Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Your Musical Influences

Jerry Rasmussen 01 Apr 02 - 07:09 AM
harvey andrews 01 Apr 02 - 08:05 AM
PeteBoom 01 Apr 02 - 08:28 AM
Mrrzy 01 Apr 02 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,DMcG (must sort that cookie out) 01 Apr 02 - 11:16 AM
Rick Fielding 01 Apr 02 - 11:26 AM
kendall 01 Apr 02 - 11:27 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 01 Apr 02 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Hamshank 01 Apr 02 - 12:14 PM
Catherine Jayne 01 Apr 02 - 01:29 PM
Giac 01 Apr 02 - 02:07 PM
Chanteyranger 01 Apr 02 - 02:09 PM
Skipper Jack 01 Apr 02 - 02:34 PM
kendall 01 Apr 02 - 02:51 PM
GUEST 01 Apr 02 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Pete J 01 Apr 02 - 03:09 PM
Bobert 01 Apr 02 - 03:18 PM
C-flat 01 Apr 02 - 03:28 PM
RolyH 01 Apr 02 - 03:43 PM
mzkitty 01 Apr 02 - 04:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 01 Apr 02 - 04:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 02 - 04:48 PM
Kim C 01 Apr 02 - 05:47 PM
Mark Ross 01 Apr 02 - 06:29 PM
Ebbie 01 Apr 02 - 06:32 PM
53 01 Apr 02 - 06:35 PM
harvey andrews 01 Apr 02 - 06:57 PM
Jeri 01 Apr 02 - 07:16 PM
Bobert 01 Apr 02 - 07:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 02 - 07:19 PM
pict 01 Apr 02 - 09:53 PM
Deckman 01 Apr 02 - 10:58 PM
Robin2 01 Apr 02 - 11:29 PM
Steve Latimer 01 Apr 02 - 11:38 PM
DancingMom 02 Apr 02 - 12:01 AM
fat B****rd 02 Apr 02 - 01:35 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Apr 02 - 06:11 AM
greg stephens 02 Apr 02 - 06:24 AM
Tam the bam fraeSaltcoatsScotland 02 Apr 02 - 06:25 AM
harvey andrews 02 Apr 02 - 06:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Apr 02 - 06:55 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Apr 02 - 07:04 AM
CarolC 02 Apr 02 - 07:28 AM
mooman 02 Apr 02 - 07:44 AM
CarolC 02 Apr 02 - 07:48 AM
Steve Latimer 02 Apr 02 - 08:04 AM
Celtic Soul 02 Apr 02 - 08:46 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Apr 02 - 11:36 AM
MMario 02 Apr 02 - 01:34 PM
Mooh 02 Apr 02 - 01:49 PM
Mooh 02 Apr 02 - 01:50 PM
Francy 02 Apr 02 - 02:06 PM
John P 03 Apr 02 - 12:18 AM
GUEST,jonesey 03 Apr 02 - 12:20 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Apr 02 - 01:22 PM
Deckman 03 Apr 02 - 06:20 PM
Celtic Soul 03 Apr 02 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Steven G. 03 Apr 02 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Mike Strobel 04 Apr 02 - 03:24 PM
Don Firth 04 Apr 02 - 03:48 PM
Don Firth 04 Apr 02 - 03:54 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Apr 02 - 06:32 PM
53 04 Apr 02 - 07:25 PM
Don Firth 04 Apr 02 - 08:56 PM
Deckman 05 Apr 02 - 05:11 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 13 - 02:54 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 07:09 AM

None of us are made out of whole cloth. We all started as imitators. Who were your major musical influences? I did a Singing Workshop at a festival years ago and discovered, much to my amusement, that a very well know folk singer you'd never suspect said that Perry Como was one of his influences. And was serious about it. You'd never hear it in his singing now, but if we are good singers or instrumentalists, we've assimilated the styles of others and made them part of our own style.

So, which singers did you admire and want to sound like? Which instrumentalists? Can you still hear them in the way you sing or play? Do you do any of their songs? How have you changed them, or do you try to reproduce the sound? Old-time musicians sometimes slavishly try to reproduce the record. Others run it through their own style and produce something reflecting the original.

Does the music you sing and your style reflect the music you hear in your home growing up, or did you discover it as many of us did, when you were a teenager or older?

So, c'mon.. tell me, huh?

No, I wasn't the one who was influence by Perry Como, but I admired Frank Sinatra's phrasing and could sing along with every nuance of most of his songs. Phrasing is an important part of style, whether you're Dylan, Donnegan or Doc Watson.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: harvey andrews
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 08:05 AM

I'm just writing a memoir of how music was central to my life when young. Everything went in from opera to rock and it all stayed, so here are the most important I think! Hymns ancient and modern
English madrigals
Gilbert and Sullivan
Early Sinatra
Rogers and Hart Roy Rogers
Cole Porter
Jazz in general
All the songs on the radio, Children's favourites,Family favourites
BUDDY HOLLY (Huge influence)
Everley Bros
Eddie Cochran
Roy Orbison
Listening to crackly old Radio Luxembourg
. And then I went to college and heard DYLAN and realised you could write songs that weren't just love songs..and the rest is my history!

.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: PeteBoom
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 08:28 AM

Right - here's my list -

Mahler, Holst, Grieg, The Chieftains, Tannahill Weavers, Whistlebinkies, Stockton's Wing, Battlefield Band, The Corries, The Proclaimers, Buddy Holly, Wierd Al Yankvich, Weird Al's Dad (accordion/polka band survivors know this one!) Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly That pretty much covers it...

Regards-

Pete


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:16 AM

Hard to say, since I can really only sing what I hear. I heard a lot of Joan Baez, Cynthia Gooding, Pete Seeger, Ed McCurdy, The Weavers, Peter Paul & Mary; some Dean Gitter, some Bob Gibson; later on, some Grateful Dead. And a lot of my older sister Susan who wanted to grow up to be Joan Baez, and came pretty close at one point.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST,DMcG (must sort that cookie out)
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:16 AM

I've already said elsewhere that the Young Tradition, The Corries and the Watersons were the first groups who I was aware of as having an influence and that I later discovered that that sneaky C Sharp and FJ Child made sure many of the songs I learned in primary school were traditional. Soon after, Steeleye, Fairport and the Copper family came in. But all of those are the traditional strand. There are songs and melodies from much further back - The Ride of the Valkyries, Does your Chewing-gum lose it flavour on the bedpost overnight, Grand Coolie Dam, Everyone wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die.... many of these came from the BBC programme 'Children's favourites' on Saturday mornings.

