Little is known of Johan Döhl as he was when he showed up in North Powder.
They claimed he came down off the Wallowas during a blizzard with a
Nez Perce and a Brown Bear. Some said he was Swedish.
The spoken 'Döhl’ became ‘Daw’ and Johan turned into Jack. If he’s
remembered at all, it’s as Jack Daw. Some say he was seen hazing at the
Pendelton Rodeo, others swore they heard him in The Dalles singing with Woody Guthrie in 41, but the lasting imprint was made when he came down over the Cascades through the McKenzie Pass into the Willamette Valley pulling a donkey loaded with banjos and ten kilos of Adobe Parsley root. Had a girl with him. A carbon ring recording of Daw playing for his supper at Belknap Hot Springs at that time is held in a private collection.
Records show Jack went on to Eugene alone, but his story from that point is muted by rumours, hearsay and local legend. Old timers testify to a huge catalog of songs and spontaneous musical gatherings. One story has him working with Derroll Adams on the melody for ‘Oregon’. There's no evidence for any of this and little verifiable detail on Jack Daw’s continued life.
UPDATE JANUARY 2020... Information has surfaced
shedding at least some faint light on Jack Daw's cloudy activity
during this period... brewing apparently played a part.
Above is a segment of Pie Plate Pete's
'Hand Me Down My Walking Cane' with rumoured help from Jack Daw.
UPDATE JUNE 2020... Additional material adds another chapter to Jack Daw's Oregon story, with a sideways glance at Hopalong Cassidy!
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
In 1968 another stranger arrived in Eugene, with a few songs in his pocket and no particular plan. Wayne Drury knew nothing of Jack Daw, but local lore contrives to infect Drury with his spirit, resulting in a prolific decade of songwriting. When Drury concocted the trio ‘Jackdaw’ in 1972, it’s said the original Johan Döhl inspired him.
Drury spent his early years in White Plains, New York. Once in Oregon he became an active participant in the local music scene with Jackdaw. Core members were Drury and Rob Anderson on guitar and vocals and Randall Crawford on electric bass, banjo, and vocals. Memorable shows followed at the Odyssey Coffee House, The WOW Hall and numerous local venues of the day.
In London, 35 years later, Anderson woke abruptly from dreaming of a weathered and grizzled old cowboy digging through his saddlebag, desperately looking for the evidence of his lost life. After the second cup of coffee, Anderson climbed the ladder to the attic to find buried at the bottom of a box of crumpled news clippings, faded photographs and memorabilia, a seven inch reel of recording tape. He knew what it was, but couldn't remember if it was worth saving. Sensing the character from the dream standing behind him, he took the tape downstairs and sent it off to be converted and burned to CD. He's now convinced it was Johan himself who provoked the creation of The Wayne Drury Project in 2011.