Carolyn Hester

Texas Songbird (RGFCD019)

Album CoverRoad Goes On Forever is ecstatic to announce the release of 'Texas Songbird' (RGFCD019), the first contemporary release by folk music pioneer CAROLYN HESTER, who starts her first solo UK tour since the 1960s in July, 1994, and will also be appearing at Cambridge and Belfast Folk Festivals.

Carolyn Hester is a folk music legend. Born in Waco, Texas, her first album, 'Scarlet Ribbons', was produced by Norman Petty at his studio in Clovis, New Mexico. She knew Buddy Holly (Petty's best known client) well enough for them to go to concerts together in New York. Her second album was made for and produced by Paddy Clancy of The Clancy Brothers in 1961 (and in October, 1995, was reissued by Road Goes On Forever as 'The Tradition Album'), and her third was produced by John Hammond Senior in 1961 (and has been released on CD by CBS Legacy). Carolyn asked Hammond if she could use a harmonica player on the album, Hammond said sure, and asked if she knew such a beast, so she introduced him to Bob Dylan.

She made two live LPs in New York again produced by Petty (released together on a single CD by Bear Family), but by the 1970s, had decided to take a sabbatical to raise a family with her second (and current) husband, David Blume, a musician and 'Los Angeles Times' journalist - her first husband was the celebrated Richard Farina, whose first (and only) novel, 'Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me', was partially typed by Carolyn. After she felt her children were sufficiently mature and independent, Carolyn returned to music, releasing 'Music Medicine' in 1982, and 'Warriors Of The Rainbow' in 1986.

During her sabbatical, she had regularly attended the Kerrville Folk Festival, where she became friendly with Nanci Griffith, one of the finest contemporary folk artists since the 1960s, who held Carolyn in great esteem. In 1993, when Nanci recorded her wonderful 'Other Voices, Other Rooms' album, she invited Carolyn to sing with her on the Tom Paxton folk standard, 'Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound'. On the same album Nanci performed the Bob Dylan song, 'Boots Of Spanish Leather' (on which Dylan himself played harmonica). This led to Nanci and Carolyn being invited to perform 'Boots' at the breathtaking tribute concert which Neil Young (another participant) dubbed the 'Bobfest'. It was Neil who told Carolyn to give Bob a bunch of flowers - you can see it on the video.

When Carolyn returned to Britain (for the first time in two decades) to perform with Nanci at her triumphant Royal Albert Hall concert, Ian Anderson assigned me with interviewing Carolyn for 'Folk Roots'. She was fascinating and seemed to be one of the most likeable and historically crucial entertainers any of us had ever encountered. When the 'Folk Roots' piece cam out, Dave Blume called to say thanks, and Carolyn wrote her own thank you letter. Dave then enquired whether Road Goes On Forever would be interested in releasing the two albums Carolyn had made in the 1980s on CD. Do bears poop in the woods? It is a privilege to be entrusted with such a task, particularly as Carolyn has returned to Europe for live appearances every year subsequently.

RGF also released ‘The Tradition Album’ by Carolyn (RGFCD 025) in 1995 for the first time on CD. This 1961 LP was made for the Tradition label owned by The Clancy Brothers. As it was quite a short LP, Carolyn agreed to record a few bonus tracks of 1961 repertoire in exactly the same way as she had recorded the original tracks 34 years earlier. Ian Anderson in ‘Folk Roots’ said that he was unable to tell on first listening where the old tracks ended and the new ones began - the new tracks are the final four.

Also available by CAROLYN HESTER on Road Goes On Forever Records:

From These Hills

The Tradition Album (reissue of Carolyn's second LP, a classic from1961, with four bonus tracks of 1961 repertoire recorded under the same circumstances as the original LP, but in 1995)

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