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American Favorite Ballads Vol. 1 - 5 Box set

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

These songs have been part of the fabric of America for a half century or more-and these five volumes of folk ballads recorded by Pete in the '50s and '60s were an integral part of our folk revival. Here are all 139 folk ballads on 5 CDs, each with its own booklet full of extensive notes; legendary songs and performances abound: John Henry; Clementine; Goodnight Irene; Yankee Doodle; Old Dan Tucker; Hole in the Bucket; This Land Is Your Land; America the Beautiful; Midnight Special; Froggie Went A-Courtin'; Boll Weevil; Erie Canal; Arkansas Traveler , and more!

From the Artist

Pete Seeger began singing, playing the banjo, and collecting folk music in the mid-1930s¯and has continued doing so into the 21st century. His life encompasses the social upheavals and transformations of much of the 20th century, while his peace anthems and songs of struggle and hope thread through our national soundtrack. They are as often sung by schoolchildren as by activists at peace and environmental rallies. Even in his late eighties, he inspires people across generations, cultures, and nations.

Moses Asch founded Folkways Records in 1948 to document folk music and other sounds from around the world. Considering these to be educational as well as entertaining, yet aware of their limited commercial appeal, he directed his sales towards libraries and schools. Pete Seeger's five-volume series American Favorite Ballads (recorded 1957-1962), comprised of classic songs from the American experience that adults and children could sing together, formed a cornerstone for Asch's primary audience. Pete Seeger recorded 38 albums for Folkways between 1950 and 1964.

The Smithsonian Institution acquired Folkways from the Asch estate in 1987; Asch's emphasis on the educational nature of Folkways recordings comported perfectly with the Institution's mandate, the "increase and diffusion of knowledge." The year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of Folkways and the 20th anniversary of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. We are pleased to honor Pete Seeger's life and legacy through this reissue, and continue our commitment to preserve and expand Asch's "encyclopedia of sound," thus keeping it available for current and future generations of listeners.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. John Henry [I'm Gonna Die with a Hammer in My Hand] [John Henry Blues]
  2. Shenandoah [the Rolling River] [the Wide Missouri]
  3. Blue-Tailed Fly (Jimmie Crack Corn)
  4. Black Girl [in the Pines] [Where Did You Sleep Last Night?]
  5. Skip to My Lou
  6. The Big Rock Candy Mountain
  7. Clementine [Darling Clementine] [My Darling Clementine] [Oh, My Darling
  8. Yankee Doodle
  9. Home on the Range
  10. John Brown's Body
  11. Goodnight, Irene [Irene, Goodnight]
  12. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  13. Oh, Susanna
  14. Wayfaring Stranger [the Wayfaring Pilgrim] [I'm a Poor Wayfaring Strang
  15. Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep [Mary, Don't You Weep]
  16. Down in the Valley [Birmingham Jail] [Little Willie] [Bird in a Cage]
  17. The Wabash Cannon Ball
  18. On Top of Old Smoky
  19. Frankie and Johnny [Frankie] [Frankie and Albert] [Frankie Baker] [Litt
  20. I Ride an Old Paint
  21. The Wreck of the Old 97
  22. Wagoner's Lad [My Horses Ain't Hungry] [Drunken Hiccups] [Lovin' Nancy]
  23. Old Dan Tucker
  24. I've Been Working on the Railroad [Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah]
  25. Cielito Lindo
  26. So Long, It's Been Good to Know You (Dusty Old Dust)
  27. America the Beautiful
  28. This Land Is Your Land [#]

Disc: 2

  1. Barbara Allen [Barb'ry Ellen] [Barbara Ellen]
  2. Young Man Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn [A Lazy Farmer Boy] [Lazy Man] [the You
  3. Midnight Special
  4. House of the Rising Sun [Rising Sun Blues] [Rounder's Luck]
  5. Careless Love [Careless Blues] [Loveless Love] [Reckless Love]
  6. Oh, What a Beautiful City [Twelve Gates to the City]
  7. Poor Boy [Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot (Or Feet)?] [Green V
  8. Sally Ann [Sandy Land]
  9. The Riddle Song [I Gave My Love a Cherry] [Captain Walker's Courtship]
  10. Go Tell Aunt Rhody [the Old Gray Goose] [the Old Grey Goose Is Dead] [G
  11. The Water Is Wide [Waly, Waly] [the Brisk Young Lover] [Down in the Meadow]
  12. The Fox [the Fox and His Wife] [the Fox and the Grey Goose] [Old Miss Flipp
  13. The Keeper and the Doe [the Keeper] [Hey Down, Hoe Down]
  14. Pretty Polly [the Gosport Tragedy] [the Cruel Ship's Carpenter] [the Sh
  15. Jesse James [the Death of Jesse James] [the Life and Death of Jesse Jam
  16. Stagolee [Stackolee] [Stagger Lee] [Stack Lee]
  17. Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair [Black, Black, Black]
  18. Camptown Races [Gwine to Run All Night]
  19. Blow the Man Down
  20. Froggie Went a Courtin' [the Frog and Mouse] [the Frog He Would a Wooin
  21. I Had a Rooster (Barnyard Song) [the Barnyard Song] [My Little Rooster]
  22. Putting on the Style
  23. The Farmer's Curst Wife [the Farmer's Old Wife] [the Devil and the Farmer's
  24. Hard Travelin'
  25. Alabama Bound [Don't You Leave Me Here]
  26. Wimoweh [the Lion Sleeps Tonight]
  27. Dink's Song [Dink's Blues] [Nora's Dove] [Fare Thee Well]

