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Most Influential Album?

johnross 09 Dec 05 - 04:16 PM
Wesley S 09 Dec 05 - 04:33 PM
pdq 09 Dec 05 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,Martin gibson 09 Dec 05 - 05:01 PM
bobad 09 Dec 05 - 05:04 PM
Janie 09 Dec 05 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Martin gibson 09 Dec 05 - 06:04 PM
bobad 09 Dec 05 - 06:21 PM
johnross 09 Dec 05 - 07:48 PM
Severn 09 Dec 05 - 08:01 PM
Little Hawk 09 Dec 05 - 08:35 PM
pdq 09 Dec 05 - 08:51 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Dec 05 - 09:43 PM
Bobert 09 Dec 05 - 10:18 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Dec 05 - 10:20 PM
Don Firth 09 Dec 05 - 11:26 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Dec 05 - 03:50 AM
sharyn 10 Dec 05 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,DB 10 Dec 05 - 05:40 AM
Kenneth Ingham 10 Dec 05 - 05:57 AM
fat B****rd 10 Dec 05 - 06:02 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Dec 05 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,DB 10 Dec 05 - 01:40 PM
Joe Offer 10 Dec 05 - 02:04 PM
greg stephens 10 Dec 05 - 02:18 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Dec 05 - 02:18 PM
DebC 10 Dec 05 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 10 Dec 05 - 03:12 PM
Once Famous 10 Dec 05 - 03:25 PM
Once Famous 10 Dec 05 - 03:29 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Dec 05 - 05:49 PM
johnross 10 Dec 05 - 06:26 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 10 Dec 05 - 06:38 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 Dec 05 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,Sandy Mc Lean (lost cookie) 10 Dec 05 - 09:41 PM
leftydee 10 Dec 05 - 11:47 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 05 - 03:57 AM
van lingle 11 Dec 05 - 07:59 AM
Lancashire Lad 11 Dec 05 - 10:36 AM
number 6 11 Dec 05 - 10:53 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 05 - 11:23 AM
Severn 11 Dec 05 - 11:47 AM
Abby Sale 11 Dec 05 - 12:14 PM
sharyn 11 Dec 05 - 01:59 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 05 - 02:24 PM
Don Firth 11 Dec 05 - 02:49 PM
fat B****rd 11 Dec 05 - 03:57 PM
Katgirl 11 Dec 05 - 04:40 PM
ard mhacha 11 Dec 05 - 05:03 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM
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Subject: Most Influential Album?
From: johnross
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 04:16 PM

BBC Radio 2 is conducting an audiene vote for the "Most Influential Folk Album of All Time." They're asking about the album that has has the greatest impact on the UK folk Revival.

This leads me to think about the same question in North America. What are your nominations?

Here are some of mine:

The Weavers at Carnegie Hall -- Arguably, this was the LP that started the sixties revival. It was the first popular mainstream album by folk group without the pop arrangements of the Weavers' earlier records on Decca.

The Art of the Five-String Banjo (Billy Faier) -- This was the first time anybody recorded a five-string banjo doing anything but either stringband music or Pete Seeger-style song accompaniment. It opened a lot of ears to the idea that there were other things one could do with traditional instruments.

In My Life (Judy Collins) -- Art songs as folk music. Opened up the folksingers' repertoire to a whole other world of songs.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Wesley S
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 04:33 PM

The Weaver at Carnegie Hall is a good choice.

Gibson and Camp at the Gate of Horn would have to be another one too.

Freewheelin' Bob Dylan ?


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: pdq
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 04:56 PM

The Billy Faier record is an interesting choice. Another album that opened up the minds of many people to the banjo was "New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass" by Eric Weissberg and Marshall Brickman. That was also the recording debut of Clarence White who expanded hot flatpickin' in the California music scene. "New Dimensions..." is actually available (in a thinly disguised version) as the "Dueling Banjos" album.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: GUEST,Martin gibson
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 05:01 PM

OK, the Purists/elitists can howl all they want, but The Kingston Trio's first album with Tom Dooley sold over a million records, put guitars in thousands of hands, was the first time many had ever heard a banjo, caused a sensation for a whole generation on college campuses at the time, and opened up North America's eyes to their own tradional music.

