Friday, July 22, 2022

Introducing... Our AO Folk Songs for 2022-2023!


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We are so excited about this year's selections! 

For selected video/mp3 links, please visit our Folk Songs page at AmblesideOnline.org. 

This year, we are featuring each folk song on its very own post here on Archipelago, linked in the list above. These posts will be linked from the AO Folk Songs page, too. This way, when you start preparing to introduce a new song, it will be easy as pie to click straight to that song's blog post. Be sure to check out each song's post for recommended lyrics and recordings, and interesting info about each song.


My Youtube playlist for AO Folksongs 2022-2023 is where you'll find carefully selected versions of the term’s songs (the versions recommended to go with our lyrics, and many more besides). I enjoy hearing different interpretations by various artists. I find it helps us enter into the creative stream of these timeless songs, and to better understand their enduring appeal to all generations and to all kinds of folks. 


And Now For A Few Helpful Hints


If you’re new around here (and if so, welcome and we’re so glad you’re here!), please (we beg you!) read/re-read Wendi Capehart’s post Folk Songs: Some Back Story. It'll do you good.

Then read her brief but terrific introductory comments here, where she shared some of her easy but brilliant ideas for living the folk singing life.

And if you’re still not quite sure why we AO folks make such a fuss about singing, please read Folk Songs: Some Real Life Experiences for a hearty dose of encouragement. 

You may also enjoy my essay Folk Songs, Unplugged

Here's to a jolly great year of folk songs! 


Many heartfelt thanks to 
Nicole Capehart Ramsey
Rebecca Capehart Judy
and 
Caitlin Bruce Beauchamp
 for sharing their invaluable insights about this year’s song lineup. 
I love you girls so much, and I love that folk songs matter so much to you, and 
that you’ve all grown up to be folk singing mamas.

Folk Song for April 2023: Red River Valley


Sometimes things just ain’t what they seem. Turns out, there are two Red River Valleys on the North American continent. There's the Red River which defines the border between Texas and Oklahoma, and another which runs northward (one of the few North American streams that do) from the southern borders of North Dakota and Minnesota all the way up into Manitoba in Canada. Though many associate this song with Texas cowboys and western lore, it actually originated around 1870 in Manitoba (with possible Celtic/Gaelic origins going even further back). 

Edith Fowke, the noted Canadian folklorist, said it was the best-known folk song across at least five Canadian provinces well before the turn of the century. 

For more juicy folklore on the song’s roots in Canadian history, this page is helpful

Recordings that feature all of the typical verses are a real challenge to find! This live performance by Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak (who learned the song as small children from their grandparents) absolutely nails it. They sing the exact set and sequence of the lyrics I remember from childhood. 



Red River Valley


From this valley they say you are going

We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile

For they say you are taking the sunshine

That has brightened our pathway awhile


Do you think of the valley you're leaving

O how lonely and dreary ’twill be

Do you think of the fond hearts you're breaking

And the sadness you’ve cast over me


CHORUS

Come and sit by my side, if you love me

Do not hasten to bid me adieu

Just remember the Red River Valley

And the one who has loved you so true


I have waited a long time my darlin’

For the sweet words you never would say

Now, alas, all my fond hopes have vanished

For they tell me you’re goin’ away


As you go to your home by the ocean

May you never forget those sweet hours

That we spent in the Red River Valley

And the love we exchanged with the flowers


[CHORUS]



See my playlist for versions of Red River Valley by Gene Autry, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and Bob Wills. 


Lynn's Youtube Playlist for AO Folk Songs 2022-2023

Our helpful intro post is sure to liven up your folk song adventures.


For more information on our folk songs, and for Amazon affiliate 
links to purchase individual songs, see our AO Folk Songs page.

These affiliate links help support AmblesideOnline.

Folk Song for June 2023: I'll Fly Away



I'll Fly Away is one of the most recorded gospel songs of all time and also a folk standard, particularly among Bluegrass performers. It’s been featured in numerous films and TV shows, and performed in styles that cross many genres of music. It’s in most good hymnals. (It’s still protected by copyright by the songwriter’s descendants, so sing away to your heart’s content but maybe don’t record it for profit!)

