Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclopedia

Joe Offer 10 Aug 13 - 10:00 PM
maeve 11 Aug 13 - 10:34 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Aug 13 - 11:42 AM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 13 - 04:00 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclop
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 10:00 PM

Can anybody tell me about this 2008 book by Norm Cohen? I found a copy at Amazon, but it costs almost fifty bucks (including shipping) for a used copy of volumes 1 and 2. A new copy is about $150.
Do I need to buy this?

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclopedia
From: maeve
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 10:34 AM

Sounds interesting, Joe.

Found at Google Books:
"GREENWOOD, Sep 30, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 680 pages
This state-by-state collection of folksongs describes the history, society, culture, and events characteristic of all fifty states. Unlike all other state folksong collections, this one does not focus on songs collected in the particular states, but rather on songs concerning the life and times of the people of that state. The topics range from the major historical events, such as the Boston Tea Party, the attack on Fort Sumter, and the California Gold Rush, to regionally important events such as disasters and murders, labor problems, occupational songs, ethnic conflicts. Some of the songs will be widely recognized, such as "Casey Jones," "Marching Through Georgia," or "Sweet Betsy from Pike." Others, less familiar, have not been reprinted since their original publication, but deserve to be studied because of what they tell about the people of these United States, their loves, labors, and losses, and their responses to events. The collection is organized by regions, starting with New England and ending with the states bordering the Pacific Ocean, and by states within each region. For each state there are from four to fifteen songs presented, with an average of 10 songs per state. For each song, a full text is reprented, followed by discussion of the song in its historical context. References to available recordings and other versions are given. Folksongs, such as those discussed here, are an important tool for historians and cultural historians because they sample experiences of the past at a different level from that of contemporary newspaper accounts and academic histories. These songs, in a sense, are history writ small."
http://books.google.com/books/about/American_folk_songs.html?id=8SYJAQAAMAAJ

And this:
" Retired physical chemist Cohen has written books and articles about folk and country music, and edited collections for several decades. Here he presents songs associated with individual states, sometimes regions, that were probably folk songs at one time or another but have now largely been forgotten except by professionals. He provides lyrics and historical and cultural commentary, but no scores. "
([c]2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR) thefreelibrary.com

And several professional reviews here, pasted below:
http://www.fitforlifehawaii.com/wp-content/it/ebook-American-Folk-Songs-2-volumes-A-Regional-Encyclopedia-pdf-free-271007.html
" This set is a collection of several hundred American folk songs sorted according to regional interest and derivation. Only lyrics are considered. A brief introduction does an effective job of summarizing the wealth of cultural and historical knowledge that can be gleaned from the study of folk songs as well as acknowledging the difficulties in identifying definitive origins. The set is then organized into chapters that consider specific regions (New England, the Great Lakes, the Deep South, mountain region, etc.) and identify songs that are associated with or represent the interests of specific states. Author Cohen is a folk-song expert and publisher of numerous titles and discographies. Each chapter begins with a brief history of the development of the region and a summary of the various immigrant groups who settled there. This segues into state-by-state essays that introduce individual songs (approximately 9 or 10 per state), provide social and political context, explain colloquialisms, and identify links between selections. The lyrics are incorporated into the commentary, which makes for seamless and engaging reading. Choices range from well-known songs (e.g., "Frankie and Johnnie") to more obscure selections, some of which were available previously only in original formats (sheet music, broadsides, chapbooks, etc.). Occasional black-and-white reproductions of period pieces are scattered throughout. Each chapter ends with research notes, sometimes including references to available recordings and alternate versions. Additional features include a political chronology, an extensive bibliography of print materials and recordings, a list of titles of additional songs that meet the general criteria but that are not addressed in the text, and song and general indexes. Individual states are not listed in the index or table of contents, making state-specific content hard to find. These songs tell great stories, which can result in addictive browsing. Large public and academic collections will want to acquire this unique and appealing resource, which will be of interest to musicians, historians, and folklorists. Also available as an e-book. --Kathleen McBroom

Review
"American Folk Songs is a 'must' for any library: it provides a range of lyrics to regional folk songs across the country, discussing the influence of immigrants, social and political events, ballad and song, history, and more. Two volumes of information divided by region offer song history and analysis alike, making for a powerful musical and social history survey highly recommended for high school to college-level collections strong in American music history."

The Midwest Book Review
"The author begins with a useful political chronology from 1607 to 1912. Each chapter begins with a regional overview, then state overviews, in the context of history. Cohen selected examples from cheap print in the nineteenth century because: these are hard to find today; printed versions had older and more complete texts; and they are in the public domain. His theory is that folk songs indicate attitudes and opinions of the people rather than mundane historical facts found in textbooks. For instance, some folk songs that commemorate a war battle will reflect the sentimental emotions toward the heroes or tragedies of those close to the writer, and not the political or tactical implications of the conflict."

ARBA
"This set is a collection of several hundred American folk songs sorted according to regional interest and derivation. A brief introduction does an effective job of summarizing the wealth of cultural and historical knowledge that can be gleaned from the study of folk songs as well as acknowledging the difficulties in identifying definitive origins. … …These songs tell great stories, which can result in addictive browsing. Large public and academic collections will want to acquire this unique and appealing resource, which will be of interest to musicians, historians, and folklorists."

Booklist
"Cohen (independent scholar) provides the text and detailed descriptions of 487 folk songs, organized by nine regions of the US. Each region is subdivided by individual states, and each state is introduced with historical information concerning its founding and governance. Songs are included on the basis of their 'persistence in oral tradition for some (unspecified) duration…' Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."

Choice
"It will primarily be of interest to those students and scholars concerned with what these songs say about 'the various turns of American culture and style.' As Mr. Cohen himself notes it is historians, folklorists, musicologists and sociologists who will reap the greatest rewards from this work. As such, it is a highly useful survey that will be equally at home on circulation shelves as it is in reference collections. It is a set worth considering by academic libraries as well as by larger public libraries where there is enough patron interest."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclopedia
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 11:42 AM

Used set $50? Grab it.
I wondered about this set too, because I have a rather large collection of folk song books covering various regions. The arrangement will simplify looking for songs, but it does not replace a good collection of regional books and compendia such as Brown and Randolph.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclopedia
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 04:00 AM

This two-volume, 743-page set arrived today, and it's certainly worth the $50 I paid for a used copy. Author Norm Cohen is probably best known for his Long Steel Rail, a comprehensive collection of American railroad songs that was published in 1981 and revised and reissued in 2000. American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclopedia was poublished in 2008. It lives up to Cohen's reputation for interesting, colorful, and comprehensive presentations of folk songs.

The book is divided into nine sections:
    Volume I
  1. New England
  2. Midland (North Atlantic)
  3. Upper South
  4. Deep South and the Ozarks
    Volume II
  5. Great Lakes
  6. Midwest Plains
  7. Southwest
  8. Mountain Region
  9. Far West and Pacific

Each section is subdivided by state, and a number of songs are presented for each state. For example, here are the songs for Maine:
  • Lovewell's Fight
  • The Aroostook War
  • Canada-I-O
  • Henry K. Sawyer
  • Away Down East
  • The Logger's Boast
  • In the Tunnel
  • The Burning of Henry K. Robinson's Camp in 1873
Each song is nicely explained and documented, and there is background information for each region and each state. The index furnishes Laws and Roud numbers for most songs, which should facilitate further study. The songs are presented with lyrics only, no musical notation. This book has been indexed in the Traditional Ballad Index.

It's a great book. I'm glad I bought it.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 July 3:29 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.