His group, The New World Singers, was the first to perform and record some of Bob Dylan's earliest songs. Happy Traum has performed as a soloist, as a duo with his brother Artie Traum, and with a number of bands, including The New World Singers and, in the mid-1960s, the Children of Paradise. His performances have taken him throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Happy Traum's first recording was an album called "Broadside, Vol.1" recorded by Folkways Records. Also on the album were Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan (Performing as Blind Boy Grunt), Peter LaFarge, Phil Ochs, and The Freedom Singers. Happy was a neighbor of Bob Dylan, and joined him in the studio in 1971 to play on three songs for his Greatest Hits, Vol.2 release: "Down in the Flood", "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "I Shall Be Released". In 1966, he wrote a book of guitar music titled "Fingerpicking Styles For Guitar," and has subsequently written many musical instruction books primarily on folk, country, and bluegrass styles as well as a general guitar method.
In 1967, he created Homespun Tapes, which is still in operation, and among the most acclaimed producers of instructional music videos and recordings. In 1967, Jane, Happy and their three children moved to Woodstock, NY, and Happy and his brother Artie formed a duet that, according to Rolling Stone, "defined the Northeast folk music style." Their performances at the 1968 and 1969 Newport Folk Festivals helped to gain them an avid following and a contract with famed manager Albert Grossman. In 1970 Happy and Artie recorded their first album for Capitol Records, "Happy and Artie Traum," which The New York Times called "One of the best records in any field of pop music." A second highly praised album, "Double Back," soon followed. Happy and Artie toured extensively throughout the U.S., and in 1972 made their first trip to England to play at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival. "Between them they've been studio musicians, composers, comedians, writers, editors, folklorists, and a host of other things.... A brilliant and unique entity in the world of country-folk music." - The New York Times In 1971 Happy once again joined Bob Dylan in the studio, playing guitar, banjo, bass, and singing harmony on three songs, which appeared on Bob Dylan's "Greatest Hits, Vol. 2." Dylan also invited Happy to participate in a famous session with poet Allen Ginsberg, which resulted in the box set, "Holy Soul Jelly Roll." The following year, Happy and Artie produced the classic folk album "Mud Acres, Music Among Friends," which became a best seller for Rounder Records.
In 1974 Happy and Artie cut "Hard Times In The Country," their third duet album, with liner notes by Allen Ginsberg. They subsequently produced and played on three more albums featuring top folk and rock musicians under the collective title The Woodstock Mountains Revue. The core group, comprised of Bill Keith, Jim Rooney, John Herald, Roly Salley, Larry Campbell, Pat Alger, and Happy & Artie Traum, toured the Northeast, Europe and Japan. Other members who appeared on the recordings included John Sebastian, Eric Andersen, Rory Block, Paul Butterfield, Eric Kaz, Lee Berg, Maria Muldaur, Arlen Roth, Caroline Dutton and many others. Happy recorded his first solo album, “Relax Your Mind,” in 1975 and embarked on the first of many European tours.
“American Stranger” was released in 1977 (“An absolute gem...one of the best folk music albums released this year.” - Folk Scene). "Bright Morning Stars" was released in 1980, and "Friends And Neighbors," recorded "live" in a Woodstock concert, was released in 1983. Shanachie Records released a compilation album, “Buckets Of Songs,” in 1988, and “Bright Morning Stars” was re-released on CD both in the U.S. and in Japan in 2001. Although their musical careers diverged, Happy and Artie continued to perform together at concerts, clubs and festivals.
For four years they hosted a popular "live" radio show, "Bring It On Home," which was broadcast monthly from the performance studio at National Public Radio affiliate WAMC in Albany, NY. Sony Records later issued a two-CD set featuring excerpts from “Bring It On Home.” In 1994, Happy and Artie released "Test of Time," their first CD as a duo in many years. As Levon Helm of the Band said: "Their music still flows as natural and clear as a Catskill Mountain stream." Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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