Remembering Bonnie Dobson

One of the benefits of having lived a relatively long time is that I have tons of memories, mostly good, that come back to delight and occasionally astonish me. These memories do not return full-blown with all details razor-sharp, but modern search engines quickly fill in the missing pieces.
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I was savoring a glass of wine and a late afternoon snack today when I suddenly remembered the sound of Bonnie Dobson singing “The First Time”, a folk song from the early sixties. Her songs made quite an impact on me at the time and I even went to see her at Folk City in New York.

Like so many things in life, anticipation was better than the actual experience. I got a chance to talk to her and she was as warm and gracious as I expected, but the club environment was somehow not appropriate for her.

I think she would have presented better in a coffeehouse. Still, I listened to her albums for years. My favorites were: Dear Companion, For the Love of Him, and Good Morning Rain.

She enjoyed some success as a folk singer in the early sixties and then faded from the scene. From Google, I learned that she had moved to England in 1969 after an unsuccessful attempt to transition to rock music. Too bad, because her folk songs conveyed messages of lasting importance.

I feel the world is richer because of her work. It has nothing to do with the number of records sold. It is because she could reach out to people and touch them in ways they would never forget. Thanks, Bonnie, wherever you are.

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0 Responses to Remembering Bonnie Dobson

  1. Kez says:

    oddly enough, an online friend from the US who knew her years ago (Bonnie) was trying to track her down recently and asked if I could help as she is supposed to be n the UK now (where I am based). I dont suppose you have any idea where she is now?

    cheers
    K

  2. David says:

    In 1993, Bonnie was the head administrator for the Philosophy Department at the Berwick College of the University Of London. See this link for her interview by Randy Jackson.
    http://taco.com/roots/dobsoninterview.html

    I would suggest contacting Berwick College as a first step. Good luck!

  3. susan says:

    I bought and listened to all of Bonnie Dobson’s records. Her songs sparked a lifelong involvement in social equality and change. Would love to find cd’s of all the music as wore out the 78’s years ago.
    I also went to all her Folk City shows,in the 60’s.

  4. David says:

    Susan,

    If you find any, let me know.
    I would buy them in a heartbeat.

  5. Joe says:

    Hi you should try Birkbeck College
    Malet Street
    London WC1E 7HX

  6. Joy Kramer says:

    I loved Bonnie Dobson back in the sixties. Saw her at a coffeehouse and also at McCabe’s (she was visiting there) on Pico in L.A. McCabe’s sold musical instruments and also had concerts. I have four of her records but, yes, would love to have CDs. Wish I knew where she went. She was a nice woman. At the time she seemed more worldly than I (and I’m sure was) but I was 19 and she was 21…

    Joy

  7. Phil Fitzpatrick says:

    Reading your 10/2003 Remeberances of Bonnie Dobson. Thank you.

    Can you tell me where to find her now ? I knew her at Saint Mark’s Place and thereafter. Lost track of her in England several years ago.

  8. john small says:

    just bought her 2 latest cds. can get her to create a webbsite for contact? what a fabulous voice. regards ,john small

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