Bob Holderbaum

Bob Holderbaum: What Were Their Names?

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Artist: Bob Holderbaum

Artist: Bob Holderbaum
Title: What Were Their Names?
Product Type: COMPACT DISCS

The album's title ('What Were Their Names?') comes from the repeated first line of the Woody Guthrie song, 'Sinking of the Reuben James.' The album cover features a hand-drawn picture of the USS Reuben James, DD 245. A German submarine torpedoed 'The Rube' October 31, 1941, just before dawn. This was five weeks before Pearl Harbor. USS Reuben James was the first United States Navy ship to sink in what was to become World War I I. Every statement in the song is true. One reason for the album is to help preserve some of the prime music from 'the folk era.' 'Country Roads.' This was a John Denver product. John's soaring, free-floating tenor voice is captured here by Bob. The firm beat of the accompanying banjo drives this song along, also making it a toe-tapper. 'Columbus Stockade.' Several of the works on this album are Woody Guthrie songs. This is one. Again, Bob's steady and crisp banjo work gives this song a momentum. 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone?' Pete Seeger brought us this song--which explores some of the straight-forward effects of war. War may be a necessary feature of life--or something humans cannot wash away--but we must remember the real treasure lost in war--and exercise great caution in it's use. 'Away With Rum' A bit of comedy relief with a parody of the temperence movement. Bob's found this to be a well-received song in his regular program. 'Blowin' In The Wind' Bob Dylan's anthem, one of the most well-known songs from the folk era. Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul & Mary) stated it well when introducing 'Blowin' .' 'This song asks nine questions.' And, 50 years (that's a full half-century) after Dylan penned the words, human-kind is still asking some of those same questions. In many ways and in many places this song is a relevant today as it was in 1962. 'Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' A song based on a true story, the November 10, 1975 sinking of the ore carrier in Lake Superior. It's been said that 'Music has power.' Bob thinks this is proven in part by this song. It's said that 6,000 ships have gone down in the Great Lakes during recorded history. Arguably, the Edmund Fitz's sinking makes it the most remembered of all those ships--due almost completely to Gordon Lightfoot's imagery and the mournful steel guitar riffs in his song. Bob lacks the back-up guitar work but he's been told many times that his version is as good--or even better--than Bob's idol, Gordon Lightfoot. 'Tom Dooley' Bob read an article on the Internet titled, 'Tom Dula--the murder that sold 10,000 guitars.' This song was the tune that pushed the Kingston Trio into the hearts and minds of the United States--in 1958. It's another true story put to song. 'How Great Thou Art' Bob's goals in compiling this album also included demonstrating some of his talent--things he can't really do on stage as a soloist. Two of Bob's fortes include his ability to harmonize and his versatile vocal range, baritone/bass to high tenor. And, Bob does all that here and also does it a cappella. While perhaps considered somewhat of a 'sleeper' next to other tunes on the album, 'How Great Thou Art' may be Bob's greatest achievement. He was inspired not only by the song but by the Statler Brothers' version of 'H.G.T.A.' 'This Land Is Your Land' This is probably Woody Guthrie's most popular song--included on lists of the greatest songs of the 20th century. Periodically, when talk turns to how difficult it is to sing our national anthem, 'This Land Is Your Land' is sometimes mentioned as a potential alternative. Again, Bob's rolling banjo work keeps this song poppin'--to the very end. 'Sinking of the Reuben James' In the mid-1980s, there were two groups--from the folk era--which staged big 'reunions,' each being video-taped for show on P.B.S. One was the Kingston Trio; the other was the (Chad) Mitchell Trio. Only one song appeared on both videos: 'Sinking of the Reuben James.' It set Bob to wondering--and then researching. Over the course of several years Bob did library research, contacted survivors of the ship's sinking, and he eventually wrote a book-length manuscript about Reuben James the ship, Reuben James the 19th century sailor and Reuben James the song. What a fitting way for Bob to end this collection. Bob accepts that line, 'What Were Their Names' in terms of the song but he also hopes that the names of the songs and the artists he's featured--and their material--will also be remembered. If one doesn't know when these songs were written, they become timeless--understood and appreciated by persons of any age.

Tracks:
1.1 Country Roads
1.2 Columbus Stockade
1.3 Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
1.4 Away with Rum
1.5 Blowin' in the Wind
1.6 Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
1.7 Tom Dooley
1.8 How Great Thou Art
1.9 This Land Is Your Land
1.10 Sinking of the Reuben James

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