Listmania – My Top 10 All-Time Favorite Folk Artists…….

I have tried to stay away from lists on this blog. The main reason is that I find it very hard to rank artists. I think that's because my favorite is always the one that I'm listening to at the moment and also that I know I'm going to forget someone. This list actually is a list of the "Roots" of my folk music listening. These are the artists that have been with me for the whole ride, from vinyl to 8 track, cassettes, CD and the iPod. Should there be a woman or two on the list probably maybe Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins Emmylou Harris, probably but these guys are the core!! This is the first hopefully of several posts that will become pages on my site. Let's see there's the top branches, artist that I love from the 80s and 90s and then the leaves from the 2000s! How about songs?? I don't know if I can go there!! Anyway let me know who I forgot and then maybe I need to expand the list!!

JJW’s Birthday Celebration Continues with “Ramblin’ Scramblin’” and “Morning Song to Sally”

Driftin Way of LifeSo return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, the year was 1969, I was a naïve eighteen year-old and sometime during that year. probably on Gen Shay’s show on WDAS-FM this song from Jerry Jeff Walker.

You know I don’t think I’d ever heard a song that included a drop kick in the crotch or someone getting rolled, let alone in the same song!! The song was from Jerry Jeff’s second release Driftin’ Way of Life. And along with “Drifting Way of Life” and “Morning Song for Sally” was one of my favorite songs from the album. Thinking about JJW and his music, one thing I like about his music is that in one song he can be all “Gonzo” and the next minute he can be singing something as nice and beautiful as “Morning Song to Sally” So before we break out the “Sangria Wine” and “Redneck Mother”, let’s go “into the night” with “Morning Song to Sally”

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This Day in Music – Feb 14, 1943 – Happy Birthday No 71 – Eric Andersen!

So today is  the birthday of one of my favorite folk singers, Eric Andersen.(1943) Eric was one of the early pioneers of the Greenwich Village folk music scene, along with Tom Paxton, Tom Rush,  Fred Neil, Dave Von Rank and many others. He made his début in 1964 at Gerdes Folk City in a live audition for Vanguard Records.   I didn’t really start listening to Eric until his most commercially successful album Blue River was released in 1972. “Is it Really Love at All’ is still a favorite. But as soon as I heard Eric’s music I went back and picked up The Very Best of Eric Andersen on Vanguard Records and learned to love those early songs like “Violets of Dawn”, “Come to My Bedside” and many others, including “Thirsty Boots”

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Today’s Album: Steve Goodman – Jessie’s Jig and Other Favorites!!

Jessie's Jig and Other FavoirtesThis morning I was thinking about what to use for the morning music and one of the songs that popped into my head was one of my all time favorites, Steve Goodman’s version of Michael Smith’s poignant “The Dutchman”. Then I thought no, how about Steve’s version of “Mama Don’t Allow”  Yeah, that’s what I use! I went to YouTube and found the video and watched it. As I was watching, I thought about the book Mama Don’t Allow by Thatcher Hurd. I used to read my kids way back when.. The book had been featured on the show Reading Rainbow (starring a young Levar Burton),  and everyone in our house loved it!! I found and  watched portions of the show on Vimeo. (lucky for Peter that Andrew didn’t get to name him, or his name would have been Levar Sam Karn!!)

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Morning Thoughts about Website and Music from Tom Rush!

