The Amazon Anthology of American Folk Music

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Amazon Anthology of American Folk Music is a collection of songs compiled by musicologist Harry Smith. It was released in 1952 by Folkways Records.

The History of American Folk Music

American Folk music is a genre of music that originates from the United States of America. This type of music is a combination of various musical traditions from around the world, including Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Folk music has been around for centuries, and it has been passed down from generation to generation.

The Origins of American Folk Music

The origins of American folk music can be traced back to the songs and ballads of the British Isles. These songs were brought over by immigrants who settled in the United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many of these songs were adapted to fit the American experience, and they became popular among both settlers and Native Americans. Folk music was also influenced by the music of African slaves, who brought their own musical traditions with them when they were forcibly brought to America.

Folk music became particularly popular during the American Civil War, when soldiers on both sides would sing songs to lift their spirits. After the war, folk music began to be commercialized, and it became a staple of American popular culture. Folk musicians such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger helped to keep the tradition alive in the twentieth century, and folk music continues to be popular in America today.

The Evolution of American Folk Music

American folk music is a musical tradition that evolved over time in the United States, starting with the music of Native Americans, and then blending in influences from various European immigrant groups who arrived in the country during the colonial era. The term “folk music” refers to a wide variety of traditional musical styles, including country music, blues, bluegrass, and folk rock.

The evolution of American folk music can be traced back to the early days of the nation, when songs and stories were passed down orally from generation to generation. Native American tribes had their own unique musical traditions, which blended elements of their cultures with the music of the immigrant groups who came to live on their lands. As these cultures interacted, they began to influence each other’s music.

Over time, American folk music evolved into its own distinct style, blending elements of various cultures and traditions. This diversity is one of the things that makes American folk music so special. It is a reflection of the country’s rich history and diverse population.

Today, American folk music is enjoyed by people all over the world. It has been influential in many other genres of music, including country, rock, and blues. Many famous musicians have roots in folk music, including Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger.

The Best American Folk Music Albums

Folk music in the United States has its roots in the folk music of England, Ireland, Scotland, and other European countries. American folk music has been influenced by a number of factors, including the songs of immigrants, songs of the Civil War, and the music of the Appalachians. American folk music has also been influenced by jazz, blues, and gospel music.

The Anthology of American Folk Music

The Anthology of American Folk Music is a six-album compilation released in 1952 by Folkways Records (catalogue FP 251, FP 252, and FP 253), assembled by the noted musicologist and film-maker Harry Smith. It is one of the most influential releases in the history of folk music, and helped spark a revival of interest in both traditional folk music and American roots music.

The Anthology was issued both as a box set of six 78-rpm records, and as a set of three double-sided LPs (running at 33⅓ rpm). Each album included 24 songs, totaling 72 songs in all. Most were previously issued on 78-rpm records, many of them dating back to the 1920s and earlier. The great majority were recorded between 1927 and 1929, with a handful from 1930 and 1931. Smith compiled the music from his own collection of 78-rpm records, which he had amassed over several years. He assembled them into “the greatest hits from that definitive era in our nation’s musical heritage”, organized into three two-album themes: “Ballads”, “Social Music”, and “Songs”.

The Best of the Folk Years

These are the best Folk years albums, according to Amazon. This list only focuses on full-length studio albums and not compilations or live albums.
1. The Anthology of American Folk Music – Various Artists (2002)
2. The Best of Broadside 1962-1988 – Broadside (1998)
3. Contemporary Folk Music: The Second Wave – Various Artists (2001)
4. Dylan – Bob Dylan (1962)
5. Electronic Pearl: The Best of new folk music – Various Artists (2000)
6. Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan (1963)
7. Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 – Joan Baez (1971)
8. In the Wind – Peter, Paul & Mary (1963)
9. keepers: An Anthology of American Folk Music – Various Artists (2002)
10. Pete Seeger’s Greatest Hits – Pete Seeger (1966)

