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American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclopedia [Kindle Edition]

Norm Cohen

Print List Price: £103.95
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Book Description

This state-by-state collection of folksongs describes the history, society, culture, and events characteristic of all fifty states. Unlike all other state folksong collections, this one does not focus on songs collected in the particular states, but rather on songs concerning the life and times of the people of that state. The topics range from the major historical events, such as the Boston Tea Party, the attack on Fort Sumter, and the California Gold Rush, to regionally important events such as disasters and murders, labor problems, occupational songs, ethnic conflicts. Some of the songs will be widely recognized, such as Casey Jones, Marching Through Georgia, or Sweet Betsy from Pike. Others, less familiar, have not been reprinted since their original publication, but deserve to be studied because of what they tell about the people of these United States, their loves, labors, and losses, and their responses to events. The collection is organized by regions, starting with New England and ending with the states bordering the Pacific Ocean, and by states within each region. For each state there are from four to fifteen songs presented, with an average of 10 songs per state. For each song, a full text is reprented, followed by discussion of the song in its historical context. References to available recordings and other versions are given. Folksongs, such as those discussed here, are an important tool for historians and cultural historians because they sample experiences of the past at a different level from that of contemporary newspaper accounts and academic histories. These songs, in a sense, are history writ small.

Includes: Away Down East, The Old Granite State, Connecticut, The Virginian Maid's Lament, Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, I'm Going Back to North Carolina, Shut up in Cold Creek Mine, Ain't God Good to Iowa?, Dakota Land, Dear Prairie Home, Cheyenne Boys, I'm off for California, and others.

Product Description


"American Folk Songs is a 'must' for any library: it provides a range of lyrics to regional folk songs across the country, discussing the influence of immigrants, social and political events, ballad and song, history, and more. Two volumes of information divided by region offer song history and analysis alike, making for a powerful musical and social history survey highly recommended for high school to college-level collections strong in American music history." - The Midwest Book Review "The author begins with a useful political chronology from 1607 to 1912. Each chapter begins with a regional overview, then state overviews, in the context of history. Cohen selected examples from cheap print in the nineteenth century because: these are hard to find today; printed versions had older and more complete texts; and they are in the public domain. His theory is that folk songs indicate attitudes and opinions of the people rather than mundane historical facts found in textbooks. For instance, some folk songs that commemorate a war battle will reflect the sentimental emotions toward the heroes or tragedies of those close to the writer, and not the political or tactical implications of the conflict." - ARBA "This set is a collection of several hundred American folk songs sorted according to regional interest and derivation. A brief introduction does an effective job of summarizing the wealth of cultural and historical knowledge that can be gleaned from the study of folk songs as well as acknowledging the difficulties in identifying definitive origins. ... ...These songs tell great stories, which can result in addictive browsing. Large public and academic collections will want to acquire this unique and appealing resource, which will be of interest to musicians, historians, and folklorists." - Booklist "Cohen (independent scholar) provides the text and detailed descriptions of 487 folk songs, organized by nine regions of the US. Each region is subdivided by individual states, and each state is introduced with historical information concerning its founding and governance. Songs are included on the basis of their 'persistence in oral tradition for some (unspecified) duration...' Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers." - Choice "It will primarily be of interest to those students and scholars concerned with what these songs say about 'the various turns of American culture and style.' As Mr. Cohen himself notes it is historians, folklorists, musicologists and sociologists who will reap the greatest rewards from this work. As such, it is a highly useful survey that will be equally at home on circulation shelves as it is in reference collections. It is a set worth considering by academic libraries as well as by larger public libraries where there is enough patron interest." - Against the Grain "...a comprehensive survey of traditional American folk music that will be of interest in school, public and academic libraries." - Lawrence Looks at Books

About the Author

Norm Cohen has edited and annotated more than three dozen albums of folk and country music, has written numerous articles, book chapters, and book reviews on various aspects of folk, country, and popular music.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10038 KB
  • Print Length: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood; Reprint edition (30 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005N58OM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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