I think, if you are at all sensitive to music, it is difficult to hear anything without it being some influence - even if its only something you decide to avoid. I am always slightly disturbed when I hear a song from the late fifties or early sixties and find I know most of the words!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:26 AM

Dean Martin (Memories are made of this)
Classical Music and me Mum
The Weavers
Les Paul (and Mary Ford)
Pete Seeger
LEADBELLY....beginning of totally fanatic period, lasting to present.
Bob Dylan...First two albums. Plumb wore 'em out.
Increasingly more obscure music...most of it old time country, and blues.

Cheers

Rick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: kendall
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:27 AM

Although I have admired many performers over the years, I can honestly say that I dont try to sound like any other singer. I'd like to sing like Paul Robeson, but, there is one major problem; my voice.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:33 AM

Hi, Kendall:

So, tell me at least a couple of performers you admired.. Like all of us, your repertoire must come from somewhere.. both your songs and your stories. Even though you have made them your own, are they any lingering vestiges of your sources that you hear in your music?

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST,Hamshank
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 12:14 PM

Musical "disciplines" for lack of a better term, that influenced me most early-on were Choral, Swing/Big Band, Rock & Roll, Doowop, Jazz, Hard Rock & Heavy Metal, R&B, especially Motown, and Folk (Dylan, Baez, etc). Having come to truly appreciate my Gaelic/Celtic roots, Scottish and Irish folk music and old standards are my main influence now.

Like some others, I'd prefer to be recognized for my own style, so I honestly don't try to emulate anyone. But I am accused of it every time I sing something like "Are You Lonesome Tonight" or "Love Me Tender", but that ain't often. I love the music of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Luciano Pavarati, Mario Lanza, the Battlefield Band, Runrig, Foster & Allen, the Chieftains, Shamus Kennedy, Eric Bogle, John MacDermott, the Beatles, the Hollies, and the list goes on. I do numbers by most of these great talents, but I don't expect I'll ever be nearly as well known. That's cool with me. Long as I can sing and play music with good friends, that's what counts in my book.

Let the music play. HS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 01:29 PM

My influences are;

Mahler Beethoven Mozart Jools Holland Joshua Bell Shostakovich Buddy Holly The Rolling Stones Queen Evilin Glenney and so on......Not bad for a 21 year old!!!!

Cat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Giac
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:07 PM

My dad, who was a band sergeant in WWI, and who played lullabys on his cornet; my mom's sister's husband, who played in a local country dance band for awhile in the 1930s, and who kept a contraband guitar hidden in the rafters in the attic so he could play when my aunt was gone to town; an African American woman who tended to me when I was very small and who played barrelhouse and blues on my deceased grandmother's Chickering concert grand piano (when no one else was there); Frank Crumit records (Billy Boy, Grandfather's Clock); my first guitar teacher (when I was 9) who played old-time tunes and is still the best rhythm player I know; Roy Rogers; Carolina Cotton; Dylan and Baez; Dave Prine; Harry Belefonte; Andy Griffith; and countless friends pickin' on countless porches and in countless kitchens.

I think we're all comprised of bits of everyone we've heard, selecting little actions or phrasing to emulate. It's just so much FUN, isn't it? I've never made a dime, or wanted to, playing music, but I sure do like it.

Mary ~:o)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:09 PM

Though there's nobody I imitate (though I try), if I could sound like one fiddler, it would be Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. My biggest musical inspirations for fiddle playing are Alasdair Fraser, Mhaonaigh, and Tommy Peoples. For chantey singing, Louis Killen, Lloyd and MacColl. The first album of chanteys I ever heard was A.L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl's Whaling Ballads. It remains my favorite sea music recording, and got me interested in it in the first place. Louis Killen is for me the epitome of a chantey singer. Absolutely at the top of the heap.

chanteyranger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:34 PM

My influences came from, Young Tradition and The Watersons This probably accounts for my interest in group performance rather than solo (But I sing solo occasionally).

My group is traditionally based featuring mainly sea songs and shanties plus songs of booze and industrial ballads.

I'll leave you to guess who we are?

Here is a clue:

We performed at The Lancaster Maritime Festival with a Welsh flag as a back drop!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: kendall
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:51 PM

Well, if I had to drop names, I'd probably say that my earliest influences were, Buryl Ives, Pete Seeger, Wilf Carter, Roy Acuff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:56 PM

What a great thread, Jerry.

Bert Jansch and John Renbourn's guitar playing and folk/blues songs repetoires, along with Bert's own songs and his wonderful arrangements of traditional material, were big infuences on me in my late teens. A mate of mine named John Norton taught me fingerstyle (clawhammer) and I went on to develop both that and my own style, as I guess we all do.

At first I tried to imitate Bert's vocals, but soon learned that it's best to be yourself. Same with the playing style and arrangements - I base them on what I've heard, but generally don't aim to play parrot-style.

Didn't really have any other players (I nearly wrote musicians, but that's different!) in the family, but big borthers and sister always had records (remember them?) on. Clearly remember Freight Train, I Never Felt More Like Singing The Blues, and just about everything by Elvis, Lonnie Donnegan and Cliff as a youngster. And Billy Fury on Radio Luxemburg (Don't Leave Me Halfway To Paradise) one holiday in Devon.

Then my sister and her boyfriend Chas took me to a folk club and I never looked back. Early "stars" I remember are Derek Brimstone, Alex Campbell and Cliff Aungier, as well as every Pentangle concert I could get to.

Current influences are Martin Simpson (long ignored by me because of his leaning towards instrumentals), Lee Collinson and (and this may sound strange to some people, but think about it) myself.

