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The Mudcat Cafesj

User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Joe Offer Mudcat FAQ - Newcomer's Guide (147* d) Mudcat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) 17 Mar 00

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Mudcat Cafe!

Table of Contents (click here)

This is a PermaThread™ for use as a guide for visitors and anybody else who might need help here. While most Mudcat threads are not censored or edited, I will monitor this one and maintain and edit it to serve as a guide to the Mudcat Cafe. Feel free to post questions and answers, but be aware that I'm going to edit this thread heavily. If you find messages at other parts of the forum that you think should be included here, please let me know about them. I would like to thank all the people who contributed material for this FAQ, with special thanks to Jon Freeman and Pene Azul and Jeri for all their technical help.
-Joe Offer-

If you're looking for a song, you'll often find it right here in the Digital Tradition Folk Song Database. Feel free to post a request, but we ask you to use the search box in the upper-left corner of this page (and most other Mudcat pages) to search the database and forum for your lyrics before you post a request for them. We have some 9,000 folk songs in the database, so it's one of the best places to look. Even if your song isn't in the database, our search engine will also search the forum for songs that may not yet have been included in the database.

If you're looking for a folk song that isn't in the database or forum, start a new thread [click here to create a thread (topic)], and make sure the title or a phrase from the song you want is in the thread title. Generic titles like "desperately seeking lyrics" may end up being used for many different songs, and that gets very confusing. Please try to tell us whatever you know about the song - phrases you recall, where you heard it, and so on. Often, songs have various titles that can cause confusion, and a phrase may be a better way to locate a song.

We specialize in folk music and blues. If the music you seek is of another genre, you may wish to try

The Mudcat FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Table of Contents

Making Mudcat Accessible (click)

Explore Our Menus

Be sure to explore the links at the top of most Mudcat pages. Here they are again:
E-Zine (Max's Blues Museum) has been removed from the top links, but it's still available.

Quick Links
Be sure to explore the Quick Links dropdown menu you'll find below, and on most Mudcat pages. Just click on the down arrow, and the menu will appear. On that menu, you'll find a link that will allow you to Search the Forum (or you can click here). Just select that link and hit the "go" button, and follow the search instructions.

Dale Rose and others posted "thread of the day" messages and other things that have been deleted from this thread because they are not permanent in nature. Some of these messages have very valuable information, and you will find that those messages have been moved here (click).

Searching Mudcat for Information

It's easy to search for songs in the Digital Tradition Folk Song Database - just put some words from the song in the search box you'll find on most Mudcat pages, and click the "go" button. There's an advanced box that will help you narrow your search and pinpoint exactly what you're looking for. Also, click here for more song search help. You'll note that there is a dropdown menu of letters at the bottom of the search box - those letters link to a "titles list" of the songs in the Digital Tradition. Titles can be misleading, so you'll probably have better results if you use the search box to search for a distinctive phrase from the song. Here's that search box:

Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]

DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date

DT Lyrics:

Notice the search box toward the bottom of the box above - that's Google Custom Search, set to use Google to search the contents of Mudcat. Try it - you'll find it works quite well, especially if you search for a phrase in quotes.

Forum Search (searching by Message Title or User Name)
If the song or information you want does not come up with our usual search engine, you may want to try searching our discussion Forum with our "Filter" (for searching by thread title) or "
Forum Search" (for searching by message title or user name.

The Filter

(searching by thread title)
Toward the top of the
Mudcat Forum main menu (click here), you'll see a "filter" box - put an appropriate word in the box and set the age to whatever is appropriate to cover the period you want to search. Click the grey "refresh" button, and all threads with that word in the title should appear (a "thread" is a series of forum messages, posted on a specific topic). Here's a filter box you can try:
Filter Age

Filter Out Help

Note: The forum menu is set to display all threads for which messages have been posted in the last 24 hours. If your thread has disappeared, please don't start a new one. Just use the "filter" or "search the forum" links on the main forum menu, and pull your thread up and post a new message in that thread - that will bring your thread up for another 24 hours. Your new message can be just the word "refresh" if you have nothing else to add.
If you're viewing Mudcat from work or a library or another location that has a "profanity filter" on its computers, you may not be able to view our Forum Menu if we happen to have a so-called "naughty word" in a thread title. We've tried to tag these titles "bawdy." If your profanity filter blocks your access, try putting bawdy in the Filter box and check the "filter out" box. Click here for tools to help you filter out "bawdy" or other threads.

Outdated search tools

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, we had a blue search box to search the Digital Tradition. It had lots of shortcomings, but it may work when our regular search engine is down. It also had a "titles" list that worked horribly. Here is our Old Blue Search Box:

DigiTrad Lyrics Search Help

All Titles - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L
M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

SuperSearch was the prototype of our current method of searching both our Forum and the Digital Tradition, SuperSearch. Here's a copy of that prototype, in case you find it useful. Just enter a phrase and click the "go" button.
Note: the index for the SuperSearch is not always up-to-date, so recent messages may not appear in your search results.
Digitrad and Forum Search

Use Google to search Mudcat

If you use
this Google search link and just add what you're looking for, you'll be able to search Mudcat. A search for twa corbies would look like this: (click).


Our main search engine depends on an index which is supposed to be updated regularly. However, performance of the Mudcat Search Engine has been a bit spotty. If it doesn't work, try the Google search box above.

The Filter is our best tool for finding things by thread name. You can use the Old Advanced Forum Search in our QuickLinks dropdown menu to find posts by message title or by the name of the poster.

And if you still have trouble finding something, ask me. That's my job.

Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor

revised by Joe Offer, December 2023.

Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.
   * Click on the linked number with * to view the thread split into pages (click "d" for chronologically descending).

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.