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Susan Renaker | Susan Renaker Live At the Prison of Socrates

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Folk: Traditional Folk Folk: Field Recordings Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Susan Renaker Live At the Prison of Socrates

by Susan Renaker

This is an album of Traditional Folk Music from the British Isles, Bahamas, South Africa, Greece, and Argentina. It was recorded live at The Prison of Socrates; a coffee house that was located in Newport Beach California.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Raggle Taggle Gypsy
3:36 $0.99
2. Pom-a-Lom
2:36 $0.99
3. Xekina
3:16 $0.99
4. Venezuela
3:03 $0.99
5. Vive Jujui
3:03 $0.99
6. A Soldier & A Sailor
2:21 $0.99
7. Old Maid's Song
4:00 $0.99
8. Eh Matzuela
2:50 $0.99
9. Black Is The Color
3:21 $0.99
10. Barbara Allen
3:38 $0.99
11. Kocher Bailey
2:14 $0.99
12. La, La, La-La
1:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Prison of Socrates was a coffee house located in Newport Beach, California in the 1960's. It was owned by three Greek immigrant brothers, George, Gerry, and Ted Nikas. It was part of a network of coffee houses where folk singers could perform. Susan Renaker was a regular at the Prison of Socrates and this recording was made during a live performance in 1963. Susan married Ted Nikas and later became the lead singer of the bluegrass band, Clay County. Clay County has released five albums and Susan wrote most of the original material performed by the band. Clay County's albums are; Satisfied Mind, Cherokee Shuffle, Waiting for the Fall, How's Your Heart? and Love is the Source. Susan has also released two solo albums; Clay County Remembered and Hard Times.



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Nick and Mike Campbell

Susan Renaker Live at the Prison of Socrates: A Post Scriptum
This is just to say, having saved to master CD-Rs both this album, "Susan Renaker Live at the Prison of Socrates" and a studio album of Susan Renaker's, that our review is for both albums, though only one is currently for sale here. Among these tracks there are no Marion Bartoo songs, rather a gathering of traditional songs that makes all the more sense in the world. These are songs that, if some are examples of contemporary folk music, appear to have been around forever. One nearly believes they are as solid as anything Alan Lomax or Carl Sandburg may have collected prior to the folk explosion of the 1960s. Anyway, please click on to the samples if you haven't already and then you may acquire what has hitherto been unavailable though why that was and why these recordings were never pressed to vinyl is a kind of mystery. Even Susan Renaker admits she had completely forgotten she had even recorded an album live at the Prison of Socrates, nor did she think her studio album survived.

Mike and Nick Campbell

Susan Renaker Live at the Prison of Socrates: A Legacy for All
It's amazing and pretty much a miracle that these recordings are now available to the public and that they survived forty plus years in the obscurity of what could have been oblivion. We know perhaps as well as Susan Renaker what this means because we helped to save these recordings along with many others, all of them from the 1960s and all of them produced at the Prison of Socrates coffee house in Balboa, CA, and by the Nikas brothers who owned and operated several coffee houses at the time, all of them very important to the folk scene in Newport Beach and in southern California and perhaps this music on this album is as close as we're going to get to getting into a time machine and traveling back to the 60s and to those now defunct coffee houses. It allows us, this album, to be there, as many of us were, or wanted to be, and just sit and listen.

Here are some songs that characterize very well and exclusively what it was like to experience the folk renaissance of the 60s. And what a great album it is. Among its offerings are songs by Marion Bartoo whose themes and lyrics and music are a distinctive amalgam of the values of the 60s and Susan Renaker sings the songs with great authority and style and with the kind of wit peculiar to a hodgepodge of folk singers who used to perform at the Prison of Socrates, among them some of the best folk singers in the business and some of whom still perform, like Susan, today. I am thinking of Steve Gillette whose vanguard album comes to mind and whose presence at the Prison of Socrates was also a staple fo the times. But some of old are not here now, like Hoyt Axton, whose contribution to music continues but whose presence is sorely missed. Susan Renaker's album offered here is a lost remnant of the very tradition that Hoyt Axton and othes who performed at the Prison of Socrates represented.

I suppose that it is always better to just listen to the music than to read something however well intended that hopes to excite in others what the author feels, or in this case, authors. My brother and I feel a special love for this album because we have been most fortunate to have helped others to discover and to rediscover the music presented here and interpreted by a most remarkable folk singer. We thank Susan Renaker for just being who she was and remains, someone who embraces life.