Always a song Singers, songwriters, sinners, & saints : my story of the folk music revival

Ellen Harper

Book - 2021

"Folk matriarch and mother to Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper, singer and songwriter Ellen Harper crafts a vivid image of the early beginnings of folk music in California, coming of age in Los Angeles during the 60's and the historic Folk Music Center"--

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
San Francisco, California : Chronicle Prism is an imprint of Chronicle Books, LLC [2021]
Language
English
Physical Description
xiii, 242 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781452184241
1452184240
9781797201603
1797201603
Place of Publication
United States -- California -- San Francisco
Main Author
Ellen Harper (author)
Other Authors
Sam Barry (author), Ben Harper, 1969- (writer of foreword)
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Peace through music
  • The blacklist
  • Sweet home California
  • The house on Seventh Street
  • East meets West
  • Revelations
  • Gravy, grapefruit, and the big green chair
  • Freight train, freight train
  • The cat's pajamas
  • Tuned in, dropped out
  • Looking for Jimi
  • Demon rum
  • Single mom
  • I walk into the rising sun
  • City of dreams.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ellen Harper may be known to music fans as the mother of the musician Ben Harper, but there is so much more to her story, as she reveals here in her gently humble memoir. Born in New England but raised in California, where the family moved after her paternal grandmother was accused of being a communist during the height of McCarthyism, she lived a life steeped in folk music. Her mother sang her to sleep with the folk songs of Eastern Europe, the British Isles, and the American South. In 1958, her parents founded the Folk Music Center in Claremont, California, (it remains open as a museum and store) and later the Golden Ring Coffee House. Some of the biggest names in folk walked through the center's doors or stayed in the family home, and part of the fun of the book is reading Harper's unvarnished observations of her musical heroes, including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell. A very personal take on the folk music revival with an especially lovely foreword by the author's son. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Folk matriarch and mother to Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper, singer and songwriter Ellen Harper crafts a vivid image of the early beginnings of folk music in California, coming of age in Los Angeles during the 60's and the historic Folk Music Center"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An intimate collection of stories by the folk matriarch and mother of Grammy winner Ben Harper shares memories from her childhood in 1960s Los Angeles and her encounters with such artists as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Always a Song is a collection of stories from singer and songwriter Ellen Harper—folk matriarch and mother to the Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper.Harper shares vivid memories of growing up in Los Angeles through the 1960s among famous and small-town musicians, raising Ben, and the historic Folk Music Center.This beautifully written memoir includes stories of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, The New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, and many more.• Harper takes readers on an intimate journey through the folk music revival.• The book spans a transformational time in music, history, and American culture.• Covers historical events from the love-ins, women's rights protests, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the popularization of the sitar and the ukulele.• Includes full-color photo insert."Growing up, an endless stream of musicians and artists came from across the country to my family's music store. Bess Lomax Hawes, Joan Baez, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee—all the singers, organizers, guitar and banjo pickers and players, songwriters, painters, dancers, their husbands, wives, and children—we were all in it together. And we believed singing could change the world."—Ellen HarperMusic lovers and history buffs will enjoy this rare invitation into a world of stories and song that inspired folk music today.• A must-read for lovers of music, history, and those nostalgic for the acoustic echo of the original folk music that influenced a generation• Harper's parents opened the legendary Folk Music Center in Claremont, California, as well as the revered folk music venue The Golden Ring.• A perfect gift for people who are obsessed with folk music, all things 1960s, learning about musical movements, or California history• Great for those who loved Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock by Barney Hoskyns; and Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Always a Song is a collection of stories from singer and songwriter Ellen Harper'folk matriarch and mother to the Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper.Harper shares vivid memories of growing up in Los Angeles through the 1960s among famous and small-town musicians, raising Ben, and the historic Folk Music Center.This beautifully written memoir includes stories of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, The New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, and many more." Harper takes readers on an intimate journey through the folk music revival." The book spans a transformational time in music, history, and American culture." Covers historical events from the love-ins, women's rights protests, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the popularization of the sitar and the ukulele." Includes full-color photo insert."Growing up, an endless stream of musicians and artists came from across the country to my family's music store. Bess Lomax Hawes, Joan Baez, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee'all the singers, organizers, guitar and banjo pickers and players, songwriters, painters, dancers, their husbands, wives, and children'we were all in it together. And we believed singing could change the world."'Ellen HarperMusic lovers and history buffs will enjoy this rare invitation into a world of stories and song that inspired folk music today." A must-read for lovers of music, history, and those nostalgic for the acoustic echo of the original folk music that influenced a generation" Harper's parents opened the legendary Folk Music Center in Claremont, California, as well as the revered folk music venue The Golden Ring." A perfect gift for people who are obsessed with folk music, all things 1960s, learning about musical movements, or California history" Great for those who loved Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock by Barney Hoskyns; and Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon'and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Always a Song is a collection of stories from singer and songwriter Ellen Harper—folk matriarch and mother to the Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper.Harper shares vivid memories of growing up in Los Angeles through the 1960s among famous and small-town musicians, raising Ben, and the historic Folk Music Center.This beautifully written memoir includes stories of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, The New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, and many more.• Harper takes readers on an intimate journey through the folk music revival.• The book spans a transformational time in music, history, and American culture.• Covers historical events from the love-ins, women's rights protests, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the popularization of the sitar and the ukulele.• Includes full-color photo insert."Growing up, an endless stream of musicians and artists came from across the country to my family's music store. Bess Lomax Hawes, Joan Baez, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee—all the singers, organizers, guitar and banjo pickers and players, songwriters, painters, dancers, their husbands, wives, and children—we were all in it together. And we believed singing could change the world."—Ellen HarperMusic lovers and history buffs will enjoy this rare invitation into a world of stories and song that inspired folk music today.• A must-read for lovers of music, history, and those nostalgic for the acoustic echo of the original folk music that influenced a generation• Harper's parents opened the legendary Folk Music Center in Claremont, California, as well as the revered folk music venue The Golden Ring.• A perfect gift for people who are obsessed with folk music, all things 1960s, learning about musical movements, or California history• Great for those who loved Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock by Barney Hoskyns; and Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller.