Richard Dyer-Bennet (October 6, 1913 in Leicester, England - December 14, 1991 in Monterey, Massachusetts) was an English-born American folk singer (or his own preferred term, "minstrel"), recording artist, and voice teacher.
Richard Dyer-Bennet at home in Massachusetts
He was born on October 6, 1913 in Leicester, England,a son of Richard Stewart Dyer-Bennet (1886-1983) and Miriam Wolcott Clapp.
Dyer-Bennet studied voice with Gertrude Wheeler Beckman and Sven Scholander.
He had a stroke in 1972 paralyzing his left side and he stopped giving concerts.
He was heir presumptive of the Dyer baronets from 1983 until his death.
He died on December 14, 1991 at his home in Monterey, Massachusetts.
During his peak performance years, he gave 50 concerts a year. He recorded extensively for many labels, and eventually founded his own, Dyer-Bennet Records, and recorded in his own living room. The albums he recorded on his own label have been re-released on CD by Smithsonian Folkways. The CD Richard Dyer-Bennet 1 includes a biographical essay written by Dyer-Bennet's daughter, Bonnie, which highlights his progressive politics and his battle with a debilitating stroke in later life (he taught himself to play harp one-handed so that he could continue to perform and teach). A biography - Richard Dyer-Bennet: The Last Minstrel - by Paul O Jenkins was published in December 2009 by the University Press of Mississippi. The book chronicles Dyer-Bennet's eventful life and includes a foreword by his daughter.
- Dyer-Bennet Records releases
- 1949: Richard Dyer-Bennet: Twentieth Century Minstrel (Decca DLP 5046)
- 1952: Folk Songs (Remington REP-1)"
- 1955: Richard Dyer-Bennet 1
- 1956: Richard Dyer-Bennet 2
- 1956: Richard Dyer-Bennet 3
- 1957: Richard Dyer-Bennet 4
- 1958: Richard Dyer-Bennet 5: Requests
- 1958: Richard Dyer-Bennet 6: Songs With Young People in Mind
- 1958: Richard Dyer-Bennet 7: Beethoven Scottish and Irish Songs
- 1959: Richard Dyer-Bennet 8: Gems of Minstrelsy
- 1960: Richard Dyer-Bennet 9
- 1962: Mark Twain's 1601
- 1962: Richard Dyer-Bennet 10
- 1962: Richard Dyer-Bennet 11: Stephen Foster Songs
- 1964: Richard Dyer-Bennet 12: Songs of Ships, Seafaring Men, Watery Graves...and One Edible Rat
- 1964: Richard Dyer-Bennet 13: Stories and Songs for Children and Their Parents
- Folkways Records releases
- 1970: The Richard Dyer-Bennet Folk Song Book. New York: Simon and Schuster.