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  • The Songs of Mark Spoelstra, Folkways Records release from 1963

    The Songs of Mark Spoelstra, Folkways Records release from 1963

    Folkways Artist Mark Spoelstra Passes Away

    Mark Spoelstra (1940-2007) was a major figure in the folk music scenes in Greenwich Village and Cambridge, Massachusetts during the 1960s. He recorded a live record at Cambridge's Club 47 in 1963.

    Born in Kansas City, Spoelstra was raised in California. He remembered moving to New York, where he started out playing for tips in coffee houses, playing at various clubs as a duo with Bob Dylan. On one such occasion, Gil Turner saw him playing with Dylan and brought him to the attention of Broadside Magazine, which began to publish his songs. Folkways Records subsequently released Mark's first two albums, Songs of Mark Spoelstra and the Live at Club 47 album. Folkways also released a rare 45 single of Mark (accompanied by the Two Timers). He went on to record for Elektra, Fantasy, Columbia and Origin Jazz Library. Among his well known compositions were "White Winged Dove" and "5 and 20 Questions."

    Mark moved back to California in the late 1960s and joined the band Frontier Constabulary with Mitch Greenhill. In the early 1970s, he moved to Palo Alto, California and began to study the bible and from 1974-1979, Mark used his music as part of a music ministry. He continued to perform both religious and secular music. His last album was released in 2001. His final years were spent living with his family in the Sierra Mountains.

    Folkways Artist Mark Spoelstra Passes Away | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings