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Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney

Acme 10 Jan 10 - 12:36 AM
Phil Cooper 10 Jan 10 - 08:39 AM
Mary Katherine 10 Jan 10 - 10:58 AM
Chris in Portland 10 Jan 10 - 11:02 AM
Acme 10 Jan 10 - 11:03 AM
Acme 10 Jan 10 - 11:12 AM
Mary Katherine 10 Jan 10 - 11:19 AM
SINSULL 10 Jan 10 - 11:32 AM
dwditty 10 Jan 10 - 12:27 PM
Mary Katherine 10 Jan 10 - 12:27 PM
kendall 10 Jan 10 - 12:31 PM
Acme 10 Jan 10 - 12:54 PM
Art Thieme 10 Jan 10 - 12:56 PM
Suzy T. 10 Jan 10 - 01:20 PM
Art Thieme 10 Jan 10 - 03:04 PM
Wesley S 10 Jan 10 - 03:28 PM
Acme 10 Jan 10 - 03:37 PM
John Hardly 10 Jan 10 - 07:29 PM
Mark Clark 10 Jan 10 - 07:50 PM
Acme 10 Jan 10 - 10:26 PM
Suzy T. 10 Jan 10 - 10:54 PM
GUEST 11 Jan 10 - 12:42 PM
Art Thieme 01 Jun 10 - 09:40 PM
Acme 01 Jun 10 - 11:57 PM
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Subject: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Acme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 12:36 AM

I've been listening to CD Texas Sheiks issued recently by Geoff Muldaur. Muldaur is a Texas musician who has been interviewed on local public radio (KERA-FM) as well as on Terry Gross' Fresh Air and probably several other public radio venues.

I have an old cassette tape of Michael Cooney with a lot of interesting songs that he discussed in their social and historical context. (He was on Sesame Street, if his name is not familiar in the folk context. Think the Alligator king.) I believe Cooney is from Arizona.

And then there is Art Thieme, a denizen of the Chicago folk scene, and again, one who records great regional songs with historic significance. He shares the songs' lore with his audience with such humor and grace that they don't realize they're actually learning something.

They all do that. Each of these guys is a great performer, they love to research the songs they sing, and they share their love of the song with their audiences.

So have they ever met? Performed together? Does anyone else hear the same kind of timbre in their voices, the same kind of understandable words and a colloquial accent (to say nothing of being multi-talented with various instruments)?

I'm not articulating this clearly, because I'm not a folklorist or an ethnomusicologist. But any time I listen to a recording by one of these guys I always think of the other two. And they're in great company.

Anyone else want to step in here and mull over the similarities? I find these voices all very appealing, down home, articulate, and the musical skills are second to none. There is an Everyman quality that is speaking through each. Pardon me if this is embarrassing, Art, but there is a sexy earthiness to the recordings and the voices that is very appealing. And all of these performers have me tapping a foot, or if I'm doing something like cooking or washing the dishes, dancing in place to the songs.

Wouldn't it be an amazing occasion if all three of these guys got together to share songs? What wouldn't I give to be the fly on that wall!

Maggie (SRS)


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 08:39 AM

I'm not as up on the singing and playing of Geoff Muldaur as I am of Michael Cooney and Art Thieme. What I like about their approach to singing/performing is their enthusiasm about getting the song out and its story out. This is a way different thing than singing to show off your high or low voice register. I look at it as "this is a good song and your should hear;" as opposed to "look at me, I'm singing."

Maybe in a parallel universe we could get the three on a workshop stage.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Mary Katherine
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 10:58 AM

If I may just clarify one thing in SRS' post: Geoff Muldaur is not a Texas musician. He was born in upstate New York and migrated in his late teens/early twenties to the Cambridge/Boston area, where he became a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, whose lead singer, Maria D'Amato, he would later marry. Trivia, at no extra charge: Geoff's sister is veteran actress Diana Muldaur, who had a recurring role as the Enterprise's doctor for one season on Star Trek: The Next Generation, among many other credits.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 11:02 AM

Just saw Geoff and Jim Kweskin a few weeks ago. Their old jug band style is still in full gear, and they really can put over a song.
Look at the Coffee Gallery YouTube videos for some great Kweskin material. Geoff and Jim put on a great show, just as with Michael and Art. But with Art and Michael, you don't have guys trying to sound like old 78's, but guys doing a great job of putting over songs that are interesting and varied.
Kweskin differentiates between bluesmen and songsters, all of them, for sure, are great songsters.
Chris


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Acme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 11:03 AM

You're right, I looked him up later. I think he is now a Texas resident, is my understanding. And in the interviews he didn't take the story back as far as Brooklyn and Boston, but has been talking about spending time in Louisiana and Texas and enjoying the songs.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Acme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 11:12 AM

Here's a link to a sheet of promotional material (including discography) from Muldaur's site. No mention of where he lives; I think it came out in the conversations I heard, but at this point I'll say "don't quote me." Here's his home page.

Here's Michael Cooney's web page. It says it's under construction, but you can still reach a fair amount of information.

And Art, our own treasure Art, he's in several places (Mudcat, the big one!) but also here.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Mary Katherine
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 11:19 AM

Muldaur lives here in L.A., not too far away from me. He *claims* he's not crazy about living here, but I notice that he doesn't move away....


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 11:32 AM

Kind of a folkie "six degrees of separation"? Now who can connect Mary Hamilton and Art in six steps?


