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Folk History: The Scare Revisited

BobP 01 Jun 01 - 01:03 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jun 01 - 01:15 PM
mousethief 01 Jun 01 - 01:19 PM
kendall 01 Jun 01 - 01:22 PM
Bat Goddess 01 Jun 01 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,djh 01 Jun 01 - 01:36 PM
DougR 01 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jun 01 - 01:46 PM
BobP 01 Jun 01 - 01:50 PM
mousethief 01 Jun 01 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,djh 01 Jun 01 - 02:09 PM
Mark Clark 01 Jun 01 - 02:14 PM
Kim C 01 Jun 01 - 02:16 PM
BobP 01 Jun 01 - 02:17 PM
GUEST 01 Jun 01 - 02:42 PM
paddymac 01 Jun 01 - 02:53 PM
Chicken Charlie 01 Jun 01 - 02:56 PM
Don Firth 01 Jun 01 - 03:03 PM
Kim C 01 Jun 01 - 03:07 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jun 01 - 03:34 PM
SINSULL 01 Jun 01 - 03:40 PM
Lonesome EJ 01 Jun 01 - 03:40 PM
Kim C 01 Jun 01 - 04:00 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jun 01 - 04:24 PM
DougR 01 Jun 01 - 04:26 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jun 01 - 04:40 PM
chip a 01 Jun 01 - 05:05 PM
Don Firth 01 Jun 01 - 05:22 PM
Peter Kasin 02 Jun 01 - 02:50 AM
kendall 02 Jun 01 - 08:41 AM
kendall 02 Jun 01 - 08:44 AM
Charley Noble 02 Jun 01 - 09:23 AM
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Subject: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: BobP
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:03 PM

Just for fun,

The genesis of the folk music emergence, circa "the fifties" has blurred a bit over time for me and books frequently get this stuff wrong.

I thought perhaps we could tap the graybeards for first hand recollections on the order and timeline of major events leading from the Weavers to Dylan.

Would anyone care to share thoughts on events such as:

- Ballad of Davy Crockett 1954? (remember the caps) every kid?) Was that really the kickoff (i. e. The tune that led to overexposure)?

- On Top of Ol' Smokey (refresh me, did stations refuse g to play the version by "demcommies", and so who had the hit, I forgot).

Did Belafonte's bananas preceed or follow Tom Dooley?

Was he the first black, pop star or folkie to play Carnagie?

Did other folkies play Carnagie during that era?

Talking strickly about exposure, what was Jack Elliot's biggest contribution.

Was Hank Williams a folkie?

Does anyone recall Jo Stafford? (billed as country but more folk?) Her Biggest hit? Influence on later fems? Does "The Wayward Wind" (Gogi Grant?) count?

What about T Ritter's "Do Not Forsake Me . . .?

Did anyone besides TE Ford finagle a TV show deal from a folktune.

Was Johnny Horton's cover of Driftwood's Ballad of New Orleans done with Jimmy's blessing and were the droppped verses considered "controversial" for those times?

Bob P


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:15 PM

You mean before The Roof Top Singers, The Journeymen and The Kingston Trio? There was "folk-music" back then?

I seem to remember that there were records my family listened to by Tex Ritter, Tony Kraber, Richard Dyer-Bennet, Burl Ives, Harry Belafonte, John Jacob Niles, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Joseph & Marais or do you just want the commercial hit fore-runners?


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: mousethief
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:19 PM

Did Belafonte's bananas preceed or follow Tom Dooley?

Was he the first black, pop star or folkie to play Carnagie?

I happen to know for a fact that Tom Dooley was white. Further, he never played Carnegie Hall.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:22 PM

Why do you start with The Weavers? Dont like Burl Ives?

On Top Of Old Smokey was released in 1949 by The Weavers. It was later during the McCarty flap that they were branded Un-American (whatever the hell that is). I always admired Pete Seeger for not taking the 5th, he took the FIRST!

Hank Williams was, in my opinion, country, not folk. For a time there was some cross over between pop and folk, Gogi Grant with Wayward Wind etc. I dont remember which came first, Belafonte or the Kingston Trio, but most of us had never heard Tom Dooley before the trio did it. Tex Ritter was a well known country-western artist before High Noon came out. That was around 1950 I think.

Horton said it we loaded up the squirrel guns and really gave them, WELL, etc Driftwood sang it... really gave them hell. He got no airplay because of that one word I am told.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:23 PM

Ooh, gotta get Curmudgeon to post to this later. He's aprofessional gray beard.

Before the Weavers were The Almanac Singers.

And you'll need to correlate with the British Folk Revival, Ewan MacColl, Bert Lloyd et al.

Bat Goddess


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:36 PM

I can't answer most questions, I am way too young and I don't think of the Weavers as folk music at all, but instead as a pop bastardization of folk music.
I doubt Hank Williams ever considered himself folk.Hindsight would call Country music a folk tradition, but, with the exception of Johnny Cash, later, I doubt any Country singer considered himself a Folk singer back then. Hank was certainly embraced by the one strain of American Folk music which most clearly defines the quasi-definition of "folk", the Woody Guthrie strain. I know the Weavers are suppose to fit there , but to my ears they don't, their "So Long It's Been Good To Know You" makes me cringe.
"Ramblin" Jack's biggest contribution was teaching Dylan. Dylan acctually sounds more like Jack than he does like Woody. Woody was in no condition to teach Dylan when they met.Although Jack imitated Woody , Jack was far more proficient of a flat picker and it his guitar style Dylan emulated. I am not sure Jack had a great deal of success beyond those "in the know". I could be wrong, he certainly deserves me to be wrong.
I am eager to read other contributions to this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: DougR
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:41 PM

I never really thought of Jo Stafford as a folksinger, myself. She was more a pop singer (and a very good one). She and her husband, Paul Weston, created some great recordings from those days including a couple of very funny ones.

My first rememberance of anything resembling Folk Music, as we know it today, was performed by Burl Ives in the 1940's. It seems to me he sang "On Top of Old Smoky," in the movie, "Smoky," based on the Will James book in the late 40's.

In the 50's and 60's it was Kingston Trio, The Weavers, New Christi Minstrils, Bud and Travis, etc. etc.

I agree with Kendall on Hank Williams and Tex Ritter. Ritter was one of the singing cowboys in 1930's and 40's movies, along with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Jimmy Wakely, Rex Allen and a few others. John Wayne even took a crack at it as a singing cowboy in the 30's. He was pretty bad.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:46 PM

I should add Frank Warner, Bill Bonyun, and Cisco Huston. I don't know what I would have listened to in the 1950's, other than Country Western, without Folkways Records.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: BobP
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:50 PM

Well, folk gone pop, stuff that had, or seemed to have, an effect on the culture. Stuff that would one day lead to viewpoints expressed through music as strong as The Times They Are Achanging or Amerian Pie (condemnation of the Rolling Stones/Hell's Angels behavior at Altamont).

The ones that eventually destroyed the great musical literature of the day, such as "catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away" followed by the brilliantly insightful "catch a falling star put it in your pocket, never let it fade away".

But wait, it gets better . . .

"Love may come and tap you on the shoulder some starless night, and just in case you feel you want to hold her, you'll have a pocket full of starlight."

Kinda gets you right here. . .

I could run you through the one about the doggie in the window which always left me wondering if it turned out to be too expensive to take her place. Of course, that waggilly tail, you know, was probably a ruse to imply more sinister thoughts only her lover would appreciate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: mousethief
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 01:52 PM

Folk songs, on the other hand, never have dopey lyrics. :-P


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 02:09 PM

lET'S GO RIDING IN THE CAR, CAR, OH LET'S GO RIDING IN THE CAR , CAR brrrrrrrrrrrr brrrrrrrr


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Mark Clark
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 02:14 PM

I think it was in 1940 that Burl Ives was hired by CBS radio to do his "Wayfaring Stranger" program, popularizing many of the folksongs he had collected in his travels.

