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Wednesday, February 28, at Nighttown.



While Dave Van Ronk, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and Lightnin' Hopkins galvanized the formative days of the epochal '60s folk scene on this side of the Atlantic, Great Britain had -- I mean has -- Martin Carthy. A distinctive, earthy singer, dedicated folklorist, fine guitarist, mentor, and songwriter, Carthy was crucial to the development of the Brit folk scene -- his influence extending to a couple of Yanks spending time over there in 1965: Paul Simon (on whom Carthy bestowed the basis of Simon & Garfunkel's version of "Scarborough Fair/Canticle") and Bob Dylan (who turned Carthy's take on the traditional tune "Lord Franklin" into "Bob Dylan's Dream"). He was also a founder of Steeleye Span, a spin-off of Fairport Convention that itself became a seminal U.K. folk-rock outfit.

In 1972, Carthy married fellow folk- singer Norma Waterson and by the '90s, with their punkish daughter, fiddler, and singer, Eliza, had formed Waterson:Carthy. Make no mistake, these are mos def not somber folk revivalists; there's nothing to "revive" here. In the hands of Waterson:Carthy, traditional music is a vibrant, evolving art form.

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