Spook Handy | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres January 27, 7pm CST

This year Woodstock Folk Festival continues to feature amazing artists.  For the January 27 Woodstock Wednesdays we are featuring Spook Handy.

The Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community. We know you will enjoy the show by Spook Handy. You can support Spook during these times by going to Spook’s website to purchase his CDs or T-shirts. You can make a difference!

The video, premiering on the 7th Anniversary of the passing of Pete Seeger, will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows, such as John Flynn, by clicking on our Video Gallery or the red Woodstock Wednesdays button on the right side of any page.

To receive emails each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival, subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Just above the subscription form is a donation button if you would like to make a donation in any amount to the Festival.

A Personal Message from Spook Handy

Spook Handy performed alongside Pete Seeger at festivals and concerts more than 50 times from 2003 – 2013 learning firsthand many of Pete’s songs and the stories behind them. Even more, he learned who Pete Seeger was and what he stood for. Spook has traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada with his “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour, keeping alive Pete’s tradition by sharing a few songs by Woody Guthrie (Pete’s most notable mentor), plenty of songs by Pete Seeger and a healthy handful of new songs Spook wrote under Pete’s tutelage.

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Spook’s sixth studio album, “Pete, Woody & Me, Volume II – Dedicated to the Proposition” reached the No. 3 position on the International Folk Radio Charts in May, 2019. His fifth studio album, “Pete, Woody & Me, Volume I – Keep the Flame Alive,” held the No. 3 position on the same charts in June and July, 2016 with his original song, “Vote!” reaching No. 2. Recorded with his backup band “The Seed Planters,” the CD is more than just a tribute to Pete. It is a work that, as John Weingart of WPRB Radio says, “certainly rests on the shoulders of the past but is unmistakably steeped in the present.”

Spook was named Best Folk Artist by Upstage Magazine, Gannett New Jersey, The Courier News, The Home News and About.com. His song “Whatcha Gonna Do?” was used in the BBC documentary film “Doomsday Code,” and four of his songs, including “Bring Back Abiyoyo” were used in a theatrical adaptation of Pete’s children’s story, “Abiyoyo.” Spook is a well known speaker and workshop facilitator at festivals, conferences and colleges around the country.

A Personal Message from Spook Handy

In the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I am more determined than ever to continue in my small way to use the gift of music to help support the efforts of those who understand that we are all in this together; that this is a time to double down on loving our neighbor and forgiving others; and that we need to help build the community of reasonably minded people who see a path forward in the coming elections to put into office people with good sense and good hearts.  These are very challenging times that are leading us to an unpredictable future.

Here’s what I’m doing:  I am giving free Facebook Live concerts that are seen live or later by about 800 people each show.  Each concert has one theme or another, but all of them are based around the idea of building the positive energy needed to survive and thrive in these times.  I am also giving free guitar lessons on Facebook live on an irregular basis.  And I am giving private guitar, harmonica and LSAT lessons online.

If you would like to be a part of these efforts:
* send me a “friend” request, or follow me at www.facebook.com/spookhandy.
* “follow” me at twitter.com/spookhandy  
* send an email to spook@spookhandy.com and ask to be put on the email list to receive my monthly newsletter.

If you would like to help support my work financially or leave a “tip” you can do so:
* at Venmo: @spookhandy
* at www.paypal.me/spookhandy 
* by sending me an email at spook@spookhandy.com to request my mailing address (this is the best way to avoid fees).
* purchase CDs and T shirts at www.spookhandy.com/wp/store  
* want Guitar Lessons?  Harmonica Lessons?  LSAT Lessons?  send me an email

“The passion, purpose and spirit of American Folk Music are alive and well with Spook Handy and his Remembering Pete Seeger World Tour and concert.” … Gary Wien – Editor in Chief, New Jersey Stage

A Note about Hobo’s Lullaby.  There is question about where the line “CAN’T YOU HEAR the steel rails humming” – as opposed to “LISTEN to the steel rails humming” – came from.  The copyright owner is Geobel Reeves.  As far as I know, there is only one recording of him singing the song and in his version of the song Geobel sings “Listen …”  Also, I have only ever been able to find one recording of Woody Guthrie singing the song.  In Woody’s version, he also sings “Listen …” However, at woodyguthrie.org, the official Woody Guthrie website, the song is attributed to having be written by Geobel Reeves with the words “Can’t you hear…”

The song was also recorded by Guy Carawan in 1959 and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot in 1963.  Both of them sing “Listen…”  The first known recording of someone singing “Can’t you hear …” was by Pete Seeger in 1971.  Almost every one of the over twenty five other known recordings use the words “Can’t you hear…”

When I asked Pete why he “changed” the words, his long and informative answer included “it’s not polite to tell people what to do.”  However, Pete neither claimed nor denied that he originated the idea to sing the alternative words.  Knowing Pete, however, it was equally as genius of him to incorporate alternative lyrics he may have heard elsewhere as to have originated the words himself.  Then again, Pete was well known for giving credit where credit is due and I never heard him credit the words to somebody else.  So, the question of how this line changed from “listen” to “can’t you hear” remains, at least for me, one of the great unsolved mysteries of American folk music history.

One final note:  I have heard it questioned whether Geobel Reeves actually wrote the song, or if he, as was quite common in 1927 simply copyrighted the words and music he heard from others.  This brings up the possibility that Pete did some research and found an earlier version of the lyrics with the words “Can’t you hear…”

If anybody has further information on this, I’d be delighted to hear from you. – Keep the Flame Alive!

Enjoy Spook’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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