Jackie Washington

Born in Roxbury, Jackie Washington (not to be confused with the Canadian bluesman of the same name) was an important figure in the early ‘60s folk scene as roots music transcended its ethnic origins and was brought onto college campuses and across the country by a host of fresh, acoustic guitar-toting talents. Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, the Clancy Brothers, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan interpreted and popularized folk selections that, in some cases, had been passed down for generations. Then they began to write their own songs using the canvas of unemployment, poverty, injustice, racism and non-violence to paint their stories. Jackie Washington arrived early onto this scene and became one of New England’s greatest folk artists as a result of the four albums he released on Vanguard between 1962 and ‘67. His in-concert release Jackie Washington at Club 47 (1965) immortalized a fixture of the Cambridge music scene which evolved into Club Passim, and showed off his considerable performance skills. Unjustly hassled by Boston Police late one night, Washington used his violent experience to become a regular spokesman warning of the insidious presence of racism at every level of society, and his anti-war stance echoed a common thread found in contemporary Joan Baez, with whom he enjoyed a close artistic relationship. Washington’s appearance as a recording artist was all too brief – later, he used his arresting good looks and onstage talent to become a successful actor, relocating to New York as Jack Landron.
(by Carter Alan)

Published on December 28, 2012

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