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10 Trailblazing Female Musicians

Vic Smith 14 Jun 11 - 06:24 AM
GUEST 14 Jun 11 - 06:56 AM
Rob Naylor 14 Jun 11 - 06:57 AM
Will Fly 14 Jun 11 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 14 Jun 11 - 04:37 PM
VirginiaTam 14 Jun 11 - 04:57 PM
Will Fly 14 Jun 11 - 05:06 PM
Don Firth 14 Jun 11 - 06:26 PM
Don Firth 14 Jun 11 - 06:47 PM
pdq 14 Jun 11 - 08:13 PM
pdq 14 Jun 11 - 08:19 PM
catspaw49 14 Jun 11 - 08:21 PM
pdq 14 Jun 11 - 08:25 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Jun 11 - 12:30 PM
Silas 15 Jun 11 - 12:38 PM
Fred McCormick 15 Jun 11 - 12:59 PM
Bill D 15 Jun 11 - 02:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Jun 11 - 08:48 PM
Bobert 15 Jun 11 - 09:31 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 16 Jun 11 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,lively 16 Jun 11 - 02:33 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 16 Jun 11 - 04:35 PM
Little Hawk 16 Jun 11 - 05:42 PM
Bill D 16 Jun 11 - 06:21 PM
Little Hawk 16 Jun 11 - 08:15 PM
BTNG 16 Jun 11 - 09:20 PM
GUEST 16 Jun 11 - 09:35 PM
GUEST 17 Jun 11 - 12:58 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 17 Jun 11 - 03:58 PM
PHJim 17 Jun 11 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Big Ballad Singer 17 Jun 11 - 11:02 PM
Don Firth 18 Jun 11 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Gail 18 Jun 11 - 04:44 PM
pdq 18 Jun 11 - 05:02 PM
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Subject: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 06:24 AM

Well, it was actually Ian Anderson that noted this on Facebook and that's where I found out about it - but it really ought to be mentioned here....

About.com gives a list of 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians at
http://altmusic.about.com/od/top10lists/tp/10-Trailblazing-Female-Musicians.htm

and look whose at number 1!

It says of her:-

Shirley Collins was a 19-year-old singer and folk-music enthusiast when, in London in 1954, she met legendary ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. Soon after, she was traveling through the Deep South of America, making field recordings of hillbillies and bluesman. A diligent student, Collins became a repository of folksong, both English and American, and grew into a towering, definitive figure in the folk revival. She mixed old forms with new (1964's jazzy collaboration with Davy Graham, Folk Roots, New Routes) and employed ancient, archaic instruments to critique modern Britain (1969's legendary Anthems in Eden). For Collins, cataloging oral musical traditions was a fiercely political act, putting history back in the hands of the people.

Some of the others aren't bad either, but I'm not sure that they all deserve to be in such select company.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 06:56 AM

Strange to see Delia Derbyshire there...she was DEFINITELY a trailblazer...not just among women: the stuff she was doing in the early 60s was *way* "ahead of the curve" but despite her later having her own band, and putting out an album, I wouldn't really class her as a "musician"...a "Sound Artist" would be closer, IMO.

Of the others, I'd say only Patti Smith and Björk are truly "qualified" to be on the list. Mind you. all such lists are just subjective nonsense for the most part, anyway!


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 06:57 AM

Sorry, "Guest" above was me with a dead cookie.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 07:59 AM

Mmm... I always distrust lists of the 10 best this or that. But Shirley was indeed a trailblazer.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 04:37 PM

Joni Mitchell! So many contemporary female musicians owe some much to Joni. Even if they don't know it.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 04:57 PM

Not one black woman on that list, I guess they filled the diversity remit with Yoko Ono.

Nina Simone comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 05:06 PM

Sister Rosetta Tharpe?
Billie Holiday?


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 06:26 PM

There was a time, in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when about the only singers of traditional folk songs that most Americans had ever heard of were Burl Ives, with his radio program, "The Wayfarin' Stranger," and this pretty, sweet-voiced young lady.

Although she was definitely one of the pioneers of the folk music revival in the United States, she pretty much withdrew and let it pass her by. Nevertheless, she was very much there at the time, and a strong influence on many young singers investigating folk music for the first time (I have a couple of her records).

Sad to hear that she passed away, as far as I know, unnoticed here on Mudcat, on April 25th, 2010, at the age of 84.

Susan Reed.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 06:47 PM

Naw, I blew it (failing memory, egad!??). There was a thread here on Mudcat noting Susan Reed's passing.

CLICKY.

Nevertheless, she surely deserves a mention in any discussion of trailblazing female musicians in the folk music field.

Don Firth

P. S. Her passing also noted in The Guardian:   Susan Reed.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: pdq
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 08:13 PM

The list seems to have only one "folkie", that being Shirley Collins.

The rest seem to be either loud or just plain weird.

Except for Ms. Collins, the rest blazed trails that, perhaps, should have been allowed to be overgrown with weeds.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: pdq
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 08:19 PM

As far as Black women go, may I second Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Add Memphis Minnie, Mamie Smith, Ethel Waters and Pearl Bailey.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 08:21 PM

The list lost any and all credibility with the inclusion of Yoko Ohmygawdno. Gimmee a friggin break.............


Spaw


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: pdq
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 08:25 PM

...forgot Alberta Hunter and Lil Hardin.

The Hot Five was Hardin's group. Louie worked for her at that time.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 12:30 PM

Like Yoko or not (and I don't) she did some ground breaking stuff.

