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Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman

Don Firth 19 Sep 02 - 05:07 PM
Stewie 19 Sep 02 - 06:10 PM
rangeroger 19 Sep 02 - 11:50 PM
Deckman 20 Sep 02 - 12:32 AM
rangeroger 20 Sep 02 - 02:25 AM
harpgirl 20 Sep 02 - 08:59 AM
old moose 20 Sep 02 - 01:02 PM
Deckman 20 Sep 02 - 10:51 PM
Deckman 21 Sep 02 - 09:31 PM
old moose 21 Sep 02 - 10:12 PM
Deckman 22 Sep 02 - 10:41 AM
Frivolous Sal 22 Sep 02 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,Alice's 8th CD is due out April 2007 07 Mar 07 - 05:34 PM
Don Firth 07 Mar 07 - 06:07 PM
Deckman 07 Mar 07 - 06:14 PM
Joe Offer 18 Nov 11 - 03:13 AM
Stewart 18 Nov 11 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,James McBride 12 Jun 12 - 01:30 AM
Stewart 12 Jun 12 - 12:05 PM
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Subject: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 05:07 PM

I just heard a voice from the past yesterday. And that voice is still very much out there.

In 1961 I was singing regularly in a coffeehouse in Seattle called "Pamir House." One Saturday morning I got a phone call from a young woman. She said her name was Alice Stuart, and she wanted to audition at Pamir House, but all she had was a baritone ukulele and she felt that might be a little thin. Would I be willing to accompany her on the guitar? I asked her what songs she wanted to do. She recited a short list of songs I was familiar with, so I said "sure, no problem." We arranged to meet at Pamir House a half-hour before it opened and do a little practicing together.

Early that evening as I sat there warming up, Alice walked in. She was about eighteen, had obviously just recently escaped from high school (in Chelan, Washington). She had a death-grip on the neck of a baritone ukulele, a huge stack of songbooks under her arm, and she was so nervous she was practically vibrating. We talked a bit, then we started running through the songs she wanted to do. Most of the songs had come from The Burl Ives Songbook and were ones I knew, so accompaniments were no problem. I think she felt as if she were about to face a firing squad, but she was absolutely determined to do it. I assured her that the audiences here were pretty friendly and there was nothing to worry about, but I'm not sure it helped.

Pamir House usually had two or three singers going at once. Mike Atwood, Jerry Murry, Sue Hall, Jim Wilhelm, Bill Sheldon, Judy Flenniken, Mike Neun, and I were regulars and we worked in various combinations. It was a fun place to sing, because we sat up there swapping songs, usually with no planned program. It was like singing in someone's living room, and the audiences enjoyed the informality and the banter between the singers. After an hour or so, when the audiences and singers were thoroughly warmed up, I introduced Alice. She perched on a high stool along with the rest of us and launched into her songs. As nervous as she had been, and still was, she brought it off beautifully. Her voice was strong, and it had a sweet, almost plaintive quality about it. Considering how shaky she'd been earlier, she really surprised me with her "presence." The audience loved her.

She became a regular (incidentally, John Timmons, who owned Pamir House, paid all of us). She retired the uke, got a guitar, and set about learning to play it. I gave her some lessons at first, some classical and a lot of folk, and we spent time working out accompaniments for various kinds of songs. She picked up a lot of Joan Baez songs initially, but not exclusively, and she began digging around in books (like Lomax and Sandburg) to expand her repertoire. After a year or so, she zeroed in on blues, and the rest is history. I can claim credit for starting her on the guitar, but what she has picked up since is very much her own. I wish I could say I taught her that, but no can do. Around 1963, she took off for California, and the next time I saw her, she was one of the featured performers at the 1964 Berkeley Folk Festival, along with Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, and others.

Alice Stuart was one of the first women to front her own band. She became a pioneer among women singer/songwriters, and Bonnie Raitt and others credit Alice with paving the way for them. Any check of her itinerary (she has a web site) shows that she is constantly busy, usually singing somewhere several nights a week. Yet, I often wonder why, when programs like Austin City Limits and such have specials on singer/songwriters and women singers in general, Alice Stuart is conspicuously absent. Perhaps it's because she spends most of her time on the West Coast, fairly close to home. Lots of folks in the East seem to be under the impression that nothing of importance happens west of the Mississippi. Well—maybe once in a while, in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Yesterday, KUOW, the local NPR affiliate played an interview with Alice Stuart. It was a re-broadcast, which I missed the first time around, so I was careful to catch it this time. The regular program, called "The Beat," is hosted by Dave Beck, a very adept musician himself (cello), and was produced at the KUOW studios here in Seattle. If anyone would like to give it a listen, their web site is HERE

The Beat runs about 53 minutes and Beck has a number of guests, so when the RealPlayer window pops up and the program starts to load, click on the slider, move it over to around 24 minutes, then wait for a moment while it loads. This is about where the interview with Alice starts. You might want to ride the volume control a bit, because when she starts to sing, it sounds like the guy in the production booth wasn't watching his levels and the volume is a bit low. It gets better as the program continues.

