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Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs

11 Oct 09 - 10:37 PM (#2743872)
Subject: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Bupkes

Si Kahn is on NHPR's Sunday evening program Art of the Song as I write this. [The web site says they'll have it available to replay next week.]

He happened to sing "Here Is My Home", and I again want to say how much this simple call and refrain song means to people, in my experience. Those who hear it for the first time are moved to come up and ask about it, and say they're resolved to learn it themselves. It's a farewell song at folk-singing sessions and I've found YouTube videos of it as a choral piece in ceremonial settings. My friend Tim Radford, an Englishman who resides now with his wife on Cape Cod and from whom I learned it, says he cannot sing it any longer because it invariably makes him cry.

There are many sweet and earnest songs Si Kahn has written over a long career as an activist and singer. I wonder if others want to write about their personal favorites.

11 Oct 09 - 10:50 PM (#2743876)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Joe Offer

I don't really like Si's singing voice, although he brings out the meaning of the songs very well. I guess I like his songs better when they're sung by somebody else.

I suppose my favorite is "Aragon Mill," since it gives such a profound expression of the impact of the loss of jobs in American industry. "Gone, Gonna Rise Again" is another - yeah, I remember the day that my grandfather died.


11 Oct 09 - 11:12 PM (#2743882)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Stilly River Sage

We have a tape or two of his, and the kids always loved his songs (and his voice).

11 Oct 09 - 11:37 PM (#2743898)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Bill H //\\

In all honesty I do like his singing and his interpretation of his own material---he is also a playright and author.

So many great songs it is hard to choose but I would surely single out Moose Lodge---which Si Kahn mentioned to me was one of his most meaningful ones

Bill Hahn

11 Oct 09 - 11:57 PM (#2743902)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: maire-aine

Si Kahn is my all-time favorite singer-songwriter. I think I have just about every album he's ever recorded.

He really gets what it's like to work in a factory or on a farm. He comes from a background of labor organizing that gives authenticity to his songs. Even his immigration songs. I think my favorite song is "When the Land and They Were Young"-- the line about young women who "gave their hands to strange machines, their lips to foreign tongues" makes me thing of my grandmother. She came to the US as a child, from a Gaeltacht area of Ireland without any English. The first time I heard it, I knew I had to learn it.

Si comes to the Ark in Ann Arbor every few years, and I go to see him whenever I can. One time he sang "What Will I Leave", which I find the most thought-provoking, esp. as I get older.


12 Oct 09 - 12:34 AM (#2743910)
Subject: Lyr Add: BACKROOM LADY (Si Kahn)

...did Si write "Backroom Ladies?"

As recorded by Si Kahn on "New Wood" (1994)

1. This hotel has seen its better days; its plaster's cracked an' peelin'.
You know that what goes on there must be shady,
But the lawyer's Cadillac's out back and the mayor's parked on the side street.
They're slippin' in to see the backroom lady.

CHORUS: [You] won't find her at the country club; nobody brings her flowers.
You won't see her on the fashion page on Sunday,
But the leaders of society all spend their evenin' hours
Doin' bus'ness with the backroom lady.

2. They all ask her if there's anyone that's been a better lover.
She says: "You know that you're the best, sweet baby."
But she always breaks out laughin' when they close the door behind them.
There ain't no way to fool the backroom lady. CHORUS

3. Well, their wives all have psychiatrists at sixty bucks an hour.
It's all because their husbands think they're crazy,
But when it's hard times at the office, it's only twenty dollars
To tell your troubles to the backroom lady. CHORUS

12 Oct 09 - 12:52 AM (#2743917)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

I like Si Kahn's voice very much. I think it is the right voice for his lyrics. The same way I like iris Dement's voice with her lyrics.

One singer's voice I don't like is Joni Mitchell's. Or maybe I don't like those vocal acrobatics she insists on using. Kahn's voice is straight ahead and unadorned and from the soul.

I like that in a voice.

12 Oct 09 - 12:54 AM (#2743919)
From: catspaw49

Hard to find a song with more history, meaning, and truth, in a small handful of verses.............

(Si Kahn)
As recorded by Si Kahn and the Looping Brothers on "Aragon Mill: The Bluegrass Sessions" (2013)

1. I'm workin' in a factory, thinkin' how it feels
To be bringin' home good money like my daddy never seen;
But a feelin' follows after me, like a hound-dog at my heels,
'Cause I know that I'll never see my mountain home again.

