Richard Dyer-Bennet
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Richard Dyer-Bennet

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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]


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.



  1. ^ a b c Bruce Lambert (December 16, 1991). "Richard Dyer-Bennet Dies at 78; Minstrel Who Led a Folk Revival". New York Times.

External links

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