The Broadside of Boston, Cambridge, Mass., September 18, 1963, Vol. II, No. 14, p.9.
NOTES ON MEL LYMAN
It has taken Mel Lyman many years to get from Eureka, California to Boston. The journey has been a long slow haul, but if one can hear him play his banjo and sing the songs that he has learned on his travels, he will think that the trip has been well worth while. From Canada to the Mexican border and from coast to coast, Mel has worked, hitched, sung and played in railroad freight yard,bars and southern cane fields.
A great admirer of Woody Guthrie, Mel has made more than one pilgrmimage to the bedside of this famous American folksinger. Lyman has been strongly influenced by Guthrie and one time listening to him will convince the most critical listener that Woodrow Wilson Guthrie's style is in no danger of being corrupted by the current crop of pop singers. Mel is a purist, and in the tradition of the true folk singer, will not be influenced by the demands of commercialism - "They take me as I am or they don't take me at all" said Woody Guthrie and this is the philosophy of his disciple who has refused many profitable propositions because he was not allowed to sing as he felt.
An able teacher of banjo and harmonica, he has worked with such men as Brother Percy Randolph, Bill Ryan, and Obray Ramsay. In 1960, Mel and his friend Ron McElderry toured the United States on an anti-bomb mission passing the hat and delivering the word through song from small town to small town throughout the country. Mel has now turned away from the topical motif in his songs though he still writes many of his own lyrics. He likes a song "to come out like a good conversation".
If Mel Lyman stays around Boston for awhile, it would give us all an opportunity to hear authentic music sung in a way that deserves to be perpetuated.
E. C. & F. L.