The Folk Box

One of the most influential music compilations of the twentieth century, The Folk Box was released in four LP installments between 1952 and 1961. The brainchild of record producer Moses Asch, the project was originally conceived as a follow-up to Harry Smith’s pioneering Anthology of American Folk Music (1952), which had been issued by Asch’s folk label, Folkways Records. Like Smith’s anthology, The Folk Box was assembled from commercial recordings made in the 1920s and 1930s and released on 78-rpm discs. But whereas Smith’s collection was drawn exclusively from old-timey and country material, The Folk Box encompassed a much broader range of folk styles, including blues, gospel, work songs, shape note hymns, string band music, Cajun tunes, and Mexican folksongs.

The set was issued in four themed installments: Ballads (1952), Social Music (1954), Songs (1955), and Dance Tunes (1961). In addition to numerous tracks by well-known artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bessie Smith, the Carter Family, Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, the Mississippi Sheiks, and the Skillet Lickers, The Folk Box featured a number of then-obscure recordings that would later be rediscovered and popularized by the folk revivalists of the 1960s. These included such classics as “I Never Will Marry,” “In the Pines,” “John Henry,” “Precious Lord Take My Hand,” “Rock Island Line,” and “Stackolee.”

A key work in both the history of recorded music and American folklore, The Folk Box had a profound impact on subsequent generations of musicians and music lovers. It remains an essential starting point for anyone interested in exploring the richness and diversity of America’s musical heritage.

The Amazon Anthology of American Folk Music

The Amazon Anthology of American Folk Music is a collection of songs, tales, and ballads compiled by Musicologist and folklorist Alan Lomax. The collection was originally released in 1952 by Folkways Records and has been considered one of the most influential folk music collections ever released.

The Anthology of American Folk Music on Amazon

The Anthology of American Folk Music is a six-album compilation released in 1952 by Folkways Records (catalogue FP 251, FP 252, and FP 253), representing a landmark in the history of American folk music. The brainchild of entrepreneur Moses Asch, who ran Folkways recordings, it was compiled by musicologist and New York Folklore Society director Harry Smith from his personal collection of blues, country, Cajun, and gospel recordings from the 1920s and 1930s.

The Anthology popularized a number of previously obscure musicians and provided the material for countless subsequent reissues (both authorized and unauthorized) and compilations. Most notably, it was commercially successful in reviving the careers of two forgotten country musicians, Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb. In 2003, the album was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The Best of the Folk Years on Amazon

There are few American musicians who have been as influential as Woody Guthrie. His songs have been covered by everyone from Pete Seeger to Bruce Springsteen, and his life has been chronicled in books, films, and documentaries. Now, Amazon Music is celebrating the folk icon with a new Anthology of American Folk Music.

The 80-track collection features some of Guthrie’s best-known songs, including “This Land Is Your Land,” ” Pastures of Plenty,” and “Pretty Boy Floyd.” But it also includes a wealth of lesser-known gems, like “Run Communist Run,” “I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore,” and “I Ain’t Got No Use For The FBI.”

In addition to Guthrie, the Anthology features a who’s who of American folk music, including Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Cisco Houston, Lead Belly, Josh White, Odetta, Alan Lomax, Woody Hermann, and many others. It’s a fascinating collection that provides a glimpse into America’s musical past.

The Folk Box on Amazon

Released in 1997, Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music was one of the most influential releases in the history of recorded music. The original LP set, released by Folkways Records in 1952, was compiled by Smith from his personal collection of 78 rpm records. The six-album set included 84 songs, organized into three “volume” sections: “Ballads,” “Social Music,” and “Songs.” The Anthology helped to spark the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and has had a lasting impact on the development of Americana and alternative musical genres such as rock and roll, punk, hip hop, and electronic music.

The Amazon Anthology of American Folk Music is a box set released by Amazon Music in 2017. The set includes 9 CDs containing 160 tracks, with a total running time of over 7 hours. It features Performances by some of the most influential artists in the history of American folk music, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. The set also includes a 72-page booklet with liner notes by music historian Bill Cramer.

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