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Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?

Ariel 13 Mar 99 - 08:02 PM
sail 13 Mar 99 - 08:32 PM
14 Mar 99 - 12:19 AM
j0_77 14 Mar 99 - 01:09 AM
Allan Samuels 14 Mar 99 - 01:18 AM
Songbob 14 Mar 99 - 01:51 AM
PDiB3 14 Mar 99 - 03:15 AM
Susan A-R 14 Mar 99 - 09:57 AM
Dr John 14 Mar 99 - 10:03 AM
Rick Fielding 14 Mar 99 - 02:13 PM
Marlor 14 Mar 99 - 02:57 PM
Roger in Baltimore 14 Mar 99 - 03:31 PM
CarlZen 14 Mar 99 - 03:52 PM
Mudjack 14 Mar 99 - 05:23 PM
lesblank 14 Mar 99 - 05:51 PM
Teresa 14 Mar 99 - 07:30 PM
14 Mar 99 - 08:55 PM
northfolk/al cholger 14 Mar 99 - 10:43 PM
Grubby 15 Mar 99 - 04:29 AM
Alistair Robb 15 Mar 99 - 08:56 AM
Neil Lowe (inactive) 15 Mar 99 - 11:35 AM
RWilhelm 15 Mar 99 - 11:48 AM
Liam's Brother 15 Mar 99 - 12:23 PM
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GUEST,Jonny T 12 Jul 03 - 09:09 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 12 Jul 03 - 06:58 PM
Frank Maher 12 Jul 03 - 07:33 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 03 - 12:17 AM
Celtic Soul 13 Jul 03 - 11:08 PM
Frankham 14 Jul 03 - 01:11 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 03 - 01:58 PM
Frankham 14 Jul 03 - 06:39 PM
the lemonade lady 15 Jul 03 - 06:06 AM
Peterr 15 Jul 03 - 12:01 PM
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Frankham 15 Jul 03 - 08:00 PM
Peterr 16 Jul 03 - 07:26 AM
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cockney 17 Jul 03 - 12:17 PM
Frankham 17 Jul 03 - 04:26 PM
TheBigPinkLad 17 Jul 03 - 05:07 PM
MAG 17 Jul 03 - 09:57 PM
GUEST 20 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM
GUEST 20 Jul 03 - 01:41 PM
GUEST 20 Jul 03 - 01:54 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 20 Jul 03 - 04:28 PM
GUEST 20 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,Frankham 21 Jul 03 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,Rosanna and Tom King 21 Jul 03 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,J Seeger 21 Jul 03 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,the best folk singer I KNOW is frank hamilto 13 Jan 04 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,the best folk singer I KNOW is frank hamilto 13 Jan 04 - 05:43 PM
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Tim theTwangler 09 Jun 07 - 01:12 PM
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Subject: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Ariel
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 08:02 PM

O.K., I did this before w/love songs, and what a response! Now I want to know who's your favorite artist and why. Don't be shy! And don't be afraid to name several. I myself would have to say for a female singer it would be Joan Baez, and for a male singer it would be Don McClean. What do you think?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: sail
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 08:32 PM

Bill Schustik. He always gives a history or background of the song. If you have a chance to catch him, please do. He has a program of Civil War, old time, etc. songs, and plays multiple instruments. He has played in Lincoln Center, summers on the Shenendoah (a teaching sailing ship) with 5-graders, and in the Sarasota, Fla area.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From:
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 12:19 AM

Homer, obviously. This kind of question belongs on rec.music.folk. Hero worship is the norm there.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: j0_77
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 01:09 AM

Love folk music - sooo guess enjoy em all


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Allan Samuels
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 01:18 AM

Well I got in on the ground floor here. Guess we just want to see how many people agree with us - so we can feel good about our choices. Nothing wrong with that - affirmation is good for the ....uhm......ego.

I love so many artists and they have such different and distinct niches, not to mention unique sounds, that a list of several dozen would be easier than one (or even six).

In over thirty years I have not grown tired of hearing Ian and Sylvia. I know many will agree.

The Limelighters..... with Glen Yarborough. He has a glorious voice and their harmonies......

Third and last...Though I could name so many more.....Peter Paul and Mary. They have been creating wonderful sounds for a long time and for me at least have avoided going stale.

So, nothing controversial or very esoteric here....now who's got the guts to jump on my band wagon???

Allan


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Songbob
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 01:51 AM

Best folk singer? Me, of course, 'cause I'd rather sing than listen. This kinda music is participatory, it's doing music, not lay back and let it come to you.

Now, the folks whose singing I like to learn from, that's another story!

Bob


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: PDiB3
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:15 AM

I've been enjoying Lou Killen lately.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Susan A-R
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 09:57 AM

I like this one, mainly 'cause I may hear about someone I don't know and might like. Keep 'em coming please. As for me, I like different folks for different reasons. Gordon Bok for his voice and his taste, Peter Paul and Mary and the Weavers for their harmonies and energy, Pete Seegerr, because he's Pete (I guess he gets in there twice because of the Weavers) John McCutchin because he writes well, and he's a lot of fun in performance, Inti Illmani because they make me practically dance in my seat, Michael Cooney, because he led one of the best sing alongs I've ever heard, John Roberts and Tony Barrand because I Love those harmonies, Paul Simon because he also writes real good, etc. etc. etc.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Dr John
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 10:03 AM

USA: Woody Guthrie for all round; Cisco Houston for the best voice; Hedy West - best female singer; Lead Belly for power. UK: Dave Burland for best voice; Jez Lowe for all round; Nic Jones for consistency; Isla StClair - I just love her and my wife says that's OK!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 02:13 PM

Gotta go with the late Ewan MacColl. (never saw him live) "Mongst the living: Toronto's Norm Hacking. If I ever get to see him I think I would love Skip Gorman.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Marlor
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 02:57 PM

Hmmm, I'm a relatively new folkie, and am not really familiar with a lot of singers. One singer I do like, although I don't know if you'd call her a folk singer in the truest sense, is Lorena McKennitt. She has one of the prettiest voices I've ever heard. I also like Connie Dover.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:31 PM

Just to be contrarian I vote for a group. One of my most wonderful music experiences has been to listen to the trio of Anne Hills, Priscilla Herdman, and Cindy Mangsen. The harmonies sometimes send chills up my spine. Listening to them is an uplifting experience.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: CarlZen
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:52 PM

I got sucked into this one again. 'Best' is such a subjective term, but when we get over the semantic discussion it is a good forum for finding out 'favorites' and for getting some names out for others to see and eventually hear. Spider John Koerner has been a long time favorite for someone who takes the standard folk repertoire and really interprets it. Also, I just heeard Geoff Muldaur's recent CD. It seems these old folkies just get better and better.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Mudjack
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 05:23 PM

I agree with Songbob's philosophy, without getting into what "folk" music is, I must go with Sam Hinton who has the largest songbag of songs as anyone out there.He sings them as to teach as well as entertain his listeners and does well at both. Jack


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: lesblank
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 05:51 PM

If I had only enough time left on earth to listen to four albums, they would be:

1. Any Steve Gillette w/ Cindy. "Texas and Tennessee" is the epitome of "folk" !!

2. Allen Damron, specifically, "35 Years", a true Texas treasure.

3. Gordon Lightfoot, again any of the numerous he has done.

4. Ian and Sylvia, specifically, "Northern Journey"

Hope I have a lot more time left!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Teresa
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 07:30 PM

For harmonies, I like the Black family and the Johnstons (circa mid-60's); Eric Bogle (sincerity to the nth degree); Stan Rogers (I still dream my fantasy of seeing him in concert--darn!); A. L. Lloyd (he verbally winked withevery word!); ... Oh, this is so hard! Many mentioned above get my vote, too! Teresa


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From:
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 08:55 PM

Female - Tie 'tween Joan Baez, Judy Collins ( early work both)

Male - Pete Seeger (Ed McCurdy close second)

Duo - Bud and Travis

Group - Clancys & Tommy Makem

--John (not Jon)


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 10:43 PM

Pete Seeger is clearly the best, because of his ability to describe, define and demonstrate the "folk process", many remarks in this column refer to other folk singers, who are all enjoyable to listen to, and to see perform...but the best, Pete!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Grubby
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 04:29 AM

For those new to folk music I would suggest you could try and find recordings of the following artists displaying different styles and make up your own mind. I'm afraid my opinion changes daily and subsequently I don't have a favourite I love them all

not in any particular order:

James Keelaghan,Stan Rogers From Canada

Jez Lowe, Nick Jones,Vin Garbutt, Martin Carthy From England

Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, From Ireland

John Schumann, Eric Bogle From Australia.

The list could go on, but I suggest you start there and enjoy the experience.

Grubby


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Alistair Robb
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 08:56 AM

Best folk singers..hmmmmmmmmmmm....well Group with all round Sh**kicking harmonies and knowledge of the Tradition it's got to be the Watersons. Live performer with sheer energy for me is Rory McLeod...Martin Carthy simply for being soo good that he's still around performing, Dick Gaughan cos he writes the best songs and is sincere. Here in Brazil there are so many folk musicians that I couldn't even begin to list who's the best.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Neil Lowe (inactive)
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 11:35 AM

kinda partial to Sy Conn......


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: RWilhelm
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 11:48 AM

I'm with CarlZen: Spider John Koerner


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 12:23 PM

Best Traditional Singer... either Almeda Riddle or Joe Heaney

Best Singer-Songwriter... Ewan MacColl

Best Old Warhorse... Lou Killen

Best Local Folk Singer Who Will Never Be World Famous... Jan Christensen of Brooklyn. He has a list of songs pasted to his guitar that's so long and in the smallest print that it stretches all around the sides from top to bottom. The songs are a wonderful eclectic mix: traditional, newly composed, self composed, international, etc. and, remarkably, he knows them all. No more than a pleasant voice, very solid, nothing fancy on the guitar but a genuinely lovely man who has no shirt on his back because he gave it away many years ago.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: PaulR
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 12:50 PM

No question, Kate Rusby


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Ireland O'Reilly
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 01:00 PM

The best folksinger I know? Me! *grin*

not really.

My favourites are Stan Rogers and John McDermott.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: John O'Sh
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 01:07 PM

For rolicking good live Irish folk - Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy (together or alone, both are great).

John Prine is a wonderful performer

Christy Moore is a whole lot of fun

and I heard Shane McGowan (sic?) lead singer of the Pogue's do an accoustical concert which was phenom.

Billy Bragg does a great job with Wilco on the album Walt Whitman's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 01:24 PM

Lots of wonderful picks!!! I wouldn't expect anything else. Let me throw in Jean Ritchie, and Edna Ritchie too, as they are definitely deserving to join this list. Throw in the whole family...Their music, their home, their heritage, their voices.....doesn't get much more pure.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 05:10 PM

My men's vote goes to Lee Monroe Presnell ("Uncle Monroe") of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Eighty-six when I recorded him, and still a masterful singer with all the subtle nuances of a great traditional artist.

Jeannie Robertson, superb ballad singer from Aberdeen, Scotland, would get my women's vote. Jeannie had an incredible "presence" and a powerful delivery, together with a great repertoire -- muckle ballads to bawdy songs.

But I have to admit I've always wanted to be Frank Proffitt when I grow up.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 05:41 PM

This is the kind of thread that could go on and on and...as we think of other singers that could fit the bill, but if one criterion is someone on record that we continue to listen to year after year, I'd have to add Horton Barker, Martin Carthy and Huddie Ledbetter.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: dwditty
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 05:50 PM

Dave Van Ronk - because he can tell a lie, but he can't sing one.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: o'hanrahan
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 10:27 PM

Of no particular ranking: Jez Lowe, Bill Staines, Stan Rogers, Kate Wolf, Eric Bogel, Nanci Griffith, Gordon Bok, Archie & Ray Fisher, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Huw Williams, Pete Morton, Jean Ritchie, Dylan, Lennon, Christy Moore,....wow, I can't do this else i'd be typing all night...anyhow these are some of my favorite things.. O'Hanrahan


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: o'hanrahan
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 10:34 PM

.....and Steve Goodman, David Olney, Ralph McTell, Iris Dement, Hazel Dickens, Roy Harper,...


