SAMW is WUMB's Summer
Acoustic Music Week. I've been attending this "band camp" since 1997
and the instructors and students have helped me find my musical
voice--literally and figuratively. I'm going to record various
things about SAMW on this page. SAMW was begun, nurtured and
sustained by Dick Pleasants, Bob Franke, and Lorraine Hammond. They
are gods in my life! Over the years I have also been profoundly
affected by Bennett and Lorraine Hammond, Pete and Maura Kennedy,
Joel Mabus, Kim and Reggie Harris, Guy Davis, Rev. Robert Jones,
Cliff Eberhardt, Mark Cosgrove, Martin Grosswendt, Anne Hills, Rich DelGrosso, and many, many others.
SAMW is where I met the
folks who let me join their song circle, and eventually formed the
"band" New England Weather (www.neweather.com): Kathy and
Mike Danielson, Angela Marseglia, Tom Maynard, Ken Porter, and Greg Hodgson.
SAMW - The Book.Here is the unofficial history of SAMW, compiled by Judy Wong and Margo Lemieux. I made this contribution to the book:
SAMW Changed My Life By Mike Delaney (aka Mandolaney, or the other Maura Kennedy. www.mikedelaney.org)
I knew Dick Pleasants originally through WATD in Marshfield and the Beal House in Kingston. The Beal House was also where I got turned on to Tony Trischka and Skyline by a co-worker. I had fallen out of touch with live music for decades and was amazed by their tight musicianship. That led me to listening to WUMB and becoming a member and a volunteer at fundraisers, and regular attendee at member concerts.
So in 1996 I knew SAMW was starting on Thomson’s Island but wasn’t able to attend. I was working then, as now, at the Deer Island Treatment Plant in Boston Harbor and in 1996 we were ferried to work from Quincy. As we passed Thompson’s Island during the first SAMW week I wanted to beg the captain to drop me off.
My first SAMW was 1997. I was in a cabin with 2 or 3 other campers. My first SAMW meal was a brown bag lunch handed to me at registration of an apple and a sandwich—two slices of white bread, one slice of baloney. So, from them on I never expected fine cuisine at SAMW.
I was so shy that year. My first class was with Jody Stecher. He was so intimidating. He said, “here’s what we’re going to play this week”, followed by a rapid succession of notes, “now you…play it!”. You was me, and I couldn’t remember any of the notes. It was totally intimidating and embarrassing. All the instructors since then have been great, willing to take each student from where they are, to help them work towards where they want to be.
In Bob Franke’s 1997 songwriting class I was unable to come up anything for a song until the night before the last class, at which time I wrote, “My First Song”, with this chorus:
Too little; too late This songwriting class could’a been really great Too little; too late I have to come up with a song
I performed the song in the Friday class to much acclaim, but that led to Bob’s rule for his class of no songs about songwriting.
My first time on stage with a guitar in my hands was playing “You Rule” by Jim Infantino at the 1997 Student Concert. I’ve been at every August SAMW since 1997 with a steady string of Student Concert songs. I played another Jim Infantino song (“Meanies”) in 1998, a Susan Werner song (“Move of My Life”) in 1999, and then my own songs have been featured since then, starting with “For Marilyn”, for Marilyn Rae Beyer, in 2000. Each year I’ve spent the months before SAMW choosing or writing what I’ve hoped would be a better and better song expressly for the occasion of SAMW. Details are at www.mikedelaney.org/samw.html.
To be honest, the high point, which probably can never be topped, was August 2005. I had fallen in love with SAMW, WUMB, the Boston Folk Festival, the Boston coffeehouse scene, especially Java Jo’s, where I played at the open mike nearly every week for five years. That year, I wrote the song that changed my life. All my student concerts until then had been solo performances—I didn’t want to risk embarrassing anyone else. But that year I was joined on stage, halfway through the song, by the object of my musical fascination. The title of the song tells it all, “I Wanna Be Maura Kennedy”, and the rest is history. She was such a good sport to dance in the audience and up to the stage (there’s a link to the video on my SAMW page).
I figured that was the end of my notoriety, but it was a new beginning for this shy, introspective, lab nerd. A week after camp Maura sent me her SAMW name tag, and the notes we’ve exchanged over the years have referred to the “real” Maura, or the “other” Maura. People started calling me “Maura” and things like that. But the next SAMW event that changed my life was a SAMW open mike in 2006. I was hosting the open mike and I was told that there would be an extra last performance would be called “The Wannabees”. So, at the end of the open mike the Wannabees came on stage, and it was Pete and Maura Kennedy with their ukes.
