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Dave Lamb is Home

Dave Lamb of folk duo Brown Bird (previously), husband of bandmate MorganEve Swain, died yesterday at the age of 35 after a year-long fight with leukemia. [more inside]
posted by quiet coyote on Apr 6, 2014 - 14 comments

 

"The fals fox came vpon a day, And with our gese he made affray."

“The Fox” tells the simple story of a fox who attacks a farmer’s birds. In most versions, he is spotted by the farmer’s wife and chased away by the farmer himself, but gets away with a duck or a goose. Although it often sounds thoroughly modern, it is in fact one of the oldest folksongs we have in English. The earliest texts are in Middle English and come from the 15th century.
Folklife Today, a blog from the Library of Congress, provides a short history of this well-loved song. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Feb 28, 2014 - 15 comments

American Deep Blues Touring 1960's Britain

The American Folk Blues Festival 1962 - 1966; Vol 2; Vol 3 - The festival was an annual event with dozens of classic blues greats like Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf playing to appreciative UK audiences. "Attendees at Manchester in 1962, the first ever venue for the festival in Britain, included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Jimmy Page. Subsequent attendees at the first London festivals are believed to have also included such influential musicians as Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, and Steve Winwood. Collectively these were the primary movers in the blues explosion that would lead to the British Invasion." [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 23, 2014 - 19 comments

I shiver when I see the falling snow

It's gonna be a blue Christmas: Merle Haggard - If We Make it Through December [more inside]
posted by byanyothername on Dec 25, 2013 - 22 comments

If I had wings like Noah's Dove...

In 1904, John A. Lomax recorded Dink, a levee worker, singing a folk song. In 1934, Lomax published the song in his book, American Ballads and Folk Songs. It went on to become a folk staple. Recently, the Coen Brothers used a new recording of the song by Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac in the trailer for the film Inside Llewyn Davis. (Isaac plays the title role.) Jool's Musical Flowers, a blog dedicated to "the ORIGINAL versions of [mostly blues and gospel music] famous songs and songs covered by famous poeople" has compiled a thorough list of covers. The only two I might add are Jeff Buckley's 1992 performance at WFMU, and Joan Baez's 2004 performance at the Bowery Ballroom. (Previously)
posted by Going To Maine on Dec 6, 2013 - 6 comments

Maura O'Connell to Retire as Solo Act

 “I’d say that my great days, they’re all done,” she said. “I figured out after the last record I did that I’m what is known as now, a legacy artist, which means basically, you’re on your own. . . . It’s been a long road, and it’s been a great road — I’ve been very lucky so much over my life. But at this stage I feel like I’m only going backwards.”
[more inside]
posted by julen on Oct 25, 2013 - 7 comments

So here we are now standing at the grave / Trying so hard to best behave

One day in February several years ago, William D. Drake – a distant cousin of famous folk musician Nick Drake – released two very different albums at once. There was Yew's Paw, a collection of strange and lovely piano music, such as the bouncy, joyful Pipistrelle, the sometimes-misty, sometimes-urgent At the End of the Harbour Wall. (Not to mention the aptly-named Short & Sweet Like A Donkey's Gallop, which is 17 satisfying seconds long.) Then there was Briny Hooves, a set of rock/folk/pop songs which are all confounding and fantastic. Wolves is an angry elegy that's nonetheless incredibly catchy; equally catchy is Serendipity Doodah. Ugly Fortress is a softer, Beatlesy sort of tune, The Fountains Smoke is a lovely folk duet, and Requiem for a Snail is exactly what it claims to be. Perhaps its two most affecting moments are Sweet Peace, a gently dark number that grows and grows, and Seahorse, which is very reminiscent of Robert Wyatt's (also wonderful) Rock Bottom. Both albums are worth a listen, and both can be streamed freely from Bandcamp—Yew's Paw, Briny Hooves, and Drake's more recent album The Rising of the Lights.
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 25, 2013 - 11 comments

The sound of galloping horses

The Bluffer's guide to Irish folk: 20 songs from the last 50-odd years of Irish traditional music.
posted by rollick on Sep 14, 2013 - 27 comments

Genre-Bending Covers

From the music website, Cover Me, Five Good Covers: five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song. Why not enjoy all new versions of Cars, Milkshake, Can't Help Falling In Love, The Sound Of Silence, Life In A Northern Town, Modern Love, You Shook Me All Night Long, Age Of Consent, Don't Fear The Reaper, Be My Baby, and much, much more. ( Cover Me previously)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 23, 2013 - 41 comments

feel so good this mornin' ... gon' be downloadin' all night long

"Folk Music in America" is a series of 15 LP records published by the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978 to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolution. It was curated by librarian/collector-cum-discographer Richard K. Spottswood, and funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. It's absolutely fantastic. And here it is.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 10, 2013 - 21 comments

but I'll dream of pretty Saro wherever I go...

Bob Dylan ran through the 18th century English folk song "Pretty Saro" six consecutive times during the Self Portrait sessions in March 1970, but none of those versions made the final cut for the album and the song remained in Columbia's vault for the past 43 years, until now. Bob Dylan's Lost 1970 Gem 'Pretty Saro' - Premiere
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 7, 2013 - 14 comments

Songs For A Friend

Around 1970, in the back of Nielsen's Music Store, 17-year-old Linda Bruner recorded one original and five cover songs to a portable half-track borrowed from ALS Studios while accompanied by Jim Krein: Song Linda Wrote Herself, Wichita Lineman, Thorn Tree In The Garden, Georgia On My Mind, Don't Let Me Down, and Rainy Night in Georgia. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on Aug 3, 2013 - 13 comments

David Grisman and Jerry Garcia in Concert on Various Occasions

Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Two Soldiers
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Handsome Cabin Boy
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Man Of Constant Sorrow
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- When First Unto This Country
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Dreadful Wind and Rain
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Russian Lullaby
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Sweet Sunny South
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Old Rockin' Chair
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Down Where The River Bends
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Shady Grove
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Friend of the Devil
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman -- Ripple [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Jul 29, 2013 - 16 comments

The Rains of Castamere

A while back folk duo Paul and Storm created a song 'Write Like The Wind' urging G R R Martin to finish A Song Of Ice & Fire aka Game Of Thrones as soon as possible. During a recent live performance of said song the duo experienced an interruption. MLYT (previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 19, 2013 - 106 comments

Gothic American folk music from Glasgow's Sparrow & The Workshop

The first thing you notice about Glasgow trio Sparrow & The Workshop is how unGlaswegian they sound. That's mostly down to lead singer Jill O'Sullivan, [Belfast-born, Chicago-raised] with a Joni Mitchell-via-Nashville voice, a stunning instrument that often justifies the price of admission on its own. When she sings about the devil, darkness and violence, fever, rapture and fear, it's the old American west she evokes, not Glasgow's West End. Behind the voice is a rhythm section that's not afraid to step forward: baritone harmony vocals; pounding drums, clicks and whips; pained, plaintive and passionate folk-rock melodies. That's from the Clash Music review of Crystals Fall (Grooveshark stream), the debut from the trio. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 8, 2013 - 3 comments

No kangaroos were tied down in the making of this post

From Australia Day 2011 to Australia Day 2012 (26 January, natch) John Thompson posted a different Australian folk song on his blog each day, starting with Mortom Bay and ending of course with Waltzing Matilda. For those who'd like the full audio visual Aussie folk experience, there's also Raymond Crooke's Youtube playlist.
posted by MartinWisse on Jul 1, 2013 - 7 comments

Skip James' Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

...James is, of course, overshadowed by the most famous bluesman of them all: Robert Johnson... Few can resist the legend that he sold his soul to the devil, was poisoned by a jealous lover, and died a young genius's death... Skip James' mythos is less compact than Johnson's. James survived his misspent youth, and the story of his later years provides plenty more of the kind of misery that fueled his music. Where Johnson supposedly cut a single, grand deal with the devil—trading his soul for mastery of his form—Skip James seems to have struck deal after deal and never come out ahead. In a way, James' story is the truest story of the blues: He led an open wound of a life, and all he got for it was minor-league, post-mortem stardom.
Skip James' Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

See also Mississippi John Hurt & Skip James on WTBS-FM 1964 [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Jun 15, 2013 - 17 comments

Folk Rock at One Horsepower

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros play an acoustic session while moving through the French Quarter of New Orleans on a horse-drawn carriage.
posted by Corinth on Jun 14, 2013 - 38 comments

for when Watership Down isn't available at the video shop

English singer-songwriter Keaton Henson's video for Small Hands, directed by Joseph Mann. [more inside]
posted by threeants on May 27, 2013 - 8 comments

Let's take it back to the source

You might have heard at one time or another a 60s band called Canned Heat, who made a wee bit of a splash way back when with a little number called Going Up the Country. The song featured a simple but very catchy little flute riff between verses. If you ever wondered where that riff came from (not to mention the melodic contour of the tune itself) you need look no further than a 1928 recording by Henry Thomas, who played the flute melody on his quills, or, panpipes. The song was called Bull Doze Blues. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 24, 2013 - 37 comments

Now the blues pile up on me, I brought it all on myself

Hey y'all! Here's your waaaaay laid back, deeeep Southern blues for the day, and contrary to the title, it's an easy pill to swallow. You dig that? OK, then, there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 5, 2013 - 8 comments

Lookee here woman, what's the matter now?

Let yourself be carried along, floating nice and easy down that slow, lazy river of American collective unconscious, when you hear Jack Owens singing Jack Ain't Had No Water.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 29, 2013 - 10 comments

Around the Beatles: a one-off TV variety show from 1964

In 1964, The Beatles put together a one-off variety show, with musical numbers specially pre-recorded for the show, presented in the style of theater-in-the-round. Around the Beatles was aired in the UK and later that same year in the US, but never commercially released. The show includes The Beatles performing a scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream, with Paul McCartney as Pyramus, John Lennon as his lover Thisbe, George Harrison as Moonshine, Starr as Lion, and Trevor Peacock (the only actual actor in the lot) in the role of Quince. A color clip of that was posted previously, but you can watch the entire (almost) hour-long show with The Beatles' segments accompanied by seven other musical acts, on Dailymotion or YouTube, though it's in black and white. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Sounds with an "eternal essence"

Sometimes called the "Alan Lomaxes of India," the founders of Amarrass Records are on a mission to record and revitalize interest in traditional music from India, Turkey, and beyond. Over 100 videos on their YouTube channel chronicle their field recordings and festivals featuring artists like Lakha Khan, the Barmer Boys, Bombino, and many others. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Apr 12, 2013 - 10 comments

The biggest baddest beasts have easily been beat with one lucky shot.

Ghost Mice are a 'FIRST-WAVE folk-punk band' who sing about playing Dungeons & Dragons as a metaphor for overcoming depression, wanting to be loved like John Hickley loved Jodie Foster and recycling so Cthulhu doesn't invade. They've recorded splits with other folk-punk bands like Andrew Jackson Jihad and Defiance Ohio. Ghost Mice's song Monsters Get Slain is a heartbreaking anthem about healing from a lifetime of depression.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Mar 27, 2013 - 29 comments

Laura Marling

Singer-songwriter Laura Marling will release her latest album, Once I Was an Eagle, this May. She's shared a first song off of it, "Where Can I Go?" [more inside]
posted by threeants on Mar 20, 2013 - 11 comments

This Here is Rich Terfry: Forty One Odd Years (and a few days more)

Happy belated birthday to Jesus Murphy, Haslam, DJ Critical, Uncle Climax (NSFW audio), Stinkin' Rich (NSFW audio), Dirk Thornton, Buck 65, or as his mom called him, Richard Terfry. Born in the year of the rat, and he's a Pisces, which makes him a rat fish, but by trade, he's a turntablist/ MC/ producer/ broadcaster. Generally he makes some form of hip-hop (some NSFW lyrics), though as of late, he's been broadening his style, as heard in his cover of Leonard Cohen's Who By Fire (previously) and Paper Airplane (official "lyric" video). In tribute to his 41st birthday, there's a lot more music inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 8, 2013 - 19 comments

Kitchen Junkets and Contra Dance

Kitchen Junkets in New England homes were a wintertime venue for live music and contra dance - a social dance form that's never really faded from the region's popular culture. Often credited with keeping the form alive, scholar/musician Ralph Page celebrated the kitchen junket and other contra traditions from 1949-1984 in his hand-printed magazine Northern Junket, available indexed and fully digitized via the University of New Hampshire. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Mar 3, 2013 - 15 comments

That's All Folks

folkinfo.org is a database of English-language folk songs. Each song is listed with its respective lyrics, sheet music, Roud Index number, midi file, and historical information. The database also provides song information in abc notation. Placed into an abc converter, one can generate sheet music in a variety of forms and scales.
posted by lemuring on Feb 5, 2013 - 17 comments

For revival, sin and soul

The Revival Tour documentary celebrates the annual acoustic folk-punk Revival Tour that was founded by Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan. Now in its fifth year, The Revival tour has featured musicians like Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon, Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace, and British star Frank Turner. This year's lineup includes Chuck Ragan, Rocky Votolato, Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath, Streetlight Manifesto's Toh Kay, Jenny O, Loved Ones' Dave Hause and Jenny Owen Youngs. Folk-punk previously.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Feb 3, 2013 - 2 comments

Truth is just like time; it catches up and it just keeps going

You either know who Dar Williams is or you don't, but chances are that if you know her music, you've got a bit of a story behind that. [more inside]
posted by Navelgazer on Dec 29, 2012 - 62 comments

Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks

Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987.   Via The Iwebender Channel

Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Dec 9, 2012 - 10 comments

Farewell Angelina by Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Nana Mouskouri, among others

Audio only, Newport 1966: Joan Baez - Farewell Angelina
Recorded Jan. 13, 1965, released 1991: Bob Dylan - Farewell Angelina
B/W Video 1966 Joan Baez - Farewell Angelina
Tablature and lyrics following those of the Dylan recording: dylanchords: Farewell Angelina
French TV 1967: Nana Mouskouri - Adieu Angélina
Bratislava 1989, avant de la Révolution de velours: Joan Baez - Farewell Angelina
From the 90s, or so I believe: Nickle Creek - Farewell Angelina
June 19, 2010 at Kidzstock: Joan Baez and Jasmine Harris - Farewell Angelina [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Dec 7, 2012 - 33 comments

Punch Brothers, Mandolin Brothers and Lloyd Loar

On Monday September 24th, Mandolin Brothers were visited by 3/5ths of The Punch Brothers: Chris Thile, along with Chris Eldridge and Noam Pickelny. Chris played their Lloyd Loar 1924 F-5 mandolin and their 1925 Fern. Among the numbers they played was a lovely rendition of Tennessee Waltz. Previously [more inside]
posted by Bartonius on Dec 3, 2012 - 16 comments

"Is it fair to say you just weren't made for these times, Frank?" "Is it? Uh, I dunno. I think everything's just as it should be."

Frank Fairfield is a folk musician who feels like he came fresh out of another century. He plays banjo (The Winding Spring & Nine Pound Hammer and Cumberland Gap), guitar (Call Me A Dog When I'm Gone and Bye, Bye, My Eva, Bye, Bye), and fiddle (Rye Whiskey and Poor Old Lance [with quartet], which is the piece that introduced me to him).
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 2, 2012 - 16 comments

Hugh Tracey's African music recordings

Like folk enthusiasts and field recordists John and Alan Lomax did in the US, Englishman Hugh Tracey documented an astonishing amount of traditional music. Tracey's love was the music of central and southern Africa, and his recording work came at a crucial time in the history of the region, when, due to repression from Christian missionaries as well as great social change and migration, traditional music of various kinds was fast disappearing. The hour-long audio documentary Discover and Record: The Field Recordings of Hugh Tracey is an excellent introduction to the man and his work, and is chock full of some absolutely fantastic music. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 22, 2012 - 6 comments

Tsugaru sounds

You might find this an agreeable way to spend six minutes and twelve seconds: a two part introduction to the traditional music of Tsugaru, Aomori prefecture, in the far north of the main Japanese island of Honshu. The first piece is a starkly beautiful song, just voice and flute, and the second a solo piece performed on the shamisen, by the late Takahashi Chikuzan, a master of the Tsugaru style. And here you can see Chikuzan in action, rocking the three strings.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 19, 2012 - 12 comments

The Proclaimers, a lot more than I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

They're best known for one song: I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), as featured in Benny and Joon in 1993, and though the identical twin brothers faded from the public eye in the US, 500 Miles was lovingly parodied by Homer Simpson in 2001, and the brothers appeared on Family Guy in 2006. That song was featured in Comic Relief 2007, and that rendition was the number 1 song in the UK for three weeks. Given this focus on a single song that was first released in 1988, you might want mark The Proclaimers as a one-hit wonder and leave it at that. But David Pollock, writing for The Guardian, wants you to reconsider: The Proclaimers are a lot better than you probably remember. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 25, 2012 - 72 comments

In darkness my heart was won

After more than 15 years on hiatus, the punk-spawned, world-music-defining Dead Can Dance released their eighth album Anastasis one month ago. The reunited act are on a world tour. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Sep 9, 2012 - 36 comments

G B S

A girl upon the shore did ask a favour of the sea;
"Return my blue eyed sailor boy safely back to me.
Forgive me if I ask too much, I will not ask for more,
but I shall weep until he sleeps safe upon the shore."
For nearly 20 years, Newfoundland group Great Big Sea have been creating acoustic Celtic folk-rock covers and interpretations of traditional Newfoundland and Labrador sea shanties, folk, fishing and party songs, which draw from the island's rich 500-year-old multicultural (Irish, English, Scottish and French) heritage. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 23, 2012 - 49 comments

Sharron Kraus - Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes

Sharron Kraus - Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes
posted by y2karl on Jul 29, 2012 - 8 comments

the soul of American music, laid out, explained, delineated and personalized, brilliantly

Goddammit it, I wish I'd written this deliciously nail-on-the-head, brilliantly insightful and sweeping overview of American musico-cultural history, seasoned with heavy dollops of personal remembrances and observations that I identify with so much that it's almost scary. But alas, I didn't. Still, I'm really, really grateful that William Hogeland did: Coons! Freaks! Hillwilliams! : 200 Years of Roots-Rock Revival (a Memoir).
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 28, 2012 - 22 comments

Baroque, Meet Folk.

Exploring the intersection of baroque, renaissance, and folk music, the international ensemble L'Arpeggiata's unique repertoire ranges from tarantellas to sophisticated baroque pieces. Led by the Austrian lutenist and harpist Christina Pluhar, l'Arpeggiata focuses on 17th century Italian, French, and Neapolitan repertoire. Here is L'Arpeggiata setting fire to a chiacona with famed Baroque violinist, Veronika Skuplik. L'Arpeggiata improvising on a tarantella theme in a Versailles courtyard.. If you like a more Baroque flavor, here is the first part of a concert with the incomparable countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in Metz. An impassioned blend of 17th century Italian lyricism with traditional Italian/Corsican music, with the group Barbara Furtuna et l'ensemble. Philippe Jaroussky performs an 17th century Italian song with l'Arpeggiata.
posted by Atrahasis on Jul 27, 2012 - 11 comments

He Said, She Said, Starring Bob Dylan and a $1 Million Guitar.

Bob Dylan famously "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. 47 years later, experts believe a woman in New Jersey has the guitar the Dylan played on stage that day. [more inside]
posted by COD on Jul 13, 2012 - 46 comments

Ramblin' Jack Elliott at Old City Hall, Redding California, 1988

Ramblin' Jack Elliott at Old City Hall, Redding California, 1988
This is Ramblin' Jack in his prime. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on May 20, 2012 - 7 comments

Only good for conversation

An acclaimed new documentary, Searching for Sugarman, goes hunting for the lost Dylan, Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 1, 2012 - 10 comments

personal computing challenging the recording business

"Dingus is dedicated to the search [for new music on Bandcamp]. It's here, on this humble blog that we shed light on bedroom artists in their most defining moments. If you want what's popular today, Dingus is not the blog for you. But, if you want what's fringe, pure and passionate then you've somehow landed on the right URL." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 28, 2012 - 18 comments

Roger McGuinn clearly gives a folk

Roger McGuinn was a member of the pioneering folk rock band The Byrds. He loves the traditional folk music he has been performing solo since the band's breakup in 1973. In this interview, he talks to NPR's Neal Conan about his career, his music and why he created The Folk Den Project (previously) - with over 200 readily downloadable songs, with lyrics and chords - to preserve traditional folk songs.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal on Apr 18, 2012 - 4 comments

The Lomax Collection -- a 'renewal of the forgotten springs of human creativity.'

NPR: "Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world." Now, nearly ten years after his death, thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. "It's part of what Lomax envisioned for [his] collection — long before the age of the Internet." (Mr. Lomax, Previously on MeFi) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 28, 2012 - 27 comments

RL in '78, TJ in '83

Oh yeah. There he is, Mr. RL Burnside, in the year of nineteen and seventy eight, Independence, Mississippi, porch fulla kids, singin' about when his first wife left him, million-dollar smile on his face. And there he is again, with his guitar and amp, out by the barb wire fence, a poor boy a long way from home. These two little gems just added to the Alan Lomax Archive YouTube channel, where you'll also find some wonderful newly-uploaded clips (filmed in 1983) from fretless banjo plucker Tommy Jarrell, the toast of Toast, North Carolina.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 15, 2012 - 9 comments

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