Recently rediscovered and hard to categorise, answering variously to folk, psych-folk and new folk. She was the typical solo girl singer, expelled from art school, travelling in the States, who encountered the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, was signed by Rolling Stones Manager Andrew Loog Oldham, and wrote lots of songs.
Travelling again, this time to the Hebrides by horse and cart, she wrote songs for what became the album Just Another Day. This was laid down in London with help from Robin Williamson of the ISB and Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention.
Disillusioned when it didn’t sell, she left music, raised a family, while unknown to her, the album became a cult hit. She returned. Her second album came 35 years after her first, along with tours, songs in advertisements and appearances. She now rejoices in the nickname, ‘The Godmother of Freak Folk’ for inspiring new folk experimentalists like Devendra Banhart and Adem.
V is also for Dave Van Ronk
Another unique voice in folk music, with a bit of political activism for good measure. Compared to his contemporaries (Dylan yet again), Doc Watson and Kris Kristofferson, he was a leading light in Greenwich Village folk-blues scene. There is a street named after him in New York, he refused to fly and Dylan talked about him in Chronicles.
He also talked about Eric ‘Rick’ Von Schmidt (1931-2007), a key part of the East Coast folk scene, Dylan’s friend during the early years.
Listen: Dave Van Ronk singing Cocaine in Greenwich Village