inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #76 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 1 Oct 02 12:36
    
Steve, that's right that Barry McGuire did the first version of
"California Dreamin'," with the Mamas and the Papas on background
vocals. Both he and Denny Doherty of the Mamas confirmed with me that
then it was decided that Denny Doherty should do the lead vocal, with
Barry's original lead wiped. McGuire told me Phillips did ask him if it
was okay if the Mamas and the Papas did it as the first single, to
which Barry said, "Hey, you wrote the tune. Do whatever you want."

On most if not all releases on which "California Dreamin'" is
included, if you just listen to one channel alone, you can still
faintly hear McGuire's original vocal.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #77 of 288: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Tue 1 Oct 02 12:39
    
The importance of the Beatles, Dylan and the Byrds to the evolution of
folk-rock is well-documented in your book. If you had to pick the one
most significant "flash point" event or piece of music (picking one may
be an unfair request) that truly ignited and got the folk-rock ball
rolling, so to speak, what would it be? 
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #78 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 1 Oct 02 12:52
    
I didn't see that PBS folk reunion/lounge show -- to be honest, I was
afraid to turn it on. This might have been the result of one copywriter
rather than what PBS intended, but in the program guide of KQED in San
Francisco (where I live), it was described as "a celebration of folk
rock music." But it wasn't, though some notable folk-rock figures
(McGuire, Roger McGuinn, and Judy Collins) were involved. It was
really, my understanding is, about the early-'60s folk revival, and
featuring some of the tamer and most commercial of such acts -- the
Limeliters and the Brothers Four, for instance. Also featured was Randy
Sparks, who according to Chris Hillman of the Byrds actually tried to
get the Byrds thrown off Columbia Records as he was so threatened by
the rising folk-rock tide. 

The program description also attributes the performance of "Mr.
Tambourine Man" and "Turn Turn Turn" to "Roger McGuire," and spells the
Limeliters "the Limelighters." Who's proofreading these things?

The whole issue of how lame PBS/KQED's music programming is (and much
of its programming is) could be another entire conference, and actually
one I'm very interested in. I was interviewed by someone in Australia
about my books last month and he was shocked that I hadn't been able to
see a few BBC music specials he mentioned in this country; I had to
explain to him that there were few outlets for them, even on supposedly
educational/arts television. The BBC has its own flaws, but they do
some rock history specials that never air here that are very good, from
what I hear (and sometimes see, if my UK friends tape them for me),
and that I'd like to see.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #79 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 1 Oct 02 13:11
    
To go back to Mary's question in post 73: who cares about the subject
I wrote about in "Turn Turn Turn" and its upcoming sequel "Eight Miles
High"? The people who care the most are the people who lived through
the era, usually as teenagers and young adults. There's a reasonably
wide demographic to the readership, from what I can tell; when I did a
signing with Donovan in July in Los Angeles, there were plenty of young
people in their twenties, as well as people old enough to be their
parents. And there were people my age; I'm 40 years old, and my
first-hand memories of the music as it was occurring are very faint to
nonexistent.

When people my age or younger -- listeners who couldn't have heard the
music clearly or at all when it took place -- comment about the book,
it's about as knowledgeable as any age group, the one thing they lack
being some first-hand experiences to refer them to (as I lack as well).
The problem (if indeed it's a problem; it's more like just the natural
way things go) is that many young people just aren't aware of the
music in the first place. A lot of time has passed, and what's been
passed down from the era on oldies/classic radio, movies, and popular
culture are often just the most superficial elements of the era -- the
big hits (as great as many of them were), the gaudiest fashions,
simplified sociopolitical conflicts. As with any great music, a lot of
young people (or older people who didn't hear much of the music first
time around) would really dig it if it got a lot of exposue. But many
simply aren't aware of it, through no real fault of their own. You've
got to be really dedicated to collect and learn about music and history
that's not flooding the airwaves, as I've done for about the past 25
years, first as a fan and then as a professional writer.

It doesn't surprise me that your friend is running into indifference
with his own idea of a '60s-related book. I ran into a lot of
indifference myself from some publishers I approached, and someone I
worked with on the proposal in the early stages was trying to change it
into something that it wasn't in order to sell it to people (and
publishers!) who didn't grasp the nuances of the music and the era. A
*good* book about the music and the era should be able to find its
audience for some time, but some publishers incorrectly feel that
there's nothing new to say or learn, not just about the '60s but about
various eras and movements that aren't in the forefront of the media at
the movement.

