Lu Mitchell Remembers|
Until Lu gets around to writing her autobiography the following notes and others scattered here and there throughout the site will have to suffice.
Even as a little girl I was musical. I learned all the songs I heard on the radio; and I was eager to perform these at family gatherings and school events. Though I never had any formal musical training, I found the guitar an easy instrument for accompaniment, particularly for the simple folk songs learned at Girl Scout camp. Later, under the guidance of Hermes Nye, a local folksinger, I blossomed as a performer.
Working as a secretary I felt bored and stifled. Then I found the perfect outlet for my imagination--the coffeehouses that proliferated during the folk music boom of the sixties. Soon I was writing my own "folk songs" taken from headlines in the local newspapers. The frustrations of every-day life were grist to my mill--from the humiliation of wearing a hospital gown to battling it out with the car dealer. I began recording.
Now, over 35 years later, I have twelve albums... My songbook is called "Singing For Her Sanity." No need for Prozac because my songs are my therapy. I have found a great truth-- that humor is healing. Perhaps those who hear my music will feel just a little bit better.
Trey Hammond and Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse
It was Trey Hammond's idea to have a coffeehouse in the Fellowship Hall of Dallas' Northpark Presbyterian Church back in 1982... He loved folk music and started calling people like Ann Armstrong, Emilie Aronson, Wayne Greene, and me...
In the early 1960s during the time Seeger was blacklisted from performing on TV and radio, a small group of Roosevelt liberals arranged for Pete to do a concert in Dallas at the Knox Street Theatre. The John Birchers and some of their ilk threatened us by phone and wrote scathing letters to us to cancel. But the concert was held, and about 300 attended. It was great. Afterwards we talked one to one with Pete at Hermes and Mary Nye's home on Hood Street. He was softspoken and actually shy when he wasn't performing on stage. I gave him the words to my song "We'll All Go to Oxford (Miss) When We Go."
Lightnin' Sam Hopkins
In 1969... brought to Dallas by John and Mimi Lomax for a concert at the Dallas Museum of Fine Art. It was decided they and Lightnin' all would stay at our house, because we knew that if Lightnin' got out of our sight, he would wind up at a bar on Deep Ellum and never make the show. While at our home Lightnin' regaled us with stories of his musical career. He said that in Germany the fans grabbed at him and in many cases cut off parts of his tie and shirt for souvenirs. He never understood this. He was leery of promoters who wanted use him to make money for themselves. He wore alligator shoes, and while at the house he wore a hair net. Delightful man.
Around the summer of 1968 Gene, Sean and I sat in Malvina's kitchen in her modest
home on Parker Street in Berkeley, California . . . feeling very welcome and enjoying her
homemade minestrone soup. She said, "Keep writing . . . you have a gift. Like me, you don't have a great voice, but your songs have truth, humor and are well crafted . . . audiences will love you."
Carolyn and I met at the opening of Northpark in 1965. At that time it was the largest climate-controlled retail establishment in the world, and folk music was the newest craze so there was a slate of folk performers including Mance Lipscomb, Carolyn, Hermes Nye, and me presenting a folk concert in the large court near Neiman's. I remember Ray Nasher and his whole family on the front row.
Click here for related photo of Carolyn and friends at Lu's home.
Related note: Way way back in the 1950s, Lu, Hermes Nye, and a small circle of friends started the Dallas Folk Music Society which meets on the second Saturday night of each month at various locations. In June 2006, Carolyn was headliner for the house concert and hootenanny in Lu's backyard. Later, she invited Lu to perform at her dance club in Los Angeles on November 18, 2006. This could be the flowering of a long and beautiful friendship. More on this later.
Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert
and Dr. Benjamin Spock
At the 1984 Republican Convention in Dallas, I was asked to join Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, and Dr. Benjamin Spock on a stage provided for the dissidents outside the convention hall.
To be continued . . .
This page last updated Tuesday, July 18, 2006.