Alice's web site is HERE. She's got a few MP3s you can listen to and/or download.

I just think Alice Stuart should be a whole lot better known than she is.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 06:10 PM

Fine voice. I have the Arhoolie LP 'All the Good Times' and it is pleasing to note that it has been reissued on CD. I particularly liked her rendition of 'James Alley Blues' which I think I heard before hearing Rabbit Brown's original recording.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: rangeroger
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 11:50 PM

When Michelle Shocked recently played at Strawberry Music Festival, she asked Alice to come on stage and play with her. As a result of this, Michelle asked Alice to tour with her.

Alice has been a fixture at Strawberry for sometime, playing with Prune Rooney.

rr


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Deckman
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 12:32 AM

Where is the Strawberry Music Festival? CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: rangeroger
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 02:25 AM

Bob,it's held at Camp Mather,owned by San Francisco, on the edge of Yosemite National Park.

rr


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 08:59 AM

...thanks for this, Don. I have Alice Stuart's "All The Good Times" and I have cherished it all these years. What a delight to hear your story and find her website. Thanks thanks...hg (big fan)


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: old moose
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 01:02 PM

Don,

I can't thank you enough for this information. I just gave her old LP to a man who volunteered to track down a bunch of 60s performers to see if they wanted copies of their old work. (Many of them I already knew would want copies - hers went with the batch.) I spent many happy hours with it. Her voice was unique. Instead of going to the broadcast, I chose the MP3s. Her voice is still great, and her style has certainly matured, but I miss the youthful quality that reminds me of the old days. It is wonderful to know she stayed in the business.

I worked at Sky River (anybody remember Sky River?) and after her Performance there droves of people came up to me throughout the conference to tell me how good I was. I finally figured out that they thought they were talking to Alice. (I don't think I looked like her.) Rather than explain the mistake, I just said "Thank You" in her name.

Mehitabel


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Deckman
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 10:51 PM

Hey olde Moose ... Have you heard anything from Archie lately ... CHEERS, olde Bob


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Deckman
Date: 21 Sep 02 - 09:31 PM


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: old moose
Date: 21 Sep 02 - 10:12 PM

Yo, Olde Bob, archy only comes out at night. My age showed on my above post - I note that I used the word 'conference' instead of 'concert'. Guess where I live these days. Olde Moose is helping me on the 'Rolling Home to Dear Old England' project. It is turning into a way to waste LOTS of time.

Mehitabel can do caps! And Punctuation!


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Deckman
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 10:41 AM

Ah ... tojour Gai (sp?) bob


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Frivolous Sal
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 10:22 PM

Life is just one damn kitten after another


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: GUEST,Alice's 8th CD is due out April 2007
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 05:34 PM

I suppose this site is way outdated, but I'll give it a try. Alice's new CD (#8) is due out at her CD release party at Seattle's Triple Door April 14, 2007.

My name is Pat Arnone and I use to waitress and later managed the Pamir House back in 1962 and 1963. (I also worked at John Timmon's employment agency during the day.)

I lost track of Alice but remet her when I remet Steve Lalor in 2002 at the Highliner at Seattle's Fisherman's Terminal.

Now, I am her "Girl Friday" and sell the CD at our gigs.

It was a real blast reading this and I hope to see some of you at Alice's upcoming gigs... check her website www.alicestuart.com


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 06:07 PM

I just noticed that my link to the KUOW program, "The Beat" with Alice Stuart is no longer functional, nor is the link to Alice's website. Let me try to re-up it. . . .

CLICKY.

There. That should work.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 06:14 PM

Hi Pat,

I remember you! I was going to drop Alice's name into the Olde Folkies thread, but then I remembered just how much older I am than she is. So I didn't! CHEERS, Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 03:13 AM

I found a very nice Alice Stuart album at emusic.com today, All the Good Times - a nice selection of songs, well-sung.

Also available at < ahref=http://www.amazon.com/All-Good-Times-Alice-Stuart/dp/B00006SFB8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1321603972&sr=1-1>Amazon.


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Stewart
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 03:32 PM

Alice is still going strong here in Seattle. She sings with her band, The Formerlys. About three years ago she gave a coffeehouse concert for our Pacific NW Folklore Society, and here is one of her songs on our Seattle Coffeehouse Live recording - see track 2.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: GUEST,James McBride
Date: 12 Jun 12 - 01:30 AM

Alice turns 70 on June 15th and is celebrating with giving two shows at Seattle Triple Door on June 16th.
She is still very much a Full Time Woman.


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Subject: RE: Alice Stuart: Full Time Woman
From: Stewart
Date: 12 Jun 12 - 12:05 PM

I plan to be there at the Triple Door on June 16, wouldn't miss it.

Alice gave a Pacific NW Folklore Society Coffeehouse Concert last
Friday, June 8, at Couth Buzzard Books. She was in great form,
singing her songs and telling stories, including the one about
her performing at the Pamir House in Seattle (see Don Firth's first post).
And she had a great audience with many old friends.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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