Barna Howard – Quite a Feelin’

Quite a Feelin' Barna Howard

Exploring the Music of Singer-Songwriter, Folkie – Barna Howard and his album – Quite a Feelin’

I discovered the music of Barna Howard on the June 2015 Euro-Americana Chart , where his album Quite a Feeling held down the number eight spot. One night when I was going to work at Target I listened to the album for the first time. After listening to the first song “Indiana Rose”, I knew that Mr. Howard and I were going to get along just fine! Barna’s has a sound that harkens back to the folksingers of the 60s. He has a distinctive voice and his accompanying guitar playing is pretty nice also! So the question in my mind was – Who is this Barna Howard!

Well, it seems he was born and raised in the quintessential Midwest town of Eureka, Missouri. He grew up in the era that inspired Spielberg, when he was creating E.T. It was an era much like the one I grew up in, when kids still put baseball cards in his bicycle spokes, flying freely down Main Street and through neighbors’ backyards.But through th years times have changed, as has Eureka, and talk about putting an end to your childhood, Barna’s home was torn down to build a Walmart parking lot! Oh my!

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Happiness Playlist #2 – Tracks from Prine, Clark, Chapin, Rush and Goodman! I’m Happy!

Heads & Tales

So this morning, as I looked at the books lying around I say that Your Playlist Can Change Your Life and I decided to Heads & Talescreate another playlist to make me happy! So I went to Spotify and created one featuring five artists who are at the center of my love for folk music: John Prine, Tom Rush, Guy Clark, Harry Chapin and Steve Goodman. I picked a few of my all-time favorites from each of them and went merrily on my way to Target to pick up some things!! Here’ s the playlist…..

Somebody Else’s Troubles” – Steve Goodman – he’s right many times the troubles of others don’t really bother us!

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Forgotten Folksingers – Paul Clayton with a tie to Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”

Paul Clayton sings home-made

The other day I was reading Dave Van Ronk‘s autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street. In the chapter I was reading Dave wasPaul Clayton sings home-made recalling fellow folksinger Paul Clayton.  Clayton was a graduate of the University of Virginia,  where he earned a master’s degree in Folklore. Clayton was a true folksinger studying and singing traditional music mostly New England seas shanties and ballads and Appalachian songs. At the point of his career in the mid  to late 1950s, that Van Ronk was writing about Clayton had already recorded dozens of albums and most of them revolved around a theme like Songs of Love and Marriage, Songs of Hate and Divorce. and Waters of Tyne: English North Country Songs & Ballads.  Van Ronk writes that any time Clayton needed money, he would head to the library and look through an obscure folklore collection. He would then visit Moe Asch at Folkways Records and say “You know Moe. I was just looking through your catalog and I noticed that you don’t have a single album of Maine lumberjack ballads”

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My Summer Folk/Americana Playlist – Check it Out!


So on the left sidebar there is a playlist of some of my favorite songs from a variety of albums, most of which were released in July August and September of 2014. There are a couple that I’ve added from earlier months basically albums that I didn’t get around to writing about but  still really enjoyed! So here’s the list of the albums that the songs were taken from to make the playlist!


1. Milltowns Mark Erelli – September 2014

I have only listened to this album of covers of Bill Morrissey songs once, and I had problems with it, mainly because Bill’s voice was so distinctive I have trouble hearing anyone else sing his songs

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Loudon Wainwright III from I Don’t Have the Blues (Yet) – “I’ll Be Killing You This Year for Christmas”

I Don't have the blues yet

I missed this song  from Loudon Wainwright III last Christmas. The first time I heard the song “I’ll Be Killing You I Don't have the blues yetThis Christmas” was last night on my way to work at Target, and as I listened I first thought, OK?  As the songs, continued I soon was smiling and then laughed out loud! The song is included on Wainwright’s new album I Don’t Have the Blues (Yet) and it’s one of the several new treasures , from the folksong master! I have written before that I have never been a big fan of Wainwright but after his last several albums, I have changed my opinion. Of course another reason may be that at 68 years old, Loudon is just slightly older than I am. and many of the songs in his last few albums have dealt with aging, songs like the title of his last album “Older than the Now” which talks about when you become older than your father ever was, and on this album “Brand Ne Dance”. Anyway, I’ve only listened to the album once and I don’t know that I made it all the way through, but as of right now, the Grade for the album is a B+ and rising!!

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Otis Gibbs presents some great – Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth!!

Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth

Otis Gibbs’  latest release Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth has been in my rotation for about a week now and the Souvenirs of a Misspent YouthIndiana native, East Nashville resident has crafted another fine album. For my money, Gibbs is one of the best songwriters out there today and this collection of songs may be his best effort yet! Gibbs’ songwriting talents rank right up there with the best, comparisons have been made to Woody Guthrie, TomT.Hall, Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt. His story-songs tell tales of everyday life.

On Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth one of the best tracks is “Ghost of Our Fathers” in the song tells the story of a neighbor who was a bare knuckle boxing champion, but the toughest loss was that of his son who was killed in Vietnam. I love the simple chorus….

