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I Wonder as I WanderThe Life of John Jacob Niles$
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Ron Pen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125978

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125978.001.0001

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Dean of American Balladeers

Dean of American Balladeers

(p.229) 12 Dean of American Balladeers
I Wonder as I Wander


University Press of Kentucky

Niles's flourishing career created an extraordinary lifestyle. When he turned 67, he became the “dean of American balladeers.” On October 5, 1946, Niles made his debut at New York City's Town Hall. Niles's performance was an experiment, being scheduled as the debut of a new series billed as “Music at Midnight.” The New York Times review described his performance style, focusing on his eccentric but effective vocal delivery. Niles's participation in the Newport Folk Festival reveals his ambiguous role within the urban folk revival. He was at once on the leading edge of the revival and not really part of it—an eccentric who was simultaneously embraced and excluded as an “original.”

Keywords:   domestic life, New York Times, dean, American balladeers, vocal delivery

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