CHORUS: Oh, they say that you can't go home again,
Never sit and talk among your childhood friends,
Never live among your neighbors and your kin,
No, you'll never see your mountain home again.

2. Down by the railway station in the early afternoon,
You can see them carryin' bundles that are all done up in twine.
They hear the whistle from the south; they're sayin' their goodbyes,
And they say they'll be back but they're leavin' for all time.

CHORUS: 'Cause they know they can't go home again,
Never sit and talk among their childhood friends,
Never live among their neighbors and their kin,
No, they'll never see their mountain homes again.

3. In Cinncinati, Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit,
You can find us by the thousands with our husbands and our wives.
If you wonder what we're doin' here, so far from our mountain homes,
We're Blue Ridge Mountain refugees, fighting for our lives.

CHORUS: And we know we can't go home again,
Never sit and talk among our childhood friends,
Never live among our neighbors and our kin,
No, we'll never see our mountain homes again.


12 Oct 09 - 02:41 AM (#2743936)
Subject: Lyr Add: MEMORIAL (Si Kahn)
From: Stewie

Spaw, I agree entirely. And when experiencing the loss of a beloved friend, these simple verses are so appropriate and moving:

(Si Kahn)
As recorded by Si Kahn on "Thanksgiving" (2007)

We come today to say goodbye
To one who held us close,
To tell the stories of his[her] life
That move us each the most.
These memories of a life well lived
And of a death well faced
Are now a part of every life
That crosses in this place.

CHORUS: No circle has been broken here,
No one that stands alone.
The threads of life so lately broke
Are woven through our own.

He'd[She'd] hoped to see us all again
That gather here today,
But though we will not meet again,
We'll meet again some way,
In work we do, in songs we sing
In struggle and in pain,
In battles that we fight as one
We'll see his[her] face again. CHORUS


12 Oct 09 - 03:08 AM (#2743944)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Spleen Cringe

I know his songs through Roy Bailey's versions. Always really loved "Freedom Peacefully".

12 Oct 09 - 07:26 AM (#2744017)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Willa

Hi Marty
I love 'Here is my Home' and sing it a lot . It is the perfect end of the evening/singaround song.

12 Oct 09 - 08:07 AM (#2744030)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Stan

Si Kahn is a great song writer. As others have said I know his songs through the likes of Roy Bailey and the Wilson Family, my particular favourite being 'Season of Peace'

12 Oct 09 - 09:07 AM (#2744067)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Charley Noble

Si Kahn is one songwriter who has maintained my respect for the long haul. Few can focus on issues and humanize them as well as he. The tunes generally have an Appalachian sound to them that I also appreciate. And some of his songs demonstrate a wry sense of humor.

"New Years Eve" and "New Wood (Gone Gonna Rise Again)" are songs I continue to sing.

Charley Noble

12 Oct 09 - 01:23 PM (#2744249)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: voyager

Si Kahn's song --> Wild Rose of the Mountain is in my repetoire for Life.
Wild Rose of the Mountain

'Nuff Said

Silver Spring, MD

12 Oct 09 - 01:55 PM (#2744274)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: pdq

The name Tim Radford was mentioned in the initial post.

Fairly sure that he is a Mudcatter who posts with the handle mandotim.

12 Oct 09 - 02:44 PM (#2744315)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Bettynh

I really like the songs he sings and writes with John McCutcheon. Silly kids' songs like "Rubber Blubber Whale" and the incredibly romantic "Friend and Companion" stand out among many.

12 Oct 09 - 02:44 PM (#2744316)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: RTim

No - Tim Radford is RTim - NOT mandotim

see -

Tim Radford

12 Oct 09 - 02:50 PM (#2744321)
Subject: Lyr Add: HERE IS MY HOME (Si Kahn)
From: RTim

As the words to this great song are not on DT, here they are - so everyone can see what they may mean to me and others.

Tim Radford

(Si Kahn)
As recorded by John McCutcheon and Si Kahn on "Signs of the Times" (1986)

Good friends from whom we now must part.
- Where are we bound?
Your hands and voices lift my heart.
- Here is my home.

