TAPES RECORDED ALONG THE TRAIL
Norman Warwick listens in
A great deal of early blues and folk music was brought to wider awareness by field recordings made by ethnomusicologists. Alan Lomax was an American music-lover, (for that is what all ethnomusicologists must surely be), best known for his numerous field recordings of folk / blues music of the 20th century. He was also a musician himself, as well as a folklorist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker; a polymath, whose knowledge spanned a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.
Lomax (left) produced recordings, concerts, and radio shows in the US and in England, which played an important role in preserving folk music traditions in both countries, and helped start both the American and British folk revivals of the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s. He collected material first with his father, folklorist and collector John A. Lomax, and later alone and with others, Lomax recorded thousands of songs and interviews for the Archive of American Folk Song, of which he was the director, at the Library of Congress on aluminium and acetate discs. This process is widely known as field recording.
I somehow acquired, back in the eighties a ninety minute tape of ´field recordings´ made in America at a number of the annual Kerrville music festivals of the period. The Kerrville Folk Festival is a music festival held for 18 consecutive days in the late spring/early summer at Quiet Valley Ranch near Kerrville, Texas. The event has run annually since 1972. In November 2008, the Kerrville Folk Festival and Kerrville Wine & Music Festival were acquired by the Texas Folk Music Foundation, a 501(c)3 Texas Non-profit Corporation.
I don´t suppose surreptitiously turning on your personal recorder at a music festival and subsequently passing on copies of the subsequent tape to a couple of mates really counts as ethno-musicology, but if the purpose is to gather songs and artists little known outside their own habitat and genre and popularise them to a wider international audience, then this tape was a piece of ethno-musicology, without a doubt. It contained so many great artists and songs that at the time were hardly known. And yet, what an incredible playlist that tape remains, as evidenced below.
Carolyn Hester, Summertime
Can´t Help But Wonder Where I´m Bound
Mance Lipscombe Texas blues
Steve Fromholtz Dear Darcy
Townes van Zandt Tecumsah Valley
Pancho And Lefty
Flaco Jiminez La Paloma
Guy Clark Anyhow I Love You
Peter Yarrow Torn Between Two Lovers
Bill Staines Chime Bell
Pat Hardin & Tom Russell Second Time Around
Tom Paxton Can´t help But Wonder Where I´m Bound
Patricia Hardin Joshua Tree
Butch Hancock Fools Fall In Love
Nanci Griffith / Eric Taylor Dollar Matinee
Nanci Griffith Light Beyond These Woods
Ray Wylie Hubbard Hello Early Morning
Midnight Moonlight Peter Rowan
Twilight Serenade Tish Hinojosa
Seven Bridges Road Steve Young
I was told that most of these recordings were taken at camp-fire guitar pulls throughout the festivals, rather than being made from d i to the stage performances, and there is an intimate, stripped of audience feel to most of the cuts listed above. This was not real ethno-musicology, of course, which in the days of Lomax had never been quite so easy. There were no easily portable and manageable recording devices, and there were no large, commercial festivals where the artists would seek out the recorder that the other way round.
Nevertheless, as my treasured second or third generation tape proved this portable recording technique was a great way of collecting little known artists and enthusing others to enjoy their music. We only have to look at the fifteen or so artists on that tape, and recognise most of them, of course as the popular artists they became. What we cannot properly estimate is how beneficial such unofficial recordings were in making them so well loved-
Mance Lipscombe was born in 1895 and became an American blues singer, guitarist and songster. He was born Beau De Glen Lipscombnear Navasota, Texas .but, as a youth he took the e Mance (short for emancipation) from a friend of his oldest brother, Charlie. Often spoken of by later generations of players as an inspiration he was largely unknown, as either Mance or Beau, to any wide audience.
Leonardo ´Flaco´ Jiménez (left, born March 11, 1939) is an American singer, songwriter and accordionist from San Antonio, Texas. Known for playing Norteño, Tex Mex and Tejano music, Jiménez became a much in-demand solo performer and session musician, as well as a member of the Texas Tornados and Los Super Seven. Over the course of his seven-decade career, he has received numerous awards and honours, including Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Grammys, Americana Music Awards, Tejano Music Awards, and Billboard magazine.
Bill Staines (right), some fifty hears later is still one of my favourite songwriters. He is an American folk musician and singer-songwriter from New Hampshire who writes and performs songs with a wide array of subjects. He has also written and recorded children’s songs. Two of his songs in particular have stayed with me forever, His track, Roseville Fair, was later by recorded who was like Bill was pretty much unknown ion the UK at the someone anonymously recorded this bootleg tape.
Leticia (Tish) Hinojosa (left, born December 6, 1955, San Antonio, Texas) is a folksinger recording in both Spanish and English. Hinojosa was the youngest of 13 children. Hinojosa’s parents were Mexican immigrants. Known for singing both traditional Mexican folksongs and her own original songs, both in Spanish and English, Hinojosa accompanies herself on guitar, which she plays right-handed although she is naturally lefthanded.
Influenced by traditional Mexican, folk, Tejano, conjunto, and country musics, Hinojosa considers hers to be music of the US/Mexico border. Hinojosa has charted twice on the Billboard country charts and has recorded several albums, primarily for Rounder Records.
Her 1992 album Culture Swing won the NAIRD Indie Folk Album of the Year.
Using music to bring awareness to cultural issues, Hinojosa hopes to bring into focus the plight of migrant workers and children of the poor. Additionally, she often performs children’s music of her culture to help children develop an understanding of the Southwest’s Hispanic traditions. In 2005, Hinojosa moved to Germany, and returned to Austin in 2013.
Steve Young (July 12, 1942 – March 17, 2016 ) was an American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist,known for his song Seven Bridges Road (on Rock Salt & Nails & Seven Bridges Road, right)). He was a pioneer of the country rock, Americana, and alternative country sounds, and also a vital force behind the ´outlaw movement´ that gave support to the careers of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jr. and more. Young was also featured in the 1975 Outlaw Country documentary Heartworn Highways. He was the subject of the song The All Golden by Van Dyke Parks. Young’s first album, Rock Salt & Nails, on A&M, featured Gram Parsons, Gene Clark, and other musicians from the 1969 musical community in Southern California.
During an interview I subsequently conducted with Steve he seemed to regress before my eyes and take on the persona of a confederate soldier from the American civil war. I found him polite and charming, but very strange and slightly discomforting. In fact, I always found Seven Bridges Road, especially, his own version to be somewhat other-worldly, and it was I feel a very untypical Eagles track.
Of the other names on my much loved tape, Carolyn Hester (right) was a name known to me, and millions, of others long before this tape came into my possession. Her first album was produced by Norman Petty in 1957. She made her second album for Tradition Records, run by the Clancy Brothers, in 1960. She became known for The House Of The Rising Sun and She Moved Through the Fair. Hester was one of many young Greenwich Village singers who rode the crest of the 1960s folk music wave, helping launch Gerde’s Folk City in 1960.
I had also at least a couple of Tom Paxton albums on my shelves before I heard this ´bootleg´ recording including his Can´t Help But Wonder Where I´m Bound. Paxton (left) is an American folk singer-songwriter who has had a music career spanning more than fifty years. In 2009, Paxton received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is noteworthy as a music educator as well as an advocate for folk singers to combine traditional songs with new compositions such as My Ramblin´Boy, Last Thing On My Mind and Outward Bound.
If my memories are circling chronologically this morning I am pretty sure that Steve Fromholtz (right)was unheard of in the UK at the time of my slightly-illegal tape being handed to me one night at the crossroads in Whitefield, under the cover of darkness. However, being reminded of him whilst researching this article, I googled him on All Music at
I was reminded that, despite not achieving any great commercial breakthrough, Fromholtz with his disticintive vocals, actually enjoyed a very interesting career, and his work will be the subject of a self contained article to be published shortly called His Name Was On The Tape, so keep your eyes on these Sidetracks and Detours pages.
Tom Russell (left), also included on that tape, went on to become a much admired ethnomusicologist himself. His duet with his the collaborative partner, Patricia Hardin, of Joshua tree is haunting. This telling of a story of the death of Gram Parsons is the subject of a stand alone post to sidetracks and detours called Tom And Gram And Joshua Tree, that went live on 28th June 2022, and is now housed in our music archives.
