He has the ear of a poet, a painter’s eye and the wit of a true common sense philosopher, so said Utah Phillips of Bob Bossin. He was a fixture on the Canadian folk music scene and the founder of Stringband, the quintessential truly Canadian band that sang their way across the country painting a portrait of her people and the places in-between.
Bossin is a man with a burning political fire, mix that with music and humour and you have songs which linger in the memory banks of those who listened to songs such as Dief Will Be the Chief Again, The Maple Leaf Dog, Ya Wanna Marry Me?. It might have been on CBC radio or at a folk festival, hall or coffee house.
Bossin has been working on the story of Davy the Punk for the past six years. Davy the Punk was his father and he was also a gambler, story teller, a booking agent and a real character.
“He was an interesting guy,” said Bossin. “Most people thought he was virtually mute, he didn’t speak much, he was very circumspect.” His big words of advice to Bossin were, “Bobby, what you don’t say can’t be held against you.”
Bossin has lot of things to say and has fashioned a one-man show telling his father’s story.
Research uncovered his father’s travails in court after Royal Commissions decided his father’s work, if stopped, could stop organized crime. They really went after him, said Bossin, who emphasized that his father was a dealer not a user and offered his particular service to bookies. Davy was a pivotal figure in Canada’s gambling business of the 1930s and 40s and his battle with the law created precedents that affect us to this day.
In his later year Davy the Punk turned his talents to booking talent at nightclubs around Toronto.
Davy the Punk died when Bossin was 17, now in his 60s Bossin is following his father’s trail, unearthing musty old images and stories from newspaper morgues and archives.
“In the course of following Davy’s trail, I discovered the dark side of Toronto the Good and a missing chapter in Canadian Jewish history. And all along the way I uncovered outrageous scams and schemes perpetrated by characters straight out of Damon Runyon or The Threepenny Opera,” said Bossin in promo material.
Bossin has lived on Gabriola Island for the past 24 years.
The book is out and the one-man musical is beginning its run.
Songs and Stories of Davy the Punk will be performed at the Shirley Community Hall on Saturday, May 10. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 7:30.
Tickets are limited and are available at Shirley Delicious, The Stick and Shoppers in Sooke.
People can checkout the trailer and the reviews on the website www.davythepunk.com