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Old 07-10-2008, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default Article by Red Shea's daughter

Here’s a nice article in today’s Globe & Mail by Red Shea’s daughter:


new link added-August 29,2019. Char
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:25 PM   #2
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Very nice article indeed thanks for posting this buzzard.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:33 PM   #3
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The tidbit about Shea being the inspiration for "Minstrel of the Dawn" was a new one for me.

Thanks for the heads-up.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:41 PM   #4
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Very nice. Not surprised Red was the inspiration for "Minstrel".
"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:50 PM   #5
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What a sweet article.
I always find it nice to read or hear a relative of a performer recalling their lives with them. I just enjoy seeing that glimpse of the real person behind the artist.
Being raised by a single father myself, I always find the stories of a daughter fondly remembering her dad, famous or not, the most enchanting of all.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:07 PM   #6
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Nice memories..
the Globe has that feature and it is always very touching to read these sorts of thoughts about people..people who aren't famous and who I've never met .. it's nice..
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:44 PM   #7
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This really is the big highlight of my day. It's sort of the very first "up" arising from the "down" since Red's passing.
I never would think though of associating "Minstrel of the Dawn" with a non singing person. From what I understood minstrels usually would be singers or poets, but musicians also were included in that category as well from what I've since discovered. But yes the lyrics of that beautiful song fit well for a guy like Red. It pins him down there pretty good.
I never really had the opportunity, or maybe it passed me by, to officially meet Red Shea, but one thing for sure is he knew how to jangle and dangle those guitar strings like nobody else could. From the conversations I had with those who knew Red and had taken lessons from him it didn't take much for me to determine that this man seemed to hold a promise in his hand.
The minstrel of the dawn is gone but as our "Mandoann" signs off with on her posts here, I am, and have been since I first tried to follow (without a hint success) the fingers where they they go: "A victim of his Minstrelsy." Ron J.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:51 PM   #8
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Thanks Brian for sharing with the rest of us - great find!
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:31 AM   #9
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That was really nice to read.
Thanks for posting it for us, Brian.

I listen to the United Artist cd's's kind of hard to hear Red playing away on those songs now that he is gone.
He really sounds like a wonderful man and a great father.

Minstrel of the Dawn? Yes, I can see that very easily.
"Tiime has been wastin' away...You know time doesn't wait for nobody to find what they're after
It just keeps on rolling down the deep canyons
And through the green meadows
into the broad ocean..."

G. Lightfoot "Tattoo"
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:11 AM   #10
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Thanks Brian !

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Old 07-11-2008, 07:26 PM   #11
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Thanks for the post, sometimes we think of the artist's life as being special and hectic. When it comes down to it, many of them are just like us love and miss their families, and take joy in the simple things. As Red did.

I wish you good spaces....
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:43 AM   #12
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Red died 5 years ago today. The link in the first post doesn't work but this is a nice read:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

'Red' Shea, 70: Influential folk guitarist

A recent Toronto Star had an obituary for Red Shea.
Those amazing early Lighfoot recordings featured Red Shea and John

"Shea is universally credited with having been Lightfoot's most
distinctive and original supporting player, adding his lucid filigree
lead runs seamlessly into the famed singer's trademark finger-picking
patterns to produce fluid, layered textures and crystal overtones that
enhanced Lightfoot's recordings from 1966 through 1975. "

Red had an impact on a lot of today's performers. I have included a few
remberances that have been posted on Maplepost.

Hello to all Canadian folk musicians on Maplepost.

As a student and fan of (in my opinion) the best years of the Lightfoot
sound and recordings, it is with great regret, and personal sense of
immense loss, that I have to announce that Red Shea died this morning. I
wish I could add more at this time, but I am overcome by the loss of a
wonderful musician, teacher and humble, loving man who is, to me, the
essential quality of what makes Canadians wonderful.

Red and I last spoke a couple of weeks ago, and I thought there might be
time to do a benefit concert to celebrate his amazing contribution to
Canadian music, recording and broadcasting. Sadly, this was not be.

Here is the letter I sent to him on May 10, 2008, to which he replied:

Dear Mr. Shea,

I bumped into an extremely lovely young lady at Massey Hall last night.
She was standing beside Gord Lightfoot at the after-concert party with a
copy of one of his CD compilations in her hand. I didn't know the album
and asked her about it. As we chatted, I said to her that my hero in
Gord's band had always been Red Shea, the guitarist whose playing taught
me that there were chords above the third fret, and that known shapes in
new positions up there could be used to create solos and harmony passages.
"I learned Red's licks nearly note for note when I was in high school,"
I said.
"That's my dad," she replied.
I was thrilled. I told her about the Saturday afternoon back in 1968
when my friend Tom and I drove all the way up to Aurora from Toronto to
timidly knock on the door of our inspiration and guitar hero, Red Shea.
"We dropped in out of nowhere," I said, "and you father was very
gracious and kind to us."
I don't remember what you said to us, and it wouldn't have made any
difference in our state of delirium. We had met the man and he had
shaken our hands. That was as good as it could get.
Earlier in that same year, I had finally put together enough paper route
money to put a deposit on Martin D-18 at Long and McQuade's. Bob Abbott
took my Echo Ranger 12 and a Shure 664 in partial trade and I arranged
to pay the balance on time.
I worked lots of Gord's tunes out on that guitar, as well as many of
your licks. I took it to Trent University where my sister's friend of
the time, Stan Rogers, allowed me to sit in and play with him and Nigel
Russell. Stan turned to me (doesn't everyone have a Stan story?), eyed
up my new aquisition and asked if he could borrow the guitar and
Not yet knowing Stan's so-called sense of humour, I handed my instrument
and picks over. He played it for a while, then, satisfied, seemingly, he
returned the guitar to me. But not before taking off my fingerpicks and
dropping them, one by one, into the D-18.
That Martin is still with me after 40 years of playing. Under lifetime
warranty, it had a neck reset about 9 years ago. Time wore on and soon
the bridge plate began to bust out of the top. The action just kept
rising, and old Alice was better for slide work than finger style. Or
maybe for cutting cheese...
After some deliberation I decided to get Alice spruced up, so to speak,
and on my way down to Guitar Week at Swanannoa Gathering last summer, I
dropped her in at the factory in Nazareth. They agreed to put a new top
on her under warranty.
Alice wintered in Nazareth and the wizards in the restoration department
put on a new sitka top and installed some forward shifted, vintage
styled scalloped bracing I requested. Martin refused to ship during the
winter weather and when I got confirmation three weeks ago that she was
soon to be heading home, I dug out some of the old books of tunes I used
to play on her.
Among the books, I found a worn, coverless copy of the sheet music for
"The Way I Feel" album, and there, on the front page, were the famous
crossed legs of Gord's ever-dapper lead guitar player, Red Shea, showing
chord shapes in black and white on a D-35. I thought about you in that
moment three weeks ago, and was quietly reflective and thankful for the
many gifts your playing gave me and how your playing has informed my own
style. Thank you, sir, from the bottom of my heart.
After you left Gord's band, his music lost its lustre for me and his
direction wasn't one that carried me along with it. Pages fell from the
calendar on the wall like leaves in fall. Then, two nights ago I got a
call. My good friend David's father, Dr. Bill Goodman, is in hospital
with renal failure and would I like two of the comps that Bernie and
Gord had given to the family for Friday's show? Of course.
So there I was last night, listening to Gord, remembering parties at the
Goodman household after the Mariposa Festival and praying for Bill's
health to return as Gord's had. Then I learned from Colleen that you are
having a rough patch and have been hospitalized too. Somehow, I have
this idea in my mind and hope in my heart that like old Alice and Gord,
you and Dr. Bill will both weather this patch and like them, get back to
making the world a happier and more musical place.
Good health and good wishes, my prayers are with you,

Ian Gray

I have been informed by the family that there will be a visitation at
the Thompson Funeral Home in Aurora on Thursday, June 12 at 7 until 9
p.m., and a service at the Kingdom Hall on Bloomington Rd. Aurora on
Friday morning at 10 a.m.

Please check my accuracy, as I may have misheard or misunderstood. I
spoke with the family this evening, learned of the news, and I may have
not got the information right.

Red was a hero and musical friend to me, as well as a guiding light to
me and many of my musical friends. He was patient and welcoming, gentle,
energetic, grounded, spiritual, skilled and creative. All the thing one
could hope for in a teacher and musician. His contribution to Canadian
music was huge, unique, Canadian, inspirational and to be missed. There
is bound to be a prairie wind that will moan in a particular, sad manner
this summer......

RIP Red.

With respect, reverence, fondness and thanks,

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Old 11-02-2013, 12:02 PM   #13
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Hello Posters,

I think about the passing of Red Shea, and am reflecting a great deal on
how he was a seminal influence on me, and my becoming a
songwriter...this story needs a slight pre-amble so please bear with me.

I was producing a folk concert series at the Hotel Isabella called
"Acoustic Espionage" in '82 and '83, back in the days when publicists
here in Toronto were crapping on folk music daily it seemed, and to be
part of what was left of the folk scene was about the uncoolest thing a
body could be. One of my guest artists in the series was Ramblin' Jack
Elliot, who called me and requested that I get in touch with Gordon
Lightfoot's sister and convince her that Mr. Lightfoot should come to
his show that night. It turns out Mr. Lightfoot showed up, and, as I
always did the opening set, he stopped me on the stairs (the shows were
in the basement, not in the Cameo Lounge) before Jack went on, and said
how much he enjoyed my music. It was my first encounter with him, and I
managed to place my foot squarely in my mouth as I said "I have enjoyed
your music for years, and especially when you were playing with Red Shea
and John Stockfish." He turned and muttered, "Yeah, well everybody moves

Years later I was playing one of the Lightfoot tributes at Hugh's Room,
and Mr. Lightfoot was in the audience. I finally had the opportunity to
make things right after all the years, because what I had wanted to say
at the Isabella was that I enjoyed that era of his music because I had
had the opportunity to see him at the Riverboat with Red Shea and John
Stockfish when I was fifteen. It was the moment when I first knew for
sure I would be following a musical path for the rest of my life. My
vision of that night in the Riverboat, in reality a dark and narrow
space, was that it seemed to sparkle like a diamond with reflections
from the finish of guitars in the spotlights bouncing off the
walls...and the music was heaven-sent...the shimmer of the 12 string
supported on the bottom end with patterns never heard before on a bass,
and the honeyed stream of riffs from Red Shea's guitar.

Now, back to the point, which was that I had a couple of guitar-playing
buddies in my hometown of Owen Sound, and whenever we got together, the
talk was of the beauty of the sound of Mr. Lightfoot's trio. As we were
all guitar players, we worshipped the work of Red Shea, and talked
incessantly about his licks and how they fit the lyrics and tried to
emulate him as we struggled to learn our instruments.

Someone said earlier that Red Shea did not have "fame"....but I tell you
he was famous in the hearts of those three young guitar players in Owen
Sound, and I know in the hearts of guitar players all across this country.

God bless Red Shea,

Tim Harrison

Thanks, Tim. Your reflections on Mr. Shea are similar to mine and, I dare
say, just about any acoustic finger-picker of my generation. I was just
starting university when I began hearing the magical sounds produced by
Lightfoot, Stockfish and Shea. I had been working on my finger-picking style
and starting to play a lot with other guitarists and singers. What Red was
doing was like a magic bullet for me; the answer! Capo up, keep it simple,
stay out of the way of the song, sparkle! No other player was a stronger
influence on the way I play and, in particular, the way I accompany singers.

Thank you, Red Shea, for your gift to the music of this country.

Paul Mills

Posted by Eric Lilius at 8:15 AM

1 comment:

Stan said...
After reading the prior comments re: Red Shea, it brought be back to a concert at Town Hall in NYC in the Spring of '68. I managed to get 10th row seats front and center to see Gordon Lightfoot for the first time. The Lightfoot Trio, with Red & John Stockfish, were a beautiful thing to behold. Red's effortless filigree fills & runs complented the songs perfectly along with John's totally original bass lines. Even after all these years, it remains to this day one of my most cherished memories. I recently fulfilled a lifelong dream and realeased my own CD, "Eclectic Selections, an all instrumental work, and the first cut, "Linda's Song", owes its two figured guitar parts to Red's sweet influences.
I wish I could have met him as the previous gentlemen on this site were able to. He was my first real guitar hero.
Thanks so much for sharing your memories.

Best wishes,

Stan Wollmers
March 9, 2009 at 6:25 AM
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Old 11-02-2013, 12:14 PM   #14
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I am trying to find the text for the first link in this thread...I have the hard copy of the paper so will have to scan...Note to folks-please post link AND copy and paste text into your post so we don't lose the stories..
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by charlene View Post
I am trying to find the text for the first link in this thread...I have the hard copy of the paper so will have to scan...Note to folks-please post link AND copy and paste text into your post so we don't lose the stories..
Here is the other main "Red Shea" thread. (the relevant link to the Globe and Mail article is no longer functional nor was that page archived by the awesome Wayback Machine. Char did you ever find the copy of that article? if you do simply scan it then upload the scanned image it to the text will very quickly like magic be pretty accurately recognized thereby saving precious time copy typing
I meant no one no harm

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Old 06-11-2018, 05:54 PM   #16
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OK I found it I searched for "Shea minstrel" on the Globe and Mail website and up popped just one result it was enough
and as recommended by the Moderator person I hve extracted the full text and as it is in easily copyable form on the web pagehere is the text for posterity
Colleen Elltoft writes about her father, Red Shea, whose obituary appeared June 12.
As a young girl, I often remember picking my dad up from Terminal 1 at Toronto's airport. He had such a hectic touring schedule, he would always take my
brothers and I on "dates." My fondest "date" memories were having picnics together, hanging out by the local pond learning to skip stones and, of course, the time he took me to the 54th floor of the TD tower to drink a Shirley Temple while he enjoyed "something on the rocks." We would talk about anything that interested me, for it was my day. There wasn't one thing I couldn't discuss with him, even girl problems that other daughters would not dare discuss with their fathers.
As the years passed, my father became ill, only to nurse himself back to be a stronger, healthier, happier person. Red was fiercely independent, having left home in Prince Albert, Sask., with his older brother, Les, to start the Red and Les Trio. My father was never one for structured lifestyle; the entertainment business suited him. He also was not one to do things by half measures. I am told that he would lock himself up in a room for hours on end to play his guitar. His talent was not overlooked and eventually he played with Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon wrote a song Minstrel of the Dawn that was inspired by Red. I believe it captured the playful life that my father possessed. He loved telling jokes and had a new one every day, many questionable, but worth the wait for a good one. In his obituary in The Globe, a photo of Les was confused with that of Red. It would have been his last laugh, for sure.
Our life changed in 1985 when he was struck by a truck while out jogging. He fought back valiantly and it took him two years to overcome his injuries, but he was not the same as before. He managed to return to his position as band leader and "jokester" on the Tommy Hunter Show and to teach others what he loved - the guitar.
Dad continued to teach up until April, but was feeling very tired. He suffered from sharp pains and began to lose weight. We were fearful of the worst and, after more tests, a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was delivered. Red fought hard and with all he had left, believing until his last days that he would join the 10 per cent who survive.
I meant no one no harm

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(where Sir does not signify that I am a fully benighted Knight just a Bt which signifies a humble Baronet)

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Old 06-13-2018, 05:26 PM   #17
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Reading the above, I was moved to dig out IYCRMM CD and play "Saturday Clothes" Red's playing that track is something special to me.
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