“We’re called the Wannabees and we want to thank you for letting us crash SAMW, we’ve never been here before and we want to perform a song for you, a piece written by the great maestro, Bob Franke, and it goes like this… Samuel R Delaney was a writer of renown Bonnie and Delaney were a band who could get down Other fine Delaney’s graced the sciences and art But there’s only one Delaney who made mincemeat of my heart… Oh, I’d like to be Mike Delaney as much as he’s like to be me His friends call him clever and zany, and I agree He’s welcoming gracious and brainy, He might make the perfect MC I’d like to be Mike Delaney as much as he’d like to be me
There’s a recording of the song and a picture on my SAMW page, but I can tell you that I danced to the stage to join The Kennedys, and ever since then that song has been the ring tone on my cell phone, because no one else can claim to have a song written about them by Bob Franke and performed by The Kennedys. Then in 2007, I wrote "Other World Eve", which I call a co-write with Bob Franke (“Thanksgiving Eve’s”) and Pete and Maura Kennedy (“Stand”), because it’s parody/mash-up of these two songs and is a tribute to Bob, Pete, ad Maura, and all of SAMW and especially Bennett Hammond who says that after SAMW we don’t return to the real world, we return to the other world because SAMW is the real world, too. There’s a recording at www.mikedelaney.org/samw.html.
This August (2015) will be my 19th SAMW and I tell everyone that each one was better than the one before, and it’s true. And I think it’s because SAMW, and my SAMW friends, have helped me continually grow as a musician, songwriter, and performer. Each year I’ve been more and more willing to take risks and have the joy of more or less pulling them off.
I think I’ll finish by compiling some of my other highpoints and notable memories. I have so many memories that they crowd together in my mind, but it’s fun to pick some out of my brain and write them down.
Some memorable Student Concert performances:
Belly Dancer with a sword (Janet Johnson)
Fernando (Claude Galinsky)—I don’t remember the details, but I remember enjoying it.
Tom Maynard as a Giraffe in Betsy Binstock’s song
Bruce Jones dancing with the “slow jam” fingers during my tribute song, “Bennett and Lorraine” in 2008.
Every time I’ve been able to join Barry Spiro on stage.
“Mando Sluts”, John Kirk, Jack Murray, and me, in 2006.
“I’ll Be Back/Stand By Me” with Ken Porter, Bo Veaner, Rick Wood, and me. I amazed myself that with minimal practice I was able to play mando and sing decent harmony on this beautiful performance (see my SAMW page for a recording), in 2014.
“Friends” for my wife of 41 years, Joan. Each year Joan has been great letting me go off for a week of music. I finally was able to write a song worthy of our relationship. The 2014 performance was coached by The Kennedys, and I think the dynamics really made it more effective (see my SAMW page for a recording).
Some memorable (to me) Georgies (I wish there was a list of Georgies):
Gerry Wasserman Olympic Bocce
Beth DeSombre’s Modern Major General
Georgie’s Blues (me)
Hey There, Georgie Prince (me and David Roth)
Cow Farmer Georgie (especially the ice cream cone horns and inflated exam glove udders)
Sea Cruise (first future Georgie)
James Brown Georgie (Robert Jones)
Some Memorable Master Concerts:
Arnesia, every time Robert Jones played it
Wicked Fast Playing (Mark Cosgrove, John Kirk, Pete Kennedy)
Anne Hills playing “Mother”, by Tom Paxton
Other memorable events:
1997—my first day at SAMW I saw three people, I think it was Claude Galinsky, David Fishken, and JP Price, standing on the side porch playing a song together. I was amazed that 3 random people could just get together and play so well. That really stuck with me.
The tornado warnings on the first day of a SAMW. We spent a couple hours in the basement of the Inn playing and talking.
Jamming after midnight in the chapel. Over the years different people have been there with me to close the place down. Buffie Groves. Toby Fagenson. Jerry Wasserman. Bo Veaner. Bruce Jones.
The Banjo Stare. I saw Bennett Hammond, Chip Quinn and others in a trance in the Chapel Classroom playing banjos one night after midnight. Each had a blank stare. Also, Bennett Hammond demonstrated one night in a jam that you could actually keep playing after you had fallen asleep.
I’ve heard that there’s a lake. I don’t know when they installed it, but I’ve heard that some people have taken time away from playing music to swim in the lake.
