Update 2016 Welcome to

Some Played Harder
by Gary Cristall

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Update 2016

“Some played harder...”, historian of Canadian folk music Gary Cristall's monumental 15,000-word essay [click here for 8 MB pdf] on Stringband's place in Canadian music, is now on line. It is a (sometimes painfully) detailed history of Stringband’s life and times.

In addition to the pieces below, several of Stringband’s greatest hits are now up on Youtube. Search “Stringband” or “Stringband Bob Bossin”.

For more information about what Bob and Marie-Lynn are up to currently, visit http://www.bossin.com, http://davythepunk.com and http://marielynnhammond.com.

Stringband's retrospective box set, The Indispensible Stringband, remains available and can be ordered here.

Read on.

Stringband Who?

For those of you who never heard Stringband, you can hear us here. This is a little bio written by Gary Cristall’s for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival:

This year the Winnipeg Folk Festival is celebrating its fortieth anniversary. A tradition on these anniversaries is to round up those who were there at the beginning. It gets harder as the years go by. Among those still around are the one-time members of Stringband, just a little past their own fortieth anniversary.

You might be excused for thinking that, after this many years, a Stringband reunion is an exercise in nostalgia. But you would be wrong. Unlike those unfortunate PBS specials where the past is exhumed for reasons of nostalgia and fundraising, Stringband’s members are active creative artists who have moved past their accomplishments with the band to blaze new artistic trails. Stringband is where they began, not where they peaked.

Bob Bossin has just finished a book – the story of his father and the Jewish gambling scene in 1940’s Toronto. It is also a show – “Songs and Stories of Davy The Punk” – that will be on the road soon. Ben Mink has just finished producing a new record for Heart after being involved in a great klezmer project – Black Sea Station. Calvin Cairns continues to teach and make music in Victoria, leading the fifty-plus-member Fiddle Orchestra. Marie-Lynn Hammond has recently released not one but two new CDs. One – HoofBeats - is about horses. The other – Creatures – is about humans, animals, the environment, history, grief, chance, and their complex interrelationships. Dennis Nichol is based in Saskatoon where he plays bass with a bunch of bands and has his own recording studio. So ‘what have you done lately?’ would need a lot of time to answer.

But Stringband is also an organic part of Canadian music history. They wrote songs about just about every part of Canada, and not “Group of Seven” hymns to the land. They wrote about real people and real events – a farm wife with a real estate vulture hovering over her, Bill Miner the bank robber, what makes Newfoundland special and Tugboats in the Strait of Georgia. They blazed the trail of independent touring, and pioneered of indie recording, once covering an album jacket with the names of hundreds of fans who contributed. They played everywhere. They spoke truth to power, as the phrase goes, and they created complex and accurate songs about human relationships. And they never stopped.

Stringband digitized at last!

At long last, Stringband is on CD. The Indispensable Stringband is a 46-song, box-set retrospective of Stringband’s music, 1972-2002, and it is just $35 and a few key-strokes away. The collection contains all of Stringband’s greatest hits, plus never-before-released cuts, and some new pieces. TIS also includes a 50-page history of Stringband’s Life and Times by Gary Cristall.

To order, head for the order form. For sound clips, links, or more information about Stringband and its members (including Bob Bossin, Marie-Lynn Hammond, Calvin Cairns, Ben Mink, Terry King, Dennis Nichol), read on.

Bob Bossin,
September, 2016.

Box Set cover

Stringband c.1974 , L to R, Ben Mink,
Marie-Lynn Hammond, Bob Bossin

Stringband busking in 1982

Stringband c.1982 , L to R, Dennis Nichol, Bob Bossin,
Calvin Cairns, Marie-Lynn Hammond

The group in 2001

Stringband re-union, 2001: L to R, Dennis Nichol,
Marie-Lynn Hammond, Calvin Cairns,
Bob Bossin, Steve Darke, Ben Mink

“Like Gordon Lightfoot or Monique Leyrac, like Margaret Atwood or Robertson Davies, Stringband made you proud to be Canadian. They skated through the coffee houses and concert halls with the grace of Bobby Orr and the passion of Rocket Richard.” - Stuart McLean

“Stringband searched relentlessly for what they thought was a Canadian sound. Not finding it, they perhaps invented it.” -Douglas Fetherling

For more about Stringband, see Gary Cristall Recalls Stringband.

For still more about Stringband, see Whatever Happened to Stringband.

You can listen to samples of Stringband's music below.

Related sites

Bob Bossin's Old Folksinger's homepage

Marie-Lynn’s site

Richard Hess’s Stringband discography
(Richard deserves the lion's share of the credit for driving this project forward.
Here is a link to his blog.)

Audio Samples

Mic Mac Song (Real Audio)
by Angele Arsenault, recorded in 1974
The complete song

Show Us the Length (MP3)
by Bob Bossin, recorded in 1974
A portion of the song

La jeune mariée (Real Audio)
by Marie-Lynn Hammond, recorded live in Moscow in 1983
The complete song

Order form | Discography | Links | Music Clips

Stringband at the Winnipeg Folk Festival 1982

©2000 Richard L. Hess & Bob Bossin & Marie-Lynn Hammond All Rights Reserved       
Richard Hess’s Web site
Last updated 2016-09-07