Gil Robbins, a singer, guitarist and songwriter with the folk group the Highwaymen and a fixture on the folk-music scene, died on Tuesday at his home in Esteban Cantú, Mexico. He was 80. ...
Over the past few years I keep hearing about folk musicians I have known who have passed on. I have frequently put their obits on my blog, but decided it would be good to have an archive page. If there is someone in the folk community you think should be here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you - Bob Lusk
Gil Robbins, a singer, guitarist and songwriter with the folk group the Highwaymen and a fixture on the folk-music scene, died on Tuesday at his home in Esteban Cantú, Mexico. He was 80. ...
Suze Rotolo, who became widely known for her romance with Bob Dylan in the early 1960s, strongly influenced his early songwriting and, in one of the decade's signature images, walked with him arm-in-arm for the cover photo of his breakthrough album, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 67. lThe cause was lung cancer, her husband, Enzo Bartoccioli, said.
"Right from the start I couldn't take my eyes off her," Mr. Dylan wrote in his memoir, "Chronicles: Volume 1," published in 2004. "She was the most erotic thing I'd ever seen. She was fair skinned and golden haired, full-blood Italian. The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid's arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard."
In "A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties" (2008), Ms. Rotolo described Mr. Dylan as "oddly old-time looking, charming in a scraggly way."
They began seeing each other almost immediately and soon moved in together in a walk-up apartment on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village.
The relationship was intense but beset with difficulties. He was a self-invented troubadour from Minnesota on the brink of stardom. She was the Queens-bred daughter of Italian Communists with her own ideas about life, art and politics that made it increasingly difficult for her to fulfill the role of helpmate, or, as she put it in her memoir, a "boyfriend's 'chick,' a string on his guitar."
Her social views, especially her commitment to the civil rights movement and her work for the Congress for Racial Equality, were an important influence on Mr. Dylan's writing, evident in songs like "The Death of Emmett Till," "Masters of War" and "Blowin' in the Wind." Her interest in theater and art exposed him to ideas and artists beyond the world of music.
"She'll tell you how many nights I stayed up and wrote songs and showed them to her and asked her: 'Is this right'?" Mr. Dylan told the music critic and Dylan biographer Robert Shelton. "Because her father and her mother were associated with unions and she was into this equality-freedom thing long before I was."
When, to his distress, she went to Italy for several months in 1962, her absence inspired the plaintive love songs "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," "Boots of Spanish Leather," "One Too Many Mornings" and "Tomorrow Is a Long Time."
Mr. Dylan later alluded to their breakup and criticized her mother and sister, who disapproved of him, in the bitter "Ballad in Plain D."
Ms. Rotolo spent most of her adult life pursuing a career as an artist and avoiding questions about her three-year affair with Mr. Dylan. (He was, she wrote, "an elephant in the room of my life.") She relented after Mr. Dylan published his autobiography. She appeared as an interview subject in "No Direction Home," the 2005 Martin Scorsese documentary about Mr. Dylan, before writing "A Freewheelin' Time."
Susan Elizabeth Rotolo was born on Nov. 20, 1943, in Brooklyn and grew up in Sunnyside and Jackson Heights, Queens. Her mother, from Piacenza, Italy, was an editor and columnist for the American version of L'Unità, published by the Italian Communist Party. Her father, from Sicily, was an artist and union organizer who died when she was 14.
Artistically inclined, she began haunting Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village as the folk revival gathered steam, while taking part in demonstrations against American nuclear policy and racial injustice. She adopted the unusual spelling of her nickname, Susie, after seeing the Picasso collage "Glass and Bottle of Suze."
The famous photograph of her and Mr. Dylan, taken by Don Hunstein on a slushy Jones Street in February 1963, seemed less than momentous to her at the time, and she later played down her instant elevation to a strange kind of celebrity status as the girl in the picture.
"It was freezing out," she told The New York Times in 2008. "He wore a very thin jacket, because image was all. Our apartment was always cold, so I had a sweater on, plus I borrowed one of his big, bulky sweaters. On top of that I put on a coat. So I felt like an Italian sausage. Every time I look at that picture, I think I look fat."
The album, Mr. Dylan's second, included anthems like "Blowin' in the Wind," "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."
After Ms. Rotolo returned from Italy — a trip engineered by her mother in a move to separate her from Mr. Dylan — the relationship became more difficult. Mr. Dylan was becoming increasingly famous and spending more time performing on the road, and he entered into a very public affair with Joan Baez, with whom he had begun performing.
Ms. Rotolo moved out of their West Fourth Street apartment in August 1963 and, after discovering she was pregnant, had an illegal abortion.
By mid-1964 she and Mr. Dylan had drifted apart. "I knew I was an artist, but I loved poetry, I loved theater, I loved too many things," Ms. Rotolo told The Times. "Whereas he knew what he wanted and he went for it."
In "Chronicles," Mr. Dylan wrote: "The alliance between Suze and me didn't turn out exactly to be a holiday in the woods. Eventually fate flagged it down and it came to a full stop. It had to end. She took one turn in the road and I took another."
In 1967 she married Mr. Bartoccioli, a film editor she had met while studying in Perugia. The couple lived in Italy before moving to the United States in the 1970s. In addition to her husband, she is survived by their son, Luca, of Brooklyn, and her sister, Carla, of Sardinia.
Ms. Rotolo worked as a jewelry maker, illustrator and painter before turning to book art, fabricating booklike objects that incorporate found objects.
She remained politically active. In 2004, using the pseudonym Alla DaPie, she joined the street-theater group Billionaires for Bush and protested at the Republican convention in Manhattan.
Tom is known for writing and performing "Hey Looka Yonder (It's the Clearwater)," a fundraising anthem for the construction of the sloop that appeared on the album "Tom Winslow" in 1969 on Biograph Records. The song is significant as it represents the first environmental song by an African-American song-writer, and predates Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" by two full years.
After moving to upstate New York from his native North Carolina in the early 1960s, Tom met Pete Seeger at a concert in Albany. Before the sloop was ever launched, music was the foundation of the organization. Pete Seeger and his supporters raised the first few dollars for the sloop's construction by performing songs about the river and passing around a banjo to collect donations. "Hey Looka Yonder (Its the Clearwater)" was Peter Seeger's and Tom Winslow's major collaboration. Click here to listen to Winslow performing the song.
Tom performed many times with Pete Seeger. He recently performed onstage with his daughter Thomasina Winslow at the 2010 Clearwater Festival and Great Hudson River Revival, and continued to perform in Upstate New York until shortly before his death. He is the father of Gary Winslow, also a notable performing artist.
During the 1960s, Tom traveled the country playing at festivals and clubs and serving as artist in residence at colleges and universities where he conducted workshops in folk and acoustic blues. During that time he quickly changed his musical focus to "human activism," including civil rights and environmental causes.
Sep 17, 2009 04:30 AM
DANBURY, Conn.–Mary Travers, one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, has died.
Travers, 72, had battled leukemia for several years.
Travers joined forces with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey in the early 1960s.
The trio mingled their music with liberal politics, onstage and off. Their version of "If I Had a Hammer" became an anthem for racial equality.
They were vehement in their opposition to the Vietnam War, managing to stay true to their liberal beliefs while creating music that resonated in the U.S. mainstream.
The group collected five Grammy Awards for their three-part harmony on enduring songs like "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" and "Blowin' in the Wind."
At one point in 1963, three of their albums were in the top six Billboard best-selling LPs as they became the biggest stars of the folk revival movement. It was heady stuff for a trio that had formed in the early 1960s in Greenwich Village, running through simple tunes like "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
They disbanded in 1971, launching solo careers – Travers released five albums – that never achieved the heights of their collaborations.
In 2005, Travers had undergone a successful bone marrow transplant to treat her leukemia and was able to return to performing.
But by mid-2009, Yarrow said, her condition had worsened and he thought she could no longer perform.
Sam Hinton dies at 92; folk songwriter and singer
was one of the founders of the folk-song movement that began in the
1930s. A onetime San Diego area resident, he also wrote two books on
the sea and seashore animals.
Sam was also a SO! board member for about 6 years in the late 1980s
and one of the truest friends that folk music ever had. A true font
of musical knowledge and an absolutely BRILLIANT performer (as anyone
who ever say him knows). Along with being a terrific songster, he was
one of the best harmonica players ever ... and was known for being
able to make music with just about anything you could blow into or
over: from a garden hose to a blade of grass. (He was also the
calligrapher for all the song titles in the early editions of Rise Up
Singing ... and a fantastic resource for background and history for
dozens of songs we shared in the magazine over the years.) I'm sorry
I didn't send a posting to the list earlier, but I *did* add a nice
YouTube interview I found to the Sing Out! home page.
RIP, Sam ... I'm proud and grateful to have known you!
Mark D. Moss / Sing Out!
From George Mann-
Hello all you beautiful people:
I've known for some time that I would have to type this message, and I will try to be brief.
Our friend Julius Margolin:
a child of the Depression;
an organizer and member of the CIO;
who served in the Merchant Marine and as a member/organizer of the
National Maritime Union during World War II;
survivor of the blacklist that pulled him off the boats in 1949;
a proud member of IATSE Local 52 and delegate to the NYC Central Labor Council;
a lifetime honorary member of both AFM Local 802 and the New York City Labor Chorus, and countless other organizations;
lover of all working people and the struggles they engage in;
and since 1998 a singer/songwriter and performer for all good causes,
died this morning in New York City at the age of 93. An obituary will be forthcoming.
I spent last night with Julius and left him at his apartment at 9:25 this morning. He was comfortable and in no apparent pain. He had been very happy that we had moved him back home under hospice care last week. As I left this morning, I said I'd see him later, took his hand, and he squeezed it. Ten minutes after I left, he was gone. I got the call when I got off the subway....
We have set up a guest book on the opening page of our website, where you may leave messages, stories of Julius, and other remembrances. Look on the left side of the opening page and click on the "sign guest book" button after clicking on this link:
If you would like to listen to and view some great video of Julius, our friend Doug Calvin has posted multiple interviews and video at this site:
We will hold a memorial service and concert on Friday, October 16 in New York City. More info will come later. The one-hour memorial service will be at 5 PM (at either Local 802, 322 W. 48th Street, or Local 1199's Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium at 310 W. 43rd Street).
The concert will be from 8:00 to 10:30 PM at the MLK Auditorium, 310 W. 43rd Street, and will feature some of Julius's closest friends.
I will send details to public listservs and to your email once it is finalized but if you want to be added to an email list for these events, please email me at email@example.com and I will send you the info.
Julius asked to be cremated and his ashes will be spread on the sea as per his request. I ask that donations be sent to the Scholarship Fund in memory of Julius. This fund was created to help bring young unionists to labor cultural events, most notably the Great Labor Arts Exchange and the Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival, both of which were very dear to him. In fact, I met Julius, and so many other great labor artists and activists, at the Great Labor Arts Exchange in 1996.
Checks/money orders may be made out to "Local 52 Julius Margolin Scholarship Fund" and mailed to:
George Mann, PO Box 697, New York, NY 10033
Thank you for all your support. Julius did not want for love or appreciation in his final battle. And once we got him back home to his apartment, with books and videos and CDs lining every wall and his friends there with him in the living room, I know he was able to accept that this was the end with the same dignity and quiet humility he displayed all his life.
I will leave you with a note that Julius sent out in late June, after the cancer he had been fighting returned. It is a fitting way to end this message.
If I may ask for something else in his memory, it is that you keep fighting (his words), that you not give up in your determination to make your life and the world a better place, that you show kindness and compassion to people, especially strangers, and minimize your bickering with and negativity about others involved in the struggle. These were the qualities, in a nutshell, that Julius displayed to me from the day I met him, qualities that I will now strive to make part of my character as I go forward.
And in the future, whenever things get you down, take a minute to remember this little old man who had such a big heart and spirit, and hope for the working class of the world. Remember that laugh, that determination, and you will find strength to carry on, as I am finding now.
To all or our friends and supporters of our music:
I have not been well and don't get around much any more. And I wish I had been feeling well enough to be more active at this year's Arts Exchange, where so much important work and beautiful labor songs and art were shared. But I still support our struggle for a better society. For peace and the security of working and progressive people the world round.
With and without me the struggle goes on. There must be one world in peace, security and with a good life for all families of the world.
No more wars, poverty or hatreds must exist. We have an important job to do.
Thanks for listening to George Mann's and my music and for your support.
Thank you all for everything,
Labor and protest music in the finest tradition
During the '60s folk movement, Seeger and the New Lost City Ramblers were one of the most influential bands going. Scores of new bands picked up on what they were doing and pushed the music into the public's eye. Seeger was both a musician and a historian devoted to preserving the music he loved.
Seeger was a folk musician who was also accomplished on multiple instruments. He performed playing the fiddle, banjo, mandolin, dobro, and other instruments. Seeger's love for the old time music resulted in a half dozen Grammy® nominations, four NEA grants and numerous other awards.
Just as he set his own path musically, he chose his own path for his final journey as well. May God be with him.
Mike is survived by his wife Alexia. Condolences may be sent to:
1671 Appian Way
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Cape Breton fiddler Jerry Holland passed away on July 16 at age 54 after a two-year fight with cancer. He was not a contradance fiddler at all, but his tunes found their way into the Portland collections and Waltz books, and into Irish sessions as well.
From the notes for the CD "Cape Breton, Fiddle and Piano Music, The Beaton Family of Mabou", about fiddler Kinnon Beaton, who is from Jerry Holland's generation:
"The music was in decline when Kinnon began. He and his good friend, the late John Morris Rankin, were probably the only two people of their generation in (the village of) Mabou to pick up the instrument. Elsewhere, Jerry Holland, still living in Brockton, Massachusetts, eventually to move to Cape Breton, was learning the music, as was Brenda Stubbert, in Point Aconi, on the island's north side. Without them, as the older generation of musicians stopped playing, the music might have vanished."
Kinnon writes: ".. They were all old (who were) playing the fiddle. You just didn't see young fiddlers. And shortly after, my folks came home from a concert in Glendale, talking about the young guy that would stepdance and play the fiddle at the same time. That was Jerry Holland. He was twelve, I think, or thirteen."
I've just heard on the radio that Gordon Weller, the Gordon of Peter and Gordon, has died of a heart attack in Connecticut--Not that it would have been better in a different state. Another reminder of our age--boo hoo.
Death of Jackie Washington
Posted by: "Michael Williams" firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:10 am (PDT)
We regret to announce that our dear beloved friend and unstoppable musical spirit, Jackie Washington has passed away at the age of 89. Jack was taken to hospital 2 weeks ago with a breathing problem and after suffering a heart attack and a series of related
episodes, he died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends, at 1:22pm today.
Thankfully, Jackie was able to attend a tribute to his life's work held at McMaster University on June 3, 2009. Jackie's archives will be housed in perpetuity in the McMaster University Library Archives, for all to see and enjoy. Jackie was also
blessed to live to see his great grandson, Miles. Here is a picture of Jackie with Miles taken on June 3 at McMaster: www.ronscheffler.com/mcmaster/20090603_library/images/page284.html
You can see lots of pictures of Jack from this event here:
Thanks to Ron Scheffler for the great photos.
Other announcements will follow.
On behalf of all of us, thanks for your support over the years.
The Jackie Washington Committee
Terry Bramhall, David Kidney, Mose Scarlett, Cathy Powell, Margaret Stowe, Jennie Struiksma, Ken Whiteley.
the last weeks and days of his life, we, on the Jackie Washington Committee, were supported by an additional loving Circle of Friends: Ken Whiteley, Irene Manning, Patti Warden, Reg Denis, Tom and Marilyn Scott, James Strecker, Michelle Josef, Graham Rockingham, Albert De Vos and Glenna Green.
Many others have given their support from afar.
21 Alanson St
Hamilton ON L8N 1W6
For more info on the Jackie Washington Archives:
tel: 905-525-9140 ext.22764
Jackie Washington Archives
Attn. MARGARET STOWE / MOSE SCARLETT
c/o David Kidney
Mills Library, L118
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L6
all the best,
Mobile: 07908 749699
1. Koko Taylor - Singing About the Union Hall
Posted by: "Bennet Zurofsky" BZurofsky@ReitPar.com bzurofsky
Fri Jun 5, 2009 8:12 am (PDT)
I was saddened to learn yesterday evening of the death of Koko Taylor. As
the obituary in the NY Times well stated, "While there had been other blues
queens, Ms. Taylor was the undisputed queen of the Chicago variety."
I have always thought of her signature song "Wang Dang Doodle" as one of the
great union songs. Willie Dixon's lyric makes it plain where all the action
is: "We gonna pitch a ball/Down at the Union Hall."
I saw Taylor perform about a year ago - and she was still going strong. Her
daughter had to come out to convince her to end her set lest she collapse
from exhaustion (or was that just show-womanship - adapting the old James
Brown collapsing-from-exhaustion bit for an 80-year old?). She certainly
gave it her all.
Youtube has a video of her singing Wang Dang Doodle (w. Little Walter on
harmonica) in 1967. The quality of the visual is poor - but the quality of
the musical performance can't be beat! I can't think of a better way to
Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxCa16-nxtM.
P.S. Please note my new street address below
BENNET D. ZUROFSKY
Attorney at Law
17 Academy Street - Suite 1010
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Sad News in Milwaukee
Posted by: "Jym Mooney & Carol Lee Hopkins" email@example.com jymandcarol
Thu Apr 2, 2009 6:35 am (PDT)
Our good friend Dick "Nitelinger" Golembiewski died of a heart attack while
shoveling snow at his parents' house on Sunday. This is a real loss for all
of us who have enjoyed Dick's friendship over the years. He was a friend to
every Milwaukee area folk and acoustic musician, and his Folk City radio
show on WMSE in the 80s and early 90s plus his long tenure as a volunteer at
The Coffee House showed his dedication to local music. Dick routinely
played recordings by local folk musicians on his show, and frequently
invited us into the studio for live on-air performances. We are all stunned
by the unexpectedness of this loss. Dick was only 51, and had no history of
This weekend we will all be singing our songs in his memory.
The man known as "Fathead," jazz sax player David Newman, has died at the age of 75 of pancreatic cancer after a long, storied career.
Sam Taylor, Famed Bluesman, Dies.
Sam "The Bluzman" Taylor, the singer-songwriter and guitarist whose music has been recorded by everyone from Elvis Presley and Son Seals
to DMX and EPMD, died Monday at his home in Islandia of complications associated with heart disease. He was 74.
Taylor was one of the first inductees into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and an inductee into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1995.
He built a stellar reputation in blues and R&B over nearly five decades of work, as a solo performer and as a guitarist with Otis
Redding, The Isley Brothers, and Sam and Dave.
"He was one of the last of the great bluesmen," said his friend Richard L'Hommedieu, co-founder of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
"He's created decades of wonderful music. It's a great loss."
Taylor was part of Joey Dee & The Starlighters when they had their "Peppermint Twist" hit in 1962, and when he left the group he
recommended that a young guitarist named Jimmy James, later known as Jimi Hendrix, be his replacement. He worked with B.T. Express when
they had their string of No. 1 R&B hits "Do It (Til You're Satisfied)" and "Express" in 1974 and 1975.
But Taylor was best known for his own blues work - more than 12 albums, including "I Came from Dirt" and 2004's "Voice of the Blues"
-- and his regular appearances at Long Island blues clubs.
Vic Calabro was looking forward to Taylor's singing at his 53rd birthday party at Bobbique's in Patchogue on Wednesday night. Though
Taylor had been ill for several months, he had been doing well enough in recent weeks that he planned to perform on Wednesday, said Calabro,
who now plans to turn his party into a memorial.
"He was a great man," Calabro said. "He lived a great life, and he just loved making people happy with his music."