CHORUS: Come darkness, come light,
- Where are we bound?
Come morning, come night,
- Here is my home.

For those who work in harmony
Can learn to live in unity.

If we can join ourselves in song,
Our hearts will live when we are gone.

The spirit that finds music here
Will sing forever in the air.

12 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM (#2744363)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: oombanjo

About 4 years ago on Friday morning before the start of the Beverley folk festival, I was sat in my front room learning Aragon Mill, there was a knock on my door, I put down my guitar and opened the door, the stranger at the door held out his hand and said, hello I'm Si Kahn, I understand that you are practising one of my songs. I was totally flabbergasted, it took all I had to hold it together.

A few months prior a top local musician had given me the chord sequence to the song and I was having a hard time with it.

Si asked me to show him what I was doing, smiled and asked for my guitar, he played the song out off drop D in d and never let his finger off the d second fret second string.

In the evening Si and his wife Elizabeth went with us to the welcome sing-around at the local bar. It was there I found out the story. My wife was breakfast supervisor at the Beverley Arms the local hotel and whilst serving breakfast my wife informed him of that I was struggling with his song, he asked where we lived came over, and the rest is history.

A gem in my life that I will always be thankful for, and never forget.

Here's to Si Kahn a man's man and a gentleman.

Cheers Oombanjo

12 Oct 09 - 07:29 PM (#2744523)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Stewie

My apologies for posting 'Memorial' above. I didn't realise it was already in the DT. Si Kahn has long been a favourite of mine. He has crafted many fine songs. Years ago, I posted to the forum the lyrics to another of his songs that had a particular impact and relevance for me. This one never made it to the DT:



12 Oct 09 - 10:08 PM (#2744589)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Charley Noble


Nice story!

I always like his long ballad about his father (or was it his grandfather?) who slipped over the border from Czarist Russia to the West.

Charley Noble

13 Oct 09 - 01:41 PM (#2745086)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Elmore

Lots of favorites by Si Kahn, but What You Do With What You've Got comes to mind.

13 Oct 09 - 01:56 PM (#2745104)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: oombanjo

the part that says "in D" should have said 2nd string third fret. But i guess you all know what i should have said cheers oombanjo

14 Oct 09 - 11:20 AM (#2745595)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Jacob B

The song about his grandfather is called Crossing The Border. I would have mentioned it if you hadn't, along with What You Do With What You've Got.

14 Oct 09 - 11:44 AM (#2745616)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Charley Noble


"Crossing The Border" that's what it's called.

I also remember singing "People Like You Make People Like Me" in honor of a retiring union organizer.

Charley Noble

15 Oct 09 - 02:38 AM (#2746246)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: michaelr

08 Nov 09 - 04:44 PM (#2762328)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Dan Schatz

Si is not only a great songwriter, but an accomplished community organizer and author. His new book on community organizing is expected out this winter. He's also a super nice guy, as has been noted above.

I'm very pleased to include one of Si's songs, "What Will I Leave," on my new CD, which should be out next Spring. I sang that song at my grandmothers memorial service years ago - it is one of the most inspirational songs I know.


08 Nov 09 - 09:04 PM (#2762474)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Charley Noble

Si Kahn also has a sense of humor as demonstrated by his rendition of "Fresh-Water Whaling" which I still remember hearing from the Wheatland Festival, one foggy morning in the 1970's. My only regret is he never saw fit to record that song.

"Gonna Work on Monday One More Time" is another song that I've never forgotten, a good criteria for judging songs.

Charley Noble

09 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM (#2762893)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: C. Ham

Once in an Irish bar, I heard someone sing a song called "Belfast Mill" which he introduced as a traditional Irish folk song. He insisted I didn't know what I was talking about when I told him it was a Si Kahn song with the word "Aragon" changed to "Belfast."

09 Nov 09 - 02:28 PM (#2762926)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Dan Schatz

That happened to one of Si's sons once too - same story - he was in Ireland and heard a familiar song coming from a bar. He asked what it was and was told it was a traditional Irish song called "Belfast Mill."


10 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM (#2763699)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: C. Ham

The Irish Bar I was referring to was in Toronto. But I can believe it happened to Si's son in Ireland, I've subsequently seen "Belfast Mill" on a number of Irish CDs, some crediting Si, some saying traditional.

