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Songs from Pappy Walsh at the Little Creek O Club

Joe Offer 13 Mar 12 - 09:15 PM
Joe Offer 14 Mar 12 - 04:07 AM
Joe Offer 14 Mar 12 - 04:12 AM
GUEST 30 Sep 12 - 04:02 PM
GUEST 14 Sep 17 - 12:13 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Pappy Wash - Little Creek O Club
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 09:15 PM

I got this request by e-mail
    I am mostly looking for lyrics from Pappy Wash's days at the Little Creek O Club
Can anybody tell us anything about Pappy Wash or the Little Creek O Club?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr from Pappy Walsh at the Little Creek O Club
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Mar 12 - 04:07 AM

refresh - I got a correction from the requester - it's Pappy Walsh at the Little Creek O Club. Pappy is mentioned in this thread

Is that an officers' club? I had a good time with a woman named Wanda dancing at the officers' club one evening.......

-Joe-

P.S. I liked Wanda so much that I named my dog after her, but that's another story.


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Subject: RE: Lyr from Pappy Walsh at the Little Creek O Club
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Mar 12 - 04:12 AM

So, it was an officers' club, but on the wrong side of the country, far away from lovely Wanda. There's more information about Pappy Walsh in This USS Rankin Forum:

    Pappy Walsh

    Died 9/16/97 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, age 85.

    Pappy never served aboard the Rankin, but he was well-known to many of the officers who did.

    PAPPY'S PIANO PLAYING TOUCHED SONG LOVERS

    THE CURTAIN has rung down for the last time on Pappy Walsh's choir practice.

    If you were in the Navy between the mid-'50s and mid-'80s, you probably know what that means. Vincent "Pappy'' Walsh was the piano player who led the thrice-weekly sing-alongs at the Little Creek Officers' Club.

    Those sessions came to be known throughout the Navy as choir practice. Pappy's unique style was also known to a sizable contingent of "significant others,'' but I'm getting ahead of myself.

    Pappy died at age 85 on Sept. 14 in Virginia Beach, where he had lived out his later years with his wife, Margaret. He was laid to rest with full military honors. His obituary listed him as Pappy, instead of by his given name.

    A retired Navy musician, Pappy had served in uniform from 1942 to 1966. He had been the bandmaster aboard the battleship Idaho during World War II, earning a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars. He had entertained enlisted personnel to admirals as well as U.S. and foreign dignitaries. And he was a church organist for many years at Norfolk's St. Pius X Catholic Church.

    If you remember Pappy's piano playing and thought you detected a touch of vaudeville, you were right. He had started playing professionally at the age of 9, in the window of a music shop and—later, when a child labor inspector discovered him—back of a curtain at a theater showing silent films.

    That "rinky-tink'' piano style really came through when he cut loose with that ol' "Mountain Dew.''

    In 1955, he started his most famous gig of all in the Rathskeller, the bar underneath the old officer's club at the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base.

    The club itself resembled an antebellum plantation mansion, with its elegant columns and stately tall windows in the dining and banquet rooms, overlooking the golf course. No windows in the 'skeller, however; only walls, and before each selection, Pappy would bang on the wall back of the piano (at times, until the paneling came down), hold up a flip-book of numbers, and announce the next selection.

    "Number nine in the songbook, the old 'Titanic,' '' he would bellow in his husky, smoky, carnival-barker's voice that made you glad he played instead of sang. "Let me hear your beautiful voices!''

    The song was from "An Amphibious Anthology of Rare Songs and Barroom Ballads."

    As the evening wore on and the beer flowed, those present were only too happy—under Pappy's direction—to raise the song.

    There were old standbys like "Carolina in the Morning'', "Walking My Baby Back Home'' and "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now". There were college songs and football songs and ("all rise, please'') "God Bless America.'' And it wouldn't be a sing-along without a rousing chorus of "The Virgin Sturgeon'' or "Let Her Sleep Under The Bar.'' There were, of course, the service songs, starting with "Anchors Aweigh.'' Invariably, the Air Force anthem began, "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder . . . crash!'' before Pappy got around to playing it straight.

    When the new club was built at Little Creek in the early '70s, Pappy and his well-worn piano moved into it, to the Tank Deck, which had to be enlarged several times to accommodate the crowds, numbering in the hundreds, that came to hear him play.

    I first met Pappy as an 18-year-old midshipman from Penn State, stationed aboard a tank landing ship, during the summer of 1966. He was already a legend. When the midshipmen were in town, the beer was switched to "3.2,'' or "near-beer,'' but that didn't matter. The magic, the camaraderie, the experience that made Pappy's sing-alongs a not-to-be-missed event may have been alcohol-lubricated, but it wasn't alcohol-fueled. Pappy himself didn't touch a drop.

    In 1969, four days after reporting aboard another tank landing ship for duty as a newly minted ensign, I persuaded my new boss, the chief engineer, and his wife to join me at the sing-along to celebrate my birthday. She was a Virginia Beach schoolteacher, so they had to leave early. I stayed and met the woman who has been my wife for almost 28 years. She wrote her name and phone number in my songbook.

    We are not unique. Many a romance blossomed and more than a few marriages resulted from conversations begun between songs at Pappy's sing-alongs.

    In that era, sing-alongs were popular and flourished at many Navy officers' clubs. The Datum in Newport, R.I., for example, had another one well-known throughout the sea service. But I know of no other where the piano player earned the celebrity status that was accorded Pappy.

    In the mid-'80s, base clubs, faced with increasing off-base competition, began to lose some of their cachet. The increasingly younger crowds began to dwindle and, in 1985 or '86, the music—Pappy's music—finally stopped. By then, he had been playing at Little Creek for 30 years.

    With Pappy's passing, though, I am sure the heavenly choirs now sound a little brighter, rising to the occasion as he exhorts them to "let me hear your beautiful voices!''

    Anchors aweigh . . . and raise the song.

    DAWSON MILLS
    The Virginian-Pilot
    Sunday, September 28, 1997

    =========================================

    Pappy Walsh

    Pappy Walsh, 85, of the 5300 block of Marian Lane died Sept. 14, 1997.

    He was born in Taunton, Mass., and had retired from the U.S. Navy as a musician first class with 24 years of service. He was a member of St. Pius X Catholic Church and the Fleet Reserve Branch No. 60. During World War II, Walsh was the bandmaster on the USS Idaho. He was considered one of the finest entertainers in the business and was widely known throughout the Navy, especially in the Tidewater area, where he played the piano at the Little Creek Officers Club for 30 years. He had led combo and group ``sing-a-longs'' for many leading official functions involving the highest-ranking American and foreign military and civilian officials. He had entertained several officers at the ensign level through their career to the rank of admiral. His popularity extended to paid gigs throughout the United States. Pappy was arguably the best-known enlisted man in the Navy, and had made a lasting impact on the lives of those who enjoyed his music over the years. Survivors include his wife, Margaret Alice Walsh and a brother, Donald Walsh of Taunton.

    A funeral will be conducted at 10 a.m. Thursday in Little Creek Amphibious Base Chapel by Fr. Joseph A. Ceriello. Burial with full military honors will be in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. A Fleet Reserve service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Bayside Chapel, followed by a Christian wake service. The family will remain at the funeral home Wednesday until 9 p.m. to greet friends.

    The Virginian-Pilot
    Tuesday, September 16, 1997


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Subject: RE: Songs from Pappy Walsh at the Little Creek O Club
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 12 - 04:02 PM

I still have the song book, from ~ 1975


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Subject: RE: Songs from Pappy Walsh at the Little Creek O Club
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 17 - 12:13 AM

I remember Pappy from the early 60's when I first went to Little Creek. Many wonderful weekends.

Then, in the early 80's, as a reservist, I returned.

Same old deal. Wonderful. He brought tears to my eyes. I was 20 again.

Bless you, Pappy.


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Mudcat time: 23 September 4:13 PM EDT

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