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Burl Ives the musician ?

DigiTrad:
LOLLIPOP TREE
THE LITTLE WHITE DUCK


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beachcomber 15 Apr 19 - 01:04 PM
Deckman 15 Apr 19 - 04:24 PM
Joe Offer 15 Apr 19 - 11:00 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 16 Apr 19 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 16 Apr 19 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 16 Apr 19 - 07:20 PM
The Sandman 17 Apr 19 - 02:19 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Apr 19 - 07:32 AM
Deckman 17 Apr 19 - 09:34 AM
beachcomber 18 Apr 19 - 06:15 AM
Vic Smith 18 Apr 19 - 06:31 AM
beachcomber 18 Apr 19 - 06:51 AM
Vic Smith 18 Apr 19 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 18 Apr 19 - 12:50 PM
Deckman 20 Apr 19 - 08:00 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Apr 19 - 04:55 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: beachcomber
Date: 15 Apr 19 - 01:04 PM

Seeing Burl Ives mentioned, in a current thread, reminded me to enquire what Mudcatters, who have seen him perform live, thought of his guitar playing ? I did see him once myself, in a concert sometime in the late 1960s, in a little known venue in Cork city, Ireland. He had arrived here more or less incognito, so low a profile did he adopt. Apart from one brief TV appearance on our LATE, LATE SHOW, with a not too genned -up Gaye Byrne, as the host, I don't remember that he played much at any other venue. On the show and indeed in that concert where I saw him on stage, he did not show any great ability on the small guitar that he used. What, I wonder, was the true extent of his musicianship ?
I had an album (vinyl) on which he sang "Irish traditional songs" and on which there were some lovely little riffs between verses. Were they all his own work, I would love to know ?


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Apr 19 - 04:24 PM

I was just 13 years old when I discovered the world of traditional folk music. My first mentor, Bill Higley, was an old on air radio singing partner of "Haywire Mac, in San Francisco. Bill told me to study Burl Ives, both for his guitar work and for a vocal phrasing.

His guitar accompaniments were perfectly planned to as to NOT get in the way of the song. His diction was very good. But most of all, his vocal phrasing was simply perfect. Even today, I study his phrasing in an effort to get the most out of every song. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Apr 19 - 11:00 PM

Beachcomber, I think you make a mistake in considering Burl Ives as a "musician" only with regards to his ability to play an instrument. I think he was quite good with the guitar, but his primary ability as as a vocalist - and I think vocalists are certainly musicians. To my mind, he was an absolutely delightful musician, both singing and playing an instrument.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 08:27 AM

My parents' record collection included Burl Ives,
but they did not have the Irish lit album,
which sounds like a real find.
I will go prospecting for it.

Well, one could compare and contrast
Burl Ives and Richard Dyer-Bennet.
Both had educations in classical music,
and both were dedicated to entertainment.
Ives was more proficient in singing than in guitar playing.
Dyer-Bennet could do wonderful things with the guitar,
while his singing gets an "A - for - effort."

Ives took his presence and his dedication to the spoken word
all the way to Hollywood, and
I can't remember the Disney film I saw him in --
because I was too engrossed in watching him steal the show.

Dyer-Bennet had aspirations as well, but not to Hollywood.
He wrote a singable English translation -- still in print ? --
to "Die Schöne Müllerin",
the Wilhelm Müller / Franz Schubert song cycle.

My parents' rather pretentious generation
was pleased with both artists and their careers, because
each of them was gracious and deferential to their public in performance.


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 12:36 PM

Abaco Queen in Boston Harbor -1957

He was an occasional neighbor; and a delightful man and I never once saw him bring out the guitar just for "the fun of it."

But I'm almost certain he was a card carrying American Federation of Musicians member because he played Bahamian venues on occasion and the Bahamas were functionally the same as upscale New York or Vegas nightclubs and ballrooms.

Both vocalists and instrumentalists are considered musicians when they're at work.


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 16 Apr 19 - 07:20 PM

I have been a Burl Ives fan since I was about eight and could not wait to hear Big Rock Candy Mountain on the radio. Cyril Tawney was an Ives fanatic. If you listen to Fare thee well my Honey, and then Grey Funnel line you'll see what I mean. The Oggie man is pure Burl Ives delivery, and why not. I have learned a great deal about approach to Folk Songs from Burl Ives. Basic guitar then a well thought out link between verses. If you trace Ives back to his traditional roots you will be led to listen to the likes of Mrs. Texas Gladden, and Bradley Kincaid. Ives version of the Devils nine questions comes from Mrs. Gladden, and Barbara Allen from Kincaid You will find a young(ish) Burl Ives singing on the 1946 Western 'Smokie'. It's a kids film I think.
By the way he was thrown into jail for singing the Foggy Dew, considered to be an obscene song in the 1930's. I'm not into any of the modern disrespect that has reared it's head due to his self preservation in the McCarthy era. To me he was one of the great originals, and I still listen regularly to the Lomax recordings he made in the 1940's.


