Entertainment Music

Len Chandler, an Early Fixture of the Folks Revival, Dies at 88

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Len Chandler, who was an early fixture of the folks music revival that swept via Greenwich Village within the late Nineteen Fifties and ’60s and who sang alongside Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and different higher-profile stars at civil rights marches and Vietnam Conflict protests, died on Aug. 28 at his dwelling in Los Angeles. He was 88.

Lew Irwin, a longtime good friend who within the late Nineteen Sixties introduced Mr. Chandler to Los Angeles to supply music for an uncommon new radio present he was creating, confirmed the demise. He stated Mr. Chandler had not too long ago had a number of strokes.

Mr. Chandler was a classically skilled oboist when he arrived in New York from Ohio, the place he had graduated from the College of Akron in 1957, and met the singer Dave Van Ronk on the Folklore Heart, a Greenwich Village store that offered data, books and sheet music and was a gathering level for folks musicians.

Mr. Van Ronk “launched me to the Washington Sq. Park folks scene,” Mr. Chandler stated in an essay included within the e book “Folks Metropolis: New York and the American Folks Music Revival,” by Stephen Petrus and Ronald D. Cohen (2015). “Each Sunday it was stuffed with folks singers. I bear in mind studying to play on borrowed guitars within the park till somebody stated, ‘Purchase your individual rattling guitar.’ I stated ‘OK’ and acquired his for 40 bucks.”

Quickly he was enjoying recurrently on the Gaslight Cafe, which opened in 1958 and was later well-known as a proving floor for Mr. Dylan and others.

An government from the Detroit tv station WXYZ noticed him there and in 1959 employed him to be the featured musician on “The After Hours Membership,” a late-night selection present. By the point Mr. Chandler returned to New York about six months later, the folks music scene was in full swing on the Gaslight, Folks Metropolis and different golf equipment.

Mr. Chandler was a part of a scene that additionally included, amongst others, Mr. Dylan, Mr. Van Ronk, Tom Paxton, Richie Havens and Noel Paul Stookey, later of Peter, Paul and Mary. In “Chronicles: Quantity One,” his 2004 memoir, Mr. Dylan wrote of the back-room poker recreation on the Gaslight the place musicians would move the time ready their flip to carry out.

“Chandler informed me as soon as, ‘You gotta discover ways to bluff,’” Mr. Dylan wrote. “‘You’ll by no means make it on this recreation for those who don’t. Typically you even should get caught bluffing.’”

Mr. Chandler, as John Christy of The Atlanta Journal as soon as put it, “possesses a sharply honed guitar-vocal arsenal of ‘message’ songs, blues songs, jazz songs, nation songs, and simply songs.” However he was particularly recognized for songs he wrote impressed by the information of the day. The primary, Mr. Chandler stated, was written in 1962 a couple of disastrous faculty bus accident the 12 months earlier than in Greeley, Colo.

“Then I began writing many songs in regards to the Freedom Riders and sit-ins,” he was quoted as saying within the “Folks Music” e book. On the March on Washington in 1963, the place the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I’ve a dream” speech, Mr. Chandler sang the standard track “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize (Hold On)” with some up to date lyrics. Ms. Baez and Mr. Dylan had been among the many backing singers.

The subsequent 12 months he toured with Dick Gregory, the comic recognized for sharp-edged materials involving race. In the summertime of 1969 Mr. Chandler was on the maiden voyage of the Clearwater, the sloop Mr. Seeger used to lift consciousness of Hudson River air pollution and different environmental causes, crusing from Maine to New York and staging live shows at stops alongside the best way.

In 1970 and 1971 he was a part of a troupe led by Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland that introduced an antiwar revue often known as “F.T.A.” (which stood for Free Theater Associates, or Free the Military, or one thing else involving the Military that’s unprintable) to army cities and bases on the peak of the Vietnam Conflict.

If Mr. Chandler by no means achieved the identify recognition of a few of these with whom he shared levels and causes, he did write no less than one track with lasting enchantment: “Beans in My Ears,” which the Serendipity Singers become a High 30 hit in 1964. Geared toward adults however easy and repetitive like a youngsters’s track, it was about individuals’s tendency to not take heed to others: “I feel that each one grown-ups have beans of their ears,” the ultimate verse went, with “beans of their ears” repeated time and again.

Maybe the track would have climbed greater on the charts had medical professionals in some cities not denounced it. “‘Beans in Ears’ Alarms Docs Who Concern Youngsters Will Strive It,” a 1964 headline in The Indianapolis Star learn over an article that stated WIRE in Indiana had stopped enjoying the track. That step was taken by different radio stations as effectively.

Len Hunt Chandler Jr. was born on Might 27, 1935, in Summit County, Ohio. He began studying the piano at 9, however as soon as he reached highschool he wished to hitch the varsity band, and the one instrument out there was the oboe, so he started enjoying that.

He continued to review music on the College of Akron, the place he additionally confirmed the beginnings of the activism that might characterize his singing profession: In a sharply worded letter to the editor revealed in The Akron Beacon Journal in 1954, he informed of being barred from a public pool as a result of he was Black.

“When will we, the individuals of america, study to observe the rules of democracy that we preach?” he wrote.

After he earned his undergraduate diploma, a $500 scholarship helped deliver him to New York to proceed his music research. He would ultimately earn a grasp’s diploma in music schooling at Columbia College, however by then he was immersed within the folks scene.

By the mid-Nineteen Sixties he was a well-recognized presence at espresso homes in america and Canada, and in 1968 his dexterity with topical songs landed him a seemingly not possible job at KRLA radio in Pasadena, Calif. Mr. Irwin was making a current-events present there referred to as “The Credibility Hole,” and Mr. Chandler was to jot down and sing three songs a day for the present, primarily based on the information. The primary track was due by 9 a.m., the second by midday and the third by 3 p.m.

“Typically I begin writing a half-hour, 20 minutes earlier than the present,” he informed The Los Angeles Occasions in November 1968, when he’d been doing the job for about 5 months, “so I rip it out of the typewriter and run upstairs with out ever having performed it on the guitar, determine what key I wish to sing it in and put my capo in place. The engineer says ‘Go,’ and I sing it.”

In a Fb put up, Mr. Irwin estimated that Mr. Chandler wrote 1,000 songs from 1968 to 1970.

“Reporters converse to the thoughts; Len aimed on the intestine,” he wrote. “And at all times with gentleness to make his phrases land with the fullest impression.”

Mr. Chandler was on the job at KRLA in June 1968 when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. A track he wrote for that event included these lyrics:

Lengthy line of mourners,
Lengthy strains of the slain,
Lengthy strains of teletype
Spelling out the ache.
Lengthy strains on the poll field
Casting votes in useless.
Lengthy strains line the lengthy, lengthy monitor
Of one other lonesome practice.

Mr. Chandler launched two albums within the late Nineteen Sixties, “To Be a Man” (1966) and “The Lovin’ Folks” (1967), although neither made a lot impression. He settled in Los Angeles, and in 1971 he and John Braheny based the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, the place songwriters carried out new materials for music publishers and recording executives. They ran it for 25 years, offering publicity for up-and-coming artists together with Stephen Bishop, Stevie Nicks, and Karla Bonoff.

Mr. Chandler’s survivors embody his spouse, Olga Adderley Chandler, who acted beneath her maiden identify, Olga James, and was the widow of the saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, who died in 1975. Additionally they embody a son, Michael Fox.

“One factor about Chandler was that he was fearless,” Mr. Dylan recalled in “Chronicles.” “He didn’t undergo fools, and nobody might get in his method.”

“Len was good and full of fine will,” he added, “a kind of guys who believed that each one of society could possibly be affected by one solitary life.”

Kirsten Noyes contributed analysis.