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Anyone knew John Greenway?

Related threads:
Info & stories about John Greenway (30)
Book: American Folksongs of Protest (Greenway) (5)


Peter T. 05 Feb 06 - 03:14 PM
Ernest 05 Feb 06 - 03:58 PM
GUEST 05 Feb 06 - 04:08 PM
Bob Bolton 06 Feb 06 - 12:22 AM
Peter T. 06 Feb 06 - 07:36 AM
GUEST 06 Feb 06 - 11:28 AM
greg stephens 06 Feb 06 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,Maimudes 06 Feb 06 - 02:57 PM
Severn 06 Feb 06 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 06 Feb 06 - 07:48 PM
Peter T. 06 Feb 06 - 08:07 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 06 Feb 06 - 08:38 PM
Hrothgar 07 Feb 06 - 04:48 AM
Joybell 07 Feb 06 - 05:40 AM
Peter T. 07 Feb 06 - 06:54 AM
Peter T. 08 Feb 06 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Sandy Paton 09 Feb 06 - 02:11 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 09 Feb 06 - 03:34 PM
Hrothgar 10 Feb 06 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,Marilyn N. 04 Dec 12 - 09:56 PM
GUEST,Marilyn N. 04 Dec 12 - 09:58 PM
Charley Noble 05 Dec 12 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,999 05 Dec 12 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Chris W 03 Aug 15 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 04 Aug 15 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,Dr. Cherry Emerson USA anthropolgist 15 Nov 15 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,Guest, Steve Lueck 01 Dec 16 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Dr. Cherry Emerson, anthropologist 31 Mar 18 - 09:29 AM
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Subject: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 03:14 PM

I have been listening to John Greenway's pallid versions of Australian songs on Folkways, and discovered that he is likely the source for Dylan's "Talking Blues", but also that he wrote a book (Down among the Wild Men) about the aborigines, and that he seemed to turn right wing as he got on. Anyone have any stories or ever met him? He sounds like something only the 50s and 60s would throw up.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Ernest
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 03:58 PM

I got that record also, Peter, but I have never heard anything about Mr. Greeenway. Hope something comes up, would be interesting.
Regards
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 04:08 PM

Don't know any stories about him - but he did compile a classic anthology of songs: American Folksongs of Protest (1953).


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 12:22 AM

G'day Peter T,

I did meet him ... back around 1964/5, when he visited, and sang at, the Bush Music Club in Sydney. Many of the older members of the BMC knew him when he was out here on an anthropological research grant. There was a lot of local feeling that he might have gathered up the material shared by local collectors ... and presented it as his own work when he went back to the US.

Some letters I saw (including some to myself, as BMC Secretary in the early '70s) expressed his belief that he ought to have been awarded a "prestige job, in Australian folklore" but for agitation against him by "left-wing fellow-travelers". Nobody I knew - particularly at that time - knew of any sort of job in Australian folklore ... Everyone was collecting / organising / publishing at their own expense ... in their own time!

All of this dates from after his possible fieldwork in Australia ... and all the people who have talked to me about John Greenway are now dead. I doubt that we are left with any good way to judge his Australian period.

Oh ... in all fairness, I should mention that the late and lamented Chris Kempster, one of the original Bushwhackers Band (1950s band that defined a "Bush Band" ... not the '70s R & R converts who used a similar name) told me that watching John Greenway, and talking with him, taught more about playing "folk-style" guitar than he had worked out in the several years before!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 07:36 AM

Thanks, Bob. He does sound interesting -- not as a singer, but as a person. He was obviously enthusiastic, but a real professor type!!

One is reminded listening to him of how much has changed since Folkways was putting out albums of stuff no one had ever heard.   

I will have to get his book out.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 11:28 AM

Alexandra Swaney, the Director of Folklife Programs at the Montana Arts Council studied with him. I'll forward this thread to her and see if she has time to respond.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 12:16 PM

I know nothing about John Greenway in Australia, or indeed anything about him at all. Except for my very treasured copy of "American Folksongs of Protest", a wonderful book both as a source of material and for background social history. And it does contain(as any book with a title like that needs to) a good old thrashing round the old question "What do you mean by 'folk song'?"


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Maimudes
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 02:57 PM

I have been listening to John Greenway's pallid versions of Australian songs on Folkways, and discovered that he is likely the source for Dylan's "Talking Blues",

Dylan's sources for his talking blues songs were Woody Guthrie and Woody Guthrie via Jack Elliott.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Severn
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 07:05 PM

He had a whole LP of talking blues on Folkways, and LPs called "American Industrial Folksong" and "The Great American Bum (Hobo and Migratory Workers' Songs)" on Riverside and may be heard performing Guthrie's "Talking Dust Bowl" live on one of the Folkways Newport '59-'60 LPs. He wrote lots of liner notes back then for albums by Jack Elliot and others (whichever liner notes that Kenneth Goldstien or Orrin Keepnews hand't written back then, I guess, he did. They seemed to have the market cornered for a while back then).


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 07:48 PM

Seems to me he also had an album called "The Cat Came Back and Other Fun Songs." My college roommate had a copy of it, and I remember I learned something off it, but now I can't remember what it was....   

Sandy Paton may have been acquainted with Greenway. Maybe he'll chime in here.

Helpful, huh?

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 08:07 PM

I have started his book, and it is hilarious: he takes no prisoners!!!

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 08:38 PM

I never met Greenway, nor yet did I ever see him perform. But in the early 1960s he was visiting professor at UCLA for a year. During that time he played a concert at a nearby junior college -go SMCC!- which was recorded by John Davis, a folk music host on a local radio station. He played that tape annually for several years. Shortly before he was forced into retirement by new station management, I contacted Davis to see if he could reprise that concert. He didn't, he said, think the tape was up to broadcast quality after well over thirty years, and so he didn't. Too bad; it was a wonderful folkloric concert.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 04:48 AM

I have a book called "Folklore of the Great West"; American West Publishing Company, Palo Alto. California, 1969.

It consists of selections from The Journal of American Folklore, edited and with comments by John Greenway.

He was described as being Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a specialist in musicology, the recipient of several academic awards, formerly editor of the Journal of American Folklore and of Southwestern Lore, author of four college texts, three anthropological books, and two books on folk and primitive music. He was said to have recorded ten folk music albums, and to have made a motion picture on the Australian Pitjandjara (their spelling).

I get the distinct impression from his commentary in the book that he leans toward the right in politics.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 05:40 AM

hildebrand here: Greenway was well-known for his collecting of protest songs, and for being close to Woody Guthrie, and also for suppressing some of Woody's later work because he felt it showed too much of Woody's mental deterioration. He was known as a leftist, but then I believe he had a stroke, and when he recovered, he was a rabid right-winger. I was in Boulder in the summer of 1965, when Greenway was on the faculty of the U there. There was one of those anti-war "teach-ins" one night -- a sort of gathering in a hall with guest speakers, and Greenway opined in the campus paper that perhaps these students wouldn't be so anti-war when they saw the VietCong charging down Boulder's main street. had he lost it or what.
hildebrand.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 06:54 AM

It appears he was thrown out of UCLA in 1961 for saying that Holy Communion was a form of cannibalism.   "Down Among The Wild Men" it is a vicious diatribe against every sentimental view of Aborigines, anthropologists, religion, and God know what -- his discussion of penis ritual subincision is worth the price of admission alone. And I am only on page 100!

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 07:29 PM

Amazing book. The last chapter discusses his role as a deputy police officer in the Boulder Colorado riots in 1971!

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Sandy Paton
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 02:11 AM

Yes, Nancy, I knew him when Caroline and I lived in Boulder - academic year of 1959-60. I did a small concert/festival with him and a couple of local folks at the University, where John, of course, was a professor of anthropology. While some of the other performers were doing their thing, John and I talked and swapped verses to "The Ball at Kerrie Muir" (spelling optional), and, since I knew even more outrageously filthy verses than he did (we traded verses until he ran out, and I was still going), he decided I was a genuine folksinger. I didn't tell him how many of the ones he sang were new to me! I doubt that such a classification appears in his "American Folksongs of Protest" definition.
    Having dinner at his home one evening, we discovered that his son and ours shared a birthday. "But mine is smarter!" he opined. I declined the implied challenge, he being the PhD and me being a high-school drop-out. He did write a most flattering review, in some obscure folk publication, of a concert I gave, but that was really profoundly influenced, I think, by our "Ball" competition, not by my performance.
    Reading his books, I found myself often heading for the big dictionary. He was irrascible (where's the dictionary when I need it?), but brilliant. The Western Folklore book is only an editor's selection of articles that appeared in the Western Folklore Journal that he was then editing. "The Inevitable American" and "Down Among the Wild Men" will show you his brilliance and, alas, his sharp turn to the right, politically.
    During the protests against the Vietnam War, he deliberately became a Deputy Sheriff so he could go about with a weighted billy-club (and maybe other armaments). When a day of protest was announced by the students, John announced that he would give an impromptu test that day, and any student of his who failed to take it would automatically fail his course. I believe he meant it, too.
    Much of his early distemper might have been attributable to his ulcer. He carried a quart of milk with him all the time before going to Australia, drinking it to ease his discomfort. Out in the outback, he found milk to be unobtainable, so he was forced to drink lemonade and, possibly, beer. Lo! his ulcer nearly disappeared! I think he discusses this in one or another of his post-Australia books.
    Yes, he went wildly right-wing. It was almost an illness that took over his life, and certainly dominated his thinking. When I first read "American Folksongs of Protest," I looked forward to meeting him. When I did, I was able to accept his quite obvious intellectual arrogance, but I could never accept the political philosophy he embraced in his later years.
      Sandy Paton


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 03:34 PM

Fascinating!! I have a 40 year old copy of Folk Songs Of Protest that is falling apart from use over those years. "Down Among The Wild Men" is new news to me; I'll be looking for it!

I do believe that "The Original Talking Blues" was the title of one side of a 78 rpm record by CHRIS BOUCHILLION in 1928. As far as I can see, all the rest took off from that point.

The other side of that record was also a GREAT song!! "Hannah"---"...won't you open that door." I sang it for years and had a ton o' fun with it.

John Greenway's style of singing and presenting songs didn't appeal to me. When I heard Bert Lloyd's Riverside album of Australian songs, I recognized/knew there was a wealth of English language narrative songs in the outback that documented the OZ life fantastically well. Since then, I've never stopped looking, listening and enjoying the folks who made those songs---albeit vicariously -- through their leavings. ---- The ballads and songs of the Northern tier of states here in the USA---the ones from the lumber camps and jacks---are seen by me as a great parallel treasure trove of "story songs". the same goes for the cowboy and geographically Western songs of the USA---"California Joe", "Billy Vanero", "Dobe Bill", so many others. --- Yes, John Greenway did some important work. He pointed the way to a mother-load --- and I'm still looking through that.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 04:46 AM

Thread drift.

Art, there is an article on Bert Lloyd's Australian collecting in the latest EFDSS Folk Song Journal.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Marilyn N.
Date: 04 Dec 12 - 09:56 PM

He was my Anthropology professor at the University of Colorado around 1973. I thought him quite interesting, never missed a class. My daughter grew up listening to his recording of The Cat Came Back (her favorite on the album I had)!


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Marilyn N.
Date: 04 Dec 12 - 09:58 PM

He was my Anthropology professor at the University of Colorado around 1973. I thought him quite interesting, never missed a class. My daughter grew up listening to his recording of The Cat Came Back (her favorite on the album I had)!


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 08:28 AM

This is the second thread about John Greenway. There are more comments on the other one for those who are interested.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 01:04 PM

http://www.keithpurtell.com/kthings/john-greenway.htm


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Chris W
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 09:52 PM

I took anthropology class from him in '73 as well. Very interesting class. I recall that he made an appearance on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show sometime around then.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 08:05 PM

When I first started listening seriously to folk music in the late 1960s, I repeatedly encountered John Greenway's name as the writer of liner notes on albums by Ramblin' Jack Elliott and others. That's all I knew about him at the time.

Later, I saw him on William F. Buckley's television show "Firing Line," during which Buckley remarked that Greenway's politics were so hard-core that they fell to Buckley's right. At one point Greenway remarked that persons who smoke marijuana should be executed. He didn't seem to be joking.


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Dr. Cherry Emerson USA anthropolgist
Date: 15 Nov 15 - 11:49 PM

I knew him in the 1970s at the University of Colorado, I did take one class from him, Ethnography of Australia, he was quite the character, It is correct his politics were far-right, even right of mine :) and he was always so outspoken. Had a wicked sense of humor. His lectures and first-person accounts were excellent. He died in 1991


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Guest, Steve Lueck
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 12:59 PM

I took Cultural Anthropology in Boulder in -1968. John Greenway was the best non-Geology professor I ever had. He was basically against whatever was attracting the most attention from the majority. Accusing Greenway of being a right-winger is too simplistic. Greenway studied and thought and shared what he thought. That a lot of thin-skinned types couldn't handle that was not surprising. Most were incapable of doing the work he did and had highly limited views of reality. Greenway had a great, dry sense of humor and the talent to back up his assertions with demonstrations. His class on evolution of folksongs was both enlightening and entertaining. The instruments he played in class included guitar, violin (fiddle) and didgeridoo (sp?).
I remember the first class when he said that some of us had taken the class in error. When we reached the point of suicide "for god's sake, get it right" he said, pulling a large Colt 45 revolver from the lectern. Holding it to his head with the sight up, he said "Don't hold it like this. The recoil will lift the barrel and the bullet will skim along the skull and leave you with a nasty headache. " Inverting the revolver, he said "Do it like this and you'll get the job done."
If you examine Greenway's life, I believe you'll find he evolved. He was an original. (If my memory of what I put in quotes is not fully accurate, please remember it was 48 years ago. The gist of what he said is accurate however.)


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Subject: RE: Anyone knew John Greenway?
From: GUEST,Dr. Cherry Emerson, anthropologist
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 09:29 AM

I had classes from him and talked to him often from 1992 through maybe 1996, took his class on Australia at University of Colorado at Boulder, he was rather strange.   Yes, he did carry a gun to classes when he had the big ones that were actually sometimes in a theater off campus. He was grouchy and opinionated... I remember talking to him about a "B" grade on an exam, was trying to be Phi Beta Kappa (did get that but he woudn't raise grade) said my hand drawn map of Australia "...faintly resembled a diseased kidney." Another time he signed a first edition of his book (I was a married woman and he hated signing books) so he wrote "To Cherry, what a great time we had in that motel room last week, love always, John Greenway." Had to tear the page out.


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