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Jean Ritchie

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Jean Ritchie (born 1922) is an American folk singer and Appalachian dulcimer player. Became known as “The Mother of Folk”. As well as work songs and ballads, Jean knew hymns from the “Regular Baptist” church she attended in Jeff, Kentucky. These were sung as “lining out” songs, in a lingering soulful way. One of the songs they sang was Amazing Grace. She wrote some songs, including one on the effects of strip mining in Kentucky. “My Dear Companion” appeared on the album “Trio” recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Judy Collins not only recorded some of Jean’s traditional songs, “Tender Ladies” and “Pretty Saro”, but used a photograph by George Pickow on the front of her album “Golden Apples of the Sun” (1962). Jean’s fiftieth anniversary album was “Mountain Born” (1995), which features her two sons Peter and Jonathan Pickow. In 1954 Jean and George released some their UK recordings under the name “Field Trip”. It was re-issued in 2001 on the Greenhays label. It has recordings by Elizabeth Cronin, Seamus Ennis and others, side by side with Ritchie family versions of the same songs. In 1996 the Ritchie Pickow Photographic Archive was acquired by the James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland, Galway, along with tapes of Irish recordings. She has performed in Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, London.

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