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Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys) (1939-2005)

20 Jul 05 - 08:07 PM (#1524662)
Subject: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: RangerSteve

I just heard this on another site, but they didn't have any details yet. He had one of the best tenor voices in bluegrass music.


20 Jul 05 - 11:28 PM (#1524805)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: pdq

While John Herald's name might not be as familiar as Alan Lomax's, his work as a member of the Greenbriar Boys and as a session musician made him a prime mover and shaker on the folk scene during the '50s and early '60s. Herald was born and raised in Greenwich Village, and his vocation was pretty much chosen for him when his poet father took the young boy to parties where folk-forefathers like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie performed live. "All of his (father's) friends were bohemians …," Herald recalled in the liner notes to Roll On John, "and here I was, somebody that was in on another sort of bohemian revolution in the sense of the folk part of art; folk craft, folk culture and so on." Like many roots music lovers of his generation, he also learned about folk from Pete Seeger, whom he saw perform at summer camp in 1954. While attending Manumit, a progressive school, he started listening to bluegrass on Don Larkin's radio program (Larkin Barkin') out of New Jersey. He learned to play the guitar by attending loose jam sessions with future notables like Bob Dylan, Rory Block, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot.

In 1959 Herald joined the Greenbriar Boys with John Yellin and Eric Weissberg. While the band garnered a good rep playing Sunday jams in Washington Square (in Greenwich Village) and local American Youth Hostels, they had few commercial aspirations early on. This outlook changed, however, when Yellin was replaced by Paul Prestopino and then Ralph Rinzler. Rinzler encouraged the band to practice more often, and by 1960 the group traveled to Union Grove, North Carolina where they won first prize in the band competition (the first Northern band to do so). In 1962, the Greenbriar Boys guested on "Pal of Mine" and "Banks of the Ohio on Joan Baez's second album. From here it was a short step for Vangaurd's Maynard Solomon to sign the group. After performing on the compilation, New Folks, the group recorded three successive albums for the label, The Greenbriar Boys (1962), Ragged But Right! (1964), and Better Late Than Never (1966), and one album for Electra, Dian and the Greenbriar Boys (1963).

While holding down his guitar and vocal chores in the Greenbriar Boys, Herald went to work at the Smithsonian Institute and managed bluegrass legend Bill Monroe. Vanguard also kept him busy with session work during the '60s. He played an essential roll in the work of Ian & Sylvia as they expanded their folk sound in the mid-'60s, and also played on albums by Jack Elliott and Doc Watson. In 1972, Herald recorded his first solo album for Paramount and followed with the electric John Herald and the John Herald Band in 1978. By the early '80s, however, he had returned to his acoustic roots. "… Most of the traditional folk music people that I know …," Herald noted, "will always be playing only at home if need be, like we did when we first started." ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide


20 Jul 05 - 11:34 PM (#1524809)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Mary Katherine

There is nothing about this very sad news on John Herald's official web site; can the original poster please cite a confirmed source?


21 Jul 05 - 05:12 AM (#1524919)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Very sad news if it is true.

There seem to be one or two errors in pdq's posting. Surely it was Bob Yellin, and as for working at the Smithsonian and managing Bill Monroe surely that was Ralph Rinzler. I also believe that his guitar learning days preceded any jamming with Zimmerman and Block.

Hoot


21 Jul 05 - 05:39 AM (#1524932)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: cobber

I also knew his playing more from his session work with Ian and Sylvia and if I remember rightly, Judy Collins. I remember one of my mates bringing in a record to rehearsal back in the late sixties and telling me this was what he wanted the backing to a song to sound like. There was a blazing run that apparently was played totally with the thumb. I nearly broke my fingers and went into deep despair over my attempts but never came close of course. I did learn a few chord runs that I could later use. We had one of those old record players that played at 16rpm which just about cut the speed in half while being close enough to tune to and copy ( it was an octave down of course).


21 Jul 05 - 10:41 AM (#1525076)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Mary Katherine

I have just gotten a note from a very reliable person that John did indeed take his own life on Monday night. How incredibly sad.