As for phrasing, I just try to get into whatever I'm singing and let the emotion handle it, although it can depend a lot on the audience. I just try not to rush things.

Met some great people, had some great times. Still doing it and still loving it.

Pete


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST,Pete J
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 03:09 PM

The last post was from me, don't know why I appeared as "GUEST"!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 03:18 PM

Now for those of you who have heard my music, the following eclectic list should come as no surprise: Dylan, Steve Earle, Tom Waits, Fred McDowell, Buddy Holly, Link Wray, Son House, Paul Seibel, McKendree Springs, Spooky Tooth, Robert Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins and early Elvis.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: C-flat
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 03:28 PM

When I was 15 all I wanted to play was James Taylor and Jim Croce. I would listen to them a line at a time, lift the needle, work it out and put the needle back for the next line! I never bought music as I couldn't understand it in written form. I still love guitar ballads but as I get older I find I'm reaching further back in time and "discovering" how great some of the pioneers were. There's a lot of gaps in my musical education but I'm enjoying filling in the blanks! I reckon there's enough blanks to last a lifetime which is something of a comfort as I can't seem to find much new that exites me although I've got to accept that they're not writing much for middle-aged men these days!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: RolyH
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 03:43 PM

Martin Carthy,Shirley Collins and Ginger Baker


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: mzkitty
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 04:03 PM

At a very early age (before double-digit-age-numbers) I loved to sing along with recordings of Connie Francis, John Gary, Mitch Miller, and so many others... My Dad was a a Navy Submariner and our family (6 sisters and 1 brother, Mom and Dad) traveled a lot. I remember Mom and Dad keeping the whole carload of us singing from the edge of the Atlantic to the edge of the Pacific...(It wasn't till I had kids of my own that it occured to me how smart they were...it's hard for kids to fight when they're singing...) The only TV shows we were allowed to watch were ones like Lawrence Welk, Mitch Miller and Walt Disney. My sisters and I used to pretend we were the Lennon Sisters (and we were masters of following that "Bouncing Ball" of Mitch Miller's!). Then I got tangled up in the sound of Judy Collins, Joan Baez,Ian and Sylvia, Simon and Garfunkle, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly,Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday, Kingston Trio, etc and..yes... the Singing Nun.

My last year of High School in Gainesville Florida, I was in a folk band, singing a lot of Peter, Paul and Mary, Gordon Lightfoot, Dylan, Mama's and Papa's, Bonnie Bramlett, Byrds, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, etc. It was a magical time(1967/68)! For the next few decades, I sang in bands, doing all kinds of music. I loved to try to get every vocal as close to the original artist's as possible. I really didn't even THINK about my own voice as an individual entity then. I was as comfortable (and excited) to sing Stevie Nicks as I was Linda Rondstat (sp?)or Janis, Tina Turner, Supremes, Jesse Colin Young, CCR, Tim Hardin, Donna Summer (!), The Band, CSN&Y, Byrds, Aretha, Bette Midler...and on and on. I decided to do a solo act when my kids needed more "Mom time". As a solo I had more freedom to book jobs around family comittments. The only problem was that I knew only basic chords on the guitar, so I began to sort of re-do songs so they would fit the chords I knew. That was the start of my discovery of my own vocal expression. All the years of practicing other people's styles really was a gold mine of vocal exercize for me. Although today I feel that the voice that comes from me is my own expressive interpretation, I know my voice is richer because of those many influences.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 04:32 PM

When I first heard Bobert, I thought... he could do a mean Buddy Holly. Sometimes influences show real clearly. I haven't heard most Mudcatters, so it's not so easy for me to say, "Ah, that's where he, or she got that sound from." It's not surprising that early rock and roll has formed a lot of us. I was a great fan of Carl Perkins and ended up writing a rockabilly song that pretty much fades out like one of his songs. I take a gospel song out with a near copy of the ending of In The Still of the Night by the Five Satins.

I think Mary got it just right when she said, "I think that we are all comprised of bits of everyone we've heard." And, there are two questions, here. One is, what have you listened to? and the one that I asked was Who has influenced you? Very different questions. I listen to jazz more than anything, but I can't say that it has had any influence on my music. Same with classical music. I notice that very few of us grew up picking banjo on the front porch like a scene out of Deliverance. I grew up in Wisconsin and heard a lot of early country music (which I mostly didn't like.) But, sometimes things seep into your head that come out years later, much to your surprise. And sometimes, you embarassment.

Probably my two major influences have been the Carter Family and the Anthology Of American Folk Music. Haven't seen either mentioned, yet...

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 04:48 PM

I don't think I've ever tried to sound like any particular person. There are a lot of people I've listened to and felt "I wish I could do what they do".

Almost at random here are some that float to the surface: Sydney Carter, Alex Campbell, Pete Seeger, Martin Carthy, Vin Garbutt, Bob Dylan, Christy Moore, John Lennon, Jeannie Robertson, Joe Ely, Steve Goodman, Dominic Behan, Jack Elliott, Ewan MacColl, Woody Guthrie.

And there are a few round the Mudcat who belong in there too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 05:47 PM

All of them. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Mark Ross
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 06:29 PM

This could take up a lot of space! The 1st folk music I remember hearing was the Vanguard album, THE WEAVERS AT CARNEGIE HALL, we also had Robeson doing BALLAD FOR AMERICANS, Sinatra singing THE INK IS BLACK & THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, Louis Armastrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Broadway SHow tunes, lots of classical LP's(& 45's). The 1st folk concert I went to was Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis, Sister Rosetta Tharp, & Brownie & Sonny. I was 14 and it scarred me for life(that & reading Woodys' BOUND FOR GLORY). The 1st guitar guitar player I really tried to emulate was Dave Van Ronk(the late, great & muych lamented). Let's see; Woody, Cisco, Leadbelly, Ramblin' Jack, Utah Phillips, Jesse Colin Young,John Hammond, Tom Ghent, Bruce Murdoch, Odetta, Fred Neill, Pete Seeger, Blind Kenny Hall, Larry Hanks, Jim Ringer, Rosalie sorrels, David Bromberg, Ian Tyson, Patrick Sky, Tom Paxton, David Blue, Django Rheinhart, Lonnie Johnson, Doc Watson, Flatt & Scruggs, Roscoe Holcomb, the New Lost City Ramblers, The Greenbriar Boys,it would probably take a couple of hours to list every one. Let me just say Thank You to them all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 06:32 PM

My list is pretty narrow. I like lots of people; anything with good harmonies and good lyrics is going to blow me away. I love songs as sung by Mick Moloney and Tommy Sands and lots of others. Most of my favorite sounds, though, are from the 50s- people like the Louvin Brothers, Reno & Smiley, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Carl Smith...