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Today in Music August 26, 1970 – The Isle of Wight Festival opens….later Leonard Cohen quells the crowd!


Isle1970On Thursday August 26, 1970, a few weeks before I would leave home to go to school at the University of Florida, across the pond on the Isle of Wight the last, for a long time, Isle of Wight Festival opened! Here’s what promoter said on the Monday morning after the festival….

“This is the last festival, enough is enough , it began as a beautiful dream but it has got out of control and become a monster. ”

The Festivals were held from 1968 to 1970, from Wikipedia…

The original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers (Ron, Ray and Bill Foulk) under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited. The venues were Ford Farm (near Godshill), Wootton and Afton Down (near Freshwater) respectively.[5] The 1969 event was notable for the appearance of Bob Dylan and the Band. This was Dylan’s first paid performance since his motor cycle accident some three years earlier, and was held at a time when many still wondered if he would ever perform again. Followers from across the world trekked to the Isle of Wight for the performance. Estimates of 150,000–250,000 attended. The 1969 festival opened on Friday 29 August—eleven days after the close of Woodstock. Dylan was living in Woodstock, New York, at the time and it was widely believed that he would perform there, after the event had been “put in his own backyard”. As it happened, Dylan left for the Isle of Wight on 15 August—the day the Woodstock festival began.
The 1970 event was by far the largest and most famous of these early festivals; indeed it was said at the time to be one of the largest human gatherings in the world, with estimates of over 600,000, surpassing the attendance at Woodstock. Included in the line-up of over fifty performers were The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Doors, Lighthouse, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, Melanie, Donovan, Gilberto Gil, Free, Chicago, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Leonard Cohen, Jethro Tull, Taste and Tiny Tim. The unexpectedly high attendance levels led, in 1971, to Parliament passing the “Isle of Wight Act” preventing gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special license. Read More

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A Birthday for David Crosby leads to re-listening to Croz – Happy Birthday, David from a Happy Fan!


CrozMost times I can pretty much tell if I am really going to like an album, after the first few seconds of the first track. This method of assessing a record did not work with David Crosby‘s latest release Croz. The first time I listened to the album, I was not impressed by the opening track, so I really didn’t continue to listen. If today August 14th was not the 73rd anniversary of David’s Los Angeles birth, I may not have listened to the album again, and have missed out on a pretty damn good album!! I have followed David’s career since it began with the Byrds in the early 60s.  But like most of my music listening, I became a real fan in the late 60s and early 70s after he left the Byrds and teamed with Graham Nash and Steven Still to form Crosby, Stills, Nash.  I can still remember when I purchased the album Deja Vu in the Moorestown Mall,  being told by the clerk that I was the first one to purchase the album!! Crosby was born and raised in Los Angeles, California the son of Aliph Van Cortland Whitehead and Bing Crosby, Bob? no, Floyd Crosby, who appears to have no close relationship to the other Crosby’s. Although, Floyd did make a name for himself in Hollywood, as an academy award-winning cinematographer. Both his parents have genealogical roots going back to early New York. His mom is a descendent of the Van Cortland family and Floyd was a descendent of the Van Rensselear family. After an undistinguished academic career, Crosby moved to New York to make his way in the music business. Arriving in Greenwich Village in and around 1963 David joined   Les Baxter’s Balladeers  a group in which Bob Dylan was also a member. Fred Neil who was already a friend and mentor to Dylan also took Crosby under his wing. Now since I don’t know or remember as much about The Byrds as I do his later bands, here is a little info from Wikipedia….

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Thoughts of the “Freedom Summer” 50 years ago, lead to Eric Andersen’s “Thirsty Boots”


Mario Savio on Sproul Hall steps, 1966

Today, I wrote at Socialstudious about the murder of the three Mississippi Civil Rights workers in the summer of 1964. The trio of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were murdered on June 21-22, 1964 and it took 44 days until their bodies were found in the banks of an earthen dam, near the murder site.

In that post, I also wrote about Mario Savio who was a political activist and key leader in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. He is possibly best known for his speeches, with the most famous being his”put your bodies upon the gears” address given at Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley on December 2, 1964. In the summer of 1964 after the disappearance of the above trio, Savio joined the “Freedom Summer” volunteers. During that summer Savio….

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Remembering the Man who wrote, the best train John Prine song ever heard – Steve Goodman on his birthday – July 25, 1948!

Steve Goodman

So back in 1971 I found the music of John Prine. The liner notes on his début album were written by Kris Kristofferson whose music I knew and whose opinion I respected, I had also read great things about the album, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the album. That album started a 42 year and still continuing  love affair with John’s music. A year later, I read the following on the back on another début album:

I been listening to the radio since I was three years old. I figured by now I could see songs better than most people listen to them. The first time I heard Steve Goodman on the radio, I knew I was listening to a tall skinny cat with a little beard singing the best damn train song I ever heard.
Two months later in the backroom at The Earl of Oldtown, I met a short stout fellow with no beard who wrote and sang the best train song I ever heard. His name was Steve Goodman. The Lord works in Mysterious Ways – John Prine, 1971

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