21 Jul 05 - 10:45 AM (#1525083)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko

The passing was noted in the Kingston Daily Freeman. Do a Yahoo search on John Herald and you will find it.


21 Jul 05 - 10:49 AM (#1525088)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko

This is really sad.   I had the pleasure of meeting John twice, once in the early 80's when the Woodstock Mountains Revue was doing a show in NYC and then a few years ago at Lincoln Center with the Greenbriar Boys.   He was kind, warm and gracious.    He played a large role in creating the foundation of the music scene that we recognize as "folk" here in the U.S. His contributions with the Greenbriar Boys, Woodstock Mountains Revue and his solo efforts are huge.   I hate to use a pun, but his role was largely "un-heralded" by the folk scene. He deserves greater recognition.   

You will be missed John, thank you for everything.


21 Jul 05 - 11:48 AM (#1525169)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Chris in Wheaton

Roll on, John!


21 Jul 05 - 01:13 PM (#1525177)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Jerry Rasmussen

When I came to New York in 1960, I was looking for someone to give me guitar lessons. As I mentioned in the Winnie Winston thread, I took one lesson with him but we both agreed that I was looking for a different style of guitar playing. Then I took one lesson from John Herald. The two of us came to the same conclusion. I really was looking for finger-picking more than flat picking, and so I asked Dave Van Ronk. Now, here are all three of them gone...

Jerry


21 Jul 05 - 08:34 PM (#1525238)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST

FOR THE SAKE OF ACCURACY

In 1959 Herald joined the Greenbriar Boys with John Yellin and Eric Weissberg. While the band garnered a good rep playing Sunday jams in Washington Square (in Greenwich Village) and local American Youth Hostels, they had few commercial aspirations early on. This outlook changed, however, when Yellin was replaced by Paul Prestopino and then Ralph Rinzler.

That would be Bob Yellin, not John Yellin. It was Eric Weissberg that left and was replaced by Paul Prestopino, Ralph Rinzler and Frank Wakefield.

While holding down his guitar and vocal chores in the Greenbriar Boys, Herald went to work at the Smithsonian Institute and managed bluegrass legend Bill Monroe.

That was Ralph Rinzler who managed Bill Monroe and then later worked at the Smithsonian.


22 Jul 05 - 01:56 PM (#1525474)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST

There is a guest book for people to share their thoughts and memories on his website - www.johnhearld.com


23 Jul 05 - 10:45 AM (#1526232)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Peter T.

Well, you are still here, Jerry, so take care of yourself!!

yours,

Peter T.


23 Jul 05 - 11:38 AM (#1526252)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST

that mass of misinformation is not exactly pdq's fault. Note that it is a quote from Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide. Just proves once more that what you read on the internet ain't necessarily so.


23 Jul 05 - 12:03 PM (#1526265)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Just more evidence that the so called All Music Guide is full of misinformation. What qualifications do these people have ? Where do they get their knowledge.

Hoot


23 Jul 05 - 12:42 PM (#1526286)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: pdq

Thanks, guys, but the author is clearly credited. I don't believe I have the right to edit somebody else's statement, nor do I feel obligated to protect the sensitive eyes of others from ignorance.

The initial post was languishing supported and the statement I posted was the best I could find at the time.

John Herald deserves a better send-off than this. At one time I would have said that Ian & Sylvia's "Northen Journey" was the greatest album in the Folk Era. Their "Early Morning Rain" next. Now, I would say the The Greenbriar Boys "Ragged But Right" was the best. John Herald in a key element in all three of these records.


23 Jul 05 - 03:43 PM (#1526440)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Judge Mental

pdq,

John Herald played on the first three Ian & Sylvia albums (Ian & Sylvia, Four Strong Winds, Northern Journey). He did not play on Early Morning Rain, their fourth.


23 Jul 05 - 05:25 PM (#1526508)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: lesblank

However, I believe he did play on Steve Gillette's first Vanguard album in the early 60's. What a performer - he let his fingers and his singing voice say everything he wanted to or needed to. He shall be missed !!


