copied from lpdiscography.com
another bio from OrganicNews.ocm
The Graham Weekly Album Review #1000
John Hartford: Morning Bugle -- by George Graham
John Hartford remains best known for the country-pop standard "Gentle on My Mind," a major hit for Glen Campbell and subsequently covered by vocalists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin. The song remains among the most often recorded in the history of popular music, its copyright netting Hartford well over a hundred thousand dollars annually for many years. But there was more to Hartford than that curious mix of highly literary folk music and more romantic nostalgia, told from the perspective of a homeless man remembering days of perfect love. Hartford was a multi-talented old-time musician, a riverboat captain, a satirical songwriter, a one-man showman of exceptional talents, and one of the founders of both progressive country music and old-time string music revivalism.
John Harford (the added "t" was the brainchild of Chet Atkins) was born in New York City to a medical resident and his painter wife but grew up in St. Louis near the Mississippi River he would always love. His first job, on a riverboat, came at age ten. As a boy he liked the traditional country music he heard on the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast from Nashville, and by age 13 he was an accomplished fiddler and five-string banjo player whose main influences were Stringbean and Earl Scruggs. Soon he added guitar and mandolin to his repertoire. He founded his first bluegrass band in high school and dropped out of Washington University after a year to pursue his music. Performing and working as a DJ and sometimes as a commercial graphic artist in Missouri and Illinois, Hartford made a few singles for small local labels in the early '60s. In 1965 he moved with his wife and son Jamie to Nashville, taking a DJ job at radio station WSIX. It didn't take him long to meet the other architects of the city's songwriting renaissance — Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, and the Glaser Brothers, who owned a state-of-the-art recording studio and began promoting Hartford and his songs around Music Row.
Signed to RCA in 1966, Hartford went into the studio to record his debut album, John Hartford Looks at Life, which was produced by Atkins. "He is himself and will not be told how to write or sing, because he has only his own world," wrote Johnny Cash in the liner notes. Hartford's second album, Earthwords & Music, featured "Gentle on My Mind" (a modest hit) along with songs that pointed forward to his independent-minded career as a solo performer: "The Good Old Electric Washing Machine Circa 1943" featured a charming mouth-music imitation of that appliance. In 1968 Hartford moved to Los Angeles, appearing regularly on CBS's Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and later on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. He also played on the Byrds' 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo and Doug Dillard's The Banjo Album. By the end of the decade, Hartford also earned his riverboat pilot's license. Financially secure thanks to "Gentle on My Mind," he decided to spend the rest of his life pursuing an artistic vision rooted in country music traditions.
In 1971, Hartford returned to Nashville and founded a bluegrass band featuring guitarist Norman Blake, dobro player Tut Taylor, and master fiddler Vassar Clements. The all-acoustic Aereo-Plain album recorded for Warner Bros. that year (and its successor Morning Bugle) featured a free bluegrass feel often cited as seminal both by progressive bluegrass musicians and by adherents of the modern jam band movement. Hartford made guest appearances on albums by James Taylor, Seals & Crofts, and Hoyt Axton, and he cut the bluegrass Tennessee Jubilee album in 1975 with the assistance of Benny Martin and Lester Flatt.
In the mid-'70s Hartford worked out a solo act in which he appeared in a trademark bowler hat and black vest. He began to record unaccompanied, releasing the unclassifiable Mark Twang in 1976 and winning a Grammy award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording. That album was the first of a series of mostly solo albums Hartford recorded for the Chicago-based Flying Fish label, featuring a mix of traditional material with Hartford's own trenchant originals. Though Hartford had diverged sharply from the sphere of commercial country music, he continued to live in Nashville and to appear as a session man on such albums as the Dillards' Permanent Wave and Shel Silverstein's The Great Conch Train Robbery. He also became involved with Opryland, where he helped launch an old-fashioned steamboat ride.
By the late '80s Hartford was battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but he continued to record and perform until he lost the use of his hands shortly before his death in 2001. He performed and recorded with his son Jamie, re-recorded and reissued his earlier work on his own Small Dog Barking label, and kept busy with a host of side projects such as narration for the Ken Burns public-television series The Civil War. His later albums, several of them recorded for Rounder, were highly individualistic gems: 1998's Speed of the Old Long Bow was a tribute to a little-known fiddler named Ed Haley on which Hartford not only performed Haley's music but also added lyrics that traced his life and career. As word of Hartford's illness spread, his well-wishers included a long parade of musicians he had worked with and influenced profoundly.
(1966 - 1970)
|LOOKS AT LIFE||RCA Victor LSP-3687||1966|
I Reckon, Man
Smoking A Cigar, Untangle Your Mind, I Shoulda Wore My Birthday
Suit, Tall Tall Grass, Front Porch, Eve Of My Multiplication,
When The Sky Began To Fall, Corn Cob Blues, Minus The Woman,
Jack's In The Sack.
|EARTHWOODS AND MUSIC||RCA Victor LSP-3796||1967|
Electric) Washing Machine (Circa 1943), Love Song In 2/4 Time,
Daytime Of Life, Whose That, There Are No Fools In Heaven (Anyman's
Inferno), Earthwords, Gentle On My Mind(60/-),
Naked In Spite Of Myself, How Come You're Being So Good To Me,
No End Of Love, Left Handed Woman, Baking Soda.
|LOVE ALBUM||RCA Victor LSP-3884||1967|
Why Do You Do
Me Like You Do, Six O'clock Train And A Girl With Green Eyes,
Springtime All Over Again, This Eye Of Parting, Landscape Grown
Cold, I Would Not Be Here, Natural To Be Gone, Empty Afternoon
Of Summer Longing, Simple Thing As Love, Windows, Prayer, Love
|HOUSING PROJECT||RCA Victor LSP-3998||1968|
I'm Still Here, Crystallia Daydream, Girl With The Long Brown
Hair, I Didn't Know The World Would Last This Long, Sailboat
Song, Category Stomp, Go Fall Asleep Now, My Face, Big Blue
Balloon, In Like Of, Shiny Rails Of Steel.
|GENTLE ON MY MIND||RCA Victor LSP-4068||1968|
Earthquake, Gentle On My Mind, Natural To Be Gone, Six O'clock
Train And A Girl With Green Eyes, Simple Thing As Love, Mouth To
Mouth Resuscitation, I Would Not Be Here, Front Porch, Untangle
Your Mind, Like Unto A Mockingbird, Tall Tall Grass.
|JOHN HARTFORD||RCA Victor LSP-4156||1969|
Dusty Miller Hornpipe
And Fugue In A Major For Strings Brass And 5-string Banjo, I've
Heard That Tearstained Monologue You Do There By The Door Before
You Go, Collector, Short Sentimental Interlude, Mr. Jackson's Got
Nothing To Do, Open Road Ode, Little Piece In D, Poor Old
Prurient Interest Blues, Wart, Railroad Street, Another Short
(But Not So Sentimental) Interlude, Orphan Of World War Two,
Little Old Lonesome Little Circle Song, I Didn't Know The World
Would Last Thing Long.
|IRON MOUNTAIN DEPOT||RCA Victor LSP-4337||1970|
Like Unto A
Mockingbird, Meanwhile You Sit, I Won't Know Why, Maybe, Go Home
Girl, Natural To Be Gone, Before They Tow My Car, Today,
Frustrated Bird, Hey Jude.
Brothers (1971 - 1972)
|AEREOPLAIN (-/193)||Warner Bros WS-1916||1971|
Radio On, Steamboat Whistle Blues, Back In The Goodle Days, Up
On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie, Boogie, First Girl I
Loved, Presbyterian Guitar, With A Vamp In The Middle, Symphony
Hall Rag, Because Of You, Steam Powered Aereo Plane, Holding,
Tear Down The Grand Ole Opry, Leather Britches, Station Break,
Turn Your Radio On.(reissued Rounder 0366)
|MORNING BUGLE||Warner Bros BS-2651||1972|
Streetcar, Nobody Eats At Linebaugh's Anymore, Howard Hughes'
Blues, All Fall Down, On The Road, Morning Bugle, Old Joe Clark,
My Rag, Late Last Night When My Willie Came Home, Got No Place
To Go, Bye Bye. (reissued Rounder 0356)
(1976 - 1991)
|MARK TWANG||Flying Fish FF-020||1976|
Skippin' In The Mississippi Dew, Long Hot Summer Days, Let Him
Go On Mama, Don't Leave Your Records In The Sun, Tater Tate And
Allen Mundy, Julia Belle Swain, Little Cabin Home On The Hill
Waugh Waugh, Austin Minor Sympathy, Lowest Pair, Tryin' To Do
Something To Get Your Attention.
|NOBODY KNOWS WHAT YOU DO||Flying Fish FF-028||1977|
You Don't Have To Do That, Don't Want To Be Forgotten, In Tall
Buildings, John McLaughlin, Granny Wont'cha Smoke Some
Marijuana, False Hearted Tenor Waltz, Joseph's Dream, Down,
Golden Globe Award, Sly Feel, Somewhere My Love/We'll Meet Again
Sweetheart, Nobody Knows What You Do.
|GLITTER GRASS FROM NASHWOOD with The Dillards||Flying Fish FF-036||1977|
Rollin', Cross The Border Line, Two Hits And The Joint Turned
Brown, Don't Lead Me On, Bear Creek Hop, No End Of Love, Biggest
Whatever, Lost In A World, High Dad In The Morning, California
Is Nicer Than You, Artificial Limitations, Get No Better.
|ALL IN THE NAME OF LOVE||Flying Fish FF-044||1977|
All In The Name Of
Love, Cuckoo's Nest, In Sara's Eyes, Gentle On My Mind, Boogie,
Six O'clock Train And A Girl With Green Eyes, Don't Try To Hide
The Tears From Me, Ten Chord Blues, Dancing In The Bathtub, Deck
Hand's Waltz, Also Love You For Your Mind.
|HEADIN' DOWN INTO MYSTERY TRAIN||Flying Fish FF-063||1978|
Mama Plays The Calliope, See The Julia Belle Swain, On Christmas
Eve, Natchez Whistle, Kentucky Pool, Miss Ferris, Paducah,
Headin' Down Into The Mystery Below, Beatty's Navy, In Plain
View Of The Town.
|SLUMBERIN' ON THE CUMBERLAND with Benny Martin||Flying Fish FF-095||1979|
Slumberin' On The Cumberland, Greenback Dollar, Careless Love,
Love In Vain, If I Can Stay Away Long Enough, Hillman, Southern
Moon, I Can Read Between The Lines, Blue Writin' On White Paper,
First Fall Of Snow, Fiddle Faddle, Go Fall Asleep Now.
|YOU AND ME AT HOME||Flying Fish FF-228||1981|
You And Me At
Home, Tonite We're Gonna Boogie, Your Stuff, River Of Life,
Ladies Live Such A Long Long Time, Once You've Had The Best,
Don't Go Away, I Believe In You, My Love For You, Imagination
Fired By Books, You And Me Reprised.
|PERMANENT WAVE with The Dillards||Flying Fish FF-235||1981|
Break It To Me Gently, That'll Be The Day, Same Thing, Yakety
Yak, Something's Wrong, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Country Boy
Rock'n Roll, No Beer In Heaven.
|CATALOGUE||Flying Fish FF-259||1982|
Ladies, Up On The Hill, (Good Old Electric) Washing Machine
(Circa 1943), Kiss My Plywood, I Would Not Be Here, Natural To
Be Gone, My Face, Jaw Bone, California Earthquake, Simple Thing
As Love, Forty Years A Gambler, My Rag.
|GUM TREE CANOE||Flying Fish FF-289||1984|
I'm Still Here, Way
Down The River Road, Gum Tree Canoe, Your Long Journey, Jug
Harris, Little Piece Of My Heart, Lorena, Take Me Back To My
Mississippi River Home, Wrong Road Again, No Expectations.
|ME OH MY HOW THE TIME DOES FLY||Flying Fish FF-440||1989|
Skippin' In The Mississippi Dew, Julia Belle Swain, Natchez
Whistle, I Would Not Be Here, Miss Ferris, Bear Creek Hop,
Cukoo's Nest, Boogie, Gum Tree Canoe, Slumberin' On The
Cumberland, Gentle On My Mind, In Tall Buildings, Nobody Eats At
Linebaugh's Anymore, On Christmas Eve, Way Down The River Road,
Let Him Go On, Mama, Good Old Electric Washing Machine, I'm
|DOWN ON THE RIVER||Flying Fish FF-515||1989|
Here I Am In
Love Again, Bring Your Clothes Back Home, I Wish We Had Our Time
Again, All I Got Is Gone Away, Delta Queen Waltz, Old Time River
Man, Men All Want To Be Hoboes, Right In The Middle Of Falling
For You, There'll Never Be Another You, Little Boy, General
|HARTFORD AND HARTFORD with Jamie Hartford||Flying Fish FF-70566||1991|
Love Grown Cold,
Run Little Rabbit, Killing Floor, When The Roses Bloom In
Dixieland, New Love, Sweet Sunny South, Painful Memories,
Nobody's Darling, Put All Your Troubles Away, I Know You Don't
Know Me No More, She's Still Gonna Break Your Heart.
|ANNUAL WALTZ||MCA 5861||1986|
All In My Love For
You, Ohio River Rag, Annual Waltz, Gone Gone Gone, Love Wrote
This Song, Learning To Smile All Over Again, Pennington Bend,
Here's To Your Dream, Short Life Of Trouble, Living In The
Mississippi Valley. (reissued MCA-31287)
(1991 - 1996)
|CADILLAC RAG with Mark Howard||Small Dog SD-191||1991|
Rodeo Reel, Cadillac Rag, Time To Get Together, Old John
Hartford's Walkaround, Alaskan Hornpipe, Stones River,
Nickajacks Lament, Rose Of Gilroy, Boy Unloading Crossties,
|GOIN' BACK TO DIXIE||Small Dog SD-292||1992|
Goin' Back To
Dixie, Little Girl With Her Hair All Down Behind, I Wonder Where
You Are Tonight, Heavenly Sunlight, MISIP, Girl I Left Behind,
We Did Our Best, Boys From North Carolina, Them Way Long Time
Ago Times, Death Of John Henry.
|WALLS WE BOUNCE OFF OF||Small Dog SD-394||1994|
More Big Bull Fiddle Fun, Queen Of Rock And Roll, Can't Stand To
Throw Anything Away, Interstate Waltz, Flea Market Breakdown,
Your Tax Dollars At Work, When The Dinner Bell Rings, I Just
Wanna Look In There, All Collision All Explosion Song, Fourteen
Pole Cat Skins On A Chevy Camaro, Sexual Harrassment, Wonder
Woman, Hooter Thunkit.
|OLD SPORT||Small Dog SD-494||1995|
Miller's Reel, Liverpool Hornpipe, Georgia Boys, Pretty Polly
Anna, Midnight On The Water, Salt River, Lady's Fancy, Old
Sport, Snowbird On The Ash Bank, Laughing Boy, Bonapart's
Retreat, Pretty Little Widder, Jack-O-Diamonds.(live)
|LIVE AT COLLEGE STATION PENNSYLVANIA||Small Dog SD-595||1995|
Gum Tree Canoe,
Gentle On My Mind, In Tall Buildings, Wrong Road Again, Bring
Your Clothes Back Home, Run Little Rabbit, Lorena, Girl I Left
Behind Me, Learning To Smile, Cacklin' Hen, I Would Not Be Here,
Boogie, Old River Men, Piece Of My Heart, Natchez Whistle, Julia
Belle Swain, Skippin' In The Mississippi Dew.
|NO END OF LOVE||Small Dog SD-696||1996|
Dialog, No End Of Love, Dialog, When The Guiding Star Came To
Tell City, Dialog, Gentle On My Mind, Railroad Cap, Down On The
Levee, My Tears Don't Show, Dialog, Burning Of Grand Republic,
Dialog, Uncle Dink, Dialog, Medicine Chest, Goodbye Waltz.
(1994 - 2002)
|CLEMENTS - HARTFORD - HOLLAND||Rounder CD-207||1994|
Pea Patch Jig,
You Can't Run Away From Your Feet, Memories Of Home, Home
Cooking, Ten Past Eleven, Scapin' Out On The Roof, Till
Something Better Comes Along, You And The Way You Do, Evening
Prayer, Illinois River Rag.
|FUN OF OPEN DISCUSSION with Bob Carlin||Rounder CD-320||1995|
John McNeil, Fun Of Open Discussion, Jenny On The Railroad, Hy
Patitian, Tishomingo County Blues, Lantern In The Ditch,
Greenback Dollar, MISIP, Doc Chapman's Breakdown, Chinquapin,
Bull At The Wagon, Mrs Maxwell, Indian War Whoop, Shortenin'
Bread, Dry And Dusty, Kitty Puss
|WILD HOG IN THE RED BRUSH||Rounder CD-392||1996|
Birdie, Grandmammy Look At Uncle Sam, Old Virginia Reel,
Flannery's Dream, Down At The Mouth Of Old Stinson, Girl With
The Blue Dress On, Wild Hog In The Red Brush, Over The Road To
Maysville, Bumblebee In A Jug, Bostony, Shelvin' Rock, Molly Put
The Kettle On, West Fork Gals, Portsmouth Airs, Coquette, Jimmy
In The Swamp, Lady Of The Lake, Natchez Under The Hill.
|SPEED OF THE OLD LONG BOW||Rounder CD-438||1998|
Hell Up Coal
Hollar, Yellow Barber, Lost Indian, Dunbar, Brushy Fork Of
John's Creek, Bonaparte's Retreat, Forks Of Sandy, Cattlettsburg,
Half Past Four, Blackberry Blossom, Pumpkin Ridge, Brownlow's
Dream, Rebel Raid, Boatman, Ida Red.
|GOOD OLD BOYS||Rounder CD-462||1999|
Good Old Boys, On
The Radio, Cross-Eyed Child, Watching The River Go By, Waltz Of
The Mississippi, Mike And John In The Wilderness, Owl Feather,
Billy The Kid, Dixie Trucker's Home, Waltz Of The Golden Rule,
Keep On Truckin'.
|HAMILTON IRONWORKS||Rounder CD-4422||2001|
At Your Door, Woodchopper's Breakdown, Hamilton Ironworks,
Jawbone, Politic, Wooliver's Money Musk, Ragtime Dream, Quail Is
A Pretty Bird, Emminence Breakdown, Ragged Bill, Hi Dad In The
Morning, Black River, Green Corn, Devil's Hornpipe, Wolves A
Howlin', Fiddler's Hornpipe, White River, Greenback Dollar,
Comin' Down From Denver On A Trip To Galway Here And There,
Chicken Oh Chicken, Goforth's Dusty Miller, Turkey Buzzard.
|STEAM POWERED AEREO-TAKES||Rounder CD-4422||2002|
Where The Old River Flows, Ruff And Ready, Blame It On Joan,
Vamp From Back In The Goodle Days, Emanuel Cant, Bad Music, Dig
A Hole, Presbyterian Guitar, Strange Old Man, Lady Jane, Oasis,
Because Of You, Morning Bugle, John Henry, Doin' My Time, Keep
On Truckin', Don't Ever Take Your Eyes Off The Game Babe, Howard
|BULLIES HAVE ALL GONE TO REST||Whippoorwill 1001||1998|
Don't You Want To
Go To Heaven Uncle Joe, Bullies Have All Gone To Rest,
Lafayette, Cat Came Back, Old Joe, Green Valley Waltz, Jack's
Been A Gettin' There, Old Napper, Beech Bottom, Sleepy Lou,
Going Across The Sea, Lady Of The Lake, Rattlesnake Bit The
Baby, House Of David Blues, Over Yonder, Green Back Dollar, New
Five Cents, Possom And Taters.
|RETROGRASSw. David Grisman & Mike Seeger||Acoustic ACD-37||1999|
My Walking Shoes, Hound Dawg, Maggie's Farm, Memphis, Flint Hill
Special, Old Home Place, Uncle Pen, Air Mail Special On The Fly,
Rocky Top, Room At The Stop Of The Stairs, Sittin' On The Dock
Of The Bay, Jerusalem Ridge, Windy Mountian, Maybellene, Blue
Ridge Cabin Home, Rocky Road Blues, When I'm Sixty-Fours.
|LIVE FROM MOUNTAIN STAGE||Blue Plate 401||2000|
I Wish We Had
Our Time Again, Lorena, More Big Bull Fiddle Fun, Fiddle Tune,
Bring Your Clothes Back Home And Try Me One More Time, Gum Tree
Canoe, Gentle On My Mind, Yellow Barber, My Tears Don't Show, I
Wonder Where You Are Tonight, Where Does An Old Time River Man
Go, Catletsburg, Annual Waltz.
|RCA COUNTRY LEGENDS||Buddha 99837||2001|
Corn Cob Blues, (Good Old Electric) Washing Machine (Circa
1943), Gentle On My Mind, How Come You're Being So Good To Me,
Front Porch, Untangle Your Mind, Category Stomp, Big Blue
Balloon, Whose That, I'm Still Here, Girl With The Long Brown
Hair, Why Do You Do Me Like You Do, I Would Not Be Here, Natural
To Be Gone, Jack's In The Sack, California Earthquake, Mouth To
|NATURAL TO BE GONE 1967-1970||Raven 138||2002|
|Tall Tall Grass, Untangle Your Mind, Corn Cob Blues, Minus The Woman, Gentle On My Mind, There Are No Fools In Heaven (Anyman's Lament), Simple Thing As Love, Natural To Be Gone, Six O'clock Train And A Girl With Green Eyes, I Would Not Be There, Windows, Big Blue Balloon, Crystallia Daydream, In Like Of, Shiny Rails Of Steel, Category Stomp, Go Fall Asleep Now, Californian Earthquake, I Didn't Know The World Would Last This Long, Dusty Miller Hornpipe And Fugue In A Major For Strings Brass And 5-str Banjo, I've Heard The Tearstained Monologue You Do There By The Door Before You, Little Old Lonesome Little Circle Song, Little Piece In D, Like Unto A Mockingbird, Meanwhile You Sit By My Banjo, I Won't Know Why I Went Till After I Get Back, Maybe, Frustrated Bird.|