Jean Ritchie, "Mother of Folk Music"
March 2, 2008 2:57 AM Subscribe
posted by ethel (11 comments total)
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Jean Ritchie, Mother of folk music. Abigail and Balis Ritchie of Viper, Perry County, Kentucky had 14 children, and Jean
was the youngest...
In the summer of 1946, she [more old timey from the Florida Memory Project]
moved to work in the Henry Street Settlement in New York. There she met Alan Lomax,*
Oscar Brand, Leadbelly, and Pete Seeger
and started singing
songs again. In 1948 she shared the stage with The Weavers, Woody Guthrie and Betty Sanders at the Spring Fever Hootenanny.
By 1952, she was traveling on a Fulbright Fellowship to trace and document the roots of her heritage in the British Isles. In 1955, her first book, Singing Family of the Cumberlands
, was hailed as an American classic. Her many recordings and appearances at major folk festivals, including the early Newport Folk Festivals, cultivated a revival of interest in Appalachian music and culture. She also became known as an insightful [realplayer required]
songwriter, penning such classics as Blue Diamond Mines, Black Waters,
and The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore, about life in eastern Kentucky coal country.
page hasn't been updated in a while, but she is an active, performing musician, playing 10-15 shows per year.
*there are several other songs before Ritchie's under this link, and the player makes it so you have to listen through to get to track 4, her beautiful version of "The Cuckoo."
also of note: at least a few of the YouTube links come from her filmmaker husband George Pickow's YouTube account