mudcat.org: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
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Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)

DigiTrad:
IDA LEWIS
UNION WORKER, UNION BOSS
YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT TO LOOK AT ME


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stallion 22 Oct 09 - 02:57 AM
Janie 21 Oct 09 - 10:56 PM
Janie 21 Oct 09 - 10:10 PM
GUEST,Barnacle 21 Oct 09 - 09:00 PM
catspaw49 21 Oct 09 - 06:44 PM
stallion 21 Oct 09 - 06:23 PM
Big Mick 21 Oct 09 - 06:06 PM
VirginiaTam 21 Oct 09 - 01:11 PM
Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY 21 Oct 09 - 01:01 PM
Ferrara 21 Oct 09 - 12:16 PM
Tinker 21 Oct 09 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Justine 21 Oct 09 - 09:22 AM
Bupkes 21 Oct 09 - 02:47 AM
SaltyWalt 21 Oct 09 - 02:19 AM
Gorgeous Gary 20 Oct 09 - 10:06 PM
bbc 20 Oct 09 - 09:12 PM
GUEST,rumanci 20 Oct 09 - 08:17 PM
HuwG 20 Oct 09 - 07:54 PM
David Ingerson 20 Oct 09 - 07:52 PM
Hollowfox 20 Oct 09 - 07:52 PM
jacqui.c 20 Oct 09 - 04:06 PM
ClaireBear 20 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM
Nancy King 20 Oct 09 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Gloucesterman 20 Oct 09 - 03:25 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 20 Oct 09 - 02:31 PM
Janie 20 Oct 09 - 02:11 PM
Peg 20 Oct 09 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Natalie Finn 20 Oct 09 - 12:24 PM
George Papavgeris 20 Oct 09 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Lighter 20 Oct 09 - 11:00 AM
My guru always said 20 Oct 09 - 06:31 AM
Chanteyranger 20 Oct 09 - 01:44 AM
Genie 20 Oct 09 - 01:05 AM
Janie 20 Oct 09 - 12:46 AM
Peg 19 Oct 09 - 11:52 PM
Liam's Brother 19 Oct 09 - 11:52 PM
KathyW 19 Oct 09 - 11:43 PM
Peg 19 Oct 09 - 11:31 PM
Janie 19 Oct 09 - 11:13 PM
GUEST,Guest David Jones 19 Oct 09 - 10:17 PM
Susan A-R 19 Oct 09 - 09:23 PM
CET 19 Oct 09 - 09:04 PM
Richard Atkins 19 Oct 09 - 08:52 PM
Charley Noble 19 Oct 09 - 07:10 PM
haddocker 19 Oct 09 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,Lorraine 19 Oct 09 - 06:25 PM
Charley Noble 19 Oct 09 - 05:56 PM
open mike 19 Oct 09 - 04:51 PM
Jeri 19 Oct 09 - 04:49 PM
Colin Randall 19 Oct 09 - 04:25 PM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: stallion
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 02:57 AM

As a note to Martin's recollection on the Mystic night time shanty blast, as I remember it, the rough language was a greeting to us as we came in the door, and the comment was as much about "what have I done putting this lot together" than Barry's greeting.
The song was about a British Convoy that the Germans had warned Britain not to send and they sent it any way and it got sunk, he was going to send the words, he did sing it to Dick Miles at the back of the stage at Scarborough Seafest but I don't know if he got a copy of the words.
I also have his signature on my Mystic Tee shirt, and you may guess, suitably appropriate rough language.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Janie
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 10:56 PM

A correction to my last post. LEJ's song, that thread, and all the contributions regarding word, rythym and tune have really moved me. But it was Charlie Noble's adaptation of the Smith chanty that I meant to reference regarding the "presence" of Barry, as well as the assorted posts from others who sang regularly with Barry in sessions at places like the Press Room.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Janie
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 10:10 PM

I'm struggling to put something into words, if you will bear with me. Feel free to skip to the next post if your eyes glaze.

