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Ellen Stekert-singer, collector and folklorist

Thomas Stern 11 Feb 24 - 09:25 PM
Robert B. Waltz 12 Feb 24 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Wendy M. Grossman 13 Feb 24 - 06:37 AM
GUEST 13 Feb 24 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Stevebury 13 Feb 24 - 12:05 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Feb 24 - 03:17 PM
Thomas Stern 15 Feb 24 - 10:56 PM
Thomas Stern 27 Feb 24 - 10:14 PM
Robert B. Waltz 28 Feb 24 - 06:10 AM
Thomas Stern 28 Feb 24 - 09:56 PM
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Subject: Ellen Stekert
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 11 Feb 24 - 09:25 PM

For those of us who remember the 1940s-1960s folk revival, Ellen
Stekert is an important singer, collector and folklorist.

Ellen J. (Jane) Stekert
Professor Emerita University of Minnesota, Department of English.

There is now a website devoted to her: https://ellenstekert.com/

A 2017 recording of a concert she gave in Minneapolis MN
https://youtu.be/M94j6e3Gmhw
Hope someone can identify a few items in this concert marked ???.
tentative list of the songs:
1 Little Drummer ???
2 introduction
3 Midnight Special (Leadbelly)
4 Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
5 Where Have All the Flowers Gond (Seeger)
6 Little Boxes (Malvina Reynolds)
7 On The Rim of the World (Malvina Reynolds)
8 All Kinds of Trouble (from Folkways Anthology) ???
9 Dummy Line
10 Ballad of October 16th (Almanac Singers)
11 Balance the Budget ???
12 Shule Aroon
13 talk - recording Lumberjack Songs for Harold Thompson
14 Shugo ???
15 Golden Apples of the Sun
16 Old Devil Time (Seeger)
17 Children's medley ???
      what are the songs ?????
      who is the collecter she refers to ?????
18 talk - folk revival
19 So Long It's Been Good to Know You (Dusty Old Dust) (Guthrie)

an extensive interview here:
https://musicguy247.typepad.com/my-blog/2020/05/dr-ellen-stekert-cornell-indiana-university-of-pennsylvania-folklorist-recording-artist-educator-american-folklore-society.html


WIKI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Stekert

recordings
----------

STINSON SLP 49 Ozark Mountain Folk Songs Volume I   10" LP 1955
Ellen Stekert, guitar, vocals
Program notes by Kenneth S Goldstein and lyrics on container
A1 Down By The Sea Shore
A2 Grandma’s Advice
A3 On The Banks of the Sweet Dundee
A4 Father Grumble
B1 Whistle, Daughter, Whistle
B2 Wildwood Flower
B3 Putting On The Style
B4 Caroline of the Edinborough Town

[a 2nd volume was mentioned in the liner notes, but not issued??]


CORNELL Recording Society CRS 10050,            10" LP 1956
Ballads of Careless Love
- Love Songs from Great Britain and the United States
Sung by Ellen Stekert
Notes written and edited by
Prof. Harold W.Thompson, Editor: New York Folklore Quarterly.
Side A (F8-OL-2442-1A)
A1 Down in the Willow Garden
A2 Frankie and Johnny
A3 I Know Where I'm Going
A4 Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
A5 Dink's Song
A6 Careless Love
A7 Come All You Fair and Tender Maidewns
A8 The Trees They Do Grow High
Side B (F8OL-2443-2)
B1 Died For Love
B2 Charlie Is My Darling
B3 Omie Wise
B4 The Blackbird
B5 Easy Rider
B6 Go 'way From My Window


RIVERSIDE RLP 12-634            LP 1956
Traditional American Love Songs
Milt Okun and Ellen Stekert

A1 Must I Go Bound   
A2 She's Like The Swallow   
A3 Shule Aroo (Ellen Stekert)   
A4 The Cambric Shirt = Scarborough Fair   
A5 The Lass From The Low Country   
A6 Poor Lolette   
A7 Who Will Shoe?   
A8 The Lass Of Glenshee   
A9 He Took Me By The Hand   
B1 Paper Of Pins   
B2 Trouble   
B3 The Foggy Foggy Dew #   
B4 The Brazos River   
B5 Adios Mi Corazon # (Spanish Is The Loving Tongue)   
B6 Every Night When The Sun Goes Down (Suzanne) #   
B7 Red Rosey Bush   
B8 No, John, No   

various tracks from this Riverside album reissued on
Riverside Wonderland albums EVERYBODY SING! Vol.1, 2, 3.
Prestige CD The Riverside / Folklore Series Vol. 3:
Singing the New Tradition Songs, Singers, and Instrumentalists of
the Folk Revival.

in ELEKTRA EKL 151 OUR SINGING HERITAGE Volume I       LP 1958
A8 Ellen Stekert: The House Carpenter
B3 Ellen Stekert: Froggie Went A Courting

[note: the unissued Volume II reportedly contains some Stekert tracks]

Elektra 60402 O LOVE IS TEASIN' 3-LP box
   contains Froggie Went A Coutring.


FOLKWAYS FA 2354            LP 1958
Songs of a New York Lumberjack
Ellen Stekert
A1 Bounding the U.S.
A2 Hills of Glenshee
A3 The Western Pioneers
A4 The Two Sisters
A5 Johnny Troy
A6 Poor Old Anthony Rolly
A7 Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade
A8 The Drummer Boy
A9 The Trouble Down at Homestead
B1 The Fox
B2 The Cumberland and the Merrimac
B3 The Singular Dream
B4 Lakes of Ponchatrain
B5 The Black Cook
B6 Abe Lincoln Went to Washington
B7 The Shanty Boy and the Farmer's Son
B8 Les Raftsman
B9 The Jealous Lover


FOLKWAYS FS 3805 The Unfortunate Rake       LP 1960
206 A Sun Valley Song         Jan Brunvand and Ellen Stekert


FOLKWAYS FH 5717 Songs of the Civil War    LP 1960
206 The Cumberland and the Merrimac         Ellen Stekert
304 Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade         Ellen Stekert


1962 SWARTHMORE COLLEGE
1962 Swarthmore Song Fest (Folk Festival)


Dreadful Memories: The Life of Sarah Ogan Gunning, 1910-1983
Film by Mimi Pickering, Produced by (c) 1988 Appalshop Films, 38min.
https://www.folkstreams.net/films/dreadful-memories


Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 12 Feb 24 - 04:08 AM

To the above list of recordings, we can add one book of essays she co-edited. Américo Paredes and Ellen Stekert, The Urban Folk Experience and Folk Tradition (1970).

I met her around the concert was recorded. At the time, she was living in a nice little house in south Minneapolis with her partner and (as I recall) a rather opinionated bird. She was recovering from a neck injury. She must have recovered pretty well; not too long after that, she was featured in an REI ad for outdoor equipment.

Unfortunately, my parents took possession of all the LPs we got from her, so I can't look up the liner notes to see what information they add to the above.

And, yes, that's the Milt Okun who did music arrangements for Peter, Paul and Mary (who needed his help desperately) and The Chad Mitchell Trio (who didn't). The cover photo on the LP is not them, however. The people who produced the album wanted a more photogenic couple.


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert
From: GUEST,Wendy M. Grossman
Date: 13 Feb 24 - 06:37 AM

Bill Steele, who was around the folk scene in Ithaca NY in the 1950s before migrating to SF and then back to Ithaca circa 1972, used to talk about her. He seemed to really admire her singing.

I have a tattered copy of the Ozarks album I bought when a long-time folkie's collection was sold off.

wg


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 24 - 09:00 AM

The Little Drummer is Roud 2302. There are several versions in the Greig-Duncan Collection and broadsides on the Bodleian Ballads website under the title The Silly Drummer.


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 13 Feb 24 - 12:05 PM

Ellen Stekert recorded northern Pennsylvania/Southern Tier NY woods singer Ezra Barhight (Songs of a New York Lumberjack). I don't know where the original recordings may be archived.

