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Need 'American' songs for gig

SharonA 08 Mar 05 - 07:34 PM
Leadfingers 08 Mar 05 - 07:39 PM
SharonA 08 Mar 05 - 08:11 PM
Alice 08 Mar 05 - 08:26 PM
riverblue 08 Mar 05 - 08:36 PM
wysiwyg 08 Mar 05 - 08:47 PM
Ferrara 08 Mar 05 - 08:56 PM
Goose Gander 08 Mar 05 - 09:00 PM
Midchuck 08 Mar 05 - 09:16 PM
jimmyt 08 Mar 05 - 09:18 PM
Mudlark 08 Mar 05 - 09:43 PM
jimmyt 08 Mar 05 - 09:47 PM
open mike 08 Mar 05 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,jammin' jude 08 Mar 05 - 10:25 PM
LadyJean 09 Mar 05 - 12:02 AM
Mary in Kentucky 09 Mar 05 - 12:30 AM
greg stephens 09 Mar 05 - 06:32 AM
ejsant 09 Mar 05 - 08:11 AM
Rapparee 09 Mar 05 - 08:53 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 05 - 09:02 AM
GLoux 09 Mar 05 - 09:20 AM
Alice 09 Mar 05 - 11:09 AM
mg 09 Mar 05 - 11:54 AM
Tannywheeler 09 Mar 05 - 12:44 PM
robomatic 09 Mar 05 - 01:03 PM
Rapparee 09 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM
riverblue 09 Mar 05 - 06:17 PM
MurkeyChris 09 Mar 05 - 07:18 PM
Celtaddict 09 Mar 05 - 08:25 PM
Alice 09 Mar 05 - 10:01 PM
SharonA 17 Mar 05 - 05:07 PM
PoppaGator 17 Mar 05 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,MTed 18 Mar 05 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Dave'sWife (forgot to sing in) 19 Mar 05 - 05:11 AM
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Subject: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: SharonA
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 07:34 PM

Help! The folk song society of which I am a member (this is in the U.S.) has been asked to give a short performance on March 19th, and I signed up to be part of the presentation. Problem is, I've been given very vague direction about what to perform! We are supposed to sing for an organization comprised of people who are not native to the U.S.; I believe I was told that they are Armenian but don't quote me on that. They want to hear "American" songs. The president of the folk club thinks this means traditional folk songs such as "Yankee Doodle". But I would like to sing something other than that... and not "Battle Hymn of the Republic" or "America the Beautiful" either.

So I'm starting this thread to ask for song suggestions from Mudcatters. When you think of the quintessential American folk song, what comes to mind? I'm especially interested to hear what our 'Catters from the UK and Europe have to suggest. Thank you in advance for your help!

Sharon


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 07:39 PM

Slame 'em with anything from Woody Guthrie to wake 'em up , and a bit of Carter family to calm 'em down again . Assuming you have a guitar , you could try some early Dylan as well !!


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: SharonA
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 08:11 PM

Thanks, Leadfingers. Yes, I will be playing guitar. (Sorry, forgot to mention that!)


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Alice
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 08:26 PM

If you type

@America

in the DT search box, you get a long list to choose from.
Not all necessarily American folk songs, but a good place to start.
Maybe your strategy could be to choose one or two from each region of the country. Do you have Alan Lomax's "Folk Songs of North America"?

Alice


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: riverblue
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 08:36 PM

Get the "Sing-Out" songbook!
then, check out our website which has a lot of
Micheal Smith, Bob Gibson, and Utah Phillips
recordings.
http://www.snapshotmusic.com


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 08:47 PM

This Land is Your Land

~S~


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Ferrara
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 08:56 PM

Something from Stephen Foster? I guess Old Folks at Home is the best known but there are so many. Something from the Civil War (my own favorite is "Tenting Tonight.") Carter Family is great, there's so much to choose from, and Woody Guthrie too. I really like the idea of "This Land is Your Land." A cowboy song. Home on the Range if you like it, or Red River Valley, if you want to sing something that's realy well known, otherwise something like "Ranger's Command." A song from New England if you can find it, (the Thanksgiving hymn? that has lots of history behind it....) and maybe a minstrel song such as "Golden Slippers." It sounds as if you are looking for fairly well known songs that will be recognizeable?

Anyway one approach is to think about the various periods in our history and see what comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 09:00 PM

A couple of good cowboy songs: "Streets of Laredo" and "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie"

They capture a certain essential feeling I associate with American folk music, and they are great songs as well.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 09:16 PM

"Sweet Betsey From Pike"

They camped on the prairie one dark stormy night.
They broke out the whiskey, and Betsey got tight.
She sang and she shouted, and danced o'er the plain,
And showed her bare ass to the whole wagon train.


"The E-ri-e Canal"

The girls are all in the Police Gazette, the crew are all in jail.
And I'm the only living son-of-a-bitch that's left to tell the tale.


More later as I think of them.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: jimmyt
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 09:18 PM

Settle Down


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Mudlark
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 09:43 PM

Also, might think about the stuff that used to be taught in grammar schools...Jimmy Crack Corn, I Been Wk'n on the RR, etc. Shanandoah is beautiful...the riddle song is fairly classic (I gave my love a cherry...), Hard Luck is the Fortune, Hard Times Come No More...Hobo's Lullaby. Lots to choose from.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: jimmyt
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 09:47 PM

SHenandoah is a great tune as are Stephen Foster songs. I also think Dixie is a great song if you can deal with the hangups.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: open mike
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 10:00 PM

Stephen Foster came to mind first...
march 19 will be close to st. pat's day
maybe an irish song?/
there are many irish in america!!
TomRussell has a great album called
the man from god knows where
which is a historical piece
documenting immigration and migration..

http://www.tomrussell.com/godknows.html


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: GUEST,jammin' jude
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 10:25 PM

List I am compiling for American choral concert:

Ashokan Farewell
Shall We Gather at the River
Simple Gifts
Down to the River and Pray
I'll Fly Away
The River is Wide
Shenandoah

This Land Is Your Land

The last I added after reading links here. I'm trying to do early Americana and working on Lewis & Clark return trip bi-centennial coming up next year.. , Welcome any ideas from anyone.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: LadyJean
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 12:02 AM

A proud and loyal daughter of Pittsburgh, I would reccomend something by Stephen Foster, "Glendy Burk" or "Some Folks Do" maybe, since you don't hear them all the time. "Rocky Top" for Bluegrass. How about something by Leadbelly. I would reccomend you do a cowboy song. The Wild West is big in Europe.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 12:30 AM

Shenandoah, definitely
for Stephen Foster, Oh Susanah
for Civil War, Tenting Tonight
for Cowboy, I Ride an Old Paint

and I thought about hymns...Amazing Grace came to mind, but jammin' jude reminded me of the Lewis and Clark special by Ken Burns. The background music in that was the hymn tune Beach Spring. I also like How Firm a Foundation - sounds very Early American - or the Holy Manna hymn tune...

for jazz, When the Saints Go Marching In


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 06:32 AM

Well, you asked for suggestions from the UK. The British folk revival was fuelled by the skifflers interest in American folk songs. and apart from that there has been a wide knowledge and appreciation of American folksong over here for generations.
    I'll pick out three that seem (from this side of the pond) to sum up America's musical greatness in one way or another. And I'll stick to traditional folksongs, not modern known-composer stuff.
You've got to recogise the overpowering contribution of black culture to American music, so I suggest Leadbelly's version of the Midnight Special as a fine example.
    The main thing we all know of American history is the extraordinary physical feats of those early explorers and traders (yes, and exploiters) who opened up the country. A song that seems to me to have the perfect feel for the vast open spaces they encountered is Shenandoah.
   For the white culture, what could you pick out? I think Jesse James might fill the bill. I appreciate that historically the man was probably some squalid racist hoodlum and who knows what besides, but the song has enabled him to achieve some kind of apotheosis. And lets face it, guns and horses and train robberies and stuff is pretty much what we all think of America anyway.
So that's my choice. All fabulous songs, and in particular a delight to sing along with.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: ejsant
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:11 AM

Greetings Sharon,

Two songs that I find convey a strong message relative to today here in the US are Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" and the Civil War era Irish emigrant song "Paddy's Lamentation".

Good luck with the gig.

Peace,
Ed


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:53 AM

How about "Little Joe The Wrangler" for cowboy? You might also do Paxton's "Sully's Bucket" or "Dark As A Dungeon" (not Paxton) for the miners, and his "I'm the man who built the bridges". Don't forget "We Shall Overcome." Then there are play-party songs, like "Big Boat Up The River" and "Coffee grows on white oak trees."

Lord, what a wealth of things to call on!


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 09:02 AM

follow the drinking gourd


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: GLoux
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 09:20 AM

I think a lot of the suggestions are great, but I had a thought that perhaps you could frame your song selections as representing an evolution from old to new or newer. Select one or two very old songs (try to go earlier than Stephen Foster). I'll suggest Wondrous Love, from Southern Harmony. Then perhaps Aura Lea (and you could point out the "resemblence" to Elvis' Love Me Tender)...then do a Stephen Foster song (Hard Times)...then keep moving forward in time, perhaps a blues song from the '20s, a Carter Family song or two...Woody Guthrie...Dylan...then perhaps something of your own...

Hope this helps...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Alice
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 11:09 AM

Red Wing
Gentle Annie
The House of the Rising Sun
Streets of Laredo
Old Joe Clarke
She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain
I've Been Workin on the Railroad
Frog Went A Courtin
Jimmy Crack Corn
Skip to my Lou
Green Grow the Lilacs
Home on the Range
Down By the Station
Clementine
All the Pretty Little Horses
Billy Boy
Down by the Riverside
Bingo
We Gather Together
Red River Valley
Simple Gifts
On Top of Old Smokey
Buffalo Boy
Cumberland Gap
Whistle, Daughter, Whistle
The Cuckoo
Shady Grove
Tom Dooley
Dark As a Dungeon
The Little Old Sod Shanty
The Big Rock Candy Mountain
Roll On Columbia
Wade in the Water
This Train
Casey Jones
Careless Love
Corinna
Irene Goodnight

Does that help?
Alice


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: mg
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 11:54 AM

Gosh..Alice hit them all.. I would definitely say working on the railroad, clementine, home on the range, drinking gourd. I would add when I first came to this land..seems appropriate...maybe a verse or two in Dutch..something Mexican American...Spanish is a loving tongue? El Paso? Oleana..tune is great but words are quite awful in English translation...Cotton mill girls. mg


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 12:44 PM

You could do the Carter Family's "My Little Darlin'", and segue in to "This Land is Your Land", to show Woody's penchant for borrowing from the familiar. Very American trait. My mother and I used to include this in some of our programs, and always got positive feedback.

Assuming part of the reason you sing is the terrific feeling in your throat while making music -- something you can put your head back and "sang the fahr outta that thang". 'Specially if it might be familiar to some of your aud. Makes for a good singalong.

Let us know how it turns out.               Tw


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: robomatic
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 01:03 PM

Work the name 'William Saroyan' into your modern lyrics and you'll have them eating out of your hand and get a big tip!

I'd think along historical lines:

From the Revolutionary era, the original version of Yankee Doodle is quite clever and funny:

Brother Efrem sold his cow and bought him a commission
Then he went to Canada to fight for the nation
But when Efrem he come home he proved an arrant coward
He wouldn't fight the Frenchmen there for fear of being devoured.

Sheepshead and vinegar, buttermilk and tansy
Boston is a Yankee town sing hey doodle dandy
First we take a pinch of snuff then a drink of water
Then we say how do ye do and that's a Yankee supper!

There are Broadside Ballads of the era:
You simple Bostonians I'd have you beware
Of your Liberty tree I would have you take care
For if perchance we return to your town
Your houses and shops will come tumbling down
derry down down down derry down

And the rejoinder

What a court hath bold England of folly and sin
'Spite of Chartham and Chapman Barr Burke Wilkes and Pymm
Not content with the Game Act they tax fish and sea
And America drench in salt water and tea
derry down, etc.

And of course a plethora of Civil War songs from PC to totally non PC and the era of Stephen Foster.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM

Goober Peas.
All Quiet Along The Potomac Tonight.
Shel Silverstein's "In the Hills of Shiloh."
The Unrepentant Rebel.
Riding a Raid.
The Vacant Chair.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: riverblue
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 06:17 PM

One more that wasn't mentioned, 'tis a favorite of mine:
The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down - Great sing along!
-ay http://www.snapshotmusic.com


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: MurkeyChris
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 07:18 PM

Just a thought and I don't know how practical it would be but... you are talking about white and black settlers' songs, but could you find and arrange a native American song or two? Could be quite tricky I know, but it'd be a nice touch to point our there was an American culture before 1492.

Don't have lots of ideas for researching it, the only thing I can think of were a band called Sacred Spirit who were a random UK hit in the early 90s. All a bit aimed to the chill-out market, but could be a place to start.

Good luck with it,

Chris (in England)


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Celtaddict
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:25 PM

Geoff Kaufman, on "Tree of Life," does a song reportedly based on a Native American (Arapaho? I do not recall the tribe at all and my CD is at the moment missing) chant; it has a simple melody that makes a lovely round, too, and has a natural no-national-borders feel to it. We have used it at Scout gatherings.
Spreading my long wing feathers as I fly
Spreading my long wing feathers as I fly
Spreading my long wing feathers as I fly
The [boundaries?] of the earth.


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: Alice
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 10:01 PM

Check out Jack Gladstone's songs, a Blackfeet singer and songwriter.

Click here

Alice (in Montana)


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: SharonA
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 05:07 PM

Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. The prez of the folk song club says (and I agree), "Lots of great ideas there!" More than enough for our short presentation, so I will keep this list of songs to refer to for similar gigs in the future.

Alice: No, I don't have Alan Lomax's "Folk Songs of North America". Where would I find it? Is it sold on the 'net? At Mudcat?

Riverblue: I do have multiple copies of the "Sing Out!" book... somewhere... Also thanks for the website.

Robomatic: No tips here. A payment for the gig goes to the folk song society but members of the society are not paid to perform. Membership dues are next-to-nothing, though. It's a networking opportunity for members who perform on their own as well as with the society, but mostly we do it to promote folk-music awareness. The society's website (www.bucksfolk.org)includes lots of links to Philadelphia PA-area venues for people to hear more folk music.

Thanks again! I'll come back next week to tell you all how the presentation went.

Sharon


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Mar 05 - 06:09 PM

Here's a working link:

http://www.bucksfolk.org/

(SharonA: It took me a while to realize it but the "blickifier" won't work unless you include the full web address, including "http://.")


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 18 Mar 05 - 02:39 PM

What did you do, and how did it go?


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Subject: RE: Need 'American' songs for gig
From: GUEST,Dave'sWife (forgot to sing in)
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 05:11 AM

I wish I had seen this earlier. I don't stop by the Mudcat that often.

I would have voted for:

The Faded Coat of Blue - Civil War song

and out of all the Stephen Foster songs mentioned, I don't believe anyone mentioned my childhood fave: Beautiful Dreamer.

I used to make my parents sing that to me night after night. I also used to make them sing me 'The Prisoners Song' (If I had the wings of an angel) and 'Streets of Laredo'. Lord what a morbid child I must have been.

I'd love to hear how it went as well!


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