Richard Dyer-Bennet Records

Richard was my uncle, and I was raised on his music. For quite a while, even before his death, most of his records were unavailable. They had only been issued on vinyl, except for a Vanguard compendium CD.

Paul Jenkins has a very good RDB page with a discography that goes beyond RDB's recordings on his own label, and which includes song lists for each album.

Greg Sandow has put up a piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal that reviews RDB #1 and talks some about his career.

Smithsonian Folkways records has now rereleased them on CD. I have just (16-Dec-97) received a set (after a very long delay); I've listened to No. 1, and the sound quality is quite good. I believe the original master tapes were monaural, and old -- this first one was released around 1955 if I remember.

RDB #1 cover

The packaging for #1 includes a thick booklet, with lyrics, an essay by Anthony Seeger (Director and Curator of Smithsonian Folkways Records, and brother of Pete Seeger) and a biographical essay by Richard's daughter Bonnie. It looks very nice.

Image of slipcase The rest of the records are produced on-demand using recordable CD technology. They come in jewel boxes with a black-and-white back insert, a black-and-white paper label on the disk, and no booklet. The jewel box and a photocopy of the original album liner notes are inserted into nicely printed color slip-cases, and a label listing the tracks is placed on the back of the slip-case.

Actually, I have seen two forms of #1; two copies are mass-produced (not on-demand) CDs with custom printing and a nice booklet, one is like the other on-demand disks, in the slip-case. I conjecture they decided demand for #1 would justify the nicer package. Given the extra material in the book, and the very fine selection of songs on the album, you should definitely buy #1.

This is the full list of titles I know of on his own label. The "1601" disk is especially noteworthy. One side is an excellent reading of Mark Twain's story "1601", which is a fictional conversation between Drake, Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth, and some others (quite bawdy). The other side is a number of traditional folk songs which are not often recorded or performed in professional venues (also quite bawdy).

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings now has these in print.

The listing in their catalog is on this page (not at the top; scroll down, it's alphabetical). Ordering information is here .


This information came from their catalog on 19-May-97:
[Minicon] [Minn-StF] [dd-b] [site status] [pit]
Last modified Wednesday, 09-Aug-2006 12:14:20 PDT.
David Dyer-Bennet <>