Four Forgotten Female Folkies

Barbara Dane

In her speech to the GI Movement of the Vietnam War Era (whose text can be found in the booklet that’s included in Paredon Records’ FTA! Songs of the GI Resistance vinyl album of 1970), Barbara Dane said, “I was too stubborn to hire one of the greed-head managers, probably because I’m a woman who likes to speak for herself. I always made my own deals and contracts, and after figuring out the economics of it, I was free to choose when and where I worked, able to spend lots more time with my three children and doing political work, and even brought home more money in the end, by not going for the ‘bigtime.’ I did make some really nice records, because I was able to choose and work with wonderfully gifted musicians.”[7]

Tia Blake

Tia Blake was the stage name of Christiana Elizabeth Wallman (1952-2015), an American writer and singer…

Wallman was born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1952, and grew up in North Carolina.[1] In 1970 she worked for Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York for six months, before moving to Paris.[1] In Paris she recorded an album of folk songs at Ossian Studio in 1971. This was released in February 1972 by Société Française de Productions Phonographiques (SFPP) under the title Folk Songs and Ballads: Tia Blake and Her Folk-group.[1]

Bridget St John

Bridget St John (born Bridget Anne Hobbs; 4 October 1946 in Surrey, England)[1] is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for the three albums she recorded between 1969 and 1972 for John Peel‘s Dandelion record label. Peel produced her debut album Ask Me No Questions. She also recorded a large number of BBC Radio and Peel sessions and toured regularly on the British college and festival circuit. St John appeared at leading folk venues in the UK, along with other folk and pop luminaries of the time such as Nick DrakePaul Simon, and David Bowie, among others.[2] In 1974 she was voted fifth most popular female singer in that year’s Melody Maker readers poll.[3] Blessed with a “rich cello-like”[4] vocal style, she is also an accomplished guitar player who credits John Martyn and Michael Chapman as her “musical brothers”.[5]

Vashti Bunyan

Vashti Bunyan (born Jennifer Vashti Bunyan[2] in 1945[3]) is an English singer-songwriter.

Bunyan released her debut album, Just Another Diamond Day, in 1970. The album sold very few copies and Bunyan, discouraged, abandoned her musical career. By 2000, her album had acquired a cult following; it was re-released and Bunyan recorded more songs, initiating the second phase of her musical career after a gap of thirty years.[4] She subsequently released two albums: Lookaftering in 2005, and Heartleap in 2014.

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