Like 'Spaw said, we are real people in real community here. I knew Barry from Mudcat and the Getaways. I have been somewhat stunned at the level of loss and grief I feel, as I would not count myself as a close or intimate friend. In spite of that, like so many others here, I held him very dear, thought of him often with great affection, and when I would see him, it was like getting together with some one I had known all my life, even though we actually knew virtually nothing of one another's life histories or experiences. It is clear many, many among us experienced Barry in the same way.

I think that is because what Barry offered to one and all was his authentic self, without front, facade or mask. So to know him at all was know who it was there in front of you. No games. No airs. No pretense. No desire to impress or to be impressed.

Barry was one of the most real people ever I have met. And he was real in every situation and circumstance. Whether he had known you for years, or whether he just met you. Whether he was in cyberspace on a thread, pm or e-mail, or whether it was 3-D. Few, if any, of us posting here would know Barry if we did not have that common interest in music. But I surmise that if Barry had never sung a note, or was a lousy singer who loved the music anyway, most of us would be saying what we are saying, and grieving as we are grieving because of who he was. Not because of what he did.

Several people have talked about a sense of his voice joining in. LEJ put it in chanty form. Last night, out singing to the stars like I do, one song after another that Barry sang came up - usually just the choruses - and there was this sense of Barry's voice there - as others have noted. What a great heart and soul that scrappy fellow had - and still has. It shined through his music. He was a great performer, but he wasn't performing. The music didn't make the man. The man made the music. (It may be, though I don't know, that music provided a pathway in the direction of his authentic self.) That is one powerful soulheart that lives in the heart of so many other diverse people.
.

Barry clearly touched, influenced, and affected many, many people through his authenticity and personhood, often through the vehicle of his music. I don't think he was on a mission to do so. That is simply the reality.

When I said in a much earlier post that he lives on in the hearts and minds of many, I meant that quite literally. He has influenced so very many people. So we are changed from having known him. And those we influence will also be changed by our own changes. I call that immortality.

Justine, you were at the center of his life, as were Natalie and Gabe. I suspect you are made of the same stuff else the two of you would not have been together 23 years. Thank you for sharing him with us. The fact that there was enough of him to go so generously around suggests you have the same great heart and authenticity, and that his family was an everflowing fountain of sustenance to him.   I do not want to even imagine the hole in your own heart torn by the loss of the physical reality of Barry. May these many memories and thoughts of shared loss, and especially the celebration of Barry here bring you some comfort and peace, even in the midst of your sorrow.

And maybe even a few good belly laughs.

Reading back, this is an awkward post, and I'm not sure I have succeeded in putting words to what is running through my mind and heart.

Justine, Natalie and Gabriel,

I'm not articulate enough to add my own words of comfort and condolences that others here have written, but I gladly echo them.

Blessed be.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,Barnacle
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 09:00 PM

Justine, I don't think we ever met but wanted to make sure you knew how much you are in our hearts and minds and prayers; how heartsick and filled with disbelief we were when we heard the news; how loved and respected Barry was for the musician and person he was.

Hugs

Barnacle -- Tim Reilly, Jon Cannon, Mary Audette, and Everett Brown.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 06:44 PM

Justine and Natalie ......It was wonderful to hear from you both.

As you can see many here too are grieving and at least to some degree sharing your loss. I believe that as time passes more will be added to this thread.....a lot more. Its not uncommon for that to happen here as special thoughts come to this strange collection of folks known as The Mudcat Cafe. I would never begin to think of infringing on your private life, but we invite you to do the same. Barry was indeed much loved and respected here and these threads often help fill the holes left in our hearts.

But see, I really don't believe great friends can leave a hole in your heart because it quickly fills with memories and stories and thoughts and laughter that was a part of them when they were with us. Maybe that's all out hearts really are.......a repository of the best reminiscences of those wonderful friends.

Please come back and see us sometimes.....anytime......


Pat (Spaw)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: stallion
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 06:23 PM

i was copied in to an exchange of e-mails twixt Charley Noble and Martin Bartlett, it had me in stitches cos I was there had almost forgotten the incidents, anyway I wouyld like to share Martins memories with you all.............

