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Paul Stamler info about Paul Clayton?? (63* d) RE: info about Paul Clayton?? 10 Feb 98

The sound quality of the Folkways custom CDs varies depending on the quality of the original tape -- which, in the case of Folkways recordings, varied from abysmal to (in a few cases, most notably Peter Bartok's recordings of the New Lost City Ramblers) audiophile quality. As far as I know, they're not doing any fancy remastering and noise reduction of the original tapes, just dubbing them cleanly to DAT and thence to recordable CD. So take the basic sound quality of the Folkways LP, subtract all the scratches and the surface noise from the recycled frisbees Moses Asch used for vinyl, delete the wow from the off-center hole (I once called my best friend up long-distance in great excitement when I bought a Folkways LP and the hole was actually in the center), add some treble because Asch didn't really believe in the RIAA curve, and you've got a decent result unless the original tape was hideous (like Bela Bartok's acoustic recordings of Hungarian village music).

Back to Paul Clayton; there was a long thread about him on the newsgroup a couple of years ago. His life was most unhappy; it was common knowledge in the folk community that he was gay, which was still unacceptable in most of society. He made several attempts to achieve the kind of popular success that Bob Dylan had managed, but never came close, which left him quite bitter, especially after the "Don't Think Twice" affair. (I have one of his late recordings, "Paul Clayton: Folksinger!", a Nashville production by Boudleaux Bryant on Monument; while overproduced, it's not all that bad, and the material is excellent.) After being banned from some clubs due to his orientation, he retreated to a mountaintop and committed suicide ca. 1965.

Peace. Paul

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