Mudcat Café message #985436 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61138   Message #985436
Posted By: Frankham
17-Jul-03 - 04:11 PM
Thread Name: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
Subject: RE: Pete Seeger's Banjo virtuosity
Whoa Martin! Hold the phone.

"but not ones who enjoy smooth harmonies or like their folk music served without offensive, authentic body odors direct from Appalachia."

You might be falling into a bit of stereotyping here. Many people who do traditional music are not all in blue jeans and don't take baths. This is the province of the kind of thinking that belongs on the "Real Beverly Hill-Billies". This "reality programming" might need some reshaping. So many of the fine traditional folk musicians and singers are known to appear before audiences in their "Sunday best" and not farm overhauls or ragged clothes. If you are referring exclusively to the music than perhaps it's time to take a listen to some of the field recordings put out by the Lomaxes or Lib. of Congress and then you'll get a truer picture of where groups like the Kingston Trio come from.

Dave Guard was a nice man. He was talented and entertaining and owes his career to Pete Seeger. If he were around today, he'd tell you that since that's what has said in print. But did he introduce the five-string banjo to millions of people? Not sure about this. As you have said, Scruggs may have had greater mass influence. But Pete certainly had a powerful influence not for the two or three years of the KT but over a period of a long time where he couldn't get on the media but nonetheless influenced countless young people to want to play the banjo. Every college campus in the country in the 50's and 60's had a five-string banjo and they weren't all playing bluegrass.
I know because I used to travel to some of those places for concerts or to visit. Every college kid I talked to during those years had heard of Pete Seeger. Some hadn't heard Scruggs yet.

I have nothing against the KT. They were entertainers like PPand M and made the music market place a little richer (didn't mean Little Richard) through their endeavors. (Although he did too). But that body odor is what makes us all human even in this time when they try to sell us deoderants and toothpaste to sanitize our "quality of life".

Frank Hamilton