My favorite genre for years has been Southern Gospel, including that sung by Elvis Presley. I still sing it a lot and have taught it to some, although it doesn't seem to come easy for northerners! I tend to think the reason is that they haven't caught on that if you're going to sing something, no matter what the subject matter, you *have* to sing it as though every word were true. (Who was it that said that if you can fake sincerity, you've got it made?)

I suspect that is where the concept of soul comes in.

Ebbie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: 53
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 06:35 PM

Beatles, CCR, Flatt and Scruggs, and a few others to numerous to name.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: harvey andrews
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 06:57 PM

okay Jerry I put down what I listened to until I found Dylan.(interesting how Buddy Holly has come up more than most)then of course it just poured in as I was a resident at the Jug O Punch folk club run by the Ian Campbell folk group in Birmingham.So the influence since list is:
Woody Guthrie
Alex cambell
Ian Campbell
paul Simon
Tom Paxton
Phil Ochs
SteveGoodman
Harry Chapin
Early Charles Aznavour
Jacques Brel
Anon
And all those songs and singers that told stories about people's lives.Ordinary people like my Mum and Dad and me and our neighbours. Working people. Today I still get the same thrill when I hear that story well told by writers swimming against the tide.That's why I find it sad that the singer/songwriter is so denigrated today because so many of the bad ones are trying to swim WITH the tide.
It's hard to find but it's out there. This week I'm going to see Dave Mallett to my mind one of the very best.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 07:16 PM

Jerry, this is a very good question, and a very HARD one to answer. I remember listening to a lot of different artists and loving their repertoire or arrangements, but not trying to sing like them.

I love Norma Waterson's passion and power, June Tabor's voice, Joni Mitchell's range and flexibilty, the way Jackson Browne holds a note steady until it's time for the next one. I love the way A.L. LLoyd sounds like he's smiling when he sings.

I've tried to imitate certain things singers did, but never, even as a kid, tried to sound exactly like any one of them. One bad habit I have is that when I learn a song from, say, a Waterson's recording, I wind up learning the words with a bit of an accent. I don't do this on purpose, but people who hear me probably won't know I'm not trying to put on a fakey accent, so I have to sing the song until I quit doing it.

In learning guitar, I suspect imitation will work the same way it has in my fiddle playing and singing.
I want to learn how people do the unique things they do so I can use those techniques to sound like I do in my dreams.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 07:17 PM

Jerry: Thanks for the Buddy Holly compliment. I was in North Carolina over the weekend playing for some folks who when you say "blues" they immediately think of Richard Petty's number 43. Well not many of them had ever heard anyone play acoustic slide and I could tell it was going to be a long night so.... STANDARD TUNING and old rock 'n roll. Did a medley of in E of "Hound Dog", "Peggy Sue" and part of one of my songs entitled "Going Home". Well, when I got "Peggy Sue" cranked up I had half of 'em hooting and singing along. Ol' Buddy would have been proud.

Kitty: Hey, I don't know if you have heard it yet but Wal-Mart (Heck, it might be K-Mart, I don't know...) has stole your music to the Mississippi song, note for note, and I can see a 6 figure settlement, which would buy you and the litter, a few hot dogs and maybe rear tires for the VW van. I swear, they made off your licks note for note. Hey, it's on the TV. I've heard it half a dozen times and each time I count the measures, you get a little richer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 07:19 PM

Oh yes - Georges Brassens (and Jake Thackeray)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: pict
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 09:53 PM

Bert Jansch,Dick Gaughan,Ossian,Planxty,Seumas Ennis,The Chieftains,the Corries,The Bothy band,The Beatles,The Who,Hendrix,Black Sabbath,Bach,Prokofiev,Debussy,Erik Satie,Frank Zappa,John Martyn,Danny Thompson,Thelonious Monk,Mingus,Duke Ellington and everything else I've ever actively listened to.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Deckman
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 10:58 PM

Doggone it Jerry ... there you go, starting another GOOD THREAD! When will you ever learn? In my case, I was first influenced by a childhood friend named Lauren Jakey. He died nine years ago. He was a child prodigy who grew up in a musical family. He was a violin virtuoso, had a career as a concert performer and symphoney orchestra conductor. We were lifetime friends. He first exposed me to music as a formal study. Then along came a great teacher named Willi Waw Willy, when I was 13. That was his stage (radio) name. Bill Higley was his legal name. A great performer, he taught me much: the treasures of folk songs, elecution, diction, guitar, and especially the value of singing FOR YOURSELF! Because of BIll, I never really tried to imitate anyone. I learned much from the music of Burl Ives and John Jacob Nile (phrasing). Next I met Walt Robertson. We also became life long friends and I learned so much from him. As to other influences, I have to mention my friend Don Firth. From Don I learned the value of disciplne and study. As to Perry Como! I tell a funny story about Perry and I ... NO, I never met him. I sang at a small college close to Portland, Oregon, years ago. It was a weekend affair: workshops, classes, ending in a grand Sunday night concert. My concert was reviewed in the Portland paper! Heady stuff for this young kid, at the time. The reviewer said something like: I was as relaxed on stage and had the full command of Perry Como. Too bad Perry never met me (ha ha). CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Robin2
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:29 PM

good lord, when I think about it, my list of people is pretty strange:

Buffy Saint-Marie
John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers
Cat Stevens
John Fahey
Pentangle
John Renbourn
my Uncle Elwin, who played a clawhammer banjo with dancing women on it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 11:38 PM

I can't hear this question asked without thinking of the wonderful scene in The Commitments when Rabbit opens the door and asks this question to about a half dozen different characters. My favourite was the rough looking guy in the spiked leather jacket who answered "Barry Manilow".

Mine are far too numerous to even begin to list. Barry Manilow ain't one of 'em.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: DancingMom
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 12:01 AM

My grandaddy, first and foremost. An accomplished bluegrass musician.

Sandy Denny. Bonnie Raitt. Joni Mitchell. Kellie While. Susan Tesdechi. Muddy Waters. Stevie Ray Vaughan. George Harrison. John Dowling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: fat B****rd
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 01:35 AM

Just about everybody already mentioned and not forgetting Trad. Arr.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 06:11 AM

Welcome back, Deckman! It's good to see you posting again. It is indeed interesting to see the crazy variety of influences/music people listened to. While it's hard to know how much we've been influenced by the music we grew up listening to, as a songwriter I find it humorous when I realize I've lifted part of the melody of a song out of the "tradition." I generally write out of my love for traditional folk music... three chord songs mostly. But, every once in a while I'll realize that I've unknowingly drawn a melody from somewhere unlikely. I wrote a song about a bar in southern Wisconsin and realized later that the melody in one section was suspiciously like Oh, What A Beautiful Morning. Another song has a very Irish melody to it... might even have copied a traditional melody, although I don't think so because no one has ever been able to identify it. But, it sure sounds Irish to me. It's just what came out. And then there's a song I wrote that someone referred to, saying, play that Beatle's-sounding song. In each case, I didn't consciously "use" a melody or a sound. As the old commercial for spaghetti sauce used to say, "It's all in there."

As a songwriter, I look at all the music I love as part of my vocabulary. Each of us has our own vocabulary that is made up of everything we've listened to and loved. Probably a little bit of stuff in there we didn't even like, I bet. That's true for every musician, songwriter or not.

Sal Salvador, a wonderful jazz guitarist who I came to know a few years ago gave me a memorable quote. I was talking to him about another Jazz guitar hero of mine, Tal Farlow. I noticed that after a span of tweny years without recording, when Tal began recording again, one of his improvisations on a song was almost note for note the same as a different song he'd recorded twenty years earlier. Sal said:

"A musician's style is the summation of his limitations."

For him to talk about Tal (one of his closest friends) in terms of limitations, when it didn't seem like Tal HAD any, was eye-opening for me.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 06:24 AM

Lonnie Donegan,then to Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, then to jazz blues etc. Then various Brit folkies(Watersons/ Alex Campbell/ McGrath from Harlow special favourites). Only people I would ever like to have sounded like would be Louis Killen or Tony Rose, but alas God did not see fit to provide me with a nice voice so I've had to learn other tricks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Tam the bam fraeSaltcoatsScotland
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 06:25 AM

I have quite a lot of Musical influences, I just like music from the 1910's to the present day, however I don't like that crap that's called 'pop music'.

I like a good tune and a good song, I like the Corries, The Dubliners, The Spinners (Liverpool) and many others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: harvey andrews
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 06:55 AM

Jerry I wrote a song once that sounded so Trad I actually phoned four of my Trad friends and sang it to them saying where did I get this tune from? It must already exist! Happily they all told me they'd never heard it before in their lives.I suppose mathematically a computer could actually write every tune possible given the time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 06:55 AM

"A musician's style is the summation of his limitations" - that's deep. Without our limitations we'd be all over the place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:04 AM

Hey, Harvey: Several years ago, I got a call from Sally Rogers, asking me where I got the song Levi Kelly. She had written another verse to it and wanted to know where I learned the song. I wrote it. Sally and her husband Howie Bursen sing several songs I've written, so it's not that they don't know my music. When I told Sally I'd written it, there was a long silence on the other end of the line. I mean, it's allright to write another verse to a song if the person who wrote it is dead, or anonymous, but not if they're alive! Sally sang the verse to me, and I told her to sing it if she wanted... just explain that she added the verse to a song I'd written. Funny thing is, she wrote another verse to explain what happened to Levi Kelly, and it didn't really say. I wrote the song based on a handbill from colonial times. Levi Kelly was sentenced to be hung, and they built a scaffold in the center of the town for a public hanging. Bring the kids and pack a picnic lunch. There were so many people on the platform around the scaffold, hoping to get a closer look that it collapsed, killing several people. Ansd as the song says, "In all of the confusion, old Levi slipped away.."

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:28 AM

For my accordion playing, the two people who have inspired me the most with their playing are Paul Oorts and Mudcatter, Skipjack K8.

Paul Oorts is the person who inspired me to want to learn to play the accordion in the first place. And in so doing, he completely changed the complexion of my life. If I hadn't been inspired to learn to play the accordion, I would never have stumbled upon the Mudcat. If I hadn't stumbled upon the Mudcat... well, I don't even want to think about that.

And without the help of Skipjack, I would probably still be a frustrated beginner, beginner (instead of the intermediate beginner that I think I probably am now), playing the wrong size and make of accordion. And my understanding of the depth and scope of what this instrument has to offer would probably not be what it is now without his help (and without having heard him play).

I am profoundly thankful to these two men.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: mooman
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:44 AM

Dear CarolC,

P.S. And Greg (Skipjack K8) is, incidentally, a very good player as well!

My influences are more or less everyone I've enjoyed listening to (I like traditional, Irish/Scottish/Breton/Galician, blues and quite a bit of jazz so this means innumerable people) and I've learned a fair bit from one or two of my students too.

mooman


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:48 AM

Indeed he is, mooman! One of the best, in my (admittedly biased) opinion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 08:04 AM

Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Son House, Taj Mahal, Ralph Stanley (especially with Carter), Jeff Beck, Flatt & Scruggs, My Uncle Vinnie, Early Eric Clapton, Homer & Jethro, Frank Zappa.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 08:46 AM

Influences...hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Musically, I love *any* folk group that takes a traditional piece and makes it unique. I suppose my current favorite would be Tinsmith. Local band, but y'all...they ROCK! See them if you can, and if not, buy their stuff.

Vocally? While I *love* voices like Mary Black, Loreena McKennitt, and Maire Brennan, my own voice is so unlike any of theirs that it's damned near impossible for me to emulate them. I'd have a *much* easier time singing Opera...no lie.

So, British Isles folk artist though I may be, Bonnie Raitt is one of my strongest influences. Within folk, I tend to gravitate more to the vocal styles of many men instead of women, which for the purposes of "Pirate music" (a mostly male genre when one considers Shanty's and nautical music as a whole) is understandable. I can't imagine a lady Pirate with a breathy, delicate voice anyway, frankly. "Delicate" and "Grace O'Malley, Anne Bonney, and Mary Read" seems to mesh about as well as burgundy paisleys and lime green daiseys.

However, there are a couple of notable exceptions for women in folk (all local). I have always loved the work of Stephanie and Laura of "Women of Whimsey" and "Bawdy Balladeers" fame. Both of them have strong, controlled, rich voices. One of the highest compliments I have ever received was when I was told that my voice was similar to Laura's. I don't hear it, but that's OK. I'll take the compliment none the less. Again, if any of you has the opportunity to hear them, go for it...if not, buy a CD. They too rock.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 11:36 AM

One of the major influences on my gospel quartet is the Dixie Hummingbirds. They're the group that backed Paul Simon on Loves Me Like A Rock. You think the Stones have been around forever? The Hummingbirds are celebrating their 70 somethingth anniversary (not the original members, of course.)

Last night, we were booked to open for them. What goes around, comes around

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: MMario
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 01:34 PM

CS - I much prefer your voice to Laura's - Though I wouldn't say "no" to hearing her more frequently either! :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Mooh
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 01:49 PM

First was my Dad, church music (even Anglican chant), folk and campfire songs. Then came musicals, my Dad, church music (even pipe organ standards), and humorous/parody songs. Before long came rock'n'roll in the form of The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin et al, my Dad, church music, and blues. About 15 years ago a reversal of sorts to folkier stuff, bluesier stuff, churchier stuff, and the underlying influence of my Dad.

These days, meaning the last 5 years or so, I'm mostly influenced by the likes of Simon Mayor, choral music, bluegrass sometimes, Led Zeppelin, Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan, Leo Kottke, Tony McManus. My Dad is gone now but I still feel his influence in how I harmonize and write.

The performers who have had the greatest recent influence on me are Simon Mayor and Tony McManus, both of whom I've seen and will see again this summer, lucky me.

So much music, so little time!

Peace, Mooh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Mooh
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 01:50 PM

First was my Dad, church music (even Anglican chant), folk and campfire songs. Then came musicals, my Dad, church music (even pipe organ standards), and humorous/parody songs. Before long came rock'n'roll in the form of The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin et al, my Dad, church music, and blues. About 15 years ago a reversal of sorts to folkier stuff, bluesier stuff, churchier stuff, and the underlying influence of my Dad.

These days, meaning the last 5 years or so, I'm mostly influenced by the likes of Simon Mayor, choral music, bluegrass sometimes, Led Zeppelin, Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan, Leo Kottke, Tony McManus. My Dad is gone now but I still feel his influence in how I harmonize and write.

The performers who have had the greatest recent influence on me are Simon Mayor and Tony McManus, both of whom I've seen and will see again this summer, lucky me.

So much music, so little time!

Peace, Mooh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Francy
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 02:06 PM

When I was a kid....Al Jolson......Jimmie Rodgers......Later on Cisco Houston, Woody Guthrie, The Weavers........Ewan MacColl.......Jean Redpath......Billie Holiday.....Quite recently..Art Thieme.....Dick Gaughan......Don Edwards.....Tom Russell.......The other side of me....Merle, Tom T...Bobby Bare....Shel.....Hank...and Lefty.......Wow...what a group!!!!!! Frank of Toledo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: John P
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:18 AM

The Beatles
Yes
Martin Carthy
Jethro Tull
Bach
Malicorne
Steeleye Span
Alan Stivell
Kornog
Simon and Garfunkel
John Renbourne
Genesis
Chick Corea
Muzsikas
John McLaughlin
Led Zeppelin
Beethoven
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
Thomas Binkley and the Studio der Fruhen Musik
William Pint
Santana
Cat Stevens
Anna Peekstok
Gilbert and Sullivan
And lots more I can't think of right now.

I now make a conscious effort to not sound like anyone else or do songs that I've heard other people do. The few well-known songs we do are handled in different ways than usual.

John Peekstok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST,jonesey
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:20 PM

From a distance my musical influences were about the same as any other suburban yank kid. The Beatles, Stones, all the 'British Invasion' stuff from the mid-sixties. The 'Mersey Beat' sound was everywhere. I grew up in Cleveland and could hear music coming out of Detroit from a 50,000 watt AM station called CKLW which played a 'ton' of Motown. Went with 3 other neighborhood guys to a local movie house right on the border between the 'black' and 'white' ghettos. My grandmother lived in the city and I was able to get an 'urban experience' I wouldn't have had without her living where she did. Anyway, we were the only white kids at the theater to see a movie called the T.A.M.I. Show. In later years I found out it sat 400 people. The place was packed. Jan and Dean, Leslie Gore, The Barbarians, James Brown, Rolling Stones and others I can't remember. I'll never forget the combination of fear and excitement I felt when James Brown hit the screen. The place erupted into a frenzy of dancing and screaming. A bunch of kids ran right down front and rocked out. James Brown did his cape routine and the place was going crazy. I'd never felt that kind of energy in my life. Completely blew the walls down on my provincial perspective. I didn't know what it was, but I knew I'd never be the same afterward. The funny thing was they went just as crazy for the Stones. I say 'they' not in a racist sense, but I was too shocked, scared, or inhibited to move. Shortly thereafter I read a newspaper article about some local kids who'd signed a recording deal and I recall having it effect me in that they were going to record their own songs. These were neighborhood guys of my own ilk doing something way beyond my understanding at the time. They were called 'The Mods' patterning themselves after the Carnaby Street fashions of the times. They had to change their name for legal reasons and became 'The Choir' and had a regional hit with a song called 'It's Cold Outside'. If you ever hear a copy of the song listen to the bass line and realize the player is 15 at the time of the recording. They didn't effect me musically as much as they showed me possibilities beyond my societal limitations. I'm grateful to them for that. In my early twenties I got hooked up with a guy named John who used to do stuff like record The Wizard of Oz off his TV set run through a wah-wah pedal. Through him I was introduced to the more pure strains of folk, country, bluegrass, blues, etc. We smoked alot of pot, too, needless to say. There's been more as I began to get good enough to make money playing. A huge influence on my guitar playing was a guy at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. His name is Jim Hirsch and he's the director now, I believe. He had a very clean, unadorned way of fingerpicking that I still use today and give him full credit for showing me. I learned how to read tablature from him, also. My songwriting was affected by Tom Dundee. We hung out together in Chicago at the time and I consider him the best of the crop that produced John Prine and Steve Goodman to name names. Song to song with a comparitive body of work he's the best. Never became as well known as his contemporaries as he's got a very laid back performing style. Another lessor known songwriter from back then was a guy named Al Day. He was a monster guitar player and completely original as a vocalist and writer. He was such an intense performer you'd think he might explode. Michael Johnson recorded several of his songs over the years. Al Day sat with me all day once and showed me some exercises to improve my left hand that I still use for warm-ups. Rod Macdonald from the Village was generous, too. Sorry to have gone on for so long. Great thread, it really made me dig deep.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 01:22 PM

