“Folk Music in America” is a series of 15 LP records published by the
Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978 to celebrate the bicentennial
of the American Revolution. It was curated by
librarian/collector-cum-discographer Richard K. Spottswood, and funded
by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.
pulled primarily from the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song (now
Archive of Folk Culture), spans nearly a century (1890-1976) and
virtually every form that can be considered American music. This
includes native American songs and instrumental music, music of
immigrant cultures from all over the world, and uniquely American forms
like blues, jazz and country.
15 LP records (252 songs, 12 hours), the series stretches what can be
considered a single publication, but represents a somewhat comprehensive
survey of American folk music of the 20th century. The booklets
(included here in PDF form) transcribe lyrics, share images and tell
short stories about sources and symbols helpful in understanding the
material. Each disc is organized along a theme, which follow. Click the
links below to download the “discs” individually, or the image above to
download the whole anthology. If you absolutely have to choose, I’m
partial to volumes 1, 6 and 14.
- Religious Music – Congregational and Ceremonial
- Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage
- Dance Music – Breakdowns and Waltzes
- Dance Music – Reels, Polkas, Etc.
- Dance Music – Ragtime, Jazz, Etc.
- Songs of Migration and Immigration
- Songs of Complaint and Protest
- Songs of Labor and Livelihood
- Songs of Death and Tragedy
- Songs of War and History
- Songs of Humor and Hilarity
- Songs of Local History and Events
- Songs of Childhood
- Solo and Display Music
- Religious Music – Solo and Performance
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