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.

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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