6 A.Folk Music

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6 A.Folk Music

  1. 1. MUS103: Survey of Music History II Dr. Kathleen Bondurant, Ph.D. American Folk Music
  2. 2. American Folk Music <ul><li>Folk music has no nameable origin. It’s more tradition than entertainment. There are folk songs that date so far back, they can be considered oral histories. Certainly, in America, songs by traditional American folksingers like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie tell stories that often don’t even appear in history books. </li></ul><ul><li>From its origins, folk music has been the music of the working class. It is community-focused and has rarely enjoyed commercial success. By definition, it is something anyone can understand and in which everyone is welcome to participate. Folk songs range in subject matter from war, work, civil rights, and economic hardship to nonsense, satire and, of course, love songs. </li></ul>
  3. 3. American Folk Music (Cont.) <ul><li>From the onset of American history, folk music has shown up at times when the people needed it most. The earliest folk songs rose from slave fields as spirituals: “Down by the Riverside,” “We Shall Overcome,” etc. These are songs about struggle and hardship, but are also full of hope. </li></ul><ul><li>The 20th Century brought folk music back into the American psyche as workers struggled and struck for child labor laws and the eight-hour work day. Workers and folksingers gathered in churches, living rooms and union halls, and learned songs that helped them cope with their rough work environment. Joe Hill was an early folk songwriter and union agitator. His songs adapted the tunes of Baptist hymns by replacing the words with verses about the ongoing labor struggles. These tunes have been sung during worker strikes and in union halls ever since. </li></ul>
  4. 4. American Folk Music (Cont.) <ul><li>Joe Hill </li></ul><ul><li>US labor organizer and poet/songwriter, born on October 7, 1879 . </li></ul>http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/images2/hill_joe1.jpg
  5. 5. American Folk Music (Cont.) Long haired preachers come out every night,  Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right;  But when asked how 'bout something to eat,  They will answer with voices so sweet:  You will eat, bye and bye,  In that glorious land above the sky: Work and pray, live on hay,  You'll get pie in the sky when you die.  Workingmen of all countries unite;  Side by side we for freedom will fight.  When the world and its wealth we have gained  to the grafters we'll sing this refrain:  You will eat, bye and bye,  When you've learned to cook and fry;  Chop some wood, t'will do you good,  and you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye. Joe Hill, US labor organizer and poet/songwriter, born on October 7, 1879
  6. 6. American Folk Music (Cont.) <ul><li>Woody Guthrie was one of those workers who headed to California in search of gainful employment. Woody wrote hundreds of songs between the 1930s and his death in 1967 of Huntington’s Chorea. </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1940s, bluegrass began to evolve as a distinct genre with greats like Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, which spawned banjo legend Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt, as well as Del McCoury and others. </li></ul>
  7. 7. American Folk Music (Cont.) Woody Guthrie, singer, songwriter, dean of American folk artists is seen in a 1947 publicity photo. The family of singer, songwriter Woody Guthrie has released a rare bootleg recording of one of his live shows as &quot;Live Wire: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949.&quot; http://msnbcmedia1.msn.com/j/ap/5a601494-7c2d-4513-9ff4-0107021c4b80.widec.jpg
  8. 8. American Folk Music (Cont.) 2:28 p.m. CT, Fri., Dec. 7, 2007 LOS ANGELES - He wrote more than a thousand songs, ranging from his “Dust Bowl” ballads to patriotic incantations like “Pastures of Plenty” to the American classic “This Land is Your Land.” He performed them everywhere he went, from community centers to Broadway theaters to California fields filled with migrant workers. He also recorded dozens on records. But one thing Woody Guthrie never got around to doing was recording any of his songs in front of a live audience — or so Guthrie’s family thought. Until an odd-looking package with reels of wires showed up unsolicited in the mail one day at the Woody Guthrie Archives. Captured on a wire recorder, the 75-minute recording was painstakingly transferred to compact disc, an effort that took more than a year. It was recently released by the archives as “Live Wire: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949.”
  9. 9. American Folk Music (Cont.) Earl Scruggs revolutionized and popularized the banjo and developed what is now known worldwide as the “Scruggs Style Picking.” His style of picking is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. For more than 20 years, Scruggs performed with vocalist Guitarist Lester Flatt forming the most famous band in bluegrass history. But Scruggs parted with Flatt and in 1969 formed Earl Scruggs Revue with his three sons. In 2003, Scruggs received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in that same year he and Flatt were ranked No. 24 on “CMT’s 40 Greatest Men of Country Music.”
  10. 10. American Folk Music (Cont.) <ul><li>In the ‘60s , again, the American worker found himself in struggle. This time, the main concern was not wages or benefits, but civil rights and the War in Vietnam. American folksingers gathered in coffee shops and at hootenannies in San Francisco and New York. They picked up the legacies of Woody Guthrie and others, singing songs about the concerns of the day. Out of this community rose Folk Rock’s superstars - Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and others. Their work dealt with everything from love and war to work and play. The 1960s folk revival offered political commentary, sure, but also a powerful promise for change. </li></ul>
  11. 11. American Folk Music (Cont.) http://www.iwelk.com/publicity/Visionaries/Photos/73168_JoanBaez.jpg
  12. 12. American Folk Music (Cont.) <ul><li>By the 1970s , folk music had begun to fade into the background, as the US pulled out of Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement saw its biggest triumphs. Folksingers continued to persevere. James Taylor, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, and others wrote songs about relationships, religion, and the continuously-evolving political climate. </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1980s , folksingers focused on the Reagan-led economy and trickle-down economics. In New York, the Fast Folk Café opened and spawned the likes of Suzanne Vega, Michelle Shocked, and John Gorka. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Archived Sounds of North America (and the World) <ul><li>In 1998, folk singer Pete Seeger led a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Folkways, now known as Smithsonian Folkways . </li></ul><ul><li>In 1948, Moses Asch founded Folkways records to create a public archive of all the sounds in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>He documented not only music, but the raw sounds of the struggles for liberation and justice in Africa, Ireland, Poland, and the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of recordings and samples of indigenous music can be found at http://www.folkways.si.edu/index.html </li></ul>
  14. 14. Archived Sounds of North America <ul><li>Pete Seeger , one of the greatest American singer/songwriters of the last century, was the architect of the folk revival, writing some of its best known songs, including &quot;Where Have All the Flowers Gone,&quot; &quot;Turn, Turn, Turn&quot; and &quot;If I Had a Hammer.&quot; Largely misunderstood by his critics, including the U.S. government, for his views on peace, unionism, civil rights and ecology, Seeger was targeted by the communist witch hunt of the 1950s and, in spite of his enormous popularity, banned from American television for more than 17 years. </li></ul>http://chawedrosin.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/broadside-pete-seeger.jpg
  15. 15. Text Sources: http://folkmusic.about.com/od/historyoffolk/a/Folk_History.htm http://www.lib.utexas.edu/benson/border/arhoolie2/raices.html www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22150712/ http://www.commotionpr.com/images/earlFriends_L.jpg

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