> A moving song, Charlie. What is the tune?
>
> Guess what I've been singing since I heard the sad news?
> ......."...Bold Riley-O has gone away" !
>
> I've several fond memories of Barry, my favourite being when our early departure from the post-Mystic party in New Maldon (?) was delayed by at least five minutes, as, like the Ancient Mariner, he pinned us up against the veranda railing to regale us with a ballad he had just written concerning an event that took place during the second world war. Do you know it? I would love to learn it in his memory. The other was a sotte voce comment by, I think, one of the Johnson Girls. I was standing near the entrance to the late night shanty sing when, from the other end of the room, that unmistakable rasping voice rent the air with, as I remember, appropriately rough language. The response from my right was, "Oh, Christ!". I can think of no other singer capable of evoking instant blasphemy!
>
> Kind Regards
> Martin Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 06:06 PM

There is a custom of looking for the voice of those that got away in those left behind. That will not be a problem with our Barry. All of us that loved him, and that is virtually anyone who ever met him, will see to that. But none have honored that tradition more than Natalie and Justine.

Natalie, you are the product of two amazing people. And you wear it well, my dear. Your comments about your Da left me happy and sad all at the same time. I am proud to "know" you, and I hear your father's voice in you.

Justine, after reading your notes for Barry's eulogy, and then the post above, you have reduced me to tears of gratitude that our friend had you in his life. You are a remarkable woman, and fully deserving of the love that Barry gave you. And he is a lucky man to have trod the path with you.

Hugs to each of you,

Mick Lane


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 01:11 PM

Every day I come into the thread, read a little more to weep a little and laugh a little. To feel a bit sad for what I missed in not meeting this man in real life. And then grateful for what people share and the links to other threads.

All the near and dear ones to Barry are still in my thoughts.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Paul_Schurr_PSG_NY
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 01:01 PM

I've deleted the sad stuff I've written, and I leave this story as a hug for Justine and a smile for Barry's son and daughter.

Last June at Mystic, not much before sunrise, our small group slipped from shanties and maritime songs into doo wop. We gleefully killed off the dead teenagers. We lost our teen loves. We waked up little Suzy. We dreamed. Any lyric that John Roberts didn't have, Barry could supply. And the other way around too. We all took our turns, but the two of them were as happy as two people can be. There was a glow about them. All of us sang and laughed, laughed and sang. Singing with Barry that night and all the other nights and afternoons, in halls and on sidewalks, from Mystic to Portsmouth... it was a privilege that will fill my heart and soul for many years to come. His legacy is rich with harmonies and warm with smiles. His is a life to celebrate. Thank you, Barry, for being my friend.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Ferrara
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 12:16 PM

Justine, I have begun to realize something. Since only a few of us could get to New Hampshire, sharing our grief here is our way of holding a wake for Barry. These memories bring smiles, they bring tears; they help us realize the true dimensions of a friend we saw only in a few of his many aspects and dimensions; they put images of Barry even more firmly in our hearts, to hold there forever.

Bill and I send our deepest sympathy to you and your family for your loss of a dear and wonderful husband and father. You are so much in our thoughts now. I keep remembering the glow on Barry's face whenever he spoke of you, Natalie or Gabriel.

Rita


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Tinker
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 09:53 AM

I got to spend some amazing hours with BArry headed to and from Getaway this year. When both cars broke down and the check for government contract work was moving with creeping breaucratic speed, Barry didn't seem to think twice about stopping on the Jersey turnpike at 1 in the morning to pick me up on his way south.

He had just left his 40th High School reunion and regalled me with stories and remembrances through the night. He borrowed Natalile's GPS and really wasn't sure how it worked, but trusted it to get us through the night --- even when it sent us into Baltimore way before either of our memories felt it should.

So at 4 in the morning we snaked through the streets of Baltimore, with no clue where or why this was going to get us to West River. Finally at a light a cruiser pulled up next to us and Barry immediately put my window down -- "Ask him if this I'll get us to West River"   The cop was clueless, but two turns later we were back on the highway. ( The GPS wanted to avoid the tunnel toll) Barry never missed a beat or broke a sweat. He had no question the road would take us where we needed to be. Full steam ahead. No need for tight control.

We talked kids ( and pride) and the fun he's had over the last year as Finn and Haddie expanded and then added Ken. I've never met Neil, but know Ken and yeah, he loved singing with you both.

I've been going through old Getaway tape and trying to figure out how to reformat. There are bits of "piss" between him and Mick, The 2 penny whore song with MZ Mary

Kathy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,Justine
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 09:22 AM

Dear friends of Barry - many of you I know, many only recognize by name or by the stories Barry told about you. The tributes are a gift that will keep Barry's spirit alive for me, Natalie, and Gabe. I cannot thank you enough. Barry belonged to all of us and he made sure there was always enough to go around. I still can't fathom how he fit in all the things remembered above. To us at home, it seemed he was always here. And thank you for sharing the burden of losing him with us. My heart is aching for my Barry.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Bupkes
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 02:47 AM

Walt Whitman would have loved Barry and his singing. For my own consolation, let me write out some lines from the end of Song of Myself, sharing imagining Barry's voice as the great Narrator:

I too am not a bit tamed . . . . I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
É
I depart as air . . . . I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in the eddies and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
and filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: SaltyWalt
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 02:19 AM

It took me three hours to read all these postings last night.

Everytime I went to post, someone wrote something so incredible that I said "well, THAT caps it doesn't it."
Then more people who knew Barry showed up.
And more.

I wanted to write something. I wanted to offer condolances.
Especially to the family left behind.
Spouse, children, even singing partner Neil.

A lot of it has been said.
Some of the most amazing bits were not repeated. So look for them.

I noticed something, and it got me thinking.
I knew Barry from Mystic and Chantey sings on the East Coast. He lived there exclusively in my mind. But some of the most incredible entries I noticed were from friends of mine that I almost never see at Mystic, who In my mind exist almost exclusively with me in SF.

It reminds me of how much I never knew about him, and how much I wanted to know him better. How much I could've learned from him.

It got me to reflect on that limited relationship.

I remember how much his "unorthodox" style of singing threw me. How stragely brash for one so sweet he seemed. How opinionated he sounded when schooling someone on a songs origin (It put me off at first). And how hartfelt, and sincere would be his retraction if he found he mispoke. (It won me back).

I think we've all said something (at one time or another) parroting a pet theory about a song or our own personal musings as fact. Some are tentative, and offer caveat while doing it, some sin boldly and never look back (a lot), and only a very few would go out of their way to attempt to retract an incorrect utterence for the sake of artistic integrity. No one louder than Barry.

What a gift to have given his children . What a legacy for all of us to aspire to share in.

What a force in this forum.
What a unique voice.
Silenced.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 10:06 PM

Finally getting around to posting. I didn't know Barry as well as many of the folks here, despite seeing him at several Getaways. But I always enjoyed listening to him belt out a song. I'm saddened to hear of his passing and send hugs and condolences to all his friends and family.

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: bbc
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 09:12 PM

Natalie,

What a pleasure to hear from you, even at this sad time. As you can tell, your dad was well-loved. I didn't see him in person very often, but I've known him many years through Mudcat. For many of us, we have made true friends through this community & I surely feel that way about your dad. We exchanged notes, I've prayed for him & your family at various times, &, when we've had the chance to meet in person, we hugged. I'm pretty sure he introduced me to your mom, one year at the Old Songs Festival in Albany. The Internet has given a new dimension to friendship. Your dad will be sorely missed, but never forgotten! Love to you, your mom, & your brother.

Barbara Carr


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,rumanci
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 08:17 PM

My deepest condolences to his family and friends. I enjoyed so much hearing him sing at The Getaway a few years back. THAT'S how shanties should be sung !   I know the qualities of the man himself meant so much to so many mutual friends and how much he'll be rightly missed by so many people and I'm very glad I met and read him and heard him for myself to know why.

rum


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: HuwG
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 07:54 PM

Very sad to hear of his loss.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: David Ingerson
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 07:52 PM

I count myself lucky to have met Barry less than three weeks ago at the Getaway. It was a great pleasure to share a few songs with him in the short time that we were together. What a joy to hear him sing! When rafters needed ringing he was the one for the job.

What a shock to find that he's gone so suddenly. I am saddened beyond words.

David


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Hollowfox
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 07:52 PM

Thank you, Natalie, for letting us know. I only met him a couple of times at Old Songs, after the organ transplant. I was amazed that he was there so soon after something like that, and with so much energy. I wish we'd been able to visit a bit more, but I'm happy to have just met him. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and the rest of your family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: jacqui.c
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 04:06 PM

Thank you Natalie - we were unable to get to Barry's funeral but I was thinking about him and his family on Monday.

Your dad was one of the best. Always 'up' and so full of life and energy. It didn't matter who you were, Barry had time for you. He will live on in many hearts. I always looked forward to any gathering at which Barry would be and particularly enjoyed spending some time with him and Ken last year in the UK, at Scarborough.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM

Natalie, thank you for that account and for posting to our thread. Like so many others I met Barry only a few times but counted him among my dearest friends. Although I could not get there to see him off -- having just blown my travel budget on the Getaway where, thanks to whatever gods there be, I saw your father one last time -- from far-off California I send your family strength and affection now.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Nancy King
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 03:30 PM

Natalie, thanks so much for your post. I guess you can tell that there are lots of folks out there who cared a great deal about your Dad. I met your Mom only a couple of times, and I don't think I ever met you, but I loved your Dad very much. I only saw him once or twice a year at music gatherings, but I considered him one of my very dearest friends. He was just that kind of guy -- kind, generous, smart, fun, supportive, and of course, talented. I've been thinking of him constantly since I heard the awful news, and I know I'll remember him always.

Nancy King


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,Gloucesterman
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 03:25 PM

Natalie,
Thank you for your post. I was the guy up on the wall leading Seaman's Hymn outside the church. I felt it necessary to send him off with that particular song. I hope I wasn't being presumptuous. Barry was a treasure to the sea music community and he will be sorely missed.
Blessings on you and your family
David Coffin


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 02:31 PM

Hello, Natalie, and thanks so much for posting. I remember meeting you at your house many years ago, when your dad hosted one of the first Mudcat gatherings (with surprise guest Joe Offer!). I was happy to meet you all, and to share with your mom and dad so many stories- I have a son with "issues" like your brother, and it felt as though "You wouldn't know it to look at me" was written for my Dylan.
That wasn't our only connection, and I so valued the few times we were able to sing together or share our lives.
Go well, Barry. And to the Finn family remember:
Love never dies.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Janie
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 02:11 PM

I echo what Peg said, Natalie. Thank you, and my heartfelt sympathy.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Peg
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 01:52 PM

Natalie, thank you so much for your heartfelt words. How good to know that living with Barry at home was every bit as enjoyable as hanging out with him in his leisure moments. My sympathies to you, your brother, Justine and your other family members who have had to say goodbye to this great man. He'll live on in many hearts, and his songs will be remembered with joy.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,Natalie Finn
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 12:24 PM

Thank you all for posting. Not to relive the trauma and retell a sad tale, however... I took Barry (my dad) into the hospital on Wednesday. Before he left he took a shower, ate a popsicle, prepared a glass of ginger ale, and lastly, he posted that he wasn't feeling well and would not be able to make whichever music event he was planning to attend. He described "flue-like symptoms" but I didn't have the heart to correct him this time. He would have me read his posts as a spell-check/grammar-check.
When Justine saw him in the hospital, he asked her to have me update his facebook page and keep you guys posted that he would be out soon and singing as soon as possible. He had print outs of songs he was learning in his pocket to take with him.

He went peacefully with no physical suffering.

This is the first I have been on this site and was glad to see so many posts about my father. I've met some of you at NEFFA, Old Songs, The Press Room, and many more festivals/sessions/parties I was "dragged" to as a kid and later, unexpectedly, came to enjoy.
The posted lyrics are very appreciated. I cried (for the millionth time of course) at "Shiver Me Timbers". It is one of my personal favorite songs partly because it's beautiful and partly because it has always reminded me of my dad. "You Wouldn't Know It To Look At Me" is another that brings tears to my eyes... and I never cry! (Unlike Barry who apparently cried at his own wedding... I always thought the crying was a recent development due to medication. Don't let that fool you)
The whole community of music always meant so much to him and we as a family recognize your names because he was always talking about another great musician he had met or finally had a chance to meet. The wake and the funeral both ended with a song, of course. It was the first time in my life that someone stood up to sing and it wasn't my father. I listened for his voice in the crowd outside the church and it was the first time I realized that he wouldn't be back... we all know he wouldn't willingly pass up an opportunity to stand up and sing.