Over the last couple of months I’ve split my time between this blog and its sister blog FreeWheelin’ Music Safari. I have been posting at the Safari new explorations into the world of prog rock, jazz, New Age and Blues and the plan was to keep this blog for Folk, Bluegrass, Roots Rock and Americana. That still may be how it works out, but tonight I was thinking that maybe what would be better is to keep this blog more true to what I originally wanted to do and that is to write about the music I’ve been listening to over the last 50 years. I am constantly amazed when I mention a musician’s name from the past and the young folks at work don’t have a clue about who that is! Anyway what I was going to do was write about those folks and try to get some information about them out there. What the blog morphed into was me exploring new music and having little time for my old favorites! I though tonight that maybe I’ll keep this blog for my favorites and the Safari for explorations into all types new music, with links to both blogs on the sites. Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t, but tonight with that in mind I turned the iPod to an old favorite Tom Rush. Tom RushTom Rush has had an interesting career. He started out in the 60s as part of the Greenwich Village folk scene. He recorded five albums between 1962 and 1967 the first Tom Rush Live at the Unicorn on Nightlife(released for the first time on CD in (2012) and then two each on Prestige and Elektra.. I started listening to his music in 1968, when the classic album The Circle Game was released. That album included covers of songs from Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne well before anyone knew who they were! His covers of “The Circle Game” and “Urge for Going” were just flat-out great in my opinion. He also added a couple of songs of his own including the classic “No Regrets” and “Rockport Sunday” a great guitar piece. Tom went on to record several albums on Columbia. Merrimack County. Wrong End of the Rainbow, Tom Rush and Ladies Love Outlaws. His recording career stopped with Ladies Love Outlaws. Here’s what Steve Leggett writes in his biography at AllMusic about Tom:

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A Good Run and Happy Birthday, Greg Trooper!!

So when I turned on my Runmeter app this afternoon, the first thing I saw was my last run – November 18, 2013 and I cringed! I knew it had been a long time since my last run, but I thought that the last one was closer to the end of the month!! It was about the time that the clocks got set back and it started getting dark at 5 o’clock! And then the weather turned nasty and cold and Christmas came along and before I knew it December was gone!! But then I also admit that I am a fair weather runner, when it gets dark and cold, this old body doesn’t really want to go out and run!! But today was nice the high temperature was in the upper 50s and it was sunny with hardly any wind!! I was also off, due to lack of work, (ugh!) and the gave me the opportunity to run in the sun!! I certainly told myself that all I wanted to do was get a 30 minute run in. I didn’t have to set any world speed records and I did a good job throughout the run of slowing down. I often use that trick that if you can talk comfortably you are running comfortably, and I often ask myself (out load) how I am doing and I respond back! If folks are watching they may think I’m crazy,but then again they probably just think I’m on the phone!! Don’t you love that when you are walking along and people come up from behind you and you here their voice and turn to respond only to find that they are talking on the phone!! Happens to me all the time at Target I hear a voice and turn and oh yeah!! But I digress, back to the subject at hand running, or at this point jogging!! So after many thoughts of cutting the run short and mentally figuring where I should turn around I made it to the second mile at between 21-22 minutes and I knew I could make it to the 3o minute mark!! The final distance for the 30:14 minute run was 2.8 miles for an average pace of 10:44 min/mile and I am satisfied with that now I just have to keep going!! The soundtrack for the run was a Prog Rock Album Clessidra from an Italian Prog Band Laviantica. You can read about it at FreeWheelin’ Music Safari Greg TrooperWhen I signed on to Facebook this morning I saw that it was the birthday of one of my favorite Americana musicians, Greg Trooper! Greg was born on this date in 1956 in was born in Neptune Township, New Jersey, and raised in nearby Little Silver. I first listened to Greg’s music sometime around 1999 when his  release Straight Down Rain,found its way into my library. That album was quickly followed by his prior release Popular Demons which had been released  in 1998, on Koch Records and produced by Buddy Miller. His current release Incident on Willow Street is currently number 2 on the Roots Music Report’s Roots Rock chart! Incident on Willow StreetHere’s Greg performing “All the Way to Amsterdam” one of my favorites from Incident on Willow Street! Happy Birthday, Greg!!

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This Day in Music – Jan 9, 1941 – Happy Birthday, Joan Baez!

