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1964 radio program with Fleming Brown

BK Lick 15 Feb 04 - 05:52 AM
Art Thieme 15 Feb 04 - 12:48 PM
karen k 16 Feb 04 - 04:31 AM
Chris in Wheaton 16 Feb 04 - 12:44 PM
Mark Clark 16 Feb 04 - 12:46 PM
Art Thieme 17 Feb 04 - 12:21 AM
Mark Clark 17 Feb 04 - 01:47 PM
BK Lick 17 Apr 10 - 08:31 PM
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Subject: 1964 radio program with Fleming Brown
From: BK Lick
Date: 15 Feb 04 - 05:52 AM

I recently stumbled upon a website maintained by the Glenbard High School Class of 1944 where there are some pages in remembrance of Fleming Brown, including a streamed mp3 recording of a 1964 radio broadcast of an interview he did with Studs Terkel.

I've made a page remembering Fleming with the eulogy George Armstrong wrote for Come For To Sing published shortly after Fleming's death in 1984, linking to the Glenbard page, and also offering the broadcast recording in streamed RealAudio format.

The program consists of two parts, each about 27 minutes long. In the first, Fleming sings
  • Trouble On My Mind
  • Coal Creek March
  • Flag of Blue, White, and Red
  • Fare Thee Well Old Ely Branch
  • Darlin' Cory
The second part contains seven songs, the first performed by Uncle Dave Macon, the second by the Carter Family, and the last five by Fleming.
  • Down the Ol' Plank Road
  • Single Girl
  • Hello Stranger
  • Market Square
  • The Ford Machine
  • As I Go Ramblin' Round
  • Stackerlee
Back in the day, Fleming, his wife Jo Mapes, Dodi (my ex), and I hung out a lot—the three of them were loath to travel and frequently shared local gigs. Listening to this program reminded me that it was from Fleming that Dodi learned "Hello Stranger." I think it's fun to hear how it got passed along to her daughter who recorded it on My Mother's Voice, a collection of songs she learned from her mom.


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Subject: RE: 1964 radio program with Fleming Brown
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Feb 04 - 12:48 PM

Mr. B.K.---

This is a valuable lot of stuff you have made available here. And FLEMING BROWN was a unique and valuable part of the folk world in Northern Illinois for many years. In the 1950s he was the first in Chicago's big area to show people what Appalachian banjo was all about. His voice was dramatic and very effective in highlighting the lyric that usually presented a fascinating story of places and times different than what we city bred people knew about. It was an eye opener for many of us. Of the many who were affected by Fleming Brown, there was a Chicago kid who became the wonderful banjo player and raconteur STEPHEN WADE. Steve's one-man shows, BANJO DANCING and it's successors, still hold longevity records in Washington D.C. and other theatrical venues around the U.S.A. It was from Fleming Brown that Stephen Wade learned to love and play the 5-string banjo. He would, at the drop of a hat (or a pick), tell anyone who would listen about the wonders inherant in the sounds, tunings and history of the 5-string banjo.

Fleming is gone now, but you can hear him when you listen to Stephen Wade. And you can also hear Fleming on the sites provided and mentioned in this thread by some fine folks who carry on the music he made so lovingly and artfully. That's what the folk process is all about.

Art Thieme

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Subject: RE: 1964 radio program with Fleming Brown
From: karen k
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 04:31 AM

You can also hear Fleming Brown on the Folk-Legacy recording he did called, I think, Appalachian Mountain Banjo Songs. I think his was the 4th Folk-Legacy recording made. I look forward to listening to the radio program when I am at my home computer instead of work.

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Subject: RE: 1964 radio program with Fleming Brown
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 12:44 PM

I heard a lot of songs that I still sing first from Jo Mapes at the Old Town School, such as San Francisco Bay Blues. It wasn't until I got to talk to Odetta much later that I found that she and Jo went to high school together in LA and it was Jo that brought Odetta to folk music - so lots of tangents to this story.
It would make a good book - and be sure to keep the movie rights!!
Chris in Wheaton.

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Subject: RE: 1964 radio program with Fleming Brown
From: Mark Clark
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 12:46 PM

Bruce, Thanks very much for posting this. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the radio broadcast. I'm not sure I heard the original broadcast in 1964 because Studs' program was on in the afternoon and I couldn't get to a radio. I was, however, a frequent listener to the Midnight Special programs at that time.

Art reminded me of Lackey's Steakhouse—across the tracks from the old No Exit—the other day and I remember Fleming dropping in there on many occasions to share his wonderful music. That would have been in the early '70s.

I also enjoyed your site and that of Dodi's daughter, Kathy. Hello Stranger has always been one of my favorite Carter Family songs. I learned it from a Carter Family reissue recording a couple of years before the Terkel program first aired.

      - Mark

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Subject: RE: 1964 radio program with Fleming Brown
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 12:21 AM

Mark Clark,

I just got a fascinating e-mail from the good Doctor Mark about Gene Lackey and how the steakhouse was never really "open"---just Gene's hangout. I have a tape somewhere that was made at Lackey's place--with Fleming who brought this kid, Steve Wade, to Lackey's for the first time to hear a "real" jam session. I think Doug Montegue made it. Another slide I have is of Paul Goelz and Stan Shapin picking...

That place became the Heartland Cafe in later years. That's still there.


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Subject: Lackey's Steakhouse
From: Mark Clark
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 01:47 PM


I'm glad to hear you're in touch with Dr. Mark. Please tell him I said hi. I sure miss his fiddle playing.

Yeah, The steakhouse was a labor of love for Gene. In part, I think it was a gallery for his wife to display and sell her artwork. Being a musician, Gene loved to attract other musicians so it was always a great musical hangout. I always made time to eat dinner when I was there so Gene would get some return for his hospitality.

I remember Gene telling me he would visit a few of the best small butcher shops each day and personally select each piece of meat he planned to serve that evening. Each steak was lovingly grilled by Gene over an open fire. The place was small and the menu only listed various beef cuts and baked potatoes but I don't think you could order a finer steak anywhere within a hundred miles.

I notice we've talked about Lackey's Steakhouse, and the wonderful musicians who used to hang out there, in other threads. It's probably thread creep but here are links to the other references I could easily find.Oh, and whatever happened to Dave Prine & Tyler Wilson? They used to perform as The National Recovery Act. I found a reference that they performed for a Hogeye Folk Arts, Ltd. concert last year so I assume they both remain extant.

      - Mark

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Subject: RE: 1964 radio program with Fleming Brown
From: BK Lick
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 08:31 PM

The Glenbard High School link is no longer working so I've replaced it with a link to an mp3 of the Studs Terkel interview on my site.

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