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inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #26 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Sat 28 Sep 02 18:08
    
Steve, the proposal I used to pitch the book outlined a book that's
extremely similar to what I wrote. The only major change that occurred,
as noted earlier on, was that originally I was planning a 400-page
single volume covering the whole 1960s. Now it's two 300-page volumes,
split chronologically roughly at mid-1966.

"Positively 4th Street" had no impact on my getting a deal. At the
time the contract was signed in mid-2000, I wasn't even aware that
"Positively 4th Street" was on the way (it came out in 2001). I would
think "Positively 4th Street" *would* be considered a success by most
publishers' standards -- it got a considerable amount of press
coverage, and I think it sold pretty well, certainly well for a music
book. Perhaps some of the publishers who passed on my folk-rock books
would have been more excited about it if they'd gotten the proposal
after "Positively 4th Steet" came out, but I don't know.

The agent I was originally working with wanted there to be a lot more
sociopolitical commentary in the book. That was a change I did *not*
make, though I did try to work with him on that and submitted a couple
of revised proposals before amiably deciding that our respective
visions of the book couldn't reconcile. The agent I used pretty much
shopped the proposal around as I wrote it, asking for only three or so
very minor changes to the proposal that actually barely affected the
text I wrote. Perhaps this decision limited its impact to a more
mainstream crossover audience; the first agent felt very strongly that 
I needed to work in more sociopolitical commentary to achieve this. If
so, I can live with it. It was more important to write the book I
wanted to write, and to give folk-rock itself the deep coverage I
thought it deserved.

For Blackburn & Snow, here are a couple of excerpts from the bio I
wrote of them for the All Music Guide (viewable in total at
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=Bbca9kezt0q70~C):

Their male-female harmonies were nearly on par with those of the early
Jefferson Airplane, and they boasted a wealth of fine original
material by Blackburn that deftly combined folk, rock, country, and
light psychedelic influences into a melodic blend that was both
commercial and creatively idiosyncratic. 
Getting the deal I got was greatly aided by my having already written
a couple of books for the publisher, Backbeat Books. They were happy
with those and trusted that other books I wrote would be good too. I in
turn knew that they'd let me write the books as I wanted to write
them, rather than trying to change the books or the writing into
something with which I wouldn't have been comfortable.

More on Donovan: the slogan on his guitar reading "this machine kills"
 was an approximation of the slogan "this machine kills fascists" that
was on Woody Guthrie's guitar. Just after he emerged as a star in the
UK in 1965, there wre ads for an "authentic Donovan cap" in the British
weekly music paper New Musical Express for months.

For Blackburn & Snow, here are a couple of excerpts from the bio I
wrote of them for the All Music Guide, viewable in total at
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=Bbca9kezt0q70~C:

"Their male-female harmonies were nearly on par with those of the
early Jefferson Airplane, and they boasted a wealth of fine original
material by Blackburn that deftly combined folk, rock, country, and
light psychedelic influences into a melodic blend that was both
commercial and creatively idiosyncratic...[Blackburn's] compositions
were similar in their unusual shifting melodies, frequent haunting use
of minor chords, and hazy yet pungent lyrics reflecting the
freewheeling spirit of the embryonic San Francisco hippie
counterculture. A skilled guitar player with an interesting voice not
unlike the Everly Brothers, his vocals were ably complemented by the
soaring, higher ones of Snow, who (according to Alec Palao's liner
notes on Blackburn & Snow's "Something Good for Your Head" CD) declined
an offer to replace Signe Anderson in the Jefferson Airplane in August
1966."

And here's my All Music Guide review of the album, "Something Good for
Your Head," on the British Big Beat label:

"Although Blackburn & Snow were probably not allowed to reach their
full potential due to various problems (not the least of them being a
lack of record releases), this collection of 20 1966-67 recordings is
only a little below the first tier of mid-1960s American folk-rock in
quality. "Stranger in a Strange Land" is a highlight and probably could
have been a big hit. Almost on the same level are melodic Blackburn
originals that could be ebullient ("Yes Today," "It's So Hard," "Every
Day Brings Better Things"), spookily sad and folky ("Takin' It Easy,"
"Some Days I Feel You Lovin'"), or both high-spirited and hard-edged at
once ("Do You Realize"). About a dozen of these songs have circulated
on muffled lo-fi collector's tapes in the past, but the fidelity here
is pristine. It's recommended to fans of early California folk-rock,
the early Jefferson Airplane being the closest reference point (though
it's more like the 1966 Airplane  than the 1967 model). It's also
unusual for such a collector-oriented release in how it is both almost
guaranteed to satisfy fans of classic folk-rock groups like the early
Airplane, Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield, but quite distinctive in
approach and not explicitly derivative of any of the big names in the
genre."

The song "Stranger in a Strange Land" referred to in the review, by
the way, is a David Crosby composition that the Byrds never put on a
release, though an instrumental backing track of it was put on the CD
reissue of the Byrds' "Turn! Turn! Turn!" album as a bonus track. When
it came out on one of Blackburn & Snow's two singles circa 1966, it
was, oddly, credited to "Samuel F. Omar." I interviewed Sherry Snow
(now known as Halimah Collingwood) and she confirmed with me that the
author is David Crosby. There are quotes from our interview, and a good
amount of coverage of Blackburn & Snow, just a few pages into the
upcoming sequel book "Eight Miles High," in the chapter on San
Francisco folk-rock.

Free-associating here...speaking of obscure David Crosby songs the
Byrds didn't release that were heard by early San Francisco folk-rock
acts, in my research I found out that, according to original Jefferson
Airplane bassist Bob Harvey, the very early Airplane had the chance to
put it into their repertoire, but it was "turned down coldly by Marty
[Balin]." I found this out from an interview with Harvey that's posted
on a Jefferson Airplane site.

More on the Airplane: Steve, I don't recall reading that quote from
Balin about singing in fifths with Signe Anderson. I have the book "The
Jefferson Airplane and the San Francisco Sound" and just skimmed the
two lengthy interviews it contains with Balin, and didn't find the
quote. Perhaps it appeared elsewhere in the book, or somewhere else? If
anyone knows the source of the quote, please post it, I'd be
interested to know. In the meantime I'm checking with the biggest
Airplane authority I know to see if he knows where it appeared.

The book "The Jefferson Airplane and the San Francisco Sound,"
incidentally, is recommended if you can find it. It's got lengthy Q&As
with all six members of their "Surrealistic Pillow" lineup, plus an
interview with Jerry Garcia. It came out in 1969 and it's long out of
print. I felt very lucky to find it used for a dollar or two in the
late 1980s. These days it would probably go on Ebay for a lot more than
that.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #27 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Sat 28 Sep 02 20:49
    
Going back to an earlier question about Koerner, Ray and Glover, I
forgot to mention that actually I came across a few interesting
mentions of them in my research. Around early 1965, the British
magazine Folk Scene included Marianne Faithfull as a respondent in a
survey of folkies' thoughts on upcoming trends. (Faithfull was usually
thought of as a pop singer in 1965, but actually did a whole album of
folk songs around this time.) She said, "The major influence will be
white urban blues singers, such urban blues singers as 'Spider' John
Koerner."

In January 1966, Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies enthused about
Koerner to the New Musical Express, as follows: "He gets these
fantastically weird chords by having the extra string on his guitar. A
friend of mine recently lent me some of his records and I was
fascinated by the hypnotic tempos he uses on the numbers." Davies also
inferred those techniques would be used on an unnamed future Kinks
single; my guess is that that single was "Dedicated Follower of
Fashion."

In Elektra Records president Jac Holzman's autobiography "Follow the
Music," he remembers going to London to get permission from the Beatles
for the Elektra album "The Baroque Beatles Book," which consisted of
baroque-classical covers of Beatles songs, arranged by Joshua Rifkin.
He wrote that he made his pitch to the Beatles in the studio where they
were recording in London, and "John Lennon's first comment was, 'You
did Koerner, Ray & Glover.' I nodded a proud 'Yes.' 'Well, that's
alright then. Anyone who records Koerner, Ray & Glover is OK with me.'"

As an aside, the arranger of "The Baroque Beatles Book," Joshua
Rifkin, went on to play a significant role in folk-rock by arranging
Judy Collins's albums "In My Life" and "Wildflowers" (the latter of
which included "Both Sides Now"). I interviewed him about these and
some quotes will appear in "Eight Miles High."
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #28 of 288: Gary Lambert (almanac) Sat 28 Sep 02 22:38
    

I *love* that John Lennon dug Koerner, Ray and Glover!

