The Flowing Waters of Lake Jefferson

Saturday January 26, 2008 : On whose Shoulders, do the current folkies stand?
The classic old guard of folk

Folk Plus is hosted and planned by Angela Page and airs Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on WJFF, at 90.5 fm in Jeffersonville, N.Y. and 94.5 in Monticello N.Y. We are Hydro-Powered Public Radio and  stream online at WWW.WJFFRADIO.ORG  Come see the station at our open house the first Saturday of every month. Welcome new web listeners, especially those battling illness or who are housebound.

THANKS SO MUCH to the station management for accommodating  my health issues which allow me to continue to volunteer Saturday  mornings and bring you the music that 'moves and sustains me.

Angela Page of Folk Plus

The attribution to Bernard is due to John of Salisbury. In 1159, John wrote in his Metalogicon:

"Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in The Friend (1828), wrote:

"The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on."

and Isaac Newton famously remarked in a letter to his rival Robert Hooke dated February 5, 1676 that:

"What Descartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, and especially in taking the colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

Today on Folk Plus, Just some of the artists on whose shoulders the current folk crowd stand?
John Stewart passed away on Saturday, January 19, 2008 after suffering a major stroke the day before.  John's recording career began in the 1950s with his own garage band, The Furies. He started writing contemporary folk music in the early 1960s and formed a group called The Cumberland Three.
In 1961, John replaced Dave Guard as a member of the Kingston Trio. 

1.  Kinston Trio - Take Her out of Pity
Absolutely the best of the kingston trio -

2. John Stewart - Daydream Believer
Livev at McCabes - 1991

In 1967, John left the Trio to pursue a career as a solo artist. His initial recording, "Signals Through the Glass" with Buffy Ford was followed by his landmark masterpiece, "California Bloodlines". Since then he has recorded over 40 albums, cassettes, and CDs. John is featured prominently in the new show "The Kingston Trio: Wherever We May Go" currently airing on Public Television station in the US. His most recent CD "The Day the River Sang" has just been released by Appleseed Records. John has written hit records for other recording artists like "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees and "Runaway Train" by Rosanne Cash.His own major hits include "Gold" (with Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham), "Midnight Wind", and "Lost Her in the Sun".   John Stewart died last saturday, he was 68.

3. New Christy Minstrels - Green Green (one of the first large group folk ensembles, 1963 hit)
Havin' A Hootenanny- K-Tel

4. The Highwaymen- Michael (61, 2 weeks as number 1)
Havin' A Hootenanny- K-Tel

5. Rooftop Singers - Walk Right In (#1 in 1963)
Havin' A Hootenanny- K-Tel

6. Chad Mitchell Trio (Guthrie) - Great Historical Bum
at the Bitter End - (1962) - Folk Era

Eric Anderson, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Rush etc. (Anderson)- Thirsty Boots
Waves - Appleseed

8. Buffy St. Marie - Now that the Buffalo is Gone
Best of... - Vanguuard

Joan Baez -(Dylan) Farewell Angelina
Live at Newpart - Vanguard

10. Bob Dylan - All Along the Watchtower 233
Columbia Legacy Dylan

11. Fairport Convention - Walk A While
Piladelphia Folk Festival - Sliced Bread

12. Dave Van Ronk - Green Green Rocky Road
Piladelphia Folk Festival - Sliced Bread

13. Rev. Gary Davis - If I HAd My Way (62)
Piladelphia Folk Festival - Sliced Bread

14. Woody Guthrie - Black Jack Davie
Worried Man Blues- Specdial Music Co.

15. Janis Ian - Society's Child
Philadelphia Folk Festival - Sliced Bread
In 1967 at the age of fifteen, Janis Ian wrote  "Society's Child ," about an interracial romance frowned upon by her peers and teachers, forbidden to see him by the girl 's mother; the girl ultimately decides to end the relationship, claiming the societal norms left her no other choice.

Little Richard - Good Golly Miss Molly
1958 Rock N Roll - TIme Life

17 Odetta - Hit or Miss

Philadelphia Folk Festival - Sliced Bread

18. Peter Paul and Mary - (Lightfoot) In the early Mornging Rain
Best of P P & M. - Warner Bros. Rhino.

19. Ian and Sylvia - Four Strong Winds
Best of the Vanguard Years - Vanguard

20. Tom Paxton - Last Thing on My Mind
Best of Tom - Elektra

21. Townes Van Zandt - Poncho and Lefty
Live at the Old Quarter -

22. John Prine - Hello in There
John Prine - Atlantic

23. Peggy Seeger - Gonna Be An Engineer
Fowkways Years 55-92 - Smithsonian Folkways

24. Steve Goodman - Penny Evans
Somebody Elses Troubles - Buddah

25. Pete Seeger - (M Reynolds) Little Boxes
Greatest Hits - Columbia

26. Phil Ochs - I Aint a Marching Anymore
Piladelphia Folk Festival - Sliced Bread

27. Little Richard - Good Golly Miss Molly

28 Weavers - Wrek of the John B
hard, Ain't it Hard -

29 The Travellers - Something to Sing About
This Land is Your Land -

30. Jesse Winchester -
Brand New Tennessee Waltz
From MountainStage - Blue Plate Music

30. Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
Best of the Johnny Cash Tv Show - columbia

