The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #148466   Message #3448160
Posted By: Don Firth
06-Dec-12 - 01:46 PM
Thread Name: Jean Ritchie Turns 90
Subject: RE: Jean Ritchie Turns 90
And Happy Birthday greetings from Seattle.

When my interest in folk music first became active in around 1952 or so, I went to Campus Music and Gallery, my favorite record store, and browsed through the folk music bin. Not very many in those days, no more than seven, all 10" LPs. A couple of Burl Ives, one of Susan Reed, one of Pete Seeger, one of Richard Dyer-Bennet, one of Kathleen Ferrier (classical voice, piano accompaniment)—and one of Jean Ritchie. These were the days before "shrink wrap," and the store had listening booths, so you could listen to the records and decide if you wanted to buy them or not.

All good stuff. But when I got to the Jean Ritchie record, something inside me said, "This is for real!"

I blew my limited student budget and bought the whole stack. And began learning songs from them. And I have a well-thumbed copy of Singing Family of the Cumberlands on my bookshelves.

Well do I remember sitting over coffee with a friend, discussing, puzzling, and speculating over the strange symbolism in "Nottamun Town."

Thank you, Jean, for many hours—years—of enjoyment. And for showing the way.

Don Firth