Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Morning with Mike Regenstreif – CKCU – Saturday June 24, 2017

Saturday Morning is an eclectic roots-oriented program on CKCU in Ottawa heard live on Saturday mornings from 7 until 10 am (Eastern time) and then available for on-demand streaming. I am one of the four rotating hosts of Saturday Morning and base my programming on the Folk Roots/Folk Branches format I developed at CKUT in Montreal.

CKCU can be heard at 93.1 FM in Ottawa and on the web.

This episode of Saturday Morning can be streamed on-demand at

Extended theme – A tribute to Rosalie Sorrels.

This program was dedicated to the memory of the late Rosalie Sorrels (1933-2017). Rosalie died on June 11 and today would have been her 84th birthday. I wrote about Rosalie on the Folk Roots/Folk Branches blog.

Katy Moffatt- Seabiscuit
Where the Heart Is (Centerfire Music)

David Wiffen- Times are Getting Hard
At the Bunkhouse Coffeehouse, Vancouver BC (Universal International)
Deborah Robins- Shake Sugaree
Home Fires (Zippety Whippet Music)
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches- Freight Train
Very Next Thing (On the Bol)
Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur- The Cuckoo
Penny’s Farm (Kingswood)
Jayme Stone, Moira Smiley, Sumaia Jackson, Joe Phillips & Nick Fraser- Hey, Lally Lally Lo

Bob Dylan- Who Killed Davey Moore?
The Bootleg Series, Volume 1 (Columbia)
The Brothers & Sisters- All Along the Watchtower
Dylan’s Gospel (Columbia)
Sneezy Waters- When the Ship Comes In
Sneezy Waters Live (Sneezy Waters)
Bill Camplin- Desolation Row
Bob Dylan Project One (Bill Camplin)

Eric Bogle- Roll Call
A Toss of the Coin (Greentrax)
Lisa Gutkin- Gonna Get Through This World
From Here On In (Lisa Gutkin)
NEeMA w/Emmylou Harris- For You
Painting My Wall Gold (Neemaste Productions)

Catherine MacLellan & John Connolly- The Call
Katie Moore & Andrew Horton- You Can Go on Your Way Now
Six More Miles (Katie Moore)
Durham County Poets & Michael Jerome Browne- Diamonds on the Water
Grimshaw Road (Durham County Poets)
Orit Shimoni- Time’s Up
Soft Like Snow (MW Music)
Tom Russell- Thrown to the Wolves

Rosalie Sorrels- Travelin’ Lady
Nanci Griffith- Ford Econoline
Lone Star State of Mind (MCA)
Rosalie Sorrels- Apple of My Eye
Always a Lady (Green Linnet)
Bonnie Koloc- Up is a Nice Place to Be
Timeless (Mr. Biscuit)
Rosalie Sorrels- Hitchhiker in the Rain
Borderline Heart (Green Linnet)

Grateful Dead- Ripple
American Beauty (Warner Bros.)
Rosalie Sorrels- Song for Daughters/Mama
Then Came the Children – Live (Green Linnet)
Jane Voss & Hoyle Osborne- Postcard from India (Keep On Rockin’)
Sparkle and Shine (Front Hall)

Rosalie Sorrels & Mike Regenstreif (1993)
Rosalie Sorrels- Apples and Pears
What Does It Mean to Love? (Green Linnet)
Penny Lang- My Last Go Round
Stone + Sand + Sea + Sky (Borealis)
Rosalie Sorrels- One More Next Time
If I Could Be the Rain (Folk-Legacy)
Tom Russell w/Bill Hearne- Pork Roast and Poetry
Unreleased – used by permission
Rosalie Sorrels- Rosalie, You Can’t Go Home Again

Sam Baker- Margaret
Land of Doubt (Sam Baker)
Annie Guthrie- Laid in Bed
Dragonfly (Rising Son)
Garnet Rogers w/Doug Long- This Shirt
Summer Lightning: Live (Snow Goose)
Jory Nash- King in Denial
The Many Hats of Jory Nash (Thin Man)
Alex Cuba- En Mi Guitarra
Lo Ūnico Constante (Caracol)

Rory Block- Panama Limited
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee- Spread the News Around
Mr. Brownie & Mr. Sonny: The Bluesville Years Volume Five (Prestige)
Michael Earnie Taylor Orchestra- Tourist Town
$3 Pants (Laughing Cactus Music)

Joe Newberry & April Verch- Waiting for Joe
Going Home (Slab Town)

I’ll be hosting Saturday Morning next on July 22.

Find me on Twitter. @MikeRegenstreif

--Mike Regenstreif

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rosalie Sorrels 1933-2017

I am deeply saddened today to learn that my old friend and colleague – and folk music legend – Rosalie Sorrels passed away last night at her daughter Holly’s home in Reno, Nevada. Her children – Holly Marizu, Shelley Ross and Kevin Sorrels – and I believe other family members were with her as she slipped away over the past several days. Rosalie would have turned 84 on June 24.

Rosalie was one of the great interpretive singers on the folk music scene. She sang traditional folk songs, cabaret songs and gave us definitive versions of the songs of so many songwriters – notably Bruce “Utah” Phillips and Malvina Reynolds, among many others. And, of course, she was a remarkable songwriter herself.