For me... no black female singer musician surpasses Odetta. But I am biased.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Silas
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 12:38 PM

Agreeing with spaw (and I think that is a first!)


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 12:59 PM

Trailblazing female musicians. What ever happened to Bessie Smith?

Come to think of it, and I'm no fan IMBS, but where are Edith Piaf, Kathleen Ferrier, Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald?

Come to think of it again, the Carter Family was in effect a female duo, at a time when country music didn't do females. A bit of trailblazing there, methinks.

Methinks in fact that this list is too selective.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 02:12 PM

Must be a pretty important list if I have never heard of 6 of them!

Poly Styrene? sheesh!


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 08:48 PM

Ah yes! where would we be without those ladies blazing a trail?

I suspect I didn't follow that particular trail. that was undoubtedly, the fork in the road that where i went wrong. I am left gnashing my teeth in bitterness and obscurity - full of ire and vitriol.

Silly me!


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 09:31 PM

Here's my Top Ten:

Mama Thornton

Victoria Spivey

Janis Joplin

Judy Collins

Joan Baez

Stevie Nicks

Emmylou Harris

Mary Travers

Chrissie Hynde and...

_____________________ (Later...)

B~


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 12:01 AM

Margaret Barry
Sarah Makem
Sarah & Maybelle Carter
Molly O'Day
Patsy Montana
Kitty Wells


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 02:33 AM

It would be interesting to hear from those offering their own lists of "trailblazers" what they think was so pioneering, new and innovative about the music of the women they cite? Particularly as I haven't heard of many of them myself.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 04:35 PM

Well, my top two would be Billy Holliday (not one of my personal favourites) who blazed a trail - and was the main inspiration - for Ella, Sarah, Dinah etc, and Joni Mitchell, who was/is a lot more influential than any other "folky".


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 05:42 PM

Buffy Sainte-Marie should appear on such a list for a number of reasons, possibly the foremost being that she was one of the very first people in music to make extensive use of personal computers in both composing and recording...if not the first. Her album "Illuminations" made us of some of that computer work, and I think it came out in '68. She was way ahead of the curve, and she is a brilliant woman.

Joni Mitchell should also appear on such a list, and so should Joan Baez.

And also Odetta, Maybelle Carter, and Billie Holiday.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 06:21 PM

Seems to me that several lists read like 'favorites' rather than 'trailblazers'.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 08:15 PM

Yeah, including probably the original list in the article that started this whole debate... ;-)

Let's face it, Bill, people are most likely to mention names they already know quite a bit about, aren't they? And why not? They don't know enough about the others to be in any position to have an opinion.

But Odetta, Maybelle Carter, Joni Mitchell, and Billie Holiday are not among my personal favorites. I am simply aware that they each made a very big contribution to music.

If I were to make a list of personal favorites (among female singers) it would be: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joan Baez, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Tish Hinojosa, Loreena McKennit, Enya, and Lynn Miles. If I were to name the single finest female songwriter IMO it would be Mary-Chapin Carpenter. I do not necessarily put all the same names on a list of the 10 greatest female trailblazers in music. Trailblazing is a different matter.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: BTNG
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 09:20 PM

I'm listening to Sandy Denny right at this moment...


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 09:35 PM

Hildegard von Bingen (aka Sibyl of the Rhine) her scores public domain.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 12:58 AM

You're right Fred. Edith Piaf, Kathleen Ferrier, Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald were at the forefront. I suppsoe it depends on the trail - ie is it down to innovation, or leadership by talent, luck. Not a big fan of lists.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 03:58 PM

i see a documentary on sister rosetta tharpe months ago.amazed not only by her gospel voice,but electric guitar style.she would have fit in a rock/blues band IMO.TRAILBLAZING i reckon.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 04:23 PM

I'd have to put Vi Redd and Karen Dalton near or at the top of my list of favourites, though to be ground-breaking, there would have to be a number of people who were influenced by them and neither of these ladies achieved enough recognition to be ground-breaking.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST,Big Ballad Singer
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 11:02 PM

+1 on Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Mary Travers.

Also totally agree with the inclusion of Sister Rosetta. She could wipe the floor with a LOT of guitar players I know who actually get PAID to play as badly as they do.

Lydia Mendoza, anyone? A female corrido/ranchero singer and none-too-shabby guitarist in a very macho (no pun intended) musical and cultural environment of the 20s and on in Mexico.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Jun 11 - 02:00 PM

I must agree with GUEST at 16 Jun 11 - 09:35 p.m.

Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179), a Benedictine abbess, wrote over seventy compositions. Perhaps more, but those are the only ones that have survived. I have a friend (a fine singer of folk songs and ballads) who also sings in the Seattle Medieval Women's Choir, and I've heard them do a number of Hildegard's works. Interesting stuff. Very medieval!

As far as I know, Hildegard is the first woman composer of note—at least the first one in the music history books—and she was also a bit of a feminist. Kind of unusual in that era, especially for a nun. Pious, not notably militant, but she did manage to buck the Church on a couple of occasions, and got her way.

A bit more modern. How about Elizabeth Cotton?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 18 Jun 11 - 04:44 PM

Don, you beat me to it, I too was going to suggest Elizabeth Cotton.


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Subject: RE: 10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
From: pdq
Date: 18 Jun 11 - 05:02 PM

Perhaps people will do a little research concerning Ethyl Waters and Mamie Smith.

The latter had the first "million seller" by a Black artist, male or female. She made the records companies realize that "race records" were a viable business. All that followed owe her something.

Waters was one of the most popular music hall performers of her time and enjoyed a wide following on both sides of the color barrier.


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