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Ferrara
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 11:04 PM

First name that came to mind was Helen Schneyer. Then had to give equal time to Jean Redpath, Lisa Neustadt, Ray Fisher, and Lisa Null. All of these women have powerful, individualistic voices and styles. But they are less concerned with their own singing style than with conveying the meaning and feeling of the song. Most of them have huge repertoires of traditional music.

For men, my first thought was Dwayne Thorpe. Dwayne is a college professor who sings "Zebra Dun" like he really means it. Wide range of material, fine guitar work, a very expressive and versatile voice, great on both old-timey and blues. I only know one album that he's done, darn it. Lou Killen is superb, Allan Damron is wonderful, can we name our top twenty? Or top forty?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 02:26 PM

I second Jean Redpath, and the Watersons, and the whole Fisher family. I have a soft spot for Fred Holstein in chicago, because of the many years of great singalongs.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bert
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 02:38 PM

I agree with Ferrara, top twenty or so would be nearer. How can you choose just one?

In no sort of order....

Utah Phillips
Lonnie Donnegan
Allen Damron
Our very own Art
Tom Paxton
Me, and everyone above who said "ME"
Dick Greenhaus
Vance Gilbert
Cheryl Wheeler and so on and so on.

Come to think of it a list of bad ones would be much shorter, but I can't even think of one at the moment.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 02:40 PM

Although I don't like the "best" concept, I have enjoyed Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens and of course Bob Dylan, I'm not sure that I saw their names earlier in this thread.

If the question is who is the best we know personally, I give unbiased nod to Susan Latimer. Okay, she's my sister but she has performed at the Mariposa and Eaglewood festivals in Ontario and writes very interesting material founded in her classical training and her exposure to Blues, Celtic and Bluegrass.

Rick mentioned Norm Hacking, I saw him when Susan was performing at the Eaglewood festival a few years ago and was very impressed with him and his material.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:39 PM

It often depends on my mood. However, I've always liked Stan Rogers, Archie Fisher, Chris Foster, Nic Jones, and Maddy Prior. Pam Morgan and Anita Best from Newfoundland are also pretty good.

Recently I've discovered Kate Rusby, a fine singer barely in her twenties who comes from the same part of the world as my paternal grandfather. I've purchased Hourglass, and just today ordered some of her other CD's which are not available in Canada. She seems to have never toured North America, and I am told that one of the reasons is that she has a fear of flying. I'd love to see her in a place like The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Of the old timers, A. L. Lloyd, Ewan McCall, Woody Guthrie, and Leadbelly.

Of bands there are too many to list.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From:
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:48 PM

Alex Dobkin


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Ferrara
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 10:33 PM

Yeah, and I forgot Art, and Norman Kennedy, and Archie Fisher, Ewan McColl & A.L.Lloyd, and Andy Wallace, and ... I keep remembering more Absolutely Number One Favorites. How many turns do we get?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Night Owl
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 12:50 AM

Bill Staines...not only for his artistry, but also for the depth of his commitment to his vocation and to the overall traditions of "Folk".


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Mudjack
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 01:37 PM

Wow, The list goes on and on and I must say every entry is very representitive of my record/CD collection. But some are obviously posted without regard to catagory. OH my god, I said it. That dirty word which might be sugesting" What is a folksinger.Or who is my favorite singer/songwriter, who is my favorite folk recording artist? Who is my favorite folk group? No slams intended here, I'm pretty much of the opinion that these good folks are indeed great folk singers, I'm just put out at myself for not thinking of posting all my favorite artist. This thread is posting all my favorites.ditto.......... Jack mos/fol


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From:
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 03:44 PM

Jonathan Edwards


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 05:06 PM

Robert Zimmerman. Gordon Lightfoot.Joan Baez. Earl Monroe.Loreena McKennett.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 05:28 PM

you all have clouded my mind with so many obvious choices...(Redpath, MacColl, Robertson, Fisher, etc...)..and I agree with Ferrara..*Dwayne Thorpe*, whom I get to hear in person every year or so!..this man takes songe we all know and seldom sing and brings them to life! About 3 times in my life I have had the hair stood up on the back of my neck listening to music...and one was the first time I heard Dwayne Thorpe sing "Tenting Tonight"..and there is a local woman whom most of you have never heard of..Janice Cole, who has moved me SO many times singing "Ned of the Hill", "Grey Funnel Line", "Fiddler's Green", the Scottish "Country Lassie", "Kitchen Man"...etc......once, after a concert where David Jones was part of a group, there was a 'singaround' for the audience. Part way into it, Janice launched into "Tramp On the Street"...and before she finished the first verse, David Jones who had been busy with the 'after the concert' business, came back to the auditorium and stood transfixed till it was over...and then applauded her in the most gracious way I have seen!..

and I'll bet YOU all know some people yourselves that will never be 'famous'...but maybe should have been...

now I am going to go thumb thru my records and see who I have missed...


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 08:29 PM

I like most of the performers listed above, but the folksingers I like best are the friends who sing with me, wherever I happen to be. I've sure been having a good time singing here in Washington, and I'll be happy to get back to singing with my friends in Sacramento next month.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: bill\sables
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 08:51 PM

Its not Bill Sables here, its Sam an accordion player from bills band. I think the best folk singer is Kate Rusby, from Barnsley, England. Her voice remindes me of June Tabors only with a hint of Yorkshire!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Anne
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 09:33 PM

I've gotta go with Rosalie Sorrels..

Anne


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 05:49 PM

Yes, Bill/sables, Kate Rusby is a keeper for sure.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: balladsingin Sue
Date: 20 Mar 99 - 08:29 PM

Female: Jean Redpath Male: Norman Kenedy I could listen to these folks sing the New York City phone book backwards and love it. Fortunately, they both have much more interesting repetoires.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 02:04 PM

Rankin Family. obvious oversight.

-- MA


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Dr John
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 05:27 PM

How come the same names are in "the best folksinger ..." thread and in the "biggest waste of vinyl..." thread?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Mudjack
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 06:13 PM

Sam Hinton again... You might be more familiar with his work in Rise Up Singing... Yeah, the guy who did the calligrophy. He's a splendid folksinger and has a songbag of songs nearly as big as Rise Up Singing. Jack


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Shula
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 07:29 PM

Dear folks,

Leaving aside the impossibility of answering any question intended to exemplify the "best" of anything, and just attempting to address the question of favourites, I suppose I'm still fond of the singers whose recordings I heard as a child. I remember liking the songs of Woody and Pete, but for voice, I was much taken with the butterscotch sound of Burl Ives. I know he went commercial, but that was beyond the ken of a child, and I just loved to hear his voice. That, and the fact that I could usually make out the words when he sang, so I could learn "behind" him -- a big plus in any singer's book -- put him high on my list.

But my honest-to-goodness favourite would have to be my grandfather, Ben Moomaw, Jr., who was president, for ages, of the Virginia Folklore Society. At meetings, "Mr. Ben" was regularly called on to perform some of the hundreds of songs he had learned from a life well spent in The Blue Ridge Mountains.

He would stand, usually without accompaniment, but with perfect pitch, nonetheless, -- in later years, leaning slightly on his hickory-wood cane -- and sing from memory the endless verses of song after song, telling the "pedigree" of each one between numbers. His voice was clear as springwater, and startlingly strong right to the end, long after frailty had become apparant in his limbs. He never faltered or forgot a line, ( I've been told by those who had a right to say), and his vocal timbre was so rich and beautiful, you could gain weight on it.

And while others had to pay dues and show up for meetings, I had the exquisite pleasure of listening to his songs at leisure, sitting in my little rocker, right next to his big one, on the long front porch of the house he had built with his own hands many years past, for his bride, my grandmother. I lived for summer, when we would leave the killing tidewater humidity of Richmond for the cooler air of the hills, where I could follow him through the pastures and the orchards and even the truck garden, drinking in the music that seemed to flow from him as speech flows from the rest of us.

In the evening after supper, as the sun set, we would all sit out on the porch in the rockers, with cold fresh mint drinks -- iced tea or lemonade for the ladies and young folk, bourbon for my Gampop and any other gentlemen -- and pass the time "waiting for the house to cool down" by counting the cars passing on the ribbon of road far down in the valley below us, listening to Great-Uncle Roy tell his home-made tales of "the Great B'ar" and the other constellations, or leg-pullers drawn from local lore.

And then my Gampop would sing until those selfsame skittish stars were lured from their shadowed lairs to populate the night sky. I could hear him summon up even the moon, with the sweetness of his voice. I asked him once, when he would run out of songs to sing, and he replied that that would happen "'bout the same time the creek runs out of fish, or the grass runs out of fireflies, or the sky runs out of stars."

It was in this way that I learned that the songs would always be there, just waiting for him to tease them out of hiding like the shy chatoyant creatures that crept further and further up the yard as the night bloomed, as if to hear him sing all the better. If there is "work" in The World to Come, the rest of us will all find new "careers." But they will have to let my Gampop go on singing just as always, for there could be no higher purpose to which he might be put, nor any greater pleasure for the rest of us than to be permitted, once again, to hear him sing.

Fondly,

Shula


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 09:11 PM

Shula, it's so nice to have you back. Thank you for sharing your grandfather with us.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Susan A-R
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 09:37 PM

Hi Balladsingin' I've always wanted to apprentice myself to Norman Kennedy, as he is just down the road apiece. I'd love to learn all of that stuff, and I am more Scots than anything else (which isn't saying much, being a true mongrel)


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 10:18 PM

Thank you, Shula. Now I can see even more clearly why everyone has been asking about you. I'll have to go back and find other threads to which you have contributed. That was truly beautiful!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 10:38 PM

PAUL DURST---because he is the man who pulled me into this music first. It was 196i---I was 20 years old & taped Paul's WOBBLY (I.W.W.) songs on my old 2-track reel-to-reel Webcor. Those songs opened a window to history for me that has never shut. 93 years old then, Paul born in 1868---was a human time machine---a fiddler filled with fire and anger at things unequal and economically and socially obscene. A hobo riding the rails from harvest job to warm sunny southern places while winter froze the North. Jumpin' freights with a fiddle on his back. Was at the Ludlow massacre and asleep under a Chicago boardwalk when the bomb went off at a place called the Haymarket----yes, THE Haymarket. Built a raft/flatboat of Northern hardwood in Minnesots and rode the Mississippi to the Gulf where it brought good cash for the lumber.

And I've never seen him since that day...

Ask Mick to tell ya if I'm jive; I sent him a tape of old Paul Durst a while back, knowing Mick's dedication to his union. Come on in, if ya will Mick. Don't that ancient tape evoke the man and the time and the struggles.

That's why Paul Durst will remain the finest folksinger I've ever known.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 11:12 PM

Shula, I am know that I have been known to pursue the fair Alison relentlessly over the hills and dales of cyberland, but I am afraid that I have just fallen head over heels for you. Your description of Mr. Ben just resonated with me. It was truly beautiful. Some time back Alison and Joe told me that I should read your posts, so I did. I felt that I came to know you, and admire you. I have missed you, by virtue of reading those posts, and I am so glad that you are back with us. Your Grandda lives on, and his voice can be heard, through the little girl sitting in her little rocker, right beside his big rocker. Pass it on, my dear, pass it on.

