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BIG ROAD RECORDS presents "CROSSROOTS" by the "BIG ROAD BLUES" BAND

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Welcome to Alan Podber's Page


Brief Mostly Musical Bio

Hi! Welcome to my web page. I'm a blues/old-time-country guitarist/mandolinist and occasional harmonica playerI was a founding member of both the Delaware Water Gap and Wretched Refuse string bands, a past host of several music programs, including "A Taste of the Blues," on WBAI-FM (Pacifica radio in NY), and a former member of the NYC Labor Chorus, with an interest in ethnomusicology (M.A. in music from Hunter College); I have taught Music Appreciation from a global perspective at the community college level.  I belong to AFM Local 171 and AFSCME District Council 37, and I'm a member of the NYC Medical Reserve Corps (I am a licensed Master Social Worker, with a degree from Yeshiva University and a course concentration in community organization/administration). I've written articles and record reviews for Sing-Out! magazine and the JEMF Quarterly. In the early 1970's, I co-founded and co-managed two coffee houses that featured folk and traditional music performances (Cafe SUBO at Brooklyn College, and Random Canyon at the Park Slope United Methodist Church in Brooklyn). During 1978, I lectured on blues at CW Post College. In 1979, I toured Europe with the Delaware Water Gap, and performed with them on the soundtrack of the Oscar-nominated 1980 documentary film "The War at Home," as well as a television commercial for public radio on WUHY-TV in Philadelphia. During the 1980's and 90's, I played string band music with Harmony, Grits and Jam, and Jewish music in the duo Tsvei Klezmorim. I sang with the NYC Labor Chorus on the soundtrack of the documentary film "The Scottsboro Boys" (also nominated for an Oscar), and provided music for the play "Wholly Mother Jones," which was broadcast over the Pacifica radio network in 2000.  Between 2000 and 2009, I provided musical accompaniment for labor singers George Mann and Julius Margolin.  (Sadly, Julius passed away in 2009, but  I continue to occasionally accompany  George.)  Since 2002, I have joined my long-time musical partner Ralph Litwin (on whose cable TV show, "Horses Sing None of It," I've appeared several times) in the duo, "The Fabulous Furry Harmonica Brothers," and other ensembles.  From ca. 2001 through the present , I've played (mostly) pre-war blues as a founding member of the band "Big Road Blues," which presently includes Rick Eisenberg, Ken Ficara and Jim Porter.  During 2013 and 2014, I co-produced/curated the multicultural performance series "Big Road in Chelsea" at the former Henry Winston Memorial Hall in Manhattan.  

Main musical influences: Dad (a.k.a. Lenny Pat [professionally]); Lead Belly; Rev. Gary Davis; Gene Meade (back-up guitarist for Clark Kessinger); Blind Willie McTell; Big Bill Broonzy; Lightnin' Hopkins; Martin, Bogan and Armstrong; Woody Guthrie; Phil Ochs; Dave Van Ronk; Mississippi John Hurt; Doc Watson; Pete Stampfel and Steve Weber (for starters).  Might as well add Fairport Convention and Dave Swarbrick (especially since I've attended Cropredy--SEVEN times!) and Steeleye Span. 


SELECTED FESTIVAL APPEARANCES


With the Delaware Water Gap:
Fox Hollow Lodge String Band Festival: 1975
Philadelphia Folk Festival/Philadelphia Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival: 1977-1979
Nyons Folk Festival (Switzerland): 1979
Folkdag Moergestel (Netherlands): 1979
De Lokerse Feesten (Belgium): 1979
New Jersey Folk Festival: 1999 (reunion)

With the Fabulous Furry Harmonica Brothers:
New Jersey Folk Festival: 2003

New Jersey Folk Project Fall Festival: 2005

RECORDINGS


{1} (with the Delaware Water Gap and various artists) "Fox Hollow Lodge String Band Festival, vol. 1, 'Comin' Home'" Biograph RC 6008 (1976). [out of print].

{2} (as accompanist) Kevin Burke; "Sweeney's Dream - Fiddle Tunes from County Sligo, Ireland" Folkways LP FW 8876 (1977, reissued on CD by Ossian Publications {Cork, Ireland} OSS CD 18 [1989] and Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings SFW CD 40485 [2001]). [2001 edition in print].