Disc: 3

  1. Gypsy Davy [Raggle-Taggle Gypsies] [the Gypsy Laddie] [Whistling Gypsy]
  2. Deep Blue Sea
  3. New River Train [Darlin'] [I'll Be on That New Road Someday] [Green Riv
  4. St. James Hospital [the Unfortunate Rake] [Gambler's Blues] [Streets o
  5. E-Ri-E Canal [Erie Canal] [the E-Ri-E Was Rising] [the Canal Boat Song]
  6. St. Louis Blues
  7. Boll Weevil [Boll Weevil Song] [Boll Weevil Blues] [Mississippi Boweavi
  8. The Girl I Left Behind [Brighton Camp] [Regimental Song of the 7th Infantry
  9. When I First Came to This Land
  10. The Titanic [When That Great Ship Went Down] [the Sinking of the Titanic] [
  11. El-A-Noy [Illinois] [the Plains of Illinois] [the State of Illinois] [S
  12. Lady of Carlysle [in Carlysle There Lived a Lady] [the Bold Lieutenant]
  13. My Good Man [My Good Old Man] [Three Nights Drunk] [Four Nights Drunk]
  14. Golden Vanity [the Lowlands Low] [the Lonesome Sea Ballad] [the Sweet T
  15. Ain't It a Shame [Ain't Dat a Shame] [Bill Bailey, Ain't That a Shame]
  16. Swanee River [Way Down Upon the Swanee River]
  17. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child [Motherless Child]
  18. The Boys from County Mayo [Shamrock]
  19. No Irish Need Apply
  20. Paddy Works on the Railroad [Fillimeeooreay] [Pat Works on the Railway]
  21. Arkansas Traveler [Arkansaw Traveler] [the Original Arkansas Traveler]
  22. When I Was Single [When I Was Single, My Pockets Would Jingle] [I Wish
  23. Wond'rous Love
  24. Ground Hog [Groun' Hog] [Old Ground Hog]
  25. Old Blue [Go on Blue] [Old Dog Blue]
  26. She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain
  27. Erie Canal [My Gal Sal] [Low Bridge] [Everybody Down] [Fifteen Miles on

Disc: 4

  1. Banks of the Ohio [the Banks of the O. B. D.] [Down Beside the Ohio] [D
  2. You Are My Sunshine
  3. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum [Hallelujah, Bum Again] [Hallelujah on the Bum]
  4. The Foggy Dew [the Foggy, Foggy Dew] [the Bugaboo]
  5. Molly Malone [in Dublin's Fair City]
  6. Old Maid's Song [Take Me out of Pity] [Don't Let Me Die an Old Maid] [t
  7. Oh, How He Lied [the Deceiver] [He Told Her He Loved Her] [the Villain
  8. Where the Old Allegheny and the Monongahela Flow
  9. Leatherwing Bat [the Bird Song] [the Birds' Courting Song] [the Birds'
  10. Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier [Shule Aroon] [Shule Agrah] [Buttermilk H
  11. Farther Along
  12. Go Down, Moses
  13. All My Trials
  14. Monsieur Banjo [Michie Banjo] [Mister Banjo] [Mister Banjo - Look at th
  15. No More Auction Block [Many Thousand Go]
  16. Hole in the Bucket [the Bucket Song] [Jug Hot en Loch, Der] [Leiwer Hei
  17. What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor [the Drunken Sailor] (Early in
  18. Army Life [Gee, But I Want to Go Home] [I Don't Want No More Army]
  19. Blue Mountain Lake [the Bells of Long Lake] [Come All Ye Good Fellers]
  20. Lady Margaret [Lady Margaret and Sweet William] [Fair Margaret and Swee
  21. John Hardy [Johnny Hard] [John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man] [Johnn
  22. Johnson [the Three Butchers] [the Two Butchers] [Young Butcher Boy]
  23. John Riley [Pretty Fair Maid] [the Broken Token] [as I Walked out Some
  24. Washer Lad [Four Pence a Day]
  25. Talking Blues [the Original Talking Blues]
  26. Lolly Too Dum [the Fit Comes on Me Now] [I Must and I Will Get Married
  27. T. B. Blues
  28. Summertime [Summertime an' the Livin' Is Easy]