Josh Rifkin was also a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band, which was
quite the farm team for future musical luminaries: John Sebastian, Steve
Katz, David Grisman, Maria D'Amato (before she and Geoff Muldaur got
hitched) and Stefan Grossman, among others. Also a member was the
amazing Bob Gurland, who could uncannily imitate just about any
trumpeter, from Satchmo to Miles, with just his mouth and hands. Gurland
did not, alas, achieve lasting fame as a musician, but he would benefit
the folk-rock world in another way, as a lawyer for Elektra-Asylum,
where he signed Jackson Browne, for one, to his first contract (for
years afterward, Jackson would still occasionally coax Gurland onstage
to sit in on mouth-trumpet).

Am I correct in assuming that Sherry Snow is the same one who was in the
original Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks lineup?
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #29 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Sun 29 Sep 02 02:29
    
That's right, Sherry Snow was with the first Dan Hicks and his Hot
Licks, and appears on their first recordings. Dan Hicks, of course,
made his own earlier contributions to folk-rock as part of the
Charlatans, in which he was their best songwriter.

Big Beat Records in England (part of the Ace label) has done a good
job in gathering a lot of odds and ends of obscure early San Francisco
folk-rock of this sort, by the way. They did the Blackburn & Snow CD
referred to a few posts earlier. They did a 23-track roundup of early
Charlatans recordings from the mid-1960s (most unreleased), "The
Amazing Charlatans," from the time Hicks was with the band (he wasn't
on their sole official album, from the late 1960s). They also put out a
quite good and overlooked collection of Dan Hicks demos from 1967-68,
"Early Muses," which are the bridge between his time with the
Charlatans and the founding of the Hot Licks. I interviewed Dan about
the Charlatans era for the second folk-rock volume, "Eight Miles High."

As a further connection that many people are unaware of between Hicks
and more well-known folk-rock, some of the early Charlatans material
was produced by Erik Jacobsen, producer of the Lovin' Spoonful and Tim
Hardin's best and earliest stuff (and later producer of Chris Isaak).

The Even Dozen Jug Band, incidentally, also included Peter Siegel, who
went on to produce albums by Earth Opera, Ellen McIlwaine, Elliot
Murphy, Tom Paxton, Paul Siebel, and others. The Even Dozen Jug Band's
rare 1964 Elektra album, if you'll permit me a plug, has been reissued
by Collectors' Choice Music, with liner notes by myself.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #30 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Sun 29 Sep 02 02:41
    
Oops, just to clarify about an earlier response regarding an obscure
David Crosby song that the Jefferson Airplane almost did. I originally
wrote:

"Speaking of obscure David Crosby songs the Byrds didn't release that
were heard by early San Francisco folk-rock acts, in my research I
found out that, according to original Jefferson Airplane bassist Bob
Harvey, the very early Airplane had the chance to put it into their
repertoire, but it was "turned down coldly by Marty [Balin]." I found
this out from an interview with Harvey that's posted on a Jefferson
Airplane site."

But I accidentally didn't mention what David Crosby song this was. The
song that Balin turned down was called "The Flower Bomb Song." This
was also turned down for recording by Crosby's own band, the Byrds, in
the mid-1960s. I haven't heard this, even on bootleg. Crosby told Byrds
biographer Johnny Rogan that it was "a very bad song," one of his
worst compositions. Rogan describes it as written in free verse, one of
the lyrics going 'I'm going to make the love gun that will blow your
mind.'"
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #31 of 288: (fom) Sun 29 Sep 02 08:21
    
Hmmm, that makes me think croz should be participating in this 
conversation. The Flower Bomb Song!
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #32 of 288: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Sun 29 Sep 02 09:11
    
This is fascinating, compelling information. The inter-connections are
amazing.

Joshua Rifkin, in addition to all else, contributed greatly to the
ragtime revival of the early '70s with three excellent LPs of Scott
Joplin compositions on the Nonesuch label (at least the first was
issued before "The Sting" kick-started a brief ragtime re-craze).
There's a CD out that compiles most of the material from the three LPs.
 
