Werner Lenggenhager, Seattle’s splendidly active post-war photographer of streets and landmarks, whom I have used in this feature several times, recorded the historical Seattle Center scene during the ‘little snow” of November 19, 1978. I took the “now” while wandering through the generally happy press of humanity at Folklife this past Sunday May 24. It felt like the first nearly hot day of 2009.
I had just left helping MC a Folklife tribute to a friend, the Seattle folk artist Stan James, who died last October. Since Stan’s survivors both loved him and like to sing together, it was the third wake or tribute for Stan many of us had attended. Soon after gently pushing through the press of “folkies’ I learned that only hours earlier another old friend and musician had died. The day before at Folklife Jack Hansen led another sing along as a member of The Seatles, “Seattle’s Premier Fab-4 Sing-Along Band.” It was the last “gig” of a creative life that I remember well already in the mid-60s when Jack played lead guitar in the blues and psychedelic band Fat Jack, a name Jack later shed.
Jack Hansen could play and teach anything: blues, jazz, folk, Hawaiian, strait rock, and again psychedelic. Stan James kept to singing folk music with his wonderful baritone (or second tenor, for he had range) and creating “folk opportunities,” beginning in the early 60s with the Corroboree, one of the area’s first espresso cafes with live music – folk music. He performed at Century 21 in 1962 and after that his contributions go on and on.
Both Jack and Stan were also known for their humor and story telling. Although neither died young, they still passed too early. They played for the forces of happiness.