Friday Favorites 3/29/2013

gordonWhen I graduated from high school in 1962, the so-called second folk music revival was reaching its peak.  Of course, uneducated as I was in the history of music, it was all new to me.  I just liked what I heard, mostly acoustic guitar accompanied songs based on old folk tunes and modern compositions in the same style.  As has always been my way, when I like a music style, I don’t just listen, I get into it, as we used to say (Do they say that anymore?).  As a result, I suspect I’ve listened to folk groups that most of my readers have never heard of.  Ready? The Chad Mitchell Trio.  The Limelighters.  The New Christy Minstrels.  The Roof  Top Singers.  The Highwaymen.  See?  Then there were others who achieved sufficient fame … and influenced future musicians enough … that you may know them.   The commercial but smooth folk music of the Kingston Trio.   Peter, Paul and Mary (Is is hard to believe that Puff the Magic Dragon was a big hit?).  The gravel-throated but brilliant songwriter, Bob Dylan.  The barefoot madonna, Joan Baez.  As nostalgic as I can be about music, the folk era is a road I rarely wander in search of memories, although the music still holds a spot in my heart.  Yes, I can still get nostalgic if I hear The Kingston Trio sing Scotch and Soda or Peter, Paul and Mary’s beautiful rendition of Gordon Lightfoot’s composition, Early Morning Rain.

Yes, then there’s Gordon Lightfoot.  The contemporary folk era was greatly influenced by Canadian performers like Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Lightfoot, in particular, brought a Canadian content to the stories told in his music.   His strong baritone voice and twelve-stringed guitar make his songs immediately recognizable.  He’s the only folk artist who travels with me in my mp3 collection on my Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket.   I suppose you’re most likely to recognize his hits, like Sundown, or the beautiful, If You Could read My Mind, written as a reflection on his disintegrating marriage.

But my favorite is a true folk epic, the story of the building of the transcontinental railroad in Canada.   Take the time to listen to the entire trilogy, to enjoy the changes of mood and the images in this video of the railroad construction.  Listen closely to the words and the banjo riffs.  This is what the best of the folk era was about.

It’s this week’s Friday Favorite.

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One Comment on “Friday Favorites 3/29/2013”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I love your video picks. I always loved folk music. I graduated high school in 1970 so it was waning in popularity at that point. But even today when music is released with a similar vibe of folk rock such as the Lumineers., I really enjoy it.


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