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Artist Profile

The Womenfolk

The Womenfolk



The Womenfolk: the only all-female folk group of the 1960s


The Performers (left to right)

Judy Fine (Lalah Simcoe)

Jean Amos

Babs Cooper

Leni Ashmore Sorensen

Joyce James

Who wrote the songs?

Reno, Nevada – Richard Farina (ASCAP 2:26)

The Maybe Song – Dave Arkin – Dave Arkin & George M. Smith ((ASCAP 2:54)

The Last Thing On My Mind – Tom Paxton (ASCAP 2:38)

Baby, What You Do To Me – Jimmy Reed (BMI 2:50)

Yesterday – John Lennon-Paul McCartney (BMI 2:02)

The Times They Are Changin’ – Bob Dylan (SESAC 3:12)

Sunrise, Sunset – J. Bock-S. Harnick (BMI 2:54)

There is Beauty in the World – Jimmy David (ASCAP 2:15)

Meditation – Antonio Carlos Jobim- Norman Gimbel (ASCAP 2:25)

Man, Oh, Man – Will Holt- Bernardo Segal (BMI 2:16)

Bring Me A Rose (How Easy We Forget) – Ernie Sheldon (ASCAP 3:20)

Quitten’ Time – Barbara Cooper ASCAP 2:20)

Original Liner Notes-1966:

The thing about the Womenfolk—they bring the same intuitively wise, warm approach to a song that, well, the womenfolk bring to life.

In spite of their tender ages, the Womenfolk have a mature, rich musical sound. These are no shrill, record-hop honeys dabbling in song, but knowing musicians who bring intelligence to a delightful variety of popular tunes in this latest album.

The girls express effectively the moods of the been-around, the observant and the discerning on selections that could hardly be improved upon to display The Womenfolk’s haunting talent. They know the score, and tell us all about it as the mood hits them on Reno Nevada (jaded); The Last Thing on My Mind (wistful); Baby, What You Do To Me (abandon); Yesterday (dejected); and The Times They Are A-Changin (socially conscious).

The Womenfolk’s source of understanding is endless. Their virtuosity continues on Sunrise, Sunset (surprise); The Is Beauty in the World (optimistic); Meditation )lonely, Man Oh Man (philosophic); How Easy We Forget (Bring Me a Rose) (romantic), and Quittin’ Time (weary).

How does it happen that these five girls are so knowledgeable, even fresh, in their

renditions of these tunes which already are so familiar. Aside from their expert musicianship, they possess the gift (women’s instinct?) of absorbing an emotion, a thought, a time or a place, and simmering it as womenfolk do until its needed.

The Misses–Jean Amos, Leni Ashmore, Barbara Cooper, Judy Fine and Joyce James–are from various parts of the country, but most of them have come form musical and/or show business backgrounds. Their showmanship is evident on their latest album in suble ways, always subordinate to their superb singing, never intrusive, frequently humorous.

MAN OH MAN! This should The Womenfolk’s biggest album to date. Maybe they’d better start calling themselves “The Womenpop.”

Doug McClelland

Editor, Record World

Recorded in New York City, Winter 1965-66

Produced by: Danny Davis

Arranged and Conducted by Billy Muir

Recording Engineer: Ernie Oelrich

Liner Notes: Doug McClelland, Editor, Record World.

Album Cover: Shot on the roof of the RCA Building, NYC

The Womenfolk Vol. 5: (1966) Man Oh Man! the Womenfolk Cover
  • The Womenfolk Vol. 5: (1966) Man Oh Man! the Womenfolk
  • Folk, Pop
  • The Womenfolk
  • 03/29/2008
  • The Womenfolk Vol. 5: (1966) Man Oh Man! the Womenfolk
  1. Reno Nevada 2:26 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  2. The Maybe Song 2:55 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  3. The Last Thing On My Mind 2:38 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  4. Baby, What You Do To Me 2:50 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  5. Yesterday 2:09 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  6. The Times They Are A-changin' 3:14 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  7. Sunrise, Sunset 2:55 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  8. There Is Beauty In The World 2:16 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  9. Meditation 2:25 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  10. Man Oh Man 2:16 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  11. Bring Me A Rose 3:21 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
  12. Quittin' Time 2:24 The Womenfolk Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk...
The Womenfolk Vol. 2: (1964) Cover
  • The Womenfolk Vol. 2: (1964)
  • Folk
  • The Womenfolk
  • 04/23/2008
  • The Womenfolk Vol. 2: (1964)
Liner Notes: The Womenfolk Vol. 2: (1964) Performers on this recording: Joyce James, Leni Ashmore, Babs Cooper, Judy Fine, & Elaine Gealer: Songs & Songwriters: • Don’t You Rock ‘Em, Daddy-O - James, Ashmore, Cooper, Fine, Gealer (ASCAP 2:04) • Little Rag Doll – Babs Cooper (ASCAP 2:50) • Para Bailar La Bamba - James, Ashmore, Cooper, Fine, Gealer (ASCAP 2:27) • One Man’s Hands – P. Seeger-A. Comfort (BMI 2:49) • Whistling Gypsy Rover - James, Ashmore, Cooper, Fine, Gealer (ASCAP 2:40) • Green Mountain Boys – Ernie Sheldon (ASCAP 2:11) • Skip to My Lou - James, Ashmore, Cooper, Fine, Gealer (ASCAP 2:03) • Love Come a Trickling Down – L. Kahn- B. Kahn (BMI 2:16) • Little Boxes – Malvina Reynolds (ASCAP 1:06) • Old Maid’s Lament - James Ashmore, Cooper, Fine, Gealer (ASCAP 2:55) • Rickety Tickety Tin – Tom Lehrer (ASCAP 2:23) • Good Old Mountain Dew - James, Ashmore, Cooper, Fine, Gealer (ASCAP The Womenfolk Discography: • The Womenfolk Vol. 1: (1963)- We Give a Hoot • The Womenfolk Vol. 2: (1964)- The Womenfolk • The Womenfolk Vol. 3: (1964)- Never Underestimate The Power of The Womenfolk • The Womenfolk Vol. 4: (1965)- The Womenfolk at the hungry i • The Womenfolk Vol. 5: (1965)- Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk The Women: Joyce James Gibbs (b. Feb. 12, 1932, Dearborn, Michigan – d. April 2, 2001 New Hampshire) – Joyce was more than a decade older than the rest of us and the group business leader. Her sonorous contralto voice, along with Ashmore's lower timbre, set the tone of The Womenfolk's unique harmonic blend. After The Womenfolk, Joyce continued performing even after starting a family of her own. She appeared on Woody's Children (a syndicated folk-music radio program), hosted Around The Corner (a CBS Television children's show), and was a member of Sunrise Highway (trio) which recorded for Decca Records. Together with her son, Josh Gibbs, she relocated from New York City to Newmarket, New Hampshire, where she was active with many community and feminist concerns. At the University of New Hampshire, Joyce James Gibbs was Executive Secretary of UNH's President's Commission of the Status of Women until her retirement in 1997, and continued to perform with the American Folk Theater. After Joyce's death in 2001, UNH established The Joyce Gibbs Award honoring contributions to "equity and inclusion." Leni Ashmore Sorensen (b. July 20, 1942, Los Angeles, California) – the other contralto in the group, Leni returned to Los Angeles after The Womenfolk to play in the original LA cast of Hair. Later she relocated with her husband Kip and their four children to Charlottesville, Virginia. With a continuing interest in theater she has also been actively involved at the Live Arts Center in Charlottesville, where The Womenfolk recently reunited in late 2007 for the first time in 41 years. Combining her interest in rural, agricultural and culinary history she earned her Ph.D. in American Studies in 2005 from the College of William and Mary. At present she is the African-American Research Historian at Monticello for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Her lectures and research include Fossett, Gillette, Hemings, and Hern: Putting Names to Monticello’s Cooks, and are part of a larger book project with the working title Chefs and Slaves: The Cooks in Jefferson’s Kitchen, – recently featured on The Kitchen Sister’s NPR Production – Hercules & Hemings: African American Cooks in the President’s Kitchen. FYI: She always had her nose in a book back in the Womenfolk days too. Babs Cooper (b. July 5, 1943) – alto, mezzo-soprano, soprano – protests