Musicians entering the scene today will never get to spend time with the older musicians; they are now almost all gone. If you ask musicians new to old time music, ”Where did you learn that tune?” many will say, “From so-and-so at such-and-such a festival.” If you are familiar with the source, often their version seems completely removed from the source, watered down and homogenized. John Cohen once told me that sometimes the most radical thing you can do to move ahead is to go backwards. I hope that the [Field Recorders’ Collective] can leave a legacy for future travelers, repaving the old time highway to reconstruct this music with the old timers as guides. In the end, I can only say it was a treasure for me to be shown this direction by them. —Ray Alden, 2003

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John Cohen and Peter Hoover

Two of our collectors passed away recently. Ray knew each of them for a long time and both were involved with the Field Recorders’ Collective from the very beginning. We will miss their contributions both in music, knowledge, and camaraderie.

John Cohen (August 2, 1932 — September 16, 2019)

John CohenThe NPR tribute to John (linked below) starts: “John Cohen straddled two worlds: as a photographer, he immersed himself in the avant-garde visual arts scene of 1950s New York; as a musician, he was an integral part of that city’s folk revival of the same era.” All very true, though for those who knew him well, John straddled many more than two worlds. Every time we saw him he loved to discuss some new interest such as South American textiles, inform us of the history and back stories of the tunes and songs we played and stories of his experiences following his passions throughout his long and productive life. He was certainly a valuable contributor to FRC and to the traditional music scene in general. He will be missed.

John was responsible for these FRC recordings:

  • John Summers (FRC310)
  • Reverend Gary Davis (FRC116)
  • Berkeley in the 1960s (FRC609)
  • The Lost Recordings of Banjo Bill Cornett (FRC304).

Some Links:

Peter Hoover (April 29, 1939 – October 11, 2019)

Peter HooverPeter Hoover was a larger than life character, both figuratively and literally. His many, diverse passions as well as his undeniable quirkiness are documented thoroughly and lovingly in the obituary piece that appeared in the Ithaca Journal. In 1959, Peter took it upon himself to journey South, to meet older-generation musicians and to record their music. He did this over a period of three years, and the recordings that he made have resulted — thus far — in 10 excellent CDs issued by the FRC.

These FRC recordings were from Peter’s extensive collection:

  • Calvin Cole (FRC704)
  • Addie Leffew & Claude Wolfenbarger (FRC509)
  • Heywood Blevins (FRC508)
  • Wade Ward (FRC507)
  • Dan Tate (FRC506)
  • Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)
  • Sidna & Fulton Myers (FRC504)
  • Santford Kelly (FRC503)
  • Marcus Martin (FRC502)
  • Uncle Charlie Higgins, and Wade Ward & Dale Poe (FRC501)

Some Links: