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Author Topic:  Bruce Langhorne
Mike Perlowin

Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2017 1:45 am     Reply with quote

Bruce Langhorne, an intuitive guitarist who played a crucial role in the transition from folk music to folk-rock, notably through his work with Bob Dylan, died on Friday at his home in Venice, Calif. He was 78.
A close friend, Cynthia Riddle, said the cause was kidney failure.

From his pealing lead guitar on “Maggie’s Farm” to his liquid electric guitar lines on “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” and “She Belongs to Me,” Mr. Langhorne was best known for his playing on Mr. Dylan’s landmark 1965 album, “Bringing It All Back Home.” He also contributed hypnotic countermelodies to tracks like “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

“Bringing It All Back Home” proved a harbinger of ’60s folk-rock. Mr. Langhorne’s empathetic accompaniment, always stressing feeling over flash, animated all 11 of the album’s tracks.

In his 2004 memoir, “Chronicles,” Mr. Dylan said of Mr. Langhorne, “If you had Bruce playing with you, that’s all you would need to do just about anything.”
Mr. Dylan credited Mr. Langhorne with inspiring “Mr. Tambourine Man,” recalling in 1985 that the song came to him after seeing Mr. Langhorne arrive for a 1964 recording session with an oversize Turkish drum arrayed with bells. (“In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you,” Mr. Dylan sang.)

Mr. Langhorne had not set out to become a guitar player. A student of the violin, he had to forgo a career in classical music after losing two fingers and most of the thumb on his right hand in an accident involving homemade fireworks when he was 12. He took up the guitar at 17, developing a unique call-and-response approach to the instrument.

“Since I have fingers missing, some styles of guitar playing were forever unreachable for me,” he told an interviewer. “I really needed someone who had a thread going to really do my job,” he continued, alluding to his musical collaborators. “Because then they could generate a couple of lines of polyphony, or a rhythmic structure, and then I could enhance that.”

Besides his work with Mr. Dylan — which also included the track “Corinna, Corinna” on the 1963 album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” — Mr. Langhorne played electric guitar on influential folk-rock albums like Richard and Mimi Fariña’s “Celebrations for a Grey Day” and Joan Baez’s “Farewell, Angelina,” both from 1965.

He appeared on many folk albums on the Columbia, Elektra and Vanguard labels. Among these was Tom Rush’s 1968 album, “The Circle Game,” a precursor to the 1970s singer-songwriter movement led by, among others, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, both of whom contributed compositions to the Rush album.

Mr. Langhorne recorded with a wide variety of musicians, including the South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, the Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji and the American folk singer Odetta.

He and Odetta performed Aug. 28, 1963, at the March on Washington, just before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
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Susan Alcorn

Baltimore, MD, USA
Post Posted 17 Apr 2017 4:37 pm     Reply with quote

Bruce Langhorne was indeed a great musician. Among his other accomplishments was his collaboration with Peter Fonda, writing the music for his movie "The Hired Hand". He'd been sick and in a hospice for a while. Some friends put out a tribute album called "The Hired Hands" was released earlier this year - I hope he was able to hear it.

"So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray."
- Mary Oliver
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Ben Elder

La Crescenta, California, USA
Post Posted 21 Apr 2017 9:27 pm     And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme Reply with quote

In the early nineties, the security detail of the Music Police had fallen down on their jobs miserably and somehow I was allowed into the fold of many Los Angeles music parties whose regulars included some notables and luminaries of the Cambridge and Greenwich Village sixties folk scenes.

No one more noted and luminous than Bruce Langhorne.

When Bruce was carving out his niche in history, I had not quite started torturing a Harmony archtop in the distant orbit of Planet Hayseed, seemingly hopelessly removed from the stardust-tinged galaxy where Bruce and his fellow legends were composing history.

Whatever am I doing among such august musical company? (Mostly staying in the outer circle of players and strumming very unobtrusively...)

Bruce, it was an honor to have been in your presence (and not 86'd as a musical imposter).
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Alan Brookes

Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 21 Jun 2017 3:34 pm     Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear of his passing. He was a legend in the folk world who always seemed to be in the background and rarely received due credit.
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