In Conclusion: “Old ‘97”. I dug deep in my tee shirt drawer recently and pulled out “Old ‘97” for a long walk on Plymouth beach. He was my first SAMW tee shirt. That was the beginning of an awesome new part of my life. In 1997 I was an avid WUMB listener but I hadn’t really picked up the guitar in years. I never saw myself as a “real musician” or performer. In 1997 at SAMW I met some lifelong friends including John Ferullo, Tom Maynard, and Karen Woodhall, who were with me as freshman that year. Also many of the sophomores who survived the skunks on Thompson’s Island.
Since 1997 I have attended every August SAMW and I have grown musically in all ways. I’ve learned since then that playing music with others is just about the greatest gift of all. I’ve played music with so many people, run open mikes, wrote hundreds of songs, and put out 4 CDs.
Most of the printing on Old ’97 has faded or worn away, but the memories from that year and the 19 years since then “are a treasure too precious to save”. Someday, when I’m not looking, my wife may give Old ’97 the heave-ho, but after all, it’s just a thing, and the music is “realer”. Thank you to Dick, Lorraine, Bob, Bennett, and everyone for unlocking the music in my hands, head, and heart. See you in August or somewhere along the way.
Chapel in the Pines. Pictured at the top of the page is the
Chapel in the Pines where all the concerts, open mikes, and dances
occur. At night, the only time it is quiet, you can hear the natural
reverberance. It is magic.
The Inn. Pictured above is the Inn. The porch of
the Inn is the location of the most wonderful jams every evening and
often during the day.
Georgie. When SAMW moved to Geneva Point Center there was a camp tradition of singing the Georgie song at breakfast about a camper who didn't like getting up in the morning. It was led by the camp storyteller, Dorothy Siftar. and the official version of Georgie goes like this:
“Every morning at half past eight I go "ooee ooee oooh" to Georgie. And every morning at half past eight he goes "ooee ooee oooh" to me. No need to knock. No need to ring. I just rub my eyes. Open the window. Pop out my head and go "ooee ooee oooh" to Georgie.
This quickly became a SAMW tradition to tel the "true" story of Georgie. Here's some links to some Georgie songs, followed by my contributions, that didn't get recordings or videos.
Student Concert Instructional Video. Another SAMW tradition is a mandatory meeting to explain the mechanics of the student concert. This always includes a demonstration of what NOT to do. Here's an example:
"Where is Barry"? This is a tribute to my best friend Barry Spiro who wasn't able to make it to SAMW in 2016. This was my 20th year at SAMW. This has Maura Kennedy and Ken Porter singing harmony and Ken on djembe.
9/4/14: Here are my SAMW August 2014 highlights. At the student concert I played "Friends", a tribute to my wife of 41 years, Joan. Here's the lyrics. The dynamics in this song were the result of The Kennedys performance class. See, I was paying attention.
I also played with Barry Spiro, here is his SAMW song,"Means to an End".
I played with Ken Porter, Bo Veaner, and Rick Wood on Bo's clever arrangement of an interleaving of "I'll Be Back" and "Stand By Me". Here it is...it really came out special.
Rich DelGrosso's Blues Mandolin class performed "On the Road Again". Here's the recording. It was a lot of fun.
9/3/13 - Here's my SAMW 2013 student concert performance. I wrote "Southeast Passage" in July 2013, inspired by all the days I sat jammed in traffic trying to get home from work going south across Boston. It's a parody of Stan Roders' "Northwest Passage". Here's the recording and the lyrics.
1/14/13: This performance isn't at SAMW, but it has a SAMW backstory. At SAMW in 1999 John Ferullo and I were excused from Bob Franke's songwriting class and told to write a song about each other. John wrote a great song about me called "Harbor Town". Here is am performing it at Roslindale Open Mike (ROM) with Ken Porter: https://youtu.be/8SyKZ7MNhBA
August 2012 - I dedicated my SAMW 2012 student concert performance to Richard Mungo who passed in 2012. Richard loved to jam, perhaps even as much as me, and I think "Old Wooden Chair" was a fitting rememberance.
9/1/11 - Here's a bunch of pimentos from the August 2011 edition of SAMW. First, my student concert performance was with Barry Spiro. I wrote a parody of a Joel Mabus song, now called "Hopelessly SAMW". Here is the recording and the lyrics. Next, I had the pleasure of having The Kennedy's Harmony Class work up harmonies to my song, "The Song Goes on Forever", which is a tribute to The Kennedys, Dave Carter, and Beth DeSombre. Here is the class recording and the lyrics. Next it was a joy to play "12th Street Rag" in Joel Mabus' intermediate mandolin class. Here's the student concert performance.