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #33 of 288: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Sun 29 Sep 02 10:06
    
There are several tragic characters that you delve into in "Turn!
Turn! Turn!." One of them, Tim Hardin, had such a wealth of musical
ability that, sadly, was short-circuited due to his self-destructive
behavior. What do you think are the best, most enduring aspects of his
legacy?
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #34 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Sun 29 Sep 02 10:28
    
I like a quote that Steve Boone of the Lovin' Spoonful gave me about
Tim Hardin: "Timmy wrote songs of such simplicity, yet they had so much
personal meaning in them. As opposed to the flower-dropping type of
image you get of a folksinger, singing higher than their range and
wailing on with this song of love and passion, Timmy kind of delivered
a working man's version of that."

As an aside, sometimes you get some of the best quotes by asking
people about artists they knew and worked with, and have rarely been
asked about before. People always ask Steve Boone and John Sebastian
about the Lovin' Spoonful, naturally, but not often about Fred Neil and
Tim Hardin, and they really enjoy talking about them.

To get into what I myself think are the best, most enduring aspects of
Hardin's legacy, I think they are the songs he wrote on his first two
albums, which were really the only ones where he was working at full
power. Those songs include "Reason to Believe," "If I Were a
Carpenter," and "Lady from Baltimore." Some of them are far better
known in cover versions than by Hardin himself: "If I Were a Carpenter"
was a big hit for Bobby Darin, of course, while Rod Stewart did
"Reason to Believe." The one I like the best from the first two Hardin
albums is one of the more obscure ones: "How Can We Hang onto a 
Dream."

Hardin was somewhat similar to Fred Neil in that his songs are more
known in some cover versions than in the original versions; in his
personal and substance abuse problems that curtailed his career; in
that fellow musicians were huge fans of his, and influenced by him in
ways the general public often didn't pick up on; and in how he combined
elements of folk, pop, country, blues, and even jazz and
orchestration. His voice wasn't as low as Fred Neil's, but it was just
as distinctive, mostly in a vibrato that was about as sorrowful as they
come.

I found an interesting quote about Hardin from Phil Ochs, another
tragic character of folk-rock, in Rolling Stone. "Unfortunately Tim
Hardin was never captured on record as he was," Ochs said. "I still
think he was the best singer of the '60s. In his youth he shamed
everybody else on stage, in terms of singing and the geometry of
singing and timing and tones and musicianship; he was just not to be
believed."
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #35 of 288: like trying to breathe cream of wheat directly from the blurping vat (sd) Sun 29 Sep 02 10:50
    
amazing.

this is such great stuff Richie.

just want to say thanks for sharing so thoughtfully here.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #36 of 288: John Ross (johnross) Sun 29 Sep 02 11:01
    
Is it entirely fair to describe Judy Collins' work from "In My Life" onward
as "folk-rock"? It's my sense (based on my now-fuzzy memory of a
conversation with her around 1967) that she was moving away from either
"folk" or "rock" and toward some kind of art-song thing that included some
theater songs (like the Brecht and later Sondheim) and a lot of non-rock
singer-songwriters like Leonard Cohen.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #37 of 288: Kurt Sigmon (kd-scigmon) Sun 29 Sep 02 11:05
    
Great stuff!  I am just a few pages into 'Turn! Turn! Turn' but loving
it already. The mention of the Blue Things here took me back to my
high school days in Topeka Kansas. I was too young to get into the
places they played but they were well-known. Another folk-rock group
from that era was the Thingies, who I actually jammed with once as one
of their guys worked briefly in the music store where I taught guitar.
There is info on both groups at http://www.cicadelic.com/

I have a memory similar to <stevebj> about reading Marty Balin
discussing his harmonization styles, but I have no idea where it was...


Thanks to Richie Unterberger for the book and participating here!
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #38 of 288: Gary Lambert (almanac) Sun 29 Sep 02 12:11
    

An amusing little footnote (which would later become unintentionally
poignant) to the Lovin' Spoonful/Tim Hardin friendship. On one of the
Spoonful's albums, there's a picture of the band posing in some alley in
the Village (I think it's Minetta Lane, behind the Night Owl). Scrawled
conspicuously in chalk on the brick wall behind them is "TIM HARDIN IS A
BAD BOY!"