These lyrics best follow this a cappella recording by Truth & Peace, which uses the traditional version found in hymnals.



I’ll Fly Away



1. Some glad morning when this life is o’er

I’ll fly away

To that home on God’s celestial shore

I’ll fly away


CHORUS

   I’ll fly away oh glory

   I’ll fly away (in the morning)

   When I die hallelujah by and by

   I’ll fly away


2. When the shadows of this life have grown

I’ll fly away

Like a bird from prison walls has flown

I’ll fly away


[CHORUS]


3. Just a few more weary days and then

I’ll fly away

To a land where joy shall never end

I’ll fly away


[CHORUS]




Allison Krauss & Gillian Welch sang I'll Fly Away on the O Brother, Where Art Thou movie soundtrack album, which won 2 Grammys. Later the track was included on the album Down From the Mountain, which also won a Grammy. 

Check the playlist and our Folk Song page for this and other exemplary versions which span many music genres.


Lynn's Youtube Playlist for AO Folk Songs 2022-2023

Our helpful intro post is sure to liven up your folk song adventures.

For more information on our folk songs, and for Amazon affiliate 
links to purchase individual songs, see our AO Folk Songs page.
These affiliate links help support AmblesideOnline.




Folk Song for March 2023: Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies



In cowboy lingo, a dogie is an orphaned or runt calf. 

This is an old classic western song which has appeared in several old Western movies and TV shows, and has been recorded widely by cowboy singers, folk singers, and country singers. It's written in ¾ time (a waltz), which lends an air of clip-clopping along on horseback.

Roy Rogers sang this song in the film, West of the Badlands. These lyrics follow his version.



Whoopie Ti-Yi-Yo, Git Along Little Dogies



1. As I was a-walkin one morning for pleasure,

I spied a cow-puncher all riding alone;

His hat was throwed back and his spurs were a-jingling,

And as he approached he was singin' this song,


CHORUS

Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies,

It's your misfortune, and none of my own.

Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies,

For you know that Wyoming will be your new home.


2. It’s early in spring we round up the dogies,

We mark ‘em and brand ‘em and bob off their tails;

Round up the horses, load up the chuck-wagon,

Then throw the dogies out on the north trail.


[CHORUS]


3. Your mother was raised a-way down in Texas,

Where the jimson weed and sand-burrs grow;

We'll fill you up on prickly pear and cholla

Until you are ready for Idaho.


[CHORUS]



See my playlist for old recordings by Cisco Houston and a 1937 movie clip of Gene Autry singing this song in his cowboy movie of the same name.


Lynn's Youtube Playlist for AO Folk Songs 2022-2023


Our helpful intro post is sure to liven up your folk song adventures.


For more information on our folk songs, and for Amazon affiliate 
links to purchase individual songs, see our AO Folk Songs page.

These affiliate links help support AmblesideOnline.



Folk Song for November 2022: The Fox



One of the oldest known folk songs, The Fox dates at least as far back as the 15th century! (Check the song's Wikipedia page if you’d like to see the lyrics in Middle English.) This one becomes more fun the faster you sing it, so start at a comfortable learning tempo but do gradually pick up the pace as you learn it!

It’s the longest lyric set of the folk songs for this year, but it's easier to learn than you might anticipate because it tells a story, so the verses have a logical narrative sequence, and also because there are repeated lines in each verse. So take heart! Just bite off one verse at a time and soon you'll all have it down pat. 

Also, we oh-so-helpfully scheduled it for November in case your kids want to keep plugging away at it over Christmas break. You’re welcome. 
😆

The recording by Peter, Paul, and Mary is jolly and funny, while the Nickel Creek recording showcases superb musicianship (this track is from their 2000 debut album, which was nominated for 2 Grammys)— and is perfectly suitable for dancing a reel if you’re so inclined!



