E Pluribus Hootenanny
Nick recorded these songs one night a few years ago when a bunch of us sang together for a couple of hours after dinner in Chris & Jona’s living room. I’ve been trimming out most (but not all!) of the tangential badinage and then saving each song as an mp3. Song after song, you’ll hear Chris’s clear, sweet tenor and his deft way of including everyone in the singing. Mistakes were made, of course, but please feel free to lower your standards and enjoy!
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When I’m on My Journey (and other songs)
Back in 2014 or so from the looks of the video files—we had a table-full of pears ripening in the background, so it was probably mid to late August—Chris and Joan came down to our house to sing some favorite songs in front of my video camera. I edited the video a little bit, harvested the audio, edited it some more and have posted the resulting mp3 files here. Once again, it’ll sound a lot like real life—that’s what it was. Once again, there were no re-takes: lower your standards and enjoy! Sing along, too!
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SNCC Freedom Songs
You won’t hear Chris’s inimitable voice on any of the songs in the links below. But you’ll hear songs that inspired Chris when he went to work in Mississippi in the 60’s helping people rebuild churches that had been firebombed by the KKK. (Black churches were prominent in the very dangerous civil rights and voter registration campaigns of that time and were natural targets for the KKK and White Citizens Council.) Sometime in the 80’s, Chris gave me a cassette of these freedom songs he had made from a record by the SNCC Freedom Singers. These freedom songs and some of the people who sung them made their way to the West Coast, inspiring Luis Váldez and the Teatro Campesino who translated many of them into Spanish and popularized them at Farm Workers Union picket lines, meetings, and rallies. These songs have inspired my family ever since Chris gave me the cassette. I hope they inspire you too.
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Songsheet: Remembering Chris (pdf)
12 pages of some—he knew so many!—of Chris’s favorite songs