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When Woody Guthrie was singing hillbilly songs on a little Los Angeles radio station in the late 1930s he used to mail out a small mimeographed songbook to listeners who wanted the words to his songs. On the bottom of one page appeared the following: This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin' it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of our'n, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do - Pete Seeger, on Woody, June 67

Author Topic: Newport 1966  (Read 3360 times)

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Offline outfidel

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Newport 1966
« on: September 27, 2005, 10:22:01 AM »
For the First Time on DVD: "Festival!" the Newport Folk Festival Film (1963 - 1966)

"Throughout, there is amazing music. The big stars of 60s folk music are represented in full: Peter, Paul and Mary sing their signature versions of "If I Had A Hammer," "The Times They Are A Changin'," and "Blowin' in The Wind," and Pete Seeger, Donovan, Judy Collins and Joan Baez each deliver impassioned performances. The film includes aforementioned blues legends like Howlin' Wolf, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, as well as the Chicago big band blues revivalists the Paul Butterfield Blues Band."

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Re: Newport 1966
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2005, 10:54:01 AM »
The '63 Newport Folk Festival also got considerable play time on the first part of the two-part PBS American Masters program on Bob Dylan.  Happened to catch that late last night.  Interview with Dylan, Segar, Biaz, and many others, plus loads of film clips.

For those who remember the 60s as fondly as I do, it is truely a trip down memory lane.  I guess it was inevitable that the children of the 60s would become part of the historical perspective.

Part 2 is supposed to air tonight (see for a write-up and link to local schedules).  Apparently both parts aired in the UK yesterday, the 26th, on the BBS's Arena Series. 


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Newport 1966
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2006, 03:01:56 AM »
Whilst thumbing through Sing Out in search of Julius Lester's interview with Son House (see Country Blues Lyrics forum) I read Bruce Jackson's lengthy review of the 1966 Newport Folk Festival (Good Music, Diabolical Programming - November 1966). I just had to scan his observations of the blues element which, for me, speaks volumes about such enterprises. I wonder who the "astute observer" was?:

Friday night featured the following events: "Fiddle Contest", "Blues Cutting", "Ballad Topping", Gospel Battle". (Sic) Each of these bouts was graced by a panel of judges. Gollygeewhiz. For the second event of the evening, which was introduced by Lomax as a "Battle of the Blues," Skip James, Son House and Booker White were brought out and positioned on a little rectangle and made to sing in sequence, then made to sing sequential verses as a sort of trick or trip or trap or something like that, I never did find out which. Or why. All this even though none of the three was enthusiastic about the idea and one was violently  opposed to it (and when no one would listen to his argument he responded by getting visibly drunk, the only kind of protest of which he was capable that might penetrate the skulls of the Powers-in-Charge who were obviously immune to his words). The panel of judges was supposed to pick a winner. One member of that panel (me) spent half his time on stage trying (without success) to think of away to sneak away and make everyone (himself included) forget he had been a party to that mess. One rather astute observer said afterwards, "You notice they didn't get Judy Collie, Boffo St. Shawnee or Carolyn Western up there to be judged." They would have said go to hell Stage Manager, and would have had their way. Traditional performers, for all the lip service paid the glorious folk heritage cliches, don't have the same options as them what makes the charts or whatever it is that lets you get to do four songs and not have to be subject to onstage judgement and mismanagement.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Newport 1966
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2006, 10:35:41 AM »
Wow, Bunker Hill, that is a pretty shudder-inducing story.  I know there is a lot of high concept crap that goes on at Folk Festivals in the devising of workshops, but that sounds both ill-conceived and actually hostile ( to say nothing of showing absolutely no understanding of the music these musicians played, its different rhythmic feels, etc.).  Good for Bruce Jackson to have the sense to realize how lame the whole thing was, though it must have been excrutiating for him at the time.
All best,

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Newport 1966
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2006, 11:12:29 AM »


Delta Blues/Cajun Two Step: Music from Mississippi & Louisiana - Newport Folk Festival, 1966 VIDEO V-13050 


Detailed Description 
Delta Blues/Cajun Two-Step is the second volume of footage shot by Alan Lomax at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival. A richly complementary volume to its predecessor, Devil Got My Woman, it digs deeper yet into the sources of African-American roots music. It documents the infamous blues "cutting contest" Lomax stages, pitting Bukka White against Son House and Skip James. House offers one of his notorious blues 'sermons' while Bukka growls and hammers his National guitar; Skip James recreates one of his great 1931 classics, "Cherry Ball Blues." There's even the unlikely pairing of White and James performing "Tombstone Blues." No less striking than the blues offerings here are the five Creole performers of Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin (Amede Ardoin's nephew), who sings and plays accordion in an emotional style akin to his legendary uncle, to the accompaniment of fiddler Canray Fontenot.
Finally, the "African retention" as echoed in blues-based music is dramatically driven home by extraordinary footage of Ed and Lonnie Young & the Fife & Drum Band, residents of Mississippi highlands whose riveting, ritualized performances powerfully portray the continuity of African elements in the New World. 


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Re: Newport 1966
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2006, 07:58:16 PM »
I haven't seen that one.....but I thouroughly enjoyed the DVD of 'Blues At Newport 1966' that has Skip James, Son Houes, Bukka White and Howling Wolf and band playing in a little club.........lovely to see Son House, nicely lubricated dancing about.

Seeing Bukka White groove away with people dancing really brings it home that this music is dance music, it's life's a functional well as great art.

Offline outfidel

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Re: Newport 1966
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2006, 02:01:53 PM »

"You notice they didn't get Judy Collie, Boffo St. Shawnee or Carolyn Western up there to be judged."
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