At the funeral a friend of mine had mentioned that he just always seemed so happy. Obviously it's different living with someone, except Barry. He was the same all the time. Happy and full of energy. The only time he didn't sing was at the dinner table, and that was only because it was a mostly well respected rule in the Finn household.
Finally reading these and the facebook posts brings a smile to my face (between the tears of course)and I am grateful to have so many people offer such kind words. It makes everyday a little less difficult.

Thank you again for your kinds words, thoughts, and prayers.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 11:24 AM

I've been away in the Netherlands for the scattering of the ashes of our friend Johnny Collins and return to find this... I am stunned.

Barry was indeed a treasure and I will miss him. My condolences to those close to him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 11:00 AM

Very sad news. I knew Barry Finn only from his performances on YouTube. They are artistically right, and done with great spirit.

He helped keep shanty-singing alive.

I add my condolences to the others here.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: My guru always said
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 06:31 AM

So good to see and read these memories here! Our 'brief encounter' with Barry and Justine just a few weeks ago gave us glimpse of how special Barry was and I just wish that we'd been able to know him longer. During our visit there were many times when I had questions to ask Barry about his songs and his life, and like others I'd thought we had plenty of time to catch up and cement our friendship. I, too, feel priviliged to have known him, even for such a brief time. My thoughts are with his family and all the friends he made through his life.
Hil


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 01:44 AM

This is just too sad. I first met Barry at a singing session in an upstairs room at a Boston pub in '98 or '99, which Barry told me about after Riggy introduced me to him through email. He sang "London Julie," which was new to me, and I was really taken by the soul he put into it. We spent some time talking, singing, having dinner on one of his forays to the SF Bay Area, and he always had such interesting and pointed things to say about singing and the music scene, such as his dislike of singing sessions revolving around RUS, which he called "Rise Up Screaming." He was a storehouse of West Indies and African American work songs. In 2001 he participated in a festival workshop at SF Maritime National Historical Park on "Chanteys cousins: Work songs from ashore," and, as he had done so many times, just enthralled the audience with the power and soul of his singing. With his permission, I named a newsletter from SF Maritime after his CD; "Fathom This!" We had just emailed each other about a week and a half ago, about Ken Schatz joining him and Neil, and about possibly coming to SF next year. I got to see him rarely, but I will miss him. He was a great guy.

What a tremendous influence he was on chantey singing. Go to a festival or chantey sing, and you will most likely hear "I learned this one from Barry Finn."

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Genie
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 01:05 AM

OMG, Dani! Thanks for reminding me of "Fatima"!!

I remember that Mummer's play well -- and "Fatima," especially! Sooo lovely and coy! LOL

I just didn't remember "her" name till you reminded us.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Janie
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 12:46 AM

Barry seemed to me to be that rare gem of a person who was comfortable in his own skin.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Peg
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 11:52 PM

I don't use my Mudcat mail that much; just went in to check it and the last message in there is from Barry, a response to a "Happy Yule" note I sent him last December...

"Happy Yule to you too Peg
So I've been to maybe 2 sessions, where've you been. Let me know when you next plan to be there & I'll give extra effort to get there.
Have a good upcoming year
All my best
Barry

It'll be good to see & hear you again"

Ah, my friend, what I would give for that to happen.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 11:52 PM

I took a drive up to Boston when Barry was waiting for his liver transplant about a decade ago. His story was a very moving one and he seemed like such a great guy who was undoubtedly concerned for his family, probably bored beyond belief and most likely could use a little company. We talked for an hour and a half and, given the odd circumstances, probably revealed more about ourselves than 2 guys ordinarily would. It was very enjoyable and time well spent.

We met Barry many times. If we'd lived anywhere near him, we probably would've seen him a couple of times a week because he and my wife really hit it off.

