Logan English

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Logan English was a Kentucky-born singer, actor, playwright, and teacher who was well-known on the East Coast folk music scene of the late 1950s and early '60s. English had a startlingly melodious voice,…
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Logan English was a Kentucky-born singer, actor, playwright, and teacher who was well-known on the East Coast folk music scene of the late 1950s and early '60s. English had a startlingly melodious voice, and a winning personality; he was a familiar figure to the crowds at Gerde's Folk City in New York's Greenwich Village during the early '60s, and also played a small (but important) role in the early performing career of Bob Dylan. When the latter first arrived in New York, English helped him get some much-needed local exposure, thus earning a mention in several Dylan biographies. English was a talented guitarist and taught the instrument as well, but he evidently didn't write songs. He recorded for Folkways and Riverside, two of the major labels on the folk scene of the period, and stuck primarily to traditional and established repertory, such as his album of Woody Guthrie songs. He also apparently had more skill as a re-creative musician than as an interpreter -- accounts by those on the folk scene of the period, both in Boston and in New York, indicate that he would tend to adopt renditions of traditional songs, almost exactly as was done by those around him, rather than add significant new elements of reinterpretation to them. But coupled with the degree to which he performed, this did occasionally put him in a position to get certain renditions of traditional songs into wider circulation, part of the true "folk process"; according to a posting on The Mudcat Cafe from the late '90s, it was a version of "Geordie" that he sung (picked up from someone else) that Joan Baez, in turn, picked up and, with her much wider following, eventually made famous on one of her records. His inability to transition into a being a songwriter, coupled with a chronic drinking problem, made it difficult for English to maintain a successful performing or recording career after the mid-'60s. He later moved to Saratoga Springs, New York, where he gave occasional public performances, in addition to teaching. He died in 1983 in an automobile/pedestrian accident.