You are on page 1of 2

Account for the musical and political significance of the US folk revival, with specific

attention being paid to Bob Dylan as a protest singer

The Folk music revival started with the Folklorists of the early 20th century, such as John and
Allan Lomax, who collected field recordings from across the US, these formed the basis of
Harry Smiths Anthology of American Folk Music. When the album was released in
1952, it gave musicians such as Bob Dylan a chance to hear music that was not indigenous
to their own communities, artists such as The Carter Family could now be heard across the
country, allowing musicians to hear a wide range of styles and find inspiration much more
readily. Robert Cantwell describes it as (Folk Musics) Enabling Document its musical
constitution (R. Cantwell, Smiths Memory Theatre)

In June 1950 the Korean War began; as a result of this America saw itself as being at
war with Communism, an idea that naturally spread to the media. This resulted in a
blacklisting of The Weavers, initially from television and then from radio and In that
same year Red Channels: Communist influence on radio and television cited Pete
Seeger 13 times which terminated the Weavers career, and drove Folk singing
underground for most of the decade (Cantwell, 1996) Cantwell goes on to say that it is
also precisely this blacklisting which is responsible for Folk musics resurgence in the
following decade.

This level on communist paranoia was caused by Mccarthy. Ethel Rosenberg. Expand.

Seven years later Izzy Young opened his first Folklore Centre on MacDougal street
Greenwich Village New York, this was an extremely important place in the N.Y. folk
scene, and Dylan described it as The Citadel of American folk music (Young and
Barretta, 2013) he even wrote a song about the place which he titled Talking Folklore
Centre. Furthermore, not only did Izzy Young produce Dylans first concert at Carnegie
Chapter Hall in 1961, but he was also instrumental in the Washington Square protest of
April 1961, which would later be referred to as the First protest action of the 1960s

In 1961, Izzy Young applied for a permit to play in music in Washington Square Park,
apparently this was just a formality, but nevertheless when his application was rejected he
helped to organise the protest.

Dylan undoubtedly played a vital role in both the civil rights movement and the anti-war
movement, with songs such as Blowin in the wind and Times they are a changing. Dylan
was heavily influenced by Woody Guthrie, ever since reading his auto-biography Bound for
Glory Dylan developed a kind of obsession with Woody Guthrie, this is shown by the fact
that when Dylan arrived in New York in 1961, he had adopted Oklahoma speech patterns.
By September of that same year, he had not only been mentioned in the New York Times, in
a review by Robert Shelton, who later wrote the sleeve notes to Dylans first album under
the pseudonym Stacey Williams but also played harmonica on Carolyn Hesters third
album, this brought him to the attention of John Hammond who signed him to Columbia
records, and within a year he had signed a contract making Albert Grossman his manager.
Interestingly at this time he changed his name from Robert Zimmerman, to Bob Dylan after
the welsh poet Dylan Thomas. (Dylan, 2004) In an interview with Ed Bradley, Dylan says
Some people- youre born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that
happens You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free.
(Leung, 2015)

In May of 1963, Dylan released his second album The Freewheelin Bob Dylan with such
songs as A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall which is meant to relate to the Cuban missile crisis; I
believe that this shows a period of change in Dylans music, here be combines the folk ballad
melody of Lord Randall where a mother asks her son Where have you been and his own
original topical lyrics probably inspired by Pete Seeger, meant a step away from his first
album which saw only 2 original songs, both of which are a homage to Woody Guthrie
Talking New York, and Song for Woody