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Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?

Bill@W.Aussie 11 Jan 99 - 11:27 AM
11 Jan 99 - 11:44 AM
Bill@W.Aussie 11 Jan 99 - 11:50 AM
Big Mick 11 Jan 99 - 12:01 PM
Sandy Paton 11 Jan 99 - 01:16 PM
Joe Offer, Midwesterner in California 11 Jan 99 - 02:05 PM
Bruce O. 11 Jan 99 - 02:19 PM
Big Mick 11 Jan 99 - 02:28 PM
Big Mick 11 Jan 99 - 02:30 PM
--seed 11 Jan 99 - 02:33 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 11 Jan 99 - 03:21 PM
rick fielding (formerly anonymous) 11 Jan 99 - 04:16 PM
catspaw49 11 Jan 99 - 04:25 PM
Bert 11 Jan 99 - 04:28 PM
Bob Schwarer 11 Jan 99 - 04:39 PM
Ralph Butts 11 Jan 99 - 05:10 PM
another folkie for Pete 11 Jan 99 - 05:14 PM
Steve Latimer 11 Jan 99 - 05:21 PM
John Hindsill 11 Jan 99 - 08:28 PM
dwditty 11 Jan 99 - 08:31 PM
Allan S, 11 Jan 99 - 08:39 PM
Barry Finn 11 Jan 99 - 08:42 PM
Sandy Paton 11 Jan 99 - 09:56 PM
John Hindsill 11 Jan 99 - 10:24 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 11 Jan 99 - 10:30 PM
Barry Finn 11 Jan 99 - 10:45 PM
Don Meixner 11 Jan 99 - 10:55 PM
Bo 12 Jan 99 - 12:59 AM
Art Thieme 12 Jan 99 - 01:09 AM
catspaw49 12 Jan 99 - 03:50 AM
Frank in the swamps 12 Jan 99 - 06:41 AM
Bert 12 Jan 99 - 09:25 AM
Zorro 12 Jan 99 - 09:34 AM
The Shambles 12 Jan 99 - 09:40 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 12 Jan 99 - 10:39 AM
rick fielding 12 Jan 99 - 12:07 PM
Aldus 12 Jan 99 - 12:35 PM
A former Torontonian 12 Jan 99 - 01:21 PM
Dan Keding 12 Jan 99 - 08:17 PM
Sandy Paton 12 Jan 99 - 09:04 PM
Roger in Baltimore 12 Jan 99 - 11:39 PM
CW Hose 13 Jan 99 - 12:04 AM
Big Mick 13 Jan 99 - 12:16 AM
Barry Finn 14 Jan 99 - 12:18 AM
Dale RoseDale Rose 14 Jan 99 - 01:46 AM
Dale RoseDale Rose 14 Jan 99 - 02:16 AM
McMusicMcMusic 14 Jan 99 - 02:18 AM
Steve ParkesSteve Parkes 14 Jan 99 - 05:56 AM
catspaw49catspaw49 14 Jan 99 - 07:51 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 14 Jan 99 - 05:11 PM
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Subject: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Bill@W.Aussie
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 11:27 AM

Hi ALL

Who has had the biggest impact, and why?

I'm a Pom living in Australia. (And I'm sorry if it offends anyone) but I'm not usualy a great fan of American stuff. They're normally not better..... They just have more money to advertise and push it forward.

But to me it's still, Woodie Guthrie. What do you think?

Bill


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From:
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 11:44 AM

Really hard to narrow it down to one name. Certainly strong arguments could be made for Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives (ask your parents, and their parents)or F J Child.

I'd put my vote in for Alan Lomax, however, for several reasons: Sheer longevity, songs collected (with his dad) that are now part of the repertoire, international influence, (he lived in Britain for a few years and was credited by MacColl as a major influence) introduction to the (folk) masses of several major artists, and sheer force of personality. I never met him, but EVERYONE I've talked to who has, was affected by him.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Bill@W.Aussie
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 11:50 AM

Hi All

I started this thread because of the boring stuff being discussed. The only time I want to know where your from is so that we can gauge opinions based, to some degree, on where your from.

So.............

Last message.

Where are you from?

Bill


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 12:01 PM

Bill,

I have started to answer this, and your inquiry from the "condom" thread three times. Each time I have had to stop and rethink. I will answer it, but I must think it through. Here are my problems. It depends on how one arrives at "most significant". If body of work still extant and relevant is the criteria, then Gutherie wins, hands down. But I don't think that is comprehensive enough. I would consider artists who rescue a genre from obscurity, dust it off and pass it on to be extremely significant. An example would be O'Riada saving the planxty's of O'Carolan for us today. So I am going to have to think this one through.

Just a comment on your reference to US performers. I am not saying this with any rancor, so please do not take it that way. I feel it is not a necessary distinction in our international online community. While we "Yanks" can be oblivious to the rest of the world, we also have contributed to the folk scene mightily. And the best folkies in the US are not the ones with the biggest names and the most money. Consider if you will Thieme, the Patons, Bok, Muir, Trickett,Milner and so on. Each of our neighbors here on the 'Cat can contribute names of the best from the country they come from.

I really enjoy your posts,my friend, and this is going to be an interesting thread.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 01:16 PM

I'll go along with the anonymous poster above, and vote for Alan Lomax. His influence went beyond his collecting and publishing American traditional music; he also was a major factor in getting Columbia to issue the "Folk and Primitive Music of the World" series (splendid folk music from Italy, Yugoslavia, etc., as well as the English, Irish, and Scottish material now released by Rounder). Without him, I wonder how much of the BBC recorded programmes library would exist, since he was influential in getting them to sponsor collecting by Seamus Ennis and Sean O'Boyle in Ireland, Hamish Henderson in Scotland, Peter Kennedy in England, and others, including MacColl and Lloyd. As a result of his work we have the superb Caedmon series, plus the Southern Journey American material that is now seeing new life through Rounder, (bless 'em all).

However, I'd like to pay homage to Cecil Sharp as well, for his collecting and publishing folksong and dance lore in England as well as in Appalachia. Hius pioneer work had a profound influence on almost every collector of American folksong since. But I realize this is an international forum, and his influence elsewhere was probably less significant. Child, by the way, did his work in the last century, not this one. Good idea, anonymous, wrong century.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Joe Offer, Midwesterner in California
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 02:05 PM

I could take my life in my hands and make a case for Peter, Paul, and Mary; the Kingston Trio; Joan Baez; and Bob Dylan - they certainly made more money and touched more people than any of the others. I could pick the Lomaxes and Creightons and Fowkes and Randolph and Sandburg and their ilk, but Greenhaus has a much more comprehensive collection - and collectors don't really touch the hearts of the people (even if we like Greenhaus a whole lot). I could pick Woody Guthrie or Huddie Ledbetter, but they gave us mostly their own songs and performances and touched mostly the first half of the century. Burl Ives was certainly popular and successful, but he always seemed too commercial - even more than PP&M and the other 60's folkies.
I'd like to be equitable and name at least one person from other continents (I did name Canadians), but I can't really think of anyone who has had the universal impact that the North Americans have had.
I think the only choice is Pete Seeger. He has had his feet in both halves of the century, and he has exposed America and the world to a broad spectrum of folk music. He has given us traditional folk songs, the best of the songwriters of this century, and music from all over the world. I think I could also say that it was Pete Seeger, more than anyone else this century, who added a political aspect to folk music - whether that's good or not is another question, but I think it's the truth that it's Pete who brought politics to folk music and folk music to politics. I think his music has told the story of this century.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Bruce O.
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 02:19 PM

While I'm not claiming him to be the most significant of the century, I think the folklorist Kenneth Goldstein deserves a lot of credit for getting English, Scottish, and Irish folk singers on phono records for Americans to hear in the 1950's and 60's.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 02:28 PM

Damn, Joe, you beat me to it. I went away from this machine and couldn't get this thread out of my mind. I was coming back to write a very similar message. In my own favorite genre, Irish music, I always hate it when a potential customer says, "no rebel songs". I always turn down the gig. How can one sing Irish folk music, without the politics that inspired a great deal of it. Bards throughout the ages, and in every land, have always used their abilities/talents to affect the ideas and politics of the times. And it was Pete, picking up where Woody laid off, that really encouraged this form of political expression. And when one considers the 20th century, who has done more, whether with written lyrics, the songs her performs, the music he published and continues to publish to preserve old forms as well as to encourage the newer forms than Pete Seeger. The reason that I go with him over Gutherie is that Gutherie did his own stuff, but Seeger reached out to all forms, and preservation. Now I would go with Lomax for a close second, but for the very reason you suggested, I couldn't make him #1.

There are so many great artists performing around the world, but for the one that has influenced the various genres on a more universal basis, It has got to be Pete.

All the best,

Mick Lane


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 02:30 PM

I just re-read what I wrote. It should have said, "Bless you, Joe". Sorry Joe, got carried away.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: --seed
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 02:33 PM

I'd have an awful time justifying any single choice--Seeger is certainly an important one, and Guthrie and Leadbelly and the Carters and Jimmie Rodgers, and because of the dominant place bluegrass music has in the contemporary folk scene, Bill Monroe. --seed


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 03:21 PM

This is hard to answer because of the term folkie. It makes me want to exclude the likes of long time professional recording artists and songwriters like Dylan or Baez, as well as professional curators like the Lomaxes. I know its irrational but I have an inborn romantic bias towards recognizing the amatuer over the professional in this area. For this reason I submit for consideration Harry Smith, compiler of the Anthology of American Folk Music. Granted his efforts are far less comprehensive than the work of the Lomaxes and their counterparts around the world. Granted also is the fact that Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger did far more to keep the folk process and folk traditions alive via performance than Smith. And still further I grant that better, more complete collections and better scholarship have been made. Yet the Anthology was unique in that it represented the first easy, and perhaps still best port of entry through which a person to make their initial discovery of the incredibly wide, deep and rich tapestry of American Folk Music.

I realize that this vote is intrinsically biased towards American Folk, but only because thats where I come from and what I know best. Its not out of any intential disregard or lack of recognition of the larger world of folk music and art.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: rick fielding (formerly anonymous)
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 04:16 PM

Ahh, to have Sandy Paton agree with my choice (Lomax) is praise indeed, as I believe Sandy knew him for many years. However, I think Burl Ives must rank higher than he probably will, for a number of reasons. It's been pointed out that he was really "commercial", a la Peter Paul and Mary, but wouldn't that be the "later" Burl? All the old 78s that my parents had,seem to have been pretty straight ahead trad, eg. no extra instruments, voices, or "arrangements". Even my wife who prefers Zeppelin's "Hangman" to Leadbelly's remembers hearing old Burl's "foggy Dew etc." while growing up in Glasgow. I'm not saying he was "the best" anything, (actually, once I'd heard a few others ,I found him boring,)but as far as reaching a huge number of people, he's right up there.

By the way Sandy, my anonymity was an oversight caused by the stress of figuring out the html codes. Putting the eminent Mr. Child into the twentieth century is unforgiveable.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 04:25 PM

What a great thread...I can't stop thinking about it. Everybody has made great points and it's hard to do this in any context and not feel you've overlooked someone.

But Joe, you are right on the money. Pete Seeger is the "thread" of folk music. Maybe some would have never heard of him {or Woody,Lomax,et al.} were it not for PPM, Kingston Trio, etc. But you have to draw the line somewhere and the "washed and unwashed" of folk owe him a lot. Sorry, now I'm getting wordy.

I vote with Joe. catspaw


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Bert
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 04:28 PM

I've got to vote for Lonnie Donnegan.
With hit after hit he introduced a whole generation of Brits to the joys of American Folk Song.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 04:39 PM

I'll cast my vote for Moses Asch. Think about it. The 2168 records released by Folkways included music from all over the world. Just think what we would have missed without his efforts.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 05:10 PM

I guess I'd have to go with Seeger, too, though for years I've wanted to stuff his mouth with flannel.

He's certainly enriched the scene with lots of tunes, images and styles, and can therefore be forgiven his politics, "feelingoodallthetimeness", and killing the audience participation goose.

He got lots of us singing......Tiger


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: another folkie for Pete
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 05:14 PM


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 05:21 PM

This thread asks about the most significant folkie of the 20th century. I can see where Guthrie, Seeger and Leadbetter have to be considered, but I can't see any of them being more significant to the genre than Bob Dylan. It can be argued that he moved away from folk when he went electric, but the success of his work caused millions of people to explore other folk music. It also paved the way for a much greater acceptance of folk music, creating an eager audience for many artists who otherwise may have been playing wonderful music in their kitchens.

I am a lover of many kinds of music, but if it weren't for Bob I would never have been compelled to find music by Woody, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Bill Monroe etc. and I don't think that Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Stan Rogers, Gordon Lightfoot(yes I am Canadian) Peter, Paul and Mary etc. would have ever found the airwaves had it not been for Bob creating this market. I will not argue that Bob is the best folkie, but most significant? Absolutely.

Steve Latimer


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: John Hindsill
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 08:28 PM

As far as performers go, hands down it is the Kingston Trio. Yes, they were not the most accomplished musicians; yes, they were quite apolitical (at least until John Stewart); and yes they homogenized folkmusic; but the trio made acceptable the music that enjoyed a tremendous popularity for nearly ten years, and which continues forty years later,

They led the way for PP&M, the Limeliters, etc. The more serious folkies, the Carolyn Hesters, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Frank Proffitt all profited (pardon the pun) from the interest they sparked.

Are they my favorite group, not by a long shot...but thank heaven for them.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: dwditty
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 08:31 PM

Hey, what about Box Car Willie?


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Allan S,
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 08:39 PM

I must vote for Pete Segar Tho I cant stand the Buggers politics. groups I like the New Lost City Ramblers


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 08:42 PM

Ah Sandy, Allan Lomax was the first person to go through my head too. His collecting in the Carribean both songs, folklore & games, his work on the plains & mountains, his collecting & exposure of surviving slave songs from the Georgia Sea Islands & the southern coast line & outer islands, his collecting in the southern US & their prisons lead to almost singlehandly saving the worksongs from those times & places (the few other collecters I think would also owe Lomax a bit of thanks for paving that road). His collecting in Scotland, England & Ireland, IMHO helped to start an international revivel. Although without the likes of Ennis, MacColl, Kennedy & others he wouldn't had any doors opened to him it was what he did afterwards that really had an effect. I just yesterday bought Stuart Frank's "The Book Of Pirate Songs" in the acknowledgements you'll find Lomax as you would in Jackson's collection of Prison songs & Abraham's collection of West Indian shanties. Hugill & Sandburg both refer or talk about Lomax in their collections as well as MacColl in his book on Traveler's songs. He's mentioned in more modern collections than anyone else that I can think of. His work with the Archives was monumental. Above BSeed mentions Leadbelly & Seeger, Big Mick mentions Seeger, Sandy mentions Henderson, O'Boyle, Kennedy, Ennis, MacColl & Lloyd, these were all people that worked, collected or somehow collaborated with Lomax. I don't think that there's one person in the last 100 yrs of folk music who's work has had more of a far reaching affect than Allen's. He's got my vote & admiration. Barry


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 09:56 PM

Right on, Barry! I've been thinking about some of the other entries. If the question were most significant folk performer, I'd certainly give my vote to Pete Seeger. But a lot of what Pete Seeger sang for us he learned from the Archive of Folk Song recordings that Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger were transcribing from... you guessed it: Lomax field trips. Leadbelly? How would we ever have heard him without the Lomaxes, father and son, although it's a pretty well-known fact that they exploited him along the way.

Where did the Kingston Trio learn the song that catapulted them into the national limelight? From the Frank Proffitt version of "Tom Dula" that Frank Warner had allowed Alan Lomax to publish in Folksong U.S.A. Lomax recorded blues, hollers, worksongs, ballads, lyrics, shape-note hymns, gospel songs, etc.

Through his field work, his writing, his books, his production of early folksong radio shows (introducing Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Burl Ives, etc. to a national audience), his remarkable ability to convince others to help finance what he thought was important, Alan was ultimately responsible for the work of almost every other person/persons suggested by contributors to this thread. That explains my vote.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: John Hindsill
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 10:24 PM

Following up and amplifying my previous answer--the question is not the best, not the most original, not the one that made the most money, but the most "significant". As far as "performers" go, I stand by my selection. For whatever reason the Kingston Trio did make the breakthrough. Had it not been for the blacklist, it might have been the Weavers six or seven years earlier, but, alas it wasn't. [I would prefer it was.] In much the same way, Harry Belafonte popularized calypso music, a short lived phenomenon, but did he do it best? I think not. So, too KT.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 10:30 PM

