Richard E. Meyer (1952-2012) was a singer-songwriter and key member of the Greenwich Village folk scene. From 1982 to 1987, Meyer co-edited The Fast Folk Musical Magazine, recording over 1,000 songs. Just a few months before Richard Meyer joined their ranks in 1982, the singer-songwriter collective known as the CooP started producing a monthly magazine-and-LP which sold for two dollars at shows at the SpeakEasy, a Greenwich Village venue.
Before the internet brought with it the endless possibilities for promotion and networking, new songwriters needed an avenue to get their music noticed, and putting out one’s own album was expensive. The CooP/Fast Folk model was bare-bones: recordings were usually done in one take, and if another take was needed, it was recorded over the last. Most of the work depended on volunteers. Hard-working and industrious, Meyer fit right in to this ambitious effort. He began to take on more and more responsibilities, writing and designing for the magazine, managing the annual Fast Folk Revue, and eventually becoming its editor.
Meyer took over the editorship of the magazine in 1986. He oversaw the magazine’s “controversial” move to begin distributing the recording portion of Fast Folk on CD (it began as vinyl). He remained its editor until 1997, when, after 105 issues and recordings, the magazine could no longer sustain itself on dwindling volunteer labor. In 1999, Richard Meyer facilitated the donation of Fast Folk’s recordings, business records, press clippings, magazines and photographs to the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, creating the Fast Folk Musical Magazine records. In 1999, Meyer and his co-editor, Jack Hardy, selected a two-volume box set of music to represent Fast Folk for its 20th anniversary, released by Smithsonian Folkways.
The Richard Meyer Audio Recordings contain 7 boxes of personal audio recordings and .5 linear feet of papers which were donated in 2012 following Meyers passing after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.