11 Nov 09 - 11:24 AM (#2764169)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Stringsinger

Si follows the songwriting tradition of Woody Guthrie which is finding that simple trenchant and memorable statement within his songs. " Aragon Mill" is an example.

Writing simple memorable songs is not an easy task. There are few today who can do this well. Steve Earle comes to mind.

Sometimes it's easier to write a complex, convoluted song than it is a song like "This Land Is Your Land".

Si, Woody, Earle and others have fused their simplicity and directness with political commentary which sparked the folk music movement (The Folk Scare) in the US.

I admire this kind of writing so much and would love for there to be more of it today.
I think that this kind of song lends itself to being added to and re-written in the folk process.

Woody at one time advocated the use of a song for this purpose. In the 60's, there was a push to copyright PD songs as variants to collect royalties. This may have had an adverse effect on the folk process. Music merchants don't like this approach. They may have a "Wall Street banker" attitude.

11 Nov 09 - 01:43 PM (#2764236)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie

I first heard some of his songs through having to sit through a Roy Bailey set in Sheffield, because my girlfriend of the time insisted we went.

I'm glad I did.

New Years Eve is a beautiful song, poignant and thought evoking. "What you do with what you've got" sends such a message. I used the chorus as a poem in the introduction to the annual report of a charity I was involved with at the time.

Still.. Didn't change my mind about Roy Bailey though!

23 May 16 - 03:16 PM (#3791680)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Susan Knox

I saw Si Kahn sing and play Crossing the Border on KPFK radio in British Columbia, Canada i 1974 and had to learn that song, being an American of norhern european decent. Now I am living in Porugal where there is a vast history of immigration and the government is making an effort to help new immigrants integrate. Its a big job especially in these times with few opportunities to work, etc. I sent the lyrics of this song to a friend who is doing a 20 minute spot on the radio about Testimonies of Voluntery and Successful Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Europe.

01 Jun 20 - 01:31 AM (#4056379)
Subject: Lyr req: Mississippi Summer (Si Kahn)
From: Joe Offer

Anybody have lyrics to Si's 1982 song, "Mississippi Summer"? Seems appropriate this week.

01 Jun 20 - 02:28 AM (#4056384)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,henryp

Can't get blicky to work;
404 - File or directory not found

01 Jun 20 - 03:16 AM (#4056393)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Joe Offer

Thanks, Henry. I was sure we'd find that one quickly.
Powerful and relevant song, isn't it?

01 Jun 20 - 03:19 AM (#4056394)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,henryp

"I try to go through life with my ears unplugged. I’m always listening for the spare parts out of which I can stick a song together: the raggedy rhythm of speech, two words falling in love, a strange rhyme, the bare bones of a story. I’ve gotten a lot of my best lines and songs that way."

He will even go through a new song and replace a perfect rhyme with a near one. Hudson River New York Upstate Waltz: On the surface, this is an exercise in how far a rhyme can go and still be considered a near-rhyme, and a song of lost love.

01 Jun 20 - 01:21 PM (#4056510)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,henryp

Agreed, Joe. I've been for a gentle walk today. The thought of having to work all day under the burning sun is horrifying.

We queued up for a meal with Si Kahn at Beverley Folk Festival and shared a table too. A great privilege, but nobody can beat oombanjo's story above.

01 Jun 20 - 03:17 PM (#4056535)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Nick

I remember the look in oombanjo’s face when he would recount that story. He was indeed totally blown away

01 Jun 20 - 03:21 PM (#4056536)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Nick

I used to sing “Curtains of old Joe’s House” which I’m pretty sure he wrote

02 Jun 20 - 06:24 PM (#4056789)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GeoffLawes
What You Do With What You've Got performed by Roy Bailey

02 Jul 20 - 05:52 PM (#4062516)
Subject: Lyr Add: TALKIN' POLITICIAN (Si Kahn)
From: Jim Dixon

This song uses the traditional form of talking blues.

As recorded by Si Kahn on "New Wood" (1974)

Just as long as I can remember,
Every four years about November,
Folks who wouldn't talk to me on the street
Are comin' in my house an' wipin' their feet,
Kissin' my wife,
Kissin' my babies.
Well, I guess they'd even kissed my ol' mule if she hadn't 'a' voted for Roosevelt.

