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Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)

bobad 28 Jul 11 - 12:46 PM
Beer 28 Jul 11 - 02:22 PM
ChanteyLass 29 Jul 11 - 12:56 AM
GUEST,from Tokyo 29 Jul 11 - 12:16 PM
bobad 09 Aug 11 - 06:38 PM
Don Firth 09 Aug 11 - 07:15 PM
Jeri 09 Aug 11 - 08:28 PM
Jeri 09 Aug 11 - 08:47 PM
Elmore 10 Aug 11 - 11:17 AM
dick greenhaus 10 Aug 11 - 04:59 PM
Don Firth 11 Aug 11 - 12:09 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 11 Aug 11 - 01:58 AM
BrooklynJay 11 Aug 11 - 04:25 AM
Charley Noble 11 Aug 11 - 08:29 AM
BrooklynJay 11 Aug 11 - 12:12 PM
Don Firth 11 Aug 11 - 03:20 PM
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Subject: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene
From: bobad
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 12:46 PM

LEGENDS OF FOLK: THE VILLAGE SCENE celebrates the folk movement in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, featuring rare and stunning performances. Airing August 2011 on most PBS stations (check your local listings at pbs.org/tvschedules).
Preview


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene
From: Beer
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 02:22 PM

What a find Bobad.
Will watch it later this evening.
Ad.


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 12:56 AM

It looks like it will be great. It will probably air on RI PBS a few weeks after it airs on Boston PBS which I can only get when the leaves are off the trees! (The leaves seem to interfere with the digital signal, and I don't have cable or satellite TV, but at least I have a TV).


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: GUEST,from Tokyo
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 12:16 PM

Thanks for the information.

Kiyohide Kunizaki


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: bobad
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 06:38 PM

For those of you in the reception range of Mountain Lake PBS, WCFE channel 57 in Plattsburg NY, the program will be airing tonight at 9:30 PM.


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 07:15 PM

Tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 8:00 p.m. on KBTC-Tacoma-Seattle PBS affiliate, followed by "Peter Paul and Mary: Carry It On: A Musical Legacy" at 9:30 p.m.   I'll be there.

September 10, 9:00 p.m. on KCTS, Seattle PBS affiliate (also serves Western Washington, some of Eastern Washington, and parts of British Columbia), so I've got a couple of shots at it.

Might just see if my DVD recorder works.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 08:28 PM

It's on here now on WGBH out of Boston.

They're in the middle of the traditional whining (10 minutes of show, 15 minutes of begging) for contributions which makes it truly painful to watch anything on PBS. I'd donate if they DIDN'T do it. Sorry (a little) for bitching, but I can't remember the last time I watched an entire show on PBS, an I used to. Oops--back on.


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 08:47 PM

Money break #2.

One thing that I really like about the show is that, yes, there is background and talking, but when they show singers doing a song, they show the whole song. I really don't like it when they cut songs off.


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: Elmore
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 11:17 AM

This old geezer found the show to be totally predictable. You tube has performances of much greater interest.


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 04:59 PM

REminded me of why I gave up on folk music for ten years.


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 12:09 AM

Just watching it now.

Maybe I'm getting a bit jaded, but I think I know what you mean, Dick.

Why do I keep thinking of the movie, "A Mighty Wind?"

Gotta think about it awhile. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 01:58 AM

Jeri, I have a dear friend who has performed on several PBS specials. She calls them 'Beg-a-thons'.

GfS


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 04:25 AM

An incredible disappointment.

Just watched it tonight on my local PBS station, and it was an exercise in frustration. Frustration not only for what was shown (I'll get to that in a moment), but for what wasn't shown.

It did start off promising, I'll say that much.