Rosalie began her folk music journey in the 1950s and early-‘60s, collecting traditional songs and performing locally in Idaho and Utah – and making an occasional trip east to perform at events like the Newport Folk Festival. She made several albums of traditional songs in those years and one of them, “Folksongs of Idaho and Utah,” originally released in 1961, remains in print to this day via Smithsonian Folkways.

In 1967, she made a lovely album, “If I Could Be the Rain,” in which she introduced her own songs for the first time. About half the songs were Rosalie’s and about half were written by her Salt Lake City friend, Bruce “Utah” Phillips. Rosalie’s guitarist on the album was Mitch Greenhill, who would go to work with Rosalie often over the years as a musician, record producer, and agent.

Around that time, Rosalie’s marriage broke up and she hit the road – five children in tow – to earn her living on the folk music circuit. Nanci Griffith tells Rosalie’s story in the song “Ford Econoline.” Lena Spencer of the legendary folk music venue Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York, gave Rosalie a home base as she began to travel to folk clubs, concerts and festivals – sometimes traveling by Greyhound Bus – in the U.S. and Canada.

Rosalie played in Montreal often. I was still in high school when I first heard and met Rosalie at the Back Door Coffee House in Montreal, sometime around 1970. The gig at the Back Door was four or five nights long and it was during that stay in Montreal that Rosalie wrote “Travelin’ Lady,” which became her signature song.

I began to produce concerts in Montreal as a college student in 1972 and my first booking with Rosalie was a double bill with Utah Phillips at Redpath Hall on the McGill campus in 1973. By 1974, I was running a Montreal folk club, the Golem Coffee House, and Rosalie played there often throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. Sometimes Rosalie came to the Golem as a solo artist and sometimes with musicians like Mitch Greenhill or Tony Markellis. Sometimes she came to the Golem on a double bill with Utah Phillips, and once as part of a three-woman show with Terry Garthwaite of Joy of Cooking and writer and storyteller Bobbie Louise Hawkins.

Rosalie was a quietly mesmerizing performer on stage and I have so many great memories of performances that I produced with her in Montreal – but also of concerts I saw her do in many other places in Canada and the U.S. In addition to her singing, Rosalie was one of the most masterful storytellers ever.

In the late-‘70s, I operated an independent booking agency for a few years representing a select roster of folk music artists and I was honored that Rosalie was one of my treasured clients.

In her song, “Rosalie, You Can’t Go Home Again,” Rosalie refers to lessons that she learned from her “teachers” – not referring to school teachers. Rosalie was one of my teachers. Rosalie taught me much about the endurance of the human spirit and that adversities and personal tragedies can be the basis for cathartic art. And she taught me how to recognize greatness in songs.

Rosalie Sorrels & Mike Regenstreif (1993)
A quick anecdote: I was at a folk festival with Rosalie – it could have been Mariposa or Philadelphia or Winnipeg or Vancouver, or maybe somewhere else, and Rosalie was in a multi-artist workshop. One of the other artists, a folkier-than-thou type who I will leave nameless, ranted on about how there were no good rock songs, that contemporary singer-songwriters starting with Bob Dylan were all terrible, and that traditional folk songs or songs that have lasted 50 or 60 years were the only ones that mattered. Rosalie responded by saying something like, “Yeah, you’re right, let me play you this song.” She proceeded to sing “If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine/And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung…” When she finished the song, the folkier-than-thou guy said something like, “Now that was a great song! Where did you collect it?” Rosalie turned to him and said, “It’s by the Grateful Dead.”

The memories of times spent with Rosalie – in Montreal, Saratoga, Vermont, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, etc. – are flooding back tonight. I remember the performances, for sure, but I also treasure the times around her kitchen tables in Ballston Spa or Burlington or in bars and friends’ living rooms all up and down the road, sitting up late and sharing songs, stories, drinks and memories.

I’m listening tonight to Rosalie’s 1972 album “Travelin’ Lady.” It was her most recent album the first time I produced a concert with her and it remains one of my favorites of Rosalie’s albums. One of the most inspiring songs of Rosalie’s original songs on the album is “Postcard from Indian (Keep on Rocking).” It’s a kind of existential, secular prayer song:

“If I should die before I wake
There’s nothing here I’d want to take with me
I’ve had the best, I’ve had the worst
I’ve been last, I got into the line first
I’ve been hungry, I’ve been satisfied
I’ve seen the carnival, I’ve taken every ride

If I should wake before I die
I’d never stop to wonder why
I’d grab the day, take it and run
Naked, reaching for the sun
I’d run like a rabbit, fly like a dove
All around the world, searching for love…sweet love

And yet here I lie, afraid to sleep
Afraid to look inside too deep
Just want to climb outside this skin
I’ll find out who it is that’s in there
Oh, friends and lovers, keep me afloat
Keep on rockin’…It’s a beautiful boat.”

That’s a message I think Rosalie would want to leave us with: “Keep on rockin’…It’s a beautiful boat.”

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--Mike Regenstreif