Now, they shake my hand an' they smile an' say:
"I'd like to have your vote come election day.
Now, you don't need to know where I stand.
Just vote for me as many times as you can.
That'll be ten dollars now
An' ten dollars more
Just ev'ry time that you vote.

"Now, I promise you that if I'm elected,
I'll raise the dead an' have 'em resurrected.
I'll fix your road, put a bridge on your creek,
An' sweep out your cow barn myself twice a week."
Now there just might be somethin' to that,
'Cause I ain't never seen
Nobody else that can shovel that stuff as fast as a politician.

The election's come an' the road's still muddy.
If you try to find your ol' good buddy,
He's up at the courthouse grindin' his axes.
Only thing won't get cut is your taxes.
I been sliced this way
So many times
I'm startin' to look like a tomater.

The hand you shook behind the plow,
That hand is in your pocket now.
You look for your … an' find it missin',
Better start huntin that politician;
But there's one good thing:
Weren't for politicians,
The rest of us folks wouldn't have nothin' else to laugh at except Nixon.

03 Jul 20 - 12:28 PM (#4062625)
Subject: Lyr Add: TRUCK DRIVIN' WOMAN (Si Kahn)
From: Jim Dixon

My transcription, but I'm pretty sure of all the words, except for the first one, which I think Si may have stumbled over. Anyway, "When you…" is a perfectly reasonable way to start this line. However, is this route realistic? Hauling steel through Georgia to Pittsburgh? Coming from where?

As recorded by Si Kahn on "New Wood" (1974)

[When you](?) see me on the highway and you nearly shift your load,
You take another look, good buddy, and you nearly leave the road.
Ain't you never seen a truck-drivin' woman?—ninety pounds o' fire in a five-foot frame.
Then you better move on over 'cause I'm right behind you in the left-hand lane.

Well, when you see me in the truck stop, and my long hair hangs in curls,
Don't you try to buy my coffee, 'cause I ain't no good-time girl.
No, I'm a truck drivin' mama, five children waitin' when I end my run,
And I gotta get movin'; gotta be in Georgia with the risin' sun.

So when you see me on the highway and you hear my diesel moan,
Don't you whistle at me, buddy, 'cause you know I'm not alone.
I've got my old man beside me workin' together; that's the way we feel.
Hey, I'm a truck-drivin' woman; nighthawk to Pittsburgh with a load of steel.

- - -
Also recorded by:
Bobbie McGee on "Bread and Raises: Songs for Working Women" (1981)
Labor Theater on "Bottom Line: A Comedy Revue with Music on Reaganomics" (1984)--with significant changes in the lyrics.
Barbara Dane on "Hot Jazz, Cool Blues & Hard-Hitting Songs" (2018)
Saro Lynch Thomason and Sam Gleaves on "I Have Known Women: Songs by Si Kahn Celebrating Women's Lives and Struggles" (2020)

Other songs with the same title are sung by:
Philomena Begley – various – lots of other Irish country singers have recorded this.
Homesick James on "The Last of the Broomdusters" (1998)
Phil Whiting on "As Country as I Can Get" (2018)
Twang Dragons on "3 Chords and a Lie" (2014)

03 Jul 20 - 09:49 PM (#4062673)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Gerry

Jim, Alabama is noted for its steelworks.

28 Sep 20 - 06:01 PM (#4073532)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: Joe Offer

There are the DT lyrics for "Crossing the Border". Need checking and cleanup.

(Si Kahn)

As a young man he traveled through Russia
With his uncle and two other singers
G A Bm
But they drafted him into the Army
And he had to escape from there
When the guards that they'd bribed at the border
Started shooting at him and the others
They turned back, but he kept on going
And kept going for ninety-two years
We are crossing the border
F#m/G D A
We are crossing the border
D/G A Bm
We are crossing the border
Come go, come go, come go

He got passage to Nova Scotia
Was married in Manitoba
He shoveled dirt for the Canada Pacific
Carried hod when the built the hotel
Land was a dollar an acre
But he was too careful to buy it
So when they found oil on it
He still had the story to tell

Then he moved down south of the border
By the mills on the Merrimack River
He pumped gas and kept store for a living
Raised up his daughter and sons
He's sit at the head of the table
Drinking Haig & Haig pinch bottle whiskey
And I'd wonder how someone so gentle
Could have done all the things that he'd done

