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Folk singers with longest career

14 Nov 07 - 12:26 PM (#2193604)
Subject: Folk singers with longest active career
From: Leadbelly

Hi,

productive careers of folk singers are mostly limited because of many reasons.
My answer to this thread might be, although not being comletely sure about this, that Pete Seeger is the one and only. He started in 1940 together with the Almanac Singers ( Woody Guthrie and others)and is active now for more than 60 years.

Any other ideas? Please concentrate on folk. Blues might be another cup of tea.


14 Nov 07 - 12:34 PM (#2193611)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: The Sandman

CyrilTawney 50 years,Martin Carthy 47? years.


14 Nov 07 - 12:43 PM (#2193621)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Folkiedave

Martin was 17 when he first saw his "muse" Sam Larner in 1959.

Can I offer instead Jim Kroh? Jim is a singer with the Glenrock Carolers http://www.glenrockcarolers.org/ and has sung every Christmas (except for the war years when he missed a couple of occasions because he was abroad) since 1935.

Of course he hasn't done as many gigs as the others - just one spot a year. On the other hand they don't walk 8 miles during each gig!!


14 Nov 07 - 12:53 PM (#2193631)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: The Villan

Surely nobody can compete with your answers FolkieDave, with all your knowledgeable books :-)


14 Nov 07 - 12:55 PM (#2193632)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: pdq

Bascom Lamar Lunsford lived to be 90 or more and spent his whole adult life collecting and playing folk music. He was as important as anyone in preserving American folk music, which he did for over 70 years.


14 Nov 07 - 12:58 PM (#2193635)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Folkiedave

Nice one Les - though as will soon be revealed (my lips are sealed for a few more days) this was based on personal experience.


14 Nov 07 - 12:58 PM (#2193636)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: John MacKenzie

Johnny Silvo?


14 Nov 07 - 01:04 PM (#2193641)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Dan Schatz

Our own Kytrad (Jean Ritchie) has been performing for going on 60 years, and that's after she moved North. Doc Watson has probably been performing for close to that long.

Dan Schatz


14 Nov 07 - 01:05 PM (#2193643)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Kevin Sheils

Colin Wilkie was already well established when I started going to clubs in the 60's and still seems to be going strong in Germany.

He recently became one of my "myspace" friends, bringing back plenty of memories.


14 Nov 07 - 01:11 PM (#2193648)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: The Villan

Brian Dawson maybe from Lincolnshire


14 Nov 07 - 01:30 PM (#2193664)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Little Robyn

Other members of the Weavers have been performing almost as long as Pete - Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman, Erik Darling and also Frank Hamilton who is lurking around here somewhere.
Hi Frank.
And then Pete's siblings must be catching up too.
Robyn


14 Nov 07 - 02:16 PM (#2193713)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: gnomad

How about the late Bob Copper? His involvement seems to have been from around 1930s, and lasted to his death in 2004, aged 89.


14 Nov 07 - 03:01 PM (#2193741)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: theballadeer

Liam Clancy - 51 years and counting...


14 Nov 07 - 03:05 PM (#2193748)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Newport Boy

And there's also Phil Tanner. He was almost certainly singing publicly well before he appeared before the Royal Commission on Land in Wales & Monmouthshire in 1893, and continued until very shortly before his death in 1950.

Phil


14 Nov 07 - 03:11 PM (#2193754)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Rog Peek

Tom Paxton has to be up there, 70 years of age and still touring.

Rog


14 Nov 07 - 03:36 PM (#2193777)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,allan s

New Lost City Ramblers John Cohen & Tom Paley Iremember them from 1953 at Yale 54 years..


14 Nov 07 - 04:56 PM (#2193836)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Fidjit

Tim Hart thouoh not still performing. Maddy no youngster either. Johnny Silvo is in his 70's, but Pete Seeger is a must for top of the list.

Chas


14 Nov 07 - 04:57 PM (#2193838)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Rusty Dobro

Bill Churchyard, who died last month aged 91, had been singing at the same Suffolk pub since well before WWII. 75 years?


14 Nov 07 - 05:22 PM (#2193865)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: dick greenhaus

I suspect that Oscar Brand would be the undisputed champ (he was singing in the late 30s) if it weren't for Sam Hinton (who was singing like, forever)


14 Nov 07 - 05:33 PM (#2193871)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: oggie

Leon Rosselson must be pushing 50 years on the cicuit and still going.

Steve


14 Nov 07 - 05:38 PM (#2193879)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Fidjit

And I'll be 75 next year !!

Chas


14 Nov 07 - 06:58 PM (#2193926)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Rabbi-Sol

I have to agree with Dick Greenhaus. Not only is Oscar Brand the undisputed champ but he has the longest running folk radio show on WNYC, over 60 years and still counting.
                                                SOL


14 Nov 07 - 07:01 PM (#2193928)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Sandra in Sydney

here in Oz we have Alex Hood who has been preforming since he joined the Bushwhackers, the first Bush Band, founded 1952. Chris was not a foundation member but became a member after joining the original Sydney production of "Reedy River" in 1953.

Bushwhackers 1955, entertaining kids (except for one very bored boy!)

No doubt Bob Bolton can name other & maybe older Oz performers as he knows more of the history of the Oz folk revival than I do.

sandra


14 Nov 07 - 07:06 PM (#2193929)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Brendy

Packie Manus Byrne?

He's turning 91 soon....

B.


14 Nov 07 - 08:19 PM (#2193971)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,Mike B.

There was Joe Glazer (labor's troubadour) - active from the 1940s until shortly before his death last year.

Longest running folk group (with no replacements along the way) has to be Peter, Paul and Mary.


14 Nov 07 - 08:55 PM (#2193997)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,Bill the sound

Derek Brimstone must be in the running also Hamish Henderson (sadly no longer with us) I saw him singing in Edinburgh when he was eighty


14 Nov 07 - 08:58 PM (#2193999)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: quantock

Shirley Collins? Must be at least 50 years.


14 Nov 07 - 10:17 PM (#2194055)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Effsee

Jeeze, I feel young again!


15 Nov 07 - 04:25 AM (#2194190)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Fred McCormick

"Longest running folk group (with no replacements along the way) has to be Peter, Paul and Mary."

The Rakes have been going for over fifty years with no personnel changes.


15 Nov 07 - 06:46 AM (#2194250)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Grab

Davey Graham's career started in 1959. Whether it should still be running has occupied a whole separate thread, though. :-/


15 Nov 07 - 07:36 AM (#2194278)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,andymac

Saw Louis Killen just a year or so ago, he must be well in there for longevity...
Packie Manus byrne as mentioned, still going strong...
Longest running roup with no changes? One candidate would be the Clutha, been running over 40 years and the only change is that (the fabulous) John Eaglesham no longer performs with them.

Another one might also be Flora McNeil of Barra, active at singing and collecting when Hamish henderson and Alan Lomax went collecting in the early 1950s.

What about Sheila Stewart? I'd wager like most traditional singers, she was singing from a very early age indeed and is now not quite so early-aged..

Bob Davenport must be another who's been round a while.

Then there's the wonderful John Milnes Baker from Connecticut, under appreciated, under-heard and just turned 75. told me a fabulous story last month when I visited of being in Moe Asch's store on Union Sq. and meeting a man with a guitar and wiry hair who was waiting for the start of the Sunday backroom session but was early and struck up a few songs..So John, in 1947 or so, sat alone in the shop, and was entertained by Woody Guthrie..


15 Nov 07 - 08:08 AM (#2194293)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: kendall

Gordon Bok, 50 years.


15 Nov 07 - 11:12 AM (#2194457)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,woodsie

The brilliant Wizz Jones is still going strong after more than 50 years on the folk scene


15 Nov 07 - 11:52 AM (#2194495)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: John on the Sunset Coast

Dick Greenhaus beat me to Sam Hinton. John Jacob Niles had a career as collector, folklorist and performer that approached sixty years.


15 Nov 07 - 01:25 PM (#2194577)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: dick greenhaus

Hinton, parenthetically, coined the term folksinger.


15 Nov 07 - 04:35 PM (#2194742)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Richard Bridge

He's dead now, of course, but Hugill?


15 Nov 07 - 05:30 PM (#2194809)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Cool Beans

Tom Glazer must have performed for 60 years or more.


16 Nov 07 - 11:39 AM (#2195329)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: oldhippie

Tom Lehrer is still around, although no longer performing.


16 Nov 07 - 12:16 PM (#2195352)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Leadbelly

Thinking of Tom Lehrer, his "good old friend" Georg Kreisler has to be mentioned. Born in 1922, he made 3 unreleased US-records in 1947.
And he's still on stage. Comes very near to Pete Seeger and some others mentioned.


16 Nov 07 - 12:18 PM (#2195354)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Rabbi-Sol

Nobody mentioned Faith Petric who is way up in her 90s now. She is still performing.

                                                       SOL


16 Nov 07 - 12:28 PM (#2195361)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Leadbelly

"She is still performing."

If this is true, Rabbi-Sol, Faith is our top-candidate at the moment.


16 Nov 07 - 12:31 PM (#2195365)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Rabbi-Sol

She does not travel to festivals anymore but she still performs regularly in the San Francisco area where she lives.

                                                    SOL


16 Nov 07 - 01:34 PM (#2195428)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Folkie101

Odetta still performs yearly.


16 Nov 07 - 01:44 PM (#2195445)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: pdq

There may be some question as to what constitutes a "career", but here is...

                         Faith Petric


23 May 14 - 03:00 PM (#3627857)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST

The Rakes are still doing gigs!


23 May 14 - 04:43 PM (#3627864)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: RoyH (Burl)

I started as a professional in 1964. I don't travel as widely as I used to, but I'm still active . I will be 81 in June.


23 May 14 - 04:59 PM (#3627866)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: pdq

Today, 23 MAY 2014 is Mac Wiseman's 89th birthday.

Happy birthday from all Folk, Country and Bluegrass fans.

He was playing bass for Bill Monroe in the late 1940s. A long time ago.


23 May 14 - 06:19 PM (#3627873)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Mark Ross

Ramblin' Jack is still going strong at 82. Just saw him perform last night here in Eugene, Oregon.


Mark Ross


24 May 14 - 02:12 AM (#3627901)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,Erich

Guy Carawan, Roy Bailey.


24 May 14 - 03:07 AM (#3627912)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,padgett

Derek Brimstone, Harvey Andrews, Tom Paley maybe

Ray


24 May 14 - 05:25 AM (#3627928)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

How about "Yankee Jack" John Short of Watchet who was a shanty man during the time of the American Civil War and still singing up to his death in 1933 at the age of 94.


24 May 14 - 06:59 AM (#3627940)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Johnny J

Longevity isn't everything.

While the names mentioned above are very worthy, there are many performers on the scene who just are going through the motions and should have retired years ago. Some artists have a relatively short performing/recording span but make a far greater impact in a shorter period of time.

!0 years of brilliance is just as good as a lifetime of mediocrity.


24 May 14 - 01:03 PM (#3627998)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: The Sandman

I cannot think of any professional perfomers who are mediocre.
mediocrity like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what might be mediocre to johnny j, might be beautiful to someone else.


24 May 14 - 05:31 PM (#3628046)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Don Firth

Tom Robbins (Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Still Life with Woodpecker, others) refers to his career as his "careen."

I like that. I'm hardly world famous, but I think I'm reasonably well-known in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle and environs).

I became acquainted with folk music in the 1940s when I listened to Burl Ives Sunday afternoon radio program, "The Wayfaring Stranger" and saw the movie "Glamor Girl" (1948) featuring Susan Reed. A friend of mine had an album by Richard Dyer-Bennet. Then, in my third year at the University of Washington I started going with a young lady who was into folk music in a big way, teaching herself to play the fine old parlor guitar her grandmother gave her and learning songs from a small paperback that was around at the time, A Treasury of Folk Songs compiled by John and Sylvia Kolb. Looked like fun, so I bought a cheap guitar ($9.95 plus a $5.00 fiberboard case) and a copy of the book, and started learning along with her.

One evening she and I went to an informal concert by Walt Robertson. I was completely enthralled by the variety of songs he sang, and it hit me. I wanted to do that! And I went at it in a big way, hit Walt up for lessons, then studied classical guitar (fast way to learn to use your right hand fingers), took a few voice lessons, and practiced up a storm.

I'd been at it for about three years when I got hired for my first gig. This would have been about 1955. A group of about 250 people. I was scared spitless, but when I finished (they really seemed to enjoy it and let me escape with my life!), I was exhilarated!   And I sang just about everywhere they would let me. In 1959, I was asked to do a series of television programs on Seattle' new educational station, KCTS-TV called "Ballads and Books," funded by the Seattle Public Library. This led to all kinds of jobs, regular coffee house engagements, college concerts, arts festivals. . . .   I was busy.

The most recent concert was with Bob (Deckman) Nelson, in 2007. But since then, I've pretty well hung it up. Within recent years, I've had to haul my carcass around in a wheelchair and it's getting tougher to get places.

But I still practice. Why practice you ask? Because I enjoy it!

Never made any records, but I'd like to. We'll see. . . .