First off, remember when the PBS Beg-A-Thons (yes, I've used that term for years) would show a complete concert or documentary, even though it was broken up with tons of whining and pleading? At least they showed the entire show. Now, we get roughly half of a show, but if you send them a couple of hundred dollars, you get the super-colossal-expanded version that runs twice as long as what your local station just aired. Yep. That's what we got tonight. A truncated half-a-show. I think that without all the begging, it ran around 45-50 minutes.

In addition, it appeared to me that several musical numbers were not really "complete" at all; they seemed to have been edited: I noticed this in Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing On My Mind," Judy Collins's "My Father," and John Denver's "Leaving On A Jet Plane." There may have been others, but these were the glaring ones, at least to my eyes and ears.

They should have interviewed Richie Havens. They should have interviewed Judy Collins. They should have interviewed Dylan. They should have interviewed... well, I could go on and on - and I won't - but you get the picture.

Why in the hell did they include Neil Diamond singing "Solitary Man," but absolutely no mention whatsoever of Dave Van Ronk?

A real disappointment, considering who put this together (Jim Brown - who did "The Weavers: Wasn't That A Time"). Maybe the "expanded" version is a little better, but I truly doubt it. And I sure ain't a-sendin' my local PBS station any money after viewing this show-that-could've-been.

Jay


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 08:29 AM

I guess I missed this one but maybe I'll catch it on a re-run or via DVD. They'll never get it quite right but I still enjoy looking in the corners to recapture a time gone by, and sometimes they capture a moment.

As one of C. Fox Smith's old shellbacks mused back at the end of the Great Age of Sail:

"...there's nothing left but change,
With the ships I knew laid up or lost
And the ports I knew grown strange..."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 12:12 PM

I think there still might be a chance to catch it during the current pledge drive, depending on where you live.

I know that in the NYC area, it will air again tomorrow (Friday) evening. I think the PBS stations are continuing their pledging through the weekend, if not further. Best to check local listings.

I'm reasonably sure that it will turn up again, as other music-themed programs seem to have become pledge staples. Now, if you eventually do get to see it on DVD (no idea if and when that will be released), that will be the longer version they're offering as a premium for the big-bucks contributions.

To be fair, they did capture some moments gone by.

Jay


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Subject: RE: Legends of Folk: The Village Scene (PBS Special)
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Aug 11 - 03:20 PM

Beginning of heavy sigh:

Jim Brown, the fellow who put the show together, says that he was about 12 years old when, as he says, "the folk revival went into full swing." He played "a little guitar" in a jug band and Peter Tork(elson), who was, later, one of The Monkees, was his guitar teacher. His first reminiscences of the "folk scene" were Dylan, Paxton, Ochs, et al--singer-songwriters. He knew a bit about what had preceded this (Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Dave Van Ronk, the Clancy Brothers), but from his viewpoint, the "Village Scene" and the "Folk Revival" didn't really start until the Sixties.

Excuse me for protruding, but I beg to differ.

This was when the commercial interests got involved in folk music. But interest had been growing steadily, especially among college students since well before that. At least as early as the early Fifties. I was one of them. And there were those in my locality who preceded me, and from whom I learned, such as Walt Robertson, Sandy Paton, Claire Hess, Lynn Sapper, Dick Landberg, Bob Clark, and others. Walt Robertson had become interested in folk music while attending Haverford College in the late 1940s and attended the Swarthmore Folk Festivals just down the road a piece from Haverford.

So Jim Brown seems to be a bit like those who are under the impression that nothing of any significance had occurred in the world before THEY got there.

With your permission, here is a review by Curt Schleier that pretty much reflects my thoughts on the show:
August 3, 2011
"Legends of Folk: The Village Scene" should be mandatory viewing for any fan of contemporary noise. I apologize. That was a typo. I didn't mean noise; obviously I meant contemporary music.

Lovers of rap and hip hop, this documentary takes you back to a time and place where music was genuinely weighty, a time when song helped change American society and end a war. These anthems spurred the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements.

Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins, among others led the (at least during the early '60s) Greenwich Village-based folk revival. Songs such as Dylan's "Blowin' In the Wind" moved people to action.

