Don't forget to check out our YouTube
channel to see and hear live performances.
Hoochie Coochie Man.
Bourgeois Blues.Lead Belly
wrote this song as a protest against segregated housing in Washington,
D.C. Alan Lomax may have helped in the composition of the song, or at
least encouraged Lead Belly to write and perform political songs such as
"Bourgeois Blues" that would appeal to his left-leaning
audience.The chords to
this song follow the classic twelve-bar blues
O Dem Golden Slippers.If
you grew up in or near Philadelphia, you probably associate this song
with the Mummers
Parade.However, it was
written by an African American composer, James A. Bland (1854-1911),
who toured the United States and Europe with "Haverley's Genuine
was a parody of the spiritual "Golden
Slippers" performed by the Fisk Jubilee Singers.Although minstrel
shows, which featured white—or sometimes
black—performers in blackface and ridiculed African American
culture, would seem extremely offensive today, these entertainments were
popular in the nineteenth century.It is quite possible that minstrelsy paved the way for black
artists such as Lead Belly to reach a wider audience."Golden Slippers"
eventually entered the country music
repertoire and is most closely associated with country today (and, of
course, the Mummers).
Old Joe Clark.This
is of the most commonly known Appalachian fiddle tunes played for clog dancing or square
reasons, some people sung it a cappella as a play
playing Old Joe Clark, fiddlers tune the strings of the fiddle to
A-E-A-E (instead of G-D-A-E) so they harmonize with the melody.Henry
Reed's version is extremely syncopated.
Barbara Allen.This tragic
ballad is one of the oldest songs in the English language that is still
Pepys referred to it as a "Scotch song" in his diary in
broadsides of the song from the 1600-1700s appear in the UCSB
English Broadside Ballad Archive.It is Child Ballad #84.Many versions were collected in the United States (this
trailer for the movie Songcatcher dramatizes the song collection
process).The Grateful Dead
and Joan Baez performed "Barbara
Allen" together in 1981.Of the more recent recordings, I particularly like Colin
Meloy's, which he learned from British folk singer Shirley
Meloy use a different melody, but the story is the same...
The Rock Island Line.Lonnie
Donegan's version of this song launched the skiffle music craze in
Britain; skiffle performers included the teenaged Beatles (under the
name The Quarrymen) and David Bowie.The song was written by Kelly Pace, a prisoner at a
segregated black prison in Arkansas, and first recorded by John Lomax in
popularized the song and he has influenced other well-known versions,
such as Johnny Cash's.Jim
Bickal of Minnesota Public Radio has developed a web site "The
Rock Island Line: A Mighty Good Road" where you can hear
different versions and read about the artists.
Amazing Grace.This old song
very own page at the Library of Congress.You can hear lots of different performances and see
on the Timeline link for details.)Tim Eriksen has
recorded several different tunes with the same words.
Future Folksongs of the Day
This Land is Your Land
We Shall Overcome
Home on the Range
W. Hall / Department of Mathematics / Saint Joseph's University / last