Jerry Jeff Walker: Woodstock Bound?

February 5th, 2013
Jerry Jeff Walker

Jerry Jeff Walker in the late 1990s

I’ve been a Jerry Jeff Walker fan for since forever. Recently I heard about the Guy Clark tribute album, This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark and bought it when I heard that Jerry Jeff was on it. It’s good thing I did. The two-CD album is a standout.

According to the liner notes the “artists brought two key instruments: a guitar and profound reverence” to the recording studio. And what a cast: they range from Lyle Lovett to Willie Nelson and from Steve Earle to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott with a whole lot of recording stars in between. There are 30 stellar cuts in all, but the best tune hands down is “My Favorite Picture of You” sung by Jerry Jeff Walker.

It is well known that Jerry Jeff was raised in Oneonta, NY. He broke free of his small-town upbringing and lit out for New Orleans. By 1967 he landed back in NYC’s Greenwich Village. “Mr. Bojangles,” his best song, was already in his play book. One night while on Bob Fass’s “Radio Unnameable” he played the song live. Bob was taping the show as Walker performed. Jerry Jeff writes in his autobiography, Gypsy Songman, that after a few seconds of silent air time Bob Fass said: “That’s a beautiful song. You wrote that?” Read the rest of this entry »

Woodstock Folk Fest, Part III: Sonia Malkine

April 28th, 2011

Sonia Malkine, an accomplished chanteuse, joined Woodstock’s folk singing establishment in the late 1950s. Together with Eleanor Walden, Sam Eskin, Billy Faier and several others, she co-founded the Woodstock Folk Festival in 1962.

Sonia was born in France in 1923, the daughter of Anarcho-Syndicalist activists. When the Second World War broke out she and her family fled Paris to Toulouse. In 1943 Sonia joined the Spanish Resistance, which fought alongside the French underground forces. She worked until 1945 as a messenger for the Resistance.

Through her mother, May Picqueray, Sonia met and married Georges Malkine, the French Surrealist painter. Together they immigrated to the United States. One day Sonia’s mother came to visit the family in New York City. She learned that Stella Ballantine, niece of her old friend, Emma Goldman, lived in Woodstock, NY. The Malkines visited Woodstock and decided to relocate in 1951. At first they stayed on the Maverick, but in 1952 they moved to the Woodstock hamlet of Shady. Read the rest of this entry »