that there are too many Barbara in America. She was originally from Memphis, Tennessee and Little Rock, Arkansas before her family relocated to the San Fernando Valley, where she was Miss San Fernando in 1961. Before becoming one of The Womenfolk she recorded for Indigo Records. She wrote some of the songs the group recorded: Davey's Come Home, Little Rag Doll and Quittin' Time (which is a tribute to her sharecropper grandfather, who along with his eight children toiled in the fields of the Mississippi in the early part of the 20th Century). She has lived in New York City since 1965 when The Womenfolk came east. After leaving the group she worked as a lyricist a for Al Gallico Music, recording some of her songs as a solo performer for RCA: The Playground, What’s One More Tear?. She also worked on the fringe of Madison Avenue, singing and writing lyrics and music for commercials though Herman Edel Music. She branched out into residential real estate during the decade of the 1980s - working mostly with The Corcoran Group, and later yet, went into the word processing field. At present however, her focus is on making sure that every song and album ever recorded by The Womenfolk becomes available (as DPDs) to anyone and everyone who appreciates our music. Lalah Simcoe (nee Judy Fine, b. Feb. 8, 1944, Los Angeles, California) – alto, mezzo-soprano, soprano – never stopped writing and performing, although she has changed instruments: she has gone back to her original instrument, the piano, but it’s electrified now. Her Hollywood roots run deep. She’s the daughter of Sidney Fine, radio, TV and film composer-orchestrator-arranger; and Rose Fine, schoolteacher for the Jackson Five and other performing children. Lightspeed: The Story-Songs of J.Lalah Simcoe – a CD of her original songs - can be found on her website: www.jlalahsimcoe.com. And like Leni, Lalah relocated from Los Angeles to Charlottesville, Virginia. She has two children; daughter Joia Wood has caught the writing-and-performance bug and followed in her mother’s footsteps. Lalah and her husband Jim are the proud and busy owners of one of Charlottesville’s hottest eateries, "The Bluegrass Grill & Bakery" – where breakfast is truly special. But I have inside knowledge that she is itching to harmonize with others in the spotlight again, as well. Jean Amos (b. Feb. 5, 1942, Los Angeles, California) – alto, mezzo-soprano, soprano – grew up in a family of blacklisted musicians in Hollywood and lived a part of her young life in Europe with her family avoiding the FBI - both experiences shaped her future. She made her first album with RCA Victor (Two for the Road – Penny and Jean) at 16. She joined The Womenfolk while in college and appeared on three albums: Never Underestimate the Power of The Womenfolk, The Womenfolk at the hungry i and Man Oh Man! The Womenfolk. Later, she worked in television on both sides of the camera, writing and producing educational television programs for the City of New York, like James, she also appeared on "Around the Corner" and many educational programs. She moved to San Francisco in the 70's. With a love of native plants and horticulture, she has worked as a landscape gardener, designing and creating gardens in the Bay Area. She has been involved in community life and political campaigns for many years, as spokesperson and fundraiser for civic issues and state initiatives. And she taught basic, then ragtime and classical guitar pretty much all her life. Elaine Golden-Gealer (b. Feb. 14, 1941, Detroit, Michigan) – performed on our first two albums We give A Hoot and The Womenfolk, recorded in 1963 and released in 1964. She told me recently that back then she would listen to folk radio stations day & night searching for appropriate material for the group. She's a small woman, but I remember being blown away by the power of her 12-string guitar playing. The Womenfolk recorded a number of her hand-crafted songs during our time together; some comedic like-Our Love Is Special; one anti-war song–Once Upon a Springtime; and some traditional in flavor like Two Fair Maids, in which she which combined the melody of one traditional song with the lyric of another. Elaine is the only one of the group who still lives and works in the L.A. area, Santa Monica, California to be exact. Over the ensuing years she has carved out a successful niche for herself as a real estate broker. Her official title is Senior Director, Coldwell Banker, Condominium, Loft & Townhome Division and she has successfully marketed over 200 new projects; here’s her website: www.lesandelaine.com.
  1. Don't You Rock 'em Daddy-o...
  2. Little Rag Doll
  3. Para Bailar la Bamba
  4. One Man's Hands
  5. Whistling Gypsy Rover
  6. Green Mountain Boys
  7. Skip to My Lou
  8. Love Come A-tricklin' Down...
  9. Little Boxes
  10. Old Maid's Lament
  11. Rickety Tickety Tin
  12. Good Old Mountain Dew
The Way I Feel Cover
  • The Way I Feel
  • Folk, Pop
  • The Womenfolk
  • 12/28/2008
  • The Way I Feel
  1. The Way I Feel