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 19 - 02:19 AM

Roy Harris who was a skilled performer was also an ives fan, ives was a skilled performer who knew how to work a live audiences that is the difference between a technician and a musician ives, sang with felling his accompaniments never detracted from his singing.
the american establishment were to blame for forcing ives to testify during the mccarthy era, ives only cooperated out of self preservation.the same american establishment tried to kill paul robesons career , by not allowing him out of the usa


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Apr 19 - 07:32 AM

I saw Burl Ives when he toured the UK many years ago, he stood alone on the stage with 2 guitars for almost 2 hours, he was then in his 70s. absolutely brilliant night.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Apr 19 - 09:34 AM

When I attended the private reception for him after his final public concert in Anacortes, Washington state, I enjoyed a marvelous moment with him. By then he was still quite ill and was being carefully supervised by his wife (nurse?). As the long reception line formed to thank him for his concert, his wife loudly announced that there was to be NO handshakes, as his hands were very sore. I happened to be in the restroom at that announcement, so I missed her rules.

As is my style, I made sure that I was the last person in line, knowing that I might have more time for a longer conversation. He remembered me from our many letters over the years. I'd also brought my copy of the first book he wrote in 1954" Tales of America." I handed it to him and asked him to sign it.

His wife grabbed it from my hand before he could reach it, yelling at me that I wasn't following her instructions. Burl grabbed it back from her hands, saying: "I haven't seen a copy of this book in decades." He started to thumb through it. I did the only thing I could think to do, which was to offer to give it him. He smiled at me, and said "No, it's yours, but let me sign it for you."

I still have that book. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: beachcomber
Date: 18 Apr 19 - 06:15 AM

OMG, I must have given a completely wrong impression of my regard for Burl Ives. My purpose was merely to ascertain how good a guitarist he actually was, not at all to try to suggest that he was IN ANY WAY lessened in importance by any deficiency that he may have had in that respect.
I too was first "turned on" to Folk Songs by his renditions of such songs as "The Fox" and "Frog went a courting" away back, listening to Radio, in the 1950s. This was long before I added an interest in Irish Traditional Music, although I was living in rural Ireland.
I would accept, gladly, that the beautiful and simple little guitar inter-verse "links" that were played on that Irish Song Album of his, were his own work, having read what you people have to say.
I rem seeing his (fairly posh) caravan parked in St.Stephen's Green, street side, just across the street from the Shelbourne Hotel, then Ireland's premier establishment. I also recall an motoring accident that he had somewhere in Co. Limerick, around that time, when his car overturned. I've often wondered if the after effects of that had hastened his end ?
And, who can forget his portrayal of the Hillbilly patriarch in "The Big Country" ???
I have a complete admiration for Burl Ives the Folk Singer, Writer and Actor and I have here with me, as I write, his autobiography "Wayfaring Stranger" in which it appears that the Banjo was his first instrument of choice - one in the eye for all the Banjo denigrators.


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Apr 19 - 06:31 AM

I suppose that it is not appropriate to mention his appearances before McCarthy and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee at this juncture? It certainly made him unpopular in folk music circles at the time.


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: beachcomber
Date: 18 Apr 19 - 06:51 AM

Vic, if you check in the addittional threads listed at the top of this one you will read about the facts of Ives' appearance before HUAC. It was not quite as damning as people liked to understand it.


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Apr 19 - 07:37 AM

It was not quite as damning as people liked to understand it.

Well, that begs the question, "Which people?"

His Wikipedia reference (not always the most reliable, I'll admit) includes the following:-
... he cooperated with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and agreed to testify, fearful of losing his source of income. Ives' statement to the HUAC ended his blacklisting, allowing him to continue acting in movies, but it also led to a bitter rift between Ives and many folk singers, including Pete Seeger, who accused Ives of naming names and betraying the cause of cultural and political freedom to save his own career....


I have heard many accounts of this nature from older folk singers, both British and American, dating back long before the internet came into being.


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 18 Apr 19 - 12:50 PM

"I suppose that it is not appropriate..."

*relevant

FTFY


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Deckman
Date: 20 Apr 19 - 08:00 AM

I think it's VERY EASY to sit on the fence and try to evaluate events that happened before you were there. Burl Ives' appearance before HUAC was, and remains, very controversial. I wasn't there and I never had a conversation with him about that.

As one of my musical teachers and a person whom I continue to admire, I can't add much to the discussion of his loyalty concerns. But, unless you were alive then and can speak with authority of the 'temper of those times', I choose to continue to respect his musicianship his lifelong efforts to preserve a knowledge and respect for our folk music. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Burl Ives the musician ?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Apr 19 - 04:55 AM

I have always remembered his stunning performance as Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Brilliant. He could sure act.


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