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Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs

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The Essential Folk Recordings (46)
50 Great Voices-all genres- NPR (74)
100 Essential Folk Songs (Folk Alley poll) (50)
NPR-100 most impt. musical works of cent (25)


Wesley S 22 Jun 09 - 01:52 PM
Cool Beans 22 Jun 09 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 22 Jun 09 - 02:17 PM
Spleen Cringe 22 Jun 09 - 02:21 PM
Peter T. 22 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM
MartinRyan 22 Jun 09 - 02:26 PM
Amos 22 Jun 09 - 02:39 PM
Wesley S 22 Jun 09 - 02:51 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 Jun 09 - 03:17 PM
Stringsinger 22 Jun 09 - 03:26 PM
Amos 22 Jun 09 - 03:30 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 09 - 04:13 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 22 Jun 09 - 04:13 PM
pdq 22 Jun 09 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,Lighter 22 Jun 09 - 04:19 PM
Amos 22 Jun 09 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Lighter 22 Jun 09 - 05:49 PM
Arkie 22 Jun 09 - 05:59 PM
Peace 22 Jun 09 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Gerry 23 Jun 09 - 09:04 AM
MissouriMud 23 Jun 09 - 12:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 09 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 23 Jun 09 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 23 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM
Midchuck 23 Jun 09 - 01:16 PM
Leadfingers 23 Jun 09 - 01:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 09 - 01:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 09 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Gerry 23 Jun 09 - 07:59 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Gerry 24 Jun 09 - 11:58 PM
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Subject: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:52 PM

Here you go. Someone has picked out the 100 most essential folk songs of all time.Arn't you happy that it's finally been taken care of? I'm just glad to see that "Trad" got mentioned a few times......

NPR Story

1. "This Land Is Your Land" - Woody Guthrie

2. "Blowin' in the Wind" - Bob Dylan

3. "City of New Orleans" - Steve Goodman

4. "If I Had a Hammer" - Pete Seeger (not in DT)

5. "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" - The Kingston Trio

6. "Early Morning Rain" - Gordon Lightfoot

7. "Suzanne" - Leonard Cohen

8. "We Shall Overcome" - Pete Seeger

9. "Four Strong Winds" - Ian and Sylvia

10. "Last Thing on My Mind" - Tom Paxton

11. "The Circle Game" - Joni Mitchell

12. "Tom Dooley" - The Kingston Trio (Trad)

13. "Both Sides Now" - Joni Mitchell

14. "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" - Sandy Denny

15. "Goodnight Irene" - The Weavers (Trad)

16. "Universal Soldier" - Buffy Sainte-Marie

17. "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" - Bob Dylan

18. "Diamonds and Rust" - Joan Baez

19. "Sounds of Silence" - Simon & Garfunkel

20. "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - Gordon Lightfoot

21. "Alice's Restaurant" - Arlo Guthrie

22. "Turn, Turn, Turn!" - The Byrds (Pete Seeger)

23. "Puff the Magic Dragon" - Peter, Paul and Mary

24. "Thirsty Boots" - Eric Anderson

25. "There But for Fortune" - Phil Ochs

26. "Across the Great Divide" - Kate Wolf

27. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" - The Band (Robbie Robertson)

28. "The Dutchman" - Steve Goodman

29. "Matty Groves" - Fairport Convention (Trad)

30. "Pastures of Plenty" - Woody Guthrie

31. "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" - Gordon Lightfoot

32. "Ramblin' Boy" - Tom Paxton

33. "Hello in There" - John Prine

34. "The Mary Ellen Carter" - Stan Rogers

35. "Scarborough Fair" - Martin Carthy (Trad)

36. "Freight Train" - Elizabeth Cotton

37. "Like a Rolling Stone" - Bob Dylan

38. "Paradise" - John Prine

39. "Northwest Passage" - Stan Rogers

40. "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" - Eric Bogle

41. "Changes" - Phil Ochs

42. "Streets of London" - Ralph McTell

43. "Gentle on My Mind" - John Hartford

44. "Barbara Allen" - Shirley Collins (Trad)

45. "Little Boxes" - Malvina Reynolds

46. "The Water Is Wide" - Traditional

47. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" - Bill Monroe

48. "No Regrets" - Tom Rush

49. "Amazing Grace" - Odetta (Trad)

50. "Catch the Wind" - Donovan

51. "If I Were a Carpenter" - Tim Hardin

52. "Big Yellow Taxi" - Joni Mitchell

53. "House of the Rising Sun" - Doc & Richard Watson (Trad)

54. "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" - The Weavers

55. "Tangled Up in Blue" - Bob Dylan

56. "The Boxer" - Simon and Garfunkel

57. "Someday Soon" - Ian and Sylvia

58. "500 Miles" - Peter, Paul and Mary

59. "Masters of War" - Bob Dylan

60. "Wildwood Flower" - Carter Family

61. "Can the Circle Be Unbroken" - Carter Family

62. "Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound" - Tom Paxton

63. "Teach Your Children" - Crosby, Stills Nash & Young

64. "Deportee" - Woody Guthrie

65. "Tecumseh Valley" - Townes Van Zandt

66. "Mr. Bojangles" - Jerry Jeff Walker

67. "Cold Missouri Waters" - James Keeleghan

68. "The Crucifixion" - Phil Ochs

69. "Angel from Montgomery" - John Prine

70. "Christmas in the Trenches" - John McCutcheon

71. "John Henry" - Traditional

72. "Pack Up Your Sorrows" - Richard and Mimi Farina

73. "Dirty Old Town" - Ewan MacColl

74. "Caledonia" - Dougie MacLean

75. "Gentle Arms of Eden" - Dave Carter

76. "My Back Pages" - Bob Dylan

77. "Arrow" - Cheryl Wheeler

78. "Hallelujah" - Leonard Cohen

79. "Eve of Destruction" - Barry McGuire

80. "Man of Constant Sorrow" - Ralph Stanley (Trad)

81. "Shady Grove" - Traditional

82. "Pancho and Lefty" - Townes Van Zandt

83. "Old Man" - Neil Young

84. "Mr. Tambourine Man" - Bob Dylan

85. "American Tune" - Paul Simon

86. "At Seventeen" - Janis Ian

87. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel

88. "Road" - Nick Drake

89. "Tam Lin" - Fairport Convention (Trad)

90. "Ashokan Farewell" - Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

91. "Desolation Row" - Bob Dylan

92. "Love Is Our Cross to Bear" - John Gorka

93. "Hobo's Lullaby" - Woody Guthrie

94. "Urge for Going" - Tom Rush

95. "Return of the Grievous Angel" - Gram Parsons

96. "Chilly Winds" - The Kingston Trio

97. "Fountain of Sorrow" - Jackson Browne

98. "The Times They Are A-Changin'" - Bob Dylan

99. "Our Town" - Iris Dement

100. "Leaving on a Jet Plane" - John Denver


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Cool Beans
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:16 PM

I'm a little confused by the list. Do they mean performances of certain songs or the songs themselves? Are they crediting Steve Goodman as writer of Michael Smith's "The Dutchman" or do they like his performance of the song? Maybe I should listen to the NPR story.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:17 PM

I won't get into the "what is folk music" debate, but since many of these songs were composed within the past forty or fifty years, you will probably get lots of mail. There are some quality songs in the group, no matter what else enters into the discussion. It reminds me of Ken Burns' jazz retrospective, where so many quality performers and innovators were omitted. "Best of" lists are always iffy, at best.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:21 PM

Without getting too picky, I see folk music doesn't actually exist outside of the English-speaking world, notably the USA. This will come as a bit of a surprise to vast swathes of the world's population. I also notice that folk appears primarily to be a very pale music as well as one that even in the USA barely exists in, say, the Appalachian Mountains or the Louisiana swamps. Finally, I see they are using the "marketing tool" version of folk rather than the "process" or "context" versions.

