The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #581 Message #2637959
Posted By: GUEST,Bob Coltman
21-May-09 - 05:15 PM
Thread Name: Origins:Deportees-seeking original Woody recording
Subject: RE: Deportees - seeking original Woody recording
I can add a tiny piece to the puzzle.
I never knew Martin Hoffman personally, but in 1959 when I was traveling in the west with Brigger (Bill Briggs), in Colorado I think, someone sang us "Deportee" with Martin Hoffman's tune, together with "Pastures of Plenty," which went to a beautiful major tune, not the one I have heard since. Whether that tune was also Hoffman's, I don't know.
It's true that the tune as now familiar is essentially like, though slightly changed from Hoffman's, though I wouldn't know how to say just how they differ.
The person who sang us the two songs said Martin Hoffman was known as "The Roadrunner." I gathered he was secretive and mysterious, and did not get out much. But he was a great seeker-out, I was told, of unusual and out-of-the-way folk material.
One thing I can do is confirm that the timing was earlier than the '60s. Hoffman's Deportee tune was circulating in summer 1959.
I wish I had inquired further at the time, but, you know, in those days I learned everything in passing, on my way to somewhere else. I wish I remembered who sang us those two songs, but I no longer do.
Ever since that summer I've wanted to know more about "The Roadrunner." I never knew Judy Collins had written a song about him, but then, what I was hearing was more in the traditional field recording and oldtime line.
I always honored The Roadrunner for that tune.