Subscribe: A Long Tough Blog
Preview: A Long Tough Blog

Little Thom's Blog

"I Can't Wait to Do a Tracheotomy" and other love songs available just because you damn well want them.

Updated: 2018-03-20T14:08:27.019-07:00


Email From a Fan in Thailand


I'm very sorry to say that my friend Tom Stamper's brother Harry Stamper died last Friday:
On Friday, March 9th, 2012 folksinger Harry Stamper passed away at his home in Charleston, Oregon. Harry Stanford Stamper, Jr. was born September 20th, 1944 to Harry and Viola Stamper in Roanoke, Virginia. Harry wrote prolifically on a range of subjects, although he was best known for his labor songs and his work with the ILWU, his union for 37 years. His song, “We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die” is considered a classic in labor and folk song circles. The song is featured on Classic Labor Songs from Smithsonian Folkways and on the album We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die: Songs of Health and Safety. Harry’s music has been recorded and performed by a wide array of musicians including Anne Feeney, Citizen’s Band and General Strike. Stamper’s lyrics were featured in Sing Out!
Tom introduced me to Harry many years ago, and I was especially honored to have him play an extended, hilarious and raucous set at my Open Mike in Ashland, in around 2005. Harry was a pro, a true pro, and an extremely funny, engaging, thoughtful, whip-quick, and just plain human human to be around. He was just a very special man, and it made my life better just to know him the little bit I did.

Sorry for the loss of your brother, Tom.

Here's an Oregon Public Broadcasting clip from 2001 on Harry. They did a nice job.

8 Deployments, 1 Suicide


Good god in heaven:

A soldier's widow says his fellow Army Rangers wouldn't do anything to help him before he took his own life - after eight deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Army found Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann's body at a training area of Joint Base Lewis McChord a few weeks ago.
Ashley says her husband Jared tried to come to grips with what he'd seen and done on his eight deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"And there's no way that any God would forgive him - that he was going to hell," says Ashley. "He couldn't live with that any more."
This coming on the heels of the news that that U.S. Army set a record for the most suicides in one month in July. 

I Miss Michael Hedges


Went to an open mike last night (at the Terrey Hills Tavern). A guy there played Michael Hedges style guitar, and quite well, surprisingly. I saw Hedges two or three times, at the Oregon Country Fair, in the early 1990s. I have never seen anybody glow the way Michael Hedges did when he played. Just unbelievable power, palpable, incandescent joy in his performances. (And when I first saw him I said, "He does this standing up? No way!") Such a rotten loss when he went, in such an awful way.

This is my favorite song of his:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="" width="480">

Morning Bird Calls


Morning in Sydney, here.

White-faced Heron, Tide Pools, Cowries


Some pretty cool pics and a new animal for me - the cowry - over at the other blog.

The Basement Gig


I played The Basement last night, opening solo set before three local bands. It was all very exciting, and it got my stomach bouncing a few times in the days leading up to the show, but, well, I was great. What can I say? I mean, for me, it's all about getting people wrapped up in a story or a laugh...before they notice how badly I play the guitar and sing. And that ain't easy! But I did it last night, from right out of the gate, and it was a damn good feeling. They liked me. They really liked me.The Basement is truly a nice place. It's located in Circular Quay, very close the the famous Harbour Bride and Sydney Opera House. For all the hype about it, and everyone I've talked to has heard of the club - it has a bit of legendary status here - it is a very warm and altogether unintimidating room. It seats around 120, at tables, with service, and claims room for another 150 standing, but it's hard to picture than many people in this little space. The stage is small, only a foot high, tables surround it very intimately - you could easily be sitting at a table and be only six feet or so from a performer - there is wood everywhere, there is nowhere in the place where you couldn't see, and feel basically pretty close to, the stage, so, again, it's just a hell of a nice place. It is billed primarily as a jazz club, but they go way outside of that, too. Just a few of the acts that have played there:Bill Evans Dizzy GillespieHerbie Hancock Johnny RawlsMuddy WatersKinky FriedmanPrinceRalph McTellTaj MahalBruce CockburnDaniel LanoisTodd RungrenNiel DiamondLoudon Wainwright IIII mean, come on. Herbie Freaking Hancock played here! And Niel Diamond! And Prince! Holy crap! And my own personal hero - Loudon! And now me! Holy even more crap!And they recorded last night's show, so fingers crossed that that comes out alright.I took some photos. And the vivacious and whimsical Christine, who came to the show even though she has a bronchial crapitis thing going on - thank you, sweetness - took some photos, too, and some video as well.This is the green room, as it were. It's full of gear, and the walls and ceiling are lined with posters and signatures and graffiti. (Click to enlarge):A couple posters from the walls of the club:And, finally, the star: Old friend Denise, new friend Chris, and a well deserved drink for the star. Ahem.Two songs. The first. "The Bass Player." For my old friend Marty Ruddy. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="" width="480">The second comes with a warning: Kids, this song is for adults. And not even for all of them. So don't listen to it. Or You'll get me in trouble. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="" width="480">Big thanks to Sydney song and gig giant Russell Neal for setting up the show (and for use of his guitar! the electronics on mine crapped out), and thanks to everyone at The Basement (especailly engineer Chris for the help), and to the three bands: Kooyeh; The Raw Tide (can't find a website!); and Bones and All—who were really fantastic.*Also posted at that other place.[...]