Paul Clayton and the Folksong Revival (Google eBook)

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Scarecrow Press, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 297 pages
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A scholar and a balladeer, Paul Clayton (1931-1967) is credited with the Top-Ten hit "Gotta Travel On" and was a key figure in the mid-1950s rise of folksong to media popularity. Clayton single-handedly brought hundreds of obscure folksongs to the mainstream radio and recording market, and he influenced listeners and friends from Dave Van Ronk to Bob Dylan, who considered Clayton a mentor, "mindguard," and well of folksong. Paul Clayton and the Folksong Revival is the first biography of the folk singer and song collector. Using accounts from friends, family, and fellow musicians, author Bob Coltman relates the breadth and depth of Clayton's extraordinary life, from his birth into a singing family and his teenage years as a radio singer and folksong collector, to his establishment in New York as a folk performer and recording artist, to his tragic early suicide. Clayton's recordings are also examined, interspersed with his insights and adventures as a performer and songwriter in the folk world. Gradually, Clayton's achievements become overwhelmed by his disintegration as a drug user, failing musician, and bipolar gay man, culminating in eyewitness accounts relating to his tragic end. Presenting an in-depth look at folk music in the 1950s, Coltman illuminates what it meant to be a working, but not starring, folksinger in this period. With quotes from a number of folksongs, a discographic summary, and a bibliography, this volume brings to life this intelligent, perceptive, and largely unknown scholar-folksinger.
  

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I cant review the book because I havent read it. I knew Paul in 1951 in Paris as I told Bob a few years ago. We lived in a youth hostel that had been a gestapo headquartes and still had swaztikas on the walls and doors. At night after lights out he played and sang in the dark. Gotta travel on was a favourite and So long its been good to know you. We all loved listening to him. He was only 20 then and such a kind, generous person. If he was a homosexual he didnt know it then. He was very romantic. I was desolate when I heard he had committed suicide. He sent me a copy of his single Let your Hair hang down and told me to watch Burl Ives on a show when he sang the song, It didnt become a hit but it was a good song. There was a woman's name in the song I think it started with an L. Something like Loretta but not that. I tried to reach you Bob but the email you gave me didn't work. Then my husband became very ill and died so I didnt try to get in touch with you. Paul was one of the favourite people in my life. I am so glad you have kept his lovely soul alive. Good luck
Marg Kennedy
 

Contents

Breathing in Old Songs from the Cradle
7
A Boy a Guitar a Microphone
13
In the Heart of Old Virginia
27
A Couple of Beards and Bluegrass
41
View from a Virginia Cabin
49
Paul Conquers Folkways
61
Big Find in North Carolina
73
Americas Most Recorded Young Folksinger
89
Charlottesville Follies
155
The Dylan and Clayton Expedition
165
The Long Tumble from Grace
173
A Gingerbreadd Endd
187
Life after Death?
201
Paul Claytons Copyrighted Songs
217
Discographic Summary
233
Notes
243

From Virginia to the Village
99
Done Laid Around and Stayed Around
109
Across the Blue Mountains
115
Another Brush with the Big Time
125
A Roller Coaster Ride
139
Bibliography
261
General Index
271
Song Index
287
About the Author
297
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

\Bob Coltman is a traditional folksinger, writer, and composer of several folk standards, and has published articles in Old Time Music and JEMFQ. He is a contributor to Exploring Roots Music: Twenty Years of the JEMF Quarterly (Porterfield, ed., Scarecrow Press, 2004).

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