Album – SKI SONGS
By the late ’50s Bob was living in Aspen and doing a lot of skiing. He joined forces with writers from the Denver Post, Shirley Sealy, Gail Pitts and Blanche Hardin, to write a musical about skiing. Although the show was never produced, the songs were recorded with great session players including bassist Russell Savakas, guitarist, Joe Puma, and Eric Weissberg. The album is an enduring favorite for generations of snow people and folk fans.
Elektra Records 1959
Joe Puma, guitar
Russ Savakus, bass
Eric Weissberg, banjo, bass, guitar
Bob Gibson, one of the better folk singers around today, has an amusing album here, dealing with the popular winter sports of skiing. The songs concern the delights, the romance and the fun of skiing— as well as the pain- with many of the tunes set to familiar melodies, and all sung eloquently by Gibson. There is the saga of “Super Skier,” “In This White World” and “My Highlands Lassie.” The singer himself wrote the words to the tunes, and they make good listening. For both folk and ski buffs.
NEWS, REVIEWS & NOTES
This 1959 album has the hallmarks of a cash-in: a famous folk singer, a comical cover, and a seemingly lightweight theme. And while the subjects may seem trivial in comparison to those of Gibson’s better-known originals, neither the songs nor performances were tossed off lightly… Gibson was living in Aspen, and turned his love of skiing into an album of song. The result is a surprisingly clever, joyous and fulfilling album…
Review by Hyperbolium.com
Bob Gibson – Ski Songs (Elektra/Collectors’ Choice, 1959/2005) This 1959 album has the hallmarks of a cash-in: a famous folk singer, a comical cover, and a seemingly lightweight theme. And while the subjects may seem trivial in comparison to those of Gibson’s better-known originals, neither the songs nor performances were tossed off lightly. Signed to the roots powerhouse Elektra, Gibson was living in Aspen, and turned his love of skiing into an album of song. His banjo is backed by Russell Savkas’ acoustic bass, Joe Puma’s guitar (which offers a swinging solo on “Ski Patrol”), with Eric Weissberg filling out the arrangements on all three. The result is a surprisingly clever, joyous and fulfilling album, with Gibson telling the imagined conquests of insufferable ski braggarts, the gory demise of a hot dogger, the ennui brought by Spring and the rebirth furnished by Winter. He interweaves skiing lingo the way Brian Wilson and Roger Christian did with hot rod talk, offering up a wry introduction to winter sport with the talking blues “Talking Skier,” and showing affection for snow-covered landscapes in “In This White World.” Several of the tunes are familiar, as Gibson practices the folk tradition of repurposing melodies from well-known songs. “Super Skier” borrows from “The MTA Song” (which, itself was borrowed from “The Ship That Never Returned”) and “Super Skier’s Last Race” borrows from “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” While many of Gibson’s albums have were anthologized and reissued over the years, this one remained elusive until this welcome reissue. ©2011 hyperbolium dot com
There may be, somewhere on this improbable planet, sports enthusiasts who are more fanatical than skiers. But few addicts to other sporting vices are deliberately willing to risk life, limb, body and soul to satisfy their caprices. All for the thrill of barreling downhill at 70 miles an hour, balanced precariously on a pair of wooden slats fixed firmly (it is hoped) to the feet.
And so to YOU–intrepid, impetuous, damnfool skier– this album is dedicated….
There may be, somewhere on this improbable planet, sports enthusiasts who are more fanatical than skiers. Fishermen, croquet players and golfers have been known to develop some nasty, though clinically interesting, obsessions.
But few addicts to other sporting vices are deliberately willing to risk life, limb, body and soul to satisfy their caprices. The skier, however-unthinkingly, unabashedly, with head held high in traction-is. What’s more, he’s desperately eager to trek hundreds of miles to a favorite run, to suffer the agonies of frostbite while patiently awaiting the arrival of a recalcitrant ski tow and to spend his last sou on a piece of esoteric equipment. All for the thrill of barreling downhill at 70 miles an hour, balanced precariously on a pair of wooden slats fixed firmly (it is hoped) to the feet.
And so to YOU-intrepid, impetuous, damnfool skier-this album is dedicated.
The songs herein are certain to pluck the heartstrings of any true devotee. Many of them are akin to the stories oft told by hearthlight in the lodges from Squaw Valley to Aspen to Stowe. That is to say, they are outright and outrageous lies. Set to music.
For example, there’s the saga of Super Skier whose “Jumpin’ form was fine, till he ran into a pine, and two one-legged skiers left from there.” And a whopper about Super Skier’s Last Race, to the tune of Battle Hymn Of The Republic, yet. (“Gory, gory, what a helluva way to die.”) Another fellow, the Celebrated Skier, “could ski the Cliffs Of Dover with nary a bloody hitch, and haven’t I often proved it in the barroom.”
Not all of the SKI SONGS are in the prevaricative vein. In This White World is a beautiful lyrical and melodic paean to that special ecstasy that only a skier knows. (“For his skis are the things that give him his wings and make him an eagle on high.”) Even love finds its way here as a young man sings of My Highlands Lassie whom he met on the hill…on skis, of course…a switch that might even startle the solons of Tin Pan Alley.
All in all, this LP must delight any skier…beginner, intermediate, advanced or advanced-fireside-sitter. For enjoying it in utmost fidelity, we recommend a monaural sassaphras X2371-Y speaker in coordinate linkage with a bi-trennial mixless moraphan (model 17-B) and a hot buttered rum.
Bob Gibson, who pleads guilty to writing and recording all of the SKI SONGS, has been a favorite of folk music buffs since he began singing professionally in 1953. A winner on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, he became a frequent guest on Arthur Godfrey’s TV and radio shows. Bob has played numerous concerts throughout the country, including a solo appearance at Carnegie Hall where one major reviewer called him “a folk singer of rare charm and talent.” He has starred in such clubs as the Blue Angel and the Village Vanguard in New York, the Bull Pen in Miami Beach and the Gate of Horn in Chicago.
A couple of years ago, Bob journeyed to Aspen, Colorado, with the intention of working in one of the bistros there. It took two weeks before he found the time (i.e. nerve) to strap on a pair of skis. He hasn’t taken them off yet.