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Bobby's Books

The Neo-Victorian Residence & Art Collection of Billi and Bobby Gosh

In 1971 my wife Billi and I decided to buy a vacation house in Vermont. We were renting an apartment on the twenty-first floor of a building on the East side of Manhattan. We looked at thirty properties all over the state and bought a three-year-old 24x40 ranch house. It was situated on the top of a mountain at 1750 feet with a spectacular seventy-five mile view. We knew we could make the house into whatever we wanted, but could not ever find a more beautiful location.

We both loved Victorian houses and decor. I began going to auctions and buying Victorian salvage. In 1973 we added a mudroom to the house and a two-car garage. In 1975 we decided

to leave New York City and moved permanently to Vermont. In 1978 we built our first major addition, which included a main entrance, master bedroom, guest bedroom, entrance hall, library and three-car garage on a lower level. In 1983 we built a 22x30 foot kitchen with an 18 foot high ceiling. In 1986 I converted the three-car garage into a state-of-the-art recording studio.

The library has 40 feet of carved oak shelves from an 1875 Victorian drug store in Schenectady, New York. The Victorian casings came from the 1848 railroad depot in Randolph,Vermont, along with oak, tiger maple and birds eye maple casings, which were newly milled at the turn of the century and stored, but never used, in the attic of the owner of a Randolph building supply company. The Victorian pocket doors came out of a Randolph mansion, which was being renovated into a home for elderly people. The 1850 eleven-foot high stained glass window came from a church.

The master bathroom contains a 1919 marble barber front. The kitchen has a 1910 tin ceiling with 1929 Art Deco hanging light shades.

Many of these authentic Victorian features could have ended up in the dump. I was lucky to round them up and give them a new life. Over 50 years of building and collecting, we ended up with a Neo-Victorian home.

In 1973 I wrote a song for Billi and one of the lines was "I found a little piece of land, where I'm makin' my stand, up North where I'll never let you down".

I think I accomplished that.

— Bobby Gosh


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Seven Days: "In a New Book, Billi and Bobby Gosh Showcase Their Neo-Victorian Home in Brookfield"

Visitors often tell Billi and Bobby Gosh that their Brookfield home is more like a museum. Among the exhibit-worthy items in the house are an original lithograph by renowned Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, an authentic Tiffany lamp and a collection of rare books — including one with a letter insert signed by Napoleon Bonaparte. Billi is a Democratic political activist and consultant. Bobby is a performing musician and composer who's written hit songs for the likes of Paul Anka, Diahann Carroll and Dr. Hook. In 1971, the couple bought the Brookfield property with a vision: to transform the existing 964-square-foot ranch house into the Victorian manor of their dreams.

Confessions of A Marijuana Eater

Songwriter Bobby Gosh's memoir Confessions of a Marijuana Eater is part biography, popular music history, personal philosophy, and of course, public acknowledgement of his career-spanning use of marijuana/cannabis. By 1952, when Gosh started touring, using marijuana was not something one publicized. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics called it the "devil weed and intended to round up musicians who played "bad" music - jazz - on marijuana charges; the exploitative film "Reefer Madness" was on the circuit through the 1940s and '50s, and cannabis use was criminalized and mandatory minimum sentences established. Needless to say, Bobby Gosh's concern about "coming out" as a marijuana user was well justified. It is only now in his 2016 memoir Confessions of a Marijuana Eater: A Songwriter's Memoir that Gosh makes public his life story, successful musical career, and advocacy for cannabis policy reform.


Kirkus Review: "An often wild and always engaging autobiography."
Confessions of A Marijuana Eater Book Cover

