02 May 2011

Hazel Dickens: further memories

Thanks to our friend Walter Fuchs, broadcaster, country music historian, and organiser of the Bühl International Bluegrass Festival in south-west Germany, for this rare photo he took in the autumn of 1973 when Hazel Dickens was on tour with the Strange Creek Singers, making a stop in Bühl. From left to right: Tracy Schwarz, Lamar Grier, Hazel Dickens, Mike Seeger, Marianne Fuchs (Walter's wife, with their two sons Boris and Patrick), and Alice Gerrard (then Mike Seeger's wife).

A special one-hour commemorative programme is being broadcast this week on radio stations affiliated to Prescription Bluegrass. Details are on the Prescription Bluegrass Blog. Read (and hear) more of the impact of Hazel Dickens in the latest Laurie Lewis e-newsletter.

On the question of whether she ever performed in Ireland, Richard Hurst, chief organiser of the annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone, recalls the occasion when she was obliged to cancel the trip over:

I was so disappointed when I was informed back in the summer of 2003 that Hazel would be unable to travel to our Festival due to ongoing health problems. The word had got out that she was appearing at the 12th Annual Festival along with Alice Gerrard, Ginny Hawker, and Carol Elizabeth Jones as part of 'O Sister - Women in Bluegrass', so that a lot of 'Old-Time' followers from near and far were thinking of making the trip to Omagh that year. However, she never did make it to the Folk Park...

She will be greatly missed by her fellow troubadours who I am sure will pay homage to her lifelong contribution to folk music in a very fitting way before too long.

In 2003 the festival lineup included amongst others:

* Laurie Lewis & her Bluegrass Pals
* O Sister - Women in Bluegrass: Alice Gerrard, Ginny Hawker and Carol Elizabeth Jones
* Jerry & Tammy Sullivan
* Ira Bernstein
* The Branchettes
* Beverly Smith & Carl Jones

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