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Keepers of the Flame
Posted by Terry on August 23, 2010, 8:01 am
During the late 1950s to mid-60s, baby boomer fans of classic rural blues, folk, and ragtime guitar started to recognize a small handful of names that kept popping up in folk circles, music magazine articles and/or monthly columns, such as Stefan Grossman, Rory Block, Roy Bookbinder, Paul Geremia, Happy Traum, and others. Thanks to a couple of specialized record labels such as Folkways and Vanguard, Dave Van Ronk and John Hammond had a head start on all of them in the very early 1960s. With all due apologies to Ari Eisenberger and Ernie Hawkins, their names should also be in there somewhere as interpreters and recording artists, but to my embarassment it is only recently that I have known about them. My ignorance is certainly no reflection on them. All these names rubbed shoulders with many of the "rediscovered" classic players in their older years and learned their skills by watching them while literally sitting at their feet or as their personal assistants.
The old masters are no longer with us and that first generation of disciples is getting up in years. Perhaps I am living a sheltered life, but I am not aware of any younger players who are parallels to Bookbinder, Geremia, etc. So who is the torch being passed on to in order to carry on this classic tradition ?