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Spider John Koerner

Spider John Koerner was born August 31, 1938, in Rochester, N.Y. At the age of 15, he was one of the youngest to ever get a student glider pilot license. He enrolled in 1956 at the University of Minnesota as an engineering student, but in early 1958, he became a student of the burgeoning folk scene. With a borrowed guitar and a Burl Ives song book, he began a journey which helped shape the course of American country blues and folk music.

For over 40 years, John Koerner has explored the ranges of traditional American song, as a solo artist and with a variety of partners. All of his 1960’s recordings are reissued on CD: “Blues, Rags and Hollers;” :Lots More Blues Rags and Hollers;” and “The Return of Koerner, Ray & Glover,” (cornerstones of the blues revivalist era, recorded with Dave Ray and Tony Glover), and “Running, Jumping, Standing Still,” (a blend of jug band, psychedelic R&B and folk-blues, with (Willie Murphy).

Two 1970s albums recorded on Dave Ray's Sweet Jane label, “Music Is Just A Bunch Of Notes” and “Some American Folk Songs Like They Used To” are now collector's items. His 1986 recording “Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Been” and the 1992 “Raised By Humans,” both with Boston's "Mr. Bones" John Burrill, and others, reflect Koerner’s deep appreciation of the traditional song.

“StarGeezer,” recorded in New Orleans in '96, adds the Louisiana sounds of Reggie Houston, Amasa Miller and Johnny Vidacovich with 'Chip' Taylor Smith and Willie Murphy (Producer) . In a moving rendition, Koerner also covers Hoagy Carmichael's “Stardust” on “StarGeezer.”

Koerner reunited with Ray and Glover in 1996 for “One Foot in The Groove,” the legendary trio's first recording together in 30 years. John Koerner is featured in Part 1(of 4) in the PBS Educational Series RIVER OF SONG which premiered Jan.6, 1999. This production includes a seven part series on Public Radio International; a companion book by St. Martin’s Press, a 2 CD set from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and a home video series from Acorn Media. In the fall of 1999, he recorded two tracks with the jug band sound of the Liquor Pigs, with Tim Bradach (FYTAD), and one track in 2000 with Norwegian artist Ole Ask. In a salute to the traditional roots of Bob Dylan, John Koerner and Dave Ray contributed the track Delia to the Redhouse tribute recording “A Nod to Bob” released in April 2001 for Dylan's 60th birthday.

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