All the Best and welcome home,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 11:21 PM

Friends, the tape of Paul Durst is one of my finest possessions. And it was a gift from Art for which I am forever indebted. It is absolutely amazing to me what is on it. The fact that this man witnessed some of the most important events of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century firsthand, just absolutely boggles the mind. I had to email my dear friend Art just to ask him if he had any sense that the man was delusional, even though I could tell from listening that he wasn't. For those of you who don't know, I am a labor organizer and amateur labor historian. For me to be able to hear the voice of this witness to Ludlow and Haymarket and many other of labor's history is very hard to describe. I will write more later.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From:
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 12:07 AM

Dear Barbara and Sandy,

Thanks for the compliments, and the warm welcome.

Dear Mick,

Your kindly words do an old heart good, but I'm obliged to say that I am most happily bespoke long since, and my own sweet darlin' has visited The Mudcat himself, a time or two, and mightn't cotton to competition so late in the day.

Glad you liked my recollection of my Gampop, though. (If you'd like a sample of the dialect used by the hillfolk I recall from visiting my grandparents, I sent a post last night to the "Does Anyone Know How Shula Is Doing?" thread, in that "voice," to account for my lengthy absence.) Dear Mick AND Art,

As for YOUR experiences, I am very interested to hear more about Paul Durst. My own bias is socialist and pro-union. Sixties protests, time spent on strike as a member of the teacher's union in Philadelphia, and an interest in Jewish-American history (from my mother's side), combined to make an unlikely radical of me. So I, for one, would love to know more about the life and times of this hero of the working man. Do tell.

Eagerly,

Shula


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 01:40 AM

I was about to go to the Alvarez Guitar thread and "do a catspaw" for Sandy on the exploits of 'Paw and Cletus since Clete's incarceration at the Neil Young Center for the Terminally Screwed. Sorry Sandy...that'll hold til tomorrow. It's been one trying day and I have just finished "catspaw's bedtime story"...a soothing and inspirational tome brought to me by Shula and Art. I checked in here just to see what was new, this thread has been a "lurker" for me...Best isn't easy to figure and so many keep coming up.

But the essence of folk is story telling. Keeping history alive and vibrant through the telling of stories about the common man and the events and times he lives in and through. It's not about great musicianship, original tunes, or all the other things we talk about so often, though they're all a part of it too. The essence is the story that carves it's way into our soul.

Tonight, the two best folksingers I know are Shula and Art Thieme. Art sent chills through me as I read his heartfelt and passionate description of Paul Durst. And Shula, words escape me to describe that sense of being there..."joining you on the porch" so to speak. When I first came to the'Cat I did a lot of old thread research and developed an admiration for both of you and tonight you have both struck me with an even greater sense of awe.

And you did something else. I'm an aging '60's radical who woke up one morning 7-8 years ago, buttoned his vest, straightened his tie, looked in the mirror and asked, "What the hell happened to me?" I began an immediate turn around to try to bridge the gap and return to where I was going before and the person I was. The changes were many and though folk music had remained with me, it had not been playing the strong theme of my youth. It has reclaimed it's place and we now do things that make a difference, things to leave the legacy to my sons that they can view with pride and continue on. Now and again, I need a sort of validation for my actions...tonight it came from the two of you. Many thanks.

Tomorrow I'll return to our little cyber village. I'll foray out from my litterbox and poke fun, tell nasty stories, continue on with long winded tales of crazed tiple bands and Bob Dole's Erectile Dysfunction...you know, the catspaw usual. Tonight I'm going to read the posts again and sleep happily. The 'Cat IS a most unique and wonderful place.

catspaw

P.S....Shula, forget the Irish guy, I think he's out on the road now!!! You need a man who can BE THERE to cater to your every whim. A guy who can cook like you wouldn't believe and do the dishes too. 'Course if you're going for looks I can't hold a candle to Mick. But wait...what about a threesome???...gotta' keep Mick around anyway since HE'S got those tapes from Art ...then again you already have a guy...OKAY, A FOURSOME!!! Wait a minute, we set you up as Queen, yeah, this has potential. Lemme' think on it.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 11:31 AM

WHEW!!!

More later...

Art


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 01:37 PM

My newly discovered love for Shula is none the less for the fact that it's Platonic, Catspaw.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 03:29 PM

Well damn Sandy, of course it's platonic! Say, wait a minute, what kind of dirty mind have you got there anyway? So listen up, see we install Shula as Queen and then all types of court servant types are possible. Your tremendous historical knowledge would be invaluable; I can imagine you, Caroline, and Shula exchanging "war stories." And my cookin' is fine but Karen is a bread maker beyond compare. And I can see Fielding getting into this too.

Of course the spouses and families are involved!!!!.......'cause I suspect that much like me, you ain't squat without them. I just gotta' iron out the details in this regency thing.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 04:49 PM

Graham Pirts not a bad folk singer ether!!

Bye, Sam


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: alison
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 06:54 AM

Hi Shula,

Lovely to see you back... and your posting about your grandfather was just gorgeous........

Now Mick................. does this mean Joe's in with a chance again????? **grin**

Slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Library Lady
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 10:55 PM

No particular order. I admit, they change according to my mood.HazelDickensDocWatsonIrisDementStanRogersMargaretMcArthurLeadbellyNimrodWorkmanJeanRitchieGeorgeTuckerSiKahnGuyCarawanBuffyStMarieGillianWelchPeteSeegerMikeSeegerPeggySeegerKeolaBeemerAnyNativeAmericanSingerTomChapinEllenCottonJeanRedpathDocWatsonJimmyDriftwoodAlanFreemanTomLeherRalphGoodenoughNealWaltersMegChristianOscarBrandArloGuthrieWoodyGuthrieJohnPrineGregBrownTomPaxtonJaySmarJackElliotSteveGoodmanRobertEarlJoanBaezJoanieMitchell, basically.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: BK
Date: 28 Mar 99 - 11:57 PM

Shula: as often happens on the Mudcat, you just knocked my socks off! You've gotta write a song or two, & LOTS more stories.. abt yer gampop.

We were all "warmed by fires we did not build;" I had a great-aunt who mostly raised me &, tho perhaps subtler, affected me much as yer gampop did you. My wife had the same in her grandma.

There are the singers of the heart, of our personal worlds, like the folks above, who bless us more than we sometimes realize, (esp while it's happening), and there are the folks we go to hear perform, or sometimes are lucky enough to sing alondside of, & I would not want to do w/out either. Luck lady! You had the best of both in one person...

As for the response to the title of the thread: Hard to decide on favorites when my hard drive has only 11 gig or so to store the names in ascii, & I dont have several years to type, & they change w/the wind, & the list continues expanding.

I know a lot of the names mentioned above & agree w/every name I know (& will trust the 'catters for those I don't know). I still love to listen to Ian & Sylvia - often Northern Journey - & my other old favorites, mostly listed above.. Will just mention a few names that I didn't notice in this long thread, then shut down; sweetie just said she's not feelin' well & it's late...

Joe & eddie - fabulous

The Furies, esp doing Eric Bogle songs - or "the Old Man," & esp when Davie Arthur was with them

Steel Eye Span, esp Maddy Prior's wonderful leads, Wow!

Stan's "little" 6'4" or 5" brother, Garnett Rogers - a superb player & rich voiced singer, who writes w/an artists eye for subtlties & for relationships - & loves, & raises horses w/his wife.

The list really could go on & on... Gotta go

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: BK
Date: 29 Mar 99 - 08:47 PM

Next day; abt as close to being awake as I ever am after eating dinner, & a lot more than I was late last night; How could I ever have left off Danny Doyle; from Erin but living in VA nowadays, occ plays in DC area Irish pubs - not to best advantage, as he'll be quick to tell you many of them don't want any real music, just background brainless stuff (if I can paraphrase him) for yuppies to shout down while "networking" in expensive business clothes; Irish muzak, performed live.

You gotta see him in a real concert or get his recent CD's to appreciate this incredibly fine performer and arranger; for me, he epitomizes the quintissential Irish folk singer/tenor. Not necessarily focussed on writing, rather, on performing. Some recordings that jump readily to mind: "Christmas in the Trenches," "Kilkelly Ireland," "Immigrant Eyes," (spectacular! the immagry is stunning) "The Rose of Saigon," (also spectacular, based on a true story, abt a pair of new Irish immigrant brothers sent to 'Nam, only 1 came back), "The Moon on Clancy's Wings," many others...

For me, his evocation of the power, the immagry, yes, even the magic in these songs takes my breath away. If I ever grow up, that's how I'd like to sing... Often, the magic is inside of us, the songs help to bring it out. Whew! I'm gettin schmaltzy, again...

& Speaking of "Take My breath Away," there's 'Balmer's own, "Sanders, Cass & White," who could easily take yer breath away, esp their song abt the AIDS quilt, forget it's name at the moment, but I dont forget how it sounds - or feels.. By rights, it ought to be a million seller..

Really, the list is endless, gotta go..

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: BK
Date: 29 Mar 99 - 08:50 PM

Sorry for the multiple; it's evidently my increasingly unsatisfactory ISP.. or microsloppy's handiwork.. again; gonna switch to netscape soon.

Cheers, BK


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Subject: Lyr Add: BUFFALO BILL^^
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Mar 99 - 02:03 AM

Shula & all,

Off the top o' m' head--this is what comes back now...

Paul Durst's parents came to the U.S.A. in 1848. They wound up in Wisconsin because it reminded them of their home in Switzerland. Paul had strong remembrances of his youth (born in 1868). Living in a log home behind a log stockade of sorts. "Behind the logs with a lantern hanging off the end of your rifle. The wolves'd come in toward the compound and the light from the lantern's fire would reflect from the eyes of the animalals. You'd just see two glowing dots out there in the below zero winter blackness---and you'd aim between the dots of light. And we'd just knock 'em off--one after the other. The pelts'd make good warm clothing."

Later, Paul worked for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. He had whiskers just like Bill and so folks started calling him Buffalo Bill too. A friend later wrote a song about Paul that was called, "BUFFALO BILL". Paul gave me a printed copy of the song on September 20th, 1961. Tune was "THE WABASH CANNONBALL"

I know an old time friend of mine who travelled the hobo way,
From coast to coast through Canada, so this I heard him say,
He rode the rods, climbed high on top, caught many on the fly,
Cooked his meals in jungle style while watching the trains roll by.

Those jungles were quiteplentiful along most railroad tracks,
Where many 'boes were camping--some with bindles on their backs,
While coffeepots and kettles made out of old tin cans,
Were strung along the cooking place with many frying pans.

The reason for his roaming he tried hard to explain,
You see the jobs were far apart and seasonal in the main,
For when the wheat was harvested, the apples needed men,
This forced him to the hobo life with many of his kin.

Never underrate a hobo for he has skill and wisdom too,
The one I'm writin' this about always knows what to do,
When times get tough you'll see him busy entertaining men,
With familiar lines of music played on his violin.

So come and see the double of old time Circus Bill,
Drop in some friendlt tavern where you'll surely get a thrill,
I know that he'll amuse you while fiddlin' on a string,
But don't forget some silver--just enough to make it ring.

This is the history of one who went through the mill,
He's nicknamed in the cities by the name of Buffalo Bill,
You can find him now on skid row with a fiddle in his hand,
Travellin' up and down Madison Street---this happy smilin' man.

Paul told me that a fellow in California had compoed this song about him several years earlier---but he didn't remember how many...and he didn't recall the guy's name.

Yep, he'd been a part of the old Buffalo Bill Wild West Show---along with Sitting Bull and many others. They took a ship to Europe (actually Germany) with the show and inadvertantly introduced Hoof And Mouth Disease to Europe. All of Bill's show cattle had to be slaughtered over there and Bill (and all) came home pretty much broke. Bill had to be re-financed by an old friend--P.T. Barnum--another great showman of that era.

