GBH Openvault

Folk Heritage; Bob Franke

Part of Folk Heritage with Dick Pleasants.


License Clip

More material may be available from this program at the GBH Archives. If you would like research access to the collection at GBH, please email

Folk Heritage
Bob Franke
Series Description

Folk Heritage premiered Sunday, October 1, 1978 with Dick Pleasants and Marie Rhines as co-hosts. In September 1979 Rhines left and Pleasants became the solo host of the series, a position he would hold until his retirement in 2004.

Folk Heritage was a broadminded series that explored the traditional and the contemporary, bluegrass and American folk to ethnic instruments. Pleasants was involved in the local and regional folk music community. This personal commitment led to the program featuring live, in-studio performances by musicians from all around the New England area and beyond. By stressing quality and diversity in the music, Pleasants was broadening the audience: "..there is a whole new class of folk instruments popular today listeners who may only think of themselves as 'classical' lovers, for instance, are learning that folk music can really be very complex and intricate. And accessible," Pleasants noted.

Although the series switched from Sunday evenings to Saturday afternoons, it consistently featured a wide range of songwriters and musicians in live performances and interviews, including Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Odetta, Patty Larkin and BeauSoleil. For his farewell program on March 13, 2004, Pleasants welcomed Sparky and Rhonda Rucker into the studio for conversation and music.

Source: Prime Time WGBH Program Guide (October 1978); On Air WGBH Radio Program Guide (September 1979) GBH Members Guide (May 2004)

Program Description

Radio program taped Dec. 9th and broadcast Dec. 21st, 1980. Songwriter, singer and guitarist Bob Franke honed his performing skills by entertaining commuters on busy street corners in downtown Boston. In this broadcast from December 1980, long after his street singing days, he opens a live set on The Folk Heritage playing his crowd-pleasing National steel guitar.

Franke’s songwriting becomes the focus of the hour as he discusses, and performs, music from his Good Friday cantata, “The Passion Play.” Franke, who attended Episcopal Divinity School, tells Dick about staging a concert work that explores his faith. “It was an emotionally and musically demanding piece. We had 8 male soloists, we had the choral parts, we had dramatic parts as well… I had pastors come up to me and tell me that they were moved. I had old friends from the Newburyport bar scene come up and tell me they were moved at the same time. It was one of the great experiences of my life as an artist.”

Songs include:

Relax Your Mind (Leadbelly) Bob Franke's Dream Come True (Bob Franke) A Little Mathematics (Bob Franke) A Vision Unblinded by Tears (Bob Franke) The Blind Veteran (Bob Franke) My Favorite Women (Bob Franke) Thanksgiving Eve (Bob Franke) Love In Vain (Robert Johnson) Abyssinian Desert Monkey Rag (Jeff Espina)

Duration: 1:05 Series release date: 1978

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Folk Heritage; Bob Franke,” 12/09/1980, GBH Archives, accessed December 6, 2022,
MLA: “Folk Heritage; Bob Franke.” 12/09/1980. GBH Archives. Web. December 6, 2022. <>.
APA: Folk Heritage; Bob Franke. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.