HAPPY TRAUM

WOODSTOCK'S OWN FOLK MUSIC LEGEND

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My Recording Session with Peter Tosh (and the Stones)

Happy Traum - Monday, October 26, 2015

In June of 1978, I was getting ready to go on tour in Europe with my group, the Woodstock Mountains Revue, when I got a call from Griff McKree, the studio manager of the famed Bearsville Sound Studio in Woodstock, a mile or so from my house. Griff said that some musicians would be working there and they were looking for “some kind of a harp” for one of their songs. Could I suggest something? Read Full Post

Hitching To Find the "Real Folk"

Happy Traum - Monday, October 26, 2015

The year was 1956. I had just graduated from high school and was already a dyed-in-the-wool folkie, having learned guitar, banjo and a large repertoire of songs from the recordings of Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Burl Ives, Josh White and other popular folk singers of the day. This led me to the more traditional (and more authentic) old-time music of the Southern Appalachians. I fell in love with the sounds of banjos, dulcimers and fiddles, and was intrigued by the long, often bloody ballads that could be traced all the way back to Elizabethan England. For a kid born and raised in The Bronx, the sounds from those distant mountains were as mysterious and otherworldly as radio signals from another planet. Read Full Post

Discovering the Magic of the Village and the Beauty of Folk Guitar - 1954

Happy Traum - Monday, October 26, 2015

I made my first foray into the exotic streets of Greenwich Village one poignant and unforgettable summer night in 1954. Sixteen, Bronx-bred and a junior counsellor at a summer camp in Connecticut, I had started learning the guitar some months before and was getting reasonably good at it. Some of the older counsellors had also discovered folk music, and I became the kid who could accompany them when they sang songs around the campfire or in the mess hall after the dishes were cleared away. These more mature college students (they were probably 18 or 19) were smart, rebellious proto-beatniks from Brandeis University, into poetry, politics, foreign films and “Catcher in the Rye.” I idolized them and longed for their acceptance; I suspect they made me into a mascot of sorts. Read Full Post

Pete Seeger

Happy Traum - Monday, October 26, 2015

I don't know where I'd be today if it wasn't for Pete Seeger. I’m pretty sure I wouldn't have started singing folk songs or playing the guitar and banjo, and there certainly would not have been a lifetime of writing, performing, traveling, teaching and innumerable musical adventures. I might not have even met Jane, whom I originally encountered through folk music and who has shared my life for more than half a century. I owe it all to Pete. Read Full Post

Bob Dylan at West Point

Happy Traum - Monday, October 26, 2015

Back in the late ‘80s, Artie and I were playing an in-store CD release promotion at a Barnes and Noble in Albany while Bob was doing a sold-out concert at the Palace Theater. We hightailed it over there after our gig just in time to hear the last song, “Like a Rolling Stone.” Bob was already out of there long before the applause died out, but Victor Maimudes, Bob’s long-time road manager, spotted us and invited us to come down to West Point, where Bob was playing the next night. He graciously gave us backstage passes along with great seats for us and our family, and suggested we come to sound check to say hello to Bob.  Read Full Post

Jorma Kaukonen's 70th Birthday Concert

Happy Traum - Monday, October 26, 2015

Last month I was honored to be included in the Hot Tuna concert at New York's famed Beacon Theater, celebrating Jorma's big Seven-Oh. It was a star-studded musical evening and great fun to step out onto that glittering stage with Jorma, Jack Casady and a rockin' band. The packed, sell-out crowd was cheering from the first notes of Jorma's guitar, and they gave me, and all the other guests, their enthusiastic approval. Read Full Post

Dave Van Ronk - Liner Notes by Happy Traum written in January, 2014

Happy Traum - Thursday, October 22, 2015


The first time I met Dave Van Ronk was in 1955 or 1956, on what may have been my very first outing to a Sunday folk sing in Washington Square. Emerging from the Sixth Avenue subway station, I was blinded by the sunlight and the thrill of anticipation, and walked one block to the east, guitar in hand, ready and eager to join in the singing and playing. Read Full Post

Addendum to my Bob Dylan Recording Session story

Happy Traum - Thursday, October 22, 2015

In describing the recording session that I took part in for Bob's "Greatest Hits, Vol.2," I said that the song "Only a Hobo" didn't work out and was dropped. Happily, it wasn't lost forever! It just showed up on Bob's latest "Bootleg" release called "Another Self Portrait," and if I say so myself, it ain't half bad.  Read Full Post

12-String Guitar Revisited

Happy Traum - Thursday, October 22, 2015

I was recently inspired to start playing 12-string again, many years after the untimely demise of my Fyllde (the one I played on my 12-string instructional video), which kind of imploded on me. I have always loved the sound of the twelve, but it's a commitment to start up with it again. Just think - twice as many strings to go out of tune! Read Full Post

A Recording Session with Bob Dylan

Happy Traum - Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Just about 40 years ago, in October of 1971, I got a call from Bob Dylan asking me if I'd like record some songs with him for his "Greatest Hits, Volume II" compilation. Could I do it tomorrow, and would I bring my guitar and banjo -- and, oh yeah, how about a bass, too? (Never mind that I didn't own a bass, and had never played one in public before. I borrowed one -- fast.) Read Full Post


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