Lost Music Found

Lost Music Found

When we were kids, my sister and I listened to a four-record set night and day, full of great folk songs. We lost it long ago and couldn't find it online. Although we could remember many of the songs, we were sure we remembered that it was called the Newport Folk Festival of some year or another. Now and then we'd find a recording of one of these festivals, but never what we remembered.

The other day a synapse tripped while my sister was trolling YouTube videos of old music recordings: the record set was called "Folk Songs and Minstrelsy." With this clue, we found a copy of the boxed set on eBay. It was a Book of the Month Vanguard recording; only the fourth record is marked "Newport Folk Festival." Googling it, I noticed that every few years someone writes an article about how much they remember loving this set and how sorry they are it was never released on CD. Some of the artists, like Odetta, were prominent enough that particular tracks, or similar ones, showed up on CDs. But, oh! this boxed set has everything I remember, and cuts I've never been able to find again:


  1. Sumer Is Icumen In: The Deller Consort
  2. He That Will an Alehouse Keep: The Deller Consort
  3. Greensleeves: The Deller Consort
  4. We Be Soldiers Three: The Deller Consort
  5. Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies: Leon Bibb
  6. Squirrel: Leon Bibb
  7. Cotton Eyed Joe: Leon Bibb
  8. Darlin': Leon Bibb
  9. Poor Lolette: Leon Bibb


  1. The Golden Vanity: Ronnie Gilbert
  2. Go From My Window: Ronnie Gilbert
  3. Johnny Is Gone for a Soldier: Ronnie Gilbert
  4. Spanish Is a Loving Tongue: Ronnie Gilbert
  5. House of the Rising Sun: Ronnie Gilbert
  6. East Texas Red: Cisco Houston
  7. The Sinking of the Reuben James: Cisco Houston


  1. Meet The Johnson Boys: The Weavers
  2. The Wild Gooses Grasses: The Weavers
  3. Aweigh, Santy Ano: The Weavers
  4. Get Along, Little Dogies: The Weavers
  5. The Erie Canal: The Weavers
  6. We're All Dodgin': The Weavers
  7. The State of Arkansas: The Weavers
  8. Greenland Whale Fisheries: The Weavers
  9. Eddystone Light: The Weavers

SIDE 4: Odetta

  1. I've Been Driving on Bald Mountain/Water Boy
  2. Saro Jane
  3. God's A-Gonna Cut You Down
  4. John Riley
  5. John Henry
  6. All The Pretty Horses
  7. No More Auction Block for Me

SIDE 5: Odetta

  1. The Foggy Dew
  2. No More Cane on the Brazos
  3. The Fox
  4. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
  5. The Ox Driver
  6. Another Man Done Gone
  7. I'm Going Back to the Red Clay Country

SIDE 6: Cisco Houston

  1. Talking Guitar Blues
  2. Danville Girl
  3. Old Dan Tucker
  4. The Buffalo Skinners
  5. The Streets of Laredo
  6. Hard Travelin'
  7. Bonneville Dam
  8. Do Re Mi
  9. The Wreck of the Old 97
  10. John Hardy


  1. The Bold Fisherman: Ed McCurdy
  2. When Cockle Shells Turn Silver Bells: Ed McCurdy
  3. Frankie and Johnny: Ed McCurdy
  4. Lang A-Growin': Ewan MacColl
  5. Virgin Mary Had One Son: Joan Baez/Bob Gibson
  6. Wayfaring Stranger: Bob Gibson
  7. The Hangman: John Jacob Niles
  8. I Know an Old Lady: Alan Mills


  1. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye: Tom Makem
  2. The Whistling Gypsy: Tom Makem
  3. The Cobbler's Song: Tom Makem
  4. Railroad Bill: Cisco Houston
  5. The Cat Came Back: Cisco Houston
  6. East Virginia Blues: Pete Seeger
  7. Old Joe Clark: Jimmy Driftwood
  8. The Unfortunate Man: Jimmy Driftwood

Reviewer Jim Clark notes:

One of the frequent memories of those older than about 30 is how free childhood was back then. Most of us went outside in the morning, returned briefly for dinner, and returned to the world until bedtime. Games were organized by the kids playing them, streets were avenues to the far corners of the known world, and parents were arbitrary and bizarre creatures who appeared only to bring bad news. We lived free, had fun, and learned life's lessons at our pace and in our way. And most of us made it.

But no longer. No, today's kids are protected from germs, weather, competition, failure, loss, disappointment, and anything distasteful. Who would let their children listen to "The Cat Came Back" today? "They dropped him in the hopper when the butcher wasn't round, the cat disappeared with a blood-curdling shriek, and the town's meat tasted furry for a week."

My neighbor's Christmas present this year included equipment and software for transferring LPs to digital format. If she'll help me digitize this box set, I think I'll even learn how to upload it to YouTube.

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