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Various - Troubadours Vol.1-4, Folk And The Roots Of American Music (12-CD)

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Troubadours - Folk And The Roots Of American Music, Vol.1-4 (12-CD) 3-CD Digipak with... more

Various - Troubadours: Vol.1-4, Folk And The Roots Of American Music (12-CD)

Troubadours - Folk And The Roots Of American Music, Vol.1-4 (12-CD)

3-CD Digipak with 152-page booklet (English language), 75 tracks. Total playing time approx. 203 mns.

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.

3-CD Digipak with 120-page booklet (English language), 70 tracks. Total playing time approx. 221 mns.


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.


3-CD Digipak mit 112-seitigem Booklet, 63 Einzeltitel. Gesamtspieldauer ca. 233 Minuten

Along with folklorist Alan Lomax, Pete Seeger was a primary figure in seeding and shaping the American folk music revival. He never viewed himself as an entertainer, nor was he particularly comfortable as a solo performer. Yet his evangelical zeal for folk music and progressive social change inspired and nurtured three generations of singer-songwriters.

Born May 3, 1919 in New York City, Pete Seeger was the third and youngest son of Charles and Constance Seeger, instructors at the New York Institute of Musical Art. The couple divorced when Peter was eight years old. In 1932 Charles married his student, Ruth Crawford, now hailed as a major 20th century composer. The couple had four children; of them, Mike and Peggy Seeger also became significant figures in American folk music. 

In summer 1936, Charles and Ruth took the 17-year-old Peter to the 'Mountain Dance And Folk Festival' near Asheville, North Carolina. The youth was fascinated by the square dances and especially Bascom Lamar Lunsford's and Samantha Bumgarner's driving five-string banjo styles. Seeger spent the next five years perfecting his own banjo technique.

After dropping out of Harvard University, Seeger became involved with folk music, labor organizing and politics. Alan Lomax encouraged the youth, hiring him to catalog race and old-time music recordings held by the Archive of American Folk Song in the Library of Congress. As Seeger's confidence and musical skills grew, Lomax invited him to participate on his CBS radio show. In March 1940 Seeger met balladeer Woody Guthrie at a New York fundraiser for displaced migrant workers.

In January 1941 Seeger, Lee Hays and Millard Lampell formed the Almanac Singers, performing folk songs and incisive topical songs at meetings, private functions, and labor rallies. Singing in natural, unaffected voices and driven by Seeger's clawhammer banjo, the Almanacs fused the essence and excitement of rural Southern string bands with the passion of labor songs and the dry, clever wit of New York's cabaret entertainers. This appealing music hybrid defined the sound and style of the American folk revival, and their records inspired a generation of young musicians. During the group's brief existence, the Almanac Singers' revolving roster included Woody Guthrie, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Josh White, Bess Lomax Hawes and Agnes 'Sis' Cunningham.

While serving in the army during World War II, Seeger envisioned a national movement unifying songwriters, performers, choral leaders and labor unions into a force for political and social change. After returning to New York in fall 1945, Seeger formed People's Songs. Initially drawing upon members of New York's leftist folk, theatrical and literary scenes, the organization soon opened offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Cleveland. Two years after its founding, 2,000 folk music enthusiasts attended People's Songs' first national convention in New York.

However, People's Songs emerged as anti-Communist fervor grasped America. Many activists within the movement were or had been members of the American Communist Party. In 1948, People's Songs embraced the third-party Presidential bid of former Vice-President Henry Wallace, who advocated co-operation with the Soviet Union. Members who mistrusted the Communists broke away from the movement, while those who remained – particularly Seeger – became easy targets for right-wing zealots.

The Wallace campaign bankrupted People's Songs. To pay off its debts, the remaining activists held a fund-raising hootenanny at a New York theater in late November 1948. To accompany a folk dance ensemble, Seeger recruited guitarist Fred Hellerman, his old Almanac Singers vocalist and song leader Lee Hays, and contralto Ronnie Gilbert. The quartet clicked musically and further rehearsals refined their sound. Although they had no long-range professional aspirations, the group performed at labor functions, political rallies and on Oscar Brand's WNYC radio show, eventually adopting the name The Weavers. In December 1949 the group reluctantly accepted a week-long engagement at the Village Vanguard, a popular lower Manhattan cabaret. The response led owner Max Gordon to extend the booking through June. , Orchestra leader Gordon Jenkins caught the Weavers at the Vanguard and brokered a Decca recording contract. Their first record with Jenkins, Goodnight, Irene backed with Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, unexpectedly became 1950's biggest hit.

As their visibility rose, so did the ire of the watchdogs on the right. Harvey Matuso, a former People's Songs volunteer who fancied himself as a master of espionage, warned the FBI about the Weavers' Communist affiliations. 'Red Channels' cited Seeger for 13 Communist affiliations. Television appearances were cancelled when callers threatened sponsors with boycotts. The Knights of Columbus forced the Ohio State Fair to pull the Weavers' booking; the incident received national publicity. American Legion posts in various cities harassed nightclub owners that booked the Weavers. With each new Decca release, airplay dwindled. By 1952 the group formally disbanded, although it reunited sporadically for concerts after 1955.

Seeger resumed his solo performances, primarily in front of appreciative college audiences. He remained a target of right-wing super patriots. On August 18, 1955, Seeger was subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. A polite but hostile witness, he refused to answer questions about his personal and political associations. His stance led to a March 26, 1957, indictment for contempt of Congress. For the next five years Seeger was obligated to notify the federal government whenever he left the Southern District of New York. In March 1961 a jury found Seeger guilty and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The first four tracks in this collection were recorded during this period of uncertainty.

Oh, Had I A Golden Thread appeared on Seeger's 1960 Folkways collection 'Rainbow Quest.' Seeger later used it as the theme for his mid-'60s public television series. That album also yielded one of Seeger's best-loved songs, Where Have All The Flowers Gone. He wrote it in October 1955, basing it on three lines from a Ukrainian folksong Mikhail Sholokhov quoted in his 1934 novel 'And Quiet Flows The Don.' He introduced his three-verse version at an Oberlin College concert, sang it for about a year, then set it aside until he recorded it in 1959.

Joe Hickerson, later director of the Archive of Folk Song at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, attended that Oberlin concert. Hickerson was an Indiana University folklore student in early 1960 when Folkways released Seeger's 'Rainbow Quest' album. He began singing Where Have All The Flowers Gone around Bloomington coffeehouses and hootenannies. Feeling the song was too short for audience participation, Hickerson wrote two additional verses followed by a repeat of the first verse. He introduced his expanded circular version the following summer at Camp Woodland, a progressive youth camp in New York's Catskill Mountains. At the end of the season, the staff and campers brought the song to New York City, where Peter Yarrow, Noel Stookey and Mary Travers learned it for their first album as Peter, Paul and Mary. The Kingston Trio learned it from them, beating them in the marketplace with a quickly recorded single


3-CD Digipak with 140-page booklet, 80 tracks. Total playing time approx. 257 mns.

The West Coast

If the East Coast primarily nurtured the contemporary folk scene, Los Angeles and San Francisco were parallel hubs of the folk music revival. In late 1945 Pete Seeger established People's Songs, Inc., to use folk and topical songs to further postwar progressive political and social issues. Within months composer/folksinger Earl Robinson opened the New York operation's first branch office in Los Angeles, attracting labor organizer and journalist Vern Partlow, and film industry professionals like actor Will Geer and arranger Sonny Vale. Its members included Richard Dehr and Frank Miller, who performed folk songs as The Easy Riders.

Los Angeles was also the original home of Charter Records, a label that served People's Songs members with recordings by Seeger, Morry Goodson and Sonny Vale, and calypsonian Sir Lancelot. It also encouraged events up north in San Francisco, where Malvina Reynolds found kindred spirits among the People's Songs activists. With Seeger's encouragement she became a master composer of satiric, poignant and enduring songs.

Although People's Songs dissolved in 1949, it helped seed a vital West Coast folk community. Terry Gilkyson, a Pennsylvania native who moved to Los Angeles in 1947, struck gold with his folk-flavored The Cry Of The Wild Goose. Gilkyson's understated Decca recording spawned multiple cover versions, including Frankie Laine's chart-topping Mercury single in 1951. In a joint session with The Weavers, Gilkyson sang the lead on On Top Of Old Smoky, which rose to No. 2 on the Billboard pop chart. In 1955 he joined Dehr and Miller's Easy Riders. Besides jointly collaborating on Memories Are Made Of This, the Easy Riders accompanied Dean Martin on his No. 1 hit single.

If the early New York folk scene fostered an alluring Bohemian atmosphere, the West Coast singers created a sunnier approach. Many performers were tied to the entertainment industry, writing scores or acting in films and television. Performers like Rod McKuen, Mason Williams, Mike Settle, Travis Edmonson, Van Dyke Parks and John Stewart were gifted lyricists and skilled, melodic composers. When Bob Dylan shook up the East Coast folk music community in 1962, their careers and styles were already established.

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Troubadours Folk And The Roots Of American Music While some observers often see Jackson... more
"Various - Troubadours"

Troubadours

Folk And The Roots Of American Music

While some observers often see Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor as the founders of America's contemporary singer-songwriter movement, the tradition actually dates back to the mid-19th century. The Hutchison Family of Milford, New Hampshire toured the United States singing religious and secular songs supporting numerous populist causes. In the years before World War I, Joe Hill and Ralph Chaplin refashioned traditional songs and hymns into biting anthems for the Industrial Workers of the World.

During the early '20s, Bentley Ball gave recitals of Appalachian ballads, Cowboy songs and Native American material to fascinated urban audiences. In 1920 he made the first recordings of such folk standards as Jesse James and The Dying Cowboy. Four years later Marion Try Slaughter, a Texas-born light opera singer who performed under the name Vernon Dalhart, recorded twangy versions of The Wreck Of The Southern 97 and The Prisoner's Song. Though hardly authentic, it caught the public ear and sold hundreds of thousands of records.

Two Tin Pan Alley writers exploited that success by penning folk-flavored songs inspired by some current event. Carson Robison, a Kansas native who played guitar on Dalhart's record, used a moralistic template for songs about train wrecks and natural disasters. Bob Miller, who hailed from Memphis, penned songs that addressed populist issues. Miller's left-leaning songs like Eleven Cent Cotton and Forty Cent Meat anticipated the People's Songs movement of the late '40s.

Folk songs continued making inroads into American popular culture during the Jazz Age of the '20s. Millions of radio listeners tuned into the Chicago-based WLS every Saturday night to hear 'The National Barn Dance' and its sweet-voiced Kentucky balladeer Bradley Kincaid sing Barbara Allen or The Blue Tailed Fly. John Allison organized a trio that introduced folk material over New York's WNYC as early as 1927. Recordings intended for Southern listeners occasionally migrated to urban audiences in the north. The better-selling Victor Records by Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family crossed Southern borders; some of their titles were issued in Europe and Australia, and even India.

While singers like Goebel Reeves never became household names, their recordings inspired a handful of performers that would change popular music.

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