This vintage post card came in a birthday package along with many more cards and a few dozen vernacular photographs. Each little piece of paper has its own history, but most not as interesting as this.

The fellow on the front of this card is Bruce Kaplan, founder of Flying Fish Records. He started Flying Fish in 1974. He died of viral meningitis at age 47 in 1992.

Never heard of Flying Fish Records? Hopefully you'll be familiar with some of the artists he recorded:
John Hartford, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Doc Watson, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Bonnie Koloc, Stephane Grappelli and New Grass Revival
From Wikipedia:
Flying Fish played a major role in bringing traditionally oriented American music to a wider audience in the 1970s. At the time Kaplan started the label, most similarly oriented companies produced albums with decidedly "homemade" packaging (e.g. cover art, etc.) and marketed the albums to a relatively narrow audience of aficionados. Kaplan realized that music of this sort had the potential to reach a wider audience, but needed to be packaged in a professional manner; people not already devotees were unlikely to take a chance on something that did not look like it came from a "real" record company. Kaplan also invested in broader promotion of the music (wide provision of albums to radio; targeted advertising to back up tours). Essentially, he located a niche between the hit-based promotion model of the major labels and the faith of the small independents that the music would find its own audience. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
To read more about Bruce Kaplan click here and on the Wikipedia link above.

Anyone out there ever order one of the posters or shirts?


  1. I'm so sad that he died so young. Somehow, just looking at him, you can sense he was fun and had a warm sense of humor...and was probably also unapologetically nerdy. He did good work in his short life.

  2. I agree. When I first looked at the card I laughed because he looked like so many guys in the mid-to-late '70s. Then I read about him and it all turned very sad. Really glad he recorded such wonderful artists. Also so sad to remember John Hartford is gone.

  3. Marc Heisler5/04/2012

    I join in both of the comments above. I no longer have any of the paper ephemera, but I still have my Flying Fish T-shirt (black, with that wonderful logo in white). Wish I could get another one or two, not as collector's items, but just to wear.

  4. Recently purchased The Red Clay Ramblers - Chuckin' the Frizz, 1979 on Flying Fish label. Great music and the T-Shirt/Poster card was a nice surprise.

  5. I have that postcard

  6. Just bought a framed Flying Fish poster st thrift store. It's very cool

  7. Had the a shirt and at lest 20 of the LPs, also worked at a professional folk radio station in the 80s, WNKU. Loved the label and we still play are collection of FF records! Until today, did not know why FF was sold... RIP Bruce -loved the music!! Thanks for the blog post.