I'd have to go with Pete too, even though there are others I prefer to him. (Although I like him, and am happy to have seen him in concert.) His influence is everywhere, and he made a great many people consider their own regional folk music. People would listen to him, and like it, and say "Gee, didn't gramma and grampa and old uncle Jim used to sing old songs about this area and what the people used to do around here?" So in that respect, I'd have to put him as most influential. Woody Guthrie might fall under this category too.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 10:45 PM

Yes Sandy!!! Almost into his 90's & still out in the musical forefront of what he calls Global Styles & his research into language-song-culture, Lomax is now as he was 70 yrs ago in a field with few others sure to be followed. Check out this site. Barry

http://worldmusic.miningco.com/msub30.htm


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Don Meixner
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 10:55 PM

Hard to choose just one. So I won't.

Carl Sandburg, Cecil Sharpe, Allan Lomax, Ferde Grofe, and P. Domain.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Bo
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 12:59 AM

My first thought was Pete Seeger, who himself was never alone in his love of folk. I think you have to understand these people as families, closely tied dreamers.

To talk of Seeger in isolation from the rest of the Weavers or from Lomax, or from Guthrie might elevate him but isolate him as well. Even If his were our most seen efforts I dont think his was a solitary strength.

I'd like to make mention of

Christy Moore, over in the UK Edith Fowke,Heather Creighton, Ian & Silvia in Canada Stan Rogers though he is not strictly folk (My Canadian Bias if you will) I also think Paul Robeson should be mentioned in these circles.

And I know it's trite but 'Mum', 'Dad' or '____' whoever was close enough to you folks to sing in the car on holidays or in the kitchen. Especially if they really sang well and loved what they were doing.

Sorry if this scuttles the debate but I think that we at the media-crazy end of the century have huge problems understanding the strikes, depression, wars etc... of the earlier century. Significance is certainly not measured in album sales alone nor need it be tied specifically to music. What do people think of the folk elements of protest to warfare in our century, the support civil rights got from gospel. Someone mentioned they didn't like Pete Seeger's politics, well dont forget some of the things he lived through\saw.

bo


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 01:09 AM

In keeping with my reputation for vassscccilation & mispellling stufff) I cannot settle on one person!

As a performer who brought the music to so very many, I must choose Pete.

As the collector who brought so much to Pete Seeger, I must choose A.Lomax.

As the one person who brought Southern Appalachian mountain music (and the MOUNTAIN DULCIMER) to prominence I must choose Jean Ritchie.

As the person who set the standard for writing songs that were most like the story songs & traditional stylings, Woody Guthrie is the one.

As the revival singer of traditional (and other) songs who is to my mind the most significant, I must choose Michael Cooney.

As the single person who was BOTH the academician as well as being a wonderful purveyer of the music for so very many, I must choose the recently retired former head of the ARCHIVE OF AMERICAN FOLKSONG At The Library Of Congress, Joe Hickerson.

As the most significant person for me, personally, I must choose Sandy Paton! (Caroline & David & Robin Paton & Lee Haggerty also.

The blues singer who most communicated with me was Lightnin' Hopkins.

The elderly mentor who influenced me most is Paul Durst, the totally unknown Wobbly hobo singer and fiddler I tape recorded back in 1960---when he was 93. Paul, if he is still out there riding the shiny irons, is now 132 years old...

Ewan MacColl & Bert Lloyd & Martyn Wyndham-Read & Lou Killen & Alan Mills & Johnny Carignan--all incandescent singers (except Johnny--a, no, "THE" fiddler)

The guitarists whose styles were the most accessible, and most influenced the pickers of this century were, for me my cohorts, Elezabeth Cotten and Mississippi John Hurt.

And there are so very many others----the forementioned folks are only the tip o' the iceburg.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 03:50 AM

After reading your comments 3 times Art, I think I get your point!!! But you are right. I keep reading these posts and find myself agreeing with everybody (though I still vote with Joe) and that's what makes folk so great.

I was also interested in your comments regarding Jean. Segments of folk also have their "champions" and each of them is arguably the most significant. Interestingly, I bet all of them would attribute some of the credit or whatever to someone else; in Jean's case, perhaps John Jacob Niles.

I wonder who Lomax, Seeger, etc. might pick? This is a great thread...I'm going to be boring some people around here for some time to come. catspaw


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 06:41 AM

I'd like to nominate W.C. Handy, who brought an obscure Black American style to light.. the Blues. Not only did he elevate this musics profile, but his early arrangements/compositions were important contributions to the creation of jazz, an "art music" which still has direct links to it's folk roots.