I first interviewed Tom Russell, and his regular guitarist -accompanist in a Little Chef on the A64, prior their gig later that might at, I think, The Winning Post in York and we have featured Tom Russell, and his eclectic roots music, on these pages many times.. In fact as recently as xxx we posted an article called Tom And Gram And The Joshua Tree, which not only spoke in some way spoke of how legend and myth are mare made, but also was a story that illustrated how air travel how musicians and writers and scholars such as Tom can become a Woody Guthrie with air miles ! At the time I interviewed him (for the print version of Sidetracks in those days) Tom was a well known nd well respected figure in the Usa, but was only just beginning to gain recognition in the UK. That artists like him were prepared to tour the UK, playing very small venues and attracting the interest of niche magazines like Peter O´Brien´s Omaha Rainbow, Arthur Woods´ Kerrville Kronikles, John Graeme Livingstone´s Stillwater Times and my own , cut, pasted and stapled magazine Sidetracks (with only a fraction even of the low circulations enjoyed by those others) not only saw them establish a presence on the UK folk and country circuits but also created new frontiers for what Americana music. By writing new music influenced by the roots music many of them listened, some of these musicians, Tom Russell, in particular perhaps, themselves became music-ethno-musicologists, taking music around and in so doing strengthened its flavour rather than diluted it- My memory of those times is of how Russell, Tom Paxton, Townes, Guy Clark, Bill Staines , Butch Hancock (and his Flatlander mate Jimmie and Joe) and Nanci Griffith too created new music and took it forwarded. I also remember, though, that all these artists in performance would explain to we in the audience the geographical and ethnic roots from which their own music had grown.
English Folk Expo is a charity supporting English folk, roots and acoustic music through festivals, events, showcasing, artist mentoring, industry training, audience development, international partnerships, commissions and more.
We are excited to announce that today we have opened applications for two exciting programmes for musicians in the folk, roots and acoustic genres who are based in England.
The 𝗘𝗙𝗘𝘅 𝗔𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗠𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗺𝗲. is now entering its 5th year, this programme supports emerging artists to develop their skills, professional networks and showcase experience in order to build a sustainable music career. Application deadline: 17th July. Read more and apply here: https://www.englishfolkexpo.com/applications-now-open…/
The Global Music Match, another EFEx in initiative round #3! This award winning virtual programme brings together early to mid career musicians from all over the world to build their digital skills, develop new audiences and create exciting international collaborations. Application deadline: 29th July. Read more and apply here: https://www.englishfolkexpo.com/applications-now-open…/
If you check out www.adsubian-gallery.com for further details you will learn more about what looks like a charming and visitor-friendly gallery. It is a venue that is on our list to visit, so you never know we might just see you there.
Ribble Valley Jazz Big Band returns to the Spread Eagle ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2022. The band has been directed throughout its existence by Paul Rigby, one of the most experienced & talented band leaders in the North West. Paul has also been leading the famous Northern Jazz Orchestra for over 25 years.
Ribble ValleyJazz Big Band will play old and new tunes in an entertaining performance, laced with lively solos, and vocals by Miles Peachey.
Be aware! This band has been sold out on all four previous appearances at the Spread Eagle.
If any readers living in North West England are not yet familiar with the village of Sawley or its lovely, old pub, The Eagle And Child, then check out the Ribble Valley Jazz And Blues web site, make a note of appropriate dates some dates and make a trip to hear some great jazz, have a wonderful meal and good beer. Its all set in glorious, peaceful countryside and represents England at its best.
Ribble FM is the authentic Voice Of The Valley. The radio station is a CIC not-for-profit organisation which provides a full-time radio service to the Ribble Valley area of Lancashire. They provide entertainment by playing a huge range of great music, local event news and and of course those all important traffic and weather updates.
As a community station we are here to support other charities, organisations, community groups and individuals by offering a platform to be heard on. The Ribble Valley Blues and Jazz Festival has weekly platforms and the station, with music programmes and event updates.
You could also download music organisation´s current newsletter for the rest of the summer at
We are grateful to Aldo Norris and Louise Hurrow from the Adsubian Gallery, on mainland Spain for sharing news of the opening on Friday 1st July at 6.00 pm of an exhibition of the work of Alaine Lecuyer. The exhibition will be open to the public until 31st July.
Born in Cabourg in Normandy, Alain Lecuyer is a creator working in Glass Art. He trained with big names from contemporary Parisian stained glass. Alain now presents his work of “merging”, and the ASdsubian Gallery are proud to show his exhibition of works for sale All unique pieces are made of cold-cut glass plates, superimposed and fused at high temperature. The exhibition includes the stunning example show here and there will be many more intriguing pieces on display.
Happy trails, everyone