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Who is like Jean Ritchie?

07 Nov 01 - 03:47 PM (#587706)
Subject: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: mousethief

Okay, I know I'm late at this, but I've just discovered the recordings of Jean Ritchie and am very excited about it!

So, now, I ask: is there anybody else who sings "the old songs" with such authority? I'm especially interested in older recordings.

Thanks,
Alex


07 Nov 01 - 04:05 PM (#587718)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Bennet Zurofsky

No one is like Jean Ritchie. Many, however, have been influenced by her. Jean combines the book-learning of a well-schooled folk revivalist with her early childhood growing up in the Cumberland mountains with traditional song sung by traditional singers. She is also an excellent songwriter (sometimes under the pseudonym 'Than Hall) and performer. We might not even know the Appalachian Dulcimer existed, and it might not have become widely played, except for Jean.

If you enjoy her music you need not despair, she has made many recordings over the years (although few are in print now, with some industrious searching they can be found in l.p. form, and Smithsonian/Folkways offers several on cassette).

For others who sing the "old songs" with a similar sort of authority, however, you might try Lou Killen or Hedy West.


07 Nov 01 - 04:09 PM (#587721)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: GUEST,Russ

All the singers of the old songs are unique in their own beautiful way, but start by listening to
Almeda (Granny) Riddle
Sheila K. Adams
Texas Gladden
Maggie Hammons Parker
Sheila Stewart
Jeannie Robertson
All of Jean's recordings are priceless, but the Folkways albums of her family's versions of the Child Ballads are AWESOME.


07 Nov 01 - 04:09 PM (#587722)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Bennet Zurofsky

Oops, I almost forgot. If you are at all interested in traditional american song you will greatly enjoy reading Jean's memoir of her childhood, "Singing Family of the Cumberlands." Many libraries have it on their shelves.


07 Nov 01 - 04:11 PM (#587725)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Sorcha

Should Malvina Reynolds be on this list? I know she did a lot of original material, but I think the style is similar.


07 Nov 01 - 04:17 PM (#587729)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: GUEST,Russ

Oops, forgot Bobby McMillon.


07 Nov 01 - 04:20 PM (#587734)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: mousethief

Thanks, everybody! What a great head-start. Off to start listening!

Alex


07 Nov 01 - 05:39 PM (#587788)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Bill D

also, Betty Smith...on Folk Legacy, has a lot of the same 'feel'


07 Nov 01 - 05:45 PM (#587790)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Kim C

Jeez, Alex, you're a little late on the wagon, aintcha? ;-)

I have a couple of Jean's Christmas albums that I absolutely LOVE.


07 Nov 01 - 05:55 PM (#587800)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Lonesome EJ

Have you heard Roger McGuinn's new album Treasures from the Folk Den? In addition to Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Josh White, Judy Collins and Odetta, Jean is featured on two songs, including Fair Nottamun Town.


07 Nov 01 - 06:45 PM (#587833)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Don Firth

Uh . . . I think kytrad here on Mudcat is kinda like Jean Ritchie . . . isn't she?

Don Firth


07 Nov 01 - 06:52 PM (#587838)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Willa

Hi, Mousethief; do a forum search on User name kytrad - you'll find it interesting to say the least.


07 Nov 01 - 06:53 PM (#587840)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: katlaughing

She sure is, Don, and we're proud of her being here, too!

Alex, the tape that Sandy Paton has at Folk Legacy, called "Edna Ritchie of Viper, Kentucky" (Jean's sister) is priceless. If you like Jean, you'd love Edna's lovely singing and lap dulcimer playing. Just beautiful.

kat


07 Nov 01 - 08:27 PM (#587904)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: catspaw49

Well I got here late and a lot of what I would say has been said. Jean is simply remarkable and there are few people in folk who would not acknowledge the tremendous debt we owe her. I'm always happy to get another Jean Ritchie fan Alex.......What a wonderful woman.

It has been a pleasure and a gift to have her here at the 'Cat. When the state of Kentucky made the dulcimer their instrument and then declared a day for Jean at which she donated the very dulcimer she took with her to New York so many years ago, it was a special occasion and a lot of us here were there in spirit as weplayed along with Jean's "Amazing Grace" at the same time from many miles away. Mary in Kentucky was able to be there for the actual event too.

Kat is right on Edna BTW.....The Ritchie family had a "Family Voice" as distinctive and beautiful as the mountains from which they came and a sense of history and time and tradition as wonderful as the river valley where you'll find their home in Viper. I met a niece of Jean's nieces in college and she was distinctly a Ritchie. I've told a story about Jean playing one night in Hindman at the Setllement School over 30 years ago now and the influence and understanding I gained that evening as I listened to her.

Also Alex, not nearly so "sweet" but every bit as authentic and true is another of my favorites, Frank Proffitt. Sandy recorded him many years ago and they just released the compilation that had been on tape as a CD.....It's freakin' wonderful!!!! Edna's tape is available from Sandy too and in it you will hear a beautiful voice and one of the most tasteful applications of mountain dulcimer you will ever hear.

FOLK LEGACY RECORDS

Spaw


07 Nov 01 - 08:33 PM (#587910)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Art Thieme

DITTO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Art


07 Nov 01 - 10:29 PM (#587967)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Big Mick

Get the book. As much as I have always loved and appreciated this woman's singing, once I had read the story of her life and her family, the enjoyment was enhanced geometrically. Alex, you simply must get the Smithsonian Folkways recording of Jean and Doc Watson live from Folk City. This is one of the seminal concert recordings in our genre. And I second, third and fourth the recommendations above. But if you want to know our Jean, get the book. She is a wonderful human being.

Mick


07 Nov 01 - 10:35 PM (#587969)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: John Hardly

Got my brand new Elderly Instruments catalogue in the mail yesterday. There she was----one of their "Hot Picks" (CDs they pick as their favorite, "must haves")


07 Nov 01 - 10:54 PM (#587986)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: katlaughing

Well, Spaw, I only knew about Edna because of you, and Jean, too, so thanks to you for that and for being so eloquent in your descriptions of Jean and family.

I totally agree about the Frank Proffit CD, too. Just love it.

There is also another, Joe gifted me with this CD which I think is precious for the old songs and the way they are sung by Sam Hinton in a Library of Congress 1947 recording. Just wonderful.

kat


07 Nov 01 - 11:38 PM (#588007)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: GUEST,BigDaddy

I've been enjoying Jean's recordings for about 33 years now and have to say there is no one "like" her. She's an American original and it's good to see that she is getting the recognition and admiration she deserves. She's a treasure. If you can, find a too-long out-of-print LP called "Clear Waters Remembered." I could rave on, but have done so before.


08 Nov 01 - 12:30 AM (#588029)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Stewie

Rosalie Sorrells
Margaret MacArthur
Sarah Ogan Gunning
Jean Redpath
Hazel Dickens

--Stewie.


08 Nov 01 - 12:40 AM (#588033)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: GUEST

nobody


08 Nov 01 - 12:48 AM (#588036)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: catspaw49

All wonderful Stewie!

I know I haven't mentioned this before, but as Mick and several others have said, Singing family of the Cumberlands is a great book. I read it years ago and and have re-read it several times since, but because kat mentioned Joe.....................

Joe Offer is a truly good guy and he does much for the 'Cat and also some wonderful little things he doesn't like anyone to know about.....midwestern reserve and all. Last year I got one of Jean's copies of that book. Signed by Jean to me and everything. It had a little Post-It note on it and indeed Joe had gotten it for me, knowing what a fan I was............So now he's embarassed I've told the tale on him, but it was a very sweet and wonderful surprise and a book I now treasure. Thank you Joe!

Alex, I don't think it's come up in this thread, but get a copy of the PBS TV special from the library called "Mountain Born"......It's Jean and her story and music....just wonderful. The album that coincides with it is outstanding too. And here is the Jean Ritchie Official Homepage

Spaw


08 Nov 01 - 01:08 AM (#588046)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Charlie Baum

More Appalachian music:
Besides Frank Proffitt, there's a whole batch of folks from Beech Mountain, NC recorded by Sandy Paton available on a couple of Folk Legacy recordings (probably custoim cassettes, these days). You'll hear Buna Hicks and Lee Presnell and their neighbors.

