Copyright 2010 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.
During Paul Nelson's five-year tenure at Mercury Records, when he wasn't busy trying to sign the New York Dolls, he was responsible for the release of two solo, traditional folk albums by Mike Seeger: Music from True Vine (1972) and The Second Annual Farewell Reunion (1973). Seeger, founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers, passed away last Friday.
Paul and Seeger had known each since 1960 or so when the Ramblers, who were fans of The Little Sandy Review, had visited Paul and Jon Pankake in Minneapolis. When LSR was sold to Barry Hansen in 1964 and the focus of the journal shifted from folk to rock, it was Seeger who wrote a letter objecting to the change.
When I spoke with him in 2007, Seeger wanted to make sure that I understood that he wasn’t anti-rock & roll. "I want people to understand, for instance, when Bob Dylan went electric at Newport, that was the best music I thought I'd ever heard him play and I loved it. I can understand the connection." What he objected to "was the abandonment of everything that went on during the first three or four years for popular music."
Mike Seeger in 2003
Seeger was saddened to hear of Paul's death. "I've seen Jon down through the years, and I'd always ask, 'Well, how's Paul?' and there just didn't seem to be any Paul." He said, "He gave us a lot while he was here."
So did Seeger.
Copyright 2009 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.