Frank i.t.s.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Bert
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 09:25 AM

The problem with reading this thread is that one tends to agree with every posting. So I propose that we change the title to...

Most significant Folkies of 20th Century?

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Zorro
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 09:34 AM

Pete Seeger!


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 09:40 AM

Victor Jara


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 10:39 AM

How about a Hall of fame ballot like they have in baseball.

Everyone gets one ballot and can include up to 10 names, although less than 10 is permissible. Criteria for admission is appearance on 75% of the ballots cast in a single election, i.e. 3 out of four voters put the person down on the ballot.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: rick fielding
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 12:07 PM

To catspaw49. Betcha' dollars to donuts that both Pete and Alan would pick Lomax!


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Aldus
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 12:35 PM

There are many who come to mind. However, I don"t feel that anyone even comes closeto Bob Dylan. He made us aware of the power of music in a way that few have, before or since. He also taught us that "folk" music is modern, relevent and part of our world in way that much other music is not. He also, I thought, ended that foolish and useless arguement about what is "Folk". God Bless Bob. I would also have to suggest Dr. Helen Creighton (not Heather) as someone to whom many of us owe a great debt in preserving much of the music of Nova Scotia. Cecil Sharpe...yes,yes, yes....near the top of my list as well. I hate to end on a negative note,.. but I am surprised to see Alan Lomax mentioned. I think what ever good he may have done has been tarnished by his relentless exploitation of blues and traditional musicians.

Thanks, great thread

Aldus


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Subject: To Rick Fielding
From: A former Torontonian
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 01:21 PM

I read somewhere else in Mudcat that you host an acoustic music show in Toronto. I escaped From T.O. to Whitby, I have listened to the CJRT folk show for many years. It has introduced me to a lot of great music. I must admit that I preferred it when Joe Lewis hosted, I found it to have a broader scope of folk music.

I would certainly like to check out your show, when and where is it on?

Steve Latimer


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Dan Keding
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 08:17 PM

I agree with many of the names so far, especially what you mentioned Art. One aspect of this is the unsung (pardon the pun) hero. This is the person you first heard who turned you on to folk music. Maybe it was one of the greats already mentioned or maybe it was a singer in a folk bar. Perhaps it was a music teacher who loved folk music and played it for their class. Maybe a song leader at camp. This would be each of ours most significant and thank the Lord they came around when they did. Dan


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 09:04 PM

For Dan Keding: Of course you're right, Dan. Caroline's introduction to the music was an enlightened 7th grade English teacher who played Carl Sandberg records. She recalls hearing "I'm sad and I'm lonely, my heart it will break. My sweetheart loves another and I wish I was dead." She was struck by the realism, especially compared with "I'm gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own..." and comparable drivel.

My own introduction was a guy I worked the harvest with, although he didn't know they were supposed to be called "folksongs." They were just the songs he knew. We sang together, with me doing the tenor harmony, from the Larned wheat fields to the Nebraska border. Later I met the guy who told me they were folksongs, but, shoot, he'd been to college.

For Aldus: You make a very good point. If we were voting for the most ethical folkie of the century, I'd have to change my vote. I've heard horror stories for years about how Lomax treated informants and ,yes, actually exploited them (notice my earlier reference to the exploitation of Leadbelly). I even have a few confirmed tales myself, but would not choose to relate them here. The ethical question, however, does not detract from the tremendous and undeniable influence of Lomax's work. He may have taken advantage of his blues singers, etc., but without his field recordings, we might never have heard them at all. A damnable situation, perhaps, but a realistic one.

But , for heaven's sake, don't give up your ethical position; it's a worthy one!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 12 Jan 99 - 11:39 PM

Keeping with my USA chauvanism, Harry Smith is not the most significant Folkie, but perhaps one of the most overlooked. I recently purchased his "Anthology Of American Folk Music." I was stunned by how many songs I knew (but done by someone else).

I was wafted back to the early '60's, when the "folk scare' had just begun (for me, at least). Harry collected many artists who were then "rediscovered" by others and then recorded. He helped capture the period that followed Lomax and inspired many to save music whose practitioners were nearing the end of their years.