Joan BaezToday we celebrate the 72nd birthday of a true 69s folk icon Joan Baez. Joan was n early folk hero of mine, not only for her music, but also for her soil activism. Her positions on the issues of the day, matched my leftist political leanings Some background from Wikipedia: Joan was…

….. (born January 9, 1941 as Joan Chandos Báez) is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician, and activist.[1] Baez has performed publicly for over 55 years, releasing over 30 albums. Fluent in Spanish as well as in English, she has also recorded songs in at least six other languages. She is regarded as a folk singer, although her music has diversified since the counterculture days of the 1960s and now encompasses everything from folk rock and pop to country and gospel music. Although a songwriter herself, Baez is generally regarded as an interpreter of other people’s work, having recorded songs by the Allman Brothers Band, the Beatles, Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen,Bob Dylan, Violeta Parra, Woody Guthrie, The Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and many others. In recent years, she has found success interpreting songs of modern songwriters such as Ryan Adams, Josh Ritter, Steve Earle and Natalie Merchant. Her recordings include many topical songs and material dealing with social issues. Read More

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A Holiday Note and Song from Ellis Paul – The Last Tree

Tonignt I received a Holiday email from Ellis Paul. The email contained these Holiday Wishes!

The Last TreeMerry Christmas Everyone!

I wrote this song with Kristian Bush and drew up a picture book for it and made a video!! Enjoy :)

Very grateful to you all! Have a happy holiday!



After reading the message, I went to Ellis’ website and saw that he is still in the process of fund-raising to finance his next album. You can learn more about the fund-raising at the website and also check out a new song that will be on the album - “Chasing Beauty”!!  Many of Ellis’ albums are in my library and his voice is one of my favorites!! Like he said enjoy!!

This Day in Music – December 7, 1941 – Happy Birthday, Harry Chapin!!


Harry ChapinHarry’s epitaph is from his song “I Wonder What Would Happen to this World.” It is:

Oh if a man tried To take his time on Earth And prove before he died What one man’s life could be worth I wonder what would happen to this world

Today we celebrate the 71st anniversary of the birth of Harry Chapin (December 7, 1942) unfortunately as we all know (well at least us boomers) Harry only lived to celebrate 38 of them. His life was cut short on that day in July of 1981. But let’s not dwell on how we wished things could have been, rather let’s celebrate the music that we loved and remember. From the release of his first album Heads & Tales  released in 1972,on Elektra,.an album that brought us “Harry the taxi driver and his ex-love Sue to Sequel  his final release before for his death, that completed the “circle” and reunited the two! Let’s remember all those characters from a sniper, the morning DJ at W*O*L*D, Mr Tanner the cleaner and would be singer, the midnight night watchman at Miller’s Tool and Die, and of course Mail Order Annie. Some background on Harry’s early life from Wikipedia :

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“Into the Night” with the Music of Jesse Winchester – “I Turn to My Guitar”

Love filling StationSo I was just flipping through some of the music that in on my work phone and one of the songs that popped up is on of my favorite songs from a favorite musician – “I Turn to My Guitar” from Jesse Winchester’s latest Love Filling Station. Like many musicians Jesse and I go back a long way. All the way to 1971 and his self titled release that my wife, then my girlfriend turn my on to. Through the years I’ve remained a bigger fan than she. She likes more of the rustic tunes that are lacking in his later albums. Here’s some background from AllMusic:

Jesse Winchester Album

Jesse Winchester was the music world’s most prominent Vietnam War draft evader, though his renown came from a body of wry, closely observed songs. After growing up in Memphis, Winchester received his draft notice in 1967 and moved to Montreal, Canada, rather than serve in the military. In 1969, he met Robbie Robertson of the Band, who helped launch his recording career. In the same way that James Taylor‘s history of mental instability and drug abuse served as a subtext for his early music, Winchester‘s exile lent real-life poignancy to songs like “Yankee Lady,” which appeared on his debut album, Jesse Winchester (1970). He became a Canadian citizen in 1973.

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