I have always loved folk music. The more stripped down and rough around the edges the better. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of folk music again. It’s nice to re-visit stuff I haven’t heard in years and listen to old stuff for the first time! Lucky for us, LBPH has a good collection of books about folk music that we can provide to any folkies out there who want to learn more about the roots of American music! Here are three interesting titles to start with:
Blind but Now I See: The Biography of Music Legend Doc Watson
By Kent Gustavson
Biography of blind Grammy Award-winning guitarist, songwriter, and singer Arthel “Doc” Watson (1923-2012) from Appalachian North Carolina. Explores his training at the Raleigh School for the Blind, rise during the 1960s folk revival, partnership with his son Merle, and the development of his flatpicking style of guitar playing. 2010.
The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir
By Dave Van Ronk
Autobiography of musician Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002), who became a fixture in the Greenwich Village folk and jazz music milieu in the 1950s and 1960s. Reminisces about the nightclub scene, Washington Square hootenannies, leftist politics, and Van Ronk’s contemporaries, including the young Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Strong language. 2005.
Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
By Ian Zack
Accidentally blinded in infancy, Davis endured an impoverished childhood in South Carolina. Through his extraordinary gifts as a guitar player, however, he made a life as a street singer and preacher, moving to New York in the 1940s and, eventually, becoming an icon of the 1960s folk music revival. 2015.