The Top 5 Folk Music Albums of All Time

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

In this blog post, we’ll be counting down the top five folk music albums of all time. This list was compiled by taking into account album sales, critical acclaim, and cultural impact.

The Top 5 Folk Music Albums of All Time

What are the best folk music albums of all time? This is a question that has been debated by music fans for decades. There are many different ways to approach this question, and there are no easy answers. To complicate matters further, the term “folk music” can be interpreted in a variety of ways. For the purposes of this article, we will define folk music as traditional music that has been passed down orally, or through print, and that is typically associated with a particular culture or region. With that in mind, here are our picks for the top 5 folk music albums of all time.

1) The Anthology of American Folk Music: Edited by Harry Smith

This six-album set was released in 1952 and compiled by Harry Smith from his personal collection of 78 rpm records. The Anthology is widely regarded as one of the most important documents of American folk music, and it contains songs that date back to the late 19th century.

2) The Weavers at Carnegie Hall: Released in 1957

The Weavers were one of the most popular folk groups of the 1950s, and this live album captures them at the height of their powers. It features renditions of some of the group’s best-known songs, including “On Top of Old Smokey” and “Goodnight Irene.”

3) Ola Belle Reed and Southern mountaineers: Released in 1965

Ola Belle Reed was a traditional Appalachian musician who was relatively unknown outside of her native region. This album helped to introduce her unique style of mountain music to a wider audience, and it is now considered a classic.

4) Bob Dylan: Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan: Released in 1963

This is the album that made Bob Dylan a star, and it features some of his most iconic early songs, including “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is one of the most influential albums in folk history.

5) Fairport Convention: Liege & Lief: Released in 1969

Liege & Lief is often seen as a watershed moment for British folk music, as it helped to bring traditional songs into the modern era. The album features renditions of well-known folk standards like “Matty Groves” and “The Deserter,” as well as original compositions by band members Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny.

The Best Folk Music Albums of All Time

The Best Folk Music Albums of All Time

1. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
2. Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
3. Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
4. Blonde on Blonde (1966)
5. Blood on the Tracks (1975)

The Most Influential Folk Music Albums of All Time

Folk music has been around for centuries and has had a profound impact on the development of popular music. While there are countless great folk albums, there are a few that stand out as truly influential and important. Here are the top five folk music albums of all time:

1. Bob Dylan – “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” (1963)
2. Simon and Garfunkel – “The Sound of Silence” (1964)
3. Joan Baez – “Farewell, Angelina” (1965)
4. Crosby, Stills & Nash – “Deja Vu” (1970)
5. Neil Young – “Harvest” (1972)

There are many great folk music albums, but some are more popular than others. The following is a list of the top 5 most popular folk music albums of all time:

1. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” by Bob Dylan
2. “The Beatles” (The White Album) by The Beatles
3. “No Direction Home: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7” by Bob Dylan
4. “Blood on the Tracks” by Bob Dylan
5. “In the Wee Small Hours” by Frank Sinatra

The Most Critically Acclaimed Folk Music Albums of All Time

The top 5 folk music albums of all time according to critics are:

1. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” by Bob Dylan (1963)

2. “The Times They Are A-Changin'” by Bob Dylan (1964)

3. “Bringing It All Back Home” by Bob Dylan (1965)

4. “Highway 61 Revisited” by Bob Dylan (1965)

5. “Blonde on Blonde” by Bob Dylan (1966)

The Most Controversial Folk Music Albums of All Time

Folk music is a genre of music that is typically associated with Americana. The sound is often acoustic and rustic, and the lyrics often deal with topics such as love, loss, and heartbreak. Folk music has been around for centuries, and there have been many different interpretations of the genre over the years.

Listed below are five of the most controversial folk music albums of all time. These albums pushed the boundaries of the genre and received mixed reviews from both critics and fans.

1. Michael Hurley – First Songs (1965)
2. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
3. Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding (1968)
4. Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972)
5. Fairport Convention – Liege & Lief (1969)

The Most Innovative Folk Music Albums of All Time

Folk music has a rich history and many different sub-genres. It has been used to tell stories, convey messages, and document the human experience for centuries. While there are countless folk albums that are worth listening to, some have been particularly influential and innovative. Here are five of the most important folk music albums of all time.

1. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” by Bob Dylan (1963)
2. “The Songs of Leonard Cohen” by Leonard Cohen (1967)
3. “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison (1968)
4. “Unhalfbricking” by Fairport Convention (1969)
5. “The Band” by The Band (1969)

The Most Underrated Folk Music Albums of All Time

The list of the most underrated folk music albums of all time is a long one. It includes albums by artists who were influential in the development of the genre, as well as more recent releases by artists who are continuing to push the boundaries of what folk music can be.

1. ‘The Unfairground’ by June Tabor
2. ‘Blackwaterside’ by Anne Briggs
3. ‘The Hazards of Love’ by The Decemberists
4. ‘Horses’ by Lisa Hannigan
5. ‘Marrow of the Spirit’ by Agalloch

The Most Overrated Folk Music Albums of All Time

In no particular order, here are the most overrated folk music albums of all time.

1. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan: This album is often considered to be one of the greatest of all time, but it’s really not that great. The songs are all right, but they’re nothing special.

2. The Byrds (aka Mr. Tambourine Man): This album is another one that’s highly overrated. The Byrds were a great band, but this album is just okay.

3. Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits: This album is overrated because it doesn’t include any of Simon and Garfunkel’s best songs. “The Sound of Silence,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “The Boxer” are all missing from this collection.

4. Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits: Like the Simon and Garfunkel album, this one is also missing some of Dylan’s best tracks. “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'” are all absent from this greatest hits collection.

5. anything by Creedence Clearwater Revival: Creedence Clearwater Revival was a great band, but their albums are generally overrated. If you’re looking for a good CCW album, try Cosmo’s Factory or Willy and the Poor Boys instead.

The Most underrated Folk Music Albums of All Time

In a genre often overshadowed by its more popular cousins, folk music sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. But for those who appreciate the nuances and subtleties of folk, there are a number of excellent albums that have been released over the years. Here are five of the most underrated folk music albums of all time.

1. Fairport Convention – Unhalfbricking (1969)
One of the most influential bands in the history of folk rock, Fairport Convention was at the height of their powers when they released Unhalfbricking in 1969. Featuring what is arguably the band’s most iconic lineup, with Richard Thompson on guitar and Sandy Denny on vocals, Unhalfbricking is a masterclass in British folk music. From the ethereal “Genesis Hall” to the toe-tapping “A Sailor’s Life”, this is an album that deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

2. The Byrds – Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)
The Byrds are best known for their work in the realm of pop and rock, but they also dabbled in country and western on occasion, as evidenced by their 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Featuring Gram Parsons on pedal steel guitar, Sweetheart of the Rodeo is a country-folk classic that stands alongside The Byrds’ best work. From the gentle lilt of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” to the twangy shuffle of “Hickory Wind”, this is an album that merits repeated listens.

3. Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding (1967)
Released just months after Bob Dylan’s motorcycle accident, John Wesley Harding marked a shift in direction for the singer-songwriter, moving away from the electric sound of his previous albums towards a more stripped-down acoustic style. Featuring such classics as “All Along the Watchtower” and “The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest”, John Wesley Harding is one of Dylan’s finest achievement and an essential listen for any fan of folk music.

4. Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends (1968)
The fourth studio album from Simon & Garfunkel, Bookends is a timeless collection of folk-pop gems reminiscent of The Beatles at their best. From the anthemic opener “Bookends Theme” to the beautiful balladry of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, this is an album that showcases Paul Simon at his very finest. If you only ever listen to one Simon & Garfunkel album, make it this one.

5. Leonard Cohen – Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967)

Leonard Cohen is best known as a poet and novelist, but he also dabbled in music throughout his career, releasing 14 albums between 1967 and 2016. His debut album Songs Of Leonard Cohen is widely regarded as one of his finest achievements, containing such classics as “Suzanne” and “So Long Marianne”. If you’re looking for something a little different from your usual folk fare, then this is certainly worth checking out

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