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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
JWB Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009) (285* d) RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009) 19 Oct 09

Barry was a true folk singer: unschooled, unique, passionate, talented and genuine. He may not have done hard time flat-weeding at Parchman Farm, or bowsed on a lee forebrace off the Horn, but the way he sang made you think he had. And his repertoire! My God, he had an ear for the back-of-the-drawer kind of songs, ones that 99 out of a hundred singers would pass by. He would take them and find the soul of them, and share them with us and we were amazed. I think he's the person I've asked more than any other, "Where ever did you find that song?"

He and Neil invited me to be part of Finn and Haddie some years back, and during the year I was able to participate I received an invaluable education from Barry in how to put across a ballad. He could captivate an audience with a long slow song that, in the mouths of most singers, wouldn't hold attention past the third verse. It was his energy, his belief in the song, and most of all his voice: rust on silver, with a chanteyman's stridency and the warmth of crooner, all at once.

I don't want to have to say goodbye. I need to belt out "Trinidad to Venezuela!" with him again. I didn't get the "The Old Brig" from him yet. I didn't tell him what a treasure he is, or thank him for all the times he surprised, moved and delighted me. Now it's too #!@>ing late!

A sailor stood at the pearly gates,
His face was scarred and old.
He stood before the man of fate
For admission to the fold.

"And what have you done?" Saint Peter said,
"To gain admission here?"
"Oh, I've been sailor, sir," he said,
"For many and manys a year."

The pearly gates swung open wide
As Saint Peter struck the bell.
"Come on inside and choose your harp
"You've served your time in hell."


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