E.C. Ball
Doc Watson and his family

--Charlie Baum


08 Nov 01 - 01:14 AM (#588050)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: catspaw49

Ya know charlie, we've talked about that before. It's really amazing isn't it? So many and so much of Appalachian trad in this tiny pocket in western North Carolina...........Like Greenwood, Mississippi which is the home of all those great writers...Faulkner, Foote, Harper Lee, capote, Eudora Welty.

Always wonder what is in the air and water in those places doncha'?

Spaw


08 Nov 01 - 09:49 AM (#588200)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: GUEST,Frank

You might enjoy the singing of Hally Wood from Texas. I don't know if Texas Gladden was mentioned. A must hear!

Since Jeannie Robertson was mentioned, then it would be good to hear Margaret Barry, (The Irish Tinker Lady).

Jean is a one-of-a-kind though. She's a remarkable person. A folk song scholar as well as representative of a Cumberland Mountain folk tradition. She's also a great songwriter. The L and N Don't Stop Here Anymore, Black Waters, and many others.

Frank


08 Nov 01 - 11:30 AM (#588261)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Tom French

Unique to Jean, are varried opportunities to experience original music in a setting of an old mountain family in the Appalachians at Viper, Kentucky. Jean went to NY, but very fortunately some people heard her singing some of her family songs where she worked. Now Jean's a very unassuming person and it took others to convince her that she had something very unique to share. But once she decided to share it, she did (does) so with a most intimate humility. There could be others like her, but I haven't explored far enough to meet them in any form.

Just last night, before I found this thread, I was reading the Christmas chapter from "Singing Family of the Cumberlands". I've owned the book for many years and the Christmas stories have time and again become a Christmas season ritual. John Langstaff brought Jean to American Christmas Revels to tell her stories, which I saw. Very nice, but I'm not sure if Jean is still occassionally doing Revels. So along with the earlier posts, yes indeed read the Singing Family of the Cumberlands; it is essential to the Jean Ritchie experience. We are most fortunate that she took the time to write that book. All the other chapters contain the same tenderness of experiences that will make you quietly smile or cry. I recommend owning it, but it is hard to come by these days.

I also had the privelege to hear Jean in person at a small coffee house in Hartford, CT run by the late Bill Domler in the basement of an old nearly abandoned Methodist church tucked in some tiny old residential streets. What I've said of her above and knew from her music and writings was very present in the person. That evening will probably always remain to be my "best" evening concert. I'll never forget her story behind and singing of "What'll We Do With the Baby-Oh" from that evening. Very easy to fall in love with such a woman.

Curiously I only own her Kentucky Christmas recording. The reason why is that I first met Jean from picking up her old Oak publications songbnok. I'm more of a song reader than a song listener, and I found myself slowly absorbing just about every song in that book. I used her younger kid songs in teaching and the rest for my own pleasure. Having no family song background of my own, I adopted Jean's. It's hard to describe what the quality is, but I would say 'straightforward' comes close. I could relate to naturalness of the tune lines that are really foreign to most people. They are intricity bound in simplicity.

Yeah, it's really easy to see why you like Jean!


08 Nov 01 - 12:31 PM (#588298)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Bill D

it makes me happy that I can sing "Black Waters" in almost any folk group now, amd find that many people know it..(maybe its being done by John McCutcheon helped, but Jean made those images, and put the power in it!)


08 Nov 01 - 12:53 PM (#588319)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: pattyClink

Catspaw, are you on some federal grant to spread misinformation about Mississippi? Shelby Foote was from Greenville, Truman Capote New Orleans, William Faulkner was born in New Albany but lived much of his life in Oxford, Miss., and Harper Lee was an Alabaman. Sorry to digress from the heart of the thread, but so many people use the 'cat as an information source I hated to see a whole pile of off-center information go into the record...

Adding my admiration for Jean Ritchie and thanks to everyone for posting book titles and other people to listen to, good sources for exploring 'real' music.


08 Nov 01 - 02:23 PM (#588420)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: catspaw49

Yes, that's my mission but I'm happy to be corrected!!!

I picked it up myself from somewhere else many years ago from a newspaper as I recall. I never investigated it beyond that and I appreciate your info.....which I shall go investigate. Now perhaps you can also help on another piece of Mississippi information for me regarding the Tallahatchie Bridge story as told in the song "Ode to Billie Joe." See if I have it right.

