Alex Campbell   •   Let's Listen and Sing to America's Folk Songs

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  • Let's Listen and Sing to America's Folk Songs
    • 1964 - (Decca) Vocalion VL 3733 LP (USA)
  • Side One
    1. The Old Songs
    2. Way Back When
    3. Humming and Strumming
    4. Stories and Singing
    5. Songs on the Range
    6. Do-it-Yorself Songs
  • Side Two
    1. Wishful Singing
    2. Meet Some Geese
    3. Old Smokey
    4. Working and Talking Blues
    5. Simple Gifts
    6. A Vision in a Song

  • Credits

Sleeve Notes

A Note to Parents: Two outstanding folk singers join forces in this recording to introduce young listeners to one of America's most important resources - the music of its people. The wealth and glory of our folk music is only NOW beginning to receive its just due: educators and musicians have come to realize that our folk songs belong in the school curriculum and in after-school training as well.

As Fiona Jamieson says in her explanation, "the old songs belong to our country just as much as the trees, the forests, the mountains, and the people. When I was a little girl in Lexington, Kentucky, I learned some songs from my mother, and others I learned at school. I heard quite a few from friends and members of the family. We had fun with those songs - we liked to hear them and sing them, both. But nobody thought they were anything very special - just " old songs," and my music teacher even said they weren't very polite songs; at least the " best people " didn't sing them. You couldn't find most of the old songs in books - people just knew them by heart, and passed them on, from father to son, from mother to daughter. You didn't hear them at concerts, either, and you couldn't buy them on records. They were the " old songs, " that's all. But by and by, as the years went on, I found out that those old songs were the most important ones we have in all America. The teachers and professors began changing their minds about them, too. Now they said that those old songs were " folk music " and they went from place to place just to hear country people sing the old songs. It was like finding that you have diamonds in your own backyard…"

Here, together with Alex Campbell, Fiona presents a wonderful collection of American folk songs and explains where they came from and why they were written. Some tell a story; some are humorous nonsense songs; some are tragic ballads; others will make you tap your foot and start to dance. Among them is the New England song of the "Old Woman and the Pig," the Midwestern classic about "Hoosen' Johnny," the ancient "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" (sung in its original unaccompanied version), the exciting ballad of "The Lady from Carlyle," the remarkable musical fable about "The Grey Goose," and such classics as "On Top of Old Smokey" and "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel." Young listeners are encouraged to sing along with Fiona and Alex, and to make up their own words - jlist as people always have - to some of the old melodies. The recording, and the subject, is sure to delight children of all ages, and many adults as well.

Fiona Jamieson and Alex Campbell are both outstanding figures in the world of folk song. Both have appeared on stage, records, radio and television, and both have collected authentic folk songs in the few areas where they may still be found in their original state. Mr. Campbell supplies authentic guitar and banjo accompaniments, and he worked together with Miss Jamieson and the music-and-writing team of Mary Tobias and Irving Miller to create this recording.