I think I was eight or nine (1950 or 51) when our family took a traveling vacation by car and the Weavers were very popular. We loved to listen and sing "On Top Of Old Smokey" (with Pete "lining out" the words) and "Goodnight Irene." We all sang those songs for three thousand miles or so. We'd also sing Gene Autry and Sons of the Pioneers songs and all the Stephen Foster songs we could think of.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 02:16 PM

Hmmmmm. I don't know.

Tom Dula was a Confederate veteran.

I had a crush on Fess Parker when I was a wee lassie. Mister confessed to me that as a boy, he had one of those caps.

If a pop singer sings a folk song in the forest with no one around to hear, is it still a folk song?


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: BobP
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 02:17 PM

Sorry 'bout da grammer, I actually do this at work on the run and Friday's get hectic (computer LAN/WAN stuff).

Kendall, nowadays the treatment of the gator with his head filled with cannonballs would likely cause a stir.

I recall seeing a fellow doing a Driftwood tribute stop abruptly after singing "when we set the powder off", hold up his arms and say "just made this BIG F.....K mess", followed by "I wonder what military genious thought that was gonna work (got a pretty good laugh).


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 02:42 PM

KIm, are Froggy , Mrs. Mousy and the other woodland creatures present for the Pop singers performance in the forest ? and are there brass instruments involved?


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: paddymac
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 02:53 PM

Let's not confuse the sudden popularity of folk with the media and its long time existance as "porch or kitchen music." It was around long before it became commercially popular. My guess is that it became popular because the media types were looking for something new and novel (at least to them) and it was good music, even after the subtle kinds of censorship ("hey, it's a family show") tinkered with it. Who gets the blame or the credit for the great "revival" depends pretty much on who each of us remembers as the performer(s) who opened our eyes and ears to the material. I have always felt that the Clancey Brothers & Tomm Makem were a prominant part it all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 02:56 PM

When asking people to reconstruct the past, ya gotta know that you're going to get their perspective. Nietzsche said that first, but I thought I'd repeat it. Here's what I recall as a kid growing up in S. California late 1940's, thru 50's etc.

Frankie Laine and Johnny Mercer need to be tossed into the mix. As I recall, Mercer recorded "Ol' 97" etc. on the 78's; Frankie Laine did some newly-minted singer-songwriter 'western' songs like Mule Train; I think he covered the High Noon theme too. I wouldn't say either was truly "Folk" but neither were they always just mainstream pop.

Belafonte, it seems to me, was big before the Kingston Trio, to answer the banana question. (I hope Mousethief is just being droll.) First Kingston songs that hit my consciousness were Banua Jail, Sloop John B. and Tom Dooley. Weavers were earlier, but I didn't pay them as much attention until I "discovered" them later, which is what I mean by perspective.

I think it was Bob Dylan's "Ashville Junction" that corrected the pronunciation: "If I could gamble just like Tom Dula, I'd make my fortune and never roam."

Belafonte, BTW, was also doing the occasional blues (Weepin' Willow) and ersatz-folk ("Mark Twain") piece as well.

In the LA area, there was a radio program on Saturday afternoon called Hootenanny. You got three hours of Kingston Trio, Limelighters, Jean Ritchie, New Christie Minstrels, Belafonte, Ian & Sylvia, Burl Ives, High-Low Brown (?), and whole bunches of other long defunct groups. The Canadian Michael Jackson was the DJ.

As far as major epiphanies in the pop world--page turners for culture periods (strictly without regard for musical worth or lack thereof), I would nominate Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" for calypso, KT's "Tom Dooley" for folkoid, Rooftop Singers' "Walk Right In" for the 12-string guitar, and much later, "Behind Closed Doors" (Charley Rich?) as a landmark in CW.

Funny, I can't remember when/where I encountered more nearly true folk. John Jacob Niles?? Maybe, but whatever evil things you say about KT and the Weavers, if I were trapped in an elevator with JJN music, I would vow to burn every dulcimer on this planet. Twice.

CC


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 03:03 PM

I am one of the Ancient Ones.

