Buckets Of Songs

20 Apr


This one may be just a bit on the obscure side! Happy Traum is an American folkie who was part of the Greenwich Village scene of the early 1960’s and who first recorded on the Folkways label’s Broadside collection alongside Bob Dylan (credited as ‘Blind Boy Grunt’), Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger. He also crops up on a few tracks of  Dylan’s Greatest Hits II compilation but is not enormously prolific and indeed may be best known for his guitar instruction books/CDs.

I’ve mentioned before (see entry for 7 September 2013 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand) that I was really impressed by another album in which he was involved (1976’s More Music from Mud Acres) but this was the first time bought anything released under his own name. To be honest, I’m not sure that I’d even SEEN much of his stuff in the UK!

Anyhow this CD, Buckets of Songs, was released in 1988 on (Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop label (GWCD2). It contains twelve tracks, eight of which are traditional with the remaining three coming from the pens of Bib Dylan (‘Buckets of Rain’) and Leadbelly (‘When I was a Cowboy’, which I though was traditional), and ‘Relax Your Mind’ along with a Turlogh O’Carolan instrumental.The sleeve notes  are informative not only about the songs but also about the tunings used and , capo position

Although there is an understated and largely acoustic accompaniment (including John Sebastian on harmonica), the thing to listen to is Happy Traum’s acoustic guitar work and arrangements of the songs.

My favourite tracks run from six through to twelve and I can listen to them  time after time: ‘American Stranger’, ‘Gypsy Davey’, ‘Sheebeg an Sheemor’ (O’Caronan), ‘Willie Moore’, ‘Dark Road Blues’, ‘Delia’s Gone’ and ‘When First Unto This Country’ (which Happy Traum learned from Mike and Peggy Seeger but which I learned via Dave Swarbrisk on Fairport’s 1976 Gottle O’ Geer’ album). While many of these are fairly well known songs of which I have several versions, these are ones I return to because of the quality of the playing and production.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: