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Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation

Stilly River Sage 18 Jan 13 - 10:04 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jan 13 - 02:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jan 13 - 02:51 PM
Amos 18 Jan 13 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,mando-player-91 18 Jan 13 - 03:09 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jan 13 - 04:53 PM
Stringsinger 19 Jan 13 - 04:30 PM
Mark Ross 19 Jan 13 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 13 - 07:35 PM
Little Robyn 20 Jan 13 - 07:09 AM
Stilly River Sage 20 Jan 13 - 11:41 AM
PHJim 20 Jan 13 - 03:29 PM
Stringsinger 20 Jan 13 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Lighter 20 Jan 13 - 04:54 PM
Stringsinger 20 Jan 13 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,mando-player-91 20 Jan 13 - 05:32 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jan 13 - 10:59 AM
Stringsinger 21 Jan 13 - 04:04 PM
dick greenhaus 22 Jan 13 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Ghost of Washington Square 22 Jan 13 - 03:14 PM
Thomas Stern 13 Nov 13 - 08:18 PM
Mark Ross 13 Nov 13 - 09:57 PM
Thomas Stern 29 Jun 15 - 09:25 AM
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Subject: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generat
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 10:04 AM

Laura Archibald is a Canadian filmmaker who has been working on this documentary for several years. A friend of mine in New York City was a participant in the interviews and sent me links to a couple of reviews this morning.

The film is Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation

New York Times
When They Hammered Out Justice in the '60s


From the NY Times review:

"This multifaceted survey jumps haphazardly from theme to theme. There is a lot of Greenwich Village lore, including documentary footage of a confrontation between musicians and the police when singing was banned in Washington Square Park. Cursory chapters deal with folk musicians and the civil rights movement and the House Un-American Activities Committee's harassment of left-wing musicians. And at a certain point, the film abruptly jumps back to the late 1940s and '50s to bring in the Weavers."

Slant Magazine film review.

From the Slant review:

"But there is no organized chronology or analytical overview of those times beyond the remarks of those who were present, and too many of those are snippets of nostalgic boilerplate. The movie gives only the sketchiest description of the roots of acoustic folk music and the story of how it was absorbed into the pop mainstream.

"Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation" at least evokes the flavor of the era just before the music business exploded into a mass-market juggernaut. The film's pleasures are the same ones offered by a sprawling, lavishly illustrated magazine spread."

That said, the Slant review concludes:
"The film is short on details and fatally long on obvious generalities such as "They were as much reporters as they were musicians" and "We came to find an idea of a new tomorrow." It's obvious that Archibald's participants, who've been giving interviews for years, haven't been asked questions that offer the possibility of coaxing them out of their comfort zone, and as a result the filmmaker fails to capture the intoxicating despair and outrage of the best American folk music. Archibald's approach is fatally safe: She often turns poets into self-congratulatory windbags."

If you see the film, and if you lived in this political folkie cauldron of Greenwich Village, I hope you'll report in.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 02:46 PM

Here's the trailer.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 02:51 PM

I may have done a disservice to the documentary by highlighting the remarks that it doesn't do more, put people's feet to the fire. I get the impression from the trailer that it isn't meant to be a surgical autopsy of GV in the 1960s, it is meant to be a generous over-arching look back.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 02:57 PM

It's a loverly retrospective. No feet to fires needed.


A


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: GUEST,mando-player-91
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 03:09 PM

Any idea when this is going to be released on DVD?


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 04:53 PM

It has only just now opened in a theater in New York City, so I imagine it will be a while.

New York Post.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 04:30 PM

I was there, Sunday afternoons at the Washington Square circle and I hung out a lot at Izzy Young's Folklore Center. I attended many parties there and one notable one was Theo Bikel's yearly bash at The Washington Square Apartments where Dylan and Joan played as well as many others, Glen Yarborough, Mary Travers and more.

My recollection of that time in the Village is that it was the ex-urbanite's dream, city kids getting into folk in a Rousseau-ian way trying to escape the canyons of New York. Pete and Woody had long left the scene in the Fifties. It was a burgeoning show business with each performer holding court with their own small audience. Roger Sprung played bluegrass with his banjo head illuminated with a flashing light bulb. Jack Elliott was there and John Herald, and Mary Travers honked her way into fame and fortune starting there and later became an Al Grossman find.

I saw little political idealism reflected in that time (the height of McCarthy) but a lot of interest in what would become the Van Ronk "Folk Scare". Van Ronk was a fixture at Gerde's while P.P.and M. were at the Bottom Line. Bob Gibson started out there playing guitar and later switching to banjo, featured at The Blue Angel. Erik Darling put together the Tarriers as well as being an early fixture. The Henry Street Settlement in Brooklyn featured folksings and square dances as an alternate to the Circle at Washington Square. McDougal Street was pretty alive, then with Rienzis and the San Remo Bar. A lot went on at Izzy Young's establishment including early songwriters putting together Broadside Magazine including Tom Paxton, Dylan and others.

I didn't get it that it defined much political idealism at the time or even social interests, which were the province of People's Songs Magazine earlier, SingOut! earlier and People's Artists, a booking agency for political folk singers such as Ernie Lieberman, Betty Sanders, Leon Bibb and others.

Ethel Raim was around at the time before the Pennywhistlers. Guy Carawan and I hung out there with Fred Gerlach, attempting to play like Leadbelly. It was at Washington Square that Jack Elliott, Guy Carawan and I decided to "discover folk America" traveling South.

In the Sixties, I ran into Dylan in Washington Square and I think it was Paul Simon as well but I don't exactly remember how that was.

Meanwhile in Harlem, Gary Davis, Sonny Terry's cousin J.C. (a good harp player), Brownie McGhee all played at Tiny Leadbetter's home, a Leadbelly niece.

We took over subways upon occasion with instruments and songs.


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Mark Ross
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 06:22 PM

Great recollections Frank.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 07:35 PM

That was brilliant. Mr Stringsinger. We must get to know each other. I loved that post. I know we've had disagreements in the past, but basically we're on the same team. I loved that. Inspirational. If only the music had defined a generation....

This is me, who are you?

http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/lifehistoryandsongsof/


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Little Robyn
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 07:09 AM

Who is Stringsinger?
Check here.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 11:41 AM

Thanks, Robyn! Frank is a treasure!


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: PHJim
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 03:29 PM

Was there much/any footage of the Allan Block's Sandal Shop jams?


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 04:46 PM

Big Al, I loved what you did! You're a great fingerpicker and imaginative as well.
Your songs are fun.

Even if we are on a different ideological train, I'm sure that if we ever met personally, we would get along famously. You've just made a new fan.

Man, there are some talented folks on Mudcat.

Wish I had something I could show you that I felt good about. Maybe sometime.

Re: Alan Block, he was a Village fixture. There were two sandal shops. One was Alan and the other Elaine Starkman on McDougal. She was a nice lady. At Alan's you could always be caught up in his old time sessions where he would lead with a great fiddle.
I can understand how Rory would be so wonderfully talented, she must have had a terrific musical education from her dad.

Al Meyers, a gentle guy with a sweet tenor voice, and I hung out in those days. I remember we double dated with Elaine Starkman and someone else, can't recall who.
Al was a fixture in the Village. Here are some more names people from that time might remember. Joe Jaffe, a great guitar and banjo player who could sound like Pete Seeger.
Dave Sears was another great banjo picker who sounded pretty close to Pete. Effie Siegerman who I think moved to Australia, an instrumentalist and guitar repair person. Woody Wachtel played old time banjo. I think that Art Rosenbaum, art teacher at the University of Georgia, great old time banjo picker and folklorist was at some of those parties. Micheal Sahl was an expert old time banjo player who predated the Round Peak style. Ray Boguslav played classical guitar and sang well. John Stauber was a fine classical player as well. These folks for me defined the folkie GV scene.   Mike Vidor, the famous film director, King Vidor's son played a mean bluegrass banjo before it was really popular there. Oh and we can't forget Tom Paley who introduced the Hobart Smith fingerpicking "Railroad Bill" to the Village audiences. There was a great guy, Jimmy McDonald, a black singer who I stayed with briefly on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side. Cynthia Gooding was a fine singer of international songs at many of the Village folk parties. That was a rich musical period for revival folk music.

Speaking of bluegrass, it was Pete Seeger who really introduced that style to the Village even though it was enhanced by Roger Sprung. Pete had heard Earl and was taken with the style. (Who wouldn't be?)

If anyone knows of these folks, I would be interested in hearing your take on them. Circa 1953-1960.


