(1969) Tom Paley – Sue Cow


Argo issue number:


Produced by: John S. Gilbert
Engineered by: Kevin Daly
Designed by: Keith Whitehead

Availability: long deleted

Tom Paley – vocals, guitar, banjo, autoharp
Janet Kerr – fiddle
Joe Locker – banjo


suecowbackSide One
1 Johnny Booker (TP vocals, guitar, JK fiddle)
2 Sugar Hill (TP vocals, banjo)
3 Bad Lee Brown (TP vocals, banjo)
4 The Gipsy’s Warning (TP vocals, guitar)
5 Richmond Cotillion (TP banjo)
6 McAfee’s Confession (TP vocals, guitar)
7 Take ‘Em For A Ride (TP vocals, guitar)
8 Old Shoes And Leggings (TP vocals, autoharp)
9 Sue Cow (TP vocals, guitar)

Side Two
1 Frankie And Johnny (TP vocals, guitar)
2 Charles Guiteau (TP vocals, guitar, JL banjo)
3 Going Down Town (TP vocals, banjo)
4 Young Johnny (TP unaccompanied vocal)
5 Everyday Dirt (TP vocals, guitar)
6 I Wish I Had Stayed In The Wagon Yard (TP vocals, guitar, JK fiddle, JL banjo)
7 Five Nights Drunk (TP vocals, guitar)
8 Cotton Mill Girl (TP vocals, banjo)
9 Moving Day (TP vocals, guitar, JK fiddle, JL banjo)

From his first recordings in 1953 right through to the present day, Tom Paley has been playing good old-time music. A founder member of the legendary New Lost City Ramblers (with Mike Seeger and John Cohen), Tom moved to Sweden for three years (from 1963-65), then to England, where he has lived ever since.

In the UK he teamed up with Joe Locker and various fiddlers (including Janet Kerr) to form the New Deal String Band, who also recorded on Argo (more of whom in a subsequent post). After a break in the ‘seventies, the band resurfaced, with Locker still there and Paley’s son Ben on fiddle.

Here they are rehearsing for a gig in April 2009.

For a full discography of Tom Paley (and many more great American music performers) see Stefan Wirz’s fab site.

Joe Locker, who came to the UK from the States in 1966, also plays regularly these days with multi-instrumentalists Rosie Davis and Bob Winquist in Davis, Locker & Winquist.

Blue Ridge Mountain Field Trip
Janet Kerr is still going strong too after a lifetime of playing fiddle and banjo, including a stint doing sleeve design and photography for Leader/Trailer records in the 70s.

Taking a break from her work as an advertising art director and part-time member of the New Deal String Band, she was over in Galax, Virginia, in September 1970 (the year after this album was recorded), taking part in the local fiddle convention.

"Blonde-haired, green-eyed Janet…made several tracks of the music on her stereo tape-recorder and the record is being brought out by an English record company," reported the St Petersburg Times at the time.

The record, Blue Ridge Mountain Field Trip, released on Leader records in 1970, is another folk classic that’s long gone, buried with many others in the vaults of Celtic Music in Harrogate.

Some 40 years later – in May 2009 – Janet was running a banjo frailing workshop for the West Yorkshire folk development project, Ryburn 3 step.

Top six
Writing for the Gramophone, Tony Russell had the album among his top six "Critics’ Choice" blues or folk records of the year.

"Tom Paley’s album of American country music…has given me constant and undiminishing pleasure throughout the year," he said. "The musicianship, unpretentiousness and high spirits of ‘Sue Cow’ could well make you a devotee of this neglected tradition."

~ by folkcatalogue on June 8, 2009.

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