425; ).


SILENT NIGHT, The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, by Stanley Weintraub.
Penguin Putnam, 2001 (Plume paperback 2002).

Silent Night is the well-documented story of the spontaneous truce (memorialized in John McCutcheon's moving song Christmas in the Trenches) between German, British, French, and other troops that occurred in December 1914 in numerous places along the front. In many places, the truce was initiated by German soldiers singing Stille Nacht and placing small Christmas trees on top of the parapets, which was followed by carol-swapping from the safety of the trenches; burial of the dead in No-Man's Land; and finally the trading and sharing of sweets, spirits, family pictures, and soccer games. At one place, the Germans even sang a song beginning, "Es ist sehr weit zu Tipperary"! Two pages of the book discuss McCutcheon's song, quoting lines such as the one asking "whose family" would be fixed in the sights of a gun, and "The ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame, and on each end of the rifle we're the same." Weintraub, a professional historian specializing in military history, concludes that, "However erroneous the song's specifics were, the conclusions were not." Weintraub also discusses the story of a supposed court martial/death sentence/pardon by King George V told by McCutcheon. According to Weintraub's documented sources, Captain Sir Iain Colquhoun was indeed court-martialed in January 1916 for a brief reprise of the truce on Christmas 1915, but the proceedings resulted in a reprimand, the "mildest punishment possible," which was "promptly remitted by General Haig."

Silent Night describes events leading up to and after the "massive truce," explains why similar truces did not occur later in the war, and offers fascinating insight into life in the trenches. The first chapter had me squirming, as I read of the cold, the knee-deep mud, rats, fleas, and constant fear of snipers. Several poignant photos of soldiers fraternizing in No Man's Land left me wondering whether they survived the war. Silent Night is not an easy read, but you won't soon forget it. - Peter Ross


CAROL DENNEY: Cruel Lullaby. Solid Frog Productions

Carol Denney has never made things easy for us, and we are all the better for it. During the 30 years I have known her, I've been constantly astonished and moved by her genius (per Webster, "a peculiar, distinctive, or identifying character or spirit; extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity"). Cruel Lullaby is by far Carol's best work to date. Everything Carol does is genuine and original. Her voice is her own, and her unique guitar style works. On this recording, Carol integrates her English concertina into many of the songs. Rob Sherman, Frank Buffum, Mark Lemaire, Jim Nelson, John Wetzel, and Radim Zenkyl add banjo, mandolin, bass, and vocals.

With perfectly crafted lyrics and moving melodies, Carol guides us into dark places we're afraid to enter alone. Ready for Christmas looks at how we treat the homeless; Don't Cry For The Tinman puts a sensible, positive spin on being romance-free ("…it muddied up his thinking / it tracked up all his time / the Tinman gave his heart back / and now he's doing fine"); and The Next Time I'm Young comments on the wisdom we gain with age and the lessons we learn too late ("the next time I'm young / I'll do it all different / I'll make the right moves and I'll make the right plans"). There's a hilarious, caustic commentary on recent PG&E shenanigans: Write The Check and Shut Up, and a call to rebel against junk radio ("…screw the FCC, set your radio free"). I weep every time I hear Carol sing the haunting Who Built This House? The brilliant, dark, and compelling title track, Cruel Lullaby - which should come with a warning label - is Carol's answer to those who think they know about the afterlife. My favorite, though - the cut that best sums up Carol Denny - is Raised to be a Lady, a clever blues that turns up its nose at snobbery, and in the process, makes it clear that Carol doesn't really care what we think about her: "…some of us are ladies / so delightful, so refined / some of us are ladies / and some of us are better undefined." - Beryl Schwartz


NADA LEWIS: Hot, Sweet and Wild;

Bay Area Balkan music accordionist Nada Lewis's first solo recording is a gem. Nada has played in folk-dance ensembles for years; she's a fine accordion player with taste and imagination. This CD pulls together 16 interesting and enjoyable tune sets, mostly eastern European, with smatterings of Klezmer, Greek, and Ukrainian thrown in. The arrangements are simple, often comprised of only her accordion accompanied by a string bass, a clarinet, or Robin Petrie's sweet hammered dulcimer harmonies and backups. No overproduction or overinstrumentation here! Throughout, the form of every tune is extraordinarily true to its own tradition and feeling, although tempos my be slower and instrument combinations may seem unusual. This is an album to listen to over and over again-sure to please Balkan enthusiasts, accordion enthusiasts, and even those new to Balkan music. All around, a great job. - Mitch Gordon



Four years after their debut recording, Stumptail Dog has released another, nearly 61 minutes in length, for the enjoyment of all. Stumptail Dog consists of Ray Frank on guitar and tunesmith extraordinaire Dan Engle on fiddle, banjo, mandolin and octave mandolin; on this outing they are joined by special guest Paul Donnelly on bodhran, vocal percussion, and yidiki (didgeridoo). While their first recording favored traditional tunes, this one (16 tracks in all-six single tunes and 10 medleys) contains a majority of original tunes, all but one of which are Engle compositions. Tunes range the literal landscape from Cape Breton to the southern US to the Shetland Islands. Engle's compositions often border on the dreamlike, surreal, and mystical, especially The Sieve of Gondor and the Ride of the Ring Wraiths, with their obvious references to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. From the hauntingly poignant Lament for Susan Tuchel, composed in memory of the mother of one of Engle's fiddle students, to Lullaby for a Weary Child (a banjo waltz composed after a dream involving a child orphaned by the horror of war and brutality), the images evoked by the music on this CD are wondrous and joyful. The final cut, Tapas (a Sanskrit word meaning heat) is most intriguing, with a hard-driving rhythm bordering on the musically primordial. This is surely musical noise at its very best! - Robert Rodriguez