Every Year At About This Time…

I come home from the Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp and go through several weeks of sadness. Not because I didn’t have a great time visiting old friends and hearing plenty of music but because I know it will be almost a year before I see them again. This was the 13th Camp. I’ve missed three of them but been involved, one way or another, with them all. I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime and had more fun than anyone should be allowed to have. John Stewart was many things but the number one thing to me will be the fact that he brought so many people together through his music. It is a common  bond that is a beautiful thing that we share.

Every year, at Camp, I look forward to the new cd’s that my friends have done. This year I have three of them that feature the songs of John Stewart. Actually, there are four but the fourth one is another story and will be in another post.

Ed Callahan is a longtime Camper and one of the great guys. And a talented and understated musician. Ed’s voice and his playing are in a style that is his own. I hate it when someone says “He sounds just like…” Ed sounds just like Ed Callahan. Here he is, with his great friend and ex-Camper Jeff Fessenden, singing Moonlight Dream.

Moonlight Dream

And then there is the Toast of Detroit- or maybe he WAS Toast in Detroit- Tom Lamb. Tom was a Camper a few times and wore out his welcome. He wouldn’t go away so he became part of the Camp Band. He’s the guy who organizes and leads the group singing and is the guy who makes sure no one falls off the stage during those songs. Tom can play Banjo and Guitar but who knew he could play the piano, too? He can also sing. He’s married to Sue who is an angel. Here he is singing The Last Hurrah.

The Last Hurrah


And Tom O’Donnell- or as his cd says Tom O’Donnell and Friends. Tom has many friends. He’s one of the most considerate and gentle people I’ve known. It’s just so un-lawyerlike that you have to question whether he’s been an impostor all these years and he was really a veterinarian posing as a high-powered international attorney. It’s all good now, though, because he’s retired and now he and Cathy are living in the US and in the UK. He has friends everywhere he goes. Tom puts out a new cd almost every year and this year it’s almost exclusively the songs of John Stewart. The one that I’ve chosen is Those Who Are Wise. I know that I just posted John’s version but Tom’s voice is so perfect for this song that I had to do it, too.

Those Who Are Wise


  1. John August Lee

    As I write, I’m listening to the third and final selection from your post ..Tom’s “Those Who Are Wise”
    I have all three of the CDs you used for your post, but STILL have not listened to them. Debbie and I plan to go to our boat one evening and listen to all the CDs we were given and/or bought while in Scottsdale so we can concentrate on the music while enjoying a Columbia River sunset.
    After hearing these three selections, I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

    I echo your sentiment regarding John’s gift to us all. I remind people often, that the friendships and connections we have all made with one another, is one of John’s greatest accomplishments. If he can see us all now …. I’m sure he’s pleased

  2. Tom DeLisle

    Beautiful stuff, by all concerned. And all of it channeled via Mr. Rybolt, who has done so much to further the sound and forever magic of our own private wizard. How lucky we all have been. Genius, Madness, Laughter and the Sweetest Music of our times … the gifts passed along to us from The Man.
    I glanced at the calendar today, my fading brain clicked on the magic numbers 9-5, and of course it all came back. I’ve been reading a book of individual memories of the campaign and funeral train of Robert Kennedy, a book John gave me, called “American Journey.” And just about every time I’ve subconsciously felt “Gee, this would be a good place for John to make a comment ….” John has almost invariably made a comment … described oddly as only a “campaign aide.”
    Like maybe Pablo Picasso, “student organizer.”
    And for some reason I recalled a moment that I’d put out of mind for 35 years or so; one that connects neither to the Kennedy campaign nor directly to the soundtrack he applied to our lives. It was the 1976 BiCentennial; John had flown to D.C. to perform on National Public TV the morning of July 4, 1976, he and his guitar on the Capital steps. Amid all the hoopla and big orchestral sounds of the country’s birthday, there was our champion, looking out at the whole world and simply singing “Bright Light on the Water.”
    Somehow he was able to get right out to the airport, and was back in Malibu among us for a typically late dinner that evening. It was a gorgeous Pacific night, with the moon igniting the small waves. He identified with the Bicentennial, and as the small group of us stood on the bluff overlooking the everlasting sea, he moved from one to another, giving us each a firm hug … with his unspoken wish to share the night, that moment, the history, our common humanity, and the dreams that live in his songs … our lives and our love lit by the moon; the music rising from the Pacific beach far down below, with the waves rhythmically sounding the shore and a light breeze providing the kind of tune that forever fired his mind.
    So much have we lost; yet so much have we shared. What gifts he gave us, and the music remains. Thanks for the ride, Puss…
    Tom DeLisle

  3. koikathi

    Wow! Such amazing musician friends you have, Paul. All of these singers strike chords deep in my heart. I wouldn’t know how to behave around such talent except to sit back with my eyes closed and listen and take it all in. Impressive! (Your post about Spencer possibly attending the next camp and listening to his cover of “The Chosen” led me here… Wow! Now I have to remind myself how to breathe again.)

    Kathi Fox

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