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Perry Lederman, anyone?

outfidel 01 Oct 03 - 04:10 PM
RichM 02 Oct 03 - 03:07 PM
outfidel 02 Oct 03 - 04:43 PM
Art Thieme 02 Oct 03 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,sdowler 02 Mar 04 - 07:13 PM
Art Thieme 02 Mar 04 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,elijah wald 27 Sep 04 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Marc S. Silber 21 Apr 07 - 12:21 AM
GUEST,David Pierce 03 Jul 11 - 12:45 AM
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Subject: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: outfidel
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 04:10 PM

I just stumbled across a couple of articles about Perry Lederman which name-checks some of my favorite fingerpickers. The thing is, I never heard of him before these articles. Can anyone comment on this guy and his playing?

Marc Silber says this: "Then there was Perry Lederman. He was the greatest fingerpicker I ever heard. He died last year. He was the greatest in 1959 and is still the greatest I ever heard. He made one record. He traveled all over the country and astounded people. He was real young, just sixteen when he came to school. We had never seen anything like it. We didn't even know what fingerpicking was. To me, he was a hundred times better than Chet Atkins."

Elijah Wald says: "Perry was one of the great fingerpickers of the 1960s, a friend and influence to artists including Bob Dylan, John Fahey, Michael Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia, and many, many others. Somehow, though, he never quite got around to making a record until the last months of his life, when we went through his old tapes, culling the best versions of favorite pieces, and he recorded a handful of beautiful new cuts. Perry's playing was most strongly influenced by the quieter, more 'country' blues artists, people like Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, Etta Baker, and Sam McGee...Perry was a marvelously soulful, funny, insightful, and imaginative player, and this album gives me great pride and pleasure."

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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: RichM
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 03:07 PM

There's an MP3 of Perry Lederman playing "Colours" at this site:

Scroll down to the single listing for Perry Lederman and click on the last column, "approximate start time"

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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: outfidel
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 04:43 PM

Rich - Many thanks for that link. Lederman's playing on that piece reminds me a lot of John Fahey.

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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 08:11 PM

There was another thread on Perry Lederman a while ago. He was one of the first fingerpickers I ever heard. The SOUND and syncopation of fingerpicking got inside of me completely. It is still there. And Perry simply blew me away when I heard him in 1961 hanging out and picking in the lobby of Ida Noyes Hall at the very first University Of Chicago Folk Festival. I became completely engrossed in the sounds he was making on his guitar---a Gibson if I remember right. Perry Lederman hit me THAT HARD before I had really lookind into fingerpicking and learned to do it myself. Mark Dorinson was doing some fine pickiong back then too. And Marc Silber picking "San Francisco Bay Blue" while sitting on a table in that same room was a revelation for me too -----as was Tom Paley picking and singing Sam McGhee's "Railroad Blues" as a part of his set that year with the New Lost City Ramblers in venerable old Mandel Hall. I was 20 years old then-----and, for me, there has never been a better folk festival anywhere---any time.

Also at that first U. of C. Folk Fest was Frank Proffitt with Frank Warner, Elizabeth Cotten, the incandescent Roscoe Holcomb, the fine WLS Barn Dance cowboy singer Bob Atcher, 2-fingered (on his left hand) Chicago blues singer/street singer Arvella Gray whose regular stage was the corner of Grand and State Streets in front of Bob Koester's shop called the Jazz Record Mart. Sandy Paton was on that show---so were The Stanley Brothers, Fleming Brown, Johnny Carignan, Allen Mills, Valucha Buffington and a mentor of mine named Win Stracke---a founder of The Old Town School of FOLK MUSIC.

But it was Lederman and Silber whose picking just captured me. The picking and that SOUND was ALWAYS a MUCH bigger part of my music than anyone ever knew or realized. For that reason, I feel that my guitar playing was always underrated. But the tales told in the songs were always primary for me, and the picking was more or less relagated to the roll of backup. BUT it was hearing PERRY LEDERMAN and his ilk that set my snowball to rolling. I am truly glad that he took the time off in the middle of his school year at The University Of Michigan back in '61 to drive over to Chicago for a great winter's weekend of muic.----The music made then is still resonating for me all these years and roads later.

Art Thieme

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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: GUEST,sdowler
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 07:13 PM

Perry Lederman can be heard on the album 'Out West - Berkeley', Arhoolie F4001. He gets one or two cuts on here, I can't remember and I don't have it with me right now. His playing is quite amazing and not like anything I'd heard before him or since for that matter. I saw and heard him many times live while living in Berkeley in 1960-73 at The Golden Bear in the SU or at the Jabberwock on Telegraph or most often outside Shakey's guitar shop in an alley off Haste St off Telegraph. Get this album if you can find it. It includes some fantastic blues cuts by Steve Talbot as well as some fine singin' and pickin' by Pete Berg and Toni Brown. But the jewel is Perry Lederman's frenetic whanging rhythmic bulldozer of a sound that you will never hear anywhere else.
Cheers and enjoy

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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 08:39 PM

Where is the solo album available? What label? What songs? Dick, does Camsco have it?


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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: GUEST,elijah wald
Date: 27 Sep 04 - 10:03 PM

I have copies of Perry's solo album, which I produced with him shortly before his death. There is more info on my site,

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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: GUEST,Marc S. Silber
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 12:21 AM

I am still here in Berkeley, and still a songser and picker, and still in the business of buying and selling instruments.
IN 1960-61 I came here after AL Young left ANn Arbor and wrote me a letter, and I hitch-hiked here immediately during that summer. THe next year Perry Lederman arrived from Ann Arbor amidst a veritable emigration.
We all picked guitars and Al was ALREADY A VERY GOOD SINGER. Perry was the most advanced.

I have a website www.marcsilbermusic, and I have 3 CDs of myself, and a 4th is on the way. I think this is the only place you can get my CDs. There are reviews of all three CDs on as ite calle if you are interested, and you can hear a few tunes by me there (or also on my Website.)

drop me a line if you want to chat about those days OK,
meanwhile, peace without bombs,
marc s. silber

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Subject: RE: Perry Lederman, anyone?
From: GUEST,David Pierce
Date: 03 Jul 11 - 12:45 AM

Around 1963 I went to El Cerito High School (10th grade). I first heard Perry in a small coffee house on San Pablo Avenue called the Cabal. He played a small Martin guitar accompanied by a singer named Al Young. At that time I was exposed to folk music from the usual sources (Kingston Trio, Limeliters, Peter Paul & Mary, The Weavers etc.) but Perry's playing was an entirely new experience. I was able to take guitar lessons from him and still remember how to play many of his tunes to this day (7/3/2011).

San Francisco Bay Blues, High Society, Walking and Whistling, John Henry, Railroad Bill, Freight Train

In my later musical years I drifted into jazz guitar and classical guitar but the style that Perry Lederman taught me was my root influence. Even though his style never enjoyed the commercial success that some of the other musical venues achieved, his style was on an artistic level with any of them.
                David Pierce

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