I Come For To Sing


Bob Gibson’s biography was co-written by Carol Bender. The first edition was published by Kingston Korner in 1999 and the second edition was published by Pelican in 2002.

The book is now out-of-print. A Kickstarter campaign to update the book and make it available both as an eBook and on-demand is being considered.

Please join our mailing list for more information on this project!

Carole Bender, Co-Author & Instigator

Carole and Jack Bender produce Alley Oop

Bob Gibson Songbook

The Bob Gibson Songbook

Published in 1964 in conjunction with the release of Where I’m Bound, the songs included in the songbook are listed below and linked to their respective Song page.

Lead sheets and tablature for ALL of Bob Gibson’s songs can be found on the SONGS page.


Songwriting Manual

Songwriting Manual

In 1978, Bob started going down to Kerrville, Texas to take part in Rod Kennedy’s Kerrville Folk Festival, which now has become the longest running folk festival in existence. Not only did Bob love to play there, but it was at Kerrville that he began teaching at the Kerrville Songwriting School.

Rod Kennedy, Kerrville Folk Festival said, “Bob had been one of my heroes forever. I asked him to come and play, and he talked to me about starting a songwriting school. He started the school in 1979 and he ran it until 1991.”

The Songwriting Manual Bob developed for the songwriter program at Kerrville and other workshops he conducted around the country is still a useful resource for songwriters today.

Click Here – Download Bob Gibson’s Songwriting Manual

Songwriting Manual by Bob Gibson



The ‘hootenanny’ Bob founded at The Bitter End was the genesis of the television variety show that aired in ABC from April 1963 to September 1964. Fred Weintraub’s Bitter End was a coffee shop having poetry readings and bongo drum players when Bob said, “Hey, let’s put some folk music in here.”
Fred got the guys from Ashley Famous Artists, an agency producing television, to come down and Bob put together a one-hour hootenanny for them. They saw it and said, “This would be a great television show. We’ll do it with a live audience, just this way.” The program debuted in April, 1963 with Bob Gibson, Bonnie Dobson, Bud & Travis and The Limeliters.

Although the show was a hit for it’s first season, Bob soon parted ways with the producers over their lack of respect for the tradition and artists. Before long, the producers alienated the folk artist community by blacklisting Pete Seeger and The Weavers.

According to Wikipedia, “The network erased its videotapes of the show many years ago, but kinescopes of several Hootenanny segments survive and were used to compile the Best of Hootenanny DVD set from Shout! Factory.” The footage of Bob Gibson was included the Best of Hootenanny DVD set.

Rambin' Concert

Bob Gibson In Concert

This 60 minute video was recorded in 1980. It features many of Bob’s most requested songs including The Living Legend, Play Us Some of the Old Songs, Abilene, Yes, Mr Rogers and Cindy Dreams of California.

Produced by Ohio Telecommunications Center
Directed by Keith Newman

Released by Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop


YouTube Link

Flying Whales & Peacock Tales

Uncle Bob’s Place

Bob performed as  Uncle Bob at Holstein’s in Chicago for several weeks. These shows were an opportunity to hone his skills with this much younger audience. He taped the audience from every side to see what they were reacting to. It developed into “Uncle Bob’s Place” when OshKosh B’Gosh offered to sponsor shows in malls across the coutry the country.

Bob said, “Kids (three to nine years old) have the same concerns that you and I have got. They have the same emotions. They just have a limited vocabulary, and a limited life experience. Their first priority is, “Are we having any fun?” It’s real simple! But they also are wide open to being stimulated, or educated, if you will. So fun with a message was what Uncle Bob’s place was all about.”

Flying Whales & Peacock’s Tales

The Emmy nominated television series, Flying Whales & Peacock’s Tales grew out of the Uncle Bob’s Place shows. In 1989, the program ran on WMAQ, the NBC affiliate in Chicago. The shows feature Bob with a group of five kids in the studio, singing songs together draw pictures and talking about kid-friendly topics.

The engaging repertoire of children’s songs that Bob created for theses shows, Uncle Bob’s Place and Flying Whales & Peacock’s Tails are fortunately preserved in these videos.


The Courtship of Carl Sandburg

The Courtship of Carl Sandburg – A Play with Music in Two Acts

A Musical Play by Bob Gibson

While courting Lilian Steichen, the young and effervescent Carl Sandburg, hobo, salesman, lecturer, and Socialist organizer emerges as a writer. The play draws on Sandburg’s letters, poetry, children’s books and American Songbag and includes original music by folk legend Bob Gibson.

Description : Musical Play
Drama: 75 minutes

Time period – 1908 to 1920

Place: Mid-America and certain far reaches of Carl Sandburg’s mind

Set: Desk with lamp, telephone, scrapbook backdrop with sepia photos, newspaper clippings, early adverts, posters, etc.

Period costume

1 m (Sandburg)
2 choristers 1m/1f

Target Audience : Appropriate for all ages
PERFORMANCE GROUP : College Theatre, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre

A Chicago production of the play was recorded in 1984 by WFMT and is available at CD Baby. It can also listened to here on the Courtship of Carl Sandburg Album page.

Carl Sandburg
Poet of the Prairie

(January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967)

Before he became a famous poet, Lincoln biographer, prolific American writer, and song collector, and won three Pulitzer Prizes, Carl Sandburg wooed Lilian Steichen. They married in 1908 and raised three daughters. President Lyndon B. Johnson once observed, “Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.”

Sandburg’s 1927 anthology, the American Songbag, enjoyed enormous popularity, going through many editions; and Sandburg himself was perhaps the first American urban folk singer, accompanying himself on solo guitar at lectures and poetry recitals, and in recordings, long before the first or the second folk revival movements (of the 1940s and 1960s, respectively).

Read more in Wikipedia


“What Courtship does very well is convey the sense of expansive, fantastical enthusiasm the young Sandburg fairly glowed with. The way the energy tugged against, but never pulled loose from Sandburg’s intelligent, unaffected Midwestern skepticism created a classic American voice.” Vera Chatz, Chicago Sun-Times

“Carl Sandburg once defined poetry as the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits, and so is this charming program of music and monologue… The homespun and the lyrical get along comfortably in this portrait of the multi-faceted American writer by Bob Gibson.” James E. Harvey, Flint Journal

“Here is a play that is simply witty, gentle and endearing. The courtship of the play is not merely that of Sandburg and Lilian Steichen whom he eventually married, but also the courtship of a young man and the world around him. At one time or another, Sandburg was a dishwasher, brick maker, stereopticon salesman, hobo, soldier, journalist, and lecturer as well as poet. In his first published work, Reckless Ecstasy, Sandburg wrote, “I glory in this world of men and women, torn with troubles and lost in sorrow, yet living on to love and laugh and play through it all.” In The Courtship of Carl Sandburg, both the audience and actors are loving and laughing and playing through it all.” Bill Dalton

“Courtship is never going to be a complex work of theater but it has heart to burn. It’s the simple but mysterious alchemy of sentiment, music, and story that adds up to much more than the sum of its small parts.”
Richard Christianson, Chicago Tribune