When I was a sophomore in college, we would frequently gather in someone’s room to listen to a new album. I was a folk music groupie so there was a lot of Joan Baez, Woody Gutherie, Judy Collins, Peter Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan, and The Kingston Trio being played.
One night, though, someone played Glenn Yarbrough singing “The Honey Wind Blows” and I was hooked. I’ve always loved the sound of beautiful whistling and this haunting song connected to something within me and never let go. I became an avid Glenn Yarbrough fan and got to see him in concert many years later.
I’ve just learned two things about him. He lived San Luis Soyatlán, here on the south side of Lake Chapala, where he did much to help the community. Writer Evelyn writes about a day trip around Lake Chapala and includes this bit of information:
Our guide told us that Glenn Yarbrough raised money for the library. After it was finished he contacted his friend Bill Gates and asked if he would donate some computers. Bill Gates sent down the computers and there is a sign over them in huge letters saying they were donated by Glenn Yarbrough. In small letters below that it says, also donated by Bill Gates. I guess Glenn Yarbrough is more popular there than Bill Gates. Maybe that is because Glenn is a local. He lived there and owned a home for a long time. Recently he sold his home. I didn’t see it because it wasn’t near where we were site seeing.
The second thing I learned is that Glenn died in 2016 at age 86. Reading his obituary in the New York Times, it seems he had a rocky relationship with fame and fortune. Well-known for his work with The Limeliters, he left in 1963 to go live on a boat but was convinced to continue making solo albums and made a collaborative album with Rod McKuen, who was probably the most popular poet of those years.
It took more years, but he finally sold his cars and homes and took to the sea. Some of his dry land living was in a small village on the largest lake in Mexico. I am going to make a pilgrimage to his Mexico home in a couple of weeks and will write more then.
In the meantime, here are videos of three of my favorites of his songs … click the link by the photo.
Rest in Peace, Glenn. You brought beauty to so many of us.