But "Madison Street" mentioned in this song isn't in California; that was Chicago's Skid Row up until recently---still is here in 1999 to an extent. Madison Street was where Pete Leibundguth (the owner of The Fret Sop--a music store on 57th St. in Chicago--found Paul. Mr. Durst, 93 then, broke, was pretty much in decline. So Pete asked Paul Durst to move into the back room of his shop which had once been a concession stand for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. I was teaching a beginning guitar course there then. Jim Kweskin was teaching an advanced guitar pickin' course then--1961. And that was how I got to know (and tape) Paul Durst. I was too young to know the right things to ask him though. God , I do wish I knew then all that I know now; it would've been one hell of an interview.

Paul had a stroke a few months later. It got so bad that, while he was in the hospital and paralized on one side, they brought a priest in to give him the Last Rites. Paul woke up and saw this gy standing over him and mumbling something and it enraged Paul. Remember this old man was half a vegetable, but he managed, in his anger, to bodily throw the priest out of his hospital room!!! (Paul was a lifelong atheist.)

Well, Paul made a recovery and was, once again, back living in the back room of the Fret Shop. A lady of about 70 years came into the store to get a uke for a kid. They got to talking...The last I saw of Paul was when he moved in to live with that lady. I was amazed.

After that, I never did see Paul again. But a year or so later the Chicago paper had a story about an old man with a long flowing beard who had been found dead on the lower level of Wacker Drive in Chicago--in an out of the way spot under the Michigan Avenue Bridge. "The man", the caption on a photo read, "had only a beat up old fiddle with him!"

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Shula
Date: 04 Apr 99 - 05:41 AM

Dear Folks,

For those who read and liked my recollection of my grandfather's singing, (and, to tell the truth, to see how well memory had served me), I went to the online archives of The Virginia Folklore Society to see what might be recorded there about him. I found ( in a much longer and, for the most part, drier, document) the following references.

"Two figures, who were important in the later periods of the [Virginia Folklore] Society's history, appeared on the scene for the first time at the 10th annual meeting on November 30, 1923... One of these persons was Benjamin C. Moomaw, Jr. of Barber, Virginia, who was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Society. He, along with Miss Alfreda M. Peel, 'delighted the audience by singing many of the ballads that the Society [had] collected.' The second individual was Arthur Kyle Davis, Jr. [who] was elected Archivist of the Society at that meeting. [Davis authored the volumes, 'Traditional Ballads of Virginia' and 'More T. B. of VA']

... a collaborative effort to revitalize the Society shortly after Davis's death involved long-time members, Ben C. Moomaw, Jr., President; C. Alphonso Smith, Jr. and Virginia F. Jordan, Vice-Presidents; and Fred F. Knobloch, Secretary-Treasurer; ..., and many others.

...the reorganized Society retained the stamp of an earlier era, which was manifested to a large degree through the personalities and interests of Ben C. Moomaw, Jr., who continued as president of the Society until his death in 1978, and Fred F. Knobloch, the Society's secretary-treasurer...

Mr. Moomaw was a fine storyteller and singer, who insisted that the program for the meetings should be a mix of scholarly presentations alternating with ballad singing and tale telling. He also determined that Barbara Allen should be the Society's emblematic ballad and should be sung at the beginning of each meeting.

The front-page obituary for Moomaw in the Covington Virginian of March 13, 1978 noted that 'His hobby for Virginia Folklore brought him in contact with the Virginia Folklore Society and after serving as the state secretary for several years, he assumed the office of president of that group.' The lengthy memorial dwelt mostly on Moomaw's Chamber of Commerce work and it clearly held his greatest contribution to have been the effort to secure construction of Gathright Dam, which created the lake named for him, Lake Moomaw. For those who heard his virtuoso recitations from memory of examples from Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation at Society meetings, however, he will be remembered differently."

Had it about right, doncha reckon?

Shula


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Dr John
Date: 04 Apr 99 - 08:18 AM

Sorry to say I'd never heard of Art Thiem until his name kept appearing on the Mudcat. Then went to the Waterbug site a found a clip: great stuff, I'll certainly buy the CD. Add him to my list!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 01:24 AM

New favorites?

Eric Bibb, Gillian Welch....

~S~


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: forty two
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 07:02 AM

Well I'm surprised that he hasn't been mentioned (unless I have missed it) seeing as his web site was talked about recently: Dick Gaughan has surely got to be up there. What a voice that man has.

And as for women, again I am quite surprised she's not mentioned but Karen Casey has got to be one of the best Irish Traditional singers around on the circuit at the moment.

forty two


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Roger
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 09:24 AM

Best is such a subjective title. Fair to say that if I hadn't involuntarily heard Derek Moffat singing with the MacCalmans at my rugby club 20 years ago I would never have been introduced to this music that has given me so many, many hours of pleasure. And now my kids too. Given the sad news elsewhere in the forum, I'd like to record my gratitude.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Peg
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 09:42 AM

I think Dick and Karan are excellent too! They are both coming to Boston very soon...


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Mac Tattie
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 10:41 AM

Well with many of the names already mentioned this thread certainly proves,"you can fool some of the people some of the time", or, "there is no such thing as bad publicity". Anyway, here's my selection of "best" folksinger :- "On speaking terms with", Heather Heywood, Ray Fisher and Archie Fisher. "Talked to them once and taken a photo", Martin Carthy, Dick Gaughan, Vin Garbut, Norman Kennedy. "Watched,listened and enjoyed on stage" Lizzie Higgins, Willie Scott, Mary Dillon, Cathy Jordan, Ishbel MacAskill. cheers


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Don McLean
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 10:54 AM

me


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 12:43 PM

sorry, Don, old bean...but you never were a 'folk' singer.

A good singer, and you write some nice songs...but...*grin*, as resident (self-appointed)folk facist, I hereby disqualify you.

(sure I can!, if you can vote for him, I can disqualify him....it's in the rule book.. ;>))


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 04:35 PM

Bruce Utah Phillips featured my old tape of Paul Durst recently as the subject of one of his Loafers Glory radio shows.

If those are archiveed anywhere -- it was show # 77.

Art


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Annraoi
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 10:27 PM

I'd go along with GUEST Don Mc Clean: by far and away the best folk/trad singer I have ever listened is definitely "ME"
Annraoi


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: DougR
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 11:54 PM

The thread title is a bit misleading, I think. The title suggests who is the best folk singer you "know." That would imply that you know the person, I would think. Using that criteria as a basis, I'd have to say, Billy Edd Wheeler, though, admittedly, he may be considered more a songwriter than performer. He's a pretty damned good performer too, though.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Annraoi
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 06:35 AM

I don't follow your *correction*. I still think it's *me*. After all, who knows *me* better ?
Annraoi


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 11:12 AM

Bill D,

I fully understand your including )) on your smiley face ;-))

I shaved my beard a while ago and found too damn many of those. So I grew it back !

Art


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: wildlone
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 11:49 AM

John Waltham


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 12:11 PM

Me


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Carolina
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 01:27 PM

Liam Clancy -- hands down.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 03:35 PM

Define folksinger..hehehe


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,RL
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 12:41 AM

All time favorite: Joseph Parsons-kind of rock,blue,folk I also like John Gorka, John Prine, Ian Matthews


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,AKRick
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:42 AM

I've seen Archie Fisher almost a dozen times in the last few years and have never been less than enchanted. He's amazing. I recently acquired the Anne Briggs collection (mostly accapella) and can't get it out of my CD player ... have begun working out guitar accompaniments to the tunes for my own fun. I saw Waterson-Carthy two nights in a row a few months ago ... phenominal!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:48 AM

Ralph Scott... the Mudcat's own "Popular Halfwit" Soon to be available on Hearthside Cultural Cooperative's lable... no kidding, Cathal McConnell says he reminds him of Martin Carthy...and then some! - Larry


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Deda
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:44 PM

I'm a pretty big fan of Don McLean, but the best folksinger I KNOW has always been my bro Amos. You all know he can write lyrics but he can sing and play the guitar, too. Family legend says that his first words were "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care.."

I've recently been on a big Tom Paxton kick, too. But of course I don't know him. I knew the late and very lamented Bill Crofut, and I love his CDs.

--Not really a guest, just at home on my terribly slow home line & machine.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Steven G.
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 04:00 PM

I really enjoy listening to Gordon Lightfoot's music, because he has some great hits like Early Morning Rain, Canadian Railway Trilogy, and so many more. I think he is a great folk singer/songwriter.

Another person would be Stan Rogers. I really enjoy his music like Make and Break Harbour, Barretts Privateers, and Northwest Passage. Unfortunately he passed away in 1983, but his music lives on.

And there are other singer/songwriters from Canada, like Gene MacLellan, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Garnet Rogers, so many great singers.

Steven


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 11:58 AM

Helena Triplett - - REAL old time!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 12:39 PM

Joan Baez


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: CET
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 04:59 PM

At one time I would have said Liam Clancy, without hesitation. I heard Sean Keane sing at the Goderich Celtic College and Celtic Roots Festival, and now I'm not sure.

For female singers I haven't heard anybody to beat Janet Russell, but then I'm partial to mezzos.

Edmund


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Doc Rock
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 05:40 PM

Put me down for Loreena McKennitt. But i could just as easily go with Robert Elkins, formerly of the band Cajun Gold.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Trinidad
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 06:51 PM

HHHMMMMMmmmmm, Male: Terry Conway, not as well known as he should be!

Female: Kate Rusby and Eliza Carthy tied!

Duo: The Corries - you really can't beat 'em!

Instrumentalists: I saw this great band at the King's head, Allendale. They were called Tryckster and they rock! erm, there are so many really, but that's the cream of live performers!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: kendall
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 07:06 PM

I know too many of these people to stick my neck out and name the "best". How can I when my best friend in the world is on other people's list? Godon Bok. I like Glen Yarbrough too, but, why does he have to imitate Sandy Paton?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 09:19 PM

Great reading this thread, and to see so many different singers appreciated. I could agree with many of them, including old friends Art Thieme and Dwayne Thorpe. But, the singer I really like best is one perhaps not many people have heard... Jerry Rau, the Minnesota Minstrel. I have never heard anyone sing a song so much from the heart with so little artifice and such love for the music. Wherever you are, Jerry, I miss hearing your voice..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 09:42 PM

Joan is still on the throne


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 12:07 AM

Jerry, I agree about Mr. Rau.

Art


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: musicmick
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 01:31 AM

I am surprised that no one has picked Harry Belafonte who was, almost certainly, the most successful of the revivalists of the pre-hootenany era. His live recording of the Carnegie Hall concert was a revelation to an audience whose exposure to traditional music had been confined to the homespun gentility of Burl Ives and the tuxedo clad formality of Richard Dyer-Bennet and Alfred Deller. Belefonte's first album, "Marc Twain" was the best introduction to real Americana available at that time or since. His subsequent fame as an actor and political activist has outshone his importance as a folksinger but no one has ever been his equal as a singer or as an entertainer. Of the singer/songwriters who composed within the tradition, Cyril Tawney is in a class by himself. He had been a line officer in the British navy and his lyrics reflected his familiarity with the jargon of the modern sailor. I am privileged to have spent some time with him when I played at some festivals and clubs in England and Scotland in the late 1960s. Mike Miller


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,frankie
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 03:34 AM

My favorite is Dick Gaughan and I'm also partial to Martin Carthy, Paul Brady and Sid Selvidge. f


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: breezy
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 07:34 AM

Stan Rogers should be compulsory . Its still amazing how so many have still not heard his recordings, or maybe too many of you are still singing of American Pie, Puff and Flowers.Yes they opened the door for me .
over ere its Keith Marsden, and his repertoire is also complete.
Its about those who give us songs that we can share with others, as well as those who set us on the road
Jimmy Miller aka E. M.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 09:33 AM

Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Jean Ritchie, Leadbelly, Mance Lipscomb, The Carter Family, Joan Baez (early), John Hurt.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,alinact
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 09:45 AM

Haven't read all the responses but my favourite female folkie by far is Sandy Denny; favourite males are Nic Jones, Martin Carthy, Jez Lowe and Stan Rogers and favourite groups are Corries and (one from left field) early Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Allan


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Midchuck
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 12:49 PM

This could take a while:

Probably at the very top: Ian Tyson. He (with Sylvia)was one of the people that originally turned me on to folk music. Then he turned me on to new cowboy music 30 years later, in a whole new incarnation.

