The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123157   Message #4197908
Posted By: GUEST,twm 909
24-Feb-24 - 06:50 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: 'The Singer's Club'
Subject: RE: Folklore: 'The Singer's Club'
I am not researching London folk clubs in the 1960s. I was looking into a related matter and this 'thread' came to my attention. Reading through it, I saw the Ballads & Blues mentioned and, since I had some of the relevant materials to hand, I thought I might contribute something. It was serendipity, I suppose.

The last name that I expected to see was Dean Gitter. His name had come up 10 or 15 years ago, to do with some film proposal he had in 1973. That proposal was peripherally connected to a Peckinpah film, an aspect of which a friend of mine has been looking into. While giving some help, Dean Gitter popped into my mind. And then his name was in this thread. Another stroke of serendipity.

I simply had not previously known that Dean Gitter had been in London folk clubs back then. I only knew the name because of that 1973 film proposal. I have since found his name in a March 1953 EVENING STANDARD article about the Ballads and Blues. So I now know that he performed there on 12 March 1953. It said he came from Boston, so, more out of curiosity than anything, I looked for newspaper reports in that general area and found quite a bit about him. A 1971 article said he got a scholarship to LAMDA and met his future wife, who ws British, in London. Apart from that and that one B&B appearance, I know nothing more of his time in London.

In the States, he recorded an LP ("Ghost Songs") and managed Odetta. Indeed, he wrote the notes for her 1956 Tradition LP, "Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues".

I wonder where he got that title from.

If you, or anyone here, can add anything else about Gitter's time in London, it would fun to learn more.

Yes, MELODY MAKER's "Folk Forum" column is an excellent research source and, some years back, I did a little digging at the British Library - perhaps I'll do some more some time. I also have quite a bit of "stuff" from the 1960s - folk mags and the like, old club membership cards, tickets, and some of my old pocket diaries.