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American Traditional folk songs

GUEST,Tatterfoal 10 Oct 11 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Guest 10 Oct 11 - 10:14 AM
Desert Dancer 10 Oct 11 - 10:22 AM
Lighter 10 Oct 11 - 10:25 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 10 Oct 11 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Tatterfoal 10 Oct 11 - 10:27 AM
MartinRyan 10 Oct 11 - 10:29 AM
Brian Peters 10 Oct 11 - 12:01 PM
Desert Dancer 10 Oct 11 - 12:26 PM
Paul Davenport 10 Oct 11 - 01:20 PM
Dave the Gnome 10 Oct 11 - 02:11 PM
gnu 10 Oct 11 - 02:57 PM
Artful Codger 10 Oct 11 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,SteveG 10 Oct 11 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Tatterfoal 10 Oct 11 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,SteveG 11 Oct 11 - 11:34 AM
Stilly River Sage 11 Oct 11 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,tatterfoal 11 Oct 11 - 12:09 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Oct 11 - 12:31 PM
Marje 11 Oct 11 - 12:35 PM
Pete Jennings 11 Oct 11 - 12:56 PM
Pete Jennings 11 Oct 11 - 12:59 PM
olddude 11 Oct 11 - 04:16 PM
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Subject: American Traditional folk songs
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 09:33 AM

What traditional folk songs (ie. no composer known) from America can be classed as exclusively American and not versions that travelled from this country


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 10:14 AM

Cotton Eye Joe for one.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 10:22 AM

The G. Malcolm Laws indexed folk songs and designated his letters A-H for songs native to America. If you scroll down to the "Laws #XXX" in the Folk Song Index, you'll find 'em all listed.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 10:25 AM

And you can never go wrong with "John Henry" and "The Old Chisholm Trail."


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 10:26 AM

Cowboy songs, African American spirituals, work songs of many sorts.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 10:27 AM

Most of these in the G.Malcolm Laws are penned songs and English tradional. I meant folk songs sung in America with no recognised composer.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 10:29 AM

Oh - that "this" country! ;>)>

Regards


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 12:01 PM

"Most of these in the G.Malcolm Laws are penned songs and English tradional."

True in the case of most if not all of those listed under Laws #B01, which appear to be versions of the originally British 'Unfortunate Rake'.

However, the majority of those listed under A-H are precisely the kind of thing I'd recognize as indigenous North American folk songs: John Henry, John Hardy, Poor Ellen Smith, Omie Wise, Texas Rangers, Sioux Indians, Paul Jones, Casey Jones, Delia, Cumberland & Merrimac etc., etc. Of course they aren't as old as the songs originating from British tradition, so it might be easier to find authors for them - I don't know offhand. But even if you could, that wouldn't make them any less traditional songs.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 12:26 PM

Um, yeah, what Brian said. Look again.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 01:20 PM

If you dig long enough you'll find the composer. It won't be someone called 'Anon' either.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 02:11 PM

If you dig long enough you'll find the composer.

Surely, if you dig long enough, you will find them de-composing?

I'll get my coat...

:DtG


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: gnu
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 02:57 PM

The Lumberjack's Alphabet springs to mind first off.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Artful Codger
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 02:58 PM

There may be many classic American songs for which a composer can be traced, but there are also many for which no amount of digging, at this remove, will turn up an author, much less a composer, though it may turn up some debatable if not clearly spurious claims of authorship. Even on period sheet music the stated authorship is often incorrect, with songs being attributed to those who arranged, modified or sang them, rather than reflecting their actual provenance.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 04:25 PM

Tatterfoal
As Brian has suggested that's a strange request you are making.
How does 'traditional folk song' have anything to do with whether a song has a composer or not?

Such ideas went out with the ark. Yes, okay, so such ideas may once have been traditional!

I haven't actually done a count but there are probably more American traditional songs than British.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: GUEST,Tatterfoal
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 06:22 PM

Not so strange, in the folk clubs in England songs are sung that have been handed down auraly and I was wondering if any of this ilk are sung by people in America.    I stand corrected about the G.Malcolm Laws site thankyou for the help.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 11:34 AM

I haven't had the pleasure of actually going into an American folk club, or the other places where you can hear live folk music, but I know lots of people who have, and I'm pretty certain that native American traditional song is being sung in such places at least as much as in British folk clubs. Surely just the fact that there are regular exchanges of performers across the Atlantic must tell you this.

Also don't forget there are many more genres of traditional songs in the vastness of North America than there are in our small islands. Those of British origin actually only form a small percentage of this. For instance, Afro American contributions, Cajun, Native Indian, Great Lakes songs, Songs specific to individual states, Civil War songs, War of independence songs, maritime songs from the maritime provinces, Songs of the gold rush, labor songs, chain gangs, the majority of sea shanties, bluegrass, etc. etc. etc.

Laws was published in the 1950s. It only scraped the surface in terms of American traditional song.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 12:02 PM

Excluding those that jumped the pond and were materially altered here tends to hide the rich song history in the New World. Take a hymn like Beulah Land and look at all of the variants the pioneer and regional singers created. They don't have "authors" at this point, but they are completely distinct from the original. Link to DT.

There are also "fake songs" that are popular but do have an author, such as the Pacific Northwest's Frozen Logger, written by an Oregon Newspaperman (James Stevens). Link to DT. Our history is shorter, all within the period of the written word in books and journals, it's easier to find the author of songs here.

SRS


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: GUEST,tatterfoal
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 12:09 PM

I understand that songs are being sung in American Folk Clubs, all I needed was to know which ones, if it like folk clubs here in England the ones that are sung on a regular basis are the easier ones to learn.


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 12:31 PM

Don't know what is being sung in clubs today, but as soon as I hit "send" the category of natural and man-made disasters struck, and I remembered the versions of mining disaster and shipwreck songs my father used to sign in various coffee house and hoot situations. That is a few decades ago. What goes around comes around, so perhaps they're being sung still?

SRS


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Marje
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 12:35 PM

A useful book to look out for is the Penguin Book of American Folk Songs, compiled by Alan Lomax. Some of them may be the sort of thing you're after, and there are useful background notes to explain their origins. Lomax was interested in songs of UK origin, and some are certainly variants of British songs, but these may well have been transmitted orally and have continued to evolve after their migration.

It's long out of print but appears on eBay from time to time.

Marje


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 12:56 PM

Used copies of the Penguin Book of American Folk Songs is available right now on Amazon.co.uk. But don't order the copy from Happyart - it's on its way to me to join my Penguin Book of English Folk Songs!

Pete


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 12:59 PM

Sorry - ARE available..


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Subject: RE: American Traditional folk songs
From: olddude
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 04:16 PM

pretty much all the great cowboy song, most all railroad songs and don't forget the blues


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