4/1/11 - Did you catch The Kennedy's epic TV movie series. It's great to see such a deserving couple get such notoriety.
Here's a nice picture of me with Linda
Wheeler and Jack Murray at SAMW, Augusts 2009:
WISH YOU WOULD STOP SINGING, August 2009. Joined by
Kathy Danielson and Tom Maynard, I honored the SAMW community with a
parody of "How Can I Keep From Singing", which I learned years back
from Pete Seeger. I was blessed that the audience was willing to not
refrain from singing the refrain. Here's a recording
and the lyrics.
(Photo by Dan Senie.)
SAMW 2009...is James Kreuger the
vision of a young Mike Seeger? Remarkable!
SAMW 2009 Rev. Robert Jones'
Harmonica Class, featuring Ian's train on video:
BENNETT and LORRAINE, August
2008: Here is my tribute to Bennett and Lorraine Hammond. I
wrote new lyrics to the old standard "Sweet Lorraine". The live
video is about 3 minutes in. It was filmed by Pedro Ribiero
from Portugal. The MC was Cece Borjeson. Included in the performance
are Ken Porter on percussion, Rick Wood on upright bass, and Bruce
Jones--performance artist! Here is the video...and it's
also here in higher resolution... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g7wKNT5NjU
8/27/06 - "I'D LIKE TO BE
MIKE DELANEY" by Bob Franke and performed by "The
Wannabees" (Pete and Maura Kennedy) on dueling ukuleles. I'm back
from WUMB's Summer Acoustic Music Week, and what a week it was. The
highlight for me was a response to my song "I Wanna Be Maura
Kennedy". I was totally surprised by the honor. An MP3 of
performance is HERE. How many people
can say that they have a song about them written by Bob Franke
(www.bobfranke.com) and performed by the Kennedys (www.kennedysmusic.com)?
"The Wannabees" (Maura and Pete Kennedy)
with Mike. (Photo by Peter Bortolotti).
Student Concert Class Performances. Here are a couple performances of classes at the student concert.
Mike's Student Concert
Performances: The student concert culminates a week of fun
and learning. For the last few years I've decided what I was going
to play at the student concert months well in advance of camp.
2016: "Where is Barry"? This is a tribute to my best friend Barry Spiro who wasn't able to make it to SAMW in 2016. This was my 20th year at SAMW. This has Maura Kennedy and Ken Porter singing harmony and Ken on djembe.
2015: "I Feel Old" is a tribute to SAMW. This has Enid Wood on violin, Rick Wood on bass, and Ken Porter on djembe.
2014: "Friends", a tribute to my wife of 41 years, Joan. Here's the lyrics. The dynamics in this song were the result of The Kennedys performance class. See, I was paying attention.
2013: "Southeast Passage", inspired by all the days I sit jammed in traffic trying to get home from work going south across Boston is a parody of Stan Roders' "Northwest Passage". Here's the lyrics. It's the first time I've performed solo "accapulco".
2011:Hopelessly SAMW. Joined by Barry Spiro, here's a parody of Joel Mabus' song, "Hopelessly Midwestern" to honor, Joel, all the SAMW instructors, and especially Dick Pleasants. The lyrics are here.
2010: "Come On Up to the Inn". Joined by Beth DeSombre, Kathy Danielson, Ken Porter, and Rick Wood, I honored Dick Pleasants with a paraody of Tom Waits' song "Come On Up to the House", which I heard by Sarah Jarosz.
"I WISH YOU WOULD STOP SINGING". Joined by Kathy Danielson and Tom
Maynard, I honored the SAMW community with a parody of "How Can I
Keep From Singing", which I learned years back from Pete Seeger.
2007: "Other World Eve", what I'm calling a co-write with Bob
Franke (www.bobfranke.com) and Pete and Maura
Kennedy (www.kennedysmusic.com), is a parody/mash up
of Bob Franke's "Other World Eve" and The Kennedy's "Stand" in
tribute to Bob, Pete, and Maura. Here's the live recording and lyrics.
2005: "I Wanna Be Maura Kennedy" speaks for
itself. Pete and Maura Kennedy (www.kennedysmusic.com) were awesome, and
such good sports. I surprised them with this song, and Maura
surprised me by jumping on stage and bopping along with
the song. Pete and Maura embody what is truly special and spritual
about music. Namaste! MP3Lyrics. Video
by Rob Halper (WMV, 5 Mb)(WMV, 1Mb). Photos
by Sandra Waddock (JPG) and Graham Walker (JPG).