Friday's news was totally shocking. Anyone following Barry's "mountain railroad" life would have imagined a different end for a guy who kept so many of us sitting on the edge of our chairs for so long. But, when you have to go, waiting for someone to bring you ice is a gentle way. I'm grateful he had it easy. I'm extremely sorry for Justine and the kids that it was so sudden.   

Barry must have had a million friends. It was snowing to beat the band for 240 of the 280 miles going up and back. The funeral parlor was a very busy place yesterday afternoon. We saw a lot of Barry's sea and Irish music buddies. Many are Mudcatters of course.

There were 2 or 3 boards with lots of photographs posted on them. Barry in a tuxedo, looking so relaxed that you'd think he was born in one. Barry, in a manly handsome pose, looking like a movie star. Barry in shorts with his shirt hanging out. Many with Barry singing, no doubt very loudly in all of them.

In my experience, Barry was always positive and with a large reservoir of stoicism. If he ever knocked anyone, it was always over quickly with a wave of his hand as if to say, "You've got to consider where it comes from." He was a great, enthusiastic person. You could run into him at 2 AM in Mystic looking to see where the craic was. A hard guy to ignore and entirely loveable.

Farewell, old friend. You were a treasure.

Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: KathyW
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 11:43 PM

I met Barry for the first time at the Mystic Sea Music Festival this year after a short email exchange. He was extremely kind and helpful to this newcomer. And then I heard him sing-- what a voice! My husband and I became instant fans. I've been plotting to somehow hear him in a formal performance ever since Mystic, and must admit that part of my sorrow at his passing is that now will never be.

I am grateful that I had the chance to meet him. My condolences to his family and friends.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Peg
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 11:31 PM

So sad and shocking and sudden. We have lost a wonderful singer and a hell of a great human being.

The last time I saw Barry was at the Green Briar session this past spring. He'd gotten me into going to it this past year, even though I don't live in Boston anymore. But when I was commuting to teach he said it was a good singers' session and he'd like to see me there, so being the friendly sort he is he got the session leader to let me sing one so I could get my "foot in the door"--I always appreciated how supportive Barry was of other peoples' singing.

First met him in the days of the Boston Singers' Club; then when that disbanded, I kept seeing him at various places; Barry got around! there was Mudcat and the huge house party Barry and Justine hosted. Then Old Songs and random sessions in Boston. He kept trying to get me to go to the Getaway, and I really wish I had. he asked if I was going to Old Songs this year as there was a young singer he thought I'd really like (Elizabeth Laprelle). He said Justine didn't like camping much anymore so I invited them to stay at our house near Altamont when Old Songs came around, though in the end they didn't make it.

I remember visiting him when he was in hospital, in rough shape waiting for his transplant. He looked kind of miserable and I thought the best thing to do would be to get him to sing, but he wouldn't sing unless I did. I didn't know many sea chanteys at the time but I got him to join me in General Tayor and some others I can't recall. It was hilarious the way the nurses kept poking their heads in the door suddenly to see what all the racket was.

Barry gave me a ride home after that Monday session at the Green Briar. It was an "off night" with people wandering off and having conversations and not really listening when songs were being sung, and he was a bit annoyed because he knew I didn't get to come there very often. But we still had fun, he introduced me to some new friends. I can't recall what we talked about in the car. I assumed I'd see him again within a few months. Barry was a Facebook pal and often commented on my updates. When I announced I'd be back teaching in Boston again this coming spring, he piped up "On Mondays???". This made me happy, looking forward to singing again and hearing songs from Barry's massive repertoire.

Despite being gifted with some extra years of life he may not have had, given his health problems at the time of his transplant, Barry prevailed and jumped right back into his full life. I took it for granted he'd be around for many years. I will miss this kind, generous man, his lusty voice, his no-nonsense politics, his straight talk about just about everything, his easy friendship, his love of music and zeal for life. I am sad but I am inspired to go forward by his bright light and big heart.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Janie
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 11:13 PM

It still doesn't seem real. I keep waiting for him to post to this thread.