Ok, I'll shut TFU and git mah coat...


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM

Something is either essential or it isn't. "Most essential" is nonsense.

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:26 PM

Given the choice of "most essential" as the classification, I'm almost relieved we Irish don't get a mention! ;>)

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:39 PM

What a phony proposition.    To be fair to NPR, this should be mentioned:

"Folk Alley recently spent eight weeks polling its listeners in search of a master list of "The 100 Most Essential Folk Songs." The results ? found here in the form of a printable list and a continuous music mix, streamed in no particular order ? are fodder for debate, discussion and discovery.

What are your favorite folk songs? Head over to the Folk Alley site and join the discussion. To get you started, here's the master list...".


So it is a popularity poll, even if a badly ungrammatical one.

I can see no way in which the word "essential" applies to 90% of the choices, especially without any constraint as to what purpose the song is said to be "essential", or in what sense.

It is certainly the case that only a few of them capture the essence of even Western Anglo folk music. A moment's reflection as to why "Frankie and Johnny", "The Unreconstructed Rebel", "The Rising of the Moon", "The Auld Orange Flute", "My Love is Like a Red Red Rose", or "Pick a Bale of Cotton" or "Trouble in Mind" or "Empty Bed Blues"...well, my point makes itself. This is an exercise in jejeune and specious PR. LEt alone Spanish, French, SOuth African, Italian, or Russian songs, for examples of glaring omissions, to just name a few.


A


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Wesley S
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:51 PM

It appears that the majority of essential folk songs were indeeed written. By young white Americans starting in the 60's.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:17 PM

Not a single one, thank God! Does this mean I'm no longer a folky? Has this wretched curse at last been lifted? Can I go and rejoin the real world now please?


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:26 PM

I think the essential part of this thread describes the popularization of the folk song style in popular music. These are the "marketable" folk-like songs that are associated with particular artists. This is a big problem. Today it's difficult to separate the two.

The next question is "essential" for who? Certainly not for the traditional singer who is a carrier of a specific culture.

I think a better title would have been "100 most essential folk-like pop songs".

Frank


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 03:30 PM

OR even "best-liked popular songs imitative of folk music...".



A


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 04:13 PM

Well, it pains me to have to say it, but of course it does depend on what you mean by folk music. Clearly, in this case it generally means, as has been pointed out, songs written by young white American songwriters. There are about a dozen songs in the list I would call folksongs. The rest of the list contains some remarkable songs as well, as you would expect. What you categorise them as is up to you, and it can neither enhance nor diminish the songs in any way, whatever you call them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 04:13 PM

"best-liked popular songs imitative of folk music...".

a much more accurate description


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: pdq
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 04:14 PM

Well, Mattie Groves and Barbara Allen are traditional.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 04:19 PM

Pete Seeger and not the Kingston Trio wrote "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." Shouldn't NPR or Folk Alley know that?


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 04:25 PM

INdeed--the votes were clearly being cast by people who knew the songs by the performance they liked, not the author.


A


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 05:49 PM

So in fact NPR and Folk Alley don't know what the heck they're talking about.

It isn't the "songs" that are "essential," it's the performances and the performers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Arkie
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 05:59 PM

May be that the poll reveals more about the listenership than the music.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Peace
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 06:04 PM

While I have heard almost all the songs on that list--folks, when I hear the term "folk song", I expect to listen to something that's older than I am.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 09:04 AM

Call 'em folk, call 'em pop, call 'em white North American 1960s - but (speaking as a white North American child of the 60s) I call 'em a list of mostly terrific songs which have been (warning: cliche coming) the soundtrack of my life. A few odd comments:

The "most essential" instrumental appears to be No Regrets, at #48.