I think this thread speaks clearly that it takes many hands to achieve the task of preserving a music that is often unrecorded, unwritten, and otherwise undocumented. As for Lomax and his faults, there are not many angels out there. Most of us toads have warts, but we keep croaking anyway, and out croaking is important.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: CW Hose
Date: 13 Jan 99 - 12:04 AM

Bob Dylan has certainly touched more lives or broke more ground in the second half of the century than any musician I can think of, save the Beatles and Elvis. No one wrote like Bob Dylan. No one combined poetry, music and social commentary as poignantly as Dylan. He's an American Original, kind of an abstract Shakespeare.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Jan 99 - 12:16 AM

Yep, Dan, you have shown your wisdom again. I will amend my nomination (which I still stick with) to include my family, grandparents and all the old Mick's that sat and had sessions and let a little red headed kid sit and soak it up.

God be good to 'em.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 12:18 AM

On the Lomax thing. Is there any who know that someone in particular that's complained that they were expolited in an unfare way. Muddy Waters, Vera Hall, Jelly Rool Morton, W.C. Handy & many many more were first recorded &/or exposed (expolited?) by Lomax & made a living by playing what they love, what would've been worst is that they played some roadside juke joint till death, starvation & obscurity took them & buried them unknown along side of their music. As far as Leadbelly doing a bit of driving, good for him, I'm sure he felt a hell of alot better off riding with the Lomaxs rather than riding in Bud Russell's wagon "Black Betty". I don't think the any of the cons regreted him coming in to record & offer them a reprieve from the sun to sit & sing, have a smoke & look at someone who thought that what they did was worth more than a lashing. I don't think that many realize that in those days Lomax was taking quite a risk to himself & also to the people that didn't have much a little meant a lot, even if only a cup of coffee. Many, in the world of music, have rode the coat tails of others to notoriety but none have given back as much to those same people & cultures. Woody was first pushed into light by Lomax, Seeger sang his way to fame on songs that Lomax collected, Ennis & MacColl got jobs putting folk music on the BBC with the help of Lomax, Leadbelly got from prison to stage with his help, when Bessie Jones wanted to give her culture exposure she was assisted & sheltered in New York City by ....yup, Lomax, ask the present day Georgia Sea Island Singers how they feel about the name Lomax. Sandy, even though (& appropriately) you won't say what, I'd like to hear it later (maybe at NEFFA), it may take him a peg or so down in my eyes but that's not to much when I've got him pegged for doing so much. Barry on the defense


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Dale RoseDale Rose
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 01:46 AM

It is difficult to discuss the Lomax influence (and considerable it is) without bringing up the negatives as well. I am trying to choose my words carefully, and about the things I know best. Take his Southern Journey, Volume 7, Ozark Frontier as an example. Anyone with any expertise in Ozark Music of the era which he recorded could tell you that he did not necessarily choose the very best examples to record. In fact, it would seem that in some cases, the poorer the playing, the more likely he was to choose it as representative, which it wasn't.

A case in point is the fiddle playing of Apsie Morrison. In his prime, Morrison and his twin brother, Abbie, were truly fantastic. Check this out on Echoes of the Ozarks, Volume 1, County 3506. Listen to their renditions of Dry and Dusty and Ozark Waltz, recorded in 1930 when the brothers were 53 and in the prime of their lives~~pure magic. Then listen to the songs recorded by Lomax, but please do not accept these examples of an old man long past his prime as indicative of what is considered to be good fiddle playing in Arkansas or for that matter, even a small fraction of what Apsie Morrison was capable of long years before. If Lomax was trying to honor Morrison for his achievements, OK, I can accept that, but please don't tell me that it was because he thought it was good. I mean absolutely no disrespect to Apsie Morrison; I truly love his playing, and deeply regret that he and his brother were not recorded more extensively due to the Depression.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Dale RoseDale Rose
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 02:16 AM

To illustrate, here is a clip of Dry and Dusty compliments of CD Universe. I could not find The Scotch Musick, My Prettiest Little Gal is Gone, or Nancy's Got a Pretty Dress On from Ozark Frontier, recorded in 1959. A number of songs from the album are sampled on the various sites, but none of his. For something quite nice from the album though, check out Bookmiller Shannon on frailing banjo, playing Buffalo Gals compliments of Music Boulevard. He is another performer who I missed meeting by a few years, but whose influence is still being felt here in the Ozarks, as is Morrison's. About a year ago, I was fortunate to hear (and tape) Richard Morrison playing Dry and Dusty. It was a stirring moment~~doesn't have all that much to do with Lomax, but worth mentioning, I think.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: McMusicMcMusic
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 02:18 AM

I would have to split my vote 3 ways: Woody Guthrie, Pete Seegar, and Ewan McColl.


