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Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folkways

23 Apr 19 - 04:32 PM (#3988771)
Subject: Folkways acquires Folk-Legacy Records
From: Joe Offer

Folkways Records was founded by Moses Asch in 1948. As the Folkways Website says, "Following Asch's death, in 1987 the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington D.C. acquired Folkways Recordings and the label's business papers and files to ensure that the sounds and genius of its artists would continue to be available to future generations.
As a condition of the acquisition, the Smithsonian agreed that virtually all of the firm's 2,168 titles would remain "in print" forever—a condition that Smithsonian Folkways continues to honor through its custom order service. Whether it sells 8,000 copies each year or only one copy every five years, every Folkways title remains available for purchase."

Over the years, Folkways and later Smithsonian Folkways acquired various small folk labels (take a look - click), and those are also included in the Smithsonian Folkways catalog. I had often wondered what would happen to the catalog of Sandy and Caroline Paton's Folk-Legacy Records once the Patons passed on, and I hoped that maybe Smithsonian Folkways would acquire them. In one of the threads about the death of Caroline Paton, I read that S-F had indeed acquired Folk-Legacy, but there were no details about the acquisition and I see nothing about it at the S-F Website. Can anybody tell us about this? The only mention I can find is in one obituary for Caroline (click).

In the process of looking for information about the acquisition, I came across a fascinating piece about Folk-Legacy at the University of North Carolina:

With the help of Smithsonian-Folkways, Folk-Legacy should live forever! Won't that be wonderful?


Here's a 30th-anniversary article about Folk-Legacy, published in Sing Out! Magazine in about 1997:!.pdf

23 Apr 19 - 05:45 PM (#3988787)
Subject: RE: Folkways acquires Folk-Legacy Records?
From: punkfolkrocker

..and then there's the state of access to older small lable folk recordings in Britain...

24 Apr 19 - 08:59 PM (#3989093)
Subject: RE: Folkways acquires Folk-Legacy Records?
From: CupOfTea

Joe, that UNC piece is a treasure! The record store buisness card/advert just priceless! More fuel for a workshop I'm planning of Caroline's legacy in song, and Folk Legacy and the folks on it, make up a large portion of the narrative tying them together.

Without being splashy in a commercial way, Folk Legacy seems to have made significant contributions to almost everyone involved in American traditional music. I wonder if it's just the folks I know, and hang out with, that incline me to think that the Patons made a bigger contribution to trad music than Pete Seeger, and deserve to be as well known. They arent, of course, and Pete did more to popularize folk music, which is a different thing of great value. Sandy and Caroline were source and wellspring. I feel similarly about Frank Harte in the realm of Irish songs. Many's the Irish trad megastar who would say "I got this song from Frank Harte"." I know so many splendid singers who "learned this through Folk Legacy/ Their artists"

It is both important and significant that this preservation is happening.

Joanne in Cleveland

24 Apr 19 - 09:27 PM (#3989098)
Subject: RE: Folkways acquires Folk-Legacy Records?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Thank you Joe.

The world is expanding.


Are we ending the decades wwhen we could, crack, break, and suck the marrow from old bones?

31 Jul 19 - 03:51 PM (#4002838)
Subject: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: Desert Dancer

Via Smithsonian-Folkways Recordings on Facebook:

We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Folk-Legacy Records, major players in the flourishing 60s folk revival.

As musicians themselves, Folk-Legacy’s founders sought out “people’s music”: passed from generation to generation within a community, as a means of connection, entertainment, honest expression of personal values, and a source of solace and resilience through social and political struggles. These 140+ albums range widely in traditions, from gospel and hymns of Appalachia and the Ozarks to sea shanties of the British Isles; from dance tunes of New Brunswick to Southwestern American folktales, story-songs, and children’s music.

To celebrate Folk-Legacy becoming a part of our label family, today we're releasing "A Living Tradition: Selections from Folk-Legacy Records," with iconic songs by old-time banjo player Frank Proffitt, singer-songwriter Gordon Bok, folk revivalist Hedy West, and more.

S-F Bandcamp link

Great news. I’m typing by thumbs, but definitely this needs to be on the site.

~ Becky in Ashland (formerly Tucson and Long Beach)

31 Jul 19 - 03:53 PM (#4002839)
Subject: RE: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: Desert Dancer

S-F page for the sampler album:

31 Jul 19 - 05:37 PM (#4002853)
Subject: RE: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: bbc

Here's the link to the Folk Legacy page on Smithsonian Folkways, even including the booklets!

Good news for the folk world & wonderful to preserve Sandy, Caroline, & Lee's legacy!



31 Jul 19 - 06:13 PM (#4002855)
Subject: RE: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: Stilly River Sage

Excellent news!

31 Jul 19 - 06:32 PM (#4002858)
Subject: RE: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: Desert Dancer

Thanks, bbc, I ran out of lunch time!

- Becky

31 Jul 19 - 09:45 PM (#4002878)
Subject: RE: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: bbc

Thanks for starting the thread, Becky!


01 Aug 19 - 04:38 PM (#4003003)
Subject: RE: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: Charley Noble

Wonderful news!

Charlie Ipcar

02 Aug 19 - 12:22 AM (#4003031)
Subject: RE: Folk-Legacy acquired by Smithsonian-Folk
From: GUEST,Guest

Nice article about the deal, and about music preservation in general, on