I'm happy to see Phil Ochs on the list, but surprised to see There But For Fortune (#25) as his top-ranked song.

Someone spelled Bogle wrong (#40).

I would have found room for Requiem, Eileen McGann.

Goodnight Irene (#15), listed as Weavers (Trad.), was not actually trad, but Leadbelly, no?

Is #58 supposed to be 500 Miles? I don't think I know a PPM song just called Miles.

Interesting that Urge For Going is associated with Tom Rush and not Joni Mitchell.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: MissouriMud
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 12:49 PM

Clearly the choices, made by a very narrow audience, were performance based not source based. However it is interesting to see three traditional songs - John Henry, Shady Grove and The Water is Wide, were not associated with any particular performance (or possibly were associated with so many performances that they couldnt be listed).

It was good to see that Ashokan Farewell is being considered a song - perhaps a lot more folks have heard the words than I have - I wasn't aware that Jay and Molly used them. But is is a heck of a tune.

There are a couple that I see I need to learn before I can die knowing my knowledge is complete. As for the 95 or so that I do know I agree that they are wonderful, well known and important music (and excellent performances) - except I am a bit mystified about Alice's Restaurant - I presume they mean just the one verse ditty and not the entire 20 minute monologue.   I have enough trouble trying to figure out what folk music is without including comedy routines.

I am curious as to which omitted songs, having failed qualify as "most essential", are merely essential?   All the rest perhaps (or at least American Pie)).   Or do some songs not even rise to the level of essentialism?   I tend to think most of them are essential, at least to me, although I'm beginning to think could do without that tune the Ice Cream truck keeps playing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 12:54 PM

Like all such lists- ho hum


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 01:06 PM

I'm struggling to recall the last time I saw "jejeune" used in a declarative sentence that did not refer to Bangladesh or Ethiopia, for example. What a linguistic oracle is this thread!


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM

Gerry,

No Regrets by Tom Rush is a vocal song. And quite a good one. Is there an instrumental called No Regrets?

But by and large I agree with you. People will equate the song with the singer more often than they do the song with the author. It depend on who made it popular.

Don


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Midchuck
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 01:16 PM

Is #58 supposed to be 500 Miles? I don't think I know a PPM song just called Miles.

Probably, although Dick Farina _did_ have an instrumental called "Miles." A tribute to Davis, I think.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 01:25 PM

Never having heard Folk Alley I did a quick google and find (Surprise) its from an American University . At least over there you CAN hear what passes for folk on the radio for more than an hour a week !


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 01:28 PM

Peter, Paul and Mary recorded "Miles"; track 4 on their album "Best Collection" (Warner, 1983, LP).

There are over 160 entries for "Miles" in allmusic, not all the same song. One of that title is listed for Miles Davis.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 02:10 PM

Folk Alley, carried on WKSU specifically notes that they have no preferences.
The list is a result of a listeners' poll. It shows clearly what their listeners call folk.

I would guess that 'folk', in the minds of the North American* public, is made up of these composed or arranged songs by artists of the last 50 or so years.
*outside Mexico, Quebec and east coast maritime Canada.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 07:59 PM

Don, of course you're right about No Regrets. I'm not sure what I was thinking - is there an instrumental on the Circle Game album?

TJ, the *first* time I saw jejune (note spelling) was in a review of Tom Lehrer's music, included in the liner notes to one of his albums. A web search for Lehrer jejune will turn it up. And, speaking of Lehrer, why isn't Poisoning Pigeons In The Park on the list? or The Irish Ballad? Lobachevsky? Folk Song Army? I must go vote them on....

Q, thanks for the PPM info.


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM

I'm surprised to note that the words to "Turn Turn Turn" do not come from the book of Ecclesiastes after all...


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Subject: RE: Folk Alley 100 Most Essential Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:58 PM

For what it's worth, I've gone to the Folk Alley site, and #58 is indeed 500 Miles, not just Miles. They also corrected the spelling of Bogle.


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