But I think Bob Nelson has me beat. I'd been at it for a year maybe when I met Bob. He was sixteen at the time and had been at it since he was thirteen. He'd met a fellow named Bill Higley (Willowah Willie), who knew Haywire Mac, and Bob started learning the guitar and every song he could gleep off of Bill Higley, and from a big stack of Burl Ives records.

Bob and I worked together, singing concerts and coffee house gigs, off and on, for well over fifty years.

Don (*creak*) Firth


24 May 14 - 05:53 PM (#3628054)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson

Archie Fisher, from Glasgow, has been performing professionally from the late 1950s -- both in the UK and the US. He is a fine interpreter of Scottish traditional songs, an acknowledged guitarist and a recognised songwriter too.

He also has an ability to find and promote great songs from other writers.


24 May 14 - 06:42 PM (#3628059)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Airymouse

I don't know how Tom Lehrer got in to this thread, because I think of him as a rare example to show that there is such a thing as a good singer-songwriter. I have friend who taught a college course in Math for those who don't like Math. One of the assignments was a term paper, for which one student wrote to Tom Lehrer and asked for copies of his publications in mathematics. You might think Tom Lehrer wouldn't bother to reply to such a request, but you would be wrong: he sent a budget of all his papers together with a nice letter. Of course, the math was way over the student's head, but I think the student deserved an A, just for thinking of the idea.


24 May 14 - 07:21 PM (#3628069)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach

Willie Nelson - Doc Watson - spring to mind and Wizz Jones has been going since the late 50s In the blues B B King over 80 and still working


24 May 14 - 08:13 PM (#3628077)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: voyager

Who cares?

Going to see Joan Baez in July.
50+ years in the music business is good enough for me.

voyager


27 May 14 - 05:11 AM (#3628469)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST

Blues-man James
Eric Anderson has been around since the early 60's (perhaps the late 50's) he is still performing


27 May 14 - 06:25 AM (#3628484)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Leadbelly

Funny!

I started this thread from 7 years ago!

Thanks for refreshment,Guest.

Manfred


27 May 14 - 08:23 AM (#3628508)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Young Buchan

For a career we have to consider BOTH terminal dates. Sam Larner ceased singing when he was a mere stripling of 87 but we know he first sang in public at age 9.


27 May 14 - 01:23 PM (#3628578)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Stringsinger

Hi Robyn,

Thanks for the remembrance.

Sadly, Erik is no longer with us. Ronnie is still in the Bay Area and Freddie, last time I saw him was at Toshi's memorial service sounding great as ever. Guy and Jack are still at it. Peggy Seeger is still performing, good as ever. Oscar Brand, also. My old partner and friend, Ernie Lieberman is still writing and singing.

Dick, I think it was actually Carl Sandburg who predated Sam that invented the term
"folksinger" although it has a German equivalent. "Minnesinger?"


27 May 14 - 01:49 PM (#3628584)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: GUEST

It's a little sad looking through the names to realise that since it was started we've lost -

Pete Seeger
Davey Graham
Louise Killen
Brian Dawson
Odetta
Doc Watson.

:(


27 May 14 - 01:49 PM (#3628585)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Leadbelly

Hi Stringsinger,

here comes a short article about Minnesänger resp. Minnesaenger taken from Wikipedia:

"Minnesang was the tradition of lyric and song writing in Germany which flourished in the 12th century and continued into the 14th century. People who wrote and performed Minnesang are known as Minnesingers (German: Minnesänger). The name derives from the word minne, Middle High German for love which was their main subject, and an individual song was a minnelied. The Minnesänger were similar to the Provençal troubadours and northern French trouvères; they wrote love poetry in the courtly love tradition in Middle High German in the High Middle Ages."

The actual terms in Germany are Volkssänger (folksinger) resp. Volksmusiker (folk musicians).


27 May 14 - 02:53 PM (#3628586)
Subject: RE: Folk singers with longest career
From: Don Firth

I heard that the first person to have used the terms "folk song" and "folk singer" was German philosopher, poet, and literary critic Johann Gottfried von Herder (25 August 1744 – 18 December 1803), who advised composers who wished to write music in a specific national style to listen to "volkslieder, die Lieder alter Völker" (folk song, the songs of the people) for a true "national flavor."

He was also quite adamant that the "volk" did not mean just the "rabble" or "lower classes." Somewhat before his time, he argued for a classless society.

By the way, great book, if you can find a copy:   The Old Troubadour by Gregory d'Alessio.

Don Firth