Everything else is really mice nuts in comparion.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: bobad
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 05:04 PM

Peter Paul and Mary's first album popularized folk music and was the first exposure many of us had to it. It included "Five Hundred Miles", "Lemon Tree", "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", and the hit Pete Seeger tune "If I Had a Hammer", ("The Hammer Song.") The album was listed on Billboard Magazine Top Ten list for ten months and in the Top One Hundred for over three years.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Janie
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 05:06 PM

I gotta go with Martin on this one.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: GUEST,Martin gibson
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 06:04 PM

Trouble with your pick bobad, is that without the Kingston trio, there would be no Peter, Paul, and Mary. I'll bet they will even admit to that.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: bobad
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 06:21 PM

I agree with you MG.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: johnross
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 07:48 PM

By the same standard that says the Kingston Trio's first LP was most influential, would that mean that the most influential British folk album should be "Lonnie Donnegan's Greatest Hits?"


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Severn
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 08:01 PM

On a smaller scale, to a smaller parish, the first New Lost City Ramblers LP sent a lot of folks scrambling for old 78's and looking for roots they didn't know they had.

On a larger scale, though, how many local libraries had copies of Harry Smith's Anthology Of American Folk Music on Folkways that sent people scrambling in all sorts of directions in a frenzy of rediscovery.

The Weavers begat the Kingston Trio begat PP&M, but the Anthology got a lot of us looking for the real thing or at least what we percieved as such. All are important in pointing folks somewhere from where they could seek further. How important depends on which directions you ultimately took.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 08:35 PM

All of the above are good nominations. I was tremendously influenced by most of them, starting with the Weavers, thence to the Kingston Trio, a rather brief interest in PPM, thence to Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian & Sylvia, Judy Collins, Leonard Cohen, and finally Mr Bob Dylan. In the end, Baez, Buffy, and Bob were the heavy hitters for me...but that is not to deny the tremendous initial impact of the Weavers, the Kingston Trio, and PPM. Each one led to the next.

I was, however, unaware of Lonnie Donnegan, since he was over in the UK and I was in North America.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: pdq
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 08:51 PM

In the US, Lonnie Donnegan is best known for causing a precipitous drop in the sales of chewing gum.

He also caused great distress among parents who had to stop their kids from putting beans in their ears.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 09:43 PM

Well, until Burl Ives "The Wayfaring Stranger", there was NO widely distributed folk music.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 10:18 PM

Well, I've al;lready stated that I thought that the Pozo Seco Singres blew botht the Weaver and the K-Triom outta the water but...

... Hey, to me, it was early Dylan stuff... Yeah I ain't 60 yet so I'm comin' in from more of a 60's perspective here but, hey, I din't ask the qurstion so...

yeah, there were a lot of folkies who meant a lot to me and theie LP's are still in my collection... Yeah, I liked Simon & Garfunkle, and Joni Mitchell, and Bob Martin, and Happy and Artie Traum, and Neil Young....

... But the LP that meant the most to me was XSpooky Tooth's
Last Puff"... Man, did they rock it out 'er what???

But since my Spookie Tooth days I have mellowed somewhat. Okay, not much 'cause Spookym Tooth still gets me going but olf Lightnin' Hopkins, Elmore James, Son House gets me going these days....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 10:20 PM

The Most Influential Album is the Official Visitors Guest Book at the White House.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Dec 05 - 11:26 PM

Gotta go with Dick Greenhaus on this one. Burl Ives had a radio program in the mid-Forties, appeared in a movie or two (e.g., "Smoky," 1946) as a folk singer, then started coming out with records. As far as most people were concerned, he was Mr Folk Music until the Weavers' records hit radios and juke boxes in 1949. That was when folk songs first made the charts. A fair number of people, such as Walt Robertson, Sandy Paton, and (ahem) me, first got interested in folk music.

The Gateway Singers frankly modeled themselves after the Weavers. Then along came Harry Belefonte, introducing a wider audience to folk music (albeit in fairly slicked-up arrangements) and Calypso. Harry Belafonte's big hit in the mid-Fifties was Kingston Farewell. It's not for nothing that the group that suddenly burst on the market in 1958 called themselves "The Kingston Trio." True, they introduced a lot of people to folk music, but had it not been for the increasing popularity of the preceding individuals and groups, the KT might never have been.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 03:50 AM

Contenders in the UK?

First Clancy's & Tommy Makem, first Dubliners, Frost and Fire - The Watersons, Lots of albums by Seeger & McColl,all early Carthy & Swarb. Deep Lancashire - Harry Boardman and friends, first Highlevel Ranters? Early Shirley and Dolly Collins?