I first got interested in folk music in the early Fifties (born in 1931). The first folksinger I remember hearing on the radio when I was a teen-ager was Burl Ives. Then Susan Reed. Then, Carl Sandburg. Then, in 1949, The Weavers, with a couple of songs that became pop hits: On Top of Old Smoky and Goodnight Irene, followed by several others. I saw Harry Belafonte live in Denver in 1956. He was very popular then -- his concert was outdoors in a football stadium, and he filled the place! The Kingston Trio came on the scene in 1958 with Tom Dooley, and at that point, the Great Folk Scare was off and running. By that time, I'd been singing and playing guitar for six years (learned most of my songs from Walt Robertson, or from Burl Ives, Susan Reed, Cynthia Gooding, and Richard Dyer-Bennet records) and had been singing around for a couple of years. In those days, a live folksinger was kind of a rarity, and my guitar and I got a lot of attention (ego-boo)-- and a few singing jobs.

Jo Stafford and Gogi Grant? No. Tex Ritter? Do Not Forsake Me was the theme from the movie High Noon. Ritter was Country. Ballad of Davy Crockett? The theme song of the TV show produced by Disney and starring Fess Parker as DC.

There is a lot of information on these two threads: Blue Clicky Thing #1 and Blue Clicky Thing #2.

I could write a bloody-great history, but I would just be repeating a lot of stuff already posted on those threads. Read and enjoy!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 03:07 PM

there might be critters present, Guest, but do they recognize music as music?


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 03:34 PM

Tom Dooley/Dula, as many have previously observed, was probably discovered by the Kingston Trio from listening to an early Frank Warner record; Frank collected the song from Frank Profitt in the early 1940's and, I believe, the Trio eventually coughed up royalties.

Let's not forget Josh White, Sonny Terry & Brownie Magee, and Paul Clayton.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: SINSULL
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 03:40 PM

I remember something called "Cattle Call" in the fifties. Sort of C&W around the same time as Ghost Riders et al. Not "folk" but a precursor that made the popular music charts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 03:40 PM

Did Frank Profitt write Tom Dooley? I thought it was a Civil War era song. If so, who got royalties and why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 04:00 PM

LEJ, Tom Dula didn't do his dastardly deed until after he had come home from the war. But I don't know who wrote the song.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 04:24 PM

Apparently there were several songs composed at the time after the trial of Tom Dula for murdering Laura Foster; the one that the Trio sings is almost word for word the version that was passed down in the Frank Profitt family; Frank sang it to Frank Warner in June of 1938 according to notes in Traditional American Folk Songs by Anne Warner.

The murder occured after the Civil War in 1866. Tom was convicted and hanged in 1868.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: DougR
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 04:26 PM

Eddy Arnold had a hit with "Cattle Call." C/W. I think Tex Williams wrote it, and I'm too lazy to confirm that.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 04:40 PM

Probably the first "folk-singer" I heard, that was not family or a family friend, was Pete Seeger in concert at Bowdoin College in the late 1950's; I was probably dragged there kicking and screaming. He was good! Very energetic, got people singing along. My parents didn't think he had very much of a voice. My brother soon bought himself a banjo and then it was downhill for both of us ever since...


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: chip a
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 05:05 PM

According to Frank Proffit's son, Frank wrote the song and the proffitt family got the royalties. I got this from a Lomax Video in which he interviewed Proffitt's son. He sang it and another of his dad's songs. A great video about Southern Mountain music, stories, etc.

Chip A.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 05:22 PM

Worth a Peek

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 02:50 AM

Significant promoters, advocates, agents, writers, publishers and record companies should be mentioned as influential for their roles in the revival in supporting and bringing folk artists to the fore in the 50's and beyond. Moe Asch and Folkways records, Decca records, Folk-Legacy, George Wein, Harold Leventhal, Irwin Silber, many others.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: kendall
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 08:41 AM

Charlie, one of the great things about folk music is, you dont need a voice like Paul Robeson to perform it. That give people like you and me a chance!


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: kendall
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 08:44 AM

It's true that Pete Seeger never had a powerful voice, but, he had something more important, BEING Pete Seeger.


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Subject: RE: BS: Folkhistory: The Scare Revisited
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Jun 01 - 09:23 AM

Kendall, thanks for the compliment you silver tongued devil, I think???


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