The story of Billie Joe is based in truth but stylized to some degree. It is an old story, dating back to the the late 40's when the only daughter of John Hatch, a Mississippi Klansman of some note, was in love with the first black attorney in the state. Jubilee Simmons was the grandson of slaves and had gone to school at the University of Chicago and returned to his family's home state, taking up residence in Carroll county in 1948. John Hatch's daughter was known to be a bit wild and young Kelli had already incurred her father's wrath on numerous occasions. Kelli was living with two other 22 year old women in the small town of Campton, Mississippi when she met and began dating Simmons. Her father learned of it a few weeks later and came into town drunk with some Klan buddies to hunt down and kill Simmons. Simmons law offices were opposite the county courthouse and from an open window he could hear the drunken invectives hurled his way from across the square. He slipped out a back door and went to Kelli's house to take her away and save them both from the murderous rancor of her father and his "brethren."

Not finding Jubilee in his office the Klansmen split up to search for him and John Hatch went to his daughter's, presumably to beat her or possibly worse. He arrived before the pair had left and headed in the back porch door adjoining the kitchen. Seeing him coming, Simmons grabbed a kitchen knife and jumped atop the counter and then onto the top of the refrigerator that stood by the door. As John Hatch passed, he didn't notice Simmons who then jumped him safely from behind and in the ensuing struggle, Hatch was stabbed with the knife. The lovers bagged his body and threw it off a bridge on their way out of town. They were on their way to Chicago when they were arrested in Clarksville, Tennessee and returned for trial in Mississippi. Jubilee represented both and thanks to the testimony of one of the roommates and Mrs. Hatch who had suffered abuse for years at the hands of her husband, both were acquitted and moved to Chicago where he established a moderately successful practice on the south side.

The original song told the story as it was, but owing to legal considerations, the Gentry version was done instead. The original was titled, "The Day that Jubilee the Barrister Jumped Off of Kelli Hatch's Fridge."

Spaw


08 Nov 01 - 02:43 PM (#588435)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Joe Offer

I spent many hours at the CAMSCO and Folk-Legacy booths at the Getaway a couple weeks ago, and did some serious damage to my checking account. One Rounder CD I picked up was a Jean Ritchie reissue, two LP's on one CD - "None But One" and "High Hills and Mountains." I've been thinking you could title this CD "Jean Ritchie goes ELECTRIC," but that wouldn't be quite fair. Nonetheless, you can hear electric guitars on a couple of cuts, and they sound pretty good. It's a darn wonderful CD.

I also picked up a delightful CD by Margaret MacArthur called "Them Stars." Margaret has two CD's and lots of earlier recordings. She sings the old songs (and a few new ones) from a Vermont perspective, and the results are wonderful.

-Joe Offer-


08 Nov 01 - 05:19 PM (#588527)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Tom French

Correction: singing Family in the Cumberlands is available from Jean @ her website along with recordings and other books


09 Nov 01 - 12:57 AM (#588788)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: GUEST

LOL, Spaw! (Damn, you're good.)


09 Nov 01 - 02:00 AM (#588799)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: Art Thieme

'Spaw,

THAT should've been the screenplay for Oh Brother Where Art Thou---not the stupid demeaning farce that they actually released under that title (with some pretty fine music behind it). Where were you when the Coenhead brothers needed you??? (Your pun was o.k. too--but just barely--and lower case at that.)

Art Thieme


09 Nov 01 - 06:44 AM (#588862)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: catspaw49

Ahh.....Thank you Art! I am simply trying to live up to the precedents you have established. Additionally, you'll be happy to know I have used it here before, again maintaining the traditions and standards!

Spaw


04 Jun 15 - 04:04 PM (#3714485)
Subject: RE: Who is like Jean Ritchie?
From: GUEST,Waddy

The Tennessee born singer that is now living in California Susie Glaze is an amazing singer that completely captures Jean's sound. With a purer tone but the voice is very similar. Susie performed in a tribute show called Singin' the Moon Up: the Voice of Jean Ritchie. It is available on CD at CD Baby and Amazon. Or go to susieglaze.com and see some video and listen.