Mark Twang

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Mark Twang
Studio album by John Hartford
Released June,1976
Recorded 1976
Genre Bluegrass
Length 34:50
Label Flying Fish
Producer Michael Melford
John Hartford chronology
Morning Bugle
Mark Twang
Nobody Knows What You Do

Mark Twang is John Hartford's 1976 album of river songs and other eccentric gems, which came from inspiration from years of working on a riverboat. The album was recorded all acoustic in the studio with Hartford by himself on all instruments and vocals. At the Grammy Awards of 1977 Mark Twang won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording.


During the four-year break since the end of his contract with Warner Bros. Records and the release of Morning Bugle, Hartford earned his riverboat pilot's license, played live or sat in on others' records, and signed with the independent label Flying Fish. He accompanied himself alone in the studio with either banjo, guitar and fiddle as well as a sheet of plywood for clogging.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [2]
Robert Christgau (B) [3]

Writing for Allmusic, critic Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. wrote of the album "The songs, as usual, run from sentimental to strange, from the romantic to the weird... Mark Twang may not be the first stopping place for the new Hartford fan, but for those already familiar with his unique talent, it's a must have."[2] Music critic Robert Christgau wrote "These days he sings mostly about the mighty Mississip (too thick to navigate, too thin to plow) and records eccentric river music for a folk label. He's slightly the better for it, on the whole—but I wouldn't say his living sounds so secure that he should turn down a gig on the Proud Mary. A gig playing, or a gig navigating"[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by John Hartford; except where indicated

  1. "Skippin' in the Mississippi Dew" – 3:01
  2. "Long Hot Summer Days" – 4:48
  3. "Let Him Go On, Mama" – 3:49
  4. "Don't Leave Your Records in the Sun" – 2:26
  5. "Tater Tate and Allen Mundy" – 2:42
  6. "The Julia Belle Swain" – 4:48
  7. "Little Cabin Home on the Hill Waugh Waugh" (Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Hartford) – 1:13
  8. "Austin Minor Sympathy" – 6:42
  9. "The Lowest Pair" – 0:45
  10. "Tryin' to Do Something to Get Your Attention" – 4:39



  • Producer: Michael Melford
  • Recording Engineer: Claude Hill
  • Art Direction: John Hartford
  • Cover Artwork: Willy Matthews
  • Liner notes: John Hartford


  1. ^ Robertson, Ray (2016). Lives of the Poets (with Guitars). Biblioasis. p. 266. ISBN 9781771960731. 
  2. ^ a b Lankford, Jr., Ronnie D. "Mark Twang > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Mark Twang > Review". Robert Christgau. Retrieved July 9, 2011.