Then a bit later Prosperous - Christy Moor, Please to see the King -Steeleye, Early Fairport, Morris On, that first album by Oak (Welcome to our Fair?)


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: sharyn
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 04:03 AM

I heard Burl Ives on my grandparents' ten-inch records (we had three of them) and Bob Atcher and Terry Gylkenson(sp?) long before I ever heard of The Weavers or Pete Seeger or The New Lost City Ramblers. I heard Burl Ives and the others as a child of two in 1960 and probably knew all of the songs by age eight. Susan Reed was another early singer we had records of -- on Decca, I think, not Elektra, a great thick black record with a green label -- no, not Decca, Columbia: Songs of the Auvergne with "folk songs" on the other side.

I think maybe your folks had to be a bit red for you to hear The Weavers and Seeger -- or was that an East Coast thing?

The Kingston Trio came way later and were not an improvement in my humble opinion. But I don't know who was influencing other people in 1960 or before.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 05:40 AM

'Les in Chorlton' - excellent choices - but then you went and spoiled it by writing the dread words 'Steeleye Span' ...


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Kenneth Ingham
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 05:57 AM

The Dubliners, Donovan, Finbar & Eddie, Dando Shaft, Fairport Convention, Strawbs, Bert Jansch all of these people and more were part of the folk revolution in Englan & Ireland in the 1960's and early '70s

Ifluential Albums:
Dubliners & Luke Kelly 1964
Bert Jansch 1965
Sophisticated Beggar 1966
Finbar & Eddie Furey 1968
What We Did On Our Holidays 1969
Strawbs 1969
An Evening With Dando Shaft 1970

Also:

"It's All About" by SPOOKY TOOTH worth it for their version of Janis Ian's "Societies Child"


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: fat B****rd
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 06:02 AM

Ray Charles In Person. Moanin At Midnight (Howlin Wolf. Chuck Berry's Greatest Hits.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 01:01 PM

Ok DB I almost never play Steeleye any more although Hark the Village, the first album with Gay and Terry Woods is still well worth a listen as Storm Force 10 with John K on melodeon.

But I have to say that 'Please to see' was influencial in that lots of trad. got electric and amplified after they showed the way. I suppose some might say a bad influence but a whole genre exists now that includes Whapweasel and The Demon Barbers. I suppose Fairport were the real originators whilst Steeleye played more (in quantity)trad songs and tunes.

Chuck Berry and Little Richard - just the most important people in music.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 01:40 PM

'Les in C', I suppose I just don't like mixing genres ('comedy thrillers/westerns' etc. - yuck!). It seems to me that the trouble with Steeleye is that they had a really fantastic repertoire but then went and spoiled it with those electric guitars. Also, in my opinion, blending traditional song and rock music just leads to more rock music - and our culture is saturated with the stuff already - do we really need any more?
I suppose the ambition was to bring trad music 'up to date' - and I was never very happy with the result. I'm sure that a large percentage of their fans still think that they 'wrote' those songs!


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 02:04 PM

Hmmm. The various choices tell as much about the chooser, as they tell about the album chosen. I guess I'd say it was that first PP&M album that opened the door for me - I learned about the Kingston Trio and the Weavers and all those others later, mostly after I got into college in 1966. My dad bought a record player and five albums for us in 1961, and that PP&M album was the one I liked best. The others were budget Broadway recordings by the 10001 Strings and the like. What can I say?-Dad was cheap.

But anyhow, I think people who chose Burl Ives and the Weavers and the Kingston Trio must be considerably older than I am, and I take some consolation in that.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 02:18 PM

UK: first Lonnie Donegan, first Watersons.
USA: not so up on the nuances of SAmerican follk revival, but Kingston Trio(dont know which LP) and Dylan's Freewheelin, for a guess.
THis is on the assumption we are purely talking about influence on the folk revival.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 02:18 PM

Good point DB. I got bored with Steeleye and their is a danger of everything turning into rock. The Irish seem to do these things so much better. The progression, no value judgements implied, from the source singers through Clancy's, Dubliners, Cheiftains, Planxty and and and and and seems to sound great and fresh without loosing the basic nature of the music.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: DebC
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 02:52 PM

Anne Briggs


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 03:12 PM

Personal list:

Bothy Band 1st album
Planxty 1st album
Chieftains 3
Tommy Potts, 'The Liffey Banks'
Boys of the Lough 1st
Liege & Lief
'Hark The Village Wait', Steeleye
'Pour Down Like Silver', Richard and Linda Thompson
'Kind of Blue', Miles Davis (play it after any of the above and you'll see what I mean)
'A Love Supreme', John Coltrane

Etc, etc.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Once Famous
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 03:25 PM

Joe Offer gets close here with the age thing. Burl Ives is an influential zero to I would think most baby boomers. The Weavers heyday kind of predates our record buying coming of age also. The facts about the Kingston Trio to these acts is almost night and day. The Trio sold considerably more albums and were by far one of the top acts in album sales from the late 1950s in to the arly 1960s. Burl Ives and The Weavers by comparison sold nowhere near the albums. Albums, not singles, exposed people to usually 12 songs at one time. The newer technology of the LP compared to singles alone exposed potential folk music lovers to more songs, plain and simple. Just by sheer numbers of the baby boomers compared to their predessor generation who felt the Weavers and old Burl were the folk music "it", the Kingston Trio plain and simple reached a considerably larger record buying and influenced public.

I am not discounting the Weavers as having an influence on the Kingston trio, but the Weavers did not create or play any part in the great folk "scare." The Kingston Trio created and sold more albums that influenced literally every record label to come out with their folk group, Peter, Paul, and Mary not withstanding. Keep in mind, Tom dooley won the grammy award in 1958 for best country and western song. Why, because folk music was not even a genre of it's own until them.

That's influence.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Once Famous
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 03:29 PM

One last thing.

I am talking about most influential album in a folk music sense as this is a folk music web site. Not necessarily the most influential artist or group. That distinction is a category in itself, of which from what I have read, The Carter Family would be the most logical choice.

I am talking purely as a musicologist and not at all citing any list or personal favorites.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 05:49 PM

Pete Seeger live at Carnegie?

OK I am pulling out the really important ones now:

The Spinners, Folk at the Phil?

Josh White?

Anything by the Lomaxs'


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: johnross
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 06:26 PM

>the Weavers did not create or play any part in the great
>folk "scare."

Martin, that is just flat wrong. Within the folk revival, the Weavers were hugely influential. They laid the foundation for almost everything that followed them,including the singer-songwriters, the folk groups and even the urban singers who learned their traditional repertiore at the foot of their parent's record players.

In terms of the long-term folk revival, the Kingston Trio and all those other groups wearing matching shirts that followed them were a temporary diversion rather than a long-term influence.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 06:38 PM

MY most influential folk album is An Englishman Sings American Folk Songs by Lonnie Donegan. While it certainly wasn't THE most influential album in this country it did have a strong impact. At least Lonnie did with Rock Island Line. Lonnie took the "precious" out of folk music and made it attractive to people who liked rockabilly and early rock and roll. Remember, Lonnie used electric guitar while Dylan was still in diapers.

And I agree, there is an age diferential in here.

I'm surprised that no one has said Mudcat Slim by James Taylor, yet.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 07:02 PM

Paul Simon Song Book

Owdham Edge - The Owdham Tinkers

Jaqui and Bridie

That Album of Sea songs by everybody who was anybody and nobody

That album of Mining songs by The Ian Cambell Folk Group

A Laugh, a song and a hand grenade Leon rosselson and Adram mitchell

Pentangle?


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: GUEST,Sandy Mc Lean (lost cookie)
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 09:41 PM

Most influential album? Hmmmmmmmmmm
I remember the days when albums were much less important than singles.
New releases were on 45's or even 78's first heard on air or on the jukebox. If you liked it you rushed out to buy a copy. Albums came along as a collection of the performers old releases.
That being said, The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makim's "Rising Of the Moon" had the most influence on me personally .
                      Sandy


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: leftydee
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 11:47 PM

The Kingston Trio is a good call, Martin. They certainly caught my attention first, which lead me to Dylan eventually, who gave me my first chance to think.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 03:57 AM

I am surprised that so many people mention the Kingston Trio and PPM and not the field recordings by the Lomaxs'.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: van lingle
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 07:59 AM

For me it was Joan Baez' first two albums which got me interested in guitar and English, Scottish and American ballads.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Lancashire Lad
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 10:36 AM

A few UK suggestions
Davy Graham - Folk Blues and Beyond
Anne Briggs - S/T
Shirley and Dolly Collins - Anthems in Eden
ISB - Hangmans Beautiful Daughter
Pentangle - S/T
Nick Drake - 5 Leaves Left
Archie Fisher - S/T
Watersons - S/T
Young Tradition - S/T
Martin Carthy - S/T
Lonnie Donnegan - Showcase

Every one a gem!

Cheers
LL


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: number 6
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 10:53 AM

Most influencial folk album for me ...

Bert Jansch 1st album "Bert Jansch".

I should also mention ..

Bob Dylan's "Freewheelin"

Gordon Lightfoot's "Lightfoot"

sIx


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 11:23 AM

Favourites, excellent or influencial?


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Severn
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 11:47 AM

Which Pete Seeger album? Just pretend you forgot the title and just say,"I dunno, the LIVE one!" Close enough. Just for the art of working an audience.

The first Clancy Brothers album I heard through my oldest (pre-War sister) got me much deeper into the Celtic thing. Besides, they had four distinct voices and personalities, something too many of the folk "groups" lacked. (Why from all that stuff I pretty much outgrew, The Limelighters always had it over the Kingston Trio, whose individual personalities never seemed to matter-but that's a separate thread still out there for the world Folk Music Association folks and others that still rabidly care).

Also, through my oldest sister, some Josh White records pointed me towards the Blues, but when I first heard John Hurt's Ontario Place live recordings and Skip James's "Devil Got My Woman" on Vanguard, they really set the hook.

And growing up in Washington DC, local performances and the Folkways records by the Country Gentlemen got me interested in Bluegrass and good ol' King 615 simply called "The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys (blue cover, "She's More to Be Pitied" & "Think Of What you've Done" inside), bought used for a buck fifty, got me addicted to the "Hard Stuff", and where in other things, you'd say "I never looked back.", we're dealing with folk music here! I LOOKED back and forward as well, as with all these other genres already mentioned.

(The image of a folkie's head back then discovering new things must've been the inspiration for the famous Linda Blair scene in "The Excorcist").

But again, we're not talking nescessarily about favorites here, but things that got us pointed to wherever our heads reside today. Stuff you still listen to today and thingd now left behind or regarded as "Guilry Pleasures".

Local and college radio shows that spun individual cuts, would be another good, but related thread, 'cause just one look was sometimes all it took!.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 12:14 PM

Martin & Dick:

You've mentioned the Carters & I think they were wildly influential - and Dalhart before them. Huge.

But I put what I did vote for (pointlessly, I'm sure) at the BBC site.

I'm dead sure that "The Anthology" has to be it. If it's relatively small in total sales & if people keep coming up with "better examples" it must be counted as putting all the people and styles out there in one place. A masterful collection. What it did do is deeply influence the people who influenced the people who influenced the people. I can't think how many artists, song tracks, jump-off points, etc trace directly back to Harry Smith's American Folk Music.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: sharyn
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 01:59 PM

If we get back to the original question which is what was the most influential folk album in the folk revival of North America, what I say is that the cited albums by The Weavers and Pete Seeger never crossed my path -- it wasn't until "Wasn't That a Time" came out that I ever heard The Weavers, although I had heard of them -- one of their songbooks made its way into our house sometime during my childhood, but no one used it much. So, while Seeger's and The Weavers' albums may have been highly influential they did not penetrate here on the West Coast, in California, in the Bay Area, in a household where we bought albums but did not listen to the radio. Joan Baez albums made it in, and Odetta, and the Peter, Paul and Mary concert album, and, way before that, as I have said, recordings by Burl Ives, Bob Atcher and Susan Reed. I first went to see Joan Baez locally when I was a teenager here just north of Berkeley.

When I went to camp at the age of ten in 1968 all of the counselors with guitars were singing Peter, Paul and Mary arrangements -- I didn't know that at the time, I learned later that that is where all of that stuff had come from: "The Cruel War" and "You Take a Stick of Bamboo" and "Five Hundred Miles."


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 02:24 PM

Sorry, failed to read the first post carefully, I may not be the first to do that.

Still, where did the Kingston Trio, PPM et al get their songs from?


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 02:49 PM

I think a lot of people who were just kids or teenagers in the late Fifties or early Sixties tend to think that the first folk song (or folk-like song) they heard on the radio that stuck in their ear was the most influential record because that's what introduced them to folk music (sort of like baby ducks imprinting on the first thing they see when they come out of the shell. If it's one of the farm dogs, they'll follow it around, thinking that the dog is their mother). This was the most influential record for them, but not necessarily the most influential as far as broader trends are concerned.

My introduction to folk music was from listening to some of the "Radio School of the Air" programs that Alan Lomax did in the late Thirties when I was barely more than a rug-rat. When I first heard Burl Ives on the radio in the Forties, I'd heard some of the songs he sang before (on the Lomax programs). Same with when I saw Susan Reed in a movie called "Glamour Girl" in 1948. Not a great movie by any means, but lots of folk songs sung by the lovely Susan Reed. Then came the Weavers with their first (right around '49). I remember hearing Pete Seeger (other than the lead singer of the Weavers, I had no idea of who he was at the time) quoted as saying that the Weavers wanted to introduce the American people to their own folk music. I remember thinking, "That sounds kind of pretentious. I've already been introduced." I was thinking of the Lomax programs, plus Ives and Reed. I didn't actually pick up a guitar and start to learn songs until around my second year in college, where I met people like Walt Robertson, Sandy Paton, and a half-dozen others who had already been at it for a few years. This was in 1952.

As to the Kingston Trio, they did indeed introduce a lot of people to folk music—I have to give them credit for that—but they were surfing on the crest of a wave that a lot of other people had built up well before they came along. And apart from accompanying themselves on guitars and banjos, their performances were essentially just another flavor of popular music. There were a lot of similar groups around at the time, and if it hadn't been them, a month or two later it would have been some other very similar sounding group. Their commercial success, of course, spawned even more sound-alike groups. Their whole manner of presentation also moved that particular way of performing folk music into the position where it was vulnerable to the vagaries of the popular music business, one of which was that, after a half-dozen years, it wore itself out as far as the teeny-boppers were concerned.   [Interesting statistic from that era:   85˘ out of every dollar spent on music records of all kinds was spent by girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen. That's who controlled the recording industry!]   Said teeny-boppers then turned their attention to the next big wave:   the Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion in the mid-Sixties. At which point, a lot of people assumed that folk music had "died."

But as Mark Twain said about the reports of his death, ". . . greatly exaggerated!" A lot of people who had been doing folk music long before the Kingston Trio came along simply went underground and kept at it. At the same time, while a lot of the people who took up guitars and such in the early Sixties, more interested in commercial success than the kind of music they played, switched from folk music to rock, while others (including some first inspired by the Kingston Trio and who dug a bit deeper than what they had first heard) stuck with folk music.

There are a lot more people performing folk music now, both professionally and for fun (two motivations which are definitely not mutually exclusive), than there were at the peak of "The Great Folk Scare" in the early Sixties.

That's history, folks. Being one of The Ancient Ones, I was there at the time and watched it happen.

There are a number of good books on the subject, one of which When We Were Good : The Folk Revival by Robert Cantwell (a rather turgid writer who, with the use of colons, semicolons, and parenthetical phrases, can make a sentence run on for three pages or more ("Not unlike you, Firth!" I just heard someone say). Another is Romancing the Folk : Public Memory and American Roots Music by Benjamin Filene. This latter is especially good. Very informative and highly readable.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: fat B****rd
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 03:57 PM

Whooops !! Like a couple of my worthy fellow contributors I simply skipped through the actual essence of the first post. Mind you i certainly stand by my 3 LP choices. But I forgot the Pye International Blues releases of 63-65.
Interesting thread, mind you.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Katgirl
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 04:40 PM

Hi folks!

Here's a first from me. Well most influential album? I think it's got to be the first Planxty album (in the UK at least). Why? It defined a whole way of ensemble playing which never existed before and has influenced just about everybody since eg Bothy Band,De Dannan, Battlefield Band - the list is practically endless, in celtic music and beyond. Prior to that, nobody had played stringed instruments in as subtle a way in traditional music. The bouzouki revolution started here. Why Mike Harding (Radio 2 Folk Show, UK) thought The Dransfields' Rout of the Blues was the most influential folk album of all time is beyond me (and probably lots of other people). What do you all think?


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 05:03 PM

I go along with most of Chris B`s selections, Sandy McClain I also agree with on the Clancys and Makem`s first disc, also find myself agreeing with Les from Chorlton`s points of view, I notice that the US Catters don`t stray to far from home.

The Kingston Trio and Peter Paul and Mary wouldn`t be my idea of folk, speaking for myself they were closer to Pop than Folk, in comparison the first Planxty Album would have been out of sight in everything that is good in traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Most Influential Album?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM

Ard, what can I say,

The point in the end is about working people singing songs about the lives they lived or the lives that were lived or the lives they wanted to live. That is why Woody, Pete, McColl and Seeger but most of all the Lomaxes' in the states are so crucial. They identified and collected black/working class music and said just listen to this! Lets have music that we care about and not just music that will sell.


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