But to get back to your question about who cares and why: for the
older readers, it's often because they want to learn more about an era
and music that affected them deeply, in much greater detail than
standard rock histories allow. There were so many pieces of the puzzle 
falling into place to make folk-rock happen, and they haven't become
evident in many cases until many years later, when the full extent of
how much influence was bouncing back and forth and being shaped by
outside currents can be researched and appreciated. For younger
readers, the connection is a little less personal, maybe. But it's
usually because they've discovered a great music that excites them very
much; there's not a whole lot of easily accessible, well-presented,
thoroughly researched information about it; and they're hungry to learn
more, whether to give them an idea about what records to pursue, to
get some insight into music from a past era that nonetheless affects
them deeply in the present, or both.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #80 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 1 Oct 02 13:43
    
For Dave's question about folk-rock's flashpoint in post 77: it's
definitely the Byrds' recording of "Mr. Tambourine Man." This was the
first commercially successful song to be described as folk-rock;
indeed, the song that pretty much launched the term, when Billboard
magazine did a front-page article on the Byrds and folk-rock (a term
the piece's author Elliot Tiegel seemed to originate with this story)
on June 12, 1965, the week the single entered the Top Ten.

But artistically, it was the flashpoint as well. Bob Dylan had a song
with a folk music foundation, yet with lyrics that were taking folk
songwriting and indeed contemporary popular music songwriting into a
new place. What he didn't have was the full electric rock arrangement
to make it attractive to the masses; as good as his version of "Mr.
Tambourine Man" on the early 1965 album "Bringing It All Back Home" is,
it wouldn't have been a hit single. (It's way too long, for one
thing!)

So then you have the Byrds, a group of just-ex-acoustic folk musicians
trying to be the American Beatles of sorts. And they're very good at
that, as the extensive set of rehearsal demos they did circa late 1964
(now on the double CD "The Preflyte Sessions") testifies. What they
don't have is the right song. Not just the right song to have a
commercial hit, but also a song with a little more lyrical depth than
the Beatlesque tunes they're writing are, one that will differentiate
them from any other Beatlesque group in Britain or America.

So their manager, Jim Dickson, got an unreleased acetate of Dylan
recording "Mr. Tambourine Man" (with Jack Elliott on backup vocals) in
1964, and virtually had to force it into the Byrds' repertoire against
some initial resistance. The most important elements the Byrds added to
their particular interpretation were ones that drew from both folk and
rock. There was Roger McGuinn's 12-string guitar work, clearly rooted
in folk styles, but given rock amplification and power on a
Rickenbacker guitar, an instrument he'd chosen after seeing George
Harrison play it in "A Hard Day's Night." And there was McGuinn's
singing, which as he has said was an attempt (and an ultra-successful
one) to bisect Bob Dylan and John Lennon. The Byrds' harmonies had
their own folk roots -- Dean Webb of the Dillards, a bluegrass band
also managed by Dickson, helped teach them the vocal harmonies they
used on the song.

It's interesting, still, that the final recording of the Byrds' "Mr.
Tambourine Man" was largely done by session musicians, with the
exception of McGuinn's 12-string guitar and lead vocal, and David
Crosby and Gene Clark's backup harmonies (and Clark's backup harmonies
are almost indetectably low in the mix). One musician I interviewed was
kind of incredulous that a song played largely by session musicians
with no folk background could be said to be the song that really
started folk-rock as a mass movement.

But there it is. Dylan wrote the song; the Beatles supplied the
template for reshaping it into an electric rock tune; and the Byrds
applied specific ideas of their own to their drastic rearrangement of
the song to make it into a new music that combined the best parts of
folk and rock. Folk-rock!

Like I said a while back, sometimes you get interesting quotes by
asking people about something no one's ever asked them about before,
because it hasn't been realized that they'll have something to say
about a topic. Peter & Gordon, thought of as a British Invasion pop
duo, actually had some strong antecedents to folk-rock in some of their
material. When Gene Clark first approached Roger McGuinn with the idea
of forming an act, he had something like a Peter & Gordon sound in
mind. So I interviewed Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon for the book. He
said this about the Byrds' version of "Mr. Tambourine Man":

"I thought, ?What an interesting way to handle a Dylan song!? In those
days, it was fairly unheard of to take somebody?s song and completely
and utterly change it. That specific song was the first one that I can
remember where they?d taken the song and completely changed the whole
concept of it, which I was thought was great."
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #81 of 288: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Wed 2 Oct 02 06:33
    
Indeed, the release of the Byrds' version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" was
an axis turning moment, fueled by the Beatles and Dylan. 

I am further intrigued by Dylan's concurrent infusion of electric
instruments into his music on "Bringing It All Back Home" and the role
producer Thom Wilson played. Do you agree with Wilson's assertion that
he steered Dylan in more of a rock direction? Secondly, how do you view
the relative impact of guitarist Bruce Langhorne's contributions to
Dylan's shifting sound during this period? 
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #82 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Wed 2 Oct 02 08:55
    
I do think that Tom Wilson had a good amount to do with helping Dylan
make the transition from folk to rock. Perhaps "steer" is too strong a
word. As one person who knew Dylan told me, no one could make Dylan do
anything he didn't want to do. Dylan was almost undoubtedly thinking of
moving into rock music on his own as well, I believe.

But remember that Dylan did make the transition to rock in the
*studio* in January 1965 with the "Bringing It All Back Home" sessions,
about six months before he did it live with his famous 1965 Newport
Folk Festival appearance. Tom Wilson was the most important factor
helping to oversee this in the studio itself.

It's certain that, whether on his own or with Dylan's knowledge,
Wilson overdubbed electric instruments on Dylan's 1961 recording of
"House of the Rising Sun" on December 8, 1964. In the autobiography of
fellow Columbia artist and Wilson client Dion, Dion confirmed that "Tom
Wilson thought it was worth a try, so he rounded up a bunch of session
cats and took the tapes down to the old Columbia studios. For the next
couple of hours, Tom and I worked out some rock'n'roll arrangements
for Dylan's folk stuff, and let the musicians rip. I was right, it was
totally in the pocket. Tom agreed, and took the doctored songs back to
Bob Dylan." Unfortunately Dion did not respond to my interview
requests, or else I would have asked him to elaborate. (Tom Wilson died
in the late 1970s.)

This overdubbed version of "House of the Rising Sun" came out on the
1995 Dylan CD-ROM "Highway 61 Revisited," although initially it was
misleadingly billed as having been recorded two years before the
Animals' hit version of the song. The electric overdubs on Dylan's
version sound influenced by the Animals' arrangement.

Again it's hard to confirm without being able to ask Wilson and Dylan,
but it seems like Wilson was very helpful in getting sympathetic
accompanists to Dylan's sessions in his early folk-rock recordings (on
"Bringing It All Back Home" and the "Like a Rolling Stone" single; then
Wilson was ousted from the producer's chair in favor of Bob Johnston).
Bruce Langhorne said that Tom Wilson's methods in the studio were
pretty casual, which might have been what Dylan needed. He remembers
Wilson's contributions as "hanging out in the control, [saying] 'Oh, we
got a take.' 'Oh, that's really cool.'" But Langhorne saw this as an
asset: "Some producers felt that they had a job to do, that the
universe would not do the job, but *they* had to do it. And other
producers felt that you put the right people together in the right
circumstance, and it will evolve. That's the kind of producer Tom was."

Tom Wilson made other important contributions as a folk-rock producer
outside of his work with Dylan. He produced some underrated and
barely-heard 1965 folk-rock records with Dion. He also, famously,
overdubbed electric instruments onto the original acoustic version of
"The Sound of Silence," giving Simon & Garfunkel their first hit. Later
he went beyond folk-rock's parameters to do some producing for the
Mothers of Invention, the Velvet Underground, and the Soft Machine.

Bruce Langhorne, like Wilson, actually worked on relatively few
folk-rock recordings with Dylan; just the "Bringing It All Back Home"
sessions, as well as small contributions to some tentative tracks with
band accompaniment that Dylan recorded in late 1962 (only a couple of
which were released, one of them being "Corrina, Corrina" on
"Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," the other being the rare single "Mixed Up
Confusion"). Still, "Bringing It All Back Home" was Dylan's major
transition from folk to rock, so Langhorne qualifies as an important
associate.

I think Langhorne's sound was a combination of acoustic and electric
properties, as he was "going electric" by putting a pickup on his
acoustic guitar. He also got a tremolo effect by borrowing a twin
reverb Fender amp from Sandy Bull, who made a couple of excellent early
world-fusion type instrumental albums for Vanguard Records around this
time. Influenced by Roebuck Staples of the Staples Singers, he would
find a tremolo that was compatible with the rhythm of the specific
song. Langhorne had already played in this style for Richard & Mimi
Farina's first album, already recorded before "Bringing It All Back
Home" but not released.

For Dylan's purposes, this was suitable because of course Dylan was
right in the middle of making the transition from acoustic to electric.
So Langhorne's sound retained folky traits while adding volume and
textures that were electric, and didn't seem either too electric or too
acoustic for the sound Dylan was exploring. On "Bringing It All Back
Home," "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and "She Belongs to Me" are good
examples of Langhorne's playing.

Langhorne is missing parts on fingers due to a childhood accident,
which limited his range and speed. As a result, he believes, he was
quite suitable for becoming an accompanist, as he was forced to listen
to the needs of the individual songs and singers and say a lot in a
little space. One of his trademarks is fast bursts of responsive
triplets. He played in such a style not only for Dylan and the Farinas,
but for several other folkies going electric, like Tom Rush.

Bruce had this to say to me about his work with Dylan: "It was just
amplified and sustained acoustic playing, really. I played the same
sort of lines that I would play with somebody like Odetta, who would
provide the same sort of thing that Dylan provided, which was like a
really inevitable rhythmic structure. The people that I most enjoyed
playing with were the people who had an unstoppable thread to their
music; it couldn't be diverted easily. The root, the core was gonna be
there. And my job was really, essentially, icing; I put icing on the
cake. But in order for me to do my job, that basic thread had to be
there.

"I was forced to play very much in the moment, because I did not have
a great deal of sophistication in classical or jazz technique. I had to
rely on communication and empathy to get me to play the next note, the
right note, the right phrase or something. Which I why I liked working
with somebody like Dylan, because they were able to communicate what
the next note or section was gonna be. Some of the Dylan tunes on
'Bringing It All Back Home' were done without rehearsal. Everybody was
able to tune into what he was going to do next. Not that he was
predictable, but he was inevitable."
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #83 of 288: Regime change in the USA! (sd) Wed 2 Oct 02 09:48
    
forgive me for returning to shawn phillips again, but i just readthis on one
of his fan sights concerning Donovan's Sunshine Superman LP:

Shawn Phillips wrote the music of "Season Of The Witch".
He also wrote a little bit of "Guinevere" and "The Fat Angel".
He played sitar on "Three King Fishers" and "Sunshine Superman".

Note:
Shawn Phillips never got credit for this album.
Donovan's manager never put Shawn name down on the album.

Sounds plausible since he played sitar and co-wrote on other Donovan
records.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #84 of 288: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Wed 2 Oct 02 09:54
    
>>>He also got a tremolo effect by borrowing a twin reverb Fender amp
from Sandy Bull, who made a couple of excellent early world-fusion type
instrumental albums for Vanguard Records around this time.<<<

Sandy Bull is the best Sixties musician no one's ever heard of, I
think. I've got the second of the Vanguard LPs you mention, and could
listen to its version of "Memphis" all day and all of the night. 

He died earlier this year (late last year?). There was a drug problem,
I think.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #85 of 288: Gary Lambert (almanac) Wed 2 Oct 02 10:24
    

Not to steer anyone away from Richie's book, of course (!), but to
recommend a valuable supplementary work: David Hajdu's excellent
"Positively Fourth Street" recounts the complex and tempestuous
relationships between Bob Dylan, Richard Farina and the Baez sisters,
Joan and Mimi (and Pauline, who co-wrote "Pack Up Your Sorrows"), with
much of the action taking place right in the middle of the period that
folk-rock was being born.

Hajdu presents some interesting evidence to suggest that Richard Farina
might have had a hand in goading Dylan into going electric, having done
so in the studio himself a month or two before Dylan started "Bringing
It All Back Home" (and using some of the same musicians, including Bruce
Langhorne). Dylan and Farina were, it seems, intensely competitive with
one another (Dylan, for example, is described as hugely jealous of
Farina's having gotten a novel published first), and some of the people
Hajdu interviewed for the book believe that the can-you-top-this nature
of the relationship between the two men had at least some role in
inspiring their recording endeavors at the time.

Another interesting footnote to the Farina-Dylan friendship/rivalry,
from the Hajdu book: Farina, it seems, had planned to "go electric"
onstage at Newport in '65 -- the day *before* Dylan's infamous set --
but had his grand plan thwarted by rain.

But as far as electrified Dylan in the studio goes, there is at least
one example I know of that significantly predates both "Bringing It All
Back Home" *and* Tom Wilson's overdubs on "House Of The Rising Sun."
That would be "Mixed Up Confusion," a one-off oddity he knocked out
during the 1962 "Freewheelin'" sessions, back when he was still very
much the fair-haired Prince of Folk, and long before the Beatles or the
Byrds or Dick Farina may or may not have influenced his folk-rock
conversion. It was released as a single, went nowhere, and disappeared
for many years (except, of course for ubiquitous appearances on
bootlegs), until being officially exhumed for inclusion in the
"Biograph" box set. No one claims that Dylan was trying to invent
something called "folk-rock" with "Mixed Up Confusion" -- more likely,
it was something he did on a whim, the closest he could get to making a
flat-out rockabilly record. But it's an interesting reminder that Dylan
was never, as some folk religionists would like to think, a pure, heir-
to-Woody folkie, seduced and corrupted by rock 'n' roll. He was *always*
into rock 'n' roll, going back at least as far as his high school days
in Hibbing, when he played Little Richard songs at the school talent
contest (which he did not win, IIRC).
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #86 of 288: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Wed 2 Oct 02 12:42
    
After high school, Dylan played briefly (piano) with, amazingly
enough, Bobby Vee. He wasn't Dylan then, though, nor was he Robert
Zimmerman. He was Elston Gunnn (yes, three n's). <almanac>'s right:
Dylan's always had a rock and roll heart.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #87 of 288: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Thu 3 Oct 02 08:56
    
Speaking of rock and roll hearts ... the Rolling Stones and the Kinks,
among other British rock artists, added distinctive folk colorations
to their musical palettes in the mid '60s, as you point out in "Turn!
Turn! Turn!" My question is ... Richie, do you think that was as a
result of American folk-rock musicians/songs, the Beatles, dabblings in
traditional British folk, or all of the above?  
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #88 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 3 Oct 02 10:26
    
It was all of the above, to varying degrees. Folk music, it should be
pointed out, was a part of most British Invasion bands' backgrounds,
even if it wasn't a dominant part by the time most of them started
recording. Many British bands, the Beatles being the most famous of
them, started out as "skiffle" groups. Skiffle was an idiosyncratically
British form of folk revival music, played on acoustic guitars and
simple homemade percussion/rhythm instruments like a washboard and tea
chest. Lonnie Donegan, who had a hit in England and America with "Rock
Island Line" (from the great folk-blues singer Leadbelly's repertoire),
was immensely popular in England. He inspired many teenage British
musicians to start playing in bands, with a repertoire highlighting
folk songs. The simple instrumentation was a big factor, not only
because the songs were relatively easy to play, but also because
teenagers could afford the instruments. That was a big consideration in
a country where the standard of living was considerably lower than it
was in the US, and amps and electric guitars weren't as easy to come by
even if you could afford them.

More blues-R&B-oriented musicians, like the Rolling Stones and the
Animals, were aware of acoustic blues and folk musicians like
Leadbelly, Josh White, and Big Bill Broonzy when they began playing
music. "Authenticity" was highly valued among the hip blues
aficionados, much as it was valued among American folk revivalists, and
old country blues records (and folk records by the likes of Woody
Guthrie and Ramblin' Jack Elliott) could be considered much more
worthwhile and genuine than commercial rock ones among this set. In
"Turn! Turn! Turn!," Animals drummer John Steel speculates that Animals
singer Eric Burdon has claimed to have learned "House of the Rising
Sun" from Josh White's version because it sounded hipper to say that
than admit that they learned it from Bob Dylan's version, which Steel
believes to have been the actual case.

But a difference between British Invasion groups and American
folk-rock ones was that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, many of the
young American musicians who would become notable folk-rockers
retreated predominantly or wholly into acoustic folk music. In England,
many of the young musicians of roughly the same age who'd begun as
skifflers expanded into electric rock music, years before they began
recording. In a sense they'd made the transition that bands like the
Byrds and Lovin' Spoonful would four or five years later, without the
attendant fuss.

So when folk elements began to enter rock music in the mid-1960s,
these British groups did have some familiarity with the form and were
prepared to incorporate it into their sound on occasion, as the
Searchers did with "What Have They Done to the Rain," the Rolling
Stones did with "Lady Jane," and the Kinks did with "Well Respected
Man," to give a few notable examples. I do believe that Bob Dylan's
popularity -- he became a pop star faster in England than in America,
actually -- was the single biggest influence on British bands, the
Beatles included, making their lyrics more sophisticated and
introducing more folk-rockish elements into their sound. I think you
can suddenly hear Ray Davies' lyrics for the Kinks get more socially
conscious and complex around late 1965 as Dylan's influence on
worldwide pop kicked in, on songs like "Well Respected Man" and
"Dedicated Follower of Fashion." The Beatles' quick absorption of
Dylan's influence, on mid-1965 songs like "Help!" and "You've Got to
Hide Your Love Away," no doubt had some influence on their fellow
British bands in considering such directions as well.

But a difference between the US and UK scenes is that none of the
major British Invasion bands suddenly made folk-rock their main focus.
They just made it an influence, something to dip into heavily on
occasion (as Manfred Mann did on their Bob Dylan covers), but not their
main dish. One of the great strengths of British rock during this
period was its eclecticism. British groups were able to tap into a
folk-rock tributary with excellent results while continuing to explore
other directions as well.

Or they could take the inspiration of Dylan and other folk-rock
songwriters to elevate their lyrics to a new level without using the
musical form of folk-rock, as the Yardbirds did with "Shapes of
Things." One of the song's co-authors, Yardbirds bassist Paul
Samwell-Smith, specifically credited Bob Dylan -- and Bob Lind! -- for
opening up the acceptance for a song like "Shapes of Things," with its
references to war and the environment. Dylanesque lyricism continued to
have such an effect on non-folk-rock British groups for some time;
Traffic's Dave Mason told Melody Maker in 1967, "I changed my whole
idea about life about a year ago, listening to a Bob Dylan LP one night
in the flat of a Birmingham club owner."

Those young British musicians who had decided to stick with acoustic
music instead of expanding into rock back in the early 1960s were, for
whatever reason, much more reluctant to expand into electric music in
the mid-1960s, having made a decision and stuck to it. Their American
counterparts, on the other hand, for the most part, rushed from
acoustic folk to electric rock music from 1964-66. As a curious result,
there were no British musicians who combined folk and rock in as equal
measures as the major American folk-rock acts, or switched from
acoustic to electric music with notable results, in the mid-1960s, with
the crucial exception of Donovan.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #89 of 288: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Thu 3 Oct 02 10:55
    
"Lady Jane" is a Stones song that seems to come from nowhere and leads
nowhere. The band never used its Renaissance-esque sound (or
instrumentation) again, and I think the song was but a minor hit in a
peak period for the Stones. But it is one terrific and beautiful song,
and ranks among my favorite five or six Stones tunes. I like that on
top of the gorgeous accompaniment to the aching melody, Mick is blowing
off girlfriends in the lyric. A typical Stones nasty, cynical edge.

I wonder how truly deeply Mick and Keith consciously delved into
British folk traditions to produce "Lady Jane"? Maybe it was just a
goof with a harpsichord.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #90 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 3 Oct 02 12:01
    
Actually there was at least some conscious folk and folk-rock
influence going into "Lady Jane." In 1971, Keith Richards told Rolling
Stone, "To me, 'Lady Jane' is very Elizabethan. Brian [Jones] was
getting into dulcimer then. Because he dug Richard Farina. We were also
listening to a lot of Appalachian music then too." Another far more
obscure, and very good, Rolling Stones song from this time that I think
has an Applachian folk influence is "Sittin' On a Fence."
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #91 of 288: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 3 Oct 02 12:09
    
I just heard a Cat Stevens song on the radio. (There was a long while when
he was almost never played, seemed to me, after he denounced Rushdie, but
he is back somewhat, it seems, at least on kfog in SF.)

Do you see his work as more related to brit or american folkrock? 
Peace Train almost sounded like it was created as a faux traditional
old time tune. 
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #92 of 288: "First you steal a bicycle...." (rik) Thu 3 Oct 02 12:42
    
"...but in the program guide of KQED in San
 Francisco (where I live), it was described as "a celebration of folk
 rock music." But it wasn't, though some notable folk-rock figures
 (McGuire, Roger McGuinn, and Judy Collins) were involved."


I was almost afraid to watch it myself, and some of it was embarrassingly
bad, But Collins opened it with an excellent five-piece band doing an
updated "Both Sides Now" which I found charming, and McGuinn, backed by
bass, drums, and a guy on six-string, sounded exactly like the Byrds on a
good night.


I saw Jim and Jean opening for somebody else at the Golden Bear back in 64
or 65, and was just blown away.  And also totally smitten by Jean Ray.   An
indication of how impressed I was is the fact that I don't remember the
headliner.  There was one album of theirs available and I bought it.  It was
stolen by an ex-girlfriend, alas.   What became of them?   I thought they'd
be huge.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #93 of 288: Berliner (captward) Thu 3 Oct 02 12:44
    
Just getting here (been on the road), and I'd like to welcome Richie,
too. He was a help in my finding Autosalvage a couple of years ago
(along with <tnf>, and I've long been amazed by his access to obscure
niches and crannies of rock and roll history. I'm really looking
forward to reading this book (and the sequel) because it touches on
some work I'm doing, but all I wanted to do in this post is a) mention
that the original "California Dreaming" was out on an album by Barry
McGuire that I heard at Michael Ochs' house; b) thank him for
mentioning the TIM HARDIN IS A BAD BOY graffito, which was used as a
background not only by the Spoonful but many other folk bad-boys
including the Holy Modal Rounders, and c) ask him what Bruce
Langhorne's doing these days. 
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #94 of 288: Gary Lambert (almanac) Thu 3 Oct 02 13:20
    

I saw Jim and Jean a bunch around New York in the late 60s/early 70s,
often appearing with Phil Ochs (Ochs and Jim Glover were college
roommates, IIRC). I still have a copy of their LP "People World" sitting
around somewhere. I think they broke up marriage-wise as well as career-
wise sometime in the 70s, and really did seem to vanish without a trace
(although a Google search did turn up the info that Jim Glover lives and
occasionally performs in Florida). I, too, was smitten with Jean!
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #95 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 3 Oct 02 15:04
    
I don't get into Cat Stevens much, even in my sequel book "Eight Miles
High," as his career as a singer-songwriter really didn't get going
until the early '70s (though he had a little success with more
pop-oriented material in England in 1967, before tuberculosis knocked
him out of commission for a couple of years). I see him as about
equally influenced by American singer-songwriters as by British and
American pop-rock, kind of in the same way that early Elton John was
influenced by all of those streams. Many British musicians and critics
would scoff at the notion of Cat Stevens having anything to do with
folk music, American or British. But that says more about some
peculiarly British strains of purism than whether Cat Stevens had some
folk-rock in him; many British musicians and pundits feel the same way
about Donovan, for example.

Cat Stevens sounds to me folk-rock-influenced, but in a way a little
more removed from the folk-rock blend of the 1960s than many other
singer-songwriters who emerged a little earlier, in the mid-to-late
1960s. That is, he did pop-rock music influenced by early folk-rock
singer-songwriters, rather than more explicitly combine folk, rock, and
pop elements as earlier folk-rockers did.

Cat Stevens's name actually only came up once during my interviews,
when I talked to Ian Anderson, the editor of the leading British
folk/roots magazine fRoots (not the same Ian Anderson as the Jethro
Tull guy). He told me, "There was a lot more connection between the
folk scene and the pop scene in the '60s than there has been ever
since. It is unusual now for people on the rock scene to know anything
about the people who were working in the folk scene. In the 1960s, you
can be sure that most of your major rock guitarists would also know
about Bert Jansch and Davy Graham. And not only that, they mixed up
together. A lot of people from the rock scene used to go down to Les
Cousins in Soho. So quite often, you'd get people like Cat Stevens
who'd come down to do a floor spot at the Cousins and try out a song.
Well, he would never be seen in any other folk club in the country. It
was not unusual for people like Long John Baldry to come down. And that
was where you got this sort of fusion between the bluesy side of
things and the folk side of things, which produced, in the end, things
like Pentangle.

"I think that's why the music got so exciting, 'cause everybody
listened to everybody else. So, although you might choose to just play
one thing, at the same time, you had an open mind for something else.
So you had, for example, the Young Tradition, who were [an] a cappella,
hard-line traditional harmony singing group, who would be just as
likely to go and see a blues band, free jazz, or whatever. That applied
from any direction. I certainly, as a blues player, opened for some of
the early folk-rock bands, like Fairport and Pentangle, things like
that. Al [Stewart], very often, used to take me out with him when he
went to gigs so I could do a floor spot. John Renbourn did it with my
friend Al Jones. The only people who seemed to be really heavily into
competition, to my memory, were Roy Harper and John Martyn. Those were
the guys who were keen on being stars."
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #96 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 3 Oct 02 15:17
    
I don't know what became of Jim & Jean, although one guy who knew them
said (I couldn't vouch for his accuracy) that last he heard Jean was a
secretary, maybe in Texas. I gave their 1966 album "Changes" quite a
bit of coverage in "Turn! Turn! Turn!" As a rough summary, it sounds
rather like Ian & Sylvia, without as much vocal or instrumental
personality, but with a more consistent range of contemporary songs and
production more suitable for early folk-rock than was heard on Ian &
Sylvia's early folk-rock records. It's one of the few albums I list in
the book's critical discography of important folk-rock recordings that
has never been reissued, and it should. Highlights on the album include
their cover of friend Phil Ochs's "Crucifixion" and "Changes" (Jim
Glover was a good friend of Ochs and had played with him in college in
a folk duo); David Blue's "Strangers in a Strange Land"; and the
original composition "One Sure Thing," covered on Fairport Convention's
first album.

I think Jim & Jean didn't become bigger because they didn't write much
first-class original material, and they just sounded too much like Ian
& Sylvia (much more so on the rare folk album they did that preceded
"Changes," just called "Jim & Jean"). They didn't get that hit single
that would have aided their career immensely, maybe because Verve
Records wasn't set up that great for hit singles; their version of
"Changes" sounds like it could have been a hit given the right breaks.
Also I'm not very big on their late-1960s album "People World" at all,
which has a lot of lugubrious pop influence.

Jim & Jean's marriage did break up (so, for that matter, did Ian &
Sylvia's). Someone I interviewed remembered seeing Jim & Jean play at a
Phil Ochs memorial, by which time they were personally separated, and
recalled Jim giving Jean a rather nasty introduction, which was sad.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #97 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 3 Oct 02 15:23
    
Bruce Langhorne's living happily in Venice, California. He's kind of
maintaining involvement in a bunch of projects: still playing guitar
sometimes (he was planning to be doing some gigs with Eric Andersen
when I interviewed him), marketing his own brand of cooking hot sauce
("Brother Bru-Bru's African Hot Sauce'), planning a book of his own.
For a long time he's done some work for film soundtracks.
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #98 of 288: John Ross (johnross) Thu 3 Oct 02 18:04
    
Josh White's version of "House of the Rising Sun" is pretty clearly a source
of The Animals' later cover. It's a very similar arangement. And White did
appear in London in the spring of 1961, so it's possible that Burdon saw him
play. Not to say that he didn't also hearthe Dylan version.

In his notes to the great Brit-folk rock collection "The electric Muse",
Karl Dallas says Peter Bellamy of the Young Tradition told him they (the YT)
"were really a pop group, not a folk group" because they were applying a pop
sensibility to their performances. They (along with peple like Jansch and
Martin Carthy) were far from "folk purists" of the Ewan MacColl school.

And as for Traffic, Winwood was apparently a fan of The Watersons--Traffic's
"John Barleycorn" is taken from their 1965 recording of the same song.

Did you talk to Karl Dallas in your research for either book?
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #99 of 288: Antonio Ruiz Diaz (jonl) Thu 3 Oct 02 18:55
    
Email from Antonio:

I think that the work of afro-american musicians on some music from, at
least, folk era, has been under-rated. Evidently they weren't too much
but there were superb performers like Odetta, Harry Belafonte, Richie
Havens and Terry Callier, and musicians as Bill Lee, Bruce Langhorne,
Earl Palmer, Jimmy Bond, Jr, and more obscure soloist (Josh White, Jr.,
Major Wiley -another Fred Neil's partner who sang with him in the Bitter
End live sampler and wrote "Right, Wrong Or Ready" that Karen Dalton
covered in his first album (Capitol, 1969). Don't you think all they
deserve more credit?
  
inkwell.vue.160 : Richie Unterberger, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
permalink #100 of 288: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 3 Oct 02 19:24
    
I have to say that I don't hear much of a pop sensibility at work in
the Young Tradition -- at least in their recordings. One interesting
comment I got in my interviews, though, was from Dave Cousins of the
Strawbs, who said he wrote "Where Is This Dream of Your Youth" as a
possible single for the Young Tradition: "I was trying to write them a
pop song." The Strawbs ended up recording the song on their first
album. It has some Gregorian harmonies and you can imagine the Young
Tradition doing an a cappella arrangement of that.

Karl Dallas did not respond to interview requests for my books,
although I did quote some of his writing from Melody Maker from the
time, and noted his role as an open-minded folk columnist who gave a
good amount of space to British folk-rock starting in the late 1960s.
Arlo Guthrie, who stayed with Dallas in England as a teenager on an
early visit, talked about him in my interview.
  

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