Peter, Paul, and Mary's version (Youtube)


Nickel Creek's version (Youtube)



The Fox


Oh the fox went out on a chilly night

Prayed for the moon to give him light

For he had many a mile to go that night

Before he reached the town-o, town-o, town-o

Many a mile to go that night before he reached the town-o


He ran till he came to a great big pen

Where the ducks and the geese were kept therein

He said, "A couple of you are gonna grease my chin

Before I leave this town-o, town-o, town-o

A couple of you are gonna grease my chin before I leave this town-o!"


He grabbed the grey goose by the neck

Threw the ducks across his back

He didn't mind the "quack, quack, quack"

And the legs all danglin' down-o, down-o, down-o

He didn't mind the "quack, quack, quack" and the legs all danglin' down-o


Then old mother Flipper Flopper jumped out of bed

Out of the window she popped her head

Cryin', "John, John, the grey goose is gone

And the fox is on the town-o, town-o, town-o

John! John! The grey goose is gone and the fox is on the town-o!"


Then John he ran to the top of the hill

Blew his horn both loud and shrill

The fox he said, "I better flee with my kill

For they'll soon be on my trail-o, trail-o, trail-o,"

The fox he said, "I better flee with my kill for they'll soon be on my trail-o!"


Well he ran till he came to his cozy den

There were his little ones, eight, nine, ten

Cryin', "Daddy, daddy, better go back again

'Cause it must be a mighty fine town-o, town-o, town-o

Daddy, Daddy, better go back again cause it must be a mighty fine town-o!"


Then the fox and his wife, without any strife

Cut up the goose with a carving knife

They never had such a supper in their life

And the little ones chewed on the bones-o, bones-o, bones-o

They never had such a supper in their life and the little ones chewed on the bones-o!



Here's a music video which features Peter Spier’s picture book illustrating The Fox song, which younger children will enjoy.




Lynn's Youtube Playlist for AO Folk Songs 2022-2023


Our helpful intro post is sure to liven up your folk song adventures.


For more information on our folk songs, and for Amazon affiliate 
links to purchase individual songs, see our AO Folk Songs page.

These affiliate links help support AmblesideOnline.



Folk Song for January 2023: The Mermaid



My grandchildren insisted we include this one! Scholars have traced the roots of The Mermaid back at least 400 years. Some say it’s a sea ballad which sailors sang while off-duty, while others claim it was a sailor’s work song and therefore can be classified as a chanty. Whatever you want to call it, 'tis a fine, rollicking tune, me hearties!

Important to know: In maritime folklore, the sighting of a mermaid spelled certain doom for sailors and their ships.

Fun fact: JRR Tolkein wrote a song in Old English to the tune of The Mermaid.

Feel free to omit a verse or two for very, very young children, if that seems best. But... learn one verse at a time and I suspect they will surprise you!  

My search for lyrics turned up innumerable variations, and no two were alike. The lyrics here most closely follow this recording by Smithsonian Folkways.  



The Mermaid


On Friday morning we set sail

Not being far from the land

It was there we espied a fair mermaid

With a comb and a glass in her hand


CHORUS:

And the ocean's waves do roll

And the stormy winds do blow

And we poor sailors are skipping at the top

While the landlubbers lie down below below below

While the landlubbers lie down below


The boatswain at the helm stood

And was steering his course right well

With tears a-standing in his eyes,

Saying oh how the seas do swell


[CHORUS]


And then spoke the mate of our gallant ship

And a well-spoken man was he

Saying, “I have a wife in fair Plymouth town

And this night a widow she will be.”

 

[CHORUS]


Then spoke the captain of our gallant ship

And a valiant man was he

Saying, “For the want of a longboat

We shall sink to the bottom of the sea.”


[CHORUS}


And up spoke the cookie of our gallant ship

And a gruff old soul was he

Saying, “I care much more for me pots and me pans

Than I do fer the bottom of the sea!”


[CHORUS] 


Then up spoke the boy of our gallant ship

And a well-spoken lad was he.

Saying, “I have a mother in fair Bristol town

And this night she will weep for me.”