Re 36: Yeah, Judy Collins' connection with folk-rock could be viewed as
somewhat tentative, as she moved almost directly into that art-song turf
-- but then, the definition of "rock" was getting pretty vague around
the same time, what with the Beatles putting string quartets on their
records, so it's kind of a toss-up. Judy was, however, using an
excellent little folk-rockish combo in concert circa '67-68, which
included Bill Lee (Spike's dad) on bass. Lee was one of the first-call
bass guys on the East Coast folk-rock scene, turning up on dozens of
records by many of the best-known artists in the genre. I have an
enduring memory of a moment from a Carnegie Hall concert sometime in the
late 60s, when Odetta, accompanied only by Bill Lee, did a great, funny,
swinging version of "Home On The Range," of all things!
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #39 of 288: Gary Lambert (almanac) Sun 29 Sep 02 13:10
    

... or maybe that Odetta show was in the early 70s... it was a
particularly, uh, blurry period in my life. I do know that she was
opening for the Butterfield Blues Band, which made for one fine evening!
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #40 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Sun 29 Sep 02 22:27
    
Judy Collins also played with Bruce Langhorne in concert around
'67-68. Langhorne was a very important session guitarist for folk-rock,
playing on records by Dylan, Richard & Mimi Farina, Fred Neil, Gordon
Lightfoot, Richie Havens, Tom Rush, and others. If you ever get to the
Museum of Radio and Television in New York, there is some interesting
Judy Collins TV footage in which she plays with a folk-rockish combo
(forget the title of the show, I believe it was on public TV). One of
the numbers is an interesting cover of Tom Paxton's "Mr. Blue," which
she did not record for her '60s studios albums.

But to get to the question as to whether Collins was doing folk-rock
on her albums in the last half of the 1960s: the boundary does get a
little more arguable here, but yes, I would say so. The press gave what
she and some others were doing the label of "baroque-folk," combining
folk with some orchestration and art songs. But she was also
occasionally doing some straight-out rock songs like "I'll Keep It With
Mine" and Richard Farina's "Hard Loving Loser," as well as covering
some songs by rock and pop-rock songwriters like Donovan, the Beatles,
and Randy Newman. And Leonard Cohen for that matter -- I consider him
part of folk-rock, and he's covered in the second volume. Her final
album of the 1960s, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," had by far the
most straight rock arrangements of any of her 1960s albums, including
guitar by then-boyfriend Stephen Stills. Plus "Both Sides Now" was a
huge and important hit, with enough pop and rock elements to qualify as
an important folk-rock performance, I believe.

Here's part of what Collins's arranger Joshua Rifkin had to say about
the matter when I interviewed him (some quotes will appear in "Eight
Miles High"):

""Both Sides Now"...to us it was a kind of art song too, with rock
elements. But I think yes, this was an even stronger move away from
folk stuff. In fact, although this was sort of categorized as folk or
folk-rock or whatever, I think largely because of what Judy had been
doing in her career and because of some of the nature of some of the
songs, it was a very decisive move away from, you might say, all of the
basic suppositions of folk and even sort of commercialized or
classicized folk music. It was definitely, I suppose, going towards
what it sometimes called art pop in those days, or art rock. There was
a lot of that kind of stuff about, or at least hints in that direction.
It's no accident that Van Dyke Parks's first LP came out at about the
same time. And there are lots of string quartets on Beatles and Stones
tracks and this kind of stuff. That too was in the air, and we sort of
took the consequences, I guess, fairly extreme, on this one.

"The kinds of songs [Collins did on the albums], they're not standard
pop songs, they're neither blues, most of them, nor are they the normal
structure of pop songs, A-A and a bridge and then back to the main
tune. There were strophic the way folk songs traditionally were. And
they were written by songwriters who had come out of what was loosely
defined as the folk tradition, or the folk scene. Joni Mitchell was a
singer in folk clubs. It was obviously not country-folk, not
traditional folk. It was modern, urban folk. And in that way it was
already straddling lines. It was literate folk, if you will. And we
were pushing it still farther."
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #41 of 288: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 29 Sep 02 23:07
    
Back to Donovan for a minute... how much impact did Shawn Phillips have 
on Donovan's sound? Didn't he have a profound influence around the time 
the "Sunshine Superman" album was recorded? 
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #42 of 288: like trying to breathe cream of wheat directly from the blurping vat (sd) Mon 30 Sep 02 03:04
    
i remember being surprised to see Glen Campbell listed as playing guitar on
a Shawn Phillips record.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #43 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Mon 30 Sep 02 07:49
    
Yes, Shawn Phillips had a substantial impact on Donovan's sound in the
era of the "Sunshine Superman" album. Phillips, for those unfamiliar,
was an American folk singer living in England at the time, who had done
a couple of UK folk albums (and subsequently moved into rock himself,
though he didn't record often until the 1970s started). Donovan told
me, "Shawn Phillips particularly was my sideman for the fusion of the
sitar and my music; Shawn also is an excellent 12-string player."

Shawn Phillips told me, "My influence with Don is that I would play
the guitar, and create a set of chord structures. I would be playing,
and he'd start making up words. This happened five or six times.
'Guinevere,' 'Fat Angel,' 'Season of the Witch,' 'King Fishers,' that's
the way they came about. Don sort of worked pretty much like I do. I
have a basic structure, and then I go to the different people and say,
'Here's my vision. Now put your vision to it.' Because I only used
absolutely the best players I could find, I trust their judgement
implicitly. It was due to the producer and the arranger that a lot of
those tunes turned out the way they did. Also, you know, they were
definitely going for a comercial market. I have exactly the  opposite
problem. I keep going in the studio and going, 'Man, we gotta get
commercial.' And it turns out so fucking esoteric. But I love it, so I
leave it."

There is a very cool video of an episode of Pete Seeger's mid-1960s
public TV series "Rainbow Quest" that features Donovan circa early
1966. He plays a couple of songs from "Sunshine Superman," "Guinevere"
and "Three King Fishers," live, accompanied by Shawn Phillips on sitar.
There are very few live videos of rock musicians from the '60s
including a white guy actually playing the sitar. Phillips briefly
talks about and demonstrates aspects of playing the sitar. On the same
episode is Reverend Gary Davis, which frankly makes for kind of an odd
matchup billing. This video is available for sale to the curious: go to
www.nwross.com, and look for episode #23 of Rainbow Quest.

By the way, Glen Campbell played his own role in early folk-rock. He
had a moderate hit single with a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's
"Universal Soldier," with a Phil Spector-influenced arrangement, that
actually did a bit better than Donovan's on the American charts
(Cambpell's got to #45, Donovan's to #53). Buffy Sainte-Marie told me
she actually preferred Campbell's version, because "I wished that
Donovan had gotten the words right. Glen's version was a real
compliment to the songwriter part of me, as he recorded several of my
songs, each real unique." Donovan in turn told me that when
Sainte-Marie later met him while he was recording in Nashville, she
told him that she loved his version and that it was her bad
pronunciation of the word "Dachau" that led him to get "only one word
wrong."

Also, Campbell played the great 12-string guitar riff on the original
version of "Needles and Pins" (by Jackie DeShannon), later a hit for
the Searchers, which did much to establish the kind of circular,
ringing guitar riff that Roger McGuinn made so much a part of folk-rock
with the Byrds. A little later, the reason the Byrds were able to get
virtually unlimited studio time to rehearse and record demos at World
Pacific Studios in 1964 was because their manager Jim Dickson had
unlimited studio time gratis as a reward for his production of the
Folkswingers' World Pacific label album "12 String Guitar," on which
Glen Campbell was backed by the Dillards (whom Dickson also managed).
Campbell was even considered as a session man to play the lead guitar
on the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" single, though fortunately for
everyone concerned McGuinn ended up playing the classic 12-string riffs
on that hit.

Finally, around the time Campbell had a hit with "Universal Soldier"
in late 1965, he told Variety "that he thinks people who burn their
draft cards 'should be hung...If you don't have enough guts to fight
for your country, you're not a man.' He said the 'Universal Soldier'
disk resulted in his receipt of several anonymous complaint letters
from fans, but that he really didn't think protest songs do much in
shaping or changing opinions. Campbell, however, emphasized that if he
records any more protest songs, they will be of the 'red-blooded
American variety.'" Nonetheless around that time he also was part of
the Seattle Folk Rock and All Cause Music Festival (October 1, 1965),
which also featured Barry McGuire of "Eve of Destruction" fame and that
song's writer, P.F. Sloan.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #44 of 288: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Mon 30 Sep 02 08:46
    
Your depth of knowledge is amazing, Richie. Thanks for providing
further proof that Glen Campbell was more of a "musician's musician"
and hipper than most people will acknowledge. 