My notes include the following publications:

1966 “Four Pennsylvania Songs Learned before 1900, From the Repertoire of Ezra V. Barhight”, in Goldstein & Byington, Two Penny Ballads and Four Dollar Whiskey: A Pennsylvania Folklore Miscellany, published for The Pennsylvania folklore Society by Folklore Associates, Inc, Hatboro, PA, 1966, pp 15-32

1966 ‘Cents and Nonsense in the Urban Folk Song Movement: 1930-66’ in Rosenberg, Transforming Tradition, 96-97. The essay was originally published in Bruce Jackson, ed., Folklore and Society” Essays in honor of Benjamin A. Botkin (Hatboro, PA: Folklore Assoc, 1966) 153-68

1987 ‘Autobiography of a Woman Folklorist’ Journal of American Folklore 100 (Oct-Dec 1987 579-85
Stekert’s experience studying folklore at Indiana University and Dorson’s hostility toward the folk music revival

1987 Oral History 128 pp 160 minutes
http://digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/AFS/id/135
Ellen Stekert speaks of her involvement with the Indiana University Folklore Institute. She outlines her early education and her early interests in folklore, mostly from classes at Cornell University and from her involvement in the folksong revival. She attended IU to earn her master's degree and then the University of Pennsylvania to earn her PhD. Stekert describes at length her turbulent relationship with Richard Dorson as a student and then a colleague. She describes her fellow students at IU and the intellectual environment they created. She touches upon her reasons for leaving IU after earning her master's degree. She describes her experiences as a doctoral student at U Penn. She also speaks briefly of her time at Wayne State University and her work in the Wayne State University Archives. Throughout the interview she mentions her childhood bout with polio, and how it has affected her life. She describes some pictures she has saved from her time at IU. She also evaluates the education she received at IU.

-- Stevebury


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Feb 24 - 03:17 PM

Sorry that was me sans cookie at 9 a.m.


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 15 Feb 24 - 10:56 PM

Thanks Steve and Stevebury!


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 27 Feb 24 - 10:14 PM

update to the tentative list of the songs in the SOLID STATE concert:
1 Oh Hard Fortune/Little Drummer
    The Little Drummer is Roud 2302. There are several versions in the Greig-Duncan Collection and broadsides on the Bodleian Ballads website under the title The Silly Drummer.
2 introduction
3 Midnight Special (Leadbelly)
4 Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
   in STINSON album A Pete Seeger Concert (1953) WHO WROTE THIS ???
5 Where Have All the Flowers Gone (Seeger)
6 Little Boxes (Malvina Reynolds)
7 On The Rim of the World (Malvina Reynolds)
8 Arthritis Blues (Butch Hawes)
    Butch Hawes in FOLKWAYS Lonesome Valley FP-10/FA 2010
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0lDYldGbv0
    Ramblin' Jack Elliott recorded ARTHRITIS BLUES on his 1962
    Prestige/International album COUNTRY STYLE.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OG8HSc3UEA
9 Dummy Line
   Joe Hickerson :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2yhZRA6H3E
   1930 The Packard Family https://www.youtube.com/watch?=CJDuvvSVG2k
10 Ballad of October 16th (Almanac Singers)
   October 16, 1940 first peacetime draft became law.
   from Almanac Singers first album SONGS FOR JOHN DOE.:
11 Balance the Budget (Joe Glazer)
   from the LP BALLADS FOR BALLOTS (1960, Labor for Kennedy-Johnson)
   Revised in 1984 for Glazer's Reaganomics album JELLYBEAN BLUES V.2
   Music: So Long it's Been Good to Know You.
12 Shule Aroon
13 talk - recording Lumberjack Songs for Prof. Harold Thompson
14 Shugo
   Collected by Ellen Stekert (Ezra "Fuzzy" Barhight, NY lumberjack).
15 Golden Apples of the Sun
16 Old Devil Time (Seeger)
    composed for 1970 film: Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon
17 Children's medley ???
   songs collected by Asher Treat in Wisconsin from Kentuckians.
18 talk - folk revival
19 So Long It's Been Good to Know You (Dusty Old Dust) (Guthrie)


Minnesota Public Radio WTIP interview
Stinson, Cornell
recording Fuzzy Barhight
teaching, fieldwork
photo exhibit at Solid State, field work, newport
sings Careless Love
https://ampers.org/folklorist-ellen-stekert-performs-and-shares-stories-from-folklore/

Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert-singer, collector and folklorist
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 28 Feb 24 - 06:10 AM

Thomas Stern wrote: Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
   in STINSON album A Pete Seeger Concert (1953) WHO WROTE THIS ???


It was collected in 1939 by William Wolff at the School for Southern Women, according to a Festschrift for Richard A. Reuss. I haven't located a copyright claim. So I think you can list it as traditional.


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Subject: RE: Ellen Stekert-singer, collector and folklorist
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 28 Feb 24 - 09:56 PM

Thanks Robert!

There are a couple of MUDCAT threads - one is for the VOLVO commercial
which is not WINNSBORO - actually Hard Times in the Mills.
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=169188
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=34402


The SECONDHANDSONGS site credits the music aa the 1919 composition
ALCOHOLIC BLUES by Albert Von Tilzer.

They state there is a 1948 recording - looks like they say by Seeger,
but I can not find a reference to this.
There is a track on LEADBELLY's LAST SESSIONS titles Winnsboro Cotton
Mill Blues, but it is Alcoholic Blues. These recordings are c.1948.

DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A SEEGER RECORDING FEFORE 1953 ???????????

Seeger sang WINNSBORO on the STINSON album A PETE SEEGER CONCERT 1953.

Journal of Folklore Research, Vol. 28, No. 2/3, Special Double Issue: Labor Song: A Reappraisal (May - Dec., 1991), pp. 103-133 (31 pages)

Doug DeNatale and Glenn Hinson
The Southern Textile Song Tradition Reconsidered

p.114
The "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues," sung to William Wolff in 1939 at the
School for Southern Women Workers, is one of the finest examples of
anger redirected through humor:

Old man Sargent, sitting at the desk,
The damned old fool won't give us no rest.
He'd take the nickels off a dead man's eyes
To buy a Coca-Cola and an Eskimo Pie ...

When I die, don't bury me at all,
Just hang me up on the spool room wall;
Place a knotter in my hand,
So I can spool in the Promised Land.

When I die, don't bury me deep,
Bury me down on Six Hundred Street;
Place a bobbin in each hand
So I can doff in the Promised Land



Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues (Unknown) [Zilphia Horton Folk Song Collection, Tennessee State Library.]
Greenway, John. 1953. American Folksongs of Protest. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press

The liner notes to a 1982 MAGPIE album WORKING MY LIFE AWAY states:
WINNSBORO COrrON MILL BLUES Penned
by an unknown mill hand in Winnsboro, North
Carolina sometime during the 1920's, this song
borrows its tune from" Alcoholic Blues", also well
known during those days. The tune has survived
oral tradition and was set to another lyric by electrical workers in Wausau, Wisconsin, during a
strike in 1952.

KEEFER lists
Winnsboro/Winsborough Cotton Mill Blues

Rt - Alcohol Blues
Sing Out Reprints, Sing Out, Sof, 6, p 4 (1964)
Fowke, Edith & Joe Glazer (eds.) / Songs of Work and Protest, Dover, Sof (1973/1960), p 74
Blood, Peter; and Annie Patterson (eds.) / Rise Up Singing, Sing Out, Sof (1992/1989), p260
Scofield, Twilo (ed.) / An American Sampler, Cutthroat, Sof (1981), p168
Silverman, Jerry / Folk Guitar - Folk Song, Scarborough Book, Sof (1983/1977), P184 (Winnisboro Cotton Mill Blues)
Greenway, John / American Folksongs of Protest, Perpetua, Sof (1960/1953), p144
Leisy, James F. (ed.) / Folk Song Abecedary, Bonanza, Bk (1966), p370
ACTWU Songbook, AFL-CIO, Sof (1978ca), p44
Hillmen. Hillmen, Sugar Hill SH 3719, LP (1981/1963), trk# 10
Lead Belly. Lead Belly's Last Sessions, Smithsonian/Folkways SF 40068-71, CD( (1994), trk# 1.29 [1948/09/27]
Mountain Musicians Cooperative. Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues, June Appal JA 006, LP (1976), trk# A.06
Reams, James. Kentucky Songbird, Leghorn LH 004, CD (1994), trk# 14
Seeger, Pete. Pete Seeger, Archive of Folk & Jazz FS 201, LP (1965), trk# 4 [1953-54]
Seeger, Pete. American Industrial Ballads, Folkways FH 5251, LP (1956), trk# B.07
Yarrow, Peter. Hard Times, Warner BS 2860, LP (1975), trk# A.04
Winny Hayes


Cheers, Thomas.


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