(And trying to imagine what he might have to say:)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,Guest David Jones
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 10:17 PM

Goodbye Barry and safe harbor. I will miss you very much.
David


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Susan A-R
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:23 PM

Damn!! I remember Barry at NEFFA, at his home, at the Getaway (and on a wonderful, memorable ride down and back to the Getaway) and at Old Songs. And Life is what I remember, in his singing, his passionate caring for people, justice, and music. I just sit here, tears streaming. So sorry to read that he has died. It's been too long since I've seen him, and now I won't. Oh Damn!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: CET
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:04 PM

I'm not sure when I first met Barry. Was it at that first shanty session in Portland, Maine, about nine years ago? Chez Bat Goddess and Curmudgeon? At the Press Room? Or maybe at our first Getaway at Camp Ramblewood. Whatever it was, he very soon became a fixed point in our trips to the U.S. There weren't many who could make a late night singing session catch fire like he could. On our first couple of visits, I thought there was a bit of reserve on his part. It was certainly not unfriendliness, but I was an unknown quantity and I think he wanted to see what I was about. I was very proud when I showed up at one of the events (probably the Getaway) and Barry greeted me with a big hug. I don't sing like Barry, and I don't try to, but I learned a lot from him about how to present a song. I won't ever come close to his repertoire.

I'm going to miss him.

Edmund


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Richard Atkins
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 08:52 PM

Remembering this wonderful guy throught today.Our time with Barry was a high point of our recent crossing of the pond.
A remarkable talented character.A huge loss to us and so many.
Today will be a tribute to a spesial man.
All love to Justine family and Neil.
Richard and Hils


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 07:10 PM

Neil-

It was good to see you again today.

I wish you lived nearer so we might share some more songs and stories together.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: haddocker
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 07:01 PM

The sea chanteys were only one part of Barry's repertoire. When we would take a break from practicing, I would get out my guitar and we'd do stuff like "Pancho and Lefty", "Pour Me Another Tequila Sheilah" and Willie Nelson songs about gunfighters. Often, we might break into some doo-wop or even fifties rock n' roll. Those are the times I will really miss. Barry Finn was my singing partner for almost fifteen years. In that time frame I shared in his trials and his celebrations; came to know him as a warm and loving friend and family man who would take a singing gig at the drop of a hat, regardless of the distance or monetary return. He just loved to sing and I loved singing with him. Miss him? It's like having a piece of my heart torn out. His passing has left an unfillable hole. Tonight, the Celestial Choirs are in the process of changing their repertoire to "Sally Rackett" and "Blood Red Roses". My brother will be waiting to show him around.
    Barry will forever be in my heart and in my prayer.
          Fair winds and following seas, shipmate,
                         Neil


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: GUEST,Lorraine
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 06:25 PM

Still struggling to believe. Barry was so generous and kind. A wonderful fellow... The stories here are important and help reality set in. I believe I met Justine at that first getaway, but in any case lots of love to her and family. I wish there was more I could do.
~Lorraine


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 05:56 PM

Judy and I just got back home from the long haul to the funeral church service for Barry. The huge cathedral was almost full and I could recognize many long time friends and family members. Barry's sister-in-law shared some wonderful stories about him; Barry wasn't necessarily their favorite pick for Justine but they sure grew to love him.

Driving back home we were mostly in a somber mood, until we got giggling over the likely reaction of the angels after they gave Barry a harp to play with.

I'm sure more of a musical remembrance will be pulled together later next year. There are so many songs that could be led to celebrate Barry's life.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: open mike
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 04:51 PM

the foto of Barry and Justine is here:
pic # 49 of 65 on album #4 on Barry's facebook pg.
http://www.facebook.com/BarryFinn?v=photos&sb=4&so=60#/photo.php?pid=247879&op=4&o=global&view=global&subj=567900817&id=1668505418

and this one in the UK radio station really shows those
blue eyes he had!in Photos of Barry Finn--Photo 10 of 65.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 04:49 PM

There is a place on the Peabody Funeral Home's Obituary to leave messages of condolence. Look down at the bottom. I don't know how long the page will remain up.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barry Finn (16 Oct 2009)
From: Colin Randall
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 04:25 PM

Dreadful news and just wanted to add my condolences.


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