Dyer-Bennett, Richard

Dyer-Bennett, Richard

(1913–91) folk musician; born in Leicester, England. He came to the U.S.A. in 1925 and after studying voice and guitar, he made his New York City debut in 1944 as a performer of mainly Anglo-American ballads. Calling himself a "minstrel or troubadour," he performed in many locales and foreshadowed the folk music revival of the 1960s; he eventually had a large repertoire that included everything from African-American spirituals to Schubert's songs. He was the first to admit that he had succeeded in "spite of my voice rather than because of it." He recorded about two dozen albums (many on his own label), composed some 100 songs, and wrote articles and books on music. He joined the faculty of New York State University in 1970, but a severe stroke in 1972 ended his career as a performer.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.