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Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts

Big Al Whittle 27 Jul 04 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,T-boy 28 Jul 04 - 08:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 04 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 18 Feb 06 - 10:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Feb 06 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Jonathan Schneer 17 Aug 10 - 08:49 PM
GUEST 21 Oct 12 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Chris Potts 10 Nov 12 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 12 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,John Bidwell 10 Nov 12 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Chris Potts 10 Nov 12 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,John Bidwell 15 Nov 12 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Jim Prendergast 10 Aug 13 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,Jim Prendergast 11 Aug 13 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Pamela 28 Apr 15 - 05:38 AM
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Subject: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 05:39 PM

These were two Americans who toured English folk clubs in the 1960's and I often wonder what happened to them.

I was at a boarding school in Reading in 1965 and I sneaked out one night and caught a set by Brian Roberts at a local folk club. he was a good guitarist and raconteur and he had been the support act for the New Lost City Ramblers at one point he told us. Got into a hell of a lot trouble for sneaking out,. Can't remeber many of the songs but Come Back Baby was on his set list, and he told a tall tale about it being so dark that two little snow drops asked each other the way down to the ground

Marc Sullivan I remember a lot more about. I think he was around in the summer of 65, or it could have been a year or two later. he hung around with the folksingers of Exmouth in Devon. He was a great banjo and guitar player. He played a complicated blues by Alexis Korner, Dylan, East Virginia. A few other things . I saw his act once or twice. He was thin and dark and wore a hobo type cap. I know he came back once, cos he put a message in melody maker asking his old comrades to get back in touch. But I couldn't claim to be one , so I didn't The English reserve kicking in I guess. Pete Quinn the Portsmouth ragtime player knew him - so maybe he was around on the south coast.


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 08:00 AM

I think I remember Marc Sullivan. He was on at Cambridge Festival (UK) in late 70's or early 80's.

If I'm right he used to play guitar upside down, i.e. left-handed but strung for right-handed. Weird !


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 11:35 AM

thanks for replying


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 10:06 AM

I saw Marc Sullivan a few times at Les Cousins (London) - would have been 65/66-ish. And then one day on a train going north we shared a compartment (yes, trains had compartments in thse days) so I chatted all the way up to wherever he and I were going. Have no idea what we talked about but I was impressed (I was about 15 at the time).

Martin


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Feb 06 - 03:02 PM

thanks for replying. I'd love to hear of or from either of these guys.

big al whittle


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,Jonathan Schneer
Date: 17 Aug 10 - 08:49 PM

If anyone ever tracked down Marc Sullivan I would very much like to hear about it. I want Marc's contact information. We grew up together in NYC in the 1950s. We played guitar together then (I have long since quit that). I last saw him in about 1985. I have been unable to find his mother or sister or him. If you can help please send an email to the following address:

jonathan.schneer@hts.gatech.edu


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 11:28 AM

Sorry to double post this, but this is clearly the main Marc Sullivan thread.

Marc Sullivan features in this Danish documentary from '67.
http://youtu.be/sjEsRWGxVLM

He played in a band called 'Proof Spirit' with John Bidwell and others. Sadly he died a while back. I'd also be interested in any further news anyone has about him, or any recordings. John Bidwell last saw him in the early '90s and has said this about him "Marc just didn't realise how brilliant he was. Remember how he used to stay up all night at our gaff, and in the morning he'd have half a dozen songs written. Beautiful guitar arrangements and all"


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,Chris Potts
Date: 10 Nov 12 - 05:36 AM

Here is Jonathan Schneer's personal reminiscence of Marc Sullivan, which he has allowed me to post here:

Some Memories of Marc Sullivan and Music


Marc Sullivan was my best friend when we were kids. He lived three floors above me in Manhattan in New York City. We were in and out of each other's apartments practically every day. His parents and my parents were friends.   

We both got guitars aged nine (in 1957). We learned to play simultaneously, on cheap instruments with nylon strings. We listened all the time to records of the Weavers and Pete Seeger (our parents knew them), and tried to imitate them. We went to different schools, but after school we would get together and play guitars and sing in harmony, almost every day. We subscribed to a folk music journal called "Sing Out."

Marc had more talent than I. He had perfect pitch. He could find unlikely harmonies that made me sit up even then. We used to give "concerts," inviting the friends and neighbors of our parents, setting up chairs in the living room of my parents' apartment. Marc would type out a "program," and make copies with carbon paper. We claimed to be brothers.

Marc's father knew Pete Seeger particularly well. Pete was Marc's hero (mine too). Marc got a five-string banjo like Pete. He was really good on it age, now, maybe eleven. Pete would visit Marc's parents. Out would come Marc's guitar and banjo. They would sing and play together. Marc's mother complained to my mother: "They were singing in the kitchen at the top of their voices at nine o'clock in the morning."

Marc's parents also knew Woody Guthrie and his family. Marc would visit and come back and tell me about how sick Woody Guthrie had become. I think Marc went to the same school (it was called the Downtown Community School) as Woody's son, Arlo, but I am not sure about that. Anyway one summer during these years Marc went to a music summer camp (called Indian Hill I think). He formed a trio with two other campers: Arlo Guthrie and Christopher Guest. They called themselves the Beavers – after the Weavers. He wanted me to join the group too. Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately for everybody else if not for me, as I think on it now – I never did. Anyway, one of the counselors at the camp was a tall young woman with long black hair. That winter she gave a concert at Carnegie Hall that we attended. Afterwards we went back stage. Joan Baez gave Marc a big hug. She said to me: "Your friend taught me to play the banjo at Indian Hill last summer."

In 1962 Marc's parents left NYC and moved to London. I spent a month with them during the summer of 1963. I didn't bring my guitar, but rather a baseball bat. Nevertheless we spent a lot of time making music. Marc's father taped us on one of the old reel-to-reel machines of that day. I still have one of those tapes and, sparked by these memories, recently pulled it out and borrowed a friend's antique machine and played it. We sang: "Where have all the flowers gone?" with Marc's sister, in three-part harmony.

I saw Marc again in the summer of 1968.   He was greatly changed. The mental illness that would color the rest of his life had manifested. From then on he never really was the same, at least when I saw him. I know that he had some dealings with Paul Simon (I think he would open for him on a tour sometime during this period); I know he had some dealings too with Donovan (possibly in California). But it seemed to me that now something separated Marc from everyone and everything else; it was as though he was paying attention to the everyday world with only part of his mind, while another part was occupied with things that none of us could sense. I would see him every few years when I came to London during the 1970s and early '80s and this never changed. Except, sometimes when he was playing the guitar I thought he devoted his full attention to that.

His illness came in cycles that went something like this: it would strike and Marc could no longer function. Medicines would make him feel better. He would begin to play again. Soon he would feel well enough to perform in public. Things would go well. He would quit the medicines. Then the illness would strike again and the whole miserable business would repeat.   I think eventually he decided that the stress of performing in public exacerbated the disease and so he quit.

We lost touch in about 1984. About three years ago I decided to try to find him. I had lost his address and other addresses that would have been helpful. It took more than a year but eventually I made contact with his mother and sister. From them I learned that Marc had died of acute myeloid leukemia on May 1, 2010. My search had begun just at about the time my old friend learned he had this fatal disease. I very much hope that these reminiscences are interesting to people who want to know more about Marc and his music.

Rest in peace, Marc.


Jonathan Schneer
Atlanta, GA
October 27, 2012


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 12 - 05:48 AM

Thankyou so much Jonathan. Marc made a huge impression on me. I loved his work, but I was just a kid of fifteen or so - I never had the nerve to approach people and talk to them in those days.

if you would like to make contact, my contact details are here on this site.

http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,John Bidwell
Date: 10 Nov 12 - 08:51 AM

I was in a bad (Proof Spirit) with Marc in the mid to late 1980s. I didn't know at the time of his amazing history. A great musician who was quite reticent about his earlier days.

rejerrah@hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,Chris Potts
Date: 10 Nov 12 - 09:29 AM

Typo alert: to be clear Proof Spirit were a fine band (not a bad!)
:)


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,John Bidwell
Date: 15 Nov 12 - 07:55 AM

Does anyone know the year and/or title of the the EP which was made by Marc Sullivan? It would be nice to assemble whatever recordings there are of this great musician.


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,Jim Prendergast
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 10:20 PM

I played a concert last night up on the coast of Maine, accompanying a young Irish fiddler. At dinner with her family, they asked me how I got into the music business, and naturally I told them the (life changing) story of my friendship with Marc Sullivan. Tonight I happened to watch a film about Pete Seeger, and something compelled me to see if there was anything on the internet about Marc, who I lost touch with in 1972, after I returned to the US from London, where I had been playing in a group with Marc and a fellow named Johnny Meyers (anyone know where he is?). First, I was amazed to see the footage in that Danish documentary. Then, after I discovered this thread, saddened (but not all that surprised) to learn of his passing.
    I owe my life as professional musician to Marc. I was living in Paris in the sixties when one fall Marc showed up at my school. His family had moved there from London while his father Elliot (Eli-a very sweet man) worked on the movie 'Paris When It Sizzles'. We instantly became friends, but it was at least a month later before I learned he was a totally accomplished professional guitar player (at 14). I had been trying to teach myself guitar for a few years, with spotty results. One day Marc came over to our house and spotted my guitar. By the end of that day I had learned Greenland Whale Fisheries, The Good Old Colony Days, The Hammer Song and Charlie on the MTA.
    Marc only stayed in Paris for a year or so, but we had a great time riding around on Velosolexes, hanging out with our girlfriends Simone Raskin (from Brazil) and Leyla Nehzi (from Turkey). I visited him frequently in London until went off to college in Baltimore in 1966. All-nighters at Cousins, his teaching me Angie, Moanin', Goddbye Pork Pie Hat, etc..
    I returned to London in 1970 to pursue a commercial folk-rock thing with Marc and Johnny. There was some interest in us from the Stones' newly-formed label based on an acetate demo of some songs we had written. Marc was the real talent in the group, and alas, our fortunes rose and sank depending on his mental state. A painful time, to be sure, and I eventually returned to the U.S. to attend Berklee College of Music.
    The 70s in New England found me playing a lot of country music, and I wound up in Nashville in 1980, where I lived until 2010. I had a reasonable career as a studio musician, bandleader, music contractor and producer, and made a nice living i the company of world-class players. I'm now in Portsmouth NH, where I have a successful recording studio (www.millpondmusicstudio.com) and enjoying a late-life incarnation as a grizzled folksinger and Irish music specialist- a distinct return to the music I loved when I knew Marc. I think of him often, have spoken of him every chance I could, and deeply regret not having been able to find him in later years. It's wonderful to hear from someone who knew him.


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,Jim Prendergast
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 07:51 AM

I can be contacted via e-mail at countynashville@yahoo.com   (county not countRy)


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Subject: RE: Marc Sullivan and Brian Roberts
From: GUEST,Pamela
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 05:38 AM

For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking of Marc Sullivan so decided to google him and found this thread. I remember going to a party in Torquay. It was probably some time between 66 and 68 but it could have been slightly later. I was with Roger Greenhough who ran a folk club in Paignton. I remember walking up a set of steps to the door of the house. Marc Sullivan was sat at the top playing. When he finished he exclaimed "Man, Angie backwards!". As I remember it, Peggy Seeger was also at the party with him, as they were travelling round together.


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