Having said that let me also point out that this is fund drive month and the show is clearly an attempt to cash in on baby boomer nostalgia. The hope likely is that people of a certain age will part with some of their accumulated wealth despite the imminent loss of their Social Security benefits, another drop in the stock market and global financialgedden.

For the record, the show works, but far from perfectly. It's hosted by Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul & Mary) and features interviews with a number of notables, including Peter Yarrow (of PP&M), Maria Muldaur, Michelle Phillips (Mamas & Papas), Richie Havens, John Sebastian (Loving Spoonful), and others.

But the hour is notable for what is missing. Dylan, Baez and others are shown performing, but not interviewed. Dylan is Dylan and no one expects to see him on the air explaining anything. But Baez just had a PBS American Masters special about her a few fund drives ago, and should have been approachable.

The most surprising missing person is Pete Seeger. This is a guy, who along with Alan Lomax and others scoured the country in efforts to preserve folk music. He is Mr. Folk Music and he individually and along with The Weavers, certainly appeared in the Village during this time period. But he is almost entirely absent.

You catch a brief glimpse of him in the background when Bob Dylan sings "Blowin' in the Wind." There is also a reference to him saying he inspired Neil Diamond. Frankly, any documentary about folk music, the Village and the early '60s that doesn't put Seeger front and center is immediately questionable in my mind.

Ironically, filmmaker Jim Brown also did PBS' Pete Seeger special, so this oversight seems especially curious.

And is Neil Diamond really a legend of folk music? Is "Solitary Man" the best example of a folk song. It seems that at least some of the show content was determined by what footage was available.

And on the subject of footage, most of the artists are filmed from TV appearances, not in the clubs themselves. I guess you have to use what you can get, even if it doesn't move your premise forward.

I learned one thing. Phillips was tired of New York and wanted to get back to L.A. Her nagging -- make that persistence -- inspired her husband, John, to write California Dreaming for the Mamas and the Papas, another questionable inclusion here.

The documentary fails to capture the excitement of the time, when a torch was passed to a new generation which grasped it firmly and with love. Cafe Wha, the Bitter End, Washington Square Park where were folk music exploded.

"Legends of Folk" doesn't fully capture that feeling, but it nevertheless is sufficiently enjoyable to someone who lived through that time and a great primer for those of you who didn't. It answers the important question posed and paraphrased here: Where have all the folk singers gone? Gone to documentaries, every one.
Yep. That about sez it.

Don Firth

P. S. Maybe I'm strange, but having learned my first songs from the records of people like Burl Ives (before he got "cutesy"), Susan Reed (whom the "folk revival" completely passed by), Richard Dyer-Bennet (a self-styled "modern day minstrel" rather than a "folk singer," but who sang traditional folk songs), Cynthia Gooding (a terrific singer about whom there is next to nothing on the internet because she had a radio program on which she once interviewed Bob Dylan, and you can read all about the Dylan interview, but practically nothing about Cynthia Gooding), and a few others such as Cisco Houston, Ed McCurdy, Frank Warner, and Guy Carawan—plus the local folks whom I mention above. Not to mention folk song collections by the Lomaxes, poet Carl Sandburg, Cecil J. Sharp's English Folk Songs in the Southern Appalachians, and The Ballad Tree by Evelyn Kendrick Wells.

The stuff that was coming out during the period that Jim Brown concentrates on in the program were an indication to me that, since the commercial interests were promoting their brand of "folk music," save for the real enthusiasts such as the people I knew, the "Folk Music Revival" was on its way out. I never regarded the Lovin' Spoonful, Neil Diamond, The Mamas and the Papas, and a whole bunch of others as "folk singers."

Or even "singers of folk songs."

End of heavy sigh. I'm now trying to blow some clean air through my head by leafing through my copy of Folk Songs of North America, by Alan Lomax.


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