Tom Russell: My all-time favorite songwriter. One of the most underrated writers in the medium, because he writes Knife and Whore Songs in a time when everyone wants New Age songs about their feelings.

Stan Rogers: My next favorite songwriter. What a f***ing waste....

Jim Ringer: Anotherf***ing waste. Like Stan, came along while folk music was in a slump, and I was mostly listening to Willie and Waylon and Emmylou and them. He had already drank himself to death before I ever discovered him.

Joan Baez I have a very clear memory of seeing her first Newport appearance with Bob Gibson on the Teevee. I babbled for days. I was in love for a couple of years. Later, I fell out of love for political reasons, but the damage had been done.

Doc Watson. I used to tell people he was God, 30 years ago. It took them this long to figure out I was right. Thing is, it's been that same 30 years and I still haven't gotten Black Mountain Rag up to speed, without errors....

Roberts and Barrand and Mangsen, Hills and Herdsman. As noted above, my favorite harmony singers for their respective sexes. I'm also thankful to R&B for turning me on to the Peter Bellamy settings of Kipling's poems.

More in a sequel, as they occur to me...

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 12:56 PM

Rolfyboy: I was going to post another list of older, traditional folksingers, and you pretty much covered it. What excellent taste you have! I'd add Charlie Poole, and even though he's a blues singer, Mississippi John Hurt, and as long as everyone is slipping in acoustic singer-songwriters like Don Mclean, I'll add Steve Earle, who is far more "folk" a fantastic songwriter and singer, although I like his earlier stuff better.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: breezy
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 01:33 PM

but Alex Campbell I did know and Paul simon I met, so my early nominations are the songs of whom I know of.
I hope Ariel is collating all the names and mentions and gets back to us.I only know of one woman called Ariel and she is in Canada.Tonight I'll be singing the R. of the M.E.C.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: beachcomber
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 03:20 PM

Yeh, I've read the thread through with such great intrest. Being a "sixties" man myself I would like to add my "tuppence worth", if I may. I was initially captured to the folk singing type of music by Robin Hall & Jimmie McGregor, although I had often heard and loved Burl Ives on radio prior to hearing them. Of course I have to include Liam Clancy, Christy Moore and Danny Doyle to name a few favourite men singers. Some favourite women would have to include Mary Black, Dolores Keane (her brother Sean must figure highly too) Eleanor Shanley (late of De Dannan) and Linda Lewis. I think the Watersons were a marvellous group and top of the groups , for me, must be the Ian Campbell Folk Group (with Ian, his sister Lorna- what a voice, Dave Swarbrigg, Brian Clark, John Dunkerly and a bluegrass style banjoist whose name momentarily escapes me. The weavers with "Tzena, Tzena" ," Sloop John B "and "Kisses sweeter than wine" were also among the first recordings of American Folk that I heard. Ta,

Beach


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Hawker
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 04:54 PM

There are LOADS I Love listening to - too many to give credit to, I'd be here most of next week. but....
The Johnson Girls
Ian Bruce
Johnny Collins
Kevin Burrow (My husband)(OOOH Bias!!!!!)
Brenda Wooton
Dave Webber
Yvette Staelens and Michelle Hicks (alias Roots Quartet)
Den and Ned Couch (alias Mad Rush)

are all well worth a listen!
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 08:56 PM

Midchuck, you are correct.

Jim Ringer was a fine singer whose song (the words) ALWAYS came first. He never got in the way of the tale he was telling. "California Joe" is one of the best ballad songs to come from the American western history ever. And it is grounded in truth. It pretty much happened that way. Jim Ringer was never underappreciated by me and my folk friends and cohorts. This folk thing has never ever been a huge body of water so it was pretty much impossible to think about a big presence within our small pond. We were pretty much resigned to and content with doing what we did passably well by staying true to our vision of what was appropriate. It was done for love and not much else. Subsistence was all we managed and that was o.k. if we were allowed to do it our own way. That, I always thought, was Jim Ringer. We would've taken more remuneration iof it'd presented itself on our terms---but if and since it didn't do that, it was still a grand perk to be left alone to do our thing. You said, "folk was in a slump" when Mr. Ringer came along. Folk was as good as it could get then I thought. It was going strong in Chicago about that time from what all I recall. Could be you were just off somewhere else about then. Jim, either alone or with Ms Mary McCaslin, was just superb. -------- But the way he went. It truly was a sad waste for Jim to self-destruct---as it was for Billie Holiday and so many others over the entire arts spectrum.
But I bet you knew all this. I just felt like putting my thoughts together by printing 'em ouAs Jerry Rasmussen used to say all the time, "In folk music, there is no such thing as a career move !!!"

---- I say that in full realization that it goes against everything the Folk Alliance is trying to do. But we all know that what they call folk music isn't that at all !

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Burke
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 09:05 PM

That I know? Tim Eriksen. A singer for the next generation.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 09:27 PM

haven't changed my mind since March '99, but re-reading the list, I see an awful lot of 'who's hot now' being touted, in the same way that 'favorite' pop/rock singers get their fame.

.....perspective..............


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Gillie
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 07:45 AM

Kate Rusby, Vin Garbutt, John Wright, Battlefield Band, The Black family --- the list goes on


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 09:33 AM

No such thing as best, but my favorites...Luke Kelly, Robin Hall, Ronnie Drew, Christy Moore, Hamish Imlach, Alex Campbell and Matt McGinn...love that Matt McGinn


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: kendall
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 09:35 AM

Midchuck, funny you should mention Joan Baez and her politics. I had exactly the opposite experience! In the biginning when I was first exposed to her singing, I loved it, but, her politics put me off. (In those days, I was a Barry Goldwater republican). Now that my eyes are open, I love her singing AND her politics!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 09:37 AM

ooops...I forgot...Gordon Menzies, Liam Calncy, Iain MacKintosh, Roy & Ronnie (Corries), Ian Campbell Folk, Noel Murhpy, The McCalmans...how I can I say best!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Midchuck
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 10:07 AM

Midchuck, funny you should mention Joan Baez and her politics. I had exactly the opposite experience! In the biginning when I was first exposed to her singing, I loved it, but, her politics put me off. (In those days, I was a Barry Goldwater republican). Now that my eyes are open, I love her singing AND her politics

In my early college years I was in love with Baez. In my later college years I was in love with Ayn Rand. I think you can see the problem.

At this point my attitude toward politics is that I'm against it. I enjoy one day a year of political power, as Moderator of our Town Meeting; and any more than that would undoubtably corrupt me as it corrupts all the others.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 10:34 AM

Too many names I'd like to mention. But if I think of an example of what folksinging is, I'd like to name MIKE WATERSON first. And then, maybe John Strachan. And then, many others, but never the likes of Loreena McKennitt, not only because I don't appreciate at all her music and singing, but because I think it has nothing to do with folk or traditional singing. Roberto


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Mel Pitts
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 10:34 AM

The Best there's ever been? Nic Jones and Sandy Denny

The best now? Dave Burland and Lucy Kaplanski take some beating


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 12:07 PM

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I have to agree with George C. Scott who refused the Oscar when awarded to him for his performance in Patton. He maintained that during that same year, there were performances that he felt were far "better" than his (whatever that means), and that the idea of an award for "best actor" was ridiculous. There are excellent actors and lousy actors, and all points between, but considering different styles and different material portrayed, how can one rationally chose a "best?"

Same with folk singers. Tell me, who's best: Joan Baez, Jean Ritchie, Judy Collins, Peggy Seeger, Susan Reed, Mary Black, Cynthia Gooding, or Jeanie Robertson?

See what I mean?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Melani
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 12:50 PM

An impossible question. All my favorites have already been mentioned, I think--but did anyone include Bob Franke? Incredible songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 14 Jan 02 - 04:32 PM

An easy question. I am. Me. I sing all my favorite songs and I sing them just the way I like to hear them. I especeially like the way I research the songs first so I know exactly (as much as possible) what they mean. I also like the way I sometimes collate-in a verse from other versions when I think it is necessary to the story. Of course, I never make up my own verses. Maybe a single word here or there. Further, I'm always ready with a song and I never refuse one of my requests and never interupt or heckle myself.

True, I don't play any instrument but I reckon that just makes it safer to sing while I'm driving or skating. And I often struggle mightily with a key but since my ear's not so good anyway, that doesn't bother me much. And if I forget some words or verses, I can usually remember by tomorrow or find a song sheet somewhere in a pinch.

Yes, I'm certainly the best folksinger I know.

I sincerely hope you are the best folksinger you know.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 06:04 PM

iT'S GOT TO BE Matt McGinn for me. The man wrote about real life; love, bingo, football referees, shipbuilding, hp/credit, working overtime, waking his kids up in the morning .... i could go on and on .....


Check out www.theballdeers.com   &   www.roots2thefuture.com    for LPs & info ( there's a Matt McGinn Revivavl going on ! )


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,2
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 06:16 PM

Can we say "the one who did the best song"? In which case Kendall Morse wins. Lorena has the most beautiful melody I know of and Kendall's version of the lyrics are the best.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 06:33 PM

Well, as long as the nominations have been reopened, I'd like to add the name of Caroline Paton. She knows so much about so many songs, she's as gracious a woman as I've ever met, her interpretations of songs are always intelligent and interesting, and she has an absolutely lovely voice.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 06:54 PM

Can I add my two pennorth....Tim Laycock, Louis Killen, Cyril Tawney, Jim Eldon...


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 06:59 PM

GUEST- WHY did you revive this thread? And why do we have to have this competition? Want to show how much and who-all we know? That I have better taste than you and you and you? And what about the folksingers in Russia? In Africa? Where do all the other unmntioned countries fit in? Why such few mentions of blues musicians? I won't ask all the questions I have because it would take too long...

As a musician, I'm who I am and you're who you are- I feel we're all a family who love our (more-or-less traditional) music. Our tastes can differ, and/or overlap with that of others. Here's to the Difference! For someone to choose "THE BEST," seems meaningless to me, for it takes all of us to fill in the big tapestry of music.

Jean (an eeny-weenie grace-note in the tapestry...)


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 07:12 PM

Why has nobody mentioned Richard thompson?Iv been involved with folk music for fifty years and hes the best writer singer guitarist iv ever heard. Every body wants to cover Thompson songs.Dont complain that its not folk..


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,2
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 08:19 PM

Plurals aside, looks real good. 5 dollars ain't enough. I want ten. Will send email with my PO box...


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jul 03 - 09:25 PM

Ah, Jean, beautifully said -- and nothing teeny about it!!


A


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 04:09 AM

I suppose you're right, kytrad, but maybe there's an insidious element in our humanity that drives us to make "best" and "favorite" lists - even though we know darn well such lists are inherently stupid.

At least, a thread like this gives us a chance to tell people about somebody we'd like them to hear. I think I prefer women singers. There's a woman named Jean Ritchie who's been known to sing some pretty good songs, too.

I note, however, that an unusual number of mentions of Matt McGinn have been made today and in the last few days. Nothing wrong with Matt McGinn, but it IS unusual to see him mentioned so often in so short a time. That has brought forth some worthwhile information about McGinn, so I can't complain. Maybe I'll take a listen to him one of these days.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 05:53 AM

Criterion: One who can truly move the listener by imparting bottomless depth to a simple song.
Nominations: (UK) Ray Fisher; (US): Doc Watson
Doc is a little handier on the guitar than Ray (I think she'd agree) but I'm only considering singing here.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 06:04 AM

The 'Best' folk singer I 'know'... has to be, #8-D... Schantieman!

(Oh Shantieman, who's got a berth for a Schantieman)

Why? Well, not only for the obvious reasons, but also because his memory and voice are phenomenal. How he stores all of those songs in his head and does the job he does beats me!

Sal


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 06:18 AM

I agree that "best" lists are silly, really, and we can all name lots of star acts, but the one singer who makes me just close my eyes and rejoice in the voice is Maggie Boyle. The man who made unaccompanied solo traditional singing work for me was Roy Harris.

And if no-one else is going to mention Jane and Amanda Threlfall among the newer acts, then I will.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: JennyO
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 08:10 AM

By GUEST Brian Peters' criterion, and it is a good one, I would have to say Gordon Bok.

I already had a list of CD's I wanted to get when I had the money, but after seeing him perform, I just went and bought two of his CD's without a second thought.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: outfidel
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 09:07 AM

Mississippi John Hurt & Doc Watson


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 10:00 AM

Thanks Santa for giving Roy Haris a well-deserved mention. Roy never had the prettiest voice around, but he lives the songs, really knows how to put them over, and is possibly the best I've ever seen at making an audience feel at ease.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 10:34 AM

I STILL say, after 4 years of this thread, that some of the best singers have seldom or never been recorded, and that I still see evidence that taste is often determined by perceptions of popularity and/or fame.

there are a lot of good singers mentioned in this thread, but I sure wish it had a different title...like "wonderful singers you have known"


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 11:21 AM

I thought the question was "the 'Best'folk singer you KNOW" ... how many people have posted names of singers they actually 'know'? (And then I s'pose they'd have to be 'Cats or it would be pointless)

Sorry I'm feeling obtuse today!

Sal


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 01:33 PM

There's no such thing as "the best", except in the sense that everyone is the best at being exactly who they are, which is a totally unique being.

However, for some very, very good folksingers...

...that I saw recently: Chris Smither, Sheryl Wheeler, James Keelaghan. They're each about as good as good can be.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 02:30 PM

I KNOW a fair number of singers, some nationally known, many local. I can't pick a "best." Nor would I even try. Futile. Downright silly, actually.

What does it accomplish?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 04:53 PM

ME or my other half - its a silly thread anyway mullions of favourites so how can you decide


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 08:59 PM

It's a matter of semantics again -- should the thread title be "the best folksinger you KNOW" or "the best folksinger you know OF". Entirely different answers to each question.

I've weighed in with my favorite male and female singers whose recording I listen to. (Oh, short list, Ewan MacColl, Lou Killen, Jeannie Robertson, Norma Waterson, Frankie Armstrong, Joan Sprung, etcet etcet.)

Now, the best singers I KNOW -- well, Jay Smith for starters, but unfortunately he died last year, mostly unrecorded. And that's the tragedy. Such an incredible voice. I loved singing harmony with him.

And Curmudgeon -- known in the real world as Tom Hall. Still very much alive and kicking and I'm, of course, not the slightest bit prejudiced because I'm his wife and singing partner. And talk about being knowledgable about his material! And he makes the audience -- and other musicians around him -- love the history and the background to the songs as well. He's probably the person I most enjoy singing with, too.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: LadyJean
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 10:54 PM

I'm a bit of an anglophobe. But I have to say it, Brit or no,
MADDY PRIOR RULES!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 02:02 PM

Yeah, I saw Maddy Prior about 3 years ago at a folk festival in Canada, and she was marvelous.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Frankham
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 08:26 PM

HI y'all.

I wended my way through this thread and conclude that most of the people mentioned are not trditional folksingers but singers of folksongs (as Sam Hinton refers to himself). Most are professional entertainers under the rubric or image of the "folksinger" which has become ambiguous in the public eye.

Jean Ritchie, Almeda Riddle, Jeannie Robertson, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, Leadbelly, Mance Lipscomb, The Carter Family, and a few others mentioned above fall into the category of folksingers who came about through their cultural upbringing and bring the musical styles and songs a firsthand authenticity.

The others mentioned are all talented, some more knowledgeable than others, and some more entertainting than others but they come to the music secondhand like me. You can bend the definition any way you want to but to me if you don't have that cultural connection in that respective community that spawns the songs you sing you are like me "a singer of folk songs" and not a traditional folksinger.

This is not to say that the "singers of folk songs" are not wonderful or great in what they do. I love many of them and admire their work.

Also, I repeat, there is bad traditional folk music out there as there is good coming from modern interpreters. "Bad" might include poor performances where people can't sing too good, keep a pitch or musicality, butcher lines they don't understand or other things. One thing Lomax stressed in his recordings is that the traditional performance was the best he could get from the "informants" he recorded

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Jonny T
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 09:09 AM

Excuse my ignorance, but why does the question "who's the best folk singer you know ?" HAVE to mean "Who's the best TRADITIONAL   folksinger you know ?"

There may be a great answer to this.

Personally, I would put up with a dodgy voice if it was made up for in other ways; I would not be looking for a classically perfect performer to be a great folksinger.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 06:58 PM

Agree with your last sentence, Jonny T- to me, a 'great' singer is one who communicates. People stop talking and listen. They are moved by the singer and the song. How much money he/she makes is not important, nor is how "big" is her/his name.

I guess we're interpreting the title as meaning traditional singers, since this discussion forum's statement of who we are (I saw it somewhere, when I first found the group) indicates that we're folks interested in blues and traditional music. It's better-worded than that, but that's what it means...was jazz also included?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Frank Maher
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 07:33 PM

Fergus O'Byrne!!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 12:17 AM

Don Firth: What does that accomplish, indead. This is a fun thread and not poluted by rancid politics. America's greatest Folksinger was Woodrow Wilson Guthrie because everyone today still follows his lead. Bradley Kincaid is never mentioned despite selling 40,000,000 records, so I thought someone should. Woody never sold as many records, but people must have bought his politics.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 13 Jul 03 - 11:08 PM

I guess he's not the definition of "Folk Singer", but my vote is for Owain Phyfe of the New World Renaissance Band. Frankly, he has the best voice period, by my aesthetics.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Frankham
Date: 14 Jul 03 - 01:11 PM

Well, to complicate the issue even furthur, I think Charlie Parker was one of the greatest blues players ever lived. I think Jo Stafford was a great interpreter of folk songs. I firmly believe that there is someone sitting in a small town in either Iran or Quebec who may be the greatest folk singer you never heard.

Louis Armstrong was one of the greatest folk musicians to some degree. Maybe one of the greatest blues singers too. I think that the Bush Administration may be one of the greatest purveyors of folklore in the world.

But eveyone knows that the greatest folk singers in the world were the Kingston Trio. Because they said so. (By the way, I kinda' liked 'em).

I think the greatest folksinger might be one who I don't know and never heard of. Come out, come out wherever you are. :)

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 03 - 01:58 PM

Frank, you shure make it hard to have a good food fight! By the way, can you make clear any reason why Bradley Kincaid and Bill Clifton are absolutely ignored by the folk community. Is it politics?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Frankham
Date: 14 Jul 03 - 06:39 PM

HI Guest,

I'm sorry to be such a blabber mouth but I love these discussions.

I think that in terms of folk popularity, Bradley Kincaid may have a "trained voice" against him. It didn't seem to hurt Buell Kazee, however.

Carson Robison I believe was a legit cowboy. Bradley took on it's mantle but I've always loved his singing regardless as to whether he just donned a Stetson or not. I especially like "The Santa Barbara Earthquake" and of course the "Prisoner's Song". I think "Gentleman" Gene Autry (one of my faves) owes a good deal to these performers.

I'm sorry that I'm not familiar with Bill Clifton. I'm sure I've missed something.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 06:06 AM

John Kirkpatrick's not bad!!!

Biased, Moi?

Sal


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Peterr
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 12:01 PM

Frankham
Are there many 'folksingers' as opposed to 'singers of folk songs' still around for us to listen to?
I could listen to both Maddy Prior and JohnK all day - both have a great vocal and emotional range, plus varied material.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 12:56 PM

Frank: Thanks, another great statement. By the way, I looked up birthdates for Yourself, Ian Tyson, Mike Seeger and Bill Clifton. All of you were born within about three years of each other. Each of you is a contributor right Now. All get my vote for "lifetime achievement award"! Mike Seeger's work is widely available, Ian Tyson's is if you special order. Bill Clifton seems to have five recent efforts on "ELF" records. Can Mudcat stock any of this stuff?    (here is Tyson's western stuff)

            >    Tyson, Ian - All Good'uns (Best Of collection)
*        Tyson, Ian - And Stood There Amazed
*        Tyson, Ian - Cowboyography
*        Tyson, Ian - Eighteen Inches of Rain
*        Tyson, Ian - I Outgrew The Wagon
*        Tyson, Ian - Live At Longview
*        Tyson, Ian - Lost Herd
*        Tyson, Ian - Old Corrals & Sagebrush
             (Has Diamond Joe)


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Frankham
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 08:00 PM

Hi Peterr

There are more examples of traditional folksingers on recordings today than there ever have been due to expansive recording techniques and mastering abilities.

Ya' gotta' hear Folkways Traditional American Folk Music Vol 1-3 edited by Harry Smith. Sandy Paton's record label Folk Legacy has many wonderful examples. A favorite of mine is Horton Barker. Listen to Alan Lomax's extensive field recording on Library Of Congress and other anothologies that he's recorded.

Are there any around today? I think so. Not well known perhaps but you'll have to go out of your way to hear them. Of course we have those that are such as Jean Ritchie. A must hear! Doc Watson also. Stanley Brothers. Many blues artists are still with us. Music from other lands is available abundantly today and many traditional artists are alive and well. When you explore the music, you explore the tradition behind the music and can then learn to identify the traditional folksinger.

There are also a lot of wonderful interpreters of folk songs around today. Many are specialized such as Margaret MacArthur of New England, Tommy Makem of Armagh, Ireland, (although I would classify these two as being so close to the tradition as to be traditional folksingers. David Jones, (Isle of Mann off LIverpool, I think) Cliff Haslim, Louis Killen, and of course countless instrumentalists, fiddle players, banjo pickers, guitar....who are still around today.

Tradition American folk musicians seem to be dying out. At least those we know about. But there may be more. Collectors and scholars of folk music may know of the whereabouts of others who are not so well known. There are those who are more qualified than I am to identify where they are. Hope this answers your question.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Peterr
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 07:26 AM

Frankham
Thanks - I should have made it clear that I meant live singers as opposed to recorded material. On the archive subject I,ve just ordered a couple of CDs from the Music Tradition, of trad singers/players from 50s/60s recordings. Expensive, but apparently worth it as there's a lot of background material.
The BEST singer? Impossible to choose.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 05:41 AM


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,polly
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 11:12 AM

I have always thought that Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were popsingers in another suit. And Peter, Paul and Mary, and Stan Rogers, and Billy Bragg, and Woody too, in many ways. I love pop music, don't get me wrong, but folk song for me has little to do with ego or making pretty sounds, and therefore as good as they might be they are simply not part of the process because they will always be associated with their songs. Ditto Kate Rusby, because although she sings the material, she often credits herself with the rewrites and issues song books with her name at the top. It has an air of "the buck stops here", which is a killer for continuity, the whole point of the folk process. No? The Watersons rewrote most of their material and never credited themselves, and these days are often excluded from "definitive" lists of songs they had written from nothing (including on the Mudcat song list, as good as it is)...now sure, they get annoyed about it, but the pool of music is bigger and they are part of the mystery now. Kate Rusby Song Book? Hmm...play the songs of the stars with your own chord sheets? While traditional song books remain out of print? Makes me nervous. She should use her considerable resources to print the old books again. Might not make as much money, but might help the folk process survive a little longer.
It might seem a bit militant, really. I have never been able to make the distinction, draw the line, because someone worthy and good can be excluded if you do that. But why should a song immediately be called a folk song just because it has been written by someone who chooses to perform at folk events? I heard someone sing "Shiny Happy People" at a folk club the other day, and I would have rather heard Lord Randall, becuase I can hear "SHP" anywhere. I can be entertained with the "Macarena" or "Walt Whitman's Niece", but ultimately I need a bit more than that from the tradition.
pv


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,pv
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 11:55 AM

Sorry, didn't say anything positive there. Tim Eriksen, Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin, Helen Schneyer and Bayou Seco for American singers, Mighty Sparrow for Calypso King, Louis Killen for Geordies, Sheila Stewart for the Scots, Boubacar Traore for the Africans (although I see my hypocrisy here because Sparrow and Carcar write their own songs), Packie Byrne for the Irish, Norma Waterson for the English... I don't think you can compare everyone nation by nation really; the rules are different in each place, and I'm tired now! Only how many more countries to go?! Oh god, the Spanish!!! xpv


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: cockney
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:17 PM

No doubt about it DAVE BRYANT he's the best FOLK singer that I know personaly


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Frankham
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 04:26 PM

Hi Peter,

I think that there may be living trad folk singers today. They need to be discovered. I confess that I don't know of many who are still alive. That doesn't mean they're not there. It's been a long time since I've done any voluntary field work in unearthing trad folksingers. I keep hearning about the Jarrell family up in the Round Peak part of the country. There are those such as Art Rosenbaum from Athens Georgia who is in touch with people like the Ellers family from North Georgia. We still have the thriving Georgia Sea Island Singers from around these parts. Also the Macintosh County Shouters. The key to it is to take the time to do the research (which I don't have anymore). People like Stephen Wade are doing this. David Holt. (for Southenn trad folk country) and there are blues historians (musicians like Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal) and the like who can identify trad blues musicians. There are active folk song scholars and folklorists who are able to come up with those who are left. To really answer this question, you oughta' take a trip up to Washington and talk to them in the Folkarts Division of the Library of Congress. They probably would be able to advise you as to who is still around.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 05:07 PM

Sting, hands down.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: MAG
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 09:57 PM

Hmmm, synchronicity strikes again. I tend to agitate for whoever I've been listening to lately, and, having just spent several days trying to track down the tune to "Sneaky Snake," was very interested to learn the composer is a 'catter.

I sure hope that Country Music for Kids CD is available from my distributor (BWI/Follett).

Some things I purchase and tire of, but Jody Stecher's just get better with each listening -- he inhabits the song in a way I can only appreciate with repeated listening.

Maybe in line with kytrad's point, we could say, when we post, more about what it is we like in a particular folk singer.

Ahem! and just what did you mean by the comment that I have a very -- roomy -- voice? It's good, I hope. You know who you are!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM

John Duffy, cuz his high notes scare away mosquitoes!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 01:41 PM

Rick Fielding bar none.

He has more talent in those fingers and voice, than all the collective talents combined of the rest of the membership of this forum.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 01:54 PM

Bucking for a free lifetime membership to Mudcat Forum, eh?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 04:28 PM

Guest, your comment (two above) reminds me of one made by Utah Phillips several years ago when introducing Rosalie Sorrells onstage: "And now here's Rosalie Sorrells, who has more talent in her little finger that she has in the rest of her whole body!"


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 07:53 PM

Best folksinger vote is a tie: Jean Ritchie AND Doc Watson!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 10:06 AM

I can't believe that this thread has continued for so long. It's absurd. Everyone is entitled to an opinion I guess but really what good are they? A "best" has by it's implications to exclude rather than include and this is not what I would call in keeping with my understanding of what folk music is.

If we're going to continue this nonsense, I advocate a kind of folk beauty contest where the brightest star gets crowned and becomes king or queen of folk music.

They should wear a little banner across their middle and parade in front of every Mudcatter who would be forced to sit and watch. The winner would be sent to Hollywood to be in a feature film. They would be given their own TV show and a national fan club would be set up.

Maybe in this way we can finally define what folk music really is. :)
(At least for some).

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Rosanna and Tom King
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 03:28 PM

Our Dad..


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,J Seeger
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 05:12 PM

Such thoughtful and excellent choices! Here are two more, and I am blessed enough to have seen and heard both of them this past weekend. When I looked at the question carefully to try to narrow my choices, I saw "folk" and "singer" leap out at me. So of course folks like Kate Wolf and Stan Rogers came to mind (as they did for many), and I also have a special fondness for the folk music harvested and reiterated in recent years by John Hartford ... but how about these?

- Arthel "Doc" Watson, with remarkable guitar talent AND voice just as strong now as ever, and a folk repertoire as broad as it is deep

- Ledward "Led" Kaapana, the Hawaiian slack-key guitar master who founded the group Hui Ohana with his twin brother and a cousin back in the '70s. Maybe this is too obscure for y'all, but his is genuine Hawaiian folk music with a great heart, and he learned it all (and composed it) the old-fashioned way, with no formal musical training ... passed along from person to person

These two represent what folk singing means to me.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,the best folk singer I KNOW is frank hamilto
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 05:31 PM


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,the best folk singer I KNOW is frank hamilto
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 05:43 PM

my name is appalonia, i like the way you sing and the words you use.Most of the song you wrote make me think about myself. Just keep singing cause your doing good.some day i wil like to become a great singer like you. and i need to ask you a question; what would you say to some one who told you being a singer not gonna do anything for me and my future? my father always tell me that, he wants me to do something more.I mean, what more can i do! and its hard for me to give up on singing exspecially when i grew up in a musical family.He wants me to be different,He burn all writing songs.well, time to go.Just keep up with that sweet voice of yours. hope you write back.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bobjack
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 04:46 AM

Me!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,celtickev
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 06:03 PM

McGarrigle Sisters,beautiful harmonies


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 09:55 AM

I agree with Rosanna and Tom King...Dad!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 10:40 AM

Bob Dylan, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Martin Carthy.

If I had to pick just one I'd go with Jack.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Chris Green
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 11:25 AM

For me, Nic Jones. I would also regard him as my best folk guitarist!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 11:59 AM

I happen to go along the lines of Frank Hamilton.

I would say the best folk singer(s) I know play at Market Rasen Folk Club. Its a team effort.

Why do people always want to put people on a pedestal and single somebody out as the best, that is so unfair and rude to all the other folk artists in the world, who provide us with such wonderful etertainment.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 08 Jun 07 - 04:35 PM

A while back someone said a few things about 'real' folksingers and 'singers of folksongs'. They mentioned the Carthys as an example of the real thing. What puzzles me is quite a few of the other artists mentioned probably learned their music from family members, or down the pub but don't have the same cachet. Is it because the Carthys are more obviously handing the music on or for some other reason. Then there's the clannads of this world who come from a 'real' folk environment and go off and do their own thing. Are they 'real' folk musicians? Maybe they were but aren't anymore? They are sometimes: it depends what they're playing?

Anyway, as a thread to get recomendations this isn't bad, but there should be a reccomendations perma-thread I reckon.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,john f weldon
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 09:18 AM

I'm not much into the smoothies.

my votes:
-Peter Stampfel
-Bernard Wrigley
-Bob Dylan


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 01:12 PM

Depends on yer deffinition of Folk dunnit?
Stands back, takes bow, and waits for the fireworks to start.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 01:18 PM

one things bloody certain Tim, you and me ain't in there.....


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Stephen R.
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 03:31 PM

Only "Best" folksinger I can think of is Anita Best. She's one of the best, too.

Stephen

PS. I expect to receive the "Guest" title in the from window. My cookie keeps crumbling, I am unwilling to re-register every time, and the tech help forum is down.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 08:11 PM

Waterson/Carthy and others are noteworthy for not trying to force the music into strikingly modern, usually unsuitable dress. Steeleye certainly in their earlier days) and Fairport Conevention (sometimes) could modernize the music nicely because they had something called "tact."

When Waterson/Carthy play 18th or 19th C. material, it somehow sounds true to the time and place (at least to some of us who were absent from those times and places) even if the singing is polished and the accompaniment sophisticated.

Good examples of what I mean: as part of Waterson/Carthy, Eliza Carthy's piano and singing on "Diego's Bold Shore" seems to me to bring out everything that's in the song while adding nothing. Some of her fiddle playing on her own albums, however, strikes me as just too frenetically postmodern.

It reminds me of banjo-picker Frank Proffitt's famous bit of folk-criticism when they asked him what he thought of Earl Scruggs's lightning bluegrass pickin': "I'd like to be able to do it, but then not do it."


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:20 PM

Still Joan Baez. Nothing has ever topped her.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:39 PM

USA best male all-rounder - Woody Guthrie; best voice - Cisco Houston; best female - Hedy West; for sheer power - Lead Belly. UK best all-rounder - Nic Jones; best voice - Dave Burland; best female - Jacqui MacShee (shame about the backings on nearly all of her recordings). Changed a bit from '99.
Doc John


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 02:42 PM

The best I know personally, for pure voice and skill and breadth of repertory, might well be our own Mister Lane, but he only really lets his light shine when it is very, very late and the atmosphere has become very, very rarified through various invocations of spirits.


A


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,dulcimerjohn
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:01 PM

Richard Thompson...Dave Cousins...Bert Jansch...Maddy Prior...


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Colin Randall
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:21 PM

Amusing to see that it took some spam to kickstart the thread....

Just spent an enjoyable 20-30 mins going through postings, from '99 until the viagra people intruded

One of the things about long Mudcat threads is that there are sometimes two or three different conversations going on - Brits ignoring North America, Americans & Canadians ignoring anything east of Nova Scotia and those - from both sides of the Atlantic - who conscientiously adopt 'hands across the ocean' principles

I will try to be inclusive - and yes, these are just preferences since no one will ever prove 'best' -

Sandy Denny, Joan Baez, Eliza Carthy, Buffy St(e) Marie, Kate Rusby, Mary Black, June Tabor, early Judy Collins, Maddy Prior, Eileen Pratt - and other I cannot think of just now. Pressed for one? Sandy Denny
Luke Kelly, Nic Jones, early Bob Dylan, Bob Fox, Pete Seeger, Christy Moore, James Keelaghan, Ewan MacColl, Woody Guthrie - again, and others. Pressed for one: Luke Kelly
Among bands: Dervish, Touchstone, Watersons, Bellowhead, De Dannan, High Level Ranters, Altan, Albion Band/Fairport/Steeleye/Pentangle, Cherish the Ladies
And like everyone else, I've forgotten dozens

Colin

Salut! Live


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,manda
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 03:32 PM

The spinners

mandaqu@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 09:45 PM

Define "Folk Singer" !!!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Smokey UK
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 10:24 PM

Dave Goulder
John Tams


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: kendall
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 08:36 AM

Depends on the mood I'm in.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Faye
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 10:01 AM

It's difficult to define who is and isn't a "good" singer as so much depends on the style. A good classical singer might sound naff singing folk music whilst a good folkie probably wouldn't sound entirely convincing singing grand opera.

For me, one of the nicest parts about the folk world is the discovery of unknown artists who turn out to be brilliant. I heard George Papavgeris the other day- OK, he's not unknown but I'd never heard him before. For me he ranks up with the Dylans and McTells of the world in his songwriting ability and, though he doesn't have a "good" voice in the conventional sense, his voice exactly fits what he does. Which is what it's all about IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: jimslass
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 12:43 PM

'define folk singer'...maybe said tongue in cheek but it's spot-on, really, as we've all got different ideas of exactly what is folk anyway. I'm not too purist about it - being of the 'if we don't let it change, it'll stagnate' camp, but again, the purists keep the old original tradition going.

My faves are a mixed bag, starting with Bob Dylan who 'introduced' me to all the others. Joni Mitchell. Sandy Denny. Norma Waterson - listening to her singing 'Black Muddy River' has the hairs standing up on the back of my neck.Joan Baez. Richard Thompson.

