In the one hundred years that folk music has been recorded in the United States, the tradition has embraced ballads – mostly new, but some transplanted from Europe, political statements, personal introspection, and much more. Now the story is here from the 1920s to the 1970s and beyond in four exclusive 3-CD sets.
Through this music, we feel it all from the isolation of early twentieth century Appalachia through the economic and political upheavals of the Depression, War, and Civil Rights eras to contemporary west coast singer-songwriters looking within for inspiration. The story is here: original artists and original versions in stunning sound with detailed notes from folk scholar Dave Samuelson.
The first set covers the period from the 1920s through to 1957. All the names you'd expect are here: the Carter Family, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Lead Belly, Cisco Houston, and many, many more. Here are the original versions of songs that have become classics and rallying cries: Wildwood Flower, Midnight Special, Rock Island Line, Wayfaring Stranger, So Long It's Been Good To Know You, This Land Is Your Land, 16 Tons, 900 Miles, Delia, and many, many more.
The second set begins with the folk revival that started in the wake of the Kingston Trio's Tom Dooley and continues through the dawn of the singer-songwriter era. It includes early folk revival classics like Walk Right In, Michael, and Green, Green. The second disc begins with Bob Dylan's game-changing classics, Blowing In The Wind, Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, Masters Of War, Mr. Tambourine Man, and The Times They Are A-Changin'. It was the Civil Rights era and the Vietnam era, so the music took on contemporary issues. In Dylan's wake came Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, and many others, all of them represented by their finest work.
The third volume features those who married new, political folk songs with ancient ballads: Pete Seeger (Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Turn Turn Turn, and more), Joan Baez (including the greatest-ever version of We Shall Overcome), Buffy St. Marie (The Universal Soldier, Til It's Time For You To Go), and others from the turbulent 1960s. Dylan's contemporaries and his followers are here, all of them staking out a unique slant on the issues of the day. The set also includes pioneering folk rock artists, like Arlo Guthrie, the Lovin' Spoonful, Tim Rose, Jim Croce, Melanie, and Harry Chapin. All the classics you'd expect from late 1960s to early 1970s are side-by-side with side-trips into the jug band revival and hippie era classics, like Alice's Restaurant, Hey Joe, and Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).
The fourth and final volume is even more eclectic, featuring America's best-selling poet, Rod McKuen, as well as old school folkies like Malvina Reynolds (Little Boxes), country rock pioneers like the Byrds (Hickory Wind), John Stewart, Nilsson, John Denver (Take Me Home Country Roads, Back Home Again), as well as John Hartford's original Gentle On My Mind – the song that changed country music, Townes Van Zandt's original Pancho And Lefty, and Kris Kristofferson's game-changing compositions, Me And Bobby McGee and Help Me Make It Through The Night. This set also includes John Prine, Steve Goodman, Gordon Lightfoot, and Joni Mitchell, artists who have helped to bring the folk tradition into the twenty-first century.
Rod McKuen: Love's Been Good to Me • Seasons In The Sun • Mason Williams: Long Time Blues • Mark Spoelstra: The Times I've Had • She’s Gone • Five And Twenty Questions • Dian James: If I Were Free • He Was A Friend Of Mine • Malvina Reynolds: Little Boxes • Richard & Mimi Farina: Pack Up Your Sorrows (acoustic version) • The Falcon • Birmingham Sunday • Bold Marauder • A Swallow Song • The Byrds: Hickory Wind • Gene Clark: Tried So Hard • Dillard And Clark Expedition: Train Leaves Here This Morning • Tim Buckley: Once I Was • John Stewart: July, You're A Woman • California Bloodlines • Harry Nilsson: One Is A Lonely Number • Rainmaker • Michael Nesmith: Joanne • Calico Girl Friend • John Denver: Take Me Home, Country Roads • Rocky Mountain High • Back Home Again
Jimmie Driftwood: The Battle Of New Orleans • Tennessee Stud • What Color Is The Soul Of A Man • Obray Ramsey: Rain And Snow • Hedy West: 500 Miles • Cotton Mill Girls • Jean Ritchie: The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore • Blue Diamond Mines • Black Waters • Billy Edd Wheeler: Coal Tattoo • Blistered • Jackson • High Flying Bird • John Hartford: Gentle On My Mind • Natural To Be Gone • California Earthquake • Steamboat Whistle Blues • Mickey Newbury: How I Love Them Old Songs • Sweet Memories • Jerry Jeff Walker: Mr. Bojangles • Townes Van Zandt: Pancho And Lefty • Steve Young: Seven Bridges Road • Jesse Winchester: Brand New Tennessee Waltz • Yankee Lady • Kris Kristofferson: Me And Bobby McGee • Help Me Make It Through The Night • Casey's Last Ride
Mike Settle: Settle Down • Sing Hallelujah • Hoyt Axton: Greenback Dollar • Thunder 'n' Lightnin' • Bob Gibson: Blues Around My Head • Where I'm Bound • Bob Gibson & Hamilton (Bob) Camp: Daddy Roll 'Em • Spider John Koerner: Good Time Charlie • Shel Silverstein: The Unicorn • Bury Me In My Shades • John Prine: Sam Stone • Angel From Montgomery • Paradise • Souvenirs • Steve Goodman: City Of New Orleans • Ian & Sylvia: Four Strong Winds • You Were On My Mind • Someday Soon • Summer Wages • Gordon Lightfoot: For Loving Me • Early Morning
Rain • Did She Mention My Name? • Bonnie Dobson: Morning Dew • Gene MacLellan: Snowbird (with Blair Doucette) • Put Your Hand In The Hand • Joni Mitchell: Both Sides Now