{3} Delaware Water Gap; "String Band Music" Adelphi 2004 (1977). [out of print].

{4} Delaware Water Gap; "From the Rivers of Babylon to the Land of Jazz" Kicking Mule KM 205 (1979). [out of print].

{5} (as accompanist) Debbie McClatchy; "Lady Luck" Green Linnet SIF 1017 (1979). [out of print].

{6} (as accompanist) Bob Carlin; "Fiddle Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo" Rounder Records 0132 (1980). [contact company re: availability].

{7} (with Harmony, Grits and Jam) Ralph Litwin; "Wild Man and Friends" Funny Wisdom Music (ca. 1987). [contact company re: availability].

{8} (as accompanist) George Mann and Julius Margolin, "Miles to Go Before We Sleep" Running Scared Productions (2000). [in print].

{9} (as accompanist) -- various artists, "Hail to the Thief" Running Scared Productions (2001). [in print].

{10} (as accompanist) Chris Chandler & Anne Feeney, "Flying Poetry Circus" Shole 002 (2001). [in print].

{11} Ralph Litwin and Alan Podber; Funny Wisdom Music (2002). [in print].

{12} (with Ralph Litwin) -- various artists, "Evidence of Life Transmitted by Air" WFMU Premium CD (2002). [contact station re: availability].

{13} Ralph Litwin and Al Podber, "The Fabulous Furry Harmonica Brothers" Funny Wisdom Music FWR0040CD (2003). [in print]. Available from ralphlitwin.com or this website (email request can be sent at "Contact Us").

{14} (as accompanist) George Mann and Julius Margolin, "Just a Few Bad Apples" Running Scared Productions (2003). [in print].

{15} (as accompanist) -- various artists, "Hail to the Thief 2" Running Scared Productions (2004). [in print].

{16} (with Ralph Litwin) -- various artists, "The Artists from Our Freshman Year" Winona Folk Acoustic Music Concerts Compilation CD.  Lake Winona Civic Association [2004]. [in print].

{17} (as accompanist) -- various artists, "Election Day USA" Sea Lion Records BB01 (2004). [contact company re: availability]. 

{18} (post-production coordinator and musical accompanist) "Wholly Mother Jones," a play with music broadcast over the Pacifica Radio network. Green Eagle Press (2005). [in print]. Available from greeneagle.org or this website (email request can be sent at "Contact Us").

{19} (as interviewee and accompanist) "A Union Man: The Life and Work of Julius Margolin," an hour long DVD documentary with concert footage. Running Scared Productions (2005 and edited, revised addition, 2008). [2008 edition in print].

{20} (as accompanist) -- various artists, "Hail to the Thieves 3" Running Scared Productions (2006). [in print].

{21} “From Lublin to Dublin,” A 1984 concert featuring Irish and Jewish [Klezmer and Chassidic] tunes. Big Road Records (2007). [out of print, but on display at the Irish-Jewish Museum in Dublin, Ireland].

{22} (as accompanist) -- George Mann, "Into the Fire" Running Scared Productions (2008). [in print].

{23} (as accompanist) -- various artists, "Hail to the Thieves 4" Running Scared Productions (2008). [in print].  

{24} Big Road Blues; "Crossroots" Big Road Records (2009). [in print--Go to "Purchase Crossroots" on this website to obtain a copy from CD Baby and hear clips of all tracks].

{25} (with Big Road Blues) -- various artists, "New Music Mailmix October 2009"  http://www.mailmixes.com/NewMu​sicMailmixOctober2009.zip [available-click on URL]

{26} (as accompanist) -- George Mann, "Songs for Jules and Bruce" Running Scared Productions (2010). [in print].

{27} (with Lenny Pat and the Fabulous Furry Harmonica Brothers) -- various artists, "New Music Mailmix June 2011" http://mailmixes.com/newmusicm​ailmixjune2011.zip [available-click on URL]

{28} (as accompanist) -- George Mann, "Patience in These Times" Running Scared Productions (2012). [in print].

{29} (as accompanist) -- George Mann, "For the Road and the Sky" Running Scared Productions (2016). [in print].

For information on how to obtain any of the above recordings, send an email to me at "Contact Us" and I will forward information for the respective companies.

"Always ready and willing to give a verse or two of 'Fannin' Street.'"