Rest in peace, Michael, Beloved Comrade

In Memoriam
Michael Peter Smith
Born September 7, 1941
Died August 3, 2020

Song Notes from Jamie O’Reilly
My blog will have this new feature: Song Notes, the stories and audio recordings of songs Michael wrote for me and/or performed with me.

“The dead sleep cold in Spain tonight
snow blows through the olive groves
snow drifts over the mounds with the small headboards
when there was time for headboards
the dead are part of the earth of Spain
and the earth of Spain can never die
each winter it will seem to die
and each spring it will come alive again”

(text by Ernest Hemingway)

Song Beloved Comrade


To you, beloved Comrade, we make this solemn vow
The fight will go on, The fight will still go on
Like you, beloved Comrade, we pledge our bodies now
The fight will go on, the fight will still go on
Rest here in the earth. Your work is done.
You’ll find new birth when we have won. When we have won.
Sleep well, beloved comrade, our work will just begin
The fight will go on until we win
Until we win

From Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil Wat
Performed live at WFMT studio
Jamie O’Reilly vocals
Michael Smith vocals, guitar, reading
Katrina O’Reilly, harmony vocals, piano, clarinet

Directed by Peter Glazer

Beloved Comrade is by Lewis Allan (lyrics) and Fred Katz (music)


12 Comments

  1. Dear Jamie — I am not on Facebook right now but heard about this from the music editor at the Reader today. I am so sad, but also so happy that Michael had a friend and comrade like you in his life. Sending much love and light.

  2. ‘ so sorry to hear of the passing of Michael Smith. Thank you for the care and friendship you provided him with.

  3. Jamie

    I am so sad to hear of Michael’s death yesterday. I met Michael and Barbara more than 40 years ago, while they were in the Baker Street Irregulars, and was awestruck with his guitar, songwriting , wit and ability to connect with his audience. He also was the most well-read, thoughtful person I knew. Over the years we had many dinners and visits to his house on Seminary street. The last time we communicated by email was after Barbara passed away and he didn’t mention that he was ill. I regret that we didn’t talk or see each other more, but will revel in knowing Michael and to enjoy his creative and touching inventions. He will be missed.

  4. Jamie – I’m just heartbroken. I was a big fan of Steve Goodman, and saw Steve perform many times. I knew that Michael wrote “The Dutchman”, and that they admired each other, and collaborated on songs. I saw Michael at many venues, including Friendship Junior High folk series, in the 80’s, where he performed with his late wife, Barbara. Saw him at the Old Town School on Lincoln, which may be my favorite memory. Saw the play he wrote about his sisters at the victory garden. It was a life well lived. So sad to hear. Jill

  5. Michael’s own words are so much more fitting than anything I can write here. For some screwy reason, I’d give anything to hear “No Name Atoll” right now. “It’s just a little dot on the map”. I don’t think he even recorded it.

    A hard day.

  6. Just now heard this sad news and feel compelled to share in the sadness of losing this amazing songsmith. We have enjoyed Michael’s songs and live performances for many years, and feel that he is part of our tribe. Our Kids grew up hearing his songs and have attended his concerts with us over the years. His wry delivery and humor as beloved as his beautiful and thoughtful song writing, both lyrics and guitar.
    His songs will accompany us into the future but it will be less somehow knowing he is no longer standing behind them.
    For those who knew and loved him, I am deeply sad for your huge loss.

  7. I just found out about Michael’s passing the hardest, most impersonal way—by checking his Wikipedia page to make sure I got all the information right when giving him due credit and pointing younger listeners in his direction.

    His music has meant a lot to me over the years, and he was, to my mind, the greatest living songwriter I knew of. He belongs on the same list as Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, the truly massive names—and while his own road may have been a quieter, humbler one, his voice spoke no less clearly to me, and has been every bit as much a guiding light in my life.

    Thank you for all you’ve done for Michael and for all of us. This is a hard day; sending my kindest thoughts and deepest condolences.

  8. Just now learned of Michael’s passing. I will always keep his work close to my heart. Been a fan for nearly 40 years. I asked you last year, Jamie- about Michael coming for a house concert in Boston…. Thank you.

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