Koerner, Ray & Glover
E-mail Dave Ray: rayxx009@gold.tc.umn.edu

“Spider” John Koerner. Dave “Snaker” Ray. Tony “Little Sun” Glover. The names are legendary, and the seminal country-blues group they formed in the early Sixties influenced a musical era with its passionate treatments of rare blues stylings. A fun-loving trio of misfits, they turned audiences on their heads with foot-stomping performances throughout the U.S. Their series of Elektra recordings, commencing with Blues, Rags and Hollers, is considered the cornerstone of the Sixties folk/blues revival.

Though based in Minneapolis, Koerner, Ray and Glover first connected in New York City in the spring of 1962. Glover was visiting his pal Ray when Koerner dropped in from Upstate. Amidst the bar-hopping and jamming, the three clicked, and the Trio was born. By that fall, they were back in the Twin Cities, picking together at clubs and parties. In 1963, with the help of Paul Nelson (The Little Sandy Review) Koerner, Ray & Glover hooked up with Audiophile records in Milwaukee and, in one twelve-hour session, recorded Blues, Rags & Hollers. They put copies into the hands of a few influential people, including Jac Holzman at Elektra Records. When Holzman heard it, he flew to Minneapolis and signed them to a recording contract. Elektra also bought the Blues, Rags & Hollers masters from Audiophile and re-released it.

Eventually, Koerner, Ray & Glover cut five albums for Elektra, with an intriguing mix of string-band, ragtime and down-home blues styles. They performed at the Newport and Philadelphia Folk Festivals as well as on the club and college circuits. Their raucous enthusiasm and musical acumen breathed new life into traditional material and they earned fans that included John Lennon and the Doors.

During the Sixties, Koerner kept up his solo career and in 1969 recorded the classic Elektra album Running, Jumping, Standing Still with Willie Murphy. In the Seventies, he turned to other interests, including experimental film making, and moved to Denmark for several years. In Denmark, Koerner immersed himself in traditional American folk music. Falling in love with this genre, he began to forego original compositions for traditional songs into which he infused his own interpretation, style and energy.

Back in Minnesota in 1980, Koerner went into the studio with an outstanding group of sidemen that included the Boston wizard, Mr. Bones. In one night, while a tornado raged outside, the group recorded what has been described as one of the great folk records of all time. Red House released the session under the title Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Been. The critical response was unanimous, with accolades like “Comeback of the Year” and “Leave it to Spider John Koerner...to salvage the soul of American folk music.”

Today, Koerner is still exploring the range of folk traditions. There have been two more critically-acclaimed Red House recordings, Legends of Folk (with Utah Phillips and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott) and Raised By Humans. Red House also released a re-mastered, CD version of the out-of-print Running, Jumping, Standing Still. Koerner’s rollicking treatments of traditional folk songs and self-penned classics get better and more seasoned with age, as his 1996 release on Red House, StarGeezer, certainly proves.

When the Trio drifted apart in the late Sixties, Ray built a recording studio in the Minnesota woods. His label, Sweet Jane Ltd., made Bonnie Raitt’s first Warner Brothers sides and was a prototype for the “cottage industry” studios of today. Ray has led several blues and rock bands, including Bamboo, Snake, The Waistband and The Volunteers of the Blue Knight. His current band, The Three Bedroom Ramblers, released a 1995 disc, What Was The Question? that highlights the exciting, eclectic performances that have characterized all of Ray’s group efforts.

Glover authored several best-selling harmonica instruction manuals, worked a year and a half as an all-night “underground” DJ, and spent time in New York as a music journalist for various magazines, including Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy and Circus. In 1987, he won the “Best Electric Harp” award from the Minnesota Music Awards, one of many awards he has garnered in his thirty-year career. A Trio show in 1984 formed the foundation for Blues, Rags & Hollers: The Koerner, Ray & Glover Story, a two-hour performance documentary video produced by Glover and recently re-issued by Latch Lake Productions.

Ray and Glover have maintained an active performing partnership over the years. A Minneapolis blues bar gig resulted in the release of a jukebox 45 on their own Ray-Ver label. A series of acoustic performances was captured on a 1987 release, Legends in Their Spare Time. It was named “Blues Album of the Year” by the Minnesota Music Awards. They have appeared on twenty albums, thirteen of which were mutual efforts, and are featured on numerous anthologies.

Ray and Glover continue to perform regularly and have recently appeared on bills with artists as diverse as John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan, J. J. Cale, Dr. John, B.B. King and Beck. In 1990 they recorded Ashes In My Whiskey for Rough Trade. Tim/Kerr Records released their most recent effort, Picture Has Faded, winner of the 1994 Minnesota Music Awards’ “Best Independent Record” prize. Both albums garnered critical praise, including many-starred reviews in Rolling Stone.

During the Seventies and Eighties, Koerner, Ray & Glover reunited for special shows, including folk festivals in Winnipeg and Vancouver, and Sing Out! magazine’s thirtieth anniversary concert. The Minnesota Music Awards named Koerner, Ray & Glover “Best Folk Group” and elected them to the Hall of Fame along with Bob Dylan and Prince.

The Trio recorded a four-concert series in May, 1996, and Tim/Kerr has released an album from these sessions entitled One Foot In The Groove. They followed this release with a tour that included the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Seattle Bumbershoot Festival. From coast to coast, old fans and new have welcomed the return of Koerner,. Ray and Glover.

Koerner, Ray & Glover discography

“Blues, Rags and Hollers”—K, R & G— Audiophile AP-78 (6/’63)

“Blues, Rags and Hollers”—K, R & G—Elektra EKL-240 (11/’63)

“The Blues Project”—K, R & G, et al—Elektra EKL-264/EKS-7264 (3/’64)

“Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers”—K, R & G—Elektra EKL-267/EKS-7267 (6/’64)

“The Folk Box”—K, R & G, et al—Elektra EKL 9001 (1964)

“Snaker’s Here”—R & G—Elektra EKL-284/EKS-7284 (1/’65)

“Spider Blues”—K & G—Elektra EKL-290/EKS-7290 (5/’65)

“Newport Folk Festival 1964”—K, R & G, et al—Vanguard VRS 9186/VSD 79186 (5/’65)

“The Return of Koerner, Ray & Glover”—K, R & G—Elektra EKL-305/EKS-7305 (10/’65)

“Folksong ‘65” (sampler)—K, R & G, et al—Elektra S8 (11/’65)

“Blues Harp” (harp instruction)—G—Folkways FM 8358 (12/’65)

“Festival—Newport Folk Festival 1965”—K, et al—Vanguard VRS 9225/VSD 79225 (1966)

“Fine Soft Land”—R—Elektra EKL-319/EKS-7319 (1/’67)

“Running, Jumping, Standing Still”—K & Willie Murphy—Elektra EKS 74041 (12/’67)

“Bamboo”—R & band—Elektra EKS- 74048 (1/’68)

“Sleep Faster, We Need the Pillow”—Michael Lessac (with G)—Columbia CS 9745 (11/’68)

“Good Old Koerner, Ray & Glover” (live ‘63-’64)—K, R & G—Mill City MCR 172 (1/’72)

“Music Is Just a Bunch of Notes”—K (with Willie & the Bees)—Sweet Jane SJL 5872 (5/’72)

“Get Folked, Live at Charlotte’s Web”—R, et al—Mountain Railroad GF1 (1/’73)

“Some American Folk Songs Like They Used To”—K (with R & G & others)—Sweet Jane SJL 1074 (10/’74)

“Kid Man”—R—Mountain Railroad MR52780 (1/’77)

“Bleeker & MacDougal—Folk Scene of the 1960’s” —K, R & G, et al—Elektra 60381-1-V (1/’84)

“Crossroads—White Blues In The Nineteen Sixties” —K, R & G, et al—Elektra 60383-1-U (1/’84)

“Mattie Mae” b/w “I Been Watching You” (45 rpm single)— R & G—Ray-ver (4/’84)

“From the West Bank”—R & G, et al—REM RR8485 (1/’85)

“Legends In Their Spare Time” (live ‘87)—R & G—Treehouse TR005 (1985)

“Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Been”—K (with G & others)—Red House RHR 12 (1/’86)

“Legends of Folk”—K (with Ramblin' Jack Elliott & Utah Phillips)—Red House RHR 31 (1/’90)

“Ashes in My Whiskey”—R & G—Rough Trade RUS-80 (8/’90)

“Raised By Humans”—K—Red House RHR 44 (3/’92)

“Troubadours of the Folk Era”—K, R & G, et al—Rhino R270264 (8/’92)

“Blues Masters—Volume 7: Blues Revival”—R, et al—Rhino R271128 (1/’93)

“Blues With a Feeling—Newport 1963-1966”—K, et al—Vanguard ECD2-77005 (1993)

“Picture Has Faded”—R & G—Tim/Kerr 92[LP, CA or CD]036 (8/’93)

“Running, Jumping, Standing Still”—K & Willie Murphy—Red House RHR 63 (2/’94)

“Blues, Rags and Hollers”—K, R & G—Red House RHR 76 (2/’95) Reissue of the ‘63 Audiophile recording

“What Was The Question?”---R & The Three Bedroom Ramblers---Tim/Kerr Records 1455 (12/’95)

“StarGeezer—K—Red House RHR 84 (5/’96)

“One Foot In The Groove”--K, R & G--Tim/Kerr Records TK96CD137 (10/’96)

“Blues, Rags and Hollers—the Koerner, Ray & Glover Story,” the 1986 VHS video performance-documentary written and produced by Tony Glover has been reissued by Latch Lake Music Productions. For details call (800) 528-2437.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

Table of Contents:
Return To Home Page | Calendar | Spotlight | Live Reviews | New Reviews | Photo Gallery
CD Reviews | Blues Links | Blues Bios | Blues Artists | Blues Clubs | Blues Jams

This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page
Copyright 1997 by Ray M. Stiles

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.