the folknik November/December 2005
(Volume XLI, Number 6)
the San Francisco Folk Music Club
(click here for membership info)
To review any of the following CDS, contact SFFMC, 885 Clayton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117:
JOHN ANTHONY SCOTT AND JOHN WARDLOW SCOTT:
Ballad of America, a History of the United States Through Folk Song
Available for $39 from:
Folksong in the Classroom
PO Box 23
Holland, MA 01521-0023
This book is now in its third and totally revised edition. Designed for classroom use and ease of reproduction (as well as for parents and musicians) it features an easily legible text, lyrics, music, illustrations, and simple guitar chords. Detailed commentary places each of the 135 songs in its proper historical context over a period of 350 years--from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Pete Seeger says: “For years [the Scotts have] been using folk songs in the classroom to show children what a wonderfully diverse country we have, and to draw them in, heart and soul to its subtleties and complexities. Go through this book slowly! … It will be a classic for forty years.” The book and the father-and-son editors were featured in a recent issue of Pass It On, the newsletter of the Children's Music Network.
Songs included are for very small children as well as for teenagers and adults. Reproduction by educators is encouraged. For clarity of exposition A Ballad of America is divided into seven parts and sixteen chapters reflecting both the time span and the various topics covered. Studies show that information learned by children through song is welcomed and remembered far beyond that learned by rote. —Faith Petric
NANCY CASSIDY: You
Reel Me In
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PO Box 61075
Palo Alto, CA 94306
I'm familiar with Nancy Cassidy through the award-winning CDs she's put out for kids, and was curious to hear what she did when singing for adults. Well—she writes and sings love songs!
The first few songs are about love not working out so great, and she uses metaphors to make her points: love as a storm, love as a card game, and (my fave) love as a train wreck. Then follow more happy songs, with allusions to rivers, faith, sweetness, and in the title cut, being “reeled in” by love. A couple of songs refer to love as the alternative to war, and I especially like a part in the song “Bring it on Home” in which she makes it clear that when we say “Bring it on!” we would do well to be bringing on love, not fighting.
The CD is well produced by Keith Greeninger, with nice arrangements and a lot of great musicians adding different styles to every song. Dayan Kai plays piano, organ, and tenor sax; Ronny Crawford does a great job with drums and percussion; Chris Webster and Alisa Finman add background vocals; and other musicians too numerous to mention add fiddle, mandolin, bass, cello, horns and guitars.
A few songs are reminiscent in composition style and vocals of some old Kate Wolf songs. While some songs have an upbeat tempo, mostly this is a mellow collection of love songs-well-presented and pleasant to listen to. —Ingrid Noyes
VARIOUS: Songs of the
11557 Palatine Ave. N
Seattle WA, 98133
Songs of the Pacific Northwest is a labor of love, dreamed of and produced by Stewart Hendrickson. The idea for this 27-song CD sung by a total of 16 friends and members of the Song Circle of the Seattle Folklore Society. came from a workshop Stewart led at the group's annual Rainy Day Camp in February 2005 (11 of the songs were actually recorded in the chapel at the Rainy Day Camp). Stewart explains:
It just seemed that there were lots of Pacific Northwest songs out there that should be recorded and lots of talented local musicians who would probably never have their own CDs but should have a chance to be heard … Some [of the songs] have never been recorded before. They all represent part of the ongoing folklore of the Pacific Northwest … These are not big-name recording artists, but just folks who like to make their own music. That is what “folk music” is all about.
The CD contains older songs such as “Little Old Log Cabin on My Claim” and “Frozen Logger,” along with original and contemporary songs about the Northwest written in traditional styles. Mary Garvey contributed five of these; Linda Allen sings three, one of which is her original; and Andy Blyth sings Larry Hanks's “Apple Picker's Reel”. Songs of fish and fishing, clams, oysters, sailing, mining, lumbering, and other identifying activities of the Northwest are all included.
None of this is meant to imply the musical quality of the CD is not first rate. Listening is a pleasure. You'll find yourself sitting around a campfire at a folkie camp, joining in the singing, and savoring the songs and musicianship of your friends. It will warm your heart, and, yes, it's a basic “what folk music is all about” CD. —Faith Petric