He got old and he lived by the ocean
I went with my children to see him
He stared through the cataracts at them
But I think that he saw them just right
We buried him up in New England
And maybe that's home for the wanderer
But home is where the heart is
And my heart's with my Zayde tonight

Copyright Joe Hill Music
@Russian @family @aging @emigrate
filename[ CROSBRDR

28 Sep 20 - 09:57 PM (#4073551)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GerryM

Joe, the lyrics you have posted match the lyrics in the insert for Kahn's In My Heart CD, with one exception. Verse 1, line 4, where you have "escape", the insert has "desert".

22 Dec 20 - 12:01 PM (#4084605)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Averna

I've known Si's songs since New Wood came out, and seen him play a few times. I play Aragon Mill, New Year's Eve, Detroit December, Wild Rose of the Mountain, Gone Gonna Rise Again, and a few others. I love his humane, gentle songwriting and ability to take you into different kinds of lives in a few lines. Some lovely deep-rooted melodies, too.

22 Dec 20 - 04:58 PM (#4084629)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Rob mad jock Wright

The song What You Do with What You’ve Got was used as an opener by Dick Gaughan for many a year and covered by Angie Wright.
Both do excellent version the lyrics are sublime.

22 Dec 20 - 08:26 PM (#4084647)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark

Somebody mentions liking "Wild Rose of the Mountain." I am fond of it, too. Something more about it from a review I wrote a few years ago of a bluegrass album by the Steep Canyon Rangers, titled "Lovin' Pretty Women" :

":Lovin' Pretty Woman" borrows the lilting melody of Bill Monroe's "Ashland Breakdown," but so does Si Kahn's "Wild Rose of the Mountain," which "Lovin' Pretty Women" resembles not just musically but thematically. A reliable source -- the estimable mountain-music authority David Freeman (who, as it happens, contributes this album's liner notes but does not raise the issue therein) -- insists Monroe composed the tune, that it was not something snatched while floating out there in the public domain. Still, I'm sure Monroe, wherever he is, doesn't mind in the least that Kahn and the Rangers carry it on. It's a tune eminently worth, er, recycling.

22 Dec 20 - 10:06 PM (#4084653)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: GUEST,Don Meixner

I will tell you a Si Kahn story. Not to try and one up Oombanjo's story from years ago but to support him in what a decent guy is Si Kahn.

"Live at The Ten Pound Fiddle" was an NPR radio show that I listened to every Saturday nite from WRVO, the Oswego NY affiliate because it was repeated the next day at noon. Si Kahn was a guest that one evening and he did his newest song, Molly In The Mill, which I was just taken by. A perfect story in simple verses. The next day I heard it again. That night at a folk club meeting I mentioned the song and Si Kahn to my friend the late Don Austin. At the next club meeting he handed me an envelope with a single sheet of lyrics to Molly in The Mill typed, typed, on typewriter paper and signed by Si Kahn.

Don was dating a woman in one of the Carolinas and she was the neighbor of Si Kahn. Don had heard the name from his girlfriend but wasn't aware of who Si Kahn was. Don visited his girl the following weekend apparently asked Si over the fence if there was recording available and was told it hadn't even been published yet. And then he said I can give you the lyrics tho'. So Don Austin walked into Si Kahn's study where he rolled a piece of paper into a manual typewriter and poured forth the lyrics to Molly.

I recreated as best as I could the melody I recalled and have done it that way for 35 years or more. Si Kahn has since recorded Molly In The Mill but I have never heard it. I met Si when he was touring with Susan Freundlich and "People Like You." I told him the story and he said He recalled the event and was happy I like his songs. He offered to do the song after the show for me if I had a recorder. I didn't.

About the only time I have ever met one of my heroes and not been disappointed.

Don Meixner

22 Dec 20 - 11:08 PM (#4084656)
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Si Kahn's songs
From: PHJim

GUEST gave the lyrics to Backroom Lady back in 12 Oct 09 at 12:34 AM and asked,"...did Si write "Backroom Ladies?"
Yes, he did.
My wife and I used to do this one back before the turn of the century. I'm pretty sure we learned it from a Cathy Fink & Duck Donald LP.
This song was my introduction to Si's music.