Speaking of musician's musicians ... in your book you write about the
impact that the Canadian duo Ian & Sylvia had on a number of folk- rock
artists (including the Mamas & Papas and Buffalo Springfield). What
was it about their sound that was so influential? And why don't you
think Ian & Sylvia ever achieved much success in the U.S. market? 
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #45 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Mon 30 Sep 02 10:01
    
There are several ways in which Ian & Sylvia's sound was influential.
Their close male-female harmonies anticipated male-female vocal blends
in major folk-rock bands like the Mamas and the Papas, the Jefferson
Airplane, and Fairport Convention. Of course the We Five, who had a
huge hit with an Ian & Sylvia song (Sylvia Tyson's "You Were on My
Mind"), had a male-female harmony thing going too, though that song was
really their only major contribution to folk-rock. Sylvia Tyson told
me that "Michelle Phillips once said to me, "When I was starting out,
every girl in the music business wanted to be Sylvia Tyson.'"

In a more subtle fashion, the early Ian & Sylvia albums had an
outstanding diverse mix of folk-based material. They had a wide range
of traditional folk songs, from the expected North American traditional
songs to tunes of explicitly Canadian origin to country songs to blues
(though they weren't too good at blues). They had a good knack for
covering songs by emerging songwriters, such as Gordon Lightfoot and
Joni Mitchell. And they wrote good songs themselves -- "You Were on My
Mind," but also "Four Strong Winds" and "Someday Soon."

Although I doubt this was conscious on either the part of Ian & Sylvia
or other groups, to me this seemed to set a format that several other
major folk-rock groups followed: mixing inventive covers of traditional
songs with inventive covers of contemporary songwriters and
outstanding original material. This is very true of several of the
Byrds' albums, and also of Fairport Convention's early records. Ian
Matthews, who was in Fairport Convention in the late 1960s, even named
his first post-Fairport band, Matthews' Southern Comfort, after the Ian
& Sylvia song "Southern Comfort."

On their recordings, Ian & Sylvia were vital to helping to expand folk
instrumentation from the basic and minimal accompaniment typical of
many early folk revival releases to something with more texture,
rhythm, and depth. This was heard not only in their rich vocal blend,
but also in using additional accompanists (including bassist Bill Lee,
referred to in a slightly earlier post about Judy Collins, and director
Spike Lee's dad). Prior to their 1966 releases, this fell short of
electric folk-rock, but it was influential on some early folk-rock
musicians. In Buffalo Springfield's very first interview (in May 1966
with Teen Set magazine), both Stephen Stills and Neil Young immediately
and enthusiastically hailed Ian & Sylvia as their favorite folk
artists. Stills particularly praised Ian & Sylvia's recording of "Four
Rode By" and their accompanist John Herald, while Neil Young was
enthusiastic about another of their accompanists, David Rea.

Neil Young, of course, covered "Four Strong Winds" in 1978 on "Comes a
Time," and also did it at "The Last Waltz" concert (it's on the recent
"Last Waltz" box set). Bob Dylan had the same manager as Ian & Sylvia,
Albert Grossman, and was obviously a big fan, because on the bootlegs
of unreleased material he and the Band did in 1967 during the Basement
Tapes sessions, he covered Ian & Sylvia's "Four Strong Winds" and "The
French Girl." In a mid-1968 interview with Sing Out magazine, Dylan
listed Ian & Sylvia as among a few of his current favorite artists to
listen to, most of them surprising non-rock choices (the names included
Scrapper Blackwell, Leroy Carr, Jack Dupree, Lonnie Johnson, Jelly
Roll Morton, Buddy Bolden, Ian & Sylvia, Tom Rush, Charley Pride,
Porter Wagoner, and the Clancy Brothers). Back in 1963, Ian & Sylvia
had been among the earlier recording artists to do a then-unreleased
Dylan song when they put Dylan's "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" on their
second album.

As to why they didn't achieve much success in the US market, actually
I was under the impression that they were pretty successful here, at
least for artists labeled as "folk," in the 1963-66 era. They were
actually based in New York City for much of the 1960s, and I would
guess that their levels of success in the US and Canada were pretty
comparable in the mid-1960s. It's true, though, that they didn't break
into the pop market like a lot of folk-rockers did. They did move into
folk-rock in 1966 (and later into country-rock), and while I like some
of their folk-rock recordings, their transition to using full electric
arrangements was more tentative and awkward than a lot of their peers
making similar moves. They were also not the kind of act that seemed to
come up with a hit single that would have made this transition easier.
And Sylvia Tyson told me that she thought Vanguard Records didn't
promote them well in the pop market. This relates to a note about
Vanguard in an earlier post, where I said that one of the most
surprising things I learned in doing the book was hearing several
Vangaurd artists say that the label put much more resources behind
their classical catalog than it did behind its folk and folk-rock
releases.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #46 of 288: Andrew Alden (alden) Mon 30 Sep 02 10:14
    
I love seeing these names, and I'm so glad someone has kept track of all of
them. Shawn Phillips did a couple of spacy albums in the early 70s that I
enjoyed, but I never knew about his earlier career. The name of Ellen
McIlwaine came up; she had some exquisite material and I'd like to know more
about her. And finally, I wonder where Jaime Brockett fits in your book. He
would be in the Cambridge set, I guess, with Tom Rush.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #47 of 288: Regime change in the USA! (sd) Mon 30 Sep 02 10:56
    
SWWFHMATSITAYKILYBBIGTHTL

second contribution was everywhere we went for a period of time

Richie, did you ever listen to Lauri Styvers' "Spilt Milk?" I thought she
had a nice voice though her writing doesn't hold up too well.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #48 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Mon 30 Sep 02 11:35
    
The early-'70s work of Shawn Phillips, Ellen McIlwaine, and Lauri
Styvers falls outside of the scope of my folk-rock books; the second
volume will stop at 1970. Still, it's interesting to note these in
brief here because naturally a lot of recording artists who didn't
start to make their mark until the 1970s had roots in 1960s folk-rock
as performers, even if they didn't record much or at all prior to the
early 1970s. It always intrigued me about Ellen McIlwaine that Jimi
Hendrix worked with her briefly as an accompanist at the Cafe Au Go Go
in Greenwich Village circa 1966.

To be honest I don't cover Jamie Brockett very much in the second
volume of my book, as he was a second-tier singer-songwriter and there
wasn't room to cover everyone in depth. I did note his "Legend of the
U.S.S. Titanic" as a kind of updating of the storytelling of folk
tradition for the more modern late-1960s era, in the same manner as
Arlo Guthrie's far more well known "Alice's Restaurant." Both of those
songs, also, were big FM radio favorites in the late 1960s, and
couldn't have gotten too much radio exposure before FM radio started to
take off around 1967-68.

For some reason that also makes me think of a tidbit I just learned
about Jef Jaisun, who did the late-1960s underground storytelling folk
favorite "Friendly Neighborhood Narco Agent" (which eventually became a
staple of Dr. Demento's show). Barry Melton of Country Joe & the Fish
remembered that when the Fish were forming around the Jabberwock folk
club in Berkeley, the janitor of the Jabberwock was Jef Jaisun, who as
he remembers couldn't have been more than 16 at the time.

I've never heard Lauri Styvers's "Spilt Milk," though as a 1972
release it falls outside of the time frame of my book. What's it like?
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #49 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Mon 30 Sep 02 11:38
    
One more thing I wanted to add about Ian & Sylvia: they had a subtle
but important influence just by virtue of being Canadian folk
performers who made a big impact in the United States. Canada was a big
source of major folk-rock performers in the last half of the 1960s. In
that manner, Ian & Sylvia helped serve as inspirations and role models
to several important musicians in the folk-rock orbit who became
international superstars slightly after them: Neil Young, Joni
Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot, and most of the members of
the Band.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #50 of 288: Regime change in the USA! (sd) Mon 30 Sep 02 12:53
    
Styvers was a sort of dewey eyed breathy soprano who had a nice way with a
melody but tended to work astrology into her lyrics as well as things like,
'spent the day with MDA down by the lake.' Adrian Legg played on the record
though and she had the balls to name one of her songs '5 Leaves Left.'
  

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