Great response, Jonesy:

I was awakened to the opportunity for making your own music by a kid who lived in my rooming house when I was at the University of Wisconsin. He could barely play guitar... much worse than me, and I wasn't much. But, he had guts (which I didn't.) He formed a rock group called Vilas Craig and the Viscounts. He cut a 45 in some local record your own voice type studio, and drove around to the radio stations, enticing dj's to play his record on the air in return for a basket of freshly-picked strawberries off his father's farm. Strawberry-payola. I wonder if that's how Allan Freed got started. Anyway, he got his record into the top 40 of the Chicago radio stations. He had a second, minor hit, and then as far as I know went back to the farm and grew strawberries. He made me realize that music wasn't beyond anyone's reach who could cut a cheap 45 and had access to fresh strawberries.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 06:20 PM

Jerry ... I'm finding it very interesting how your question draws people out. I think one of the great values of MUDCAT is the depth of responses that can happen. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 06:38 PM

Mmario!

Wow! I mean, freaking WOW! That is so amazingly head swelling, I cannot even tell you. Thanks!!! :D

Can't wait for your yearly trip to MD this year...and I *might* just be coming your way for the first time this season! Things is looking financially decent of late!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST,Steven G.
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 09:55 PM

I consider Stan Rogers and Gordon Lightfoot my musical influences. Their music really got me into folk music, and been listening to folk music ever since.

I also like the Atlantic Canada songwriters, like Lennie Gallant that are making there mark in the Canadian music scene. They all have great songs to learn.

Steven G.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST,Mike Strobel
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 03:24 PM

OK , here they are :

Bob Dylan, Bruce Cockburn, Willie P. Bennett, Tom Russell & Paul Siebel .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 03:48 PM

I was a we sprat during the '30s and 0 my whole family like music and listened Wilma Musical influences. Oh, Lord! I feel a tome coming on!

I was a wee sprat during the Thirties and although my whole family liked music and listened to a lot of it on the radio, nobody sang much or played a musical instrument. There were a number of musical programs that came on regularly during the week, such as the "Longines Symphonette," "Phil Whats'isface and his All-Girl Orchestra" (just a bit sexist, wot?), and "The Grand Ole Opry." Later on, programs like "Your Hit Parade." The "incidental" music in many kids programs at the time was drawn mostly from the classics. Everybody knows that a portion of the "William Tell Overture" was used as the opening theme for the Lone Ranger, but frequently, when the announcer narrated between "acts," the background music under his voice was Liszt's "Les Preludes." Pretty lush, dramatic stuff. This sort of thing gave me a real taste for classical music early on.

In the Forties, a number of operettas were made into movies, such as Sigmund Romberg's "The Desert Song." These movies introduced me to singers like Gordon MacRae, Katherine Grayson, and, Howard Keel. I was already familiar with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. I went to a big high school where I tended to run with the music and drama crowd. The high school musical productions were almost professional quality, and consisted mostly of operettas by Rudolf Friml, Victor Herbert, and such ("The Fortune Teller," "Showboat," and others). There was some amazing talent among my friends. One girl was a soprano with a huge, fully-developed voice. She carved out a really good singing career for herself, including a stint several years' running with Seattle Opera's monumental productions of Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelung" as a Valkyrie, wearing a winged helmet and carrying a spear and shield. A buddy of mine had a rich baritone voice at the age of sixteen, and he went on to sing on Broadway (understudied the lead in "Damn Yankees") and in nightclubs, and do bit parts in about fifty movies. I'd had polio at the age of two and galumphed around on a pair of crutches, so I figured any kind of on-stage performing career was out.

Also at about this age, I heard Burl Ives on the radio pretty frequently. He would sing songs and tell stories. I found the songs intriguing, and I think I'll learn more about American history from his radio program than I did from any high school history class. A fellow I knew named Jack Nottingham discovered that he had a fairly good operatic tenor voice, started taking lessons, and managed to get everybody around him, including me, interested in opera. I wound up taking some voice lessons from the teacher he was going to, a former Metropolitan Opera soprano who had retired to Seattle. Turned out I had a halfway decent bass-baritone voice, but I didn't have a clue as to what I was ever going to do with it. Among his other records, Jack Nottingham had an album of Richard Dyer-Bennet singing ballads. Intriguing stuff!

