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The Singing Ritchie Family

06 Feb 07 - 03:17 PM (#1959410)
Subject: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: Abby Sale

We don't hear much of the Singing Ritchie Family these days and I got to wondering what they're up to.

Of course one of them achieved ultimate world-wide acclaim as the Most Beautiful and Wonderful All-Time Queen of Folk Music. (Pardon me if I was too cool and stilted in the above remark - I wouldn't want to embarrass anyone.)

We know there used to be lots of them running around singing but except for a handful of cuts on oldish records and the rare comment of a song or tune source, I know little of them. Two things brought this to mind: The lovely "Jenny Jenkins" clip cited on the YouTube thread - Seeger tries to trick the Queen but doesn't quite succeed. This is the version (although I have Lunsford doing a fair one) that I sang for my own wee daughter and later for her and her friends as an Ask/Respond game song. She still likes it. Second is that I'm finally cataloguing my books and note Songs of All Time, a small-but-good 1947 book of Appalachian stuff co-edited by Edna Ritchie of Viper, KY. Third is the Little Known 60's Singers thread.

Fourth; I'm continually impressed with the recent North Carolina effort, Madison County Project (Also visible from which shows some fine current ballad singers who have inherited the tradition and whose forebears were also acknowledged by Olive Dame Campbell & Sharp. It proves that tradition is still alive and hearty.

1) Are there any Ritchie family CDs available? Or of other family individuals?

2) Whether or not they record, does the family still sing?
2a) Are there any still singing in rural Kentucky?

06 Feb 07 - 03:26 PM (#1959425)
Subject: RE: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: Scoville

Jean Ritchie homepage. Might be more information there.

06 Feb 07 - 04:27 PM (#1959497)
Subject: RE: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: Barry Finn

Hi Abby
Jean regularly posts here under Kytrad, you may want to pm her or maybe she'll see you question & reply herself, I'm sure there be no better source.

06 Feb 07 - 04:32 PM (#1959508)
Subject: RE: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: dick greenhaus

Folk-Legacy has a fine recording of Jean's sister Edna Ritchie.

06 Feb 07 - 05:23 PM (#1959588)
Subject: RE: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: catspaw49

Yeah, I was gonna' say the Edna Ritchie recording is very good. Edna tended to use her dulcimer to kind of accentuate her singing rather than accompany it. I don't know how to describe it but when you listen you will know what I mean.

And as said, Jean is around now and then on a pretty regular basis....Maybe you want to send her a PM?


06 Feb 07 - 06:01 PM (#1959641)
Subject: RE: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: Big Mick

Great thread, Abby. This is a project that, if it hasn't been done, ought to be done. Let me add my voice to the chorus, and I think I will drop Jean a line.

And for any of you that want to know more about this amazing family, may I strongly recommend that you read Singing Family of the Cumberlands available from Jean's website. It is the second book down the list. I notice that their shopping cart service is down just now, but an email or PM will do the same thing.

All the best,


06 Feb 07 - 08:47 PM (#1959800)
Subject: RE: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: Joe_F

Mick: I second your recommendation of that wondrous book; but the link isn't working.

07 Feb 07 - 08:51 PM (#1960635)
Subject: RE: The Singing Ritchie Family
From: Joe_F

Is now. %^)