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Apr 23, 2021 - 7:00:38 AM
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4602 posts since 3/6/2006

I'm saddened to report the passing of a Maine folk legend; author, maritime folk singer, humorist, and story teller. He wasn't well known outside of his native Maine, but his wry humor befit the "Cap'n Kendall" role he assumed who grew up downeast in the small, seafarin' town of Machias, Maine. I met him five years ago (he was living a stone's throw from me) when he was advertising the banjo (pictured on the book cover) for sale on Craig's list. By then he was a throat cancer survivor, and had a very difficult time speaking, which even at 82, had obviously affected his livelihood. The banjo, a 1927 #3 Vega TubaPhone with the original neck, was in sad shape, as it had been butchered badly over the years. Although I didn't need another banjo, I felt a responsibility to buy it and have it restored. We settled on a price, and I then sent it to Smakula Stringed Instruments in WV, where Andy's restoration exceeded my expectations. From time to time, I would drop by his house and we would do some pickin' and singing, even though doing so was a struggle for him, and his frustration was sadly apparent. He was a regional treasure and he will be missed. He would have been 87 next month.


 

Edited by - mainejohn on 04/23/2021 07:01:44

Apr 23, 2021 - 7:26:13 AM
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R Buck

USA

2911 posts since 9/5/2006

Thanks, his name brings back memories. I think he did some recordings for Folk Legacy way back some fifty plus years ago and was mentioned enough in the folk music periodicals of that time for me to remember him . I got to play J E Mainer's banjo after a recording session one night 25 years ago. It was an honor to hold that old tubaphone but it too had seen better days. Years of touring and gigs are not just hard on the individual. May he rest in peace.

Edited by - R Buck on 04/23/2021 07:28:14

Apr 23, 2021 - 7:40:25 AM

4602 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by R Buck

Thanks, his name brings back memories. I think he did some recordings for Folk Legacy way back some fifty plus years ago and was mentioned enough in the folk music periodicals of that time for me to remember him . I got to play J E Mainer's banjo after a recording session one night 25 years ago. It was an honor to hold that old tubaphone but it too had seen better days. Years of touring and gigs are not just hard on the individual. May he rest in peace.


You are correct. He did some recordings on Folk Legacy many years ago. He also has some music on YouTube. "Ashes on the Sea" is one of his best, and the folk group I'm in here in Maine has it as part of our repertoire.

Apr 23, 2021 - 7:46:54 AM
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4602 posts since 3/6/2006

Apr 23, 2021 - 8:04:05 AM
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13897 posts since 10/30/2008

My mom and dad were close friends of Kendall and they all 3 delighted in swapping stories -- the bigger the lies, the better.

I just read Kendall's obit on line. It tells about him being born in a little town way Downeast in Maine - Machias - one of 9 children, and he wanted the world to know he never slept alone til he got married. That was Kendall's everyday way of talking and just "being" funny.

He and his wife produced a music CD in honor of his friend Bruce "Utah" Phillips featuring a lot of BIG folk singer names. It was nominated for a Grammy.

He was elected to the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame and in his acceptance he said "I don't know why they're putting a folk singer in the country music hall of fame, but they must know what they're doing..." He also said "I knew if I lived long enough, something like this would happen..."

He did a short tv series of Maine tall tales and short stories with guest humorists for Maine PBS. It was picked up and syndicated all around the country.

Kendall was a guitar man when I first met him. He decided to pursue clawhammer banjo. I'm proud to say that he insisted I help him learn the clawhammer lick. Like many people, it was difficult for him and took him a long time, but I think I helped him "break through the wall" at a Thomas Point Beach bluegrass festival one year. He was persistent!

I always wished that Kendall would take over the evening new on local tv. He would have been funnier than Charlie Farquarson on Hee Haw's KORN tv news.

RIP Kendall.

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