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Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic Folk: Political Folk Folk: Urban Folk Moods: Type: Political

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Jack Warshaw

“Folksongs are dangerous” – Lee Hays
Raised in New York City, Jack's artistic and musical ability showed up in childhood. He attended the High School of Music and Art, electing to study architecture. At age 16 he began to attend Greenwich Village folksong sessions, concerts by The Weavers and took up the guitar. At Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, he met lifelong friend and music accomplice Stuart Burns, was, influenced by Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, The New Lost City Ramblers, Tom Paley, Dave Van Ronk, Doc Watson and the Carter Family. He co-founded the University Folk Club, and hosted weekly "hootenannies," organized talent shows, festivals and concerts. He formed a trio, the Wanderers, modeled on The Weavers, with Nicholas Bocher and Lynn Sandage, and later a duo with Kathy Davis, joining other hopefuls like Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Judy Collins and many others at New York's Gerdes Folk City's open sessions run by Brother John Sellers. In 1963 he and Davis were spotted in Greenwich Village by agent Peter Paul, and performed at venues with the then aspiring Jose Feliciano, the Mamas and the Papas and Happy Traum. They were also mentored by Ed McCurdy.

In 1966, he joined The London Critics Group, the left wing folk/theatre group led by Ewan MacColl and co-founded the Stop it Committee, the UK American Anti-war Group, remaining active in both until the Critics Group split up in 1973 and the Stop it Committee disbanded after US withdrawal from Vietnam in April 1975.

From 1968 to 1972 he worked with BBC Radio Ballad producer Charles Parker,(a member of the Critics Group) Peggy Seeger and others, making anti-war radio programmes intended for broadcast to Vietnam GIs. Entitled "Off Limits" the programmes contained specially written songs and interviews with American deserters, critics, contemporary news clips, a Vietnamese girl, survivor of the 1969 My Lai Massacre and an extract from the US television interview by journalist Mike Wallace of Lt. William Calley, who was convicted for ordering the massacre. The US Government had marked him as a fugitive for resisting conscription, refusing to renew his passport. After Jimmy Carter's amnesty in January 1977, his passport was restored.

Between 1966 and 1972/3 he performed with Critics Group members on albums, anti-war concerts and MacColl's Festival of Fools. In 1968 He formed a duo with singer/actor Carol (Buff) Rosenthal. They toured the UK until 1974.[1] He was also active in supporting the Chile Solidarity and Human Rights campaigns after the 1973 Chile coup, writing "We Will Fight" and performing at many benefits alongside Chilean groups such as Karaxu.

He was a resident singer and organizer at MacColl's Singers Club Folk club, 1967–85; West London Folk Club, 1970–75; Knave of Clubs, 1973-82 and Court Sessions, 1980–90. He recorded a solo album in 1979, re-releasing it in 2010, which included the protest song, "If They Come in the Morning," retitled "No Time for Love" by Christy Moore who made it widely popular.[3]

In 1973 he co-founded Combine Theatre with former Critics Group members and from then to 1982 performed in themed programmes at The Knave of Clubs, Bethnal Green. These included a 1974 multi media show about Sacco and Vanzetti scripted around Woody Guthrie's famous 1951 album for Folkways Records. He also collaborated with Sandra Kerr in performances at schools, songwriting workshops, concerts, political and union events and benefits. Meanwhile Combine's output culminated in the Vietnam Victory Show, which he co-wrote and performed at the ASLEF hall in April 1975 following the liberation of Saigon.

In 1978 he and Kerr recorded an album with Barry Gilder, made up primarily of Gilder's (now former South African Director of Intelligence) freedom songs and two songs by MacColl and Peggy Seeger. Smuggled into South Africa, immediately banned but distributed clandestinely, it became popular amongst freedom fighters. Around that time Jack produced and performed in a series of programmes in the UK and Ireland supported by the US Embassy cultural section. In 1979 he toured Republican venues in the North of Ireland with singer Breege Keenan.

Declining audiences for folksongs and family commitments led him to stop touring until 2009. while continuing to sing at benefits and festivals, including organizing in 1984/5 a concert for his Union branch to support the UK miners' strike (1984-85) and performing at Whitwell Derbyshire colliery village. Meanwhile, he pursued a successful career in historic conservation. Re-emerging in 2006, he continues to write and perform a mix of traditional and original songs, teaming up too with Austin Texas folk/blues legend Stuart Burns. Together they have toured the US and UK and recorded two albums.