Thursday, October 12, 2006

You can pick your friends, you can pick your banjo, but you can't pick...

From 1961 through 1965, the Friends of Old Time Music (FOTM) brought 14 concerts of traditional folk music, old time country music, bluegrass, blues and religious music to New York City audiences. The concerts represented the first NY appearances - often the first urban appearance - by influential artists like Dock Boggs, Maybelle Carter, Bill Monroe, Missippi John Hurt and Roscoe Holcomb. Smithsonian Folkways just released a box set of recordings (Friends of Old Time Music: The Folk Arrival 1961 - 1965) from these concerts and this playlist represents a collection of the artists and songs that appear in the box set.

Playlist: Friends of Old Time Music - Folk Arrival 1961-1965

The founders of FOTM were Ralph Rinzler (The Greenbriar Boys,) John Cohen (The New Lost City Ramblers) and Izzy Young (owner of The Folklore Center) with Rinzler taking on the larger chunk of the responsibility of assembling the acts, securing the venues and mc'ing the events. As a result of his work he also ended up managing both Dock Watson and Bill Monroe and then later became director of the Newport Folk Foundation, before becoming a curator for American art, music, and folk culture at the Smithsonian. For the first concert they got Kentucky music legend Roscoe Holcomb, and to insure a steady audience, both Cohen and Rinzler's bands opened (poster at left.)

Perhaps the most famous of all the concerts was the double-billing of Dock Boggs and Missippi John Hurt, December 13th, 1963, a few months after appearing at Rinzler's Newport Folk Festival. The two were an interesting match; Hurt was a Black musician influenced greatly by White country artists (like Jimmie Rodgers - listen to "Frankie and Albert") while Dock Boggs was a White musician deeply influenced by the Blues ("Poor Boy in Jail.") They collaborated on one song with Boggs playing banjo on "Banjo Clog" while Hurt peformed some clog dancing.

All in all, the collection is worthwhile treat that comes in just in time for the holiday gift buying season (not already!!) and you certainly don't have to be 'old time' to appreciate.

While Rhapsody has yet to get in their library, Emusic has it in theirs.
The Bombshelter profiles the collection and features a download of The Stanley Brothers' recording of "Feast Here Tonight."

Einstein's theory of American Culture (Mo Asch and American Folkways)

tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 comment:

drake leLane said...

Friends of Old Time Music: The Folk Arrival 1961 - 1965

1. I'm Troubled - The Doc Watson Family
2. Country Blues - Dock Boggs
3. Goin' Down To The River - Mississippi Fred McDowell
4. East Virginia - Roscoe Holcomb
5. The Storms Are On The Ocean - Maybelle Carter
6. Dream Of A Miner's Child - The Stanley Brothers
7. Coffee Blues - Mississippi John Hurt
8. Live And Let Live - Bill Monroe
9. Lonely Tombs - Doc Watson
10. Brown's Dream - Doc Watson
11. Down South Blues - Dock Boggs
12. Feast Here Tonight - The Stanley Brothers
13. Riley - Joe Armstrong/John Davis and Group - Georgia Sea Island Singers
14. Buck And Wing - Jesse Fuller
15. Amelia Earhart's Last Flight - The Greenbriar Boys
16. Brakeman's Blues - Bill Monroe
17. Foggy Mountain Top - Mother Maybelle Carte
18. Hick's Farewell - Doc Watson
19. Jordan Is A Hard Road To Travel - The New Lost City Ramblers
20. Write Me A Few Of Your Lines - Mississippi Fred McDowell
21. Bimini gal - Joseph Spence
22. Shady Grove - Bill Monroe
23. Grey Eagle - Bill Monroe
24. San Francisco Bay Blues - Jesse Fuller
25. A Short Life Of Trouble - Doc Watson
26. Kneelin' Down Inside The Gate - Stanley Thompson
27. (Bury Me Under The) Weeping Willow - Maybelle Carter
28. Before This Time Another Year - - Georgia Sea Island Singers
29. My Creole Belle - Mississippi John Hurt
30. Cincinnati Blues - Jesse Fuller
31. Poor Boy in Jail - Dock Boggs
32. He's Solid Gone - Mother Maybelle Carte
33. Maggie Walker - Doc Watson
34. House in New Orleans (House of the Rising Sun) - Roscoe Holcomb
35. Frankie And Albert - Mississippi John Hurt
36. Hard Times - The Stanley Brothers
37. Stranger Blues - Jesse Fuller
38. I Saw The Light - Bill Monroe
39. Amazing Grace - Clarence "Tom" Ashley