MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…

Vineyard Sound …


  The sound of the Vineyard  goes back generations to the music of the Native American Wampanoag’s and the sea chanteys and hymns of early English settlers.   

In the 1950’s coffeehouses, like the Mooncusser Cafe in Oak Bluffs popped up as venues for popular folksingers.   According to the pamphlet accompanying the Vineyard Sound CD, produced by Peter Simon:

“Around 1960 the Mooncusser became an adjunct to the commercial folk scenes of Boston and New York, drawing young stylists like Judy Collins.  These new stars influenced the Vineyard kids who flocked to see them during summer vacations.  James Taylor was one of them, along with his many musical siblings.   Two girls from New York, Carly Simon and Lucy Simon, formed the Simon Sisters and honed their act at the Mooncusser and elsewhere on the Island.  But they were just the ones who went on to become stars.  In every Island town there were (and are) musicians who play only for love and friendship, writing new songs and dreaming of hearing them on the radio some day.”

Included on this two-CD set are many of the talented artists making music on the Vineyard.  Carly Simon and her son Ben Taylor and her daughter Sally Taylor, whose father is James Taylor Kate Taylor, sister of James Taylor.  Entrain.  Johnny Hoy and the BluefishTom RushMaynard SilvaJemima James.  Judy Collins with the mother daughter duo of Lucy and Julie Simon.   These are just a few of the many talented artists on the CD.

This CD is an eclectic mix of folk music, raggae and some soft rock… it perfectly  captures the diversity of the singers and songwriters of Martha’s Vineyard.

Update:  Jan 27 .. I was just informed that the CD, Best of The Vineyard Sound is currently out of stock but will be re-issued in April in a slightly altered form.


Author: mvobsession

I'm married, I have two daughters and two grandchildren and they all love MV. Enjoy my MV blog and contact me if I can answer any questions. This blog started out as strictly about Martha's Vineyard but over the years I've branched out to include other obsessions and interests. I enjoy photography and like sharing my photos here as well. Hope you enjoy :)

5 thoughts on “Vineyard Sound …

  1. Thanks for the MV music history lesson, Joan.
    I loved it!

    And I’m going to pull out my copy of the Best of the Vineyard Sound today!

  2. Joan….many thanks for your post. “Best Of The Vineyard Sound” is currently out of stock, but will be re-issued again in April in a slightly altered form. It sold beyond expectations last summer and fall. I’ll let you kinow when it’s available again. Be well…..Peter.

  3. This evening I watched the DVD of “I’m Not There” and was reminded of the singers I saw at The Mooncusser” in Oak Bluffs in the summers of 1962-64 (or maybe ’63-64; I think it was open only those 2 summers?). Saw singers such as Carolyn Hester, Judy Roderick, Simon sisters. etc. I was a college student doing summer work in Edgartown hotels. Such great memories, so long ago. I have at least one program of singers, I think I saw them all. Would like to see a complete list of artists. I think Jose Feliciano, comedian Don Paulin, Tom Rush. Who else?


    Todd Williams

    • Nice to read Judy Roderick remembered! Her music & stories are alive & well on Facebook and at Her last album, “When Im Gone” was released just this past January (2009). She is sorely missed .

  4. I too worked on the Vineyard during the time the Mooncusser was open and was a regular there. I loved that music and often reminisce about seeing all the singers who went on to greater things. Folk and blues has always remained my favorite genre.

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