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Koerner & Glover: A reader sheds light on some West Bank legends

Categories: Local Music
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On Thursday we posted about two of Spider John Koerner's upcoming shows, and waxed a little rhapsodic about his contributions to local music history and that particular, not half-hearted but self-effacing, eye-to-the-revelry way he and his peers have approached folk music over the past 40-odd years. The next day we received an anonymous email from a longtime follower of Koerner's career, in which the reader points out some interesting historical nooks and crannies on Spider John and fellow player Tony Glover especially. We thought it was a fascinating reminiscence, so we wanted share it with you, along with some annotations.

Koerner is a National treasure. Running, Jumping, Standing Still is one of my "desert island" albums. I learned how to blow a Hohner from Tony's Oak book with the purple cover...not from the instructions but from the discography (Walter, Sonny Boy, Reed, Terry, etc). The photos were better than the book!

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This is a reference to Tony Glover's Blues Harp Songbook, which stood for many years as one of the few, if not only, references for those looking to learn how to play blues harmonica. And the pictures do seem especially beautiful.

His KDWB radio show Underground predated KQ in the late '60s, Garrison Keillors's Morning Show & Prairie Home Companion in the early 70's, and Cities 97 in the '80s.

He's talking here about Tony Glover's stint at KDWB, when it was still an AM station. From Tony Glover's website:

In the late sixties, he spent a year as an all-night "underground" disc-jockey on KDWB-AM in Mpls, introducing midwestern listeners to an eclectic menu of music ranging from rock to jazz and blues to country.

I'll never forget seeing Glover with Lazy Bill Lucas at Coffman in the 60's, Koerner at the Hyland ski area in the '80s, and Koerner,Ray, & Glover and Koerner & Murphy at the Guthrie in the '90s to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Running Jumping Standing Still.  Spider John should be revered by the masses. Google up the Current from 07/04/2010 if you havent already done so and check out 21 minutes of fascinating DJ BS augmented by 3 tunes (supposedly live in the studio) by these 70 year-old West Bank vets.

Here is that performance, which finds Koerner and Glover as good as ever and no worse for wear. I'd like to thank the reader who sent this letter in, it was a pleasant surprise. And if anyone has any audio from Tony Glover's old radio show, we would love to hear it.


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