Happy Traum

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Happy Traum and Artie Traum in 1970.

Happy Traum (born Harry Peter Traum, May 9, 1938, The Bronx, New York City) is an American folk musician who started playing music in the 1950s and became a stalwart of the Greenwich Village music scene of the 1960s and the Woodstock music scene of the 1970s and 1980s. Happy is most famously known as one half of Happy and Artie Traum, a duo he began with his brother.[1] They released three albums, Happy and Artie Traum (1969, Capitol),[2] Double Back (1971, Capitol), and Hard Times In The Country (1975, Rounder). He has continued as a solo artist and as founder of Homespun Tapes.

Music career[edit]

Collaborations with Bob Dylan[edit]

Traum first appeared on record at a historic session in late 1962 when a group of young folk musicians, including Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Peter LaFarge and The Freedom Singers, gathered in the studio at Folkways Records to record an album called Broadside Ballads, Vol. 1.[3] With his group, The New World Singers, Traum cut the first version of "Blowin' in the Wind" to be released (early 1963).[4] Traum also sang a duet with Dylan, who performed under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt, on his anti-war song "Let Me Die in My Footsteps". These tracks were re-released in August 2000 by Smithsonian Folkways as part of a boxed set, The Best of Broadside 1962 - 1988: Anthems from the American Underground. Later that year, The New World Singers, which featured Traum, Bob Cohen and Gil Turner, recorded an album for Atlantic Records, with liner notes by Dylan. The album featured the first recording of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"

In 1971 Happy once again joined Dylan in the studio, playing guitar, banjo, bass, and singing harmony on four songs, which appeared on Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II and The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969–1971).[5] Dylan also invited Happy to participate in a famous session with poet Allen Ginsberg, which resulted in the box set Holy Soul Jelly Roll.[6]



  • 1970 Bright Morning Star With John Sebastian and Larry Campbell
  • 1975, Relax Your Mind, Kicking Mule Records KM110 (LP)[7]
  • 1977, American Stranger, Kicking Mule Records KM301 (LP)[7]
  • 1987, Buckets of Songs, Shanachie (CD)
  • 2005, I Walk The Road Again, Roaring Stream Records (CD)[8]

Homespun Tapes[edit]

Happy is the founder and president of Homespun Tapes, a company that makes and sells music lessons. Originally these lessons were on analog audio tapes, copied from a master tape to a daisy chain of tape recorders, set up on the family dinner table — hence the name "Homespun Tapes". Nowadays, most lessons are DVD video lessons, either sold by post-order as DVD, or sold as a computer download.[9] The "Listen & Learn" series features a book of sheet music/notation packaged with a CD in cooperation with artists including Richard Thompson, Rory Block, John Sebastian, Paul Butterfield and Dr. John.[10]

Most lessons available are for acoustic guitar, many oriented toward blues and folk music, but there are also lessons for several other instruments, e.g. fiddle, banjo, bass, etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Talent in Action. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 13 March 1971. pp. 28–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  2. ^ theband.hiof.no
  3. ^ www.folkways.si.edu
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Broadside Ballads, Vol. 1". AMG. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  5. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Biography: Happy Traum". AMG. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  6. ^ "Happy Traum Biography". happytraum.com. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  7. ^ a b "LP's issued by Kicking Mule Recordings". 
  8. ^ "I Walk The Road Again". Amazon.com. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "About Homespun Tapes". Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Billboard Nov 8 1997 article Homespun Turns 30 With CD Instructional Vid Lines "has started a Listen & Learn series" featuring a book of sheet music/notation packaged with a CD"


  • Gray, Michael (2006). The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. Continuum International. ISBN 0-8264-6933-7. 

External links[edit]