31. Ramblin Jack Elliott - Freight Train
Lost Tpic Tapes - Hightone

32. Smothers Brothers- Mom Always Liked you Best

33. Roy Orbeson - Only the lonely, Pretty Woman
Best of tehe Johnny Cash Show 69-71 - Columbia / Legacy

34 The Journeymen - 500 Miles
Hootenanny - K-tel

From roseanne cash's website:

January 20, 2008
Hello Friends,

Over twenty years ago I became friends with John  Stewart. It changed my life
irrevocably, and for the better. I recorded his song  "Runaway Train", and it
happened to become a big hit record. When we met, around  the time of the
recording of the song, John had been in the business for a very  long
time--nearly as long as I had been alive. He was a tremendously successful  songwriter
("Daydream Believer", "Gold", "California Bloodlines") and had been a  member of
the Kingston Trio for six years, beginning in 1961. He had toured  endlessly
and had met everyone and done everything. I was a neophyte, with a  seven-year
career and a handful of hit records. I was enjoying a hot streak at  the
moment and was pretty full of myself the afternoon we met in my office on  Music
Row in Nashville. John and I were sitting on the sofa becoming acquainted  and
he was talking to me about music and art, pulling out photos of his
paintings, and other people's paintings, and talking excitedly about obscure  artists
and musicians. He asked if I liked Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In 1986, I  had
never heard of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, but I didn't want him to know that.
I said, "Yes, I like her."
He paused and looked at me seriously and  said, "Never say that outside of
this room."
Then he pulled out a CD and  showed me that LBM was not a woman, but a group.
I squirmed uncomfortably.
We decided to take a walk.
We were strolling down the sidewalk of 17th  Avenue South when we passed a
guy standing in the front yard of an office  building.
He nodded at us and said, "Hey, I love your records!"
"Thank  you!" I said, somewhat too gratefully and magnanimously, after my
previous  musical humiliation. "Thank you so much!"
We walked another block in  silence. John turned to me. "He could have been
talking to me, you know," he  said. I froze, and then broke down laughing.
We have been close friends  since that day.
John always used to say to me when dissecting a song, or a painting, or a
book, 'Where's the madness, Rose? Where's the MADNESS?' If it was too perfect,
too thought-out, too rational, he could be withering in his criticism. But
never  with me. With me, with my work, he was always respectful, always gentle.
If he  didn't like it, he didn't say much. If he did like it, he was effusive,
he would  call back later to discourse further on WHY it was so good, he would
expound and  deliberate, he was generous to a fault. He was so, so generous.
There was a line  in my song "The Wheel'" that he loved: 'the truth moves
through us, even when we  sleep'. When he first heard that line, you would have
thought it was one of the  lost Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally, I said to him
timidly, 'But John, I'm not  entirely sure I even know what it means.' Oh, then he
loved it even more. The  line had moved through me in the same way that the
truth moves through us when  we sleep. All was perfect.
There are songs of John's that I sing to myself to comfort myself.
"Remembering the Sun" is one of them. The verse about the future is so dark, and  so
bleak that it actually soothes me:
"Looking to the future
I see myself alone
in the desert, in an  Airstream
with a mantra and a phone
you'd come by to see me
and we'd  play the VCR
and stare at who we were
and not at who we are
so be ready and be steady
the future, it will come
but we can survive  the darkest night
Remembering the sun"
John struggled with depression-- his 'black dog'--and facing the black dog,
and naming it, and singing it into submission was essential. Once, when I
hadn't  heard from him in a long time, I sent him a post card saying only 'Black
dog?'  Another time, out of the blue, he sent me a card with just a drawing of
the  black dog.
Years ago, I went to his house in Malibu and we set up easels outside
overlooking the ocean and spent the afternoon painting. At the end of the day,  he
tore up his paintings. I asked him why, and he said with disdain, 'What do  you
want me to do? Frame them? Hang them? Save them in a drawer? I just wanted
to paint with you.'
We wrote a song by fax once, before email. It was called "Dance With the
Tiger". He asked me to write the music to his lyrics, as he wrote them. It was
the first time anyone ever asked me to write just the music-- I was the little
golden girl lyricist, and no one would have even thought to ask me to write
music. But John did. It changed my whole self-image. That one song gave me
more  confidence than writing an entire album of lyrics. I recorded it on my
album  "Interiors", and it remains one of my favorite songs of that period of my
If he wasn't critical of my work, he could be critical of my behavior, if he
thought it was warranted. Once, on the "King's Record Shop" tour in the late
80's, I played the Roxy in Los Angeles and it was a major event-- there were