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: dwditty
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 12:27 PM

Mudcat member Suzy Thompson plays on the Texas Sheiks release. Also, Geoff Muldaur delves into some of the songs he teaches on the Homespun DVD Innovative Arrangements for American Roots/Blues Guitar.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Mary Katherine
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 12:27 PM

Probably only needs two - the song "Mary Hamilton" was sung by Joan Baez, and I would bet you dollars to donuts that Art and Joan sang at the same venue at some point in both their long careers. :-)


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: kendall
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 12:31 PM

I believe Cooney lives in Maine now.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Acme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 12:54 PM

He heard you lived up there, Kendall. :)


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 12:56 PM

The hair was bristling on my neck, so I was sure someone was talking about me. Voila, I find this nice thread.

Michael Cooney is a fine folksinger who I have been invited to Swap songs with on several occasions at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan-- albeit long ago. Joe Hickerson, former head of the Archive Of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress was also at those song swaps --- Barry O'Neil too.

Michael and I are still in fairly regular contact via e-mail in these recent times. I've lost contact with Joe, though, but our friendship goes back to 1964 when I showed up at the Archive to do some research on blues holdings of theirs for Bob Koester and Delmark Records.


Geoff Muldaur, I've never met--but I've always loved his singing with the Kweskin Jug Band. His recording of "Brazil" was used in the film of that title. What a tour de force it is too. If you haven't heard it, be sure to find it. (The last instrumental note of the track is just stupendous.)

I have remarkable tapes of Jim Kweskin on Ella Jenkins old radio show out of Chicago in 1960 or 59. All solo picking and singing. Wondrous ragtime guitar work.

Good memories.

Art


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Suzy T.
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 01:20 PM

Suzy Thompson here - there are probably other links between these three terrific singers, and I am one. I haven't seen either Art or Michael face-to-face in decades (I haven't travelled much til recently due to our raising our developmentally disabled child who is now happily living in a group home nearby) but Michael Cooney was one of the first folksingers I heard in person. I have played a bit of music with Michael; he once went many miles out of his way in order to return my fiddle, which I had left at a gig, to me, for which I am forever grateful. I was in touch with Art last year, when he kindly supplied a wonderful photo of Kilby Snow with the New Lost City Ramblers for the film "Always Been A Rambler". I've been playing music with Geoff for I guess about 15 years now, on and off. He continues to be my favorite singer to accompany, and that is really saying something, because I have had the privilege of backing up some great singers. Geoff lives in Los Angeles, I don't think he has ever lived in Texas.

By the way, our Geoff & Texas Sheiks show at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley was incredible. There were numerous times when the whole room (the 7 musicians onstage plus more than 500 people in the audience)just took a collective deep breath and went to that magical other place, the place you always strive to go to when playing music, but it doesn't happen very often (except for a few geniuses like Ornette Coleman who seem to be able to get there very time). I always enjoy playing, and have a good time performing, but it's rare for that to happen to me and even rarer for it to happen numerous times over the course of the night. Not only that, but Bonnie Raitt sat in with us and sang several songs -- and that was something I'll always remember.

I don't know when the Texas Sheiks will play again. It's a big band, a lot of air fares to get everyone together, but I'm hoping that some festival somewhere will want to have us play.

I am pretty sure that Art, Michael and Geoff have not been in the same place at the same time, but I'd be very surprised if Michael and Geoff didn't run into each other in the early 60s somewhere in New England. If I remember, I'll ask Geoff next time I speak with him.

And -- hi Art!!! Thanks again for the pictures! And if Michael Cooney is reading this, greetings from the left coast from me and Eric!

Suzy T.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 03:04 PM

Michael is in Friendship, Maine -- and he publishes the sporadic and eclectic Friendship Newsletter from there--.

Suzy, I'd forgotten that slide I sent you. I need to order that NLCR video--something else I forgot to do.

When your memory goes, forget it...

Art


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 03:28 PM

Stilly - One reason you might associate Geoff Muldaur with Texas is that his producer - the late Stephen Bruton - was a Ft Worth native. His brother Sumpter - also a great guitar player - still owns the "Record Town" record store next to TCU. It's a fine source for music of all sorts. Give Sumpter a visit if you havn't already. He's been able to find a bunch of rare recordings I had been looking for. Like Pink Anderson.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Acme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 03:37 PM

Wesley, I think I just mis-heard something in one of the interviews, but I'm sure there are Texas connections sprinkled throughout the band, and not just the name on the album. I wasn't staking a claim--I'm not a Texan myself. ;-)

I know where that store is, I've never been in it. I'll stop by next time I'm up there.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 07:29 PM

Theime's voice alway struck me as genuine. It conveyed integrity. Warm and rich as molasses, but utterly, entirely unaffected. Probably the voice in "folk" music that I most envy because it conveys the exact sensibility I'd wish to convey -- what I admire most.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 07:50 PM

John, Art lives right in between us. We should go vist him together one of these days.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Acme
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 10:26 PM

I know John is up to the punishment that Art can dish out. Are you, Mark? ;-D

SRS


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Suzy T.
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 10:54 PM

Hi Art,
I've asked Arhoolie to send you a copy of the NLCR film - my apologies for not taking care of this sooner. Somehow I thought it had already been done. Well, better late than never!
All best,
Suzy


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 10 - 12:42 PM

Yes, Muldaur is a New Yorker and lives in California now.


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Jun 10 - 09:40 PM

I just found this thread again.------Thanks to John and Suzy for the too kind words. And that video of the Ramblers is wonderful. Congratulations to all involved in it.

Art


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Subject: RE: Art Thieme-Geoff Muldaur-Michael Cooney
From: Acme
Date: 01 Jun 10 - 11:57 PM

I did get an email from Muldaur, after writing to his site. He confirmed the New York/California information. Very nice, brief, didn't seem inclined to stick around and chat. :)

SRS


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