The author was born in 1936 in Pennsylvania and began piano lessons when he was 6 years old. At the age of 18, he had his first experience of truly getting high from smoking marijuana, which he says helped him to perform music that seemed to possess an “otherworldly character.” Out of these early experiences sprang the twin themes of Gosh’s life and of this memoir: a devotion to the salutary benefits of marijuana use—he later started ingesting it via homemade baked goods instead of smoking it—and the enthusiastic pursuit of musical creativity. These ultimately dovetailed for the author, as he says that the use of marijuana fuels his artistic imagination and offers him an atheistic spirituality: “I get many great hook ideas…under the influence of marijuana,” he writes. “It may sound far-fetched, but maybe I’m communing in some way with the frequency waves of the universe.” Gosh chronicles his career through a series of brief vignettes rather than in a thorough, linear history. The result is an unconventional memoir whose chapters can easily be read nonsequentially. After getting his start playing in New York City piano bars, Gosh partnered with the famed lyricist Sammy Cahn, and from there, his career took off; he toured with Paul Anka, opened for Barbra Streisand, and was awarded a gold record for “A Little Bit More,” a song that became an international hit in 1976 for the band Dr. Hook. Gosh’s remembrance is delightfully unpretentious, which is an especially endearing quality given his considerable talent and accomplishments. His prose is as informally charming as the book’s structure is free-wheeling—as if the reader is being regaled with stories over a quiet drink (or, perhaps more fittingly, a shared joint). He discusses a wide range of personal and intellectual issues—the two seem inextricably intertwined here—including the reasons why he became a “staunch atheist,” the state of his marriage, and his adventures buying rare books and contemporary art. The memoir is spangled with tantalizing tales about the musical greats that Gosh met or worked with, such as Frank Sinatra, Björk, and Tony Bennett. However, his advocacy for marijuana can feel a touch strident at times. Also, his descriptions of his creative experiences after consuming drugs often rely on shopworn phrases that are more familiar than they are illustrative; for example, regarding an early 1980s peyote experience, he writes, “I felt like I was in outer space and one with the universe. I seemed to understand the reason for everything.” Nevertheless, the book’s virtues outweigh these minor vices. For readers interested in the craft of songwriting, Gosh’s lucid account of how he composes a song will be enough to justify the book’s purchase. Overall, the author has lived a rich, fascinating life—personally, artistically, and professionally—and he thoughtfully conveys the highlights in this enjoyable work. An often wild and always engaging autobiography.

Denise Shekerjian, author of Uncommon Genius

“Bobby Gosh is that rare human being who lives life fully, openly, and without artifice. It’s not that he doesn’t care what people think (though there is that, which is refreshing), but more to the point that his opinions are well considered. The candor, passion, and authenticity he brings to this book infuse every page. Not just a primer on the music business, his memoir is a clear-eyed look at the thorny questions of drugs, religion, and the nature, indeed existence, of God. Full of humor and straight talk, he’s not out to convert anyone to his point of view—far from it—but to explain where he stands and how he got there. “Is life soup-on-earth or does it mean something? Is marijuana use a fleeting high or a door to wisdom? Readers will delight in following Bobby Gosh’s life and career progress and will recognize from the first page to the last that he’s speaking his truth, which makes him the real deal.” — Denise Shekerjian, author of Uncommon Genius

Michael J. West, PhD, Deputy Director of Science, Lowell Observatory

“The ultimate truth of the universe might, as Bobby Gosh suggests, “’be experienced or known by a feeling, which is impossible to be described and taught with words.’” Marijuana might also be a bridge to enlightenment, and Bobby is a passionate advocate for its benefits when used wisely. In a letter to his son Eduard written in 1928, Einstein reflected, ‘”If one hears the angels singing a couple of times during one’s life, one can give the world something and one is a particularly fortunate and blessed individual.’” Clearly, Bobby Gosh has heard the angels sing. His songwriting and performing have touched millions, and his courage in coming out publicly as both a marijuana user and an atheist will hopefully encourage others to embark on their own unique journey of discovery. ‘”Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls, ‘” wrote Joseph Campbell, the great American mythologist. It’s a truth that Confessions of a Marijuana Eater and Bobby’s remarkable life story reveal in spades.” — Michael J. West, PhD, Deputy Director of Science, Lowell Observatory

Philip Lamy, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Castleton University

“I thoroughly enjoyed Bobby Gosh’s memoir. It’s a great mix of biography, popular music history, humor, philosophy, religion, and of course, cannabis. It’s a good read with a lot of good laughs in there too.”  — Philip Lamy, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Castleton University

Seven Days: "Musician Bobby Gosh Talks Marijuana in New Memoir"

At 80, Brookfield resident Bobby Gosh can look back on a long, rich lifetime as a musician. He began studying classical piano at age 6; 10 years later, he was touring nationally with the hit singer Kitty Kallen. He's written hundreds of songs for notables in the music biz, including Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand, and often played with them. He toured the world as Paul Anka's pianist and orchestra conductor. One of Gosh's songs, "A Little Bit More," performed by Dr. Hook, struck gold in 1976. Others have been featured in movies and more than 200 radio and television commercials.

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