And the younger generation, Eliza C, Kate Rusby when I'm in the mood, Bellowhead, Uncle Earl, Chris While & Julie Matthews.

And probably many more too numerous to mention (or remember!)

Like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: The Villan
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 03:50 PM

Has he been mentioned before? Steve Tilston http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=52857663

The best singer, is not a very good title.

I know a lot of very good singers.

However Steve is appearing at http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk/saturday_december_20th_2008.htm

He is dead good.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,anotherguest
Date: 29 Mar 09 - 09:08 PM

LUKE KELLY!!!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Gweltas
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 03:00 AM

Mickey MacConnell (Ireland): singer/songwriter ----- a true wordsmith, who puts his heart and soul into his music.
Chris Terry (Cornwall, UK): a wonderful singer.
Mike O'Connor (Cornwall,UK): a singer /songwriter /instrumentalist /musicologist /storyteller /researcher/publisher, who is a joy to listen to and both as a performer and as an educationalist.
Iain Ap Sion (Wales): a fine singer/musician within the Welsh tradition.
Gilles Servat (Brittany): singer /songwriter /writer /storyteller.
Claire Kilgallon (Isle of Man): a fine singer of traditional Manx songs.
The above are all people I know and enjoy hearing.

From recordings and concerts : Mary Black, Rita Connolly, Maura O'Connell, Luke Kelly, Johnny McEvoy, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Triona Ní Dhomhnaill, Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem (All from Ireland)

Andy M Stewart, Cairistiona Primrose and Flora MacNeil (Scotland)
Joan Baez,(USA)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Stan Rogers & Garnet Rogers (Canada)
Márta Sebestyén (Hungary)

Groups : I Muvrini & Barbara Furtuna (Corsica), Battlefield Band and Capercaillie (Scotland), Altan, De Dannan, Chieftains, & The Dubliners (Ireland), King Chiaullee & Mactullagh Vannin (Isle of Man), Avel Dro (Brittany), Coreopolis (Italy), Kimber's Men and Hanging Johnny and Show Of Hands (England)

I also enjoy Greek, Bulgarian, Hungarian & Romanian singimg and traditional music.

Just a small sample list of the folk singers and folk groups I enjoy hearing and no disrespect to any individual or group not listed here.
I've taken note of the previous posts and will have a look for the many artists mentioned that I've not heard of until now. The Mudcat is a great educational resource. It's been very interesting to see other people's favourites lists. Thanks to all for posting, mudcatters !


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 07:20 AM

Vin Garbutt:-)


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 30 Mar 09 - 11:40 PM

Male- John Boden

Female (apart from me ha-ha)- Loreena McKennit and Maggie Sand.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Patricia
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 10:40 PM

I agree that Jerry Rau, the Minneapolis Streetsinger is tops. He just gives and gives and gives of his heart through his music. And his original compositions are very special. Take a look at the Civil War compositions - I have heard him perform some of them. Great research and caring went into every bit of each song.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 11:42 PM

Michael Cooney


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:06 AM

I pick Michael as an example as he is living still---and ought to be heard more.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Shalini
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:38 AM

Some of my favourites are the two women of Ygdrassil, Niamh Parsons, Dolores Keane, Maddy Prior, June Tabor, The Corries, Jean Redpath.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:19 AM

Jimmy Crowley.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:27 AM

Mike Waterson.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:33 PM

resurrecting a post I made in '03

"I STILL say, after four 8-9 years of this thread, that some of the best singers have seldom or never been recorded, and that I still see evidence that taste is often determined by perceptions of popularity and/or fame.

there are a lot of good singers mentioned in this thread, but I sure wish it had a different title...like "wonderful singers you have known"


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:40 PM

...but let me add Lisa Null to the list. She hasn't made a record in years, (though she 'might' again someday), but her singing, which I get to hear locally on a regular basis, gets better & better. Her 'styling' of a song is excellent, and the power of her voice is always under control.

So many 'different' types of singers....how can anyone possibly pretend to pick even a top 10?


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: scouse
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:41 PM

Ok, I admit it, I'm a mad Stan rogers man!! Pity he's now singin' upstairs. Those alive I have to go with Jimmy Keelaghan, Vin Garbutt, and "Spud" Taylor for Lyrics.
As Aye,
Phil.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Shalini
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:45 PM

Bill, thanks. I just found Lisa Null's Myspace page - I don't know how old these recordings are, but they are marvellous.

I suppose that's the purpose a thread like this serves. Not in creating a list of the best, but exposing people to a whole lot of good singers.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:58 PM

*big smile*

and here on You Tube


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,matte1965
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:02 PM

The swedish-american folksinger and guitarist William Clauson,born 1930. Beacuse he have a well cultivated and brilliant tenor voice.
Also an excellent guitartechnique. See www.williamclauson.com.
His career spanned nearly the whole globe. He sang in english, spanish, french, german, danish, norweigian, swedish and finish.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 12 May 09 - 04:23 PM

I have no real favorites. Too many of those I met or got to know have passed on - Nick Reynolds, John Stewart, Travis Edmonson. One name from my earlier years comes to mind. Hardly a household word, one Jon Adams, from the Fresno, CA area, was a mentor, example and role model for me and many other young aspiring singers in the late 1950's. Our local coffeehouse, the Renaissance, was his stage and classroom. He was, and is, a great storyteller, singer, artist and historian. He was never the most scintillating guitarist I ever heard, but he was good enough - and he made you believe with his performances. Some of his folk material was handed down by his grandparents through a long family tradition. He was also free with advice and assistance. I have to believe there are innumerable "Jon Adams" examples in the home towns of many of us.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 May 09 - 05:28 PM

Ian Anderson


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,TCSparky
Date: 05 Jul 10 - 11:51 PM

Tim Rose


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,babypix
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 01:18 AM

The most sonorous voices in folkdom right now-- American Larry Hanks, and Brit, Martyn Wyndham-Read. Sentimental favorites from Chicago: Art Thieme, dear Fred Holstein (we all learned SO many songs from him!), and let us NOT forget Bob Gibson, for giving us so much-- Oh, and there's lovely Jean Ritchie, and fiery Utah Phillips. Hmmm, this could go on and on!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,babypix
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 01:21 AM

From the US Northwest (Eugene, Oregon), American Mark Ross is a favorite folk hero, doing the GOOD WORK every day, singing folk songs to tiny children, traveling around spreading good cheer (and BAD jokes), and preaching the gospel according to Utah Phillips. Rave on, Mark!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Seaking
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 07:51 AM

My current favourite is Chris Wood. Wonderful voice and superb guitarist. I may have a new favourite in another 5 years.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,CAP
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 08:27 AM

Well there really are so many artists, but my list reads
John Wright - the best & most passionate singer of other artists work.
Jackie Leven - best singer/songwriter I have ever heard
Kate Rusby - talanted & cute
Seth Lakeman - writing, passion & energy

Overseas artists
Stan Rogers
Richard Shindell
Tanglefoot


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,happylassie
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 08:31 AM

Great Big Sea, Oysterband, John Tams, John Wright, Eric Boggle, Mundy-Turner, Kieran Halpin, Jez Lowe & Mike Silver, just a few out of a long list.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Essex girl
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 08:35 AM

How about a blast from the past- Stained Glass, Decameroon, Frogmorton, Alex Atterson.
And now Richard Shindell, Terry Emm, Claudine LeMoal.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,A folkie at heart
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 09:16 AM

How about Christy Moore, Paul Brady, Bob Dylon, Mary Black, Martin Carthy , Vin Garbutt, Jim Moray & Billy Bragg


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 09:20 AM

Define 'best'. The answers above all seem valid and indicate that the original question probably isn't. But…unable to resist the lure, I'd have to say, Harry Cox.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,I Don't Know
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 09:24 AM

I would not like to say who the "best" folk singer is as there are so many excellent artists out there. Does Jon BonJovi count. I think his acoustic stuff is fab, but then so is a lesser known artist from Wigan U.K. called Jon Brindley.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Rozza
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 02:29 PM

Has to be Joseph Taylor, with Lee Monroe Presnell and Elizabeth Cronin not far behind


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: Brian May
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 02:59 PM

I met Peggy Seeger and Ewan McColl in the 60s when they were trying to collect a song lyrics from me, and they were great THEN, i.e. in their time.

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior were also excellent and then went on to great things with Steeleye Span later. To me, they were great then.

I wouldn't presume to say 'I know' him, but in terms of the best folksinger I've MET now, well that would be Martyn Wyndham Read. Sublime voice and one of the nicest characters I've ever met, generally accompanied by a consummate musician on squeezebox - Iris Bishop.

I would recommend a listen to his album 'Jackeroo' if you're at a loose end.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 11:53 PM

Back for a different take, enumerating those whose singing inspired me to be the best folksinger I know.

In no particular order (as they come to mind):
Jon Eberhardt
Lisa Null
Rick Fielding
Chuck & Nan Perdue
Joe Hickerson
Helen Schneyer
Paul Clayton
Woody Guthrie
Cisco Houston
Rambling Jack Elliott
Tom Paxton (special dispensation for writing his own)
Bob Dylan (another dispensation, in spite of singing his own)
Frank Proffitt
Jean Ritchie
Kate Wolf (see Paxton, Tom for shared dispensation)
Rick Lee
Lorraine Hammond
Bennett Hammond
Jerry Epstein
Gus Meade
George Stephens
Judy Cook
Heather Wood
Bill Baker
Colleen Cleveland
Dave Webber
David Jones
Joe Newbury
Dick Swain
Pamela Goddard
Doc Watson (another dispensation -- he's a hell of a singer between all those guitar notes)


... end of part II (few others come to mind, owing to the smallness of the mind and the lateness of the hour).

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,babypix
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 02:34 AM

How could any of us forget dear Michael Cooney? Now THERE's a folksinger's folksinger!


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,Glennis Drane
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 10:51 AM

I think it would have to be Phil Drane.
Check out his website www.phildrane.com


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: S.T.M.
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 05:38 PM

I think Sandy Denny was great at interpreting the songs so well. I also really like Maz O'conner, especially her unaccompanied pieces.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,paul downes
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 06:16 PM

Thank Cliff there was actually a mention for Bob Fox, Chris Foster, Mike Silver and Chris While. Amongst all the Stan Rogerses and Luke Kellys I thought there might have been room for some of the younger brigade - Kate and Eliza don't really count there anymore - it is perhaps a bit worrying that 90 percent of nominees were 50's and 60's Americans.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,the east
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 04:33 AM

What a list! Here's mine, old & newer- Paul Downes, Steve Knightly, Phil Beer, Gerry Colvin, Emily Slade, Kelly While, Bill Jones, Johnney Coppin, Mike Silver, Terry Emm, Emily Smith, Claudine La Moal, Jon Brindley, John Wright, Alex Atterson, Jackie Leven, Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, John Tams, Pete Morton, Joe Topping & Pete Abbott I think all these & more are great artists but it is down to taste. The good thing is they are all British & some reletively new, plenty out there if people would only listen to them.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,sinky
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 10:19 AM

Old Rusty Mctool,the one legged morris dancer,hopped his way into my heart at the hartlepool dockers barn dance.He wrote some wonderful songs like,LOVELY TO SEE YOUR PLUMS MRS HARRISSON,and SOMEWHERE MY LOVE WAITS FOR MY SPECIAL SALTY NUTS.
                      Had it not been for the war he would have lived until he was 103,but a bullet had lodged up his nose,and he shot his leg off when he violently sneezed.
                  He danced until he was 73 before gangrene claimed his life,a wonderful folkie.


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Subject: RE: Who's the 'Best' folk singer you know?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 12:28 AM

1.Ronnie Gilbert
2.Pete Seeger
3.Woody Guthrie
4.Lee Hays
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted. Guest,guest is not an acceptable posting name - it has already been taken.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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