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David Martin American Folk for English Singers... (12) RE: American Folk for English Singers... 02 Jul 97

Afterthoughts: Two legends, still alive and playing and singing are Doc Watson and Ralph Stanley. Both come from southern mountain families where songs have been handed down for generations. Each is a virtuoso, Doc on guitar, Ralph on banjo, and a great singer. Ralph has that kind of ethereal high voice that seems indigenous to this music, and one guesses that this style of singing goes way back. While we're on the subject, one characteristic of this traditional mountain singing is that it emphasizes head voice, with little or no vibrato. Check out Doc's records and especially those with the Watson Family (maybe there's just one), and the Stanley Brothers, or any Ralph Stanley albums. Also Jean Ritchie, who comes from similar background. In fact, there's a fine, classic album of Doc and Jean, Live at Folk City, recorded during 60's folk era in NYC. Jean also has beautifully recorded Child Ballads. Child was a guy (Harvard scholar?) who collected and catalogued many of the traditional songs originating in British Isles. Have a blast!

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