a  lot of big shot guests in the audience, including John, and music critics
from  Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times, among others. I invited Benmont
Tench  to come up out of the audience to play with me on a song he had
written, but I  only barely acknowledged that John wrote "Runaway Train" before I
performed it,  and I didn't ask him to play. It wasn't entirely my fault; the
band started  playing the song before I had a chance to properly set it up, so I
had to  squeeze in a rushed acknowledgment during the intro. But he gave me
quite a  dressing-down after the show. I'll never forget it. And he was right. I
should  have taken care to give him the respect he was due. Another time, he
also gave  me the best, most liberating performance advice anyone ever gave
me. I did a  'Songwriter's in the Round' show in 1993 at the Bottom Line in New
York with Lou  Reed, David Byrne and Luka Bloom. After the show, I was wildly
disappointed in  myself. I thought I performed so badly that I couldn't sleep
that night. I  tossed and turned and squirmed and went over every word and
note until I nearly  drove myself crazy. The next morning I called John. "I was
terrible last night,"  I wailed, and I went into detail about how bad I was and
how, in detail, I had  failed so miserably. I thought John would be sweet and
solicitous and infinitely  kind, as he usually was when talking about my
work. I was settling in for an  hour of obsessive complaining on my part and
coddling on his. He listened for a  couple of minutes and then interrupted me and
dismissed me out of hand. "So you  had a bad gig. What are they going to do?
Re-align the PLANETS?" He shocked me  out of the self-pity, maybe not
permanently, but enough that I can always refer  to that moment. Now, whenever I have a
bad night, and I am tempted to indulge in  some self-flagellation, I think,
'So what are they going to do? RE-ALIGN THE  PLANETS?"
I have a file of letters, faxes, homemade books, postcards and photos of his
paintings that he sent me, as well as a couple of important paintings. One
sheaf  of correspondence is about a play we were writing. We intended to paint,
in real  time, during the performance of the play. It never came to fruition
but we had  so much fun talking about that play. It was deliciously terrifying
to think  about doing something so artistically dangerous. I often turned to
him when I  was consumed with fear about taking artistic risks, or revealing
myself as a  writer. I have a beautiful letter from him in which he says that
the terror is a  beautiful thing to have, and he writes to me in his role as a
"Dear Rose,
I know the feeling of terror when your art is about to be  hung. I think the
terror is part of the process that keeps us creating. I think  as long as
we're creating from the right place, that is, that place where there  is something
that has to be said, not because we want people to think we're  great or
wanting a reaction. Because we just have to say it, is the reason to  say it. It
is Sent. I think we're OK as long as we work from that place.  Technique, form,
color, etc. are always going to be improving and need  improving. You can
have great technique and if your work just lays there, so  what? I think inspired
work transcends technique."
After I moved to New York in 1991, I didn't see John as often. He came and
stayed with me a couple of times, and I drove once to Piermont, across the
Hudson River, when he played at The Turning Point, to sing with him. Once I went
to the Birchmere in Washington, DC. to play with him at a benefit for Buffy,
his  wife, after she had been ill. And we talked about projects that didn't
pan out,  and we traded songs, and emails. And time went by. And sometimes too
much time  went by between phone calls and letters. I have a feeling I
disappointed him by  not being more assertive in our friendship, which grieves me
deeply. If he only  knew how much I cherish him, and the tremendous debt I owe
him. That afternoon  in the mid-1980's when I met him, I thought I was giving him
a gift by recording  his song. I had no idea that he was about to give me a
far greater gift of  teaching me how to transition from talented dilettante
into real artist, from  puffed-up and shut-down, to wildly curious and wide-open.

John died on January 19th, 2008, with his beautiful wife, Buffy, and his
children, Mikael, Jeremy, Amy, and young Luke by his side. I got out a box of
his letters and drawings that evening and looked for messages, and there were
many-- about art, truth, beauty, persistence, America, destiny, friendship and
songs: all the keys and colors and timbre and depth of John's soul.
John said to me, "God gives us all different messages, hoping we'll talk to
each other". In his song "Strange Rivers", one of my favorites, he said 'there
 are strange rivers, who know our destiny, and we are sailors, you and me". I
am  only grateful I got to sail on the same river for the same short time
with my  dear brother, friend and mentor John, aka Angelbravo, Johnny Diego,
Johnny  Rocket, Johnny Dreams, the Lonesome Picker. I love you, John  Stewart.

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