Malvina Reynolds Sang the Truth
Malvina Reynolds was born on August 23, 1900 in San Francisco to Jewish immigrants. At a time when few women went to college, Malvina Reynolds earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English at the University of California, Berkey and earned her doctorate there in 1938.
Her parents had been socialists and opposed to WWI, her husband, William Reynolds, was a carpenter and communist organizer. She had seen first hand the effects of the Great Depression, the migration of Dust Bowl refugees, the plight of the farm and cannery workers, the interment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, and the Red Scare.
According to her daughter, she had always wanted to teach, but never followed up on her dream. When she met Pete Seeger and other folk musicians in the 1950s her life took a new direction. She went back to school, this time to study music theory.
She began writing songs that reflected her beliefs in justice and humanity. Her studies in English and music and her experiences in life gave her the ability to write powerful, insightful songs about the injustices and wrongs she felt so strongly about.
Malvina Reynolds passed away March 17, 1978 at the age of 77 and performed until just a few days before her death.
Sadly, many of the topics that Malvina Reynolds wrote and sang about are still as pertinent today as they were forty years ago.
Bad skip, sorry.
There has been a lot of mention of “Good” and “Evil” in the past few years. Most of those talking the loudest have been shouting from behind airport bathroom stalls and the madam’s boudoirs of Washington, D.C. I tend to believe that we are all “Somewhere Between.”
YouTube Video: Malvina Reynolds - No Hole in My Head
From: Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger (No. 6)
Yes, that's Ramblin' Jack Elliott at the table with Pete and Malvina.
Most of Malvina Reynolds' recording are long out of print. Some individual songs have been released on various compilation CDs.
A few years ago, Smithsonian Folkways repackaged and remastered 23 great recordings by Malvina Reynolds from the 1960s and '70s. The CD Ear To The Ground is available from Smithsonian Folkways.
Thanks to our friend, Dan, for the inspiration for today’s post.
Also, I owe a tip of the hat to our friend, Jim H., for the idea for Monday's post. I'm putting something more substantial together, Jim, thanks for the idea.