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 04:54 PM

Fun as it was, it hardly "defined a generation."

It only lasted a few years, the charts were still dominated by rock 'n' roll, and outside of the "folk world," folkies were generally regarded as a little bit weird.

The exceptions, of course, were the handful of megagroups like the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary.

But "defined a generation"? Naaaahhh.

Elvis, Little Richard, Dylan, the Beatles, and the Stones did a better job of that.


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 04:56 PM

Thank you Stilly! We're all treasures, though.


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: GUEST,mando-player-91
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 05:32 PM

Dylan is a douche-bag and elvis? ... pfft


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 10:59 AM

It only lasted a few years, the charts were still dominated by rock 'n' roll, and outside of the "folk world," folkies were generally regarded as a little bit weird.

Lighter, you'll have to agree to disagree on this subject. I think your characterization is so dismissive as to be inaccurate.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 04:04 PM

There was the period earlier of Forties that featured the Alamanc Singers. Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays, Bess Hawes, and others had a folk commune of sorts in the Village. Now they did really define a generation. Pete was a one-man PR for folk music and all the contemporary rock and rollers owe him.

Folkies were not considered weird in the Village. Early rockers were anathema to many stalwarts in the music industry in those days. Actually, quite a few folkies made it to the Hot 100. The Tarriers, Brothers Four, Limelighters (selling albums), Vince Martin, Harry Belafonte, and more.


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 02:04 PM

Frank-- I was there, too. I find it interesting how many of the books and articles reflect only the commercial and political aspects of the GV folkie culture. To a great extent it consisted of kids who discovered the music and enjoyed playing it, together or separately.
There was also the re-emergence of traditional musicians of rg "Omigos-i he still alive" variety (largely due to the efforts of producers like John Cohen).
   To a significant extent, the commercial aspect could be dedcribed as Music that defiled a generation.


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: GUEST,Ghost of Washington Square
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 03:14 PM

"Van Ronk was a fixture at Gerde's while P.P.and M. were at the Bottom Line."

The way I remember the 60's, Van Ronk was more a fixture of the Gaslight than Gerde's. And you're probably thinking of the Bitter End, rather than the Bottom Line, for Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Bottom Line first opened in 1974.


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Subject: Greenwich Village Music defined genratn
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 13 Nov 13 - 08:18 PM

just received notice of the publication of this DVD - has
anyone seen this documentary? Does it have any depth?
Thanks!
Best wishes, Thomas.

GREENWICH VILLAGE: MUSIC THAT DEFINED A GENERATION
Susan Sarandon (Actor), Kris Kristofferson (Actor),
Laura Archibald (Director)

PETE SEEGER, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, DON MCLEAN, PETER YARROW (Peter, Paul & Mary), ARLO GUTHRIE, CARLY SIMON, TOM CHAPIN, JUDY COLLINS and more

documentary profiles the muscians who appeared in New York's Greenwich Village scene between 1961 and 1973, and chronicles the infamous Washington Square Folk Riot.


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Subject: RE: DVD: Greenwich Village Music defined generation
From: Mark Ross
Date: 13 Nov 13 - 09:57 PM

It misses a lot of things. I would give it a B-. I was part of that scene from '67 to '76.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 29 Jun 15 - 09:25 AM

The DVD was released by KINO-LORBER (K1143)
DVD website

lots of reviews - google title

impressive list of people interviewed and/or performing:

Pete Seeger
Lucy and Carly Simon
Tom Chapin
Sonny Ochs
Judy Collins
Jose Feliciano
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Ian Tyson
Sylvia Tyson
The Chapin Sisters
Ben Taylor
Israel Horovitz
Richie Havens
Oscar Brand
Eddie Brennan
Kris Kristofferson   
Pete Fornatale
Terri Thal
Steve Earle
Eric Andersen
John Sebastian
Happy Traum
Tom Paxton
Paul Colby
Michelle Phillips
John Flynn
Kenny White
Owen Elliot
John Doherty
Tom Bernardin
Doug Yeager
Melanie
Don McLean
Peter Yarrow
Arlo Guthrie
David Amram
Carolyn Hester
Susan Sarandon


I wish complete performances rather than snippets had been included in the film or as bonus material. Ditto the interviews, though some extended clips of interviews are included as bonus material.

Best wishes, Thomas.


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