Eventually I escaped from high school and enrolled at the University of Washington, majoring in English. I started going with a girl named Claire who was interested in folk songs and was teaching herself to play the guitar. About the same time, I fell in with questionable company, including such strange folk as Sandy Paton, Ric Higlin, Dick Landberg, and Rae Creevey. Then I heard Walt Robertson sing (elsewhere on Mudcat I've outlined the influence that Walt Robertson had on me). That did it! I was doomed! I decided that I wanted to make a career for myself as a singer of folk songs. This was in the early Fifties, at the time when concert singers who specialized in folk songs were not that common. The only ones much of anybody had ever heard of were Burl Ives, Susan Reed, and Richard Dyer-Bennet. And, of course, the Weavers. Then meeting Pete Seeger in 1954 and having a chance, along with several other people, to sit around on the floor and swap songs with him until four o'clock in the morning really sealed my fate!

Although I have never tried to imitate anyone, I did try to emulate the "minstrel" approach of Richard Dyer-Bennet—since I was urban-born and had not grown up in the folk tradition, it would be phony for me to try to sound like I was anything but what I was. I should just sing the best I could. My voice had already had some training, but my knowledge of music theory, et al., was woefully lacking. After taking a few guitar lessons from Walt Robertson, I began studying with a classic guitar teacher. I resumed my voice lessons with Mrs. Bianchi, and eventually entered the University of Washington School of Music. In addition to formal musical training, I grubbed out folk guitar techniques wherever I could find them and incorporated them into what I was doing. I did not try to sound "folk," nor did I try to sound operatic. Nor did I try to sound like Richard Dyer-Bennet (bloody impossible with my "frog-in-a-rain-barrel" bass voice). I just sang the best I could, and whatever came out is what came out. Although a few nice people have told me that I sound a bit like Gordon Bok, if I sound like anyone at all, I think I probably sound more like Ed McCurdy or Theodore Bikel.

In 1957, I met Richard Dyer-Bennet and had a chance to have a long chat with him. I told him I was taking voice lessons, studying classic guitar, and attending the U. of W. School of Music, and he said that under the circumstances, the best advice he could give me was to just keep doing what I was doing. He was very gracious, supportive, and encouraging.

Although I only saw him a couple of times, I feel that one of my strongest musical influences was Rolf Cahn. On one occasion he made a suggestion about a finger-picking pattern I was using. On another occasion, he suggested a chord change that I never would have thought of. Both of these suggestions opened my eyes to principles and possibilities that had never before occurred to me. Rolf Cahn was brilliant! I wish I could have taken some regular lessons from him. And on the question of presenting folk songs "authentically" versus exercising one's own creativity, he once said: "One the one hand, there is the danger of becoming a musical stamp collector; on the other, the equal danger of leaving behind the language, texture, and rhythm that made the music worthy of our devotion in the first place. So we . . . try to determine those elements which make a particular piece of music meaningful to us, and to build the performance through these elements."

Over the years I've developed some pretty firm ideas about music in general and folk music in particular. But I'm still learning and still being influenced.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 03:54 PM

Dunno what happened on that first line--that's sure as heck not what I typed. I said something like "Musical Influences. Great thread, Jerry. I feel a tome coming on." I guess it went weird someplace in transit.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 06:32 PM

Wilma Musical... Ah yes, I remember her well.

Hi, Don:

It's interesting to hear someone give William Dyer-Bennett any credit. Admittedly, to my Midwestern voice, he sounded kinda rarified and drawing room, but there was something about him that I really liked. He seemed completely sincere in what he was doing.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: 53
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 07:25 PM

Beach boys, Johnny Cash, John Prine, Donovan, Rolling Stones, and many more.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 08:56 PM

I'm spooked! I know I did not type "Wilma" while writing up that post. The scary part is that a woman named Wilma, who passed away a couple of years ago, had been a good friend of mine since high school. Although she didn't really perform, she did sing some, and she was fairly prominent around Seattle's folk scene all along. So Wilma was pretty musical. It would be very characteristic of her to haunt my computer!

I found the following blurb on Richard (yup, Richard) Dyer-Bennet on an obscure website:—

Born in Leicester, October 6th, 1913; died in Monterey, Mass, USA in 1991. This British-born American tenor and guitarist helped to revive the popularity of folk music through his concert performances, recordings, compositions, and teaching. Though born in England, Dyer-Bennet grew up in Canada and California and attended the University of California at Berkeley (1932-35), where he studied English and music. (He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1935). After visiting Swedish folklorist Sven Scholander in 1935, Dyer-Bennet adopted Scholander's trinity of song interpretation - poetry, melody, and lute accompaniment. In 1944, though, he switched to the Spanish guitar and gave the first of what would become annual solo concerts at New York City's Town Hall; the impresario Sol Hurok signed him for national and foreign tours for many years. He gained a cult following with his approximately 800 songs (including about 100 of his own composition) that ranged through British and French ballads, European medieval songs, Swedish shepherd tunes, and American cowboy songs. Curiously, though identified as a folk singer, he preferred the label minstrel or troubadour. Dyer-Bennet stopped giving concerts after a stroke in 1972 limited use of his left hand. From 1970 to 1983 he taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The tradition Dyer-Bennet was following was Sven Scholander's. This involved a trained, professional singer performing a wide variety of traditional songs in concert halls. That's was what he was all about. As the above blurb implies, he never at any time claimed to be a "folk singer." In fact, he vociferously denied it, reserving the term for what we now call "source singers."

It's okay not to like Richard Dyer-Bennet's singing. After all, taste is taste, and not everybody's is the same. But I've noted that most American folk music enthusiasts who don't like him because they feel he doesn't sound "rustic" enough. But they simple don't understand where he was coming from. He was highly successful at becoming what he fully intended to be: a trained, self-accompanied concert singer of traditional songs. A modern day minstrel. Not a folk singer.

Like him or dislike him, ya gotta admit, he was one helluva singer!

Don Firth

(Wilma? Are you in there?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 05:11 AM

Don ... that is TOO FUNNY about the Wilma haunting. I wonder .... hmm ... you don't suppose .... naw, probably not! Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Your Musical Influences
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 02:54 AM

Lord only knows if anybody is reading this any longer, but try to remember that it is on the web and anybody can read it if they choose to do so. If you have an issue with someone's voice, perhaps it is most constructive to offer that feedback directly (or just don't say anything at all).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 26 May 8:27 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.