Disc: 5

  1. Trail to Mexico [Following the Cow Trail]
  2. Red River Valley
  3. Old Joe Clark [Joe Clarke] [Ole Joe Clark]
  4. St. James Infirmary [the Unfortunate Rake] [St. James Hospital] [Gamble
  5. Green County Bachelor [Starving to Death on My Government Claim] [Lane
  6. Ox Driver's Song [Ox Driving Song-Pop My Whip]
  7. Buffalo Gals
  8. Joe Bowers [the Disappointment of Joe Bowers] [When I Struck Muskoka]
  9. Texian Boys
  10. My Sweetheart Is a Mule in the Mines
  11. Johnny Gray [Peter Gray] [Ballad of Peter Gray] [Blow Ye Winds of Morni
  12. Cowboy Yodel
  13. Sioux Indians
  14. Ida Red
  15. Holler
  16. Cumberland Gap
  17. Sweet Betsy from Pike [Betsy from Pike]
  18. Buffalo Skinners [the Buffalo Range] [the Range of the Buffalo] [Boggy
  19. Whiskey, Rye Whiskey [Jack O'Diamonds] [Clinch Mountain]
  20. Stewball [Skewball] [Molly and Tenbrooks] [Stuball]
  21. Whoopie Ti-Yi-Yo, Get Along, Little Dogies [Git Along, Little Dogies]
  22. Strawberry Roan [#]
  23. Jay Gould's Daughter [Kassie Jones]
  24. Play-Party
  25. I Never Will Marry [the Damsel's Lament] [Down by the Sea-Shore] [One D
  26. Riflemen of Bennington [the Bennington Riflemen]
  27. Kingdom Coming (Year of Jubilo) [the Year of Jubilo] [Jubilo] [Lincoln'
  28. Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase [Bear Hunt] [Bear Chase]


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 21, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: April 21, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Smithsonian/Folkways
  • ASIN: B001SGKQI6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,577 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a great collection of folk songs by master folk song interpreter Pete Seeger. Each song rings with honesty and earthy joy, resounding in authenticity and energy. Seeger approaches the songs naturally without forcing text or music to fit into a prescribed scheme. The songs seem to flow out of his heart and each performance demonstrates a depth of understanding of the history of each song.

This collection is unparalled for its comprehensive look at the wonderfully complex world of the American folk song. As I listened, it brought back memories of childhood songs that somehow have stayed with me for many years in spite of their dormancy. Seeger is a master at interpretation and we are indebted to him for this collection.
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Since my youth I have had an ear for roots music, whether I was conscious of that fact or not. The original of that interest first centered on the blues, then early rock and roll and later, with the folk revival of the early 1960's, folk music. I have often wondered about the source of this interest. I am, and have always been a city boy, and an Eastern city boy at that. Nevertheless, over time I have come to appreciate many more forms of roots music than in my youth. The subject of the following review is an example.

I have done reviews of Pete Seeger's more political albums and need not address those issues here. These volumes of American classics with Pete and banjo are the songs you learned mysteriously in your youth, apparently by osmosis. As each song goes along you find yourself singing along to at least part of the song. These songs go deep into the popular culture and the roots of what makes those of us who were born here conscious of the musical influences that formed our lives. You may not like every song but the total effect will grab you.
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By Matti on November 19, 2009
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This is a compilation all Seeger fans have been waiting, late fifties and early sixties in one box with fine liner notes. There is also an exellent 3-disc compilation " Rainbow Race / "Now" / "Young vs. Old" from 1969-71 available to complete your perfect Pete Seeger marathon.
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I find it to be very ironic that the works of two of the biggest rebels in American cultural history, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, are published, marketed and sold by the American government.

Of course this is a consequence of the Smithsonian acquiring the Folkways archives. But it doesn't take away from the irony. The Smithsonian isn't marketing the works of Joe McCarthy!!

Grab this set while you can. The original records are next to impossible to find. The booklets that come with each CD are very well written
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This recording rates a '5' for its historical value and the quality of the performance.

There are around 100 old folks songs (as in public domain old) and this legacy is well worth preserving. This set of recordings make them available as the folks idiom changes and many of these songs get lost in time.

Seeger brings appropriate instrumentation and, as one reviewer observed, the joy that bring these songs alive. Most recordings of old folks songs can get a bit sterile. Not so with these performances by Pete Seeger.
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Pete Seeger's five "American Favorite Ballads" LPs were the basic documents of American folk music for generations. No dusty museum pieces, though - they were lively, funny, inspirational, joyous. It is delightful to see them begin to appear now on CD, especially fleshed out, as this volume is, with appropriate additional tracks from his other out-of-print Folkways LPs (how about getting some of those out on CD?). Essential in every way.
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I originally bought this cd in order to see if I wanted to buy the entire set. After listening to it, I do. Seeger brings these favorites to life bringing in some unfamiliar lyrics that I am sure were closer to the original spirit of the songs than the ones that we all learned in grade school. The simple accompaniment adds to the attraction of the songs.
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Pete Seeger is an American treasure. This collection is a perfect introduction, or a lasting reminder of his mark on the American landscape. A VERY GREAT COLLECTION FROM A VERY GREAT AMERICAN!
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