[CHORUS]


The moon gave light and the stars shone bright

And my mother is looking for me

She may look, she may weep with a watery eye

She may look to the bottom of the sea.


[CHORUS]


Then once around spun our gallant ship

And twice around spun she

And the third time around spun our gallant ship

And she sank to the bottom of the sea


[CHORUS]



If that seems like a Whole Lot of Chorus Repeats, just think how long it will keep the kids happily occupied when they start singing it outside! Masterly Inactivity at its finest, Mama! 😉

Do check out the Brobdingnagian Bards' lively version with comic touches and slightly different lyrics.




Lynn's Youtube Playlist for AO Folk Songs 2022-2023


Our helpful intro post is sure to liven up your folk song adventures.


For more information on our folk songs, and for Amazon affiliate 
links to purchase individual songs, see our AO Folk Songs page.

These affiliate links help support AmblesideOnline.

Folk Song for May 2023: Crawdad Song



Of all the songs for this year (which I heard over and over while researching this year's selections!), this is the one that I most often found myself singing around the house. Who knows, Crawdad Song may be what it takes to entice me to figure out what to do with that ukulele hidden in my closet. (Shhh!)
😅

Crawdad Song has roots in African-American blues and gospel. If the tune sounds familiar, it may be because it’s essentially the same as the old gospel song This Train is Bound for Glory. Do check it out these old recordings by Big Bill BroonzyPop Winans, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe (all linked on my playlist). Wonderful!

Froggie Went a-Courtin’ is another song that uses a very similar tune, making it fun and easy to learn alongside Crawdad Song. Pete Seeger’s version is great. The Spoon Lady (with whom Wendi Capehart was borderline obsessed!) combines the two songs. Don't miss The Spoon Lady, whatever you do!

Our lyrics for Crawdad Song most closely follow the Smithsonian Folkways version by Cisco Houston(which cannot be added to YouTube playlists, but you'll find an Amazon affiliate link for it on our Folk Songs page at AO, and as alwa
ys you can bookmark the Youtube link here.)



Crawdad Song



1. You get a line and I'll get a pole, Honey

You get a line and I'll get a pole, Babe

You get a line and I'll get a pole

We'll go down to the crawdad hole

Honey, Baby mine


[A fun, optional verse; try singing a child’s name instead of “now”]

Well get up now, you slept too late, Honey

Get up now, you slept too late, Babe

Get up now, you slept too late

The crawdad man done passed your gate

Honey, Baby mine


2. What ya gonna do when the lake runs dry, Honey

What ya gonna do when the lake runs dry, Babe

What ya gonna do when the lake runs dry

Sit on the bank, watch the crawdads die

Honey, Baby mine


3. Well, I heard a duck say to a drake, Honey

I heard a duck say to a drake, Babe

I heard a duck say to a drake

There ain’t no crawdads in this lake

Honey, Baby mine


4. Well, yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Honey

Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Babe

Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back

Got all the crawdads he can pack

Honey, Baby mine


5. Well the man fell down and he broke that sack, Honey

The man fell down and he broke that sack, Babe

The man fell down and he broke that sack

See those crawdads backing back

Honey, Baby mine


6. Well I sell crawdads three for a dime, Honey

I sell crawdads three for a dime, Babe

I sell crawdads three for a dime

And your crawdads ain’t as good as mine

Honey, Baby mine


Now you get a line and I'll get a pole, Honey

You get a line and I'll get a pole, Babe

You get a line and I'll get a pole

We'll go down to the crawdad hole

Honey, Baby mine



See my playlist for more delightful recordings of Crawdad Song by Andy Griffith and the Dillards, Foggy Mountain Boys, and Woody Guthrie for Smithsonian Folkways.



Lynn's Youtube Playlist for AO Folk Songs 2022-2023


Our helpful intro post is sure to liven up your folk song adventures.


For more information on our folk songs, and for Amazon affiliate 
links to purchase individual songs, see our AO Folk Songs page.

These affiliate links help support AmblesideOnline.