Okie Folkies: The Singer, the Song, and the Coffeehouse

Marie Harris (Putnam City Public Schools, retired)

This paper will present some of Rodger Harris’ own research on the history of folk music and the coffeehouse scene in Oklahoma during the 1950s-70s. American traditional music was historically produced in intimate spaces such as homes and churches but increasingly became more public as it migrated to taverns, juke joints, community halls, and ethnic clubs. Toward the latter half of the last century, folk music began to be performed in, and be identified with, coffeehouses inspired in part by small jazz clubs and beatnik poetry dives. This point in history has gone on to influence commercial food-and-music venues today. This presentation discusses the role venues in Oklahoma played on the evolution of folk music. Emphasis is placed on the venues, the musicians, and the organizers associated with this period in history.

Part of 06-06 Oklahoma Traditions and their Impact on Popular Culture, Friday, October 14, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm