American folk-music revival

The American folk-music revival began during the 1940s and peaked in popularity in the mid-1960s. Its roots went earlier, and performers like Josh White, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy, Richard Dyer-Bennet, Oscar Brand, Jean Ritchie, John Jacob Niles, Susan Reed, Paul Robeson and Cisco Houston had enjoyed a limited general popularity in the 1930s and 1940s. The revival brought forward styles of American folk music that had, in earlier times, contributed to the development of country and western, jazz, and rock and roll music.

Woody Guthrie NYWTS
Singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie emerged from the dust bowl of Oklahoma and the Great Depression in the mid-20th Century, with lyrics that embraced his views on ecology, poverty, and unionization in the USA., paired with melody reflecting the many genres of American folk music.

Overview

PeteSeeger2
Pete Seeger entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt, honored guest at a racially integrated Valentine's Day party marking the opening a Canteen of the United Federal Labor, CIO, in then-segregated Washington, D.C. Photographed by Joseph Horne for the Office of War Information, 1944.[1]

Early years

The folk revival in New York City was rooted in the resurgent interest in square dancing and folk dancing there in the 1940s, which gave musicians such as Pete Seeger popular exposure.[2][3][4] The folk revival more generally as a popular and commercial phenomenon begins with the career of The Weavers, formed in November 1948 by Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Ronnie Gilbert of People's Songs, of which Seeger had been president and Hays executive secretary. People's Songs, which disbanded in 1948–49, had been a clearing house for labor movement songs (and in particular, the CIO, which at the time was one of the few if not the only union that was racially integrated), and in 1948 had thrown all its resources to the failed presidential campaign of Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace, a folk-music aficionado (his running mate was a country-music singer-guitarist). Hays and Seeger had formerly sung together as the politically activist Almanac Singers, a group which they founded in 1941 and whose personnel often included Woody Guthrie, Josh White, Lead Belly, Cisco Houston, and Bess Lomax Hawes. The Weavers had a big hit in 1950 with the single of Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene". This was number one on the Billboard charts for thirteen weeks.[5] On its flip side was "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena", an Israeli dance song that concurrently reached number two on the charts. This was followed by a string of Weaver hit singles that sold millions, including ""So Long It's Been Good to Know You" ("Dusty Old Dust") (by Woody Guthrie) and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine". The Weavers' career ended abruptly when they were dropped from Decca's catalog because Pete Seeger had been listed in the publication Red Channels as a probable subversive. Radio stations refused to play their records and concert venues canceled their engagements. A former employee of People's Songs, Harvey Matusow, himself a former Communist Party member, had informed the FBI that the Weavers were Communists, too, although Matusow later recanted and admitted he had lied. Pete Seeger and Lee Hays were called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955. Despite this, a Christmas Weaver reunion concert in 1955 was a smash success and the Vanguard LP album of that concert, issued in 1957, was one of the top sellers of that year, followed by other successful albums.

Folk music, which often carried the stigma of left-wing associations during the 1950s Red Scare, was driven underground and carried along by a handful of artists releasing records. Barred from mainstream outlets, artists like Seeger were restricted to performing in schools and summer camps, and the folk-music scene became a phenomenon associated with vaguely rebellious bohemianism in places like New York City (especially Greenwich Village), North Beach, and in the college and university districts of cities like Chicago, Boston, Denver, and elsewhere.

Ron Eyerman and Scott Baretta speculate that:

[I]t is interesting to consider that had it not been for the explicit political sympathies of the Weavers and other folk singers or, another way of looking at it, the hysterical anti-communism of the Cold War, folk music would very likely have entered mainstream American culture in even greater force in the early 1950s, perhaps making the second wave of the revival nearly a decade later [i.e., in the 1960s] redundant.[6]

The media blackout of performers with alleged communist sympathies or ties was so effective that Israel Young, a chronicler of the 60s Folk Revival, who himself was drawn into the movement through an interest in folk dancing, communicated to Ron Eyerman that he himself was unaware for many years of the movement's 1930s and early '40s antecedents in left-wing political activism.[7]

In the early and mid-1950s, acoustic-guitar-accompanied folk songs were mostly heard in coffee houses, private parties, open-air concerts, and sing-alongs, hootenannies, and at college-campus concerts. Often associated with political dissent, folk music now blended, to some degree, with the so-called beatnik scene; and dedicated singers of folk songs (as well as folk-influenced original material) traveled through what was called "the coffee-house circuit" across the U.S. and Canada, home also to cool jazz and recitations of highly personal beatnik poetry. Two singers of the 1950s who sang folk material but crossed over into the mainstream were Odetta and Harry Belafonte, both of whom sang Lead Belly and Josh White material. Odetta, who had trained as an opera singer, performed traditional blues, spirituals, and songs by Lead Belly. Belafonte had hits with Jamaican calypso material as well as the folk song-like sentimental ballad "Scarlet Ribbons" (composed in 1949).

The revival at its height

Kingston Trio
The Kingston Trio in 1958

The Kingston Trio, a group originating on the West Coast, were directly inspired by the Weavers in their style and presentation and covered some of the Weavers' material, which was predominantly traditional. The Kingston Trio avoided overtly political or protest songs and cultivated a clean-cut, collegiate persona. They were discovered while playing at a college club called the Cracked Pot by Frank Werber, who became their manager and secured them a deal with Capitol Records. Their first hit was a catchy rendition of an old-time folk murder ballad, "Tom Dooley", which had been sung at Lead Belly's funeral concert. This went gold in 1958 and sold more than three million copies. The success of the album and the single earned the Kingston Trio a Grammy award for Best Country & Western Performance at the awards' inaugural ceremony in 1959. At the time, no folk-music category existed in the Grammy's scheme. The next year, largely as a result of The Kingston Trio album and "Tom Dooley",[8] the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences instituted a folk category and the Trio won the first Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording for its second studio album At Large. At one point, The Kingston Trio had four records at the same time among the Top 10 selling albums for five consecutive weeks in November and December 1959 according to Billboard Magazine's "Top LPs" chart, a record unmatched for more than 50 years[9][10][11][12][13][14] and noted at the time by a cover story in Life Magazine. The huge commercial success of the Kingston Trio, whose recordings between 1958 and 1961 earned more than $25 million for Capitol records[15] or about $195 million in 2014 dollars[16] spawned a host of groups that were similar in some respects like the Brothers Four, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Limeliters, The Chad Mitchell Trio, The New Christy Minstrels and more. As noted by critic Bruce Eder in the All Music Guide, the popularity of the commercialized version of folk music represented by these groups emboldened record companies to sign, record, and promote artists with more traditionalist and political sensibilities.[17]

The Kingston Trio's popularity would be followed by that of Joan Baez, whose debut album Joan Baez, reached the top ten in late 1960 and remained on the Billboard charts for over two years. Baez's early albums contained mostly traditional material such as the Scottish ballad, "Mary Hamilton", as well as many covers of melancholy ballads that had appeared in Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, such as "The Wagoner's Lad" and "The Butcher Boy". She did not try to imitate the singing style of her source material, however, but used a rich soprano with vibrato. Her popularity (and that of the folk revival itself) would place Baez on the cover of Time Magazine in November 1962. Baez, unlike the Kingston Trio, was openly political, and, as the civil rights movement gathered steam, aligned herself with Pete Seeger, Guthrie and others. She was one of the singers, along with Seeger, Josh White, Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan, who appeared at Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington and sang "We Shall Overcome", a song that had been introduced by People's Songs. Harry Belafonte was also present on that occasion, along with Odetta, whom Martin Luther King introduced as "the queen of folk music", when she sang "Oh, Freedom" (Odetta Sings Folk Songs was one of 1963's best-selling folk albums). Also on hand were the SNCC Freedom Singers, the personnel of which went on to form Sweet Honey in the Rock.

The critical role played by Freedom Songs in the voter registration drives, freedom rides, and lunch counter sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and early '60s in the South, gave folk music tremendous new visibility and prestige.[18] The peace movement was likewise energized by the rise of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK, protesting the British testing of the H-bomb in 1958, as well as by the ever-proliferating arms race and the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War. Young singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, playing acoustic guitar and harmonica, had been signed and recorded for Columbia by producer John Hammond in 1961. Dylan's record enjoyed some popularity among Greenwich Village folk-music enthusiasts, but he was "discovered" by an immensely larger audience when a pop-folk-music group, Peter, Paul & Mary had a hit with a cover of his song "Blowin' in the Wind". Peter, Paul & Mary also brought Pete Seeger and the Weavers' "If I Had a Hammer" to nationwide audiences, as well as covering songs by other artists such as Dylan and John Denver.

It was not long before the folk-music category came to include less traditional material and more personal and poetic creations by individual performers, who called themselves "singer-songwriters". As a result of the financial success of high-profile commercial folk artists, record companies began to produce and distribute records by a new generation of folk revival and singer-songwriters—Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Eric von Schmidt, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dave Van Ronk, Judy Collins, Tom Rush, Fred Neil, Gordon Lightfoot, Billy Ed Wheeler, John Denver, Arlo Guthrie, Harry Chapin, John Hartford, and others, among them. Some of this wave had emerged from family singing and playing traditions, and some had not. These singers frequently prided themselves on performing traditional material in imitations of the style of the source singers whom they had discovered, frequently by listening to Harry Smith's celebrated LP compilation of forgotten or obscure commercial 78rpm "race" and "hillbilly" recordings of the 1920s and 30s, the Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music (1951). A number of the artists who had made these old recordings were still very much alive and had been "rediscovered" and brought to the 1963 and 64 Newport Folk Festivals. One of these, Clarence Ashley, for example, introduced folk revivalists to the music of friends of his who still actively played traditional music, such as Doc Watson and The Stanley Brothers.

Archivists, collectors, and re-issued recordings

During the 1950s, the growing folk-music crowd that had developed in the United States began to buy records by older, traditional musicians from the Southeastern hill country and from urban inner-cities. New LP compilations of commercial 78-rpm race and hillbilly studio recordings stretching back to the 1920s and 1930s were published by major record labels. The expanding market in LP records increased the availability of folk-music field recordings originally made by John and Alan Lomax, Kenneth S. Goldstein, and other collectors during the New Deal era of the 1930s and 40s. Small record labels, such as Yazoo Records, grew up to distribute reissued older recordings and to make new recordings of the survivors among these artists. This was how many urban white American audiences of the 1950s and 60s first heard country blues and especially Delta blues that had been recorded by Mississippi folk artists 30 or 40 years before.

In 1952, Folkways Records released the Anthology of American Folk Music, compiled by anthropologist and experimental film maker Harry Smith. The Anthology featured 84 songs by traditional country and blues artists, initially recorded between 1927 and 1932, and was credited with making a large amount of pre-War material accessible to younger musicians. (The Anthology was re-released on CD in 1997, and Smith was belatedly presented with a Grammy Award for his achievement in 1991.)[19]

Artists like the Carter Family, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Clarence Ashley, Buell Kazee, Uncle Dave Macon, Mississippi John Hurt, and the Stanley Brothers, as well as Jimmie Rodgers, the Reverend Gary Davis, and Bill Monroe came to have something more than a regional or ethnic reputation. The revival turned up a tremendous wealth and diversity of music and put it out through radio shows and record stores.

Living representatives of some of the varied regional and ethnic traditions, including younger performers like Southern-traditional singer Jean Ritchie, who had first begun recording in the 1940s, also enjoyed a resurgence of popularity through enthusiasts' widening discovery of this music and appeared regularly at folk festivals.

Ethnic folk music

Ethnic folk music from other countries also had a boom during the American folk revival. The most successful ethnic performers of the revival were the Greenwich Village folksingers, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, whom Billboard Magazine listed as the eleventh best-selling folk musicians in the United States.[20] The group, which consisted of Paddy Clancy, Tom Clancy, Liam Clancy, and Tommy Makem, predominantly sang English-language, Irish folk songs, as well as an occasional song in Irish Gaelic. Paddy Clancy also started and ran the folk-music label Tradition Records, which produced Odetta's first solo LP and initially brought Carolyn Hester to national prominence.[21] Pete Seeger played the banjo on their Grammy-nominated 1961 album, A Spontaneous Performance Recording,[22][23] and Bob Dylan later cited the group as a major influence on him.[24] The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem also sparked a folk-music boom in Ireland in the mid-1960s, illustrating the world-wide effects of the American folk-music revival.[25][26][27][28][29]

Books such as the popular best seller, the Fireside Book of Folk Songs (1947), which contributed to the folk song revival, featured some material in languages other than English, including German, Spanish, Italian, French, Yiddish, and Russian. The repertoires of Theodore Bikel, Marais and Miranda, and Martha Schlamme also included Hebrew and Jewish material, as well as Afrikaans. The Weavers' first big hit, the flipside of Lead Belly's "Good Night Irene", and a top seller in its own right, was in Hebrew ("Tzena, Tzena, Tzena") and they, and later Joan Baez, who was of Spanish descent, occasionally included Spanish-language material in their repertoires, as well as songs from Africa, India, and elsewhere.

The commercially oriented folk-music revival as it existed in coffee houses, concert halls, radio, and TV was predominantly an English-language phenomenon, though many of the major pop-folk groups, such as the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Limeliters, The Brothers Four, The Highwaymen, and others, featured songs in Spanish (often from Mexico), Polynesian languages, Russian, French, and other languages in their recordings and performances. These groups also sang many English-language songs of foreign origin.

Rock subsumes folk

The British Invasion of the mid-1960s helped bring an end to the mainstream popularity of American folk music as a wave of British bands overwhelmed most of the American music scene, including folk. Ironically, the roots of the British Invasion were in American folk, specifically a variant known as skiffle as popularized by Lonnie Donegan; however, most of the British Invasion bands had been extensively influenced by rock and roll by the time their music had reached the United States and bore little resemblance to its folk origins.

After Bob Dylan began to record with a rocking rhythm section and electric instruments in 1965 (see Electric Dylan controversy), many other still-young folk artists followed suit. Meanwhile, bands like The Lovin' Spoonful and the Byrds, whose individual members often had a background in the folk-revival coffee-house scene, were getting recording contracts with folk-tinged music played with a rock-band line-up. Before long, the public appetite for the more acoustic music of the folk revival began to wane.

"Crossover" hits ("folk songs" that became rock-music-scene staples) happened now and again. One well-known example is the song "Hey Joe", copyrighted by folk artist Billy Roberts, and recorded by rock singer/guitarist Jimi Hendrix just as he was about to burst into stardom in 1967. The anthem "Woodstock," which was written and first sung by Joni Mitchell while her records were still nearly entirely acoustic and while she was labeled a "folk singer", became a hit single for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young when the group recorded a full-on rock version.

Legacy

By the late 1960s, the scene had returned to being more of a lower-key, aficionado phenomenon, although sizable annual acoustic-music festivals were established in many parts of North America during this period. The acoustic music coffee-house scene survived at a reduced scale. Through the luminary young singer-songwriters of the 1960s, the American folk-music revival has influenced songwriting and musical styles throughout the world.

Major figures

  • Woody Guthrie is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land". Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress.[30] In the 1930s Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California while learning, rewriting, and performing traditional folk and blues songs along the way. Many the songs he composed were about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Balladeer".[31] Throughout his life, Guthrie was associated with United States communist groups, though he never formally joined the Party.[32] During his later years Guthrie served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians, including mentor relationships with Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan. Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Joe Strummer and Tom Paxton have acknowledged their debt to Guthrie as an influence. Guthrie's son, Arlo Guthrie, broke into the folk scene near the end of Woody's life and had significant success of his own.
  • The Almanac Singers Almanac members Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie began playing together informally in 1940; the Almanac Singers were formed in December 1940.[32] They invented a driving, energetic performing style, based on what they felt was the best of American country string band music, black and white. They evolved towards controversial topical music. Two of the regular members of the group, Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, later became founding members of The Weavers.
  • Burl Ives – as a youth, Ives dropped out of college to travel around as an itinerant singer during the early 1930s, earning his way by doing odd jobs and playing his banjo. In 1930 he had a brief, local radio career on WBOW radio in Terre Haute, Indiana, and in the 1940s he had his own radio show, titled The Wayfaring Stranger, titled after one of the popular ballads he sang. The show was very popular, and in 1946 Ives was cast as a singing cowboy in the film Smoky. Ives went on to play parts in other popular films, as well. His first book, The Wayfaring Stranger, was published in 1948.
  • Pete Seeger had met, and been influenced, by many important folk musicians (and singer-songwriters with folk roots), such as Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly. Seeger had labor movement involvements, and he met Woody at a "Grapes of Wrath" migrant workers’ concert on March 3, 1940, and the two thereafter began a musical collaboration (which included the Almanac Singers). In 1948 Seeger wrote the first version of his now-classic How to Play the Five-String Banjo, an instructional book that many banjo players credit with starting them off on the instrument.
  • The Weavers were formed in 1947 by Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, and Fred Hellerman. After they debuted at the Village Vanguard in New York in 1948, they were then discovered by arranger Gordon Jenkins and signed with Decca Records, releasing a series of successful but heavily orchestrated single songs. The group's political associations in the era of the Red Scare forced them to break up in 1952; they re-formed in 1955 with a series of successful concerts and album recordings on Vanguard Records. A fifth member, Erik Darling, sometimes sat in with the group when Seeger was unavailable and ultimately replaced Seeger in The Weavers when the latter resigned from the quartet in a dispute about its commercialism in general and its specific agreement to record a cigarette commercial.[33]
  • Josh White was an authentic singer of rural blues and folk music, a man who had been born into abject conditions in South Carolina during the Jim Crow years. As a young black singer, he was initially dubbed “the Singing Christian” (he sang some Gospel songs, and was the son of a preacher), but also recorded blues songs under the name Pinewood Tom. Later discovered by John H. Hammond and groomed for both stage performance and a major-label recording career, his repertoire expanded to include urban blues, jazz, and gleanings from a broad folk repertoire, in addition to rural blues and gospel. Josh White gained a very wide following in the 1940s and had a huge influence on later blues artists and groups, as well as the general folk-music scene. His pro-justice and civil-rights stance provoked harsh treatment during the suspicious HUAC era, seriously harming his performing career in the ‘50s, and keeping him off TV until 1963. In folk-music circles, however, he retained respect and was admired both as a musical hero and a link with the Southern rural-blues and gospel traditions.
  • Harry Belafonte, another influential performer, inspired in part by Paul Robeson started his career as a club singer in New York to pay for his acting classes. In 1952, he signed a contract with RCA Victor and released his first record album, Mark Twain and Other Folk Favorites. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) was the first LP to sell over a million copies. The album spent 31 weeks at number one, 58 weeks in the top ten, and 99 weeks on the US charts. It introduced American audiences to Calypso music and Belafonte was dubbed the "King of Calypso." Belafonte went on to record in many genres, including blues, American folk, gospel, and more. In 1959, he starred in Tonight With Belafonte a nationally televised special, that introduced Odetta in her debut to a prime time audience. She sang "Water Boy" and performed a duet with Belafonte of "There's a Hole in My Bucket" that hit the national charts in 1961.[34]
  • Odetta Holmes – Starting in 1953 singers Odetta and Larry Mohr recorded some songs, with the LP being released in 1954 as Odetta and Larry, an album that was partially recorded live at San Francisco's Tin Angel bar. Odetta enjoyed a long and respected career, with a repertoire of traditional songs (e.g., spirituals) and blues until her death in 2009, becoming known as "the Voice of the Civil Rights Movement", and "the Queen of American Folk Music" (Martin Luther King Jr.).[34]
  • The Kingston Trio was formed in 1957 in the Palo Alto, California area by Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds, and Dave Guard, who were just out of college. They were greatly influenced by the Weavers, the calypso sounds of Belafonte, and other semi-pop folk artists such as the Gateway Singers and The Tarriers. The unexpected and surprising influence of their hit record "Tom Dooley" (which sold almost four million units and is often credited with initiating the pop music aspect of the folk revival)[35] and the unprecedented popularity and album sales of this group from 1957 to 1963 (including fourteen top ten and five number one LPs on the Billboard charts[36]) were significant factors in creating a commercial and mainstream audience for folk-styled music where little had existed prior to their emergence.[17] The Kingston Trio's success was followed by other highly successful 60s pop-folk acts, such as The Limeliters and The Highwaymen.
  • Dave Van Ronk was a mainstay of the scene, the so-called "Mayor of Macdougal Street". He was a mentor and inspiration for Tom Paxton, Christine Lavin, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan (who described Van Ronk as "the king who reigned supreme" in the Village)[37]
  • Joan Baez’s career got started in 1958 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where at 17 she gave her first coffee-house concert. She was invited to perform at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival in 1959 by pop folk star Bob Gibson, after which Baez was sometimes called “the barefoot Madonna", gaining renown for her clear voice and three-octave range. She recorded her first album for an established label the following year – a collection of laments and traditional folk ballads from the British Isles, accompanying the songs with guitar. Her second LP release went gold, as did her next (live) albums. One record featured her rendition of a song by the then-unknown Bob Dylan. In the early 1960s, Baez moved into the forefront of the American folk-music revival. Increasingly, her personal convictions – peace, social justice, anti-poverty – were reflected in the topical songs that made up a growing portion of her repertoire, to the point that Baez became a symbol for these particular concerns.
  • Bob Dylan often performed, and sometimes toured, with Joan Baez, starting when she was a singer of mostly traditional songs. As Baez adopted some of Dylan's songs into her repertoire and even introduced Dylan to her avid audiences, a large following on the folk circuit, it helped the young songwriter to gain initial recognition. By the time Dylan recorded his first LP (1962) he had developed a style reminiscent of Woody Guthrie. He began to write songs that captured the "progressive" mood on the college campuses and in the coffee houses. Though by 1964 there were many new guitar-playing singer/songwriters, it is arguable that Dylan eventually became the most popular of these younger folk-music-revival performers.
  • Peter, Paul and Mary debuted in the early 1960s and were an American trio who ultimately became one of the biggest musical acts of the 1960s. The trio was composed of Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. They were one of the main folk music torchbearers of social commentary music in the 1960s. As the decade passed, their music incorporated more elements of pop and rock.
  • Judy Collins, affectionately known as ""Judy Blue Eyes"" debuted in the early 1960s. At first she sang traditional folk songs or songs written by others — in particular the protest poets of the time, such as Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, and Bob Dylan. She also recorded her own versions of important songs from the period, such as Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man", Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon", and Pete Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn".
  • The Smothers Brothers used comedy to promote folk music on their CBS-TV variety series (1967-1969), along with social protest against the Vietnam War et al.

Gallery

Burlives

Burl Ives in 1955

Josh White, Café Society (Downtown), New York, N.Y., ca. June 1946 (William P. Gottlieb 09091)

Josh White, Café Society (Downtown), New York, N.Y., c. June 1946

Harry Belafonte Civil Rights March 1963

Harry Belafonte speaking at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C

Odetta (1961)

Odetta, 1961

Joan Baez Bob Dylan

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan at the March on Washington, 1963

Peter paul and mary publicity photo

Peter, Paul and Mary

Judy Collins solo performance 1967

Judy Collins performing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, 1967

Tom Smothers Dick Smothers Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1968

The Smothers Brothers in 1967

Other performers

Managers

Venues

Periodicals

See also

Notes

  1. ^ From the Washington Post, Feb 12, 1944: "The Labor Canteen, sponsored by the United Federal Workers of America, CIO, will be opened at 8 pm tomorrow at 1212 18th st. nw. Mrs. Roosevelt is expected to attend at 8:30 pm"
  2. ^ Szwed, John, Alan Lomax: The Man who Recorded Music, Penguin, 2010. Cf. p.144: "Margot Mayo was a Texan who pioneered folk music in New York and spearheaded the revival of folk dancing and square dancing there in the 1940s"
  3. ^ Cf. Cantwell, Robert, When We Were Good (1996), pp. 110, 253.
  4. ^ "To Hear Your Banjo Play", film short, 1947 with Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry, Margot Mayo's American Square Dance Group and others. Written by Alan Lomax and narrated by Pete Seeger.
  5. ^ "The Biggest #1 Pop Songs in U.S. Chart History". Whitgunn.freeservers.com. May 3, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  6. ^ Ron Eyerman and Scott Barretta, "From the 30s to the 60s: The Folk Music Revival in the United States", Theory and Society, Vol. 25: 4 (August 1996): 501–543.
  7. ^ "Israel Young, who was deeply involved in the New York folk scene from 1945 onward, recounts (through personal correspondence) that he remained largely unaware of the role of the old left on the folk scene in the first decade of his activism", quoted in Ron Eyerman and Scott Barretta, op. cit., 1996, ff. p. 542.
  8. ^ Kingston Trio On Record, p. 33.
  9. ^ Fink, Matt. "Review of Here We Go Again". AllMusic Guide. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  10. ^ Billboard Chart 11/16/59. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  11. ^ Billboard Chart 11/23/59. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  12. ^ Billboard Chart, 11/30/59. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  13. ^ Billboard Chart, 12/7/59. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  14. ^ Billboard Chart, 12/14/59. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  15. ^ "Tenderfoot Tenor for The Kingston Trio". Show Business Magazine. September 5, 1961. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  16. ^ calculated @ 1960$1 = 2014$7.93 per Dollartimes.com
  17. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Biography of The Kingston Trio". AllMusic Guide. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  18. ^ See Guy and Candie Carawan, Sing For Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Though Its Songs (Montgomery Alabama: NewSouth Books, 2008) ISBN 1-58838-193-5
  19. ^ "Harry Smith biography". Harrysmitharchives.com. January 14, 2007. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  20. ^ "Top U.S. Artists by Category". Billboard. 76 (52): 23–4. December 26, 1964.
  21. ^ Cohen, Ronald D. (2002). Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940-1970. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 189. ISBN 1558493484.
  22. ^ "A Spontaneous Performance Recording Page". The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem Website. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  23. ^ Zhito, Lee (May 5, 1962). "Disk Firms Vie for NARAS Honors: RCA Victor Leads List of Grammy Nominations". Billboard Music Week. 74 (18): 4.
  24. ^ Dylan, Bob; Bono, "The Bono Vox Interview," Hot Press, 8 July 1984.
  25. ^ Hamill, Denis (December 22, 2009). "Last Clancy brother Liam is buried, but clan leaves impression on Irish music". Daily News. New York.
  26. ^ Folk Hibernia (television). BBC 4. 2006.
  27. ^ McCourt, Frank; Harty, Patricia (ed.) (2001), "The Paddy Clancy Call", The Greatest Irish Americans of the 20th Century, Oak Tree Press, pp. 110–112, ISBN 1860762069CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  28. ^ Hamill, Dennis (November 7, 1999). "'Tis a Fine Way to Honor Paddy Clancy". New York Daily News. pp. City Beat (section).
  29. ^ Madigan, Charles M. (November 20, 1998). "Irish Folk Singer Patrick Clancy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  30. ^ Library of Congress. Related Material - Woody Guthrie Sound Recordings at the American Folklife Center. Retrieved on November 27, 2007.
  31. ^ "This Land is Your Land: Rural Music & the Depression". Xroads.virginia.edu. Archived from the original on February 7, 2003. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  32. ^ a b Spivey, Christine A."This Land is Your land, This Land is My Land: Folk Music, Communism, and the Red Scare as a Part of the American Landscape". Archived from the original on June 25, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-12. The Student Historical Journal 1996–1997, Loyola University New Orleans, 1996.
  33. ^ How Can I Keep from Singing?: The Ballad of Pete Seeger - David King Dunaway - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  34. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20090106121134/http://www.spclarke.com/odetta.htm. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ Cohen, Ronald (1996). Folk Music: The Basics. Routledge. p. 125. ISBN 9781136088988.
  36. ^ Rubeck, Shaw, Blake et al., The Kingston Trio On Record (Naperville IL: KK Inc, 1986), p. 11 ISBN 978-0-9614594-0-6
  37. ^ Rothberg, Abigail. "Legendary Village folk artist remembered". Downtownexpress.com. Retrieved December 6, 2012.

Bibliography

  • Cantwell, Robert. When We Were Good: The Folk Revival. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-674-95132-8
  • Cohen, Ronald D., Folk music: the basics, Routledge, 2006.
  • Cohen, Ronald D., A history of folk music festivals in the United States, Scarecrow Press, 2008
  • Cohen, Ronald D. Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival & American Society, 1940–1970. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002. ISBN 1-55849-348-4
  • Cohen, Ronald D., ed. Wasn't That a Time? Firsthand Accounts of the Folk Music Revival. American Folk Music Series no. 4. Lanham, Maryland and Folkstone, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1995.
  • Cohen, Ronald D., and Dave Samuelson. Songs for Political Action. Booklet to Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996.
  • Cray, Ed, and Studs Terkel. Ramblin Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie. W.W. Norton & Co., 2006.
  • Cunningham, Agnes "Sis", and Gordon Friesen. Red Dust and Broadsides: A Joint Autobiography. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999. ISBN 1-55849-210-0
  • De Turk, David A.; Poulin, A., Jr., The American folk scene; dimensions of the folksong revival, New York : Dell Pub. Co., 1967
  • Denisoff, R. Serge. Great Day Coming: Folk Music and the American Left. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971.
  • Denisoff, R. Serge. Sing Me a Song of Social Significance. Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1972. ISBN 0-87972-036-0
  • Denning, Michael. The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century. London: Verso, 1996.
  • Donaldson, Rachel Clare, Music for the People: the Folk Music Revival And American Identity, 1930–1970, PhD Dissertation, Vanderbilt University, May, 2011, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Dunaway, David. How Can I Keep From Singing: The Ballad of Pete Seeger. [1981, 1990] Villard, 2008. ISBN 0-306-80399-2
  • Eyerman, Ron, and Scott Barretta. "From the 30s to the 60s: The folk Music Revival in the United States". Theory and Society: 25 (1996): 501–43.
  • Eyerman, Ron, and Andrew Jamison. Music and Social Movements. Mobilizing Traditions in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-521-62966-7
  • Filene, Benjamin. Romancing the Folk: Public Memory & American Roots Music. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8078-4862-X
  • Goldsmith, Peter D. Making People's Music: Moe Asch and Folkways Records. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998. ISBN 1-56098-812-6
  • Hajdu, David. Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña. New York: North Point Press, 2001. ISBN 0-86547-642-X
  • Hawes, Bess Lomax. Sing It Pretty. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2008
  • Jackson, Bruce, ed. Folklore and Society. Essay in Honor of Benjamin A. Botkin. Hatboro, Pa Folklore Associates, 1966
  • Lieberman, Robbie. "My Song Is My Weapon:" People's Songs, American Communism, and the Politics of Culture, 1930–50. 1989; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995. ISBN 0-252-06525-5
  • Lomax, Alan, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger, eds. Hard Hit Songs for Hard Hit People. New York: Oak Publications, 1967. Reprint, Lincoln University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
  • Lynch, Timothy. Strike Song of the Depression (American Made Music Series). Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001.
  • Mitchell, Gillian, The North American folk music revival: nation and identity in the United States and Canada, 1945–1980, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007
  • Reuss, Richard, with [finished posthumously by] Joanne C. Reuss. American Folk Music and Left Wing Politics. 1927–1957. American Folk Music Series no. 4. Lanham, Maryland and Folkstone, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2000.
  • Rubeck, Jack; Shaw, Allan; Blake, Ben et al. The Kingston Trio On Record. Naperville, IL: KK, Inc, 1986. ISBN 978-0-9614594-0-6
  • Scully, Michael F. The Never-Ending Revival: Rounder Records and the Folk Alliance. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008.[1]
  • Seeger, Pete. Where Have All the Flowers Gone: A Singer's Stories. Bethlehem, Pa.: Sing Out Publications, 1993.
  • Willens, Doris. Lonesome Traveler: The Life of Lee Hays. New York: Norton, 1988.
  • Weissman, Dick. Which Side Are You On? An Inside History of the Folk Music Revival in America. New York: Continuum, 2005. ISBN 0-8264-1698-5
  • Wolfe, Charles, and Kip Lornell. The Life and Legend of Leadbelly. New York: Da Capo [1992] 1999.

External links

A Mighty Wind

A Mighty Wind is a 2003 American mockumentary comedy film about a folk music reunion concert in which three folk bands reunite for a television performance for the first time in decades. The film was co-written (with Eugene Levy), directed and composed by Christopher Guest. The film is widely acknowledged to reference the 2003 tribute concert to folk music producer Harold Leventhal that reunited several of the folk groups that Leventhal had managed. More broadly, the film is a parody of the American folk music revival of the early 1960s and its personalities.

Guest co-stars and reunites many of his company of actors from This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and Best in Show for this film. They include Eugene Levy (who also co-wrote the screenplay), Catherine O'Hara, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Fred Willard, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch and Parker Posey.

Ain't It Grand Boys

Ain't It Grand Boys: A Collection of Unissued Gems is a 1995 two-disc compilation of previously unreleased recordings by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. All the tracks were taken from various live performances from the early to mid-1960s.

One of the leaders of the American folk music revival, Pete Seeger, played the banjo on six of the tracks on the album, including "This Land Is Your Land," for which he also sings the lead.

American folk music

The term American folk music encompasses numerous music genres, variously known as traditional music, traditional folk music, contemporary folk music, or roots music. Many traditional songs have been sung within the same family or folk group for generations, and sometimes trace back to such origins as Great Britain, Europe, or Africa. Musician Mike Seeger once famously commented that the definition of American folk music is "...all the music that fits between the cracks."Roots music is a broad category of music including bluegrass, gospel, old time music, jug bands, Appalachian folk, blues, Cajun and Native American music. The music is considered American either because it is native to the United States or because it developed there, out of foreign origins, to such a degree that it struck musicologists as something distinctly new. It is considered "roots music" because it served as the basis of music later developed in the United States, including rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz.

Buell Kazee

Buell Kazee (August 29, 1900 - August 31, 1976) was an American country and folk singer. He is considered one of the most successful folk musicians of the 1920s and experienced a career comeback during the American folk music revival of the 1960s due in part to his inclusion on the Anthology of American Folk Music.

Dust Bowl Ballads

Dust Bowl Ballads is an album by Woody Guthrie, recorded for Victor Records in Camden, New Jersey in 1940. It was Guthrie's first commercial recording and the most successful album he made. It is considered to be the first or one of the very first concept albums.The Dust Bowl Ballads was originally released as two three-disc collections of 78 rpm records. Twelve sides, including the double-sided "Tom Joad", were included in this release, but two of the thirteen songs, "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "Dust Bowl Blues" were left out due to length. All tracks were recorded at Victor studios in Camden, New Jersey on April 26, 1940, except "Dust Can't Kill Me" and "Dust Pneumonia Blues" which were recorded on May 3. In 1964, during the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, a reissue including all tracks from the sessions was released in LP format by Folkways Records after RCA refused Guthrie's request to re-issue the album. The complete Dust Bowl Ballads remains available on compact disc through the Smithsonian Institution's Folkways Collection.The songs on Dust Bowl Ballads are semi-autobiographical, chronicling Guthrie's experience as a so-called "Okie" during the Dust Bowl era, where Guthrie witnessed the economic hardship that many migrant workers faced in California. Like many of Guthrie's later recordings, these songs contain an element of social activism, and would be an important influence on later musicians, including Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs and Joe Strummer.

Folk Time

Folk Time is an album by the Hart Valley Drifters, an American folk music band. It was recorded in 1962 at the studios of KZSU, a radio station at Stanford University. It was released by ATO Records on November 11, 2016.The Hart Valley Drifters were part of the American folk music revival of the 1960s. The band included Jerry Garcia (who three years later would co-found the rock band the Grateful Dead), Robert Hunter (who would write the lyrics to many Grateful Dead songs), and David Nelson (who, with John Dawson and Garcia, would co-found the country rock band the New Riders of the Purple Sage).

Folk club

A folk club is a regular event, permanent venue, or section of a venue devoted to folk music and traditional music. Folk clubs were primarily an urban phenomenon of 1960s and 1970s Great Britain and Ireland, and vital to the second British folk revival, but continue today there and elsewhere. In America, as part of the American folk music revival, they played a key role not only in acoustic music, but in launching the careers of groups that later became rock and roll acts.

John Jacob Niles

John Jacob Niles (April 28, 1892 – March 1, 1980) was an American composer, singer, and collector of traditional ballads. Called the "Dean of American Balladeers", Niles was an important influence on the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, with Joan Baez, Burl Ives, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan, among others, recording his songs.

Kenneth S. Goldstein

Kenneth S. Goldstein, PhD (March 17, 1927 – November 11, 1995) was a prominent American folklorist, educator, record producer, and a prime mover in the 1960s American Folk Music Revival.

Maria Muldaur

Maria Muldaur (born September 12, 1943) is an American folk and blues singer who was part of the American folk music revival in the early 1960s. She recorded the 1973 hit song "Midnight at the Oasis" and continues to record albums in the folk traditions.She was the wife of musician Geoff Muldaur and is the mother of singer-songwriter Jenni Muldaur.

Modern Folk Quartet

The Modern Folk Quartet (or "MFQ") was an American folk music revival group that formed in the early 1960s. Originally emphasizing acoustic instruments and group harmonies, they performed extensively and recorded two albums. In 1965, as the Modern Folk Quintet, they ventured into electric folk rock and recorded with producers Phil Spector and Jack Nitzsche. Although MFQ received a fair amount of exposure, their rock-oriented recordings failed to capture their sound or generate enough interest and they disbanded in 1966. Subsequently, MFQ re-formed several times and made further recordings.

Music of Georgia (U.S. state)

Georgia's musical history is diverse and substantial; the state's musicians include Southern rap groups such as Outkast and Goodie Mob, as well as a wide variety of rock, pop, blues, and country artists such as the late Ray Charles, Otis Redding, James Brown, and The Allman Brothers Band. The music of Athens, Georgia is especially well known for a kind of quirky college rock that has included such well-known bands as R.E.M., The B-52's, and Pylon.

Odetta and the Blues

Odetta and the Blues is an album by folk singer Odetta, released in 1962.

Recorded as the 1950s/1960s American folk music revival was getting underway, the album is notable for Odetta's use of a jazz band on the record.

It has subsequently been re-released on CD in 1984 on Riverside/Original Blues Classics (OBCCD-509-2), Ace (509) (1993) and Legacy (354).

Peter, Paul and Mary

Peter, Paul and Mary was an American folk group formed in New York City in 1961, during the American folk music revival phenomenon. The trio was composed of tenor Peter Yarrow, baritone Noel Paul Stookey and contralto Mary Travers. The group's repertoire included songs written by Yarrow and Stookey, early songs by Bob Dylan as well as covers of other folk musicians. After the death of Travers in 2009, Yarrow and Stookey continued to perform as a duo under their individual names.Mary Travers said she was influenced by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and the Weavers. In the documentary Peter, Paul & Mary: Carry It On — A Musical Legacy members of the Weavers discuss how Peter, Paul and Mary took over the torch of the social commentary of folk music in the 1960s.

The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Peter, Paul and Mary received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.

School campus song

Taiwanese campus folk song, campus folk song, or campus folk rock (Chinese: 校園民歌; literally: 'schoolyard folk songs') is a genre of Taiwanese Music with its roots as student songs in the campuses of Taiwanese universities during the 1970s. The genre was highly popular from the mid-1970s to the early 1990, with its focus on themes from the Chinese cultural sphere in reaction to the prevalence of Western rock music in Taiwan as well as being edged out by the People's Republic of China from the United Nations and from the world political stage This genre of music became very popular in mainland China during the 1990s with the increased cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the mainland during this period. Campus folk rock was created by university age youth wishing to assert their own distinct cultural Chinese identities and "Sing our own songs."(Chinese: 唱自己的歌) in Chinese, taking the aspirations from the American folk music revival. The movement towards and popularization of this music is considered to be a societal reaction towards Taiwan's expulsion from United Nations (UN) in 1971 in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, with international admission of the People's republic of China as the sole legitimate representative of China in the UN. The songs were composed through fusing instrumental and melodic elements from American folk rock, along with the expression and themes from Chinese folk music, both of which were familiar to the youth of the time. Songs from the genre are characterize as having a forward-looking, optimistic, simple, and youthfully naive feel, with acoustic guitar and piano as some of its most commonly used accompanying instruments.

Simple Verses

Simple Verses (Spanish: Versos sencillos) is a poetry collection by Cuban writer and independence hero José Martí. Published in October 1891, it was the last of Martí's works to be printed before his death in 1895. Originally written in Spanish, it has been translated into over ten languages. Among the poems of the collection are Yo soy un hombre sincero (I), Si ves un monte de espumas (V), and Cultivo una rosa blanca (XXXIX). Verses pruned from various poems were adapted into the folk song Guantanamera, which is the most popular patriotic song of Cuba and was popularized in the US in the 1960s during the American folk music revival.

The Country Blues

The Country Blues is a seminal album released on Folkways Records in 1959, catalogue RF 1. Compiled from 78 recordings by Samuel Charters, it accompanied his book of the same name to provide examples of the music discussed. Both the book and this compilation were key documents in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and many of its songs would either be incorporated into new compositions by later musicians, or covered outright.

Tradition Records

Tradition Records was an American record label from 1955 to 1966 that specialized in folk music. The label was founded and financed by Guggenheim heiress Diane Hamilton in 1956. Its president and director was Patrick "Paddy" Clancy, who was soon to join his brothers Liam and Tom Clancy and Tommy Makem, as part of the new Irish folk group, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Liam Clancy designed the company's maple leaf logo. Columbia University Professor of Folklore Kenneth Goldstein was also involved in the early creation of the company, which operated out of Greenwich Village, New York City.With artists like The Clancy Brothers, Odetta, and Jean Ritchie growing in popularity during the American folk music revival, the label began to generate good profits. When The Clancy Brothers signed with Columbia Records in 1961, Paddy Clancy ceased to run the day-to-day operations of the company. In 1966 The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, as owners of the label, sold the Tradition catalogue to Everest Records. Everest reissued Tradition recordings without any notes in haphazard permutations.

Much of the Tradition catalogue has been reissued on CD and/or for digital download. For many years John Jacob Niles received little acclaim, but following the broadcast of the Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home, there was a surge in the demand for his albums. His two albums on Tradition were reissued.

43 North Broadway. a private IP management fund, acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to the Tradition Records catalog as part of its acquisition of the Everest Record Group of labels.

Wallin Family

The Wallin Family is an American family of traditional ballad singers from Madison County, North Carolina. Their repertoire of Appalachian folk ballads— many of which were rooted in "Old World" ballads traceable to the British Isles— brought them to the attention of folk music enthusiasts during the American folk music revival of the 1960s. Wallin family members have recorded numerous times over a period of nearly four decades, and have appeared in several independent documentaries.

African-American music
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