Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Connie Converse

In 1974 Connie Converse packed up her VW and disappeared forever. Just a few decades before that, in 1949, Connie dropped out of Mt. Holyoke College and moved to Greenwich Village to be a folk musician. Recently, with the release of some of her recordings from that period, there has been a huge burst of interest in her work. In her day, her fans were limited to as she put it "dozens of people all over the world". I found out about Connie Converse from the WNYC show Spinning On Air. You can download it free here : http://www.wnyc.org/shows/spinning/episodes/2009/03/15
The show made me think a lot about what it might have been like to be born just slightly out of your time....what was it like hanging out with the dude beatniks in Greenwich Village being an average looking girl with an above average intelligence and some scalding wit. A decade or so later it would have been much easier to be a drop out folk singer but in the Bell Jar days you had to really want it.

Many of her lyrics play sarcastically with the expectations of how a good girl should behave.

From "Roving Woman"

People say a roving woman is likely not to be
better than she ought to be
so when I stray away from where I've got to be
someone always takes me home.

A lady never should habituate saloons
and that is where I find myself on many afternoons
and just as I begin
to blow away the foam
someone tips his hat to me and takes me home.

Now poker is a game a lady shouldn't play
and every floatin' poker game just seems to float my way
but long before I've lost a thing beside my comb
someone tips his hand to me and takes me home.

Some of her songs are stranger like "Two Tall Mountains-Talkin Like You". Its one of my favorites - a mix between eerie / lonely and a funny upbeat goodbye song.

Here's a video someone made for one her more normal solemn numbers. Its called One By One.

Connie Converse was never found and if you listen to the WNYC show you'll see that it was confusing and painful for her family and friends and everyone involved. However, I am glad that this album is finally out so we can appreciate her music, and so gals like me - scraping by in the big city- can remember our fore-mothers who made it a little easier for the rest of us.

You can download the album off Amazon or buy it at Other Music.
Find out more about Connie here...

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