For Taylor, one of the career moments that made him happiest was his induction into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. "So many Long
Island musicians have said they were from New York instead of Long Island because they thought it helped them," Taylor said that night.
"I've been saying I've been from Long Island since 1955. I'm so proud to be here. It's giving me goose bumps just thinking about it."
Taylor is survived by three daughters, Sandra Taylor, Daionae Sparks and Donna Brown, and a son, Kevin Taylor; 13 grandchildren and eight
great-grandchildren. Funeral services were pending.
In famous company Long Island-based bluesman Sam Taylor worked with: Otis Redding, The Isley Brothers, Sam and Dave
And his songs were recorded by: Elvis Presley, Son Seals, DMX and others.
Thomas R. Siblo - Landsman
Born in Brooklyn on Feb. 25, 1950
Died on Dec. 12, 2008 and resided in Saugerties, NY.
|Peter Hamilton: Wattle recordings |
Posted by: "mark gregory" firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:13 pm (PDT)
Pioneer record and film producer PETER HAMILTON died peacefully at
home on October 23rd.
Founder of the Wattle Record label and Wattle Films, Peter started the
company in 1954 in Sydney, with his friend and associate Edgar Waters.
The label released the first commercially available bush songs
including landmark recordings by The Bushwhackers Band, and
their hit 'The Drover's Dream'. Two of the label's most important
releases were field recordings of bush singers and musicians like Sally Sloan
of Lithgow NSW and Simon McDonald of Creswick Victoria
Peter was an extraordinary inventor in film and sound
recording (see the Hindsight program link below)
I don't have a complete list of Wattle recordings but here is a start
(I think they say a lot about the breadth of musical interest among
the early folk revival enthusiasts)
The Green Bushes /Beth Schurr 1956
The Green Bushes /Beth Schurr 1956
Drovers' Dream /The Bushwhackers 1956
Black Velvet Band /The Bushwhackers 1956
Botany Bay /The Bushwhackers 1956
The Bullockies Ball /The Bushwhackers 1956
The Old Bullock Dray /The Bushwhackers 1956
Travelling Down The Castlereigh /The Bushwhackers 1956
Nine Miles from Gundagai /The Bushwhackers 1957
Australian Bush Songs / The Bushwhackers 1957
American Songs of Protest /John Greenway 1957
Workin' on a Building /John Greenway 1957
Irish Songs of Resistance /Patrick Galvin
The Art of the Digeridu
Music of New Guinea
Australian Traditional Singers and Musicians /1957
Singing Sailors /Ewan MacCol and A L Lloyd 1957
Banks of the Condamine /A L Lloyd 1957
Convicts and Currency Lads /Ewan MacColl & A L Lloyd 1958
Across the western Plains /A L Lloyd 1958
The Old Bark Hut /The Rambleers 1958
The Shearers Dream /The Rambleers 1958
The Waltzing Matilda /The Rambleers 1958
Songs from Queensland / Morton Bay Bushwackers and the Bandicoots
Billy Goat Overland /Stan Arthur and Bill Scott 1958
Traditional Singers & Musicians of Victoria Archive series no 1 /1962
The Land Where the Crow Flies Backwards /Dougie Young 1963
In 2004 there was an ABC Radio program about Wattle
see Hindsight at
Peter Hamilton fought hard to get Australian folk songs taken
seriously by the ABC as this quote from the program illustrates
"The chairman of the ABC at that time was Sir Charles Boyer and I
arranged a session with him and put to him that I thought it was an
appropriate thing for Australian ABC to do what the BBC were doing in
England and the Library of Congress were doing in America, that is
that they had dedicated full time staff recording the folk music in
England respectively and in America respectively and that was part of
their charter to do that and they had a team of people and outdoor
full facilities to go and visit old singers and collect material and
subsequently have that aired. He was very interested in that and
supportive of that as a concept but he had a music manager and he
would need to consult him so he called him in to this meeting and he
just said well in his view there was no Australian folk song and they
were just popular songs that came from overseas and he then left the
room and the chairman said well he would have to respect the views of
his senior music authority and that was the end of that."