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Steve ParkesSteve Parkes
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 05:56 AM

In my hippie days (mostly Saturdays & Sundays in '69-'70) this would have been considered a question that may not have a meaning. It's a very Western Hemisphere sort of question, isn't it? I apologise for getting philosophical, but it doesn't do any harm in small doses.

Dear old Alex Campbell used to say 'This is a folk song, and if you folk don't sing, it ain't gonna work!'. Folk music isn't like, say, opera or pop, which is created and presented to us. It's something that lives in us and propagates through us; all the songs and tunes were once written by someone, but then they took on a life of their own and became part of the tradition. However long you spend singing or playing to yourself in your bedroom, however much you love your music, it will never get out and go anywhere until you bring it to us. What I'm trying to say is that we are just as important for listening to Folk as are the Lomaxes, the Guthries, the Sharps, the Coppers – everyone is a part of the process, whether we create music, perform it or just love it – it wouldn't work if just one of these things is missing. If I can borrow a well-known analogy, it's like sowing seed: when everything comes together just so, the corn grows. I'm certainly not trying to deny the importance of individuals in all this, but it might make better sense to think of 'who were' rather than 'who was'.

Ah, I wish I had the Gift of the Gab like some of you guys! I'm sorry you have to put up with my rambling and incoherence just so I can share my thoughts.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: catspaw49catspaw49
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 07:51 AM

Geez, what a GREAT thread!!!! I keep reading along and saying, "Yeah, good point" to damn near everything. Virtually every post gets me off to another line of thinking. Steve, your point on were/was is well taken and is the thing I was trying to say earlier...we "owe a lot, to a lot." Plus the Lomax debate {both sides won on my scorecard}, influence of teachers, camp, family, etc. Every poster has made excellent points!

Maybe we go with Jack's Hall of Fame thing. Or maybe a category thing within it. {In which case I'd also like to nominate the hundreds of Irish Americans who kept the Hammered Dulcimer alive in this country} Maybe we should nominate The Mudcat here.

Or maybe we just need to keep singing the songs and telling the tales and playing the tunes and passing on the heritage that has been delivered to us...adding as we go.

GREAT THREAD!!! catspaw


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Subject: RE: Most significant Folkie of 20th Century?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 14 Jan 99 - 05:11 PM

This is not intended to offend.

But of all the performers/writers/composers mentioned on this thread, the one that never caught on with me is Bob Dylan, and I can never really explain why. I know that he's a folkie's folkie, having heard people I really love and respect-like Ritchie Havens and others-speak in awestruck reverent tones about his songs. I know that for many many people that got pulled into a love of folk music during the '60s, Dylan was and remains one of the main beacons that drew them in. He was a good and prolific songwriter with and extensive discography. Yet for all the testimony I've heard from so many sources touting Dylan as one of the "Great Minds and Influences of our Time", I've never felt all that influenced, by him or his music, at least not in the way that I've been influenced by others like Rev. Gary Davis, or Jean Ritchie, or Ewan McColl, or Woodie Guthrie. Somehow I never feel with Dylan the kind of thing I feel when I listen to an old Recording of Tommy Johnson singing Big Road Blues, or Mississipi John Hurt singing just about anything, or when listening to a shape note choir.

Having said that, I wonder whether part of it is due to an iconoclastic streak in my own personality. I hate being told what I'm supposed to like or believe, and Dylan was so adopted as an icon of whatever it was we lived through in the 60's, (revolution, counterculture, awakening or just too many adolescents in a country with too much money at the time. I dunno, it always seemed more conformist than its rhetoric). I've always felt like a character in The Emperors New Clothes with regard to Bob. You know, "The Emperor is wearing his wonderful new garments, but they're magical and can only be seen by the wise. What! You mean YOU can't see them?".

Well No. They may be there but no.

Again, I make no claim that I'm right, its just how I feel.


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