Mudcat Café message #2023842 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #75122   Message #2023842
Posted By: GUEST,GUEST, Len B, Downey, CA
13-Apr-07 - 01:06 AM
Thread Name: Little known '60s Folk Singers
Subject: RE: Little known 1960's Folk Singers
I am astonished by how big the list of names has become, and also by how many names are still missing. A few that came immediately to mind were Tom Kines, Elizabeth Knight, Harry Jackson (artist and singer), Milt Okun and the Kossoy Sisters (identical twins Irene and Ellen). I could add dozens more. Perhaps later.

The Chicago area banjo player Moe Hirsch was mentioned, but not the other area people that appeared on a recording with him (Chicago Mob Scene, Riverside): Larry Ehrlich, Dean Gitter, Bob March, Pete Stein, Pete Stone, and Blind Bill Todd. Also on that album was "Samuel Hall", who was actually Bob Gibson.

The following quote appeared regarding Bess Hawes:

"Bess Hawes should be better known than she is (Alan Lomax's sister who in my view is as significant in some ways as Alan). Educator, banjo-picker and singer. With the Almanacs."

I couldn't agree more. Alan deserves his own listing, since he made recordings, both on his own and with others. Butch Hawes, Bess' husband, was also with the Almanac Singers.

John Lomax, Bess and Alan's father was one of the giants of American folklore. The field recordings he (along with John) did for the Smithsonian are priceless. They discovered many important singers, most notably "Leadbelly", of course.

I was very fortunate to be able to take guitar lessons from Bess Hawes in the 60's, on a number of occasions. Almost as wonderful as the lessons were the stories she would tell about the songs and the performers, since she knew just about everybody. Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and innumerable others generally stayed at her house when they were in LA.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the talent that some of her other students had, e.g., Odetta. Another unmentioned performer (also one of her students, I believe) that Bess made some recordings with was Mickey Miller.

Finally, another ommission that surprised me was John Greenway. John was a professor at UCLA in the 50's and 60's. He wrote the book "American Folksongs of Protest" and made a numeber of recordings. In addition to protest, labor and union songs, he was an authority on Australian folk music as well.

John went to Australia on a sabbatical to collect additional material for his studies. In those days (things seem quite different now) most people, unlike American bluebloods, would not admit to being descended from Australia's mostly convict first familes, or to know much about Australian history of folklore. When he went into the field and explained what he was looking for, he was told that he ought to contact John Greenway in the States. "He's the expert on that subject."