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Folklore: Hazel Dickens bio


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lefthanded guitar 31 Dec 08 - 01:36 PM
Ebbie 31 Dec 08 - 02:24 PM
lefthanded guitar 31 Dec 08 - 02:48 PM
Michael S 01 Jan 09 - 11:01 AM
lefthanded guitar 02 Jan 09 - 01:39 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Hazel Dickens bio
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:36 PM

I just discovered a wonderful book in my library, a bio of Hazel Dickens. It is a short bio but includes some great pictures and lyrics to many of her songs. I saw Hazel about a year ago and her voice was a little quavery (well she IS in her seventies) but her material is amazing! As I read about her life,from her humble origins from a coal mining county in W. Virginia (hence the song that made us all feel we wanted to go home to those lovely hills)to the vibrant folk music scene in Balimore, I am disappointed that her music has not had a wider audience. I hope this book brings her more well deserved acknowledgement- she is a rare champion of the bare truth for women, working people and the struggling underclass, giving them the face and name that is neglected elsewhere in the media.

Her songs about greed, written in the 60's and 70's, are even more biting and scathing and true today. I find her an honest and compelling topical 'protest' singer whose meaningful music will not go out of style. In light of the current developments in our economy, I would love to hear her music more widely played and appreciated.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Hazel Dickens bio
From: Ebbie
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 02:24 PM

You remind me of when I sang West Virginia, My Home to my family. There was silence at the end until my sister said, You made me feel so homesick- and then I remembered, I used to live in Virginia, not West Virginia!

It is a moving song, as so many of Hazel's songs are- have you heard 'Only the Lonely'? And 'Mama's Hands'?

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Hazel Dickens bio
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 02:48 PM

Yes Ebbie, it does tug at the heart, and her music has a universal appeal no matter which state you cmoe from.

I've heard Mama's Hands,very moving song as you say; but not Only the Lonely. I think I'm gonna have to set aside a Hazel Dickens day for myself, sifting through YouTube and asking friends what they know of her songs.

I agree that so many of her songs are moving, whether they are love songs or songs about place or the struggles of everyday, working people. In the book she has a short essay before each song, explaining how it evolved from her life. She mentions how she came to Baltimore (I think this was from the essay on Mama's Hands) and how there were signs that said "No Hillbillies Allowed" when she was looking for a place to live. Her mama and family were a great source of strength, comfort and' inspiration to her, and I find it touching that a family of 'humble means supported her musical career. She met up with Mike Seeger, amongst others, in a mid Atlantic song circle that launched her from a reserved but strong minded country girl into a more sophisticated wider world of country and folk music.

When you read her song lyrics about greed, outsourcing and corporate ethics (or NON ethics) you would think they were written last month.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Hazel Dickens bio
From: Michael S
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 11:01 AM

Are we talking about Working Girl Blues?

It's a recent entry in the University of Illinois Press' series Music in American Life

Happy New Year to all.

Michael Scully

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Hazel Dickens bio
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 01:39 PM

Thats the one, (title slipped my mind) THANKS for providing this info .

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