April 2008

VOCAL SONG - Old Judge Duffy (click to hear)

Lyrics and background for this song are given in Rosalie Sorrel's book "Way Out in Idaho", together with some background by the distinguished folklorist Barre Toelken of Utah State University. Toelken indicates that he got the song from retired logger Henry Tams of Moscow. The story about a Chinese man hung for the crime of a white man has been found elsewhere in Idaho, and is indicative of racist attitudes during the western mining booms towards "celestials". The songwriter and date are unknown, but could easily have arisen in the 1860s. This rendition of the song is by the folksinger Johnny Thomsen of the Idaho City area.


INSTRUMENTAL SONG - Farewell to Steunenberg ( click to hear)

This instrumental song was written in 2007 by the long time Idaho folksinger John Larsen of Givens Hot Springs, on the centennial of the assassination of Governor Frank Steunenberg by Harry Orchard in Caldwell. The ensuing trail of the radical union leader Big Bill Haywood involved legendary American attorneys such as Clarence Darrow and William Borah and captured the attention of America. The trail had a strong impact on the development of the modern American labor union movement. Almost forgotten during the hooplah of the trial was the man who was assassinated. This song, while not written prior to 1910, attempts to capture the overall sound that a tribute song to Governor Steunenberg might have had at the time of the trial. On this recording, John Larsen played mandolin, guitar and harmonica. Gary Eller played plectrum banjo and Marv Quinton added bass.



Copyright 2008 by Slim Chance Music.

This page was last revised on May 2, 2008.