23 Jul 05 - 05:32 PM (#1526511)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: lesblank

I was wrong - let me rescind afore I get sideswiped. It was Dick Rosmini and Bruce Langhorne on Steve's album. Sorry !!


23 Jul 05 - 05:34 PM (#1526513)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Peace

John would be happy to see the folk process at work.


25 Jul 05 - 10:51 AM (#1527856)
Subject: Obit: John Herald is gine
From: GUEST,Philj200

John Herald has left the stage. He was a vital member of the New York bluegrass and traditional music orbit for decades. He will be missed.
I moved this message here from another thread on the same topic.
-Joe Offer-


25 Jul 05 - 02:20 PM (#1527950)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST,Philj200

Another correction:
Aurora Block (Rory) was about 12 years old in the heyday of her father's Saturday afternoon jams. She was first getting interested in the music and as a beginner certainly did not pick with John Herald, who was already a formidable musician.

If anything, Stephen Grossman was a greater impact on her but that was to come in a few years.

I played there on and off for a few years as did several hundred others. It was a great way to begin a Saturday night.

I remember having a crush on Maria D'Amato for years. She and Alan did fiddle duets from time to time.


25 Jul 05 - 02:57 PM (#1527986)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: Chris in Wheaton

Before KPFK knocked him off the line-up, John Davis used to play a lot of John Herald. That was where I got to hear the post-GBB work. His song about Rambling Jack is a great number - and I still keep trying to get the break down for White House Blues.
I hope someone puts a Herald re-release tribute cd together - including the Woodstock Mt. review material. He was one of the great ones, along with Steve Gillette (still kicking - watch for him!) and Monte Dunn, who backed a lot of Ian and Sylvia's stuff. Lots of great stuff back then that didn't get too high on the radar.
Chris, in Wheaton


26 Jul 05 - 09:16 AM (#1528666)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST

Was this the same Monte Dunn who played washtub base with the Charles River Valley Boys?


31 Jul 05 - 07:40 PM (#1532284)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: voyager

Spent this afternoon listening to John Herald's accompaniements on
Joday Stecher's "Going Up on the Mountain" CD. His guitar work and
tenor vocals are wonderful. Jody S. credits John Herald for his
rendition of Wild Bill Jones. I guess they were both Greenbriar Boys
way back when.

Going Up on The Mountain

voyager


02 Aug 05 - 09:23 AM (#1533307)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)
From: GUEST,sheila

There are a lot of postings on the john herald site, including one from Syliva Tyson. Also, postings from Bill C. Monroe, the country music author, Tracy Schwarz (formerly of New York City Ramblers); Eric Anderson, Gene Shay (philadelphia DJ and active in Phila. FolK Song Society; Nora Guthrie. Check out johnherald.com for a guest book. There is also mention of memorial services.

How truly sad. My favorite was "At the End of a Long Lonely Day," so beautiful and hauntingly sung.

I was listening to Tom Rush and "Daddy Bones" accompanied him on Do Re Mi and Long Gone. Impossible to miss Herald's voice in the background. He also backed up Buffy Sainte Marie on Many a Mile (again, as Daddy Bones).

Curious as to no comments from Doc Watson, Ian Tyson, Bob Yellin, Baez and so many others he played with. Very sad, indeed.


02 Aug 05 - 05:37 PM (#1533625)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)-July 2005
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Sheila,
Would that be Bill C Malone? Also has it occurred to you that Doc Watson may not visit computer websites. Many of us remember lost friends in our own private way.

Hoot (nitpicking again)


03 Aug 05 - 12:03 PM (#1534026)
Subject: RE: Obit: John Herald (Greenbriar Boys)-July 2005
From: voyager

Posting from FLATPICK-L Listserv -

Brian Hollandar, editor of Woodstock, New York's local newspaper The
Woodstock Times and a close friend of John's wrote an informative and
heartfelt article last week that many of you may be interested in reading. You can find this article at:

John Herald Tribute - Woodstock Times

voyager