Late last week, an email arrived from Quinn:
?I am wondering if you have any info on a man named Jerry ‘Ish’ Penfound. He is my grandfather. He was a session musician in Toronto and Ontario throughout the 60’s-80’s. He is best known for being a member of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks. He continued with them until they became the Levon Helm Sextet and then left the band (no pun intended) causing the name to change.
“I have heard many stories from my family over the years about him without too much info to back it up. I know he had a strong relationship with the Long family of Long & McQuade. There have been a few stories written of him, (the most notable being gambling away the band’s money in Levon’s book This Wheel’s on Fire) yet not much seems to be available. Much of what I know is heard very much through the grapevine from family or the few chance meetings that have happened with people who knew him (mostly at various L&M’s).
Unfortunately, he passed away due to cancer before my time and I have been fascinated with this family figure and have tried to learn as much as I can. Over the years I have reached out to Robbie Robertson and been ignored each time. Garth had agreed to meet me some years back but his wife Maud had canceled the event. With my grandmother’s health declining and her memory fading with her age I am hoping to find out what I can before the proverbial clock strikes midnight.
“I’ve heard he played on the rooftop of the Elmocombo with a young Stevie Ray Vaughn. That he toured playing horns with The Rolling Stones. I’ve only ever been able to dig up two recordings of him playing; one for Ronnie Hawkins and the other for Howlin’ Wolf.
“In the end if you know of him, or know anyone who would any info at all would be much appreciated.”
Challenge accepted. Can anyone help out Quinn and his grandmother?
UPDATE: Dan and Loril write: “Regarding Jerry Penfound, although I don’t have firsthand information on him, I met a guy through the musician’s association, in Brantford, Ontario, named Glen Silverthorn, who was Rick Danko’s drummer before Rick went off with The Hawks. That could be an avenue to pursue.”
UPDATE: People continue to come to Quinn’s rescue. Dave of The Dave Murphy Ban has provided some important contact information, including Rick Danko’s brother. I’ve forwarded that information to Quinn.
There’s also information to be gleaned from Ronnie Hawkins’s official discography.