Terry's Musical Inspiration

My musical history is a bit different than Donna’s.
 While Donna has long been inspired by many folk music legends, my folk music history really has only two significant facets.  One is The Kingston Trio – partly because my oldest sister and her husband had the first stereo I’d ever heard, and a “stereophonic” Kingston Trio album. The music sounded happy (even if Tom Dooley was about to hang, Charley was stuck forever on the MTA, and I had only the vaguest notion of what Scotch and Soda was).  Who could resist those harmonies?

The other folk music facet, during the hootenanny days, was a folk quartet at my high school that recruited me to sing with them. They were seniors, I was a freshman, so after they graduated, the quartet quietly vanished. (Hootenannies were on their way out too.) But that’s where my love of harmony and ballads began, with Warren Cook, Don Stapleton and Jerry Jones.

But my real love was rock and roll. One of my sisters’ boyfriends had turned me on to Little Richard when I was still in grade school. And a really cool girl in my fifth grade class (name gone in the mist, alas) introduced me to Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Haley. Then I heard an older kid (a 6th grader?) play stand-up bass at a school assembly. Bass. I was hooked! At the same time my mom worked in a toy store, which adjoined a music store where I discovered Paul Revere and the Raiders. Not the stuff everybody knows, but the early instrumental stuff like Beatnik Sticks. We had sock hops at lunch time every day in Jr. High, and a rock and roll show every night on KOOS radio. I’d listen to be the first caller and win 45s. I had a stack of them. That was all in Coos Bay.

I never actually heard a rock and roll band play a live show until after I moved to the Portland area. It started with a live show by PR&R. Then I began to discover lots of great Northwest Rock and Roll bands, and went to see them whenever I could. There were “big” bands from the Seattle area, like the Fabulous Wailers and later the Sonics. And there were Oregon bands - Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers, The Redcoats, Moxie and many others. Whenever I could I’d head out to a “teenage nightclubs” like The Headless Horseman and the Tork Club to hear these bands and watch from as close as I could get. Standing right by the stage is where I first developed a lifelong love of the Hammond organ/Leslie speaker combination – a sound that can’t be duplicated anywhere. Most of these bands are on the Pacific Northwest Bands website (www.pnwbands.com).

So while Donna was following the escapades of The Beatles, I was chasing Northwest hard rock. There lots of garage bands around, and it wasn’t long before I picked up a bass and started playing in one myself. For a chuckle, you can see that band playing at a “teen fair” on that website (www.pnwbands.com/theebetterthings.html ). And though I play a different style of music now, I still love that old rock and roll – my roots are firmly planted there.

Somewhere along the way, Bob Dylan entered my consciousness. Then Donovan, Gordon Lightfoot and Shawn Phillips. I had loved poetry for as long as I could read, so I found myself drawn to great lyrics. (Somewhere in there, probably around the time of Rubber Soul, I was also drawn to The Beatles, as Donna had been for so long.) And there were great acoustic guitarists like Leo Kottke and John Fahey. So I had parallel track of musical interest that didn’t require drums and a wall of Sunn amps.

Fast forward to 1987. I went to the first Portland Blues Festival that summer, and there I took note of a interesting gal in the audience. Later that evening, continuing the Blues Festival, I went to a local club to hear Seattle’s David Brewer Blues Band as I knew David Brewer through a friend. And there in the audience was that same interesting gal. I struck up a conversation when I saw her talking with Brewer’s bass player – I knew him so it was a perfect opening. As you may have guessed, that was Donna. We began to see each other, and it wasn’t long before she got out her old Martin and played me some songs. She started with Donovan’s Catch the Wind and Colours (and frankly, she had me right there). Then she played a song I’d never heard, called The Woman and The Man. “Great song,” I said, “who wrote that?” She replied, “I did.” I knew in that moment that I’d found the real thing and had better pay attention. We were married six weeks later.

I started singing with her, then playing some bass, then some Dobro, and the rest, as they say, is history – some still in the making.

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