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Tom Paley iTunes Tracks Tom Paley Official Website

Tom Paley

Born Allan Thomas Paley, March 19, 1928, New York City, New York, he began his career as 5-string banjo plucker with The NEW LOST CITY RAMBLERS, an old-timey folk trio that also featured MIKE SEEGER and John Cohen. With this outfit, his instrumental dexterity stretched the boundaries on such organic and earthy tunes such as `Railroad Blues’, `Baltimore Fire’ and `Sales Tax On The Women’. As a concurrent solo artist (on Elektra Records), PALEY released the odd LP, folk songs from the SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS (1953) {*6} and COURTIN’S A PLEASURE (1957) {*6}, the latter co-credited with JEAN RITCHIE and OSCAR BRAND, with whom he’d already secured the release of V/A set `Shivaree!’ a few years previously.
When Tom left in ‘62 (he was superseded by Tracy Schwarz), he upped sticks, first to Sweden, and then on to London in ‘65, where he’s settled ever since. From the same era, there were further joint efforts, FOLK BANJO STYLES (1962) – with Eric Weissberg, Art Rosenbaum and Marshall Brickman; THE OLD RELIABLE STRING BAND (1962) – with Roy Berkeley and Artie Rose; and WHO’S GOING TO SHOE YOUR PRETTY LITTLE FOOT? (1964) – with PEGGY SEEGER and Claudia Paley.
In 1969, alongside Joe Locker and Janet Kerr, PALEY founded The New Deal String Band, releasing DOWN IN THE WILLOW to coincide with a UK-only issued of a fresh solo LP, SUE COW {*5}. Never really quite emerging from the limelight, Tom and his fellow fiddler son, Ben (Tom had taken up the instrument in ’75), continued with the NDSB, while there were several further solo sets and collaborative works released during a peak 90s era; in 1993 he was appointed president of UK society FOAOTMAD (Friends Of American Old-Time Music And Dance), and he has also been awarded the Zorn medal for fiddle playing in Sweden.
To prove he was still going strong, PALEY released BEWARE YOUNG LADIES! (2007) {*6} when nearing 80, while further still, in 2012, TOM PALEY’s Old-Time Moonshine (featuring Jonny Bridgwood, Ben Paley, Dave Morgan plus The OWL SERVICE’s Robin Gillan and Jason Steel) delivered the man’s umpteenth set, ROLL ON, ROLL ON {*7} – just what it said on the tin.
Sadly, at the age of 89 in his home in Brighton, England, TOM PALEY passed away on September 30, 2017.
© MC Strong/MCS 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Jul2015-Oct2017

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