Posted by: nickwardscenarios | July 27, 2013

Cambridge Folk Festival 2013


Friday 3.05pm Club Tent


Portland Folk Club Saturday singaround, Tim Mellor on the right, the legendary Tom Paley fiddling on the left.

Tom’s memory is very sharp.  It was Harvey Matusow who wrote a newspaper article naming Tom as the red banjo player who was a regular at Communist hot spot the Peoples’ Songs HQ. The New Lost City Ramblers were enjoying fast-rising popularity and were invited to appear on a TV station (Tom can’t remember which one). On arrival Tom was asked to sign one of two statements. 1. That Harvey Matusow was a liar. 2. That he did not support the communist ideals of Peoples’ Songs. Tom refused to sign either and was blacklisted. The New Lost City Ramblers did not survive as a direct result. Tom went on to tell me that he had never been a member of the Communist Party but that was no one’s business but his own.
tom paley and tommy
The New Lost City Ramblers did not survive in the original line-up – Tom was dropped – that must have hurt.

Tom Paley and the New New Lost City Ramblers?

FROM Nick Ward TO 3 recipients
  • Banjo Nick my first instrument, recently reunited – as for Robin, Tom Paley reckins he is the most exciting folk musician around – I’m campaigning to see him on main stage for the 50th CFF… Tom reckons he can pick the banjo with his toe nails and play the fiddlSee More
[edit]. In 1955, he came clean with a book, False Witness, in which he discloses
that he was an FBI agent and was paid to lie 

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