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American Folk Music and Folklore Recordings: A Selected List 1990

Jennifer Cutting
Project Coordinator

American Folklife Center
Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540 c. 1991


  • Kip Lornell Smithsonian Institution
  • Portia Maultsby Department of Afro-American Studies, Indiana University
  • Terry Miller Center for the Study of World Music, Kent State University
  • Jose Reyna Department of Foreign Languages California State University at Bakersfield
  • Joe Wilson National Council for the Traditional Arts

ISSN 0748-5905

Available free of charge from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540-8100.


Since 1928 the Library of Congress has been collecting sound recordings, manuscripts, motion pictures, and photographs that document America's folk artists; and for the last fifty years the Library has published a series of phonograph records and audiocassettes that provide highlights from the collections in the Archive of Folk Culture. In keeping with this effort, since 1983 the Library's American Folklife Center has published AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC AND FOLKLORE RECORDINGS: A SELECTED LIST to help promote the best recordings of American folk music and folklore issued by various companies and organizations the previous year.

Small companies and organizations produce the greatest number of traditional music recordings. Many recordings result from field research projects that have received support from state arts councils, state humanities committees, and the Folk Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. Although these folk music and folklore recordings elude mainstream distribution networks and seldom appear in record shops and catalogs, they present some of the finest examples of American folk artistry and help to encourage performers in local communities. The recordings are also valuable resources for students, teachers, and libraries. We hope that the publication of the selected list will foster an increased awareness of such recordings and of the forms of expression they present. Each year a panel of specialists in American traditional music meets to select a group of outstanding recordings from the approximately two hundred phonograph records, audiocassettes, and compact discs submitted by producers and manufacturers or suggested by various interested parties. The resulting list is not comprehensive but is intended to make known to libraries, educators, and others important recent sound recordings. To be eligible for consideration for the 1991 list, a recording must:

1. have been released in 1991 (or 1990 if not previously submitted);

2. feature cultural traditions found within the United States;

3. emphasize "root traditions" over popular adaptations of traditional materials;

4. be conveniently available to purchasers in the United States;

5. include well-annotated liner notes or accompanying booklets relating the recordings to the performers, their communities, genres, styles, or other pertinent information.

The American Folklife Center hopes that this list will encourage the continuing production of documentary folk recordings, which in turn will help conserve our country's rich folk heritage. We also hope that the list will stimulate record companies to include sufficient documentation with each recording to make it an efficient tool for education.

The recordings in the following annotated listings are produced by the companies and organizations listed at the end of the booklet. None of the recordings listed is manufactured or distributed by the Library of Congress. The booklet also lists other publications that review folk music and folklore recordings, and major mail-order dealers of folk recordings. We have included Library of Congress control numbers for the convenience of librarians; they need not be used when ordering these recordings from the particular company.

To nominate recordings for the 1991 list or to receive additional copies of this booklet, please write to: Selected List, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540-8100.


AMERICAN BANJO: THREE-FINGER AND SCRUGGS STYLE. Smithsonian/Folkways Records SF 40037. CD/cassette/LP. Reissue of a 1957 Folkways album featuring fifteen banjo players who share the arpeggiated three-finger banjo style developed by Earl Scruggs in the 1940s, presented in a progression from older home- style to a more modern professional style. A major portion of the recording is devoted to Snuffy Jenkins, who was the most important three-finger style picker before Earl Scruggs, and Scruggs's primary influence. Most of the other players represented were influenced by Scruggs, but developed their own styles. Contains 16 previously unissued selections, with original notes by Ralph Rinzler and Mike Seeger, revised and expanded by Mike Seeger. Historical/Banjo.

BEEN IN THE STORM SO LONG: SPIRITUALS, FOLK TALES AND CHILDREN'S GAMES FROM JOHN'S ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA. Smithsonian/Folkways Records SF 40031. CD/cassette. Collection of spirituals and shouts, folk tales, and children's games from the Gullah culture, recorded in the early 1960s on Johns Island, one of a group of sea islands south of Charleston, South Carolina. Gullah refers to the English Creole language spoken by older community members as well as to the culture as a whole, which embodies some of the oldest forms of African American folklife in the U.S. Collection was compiled from two previously issued Folkways albums, with new notes by Guy and Candi Carawan. Historical/African American.

MEMPHIS SLIM, BIG BILL BROONZY, AND SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: BLUES IN THE MISSISSIPPI NIGHT. Rykodisc RCD 90155/RACS 0155. CD/cassette. Reissue of Alan Lomax's historic 1946 recording of a three-way converstion between mid-South bluesmen Memphis Slim (AKA Peter Chatman), Big Bill Broonzy, and John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson on the origin of the blues, and their candid recollections of racial injustices in the pre-civil rights South. Their reminiscences are punctuated by spontaneous performances of songs and levee camp hollers, and by some of Lomax's other Mississippi Delta field recordings from the same era. Seventy- two-page booklet contains notes by Lomax, a transcription of the disc, brief biographies by Matthew Barton, and photos. Historical/African American/Reminiscences and Blues.

BOUND FOR CANAAN: SACRED HARP SINGING FROM SAND MOUNTAIN, ALABAMA. Hollow Square Productions, no catalog number. Cassette. Recent recording of Sacred Harp singing, an unaccompanied part- singing tradition that derives its name and repertoire from the popular shape-note tune book first published in 1844. The singing, recorded live in a church, is led by the Wootten family, whose ancestors brought the SACRED HARP to the Sand Mountain area from Georgia shortly after the Civil War, and who continue to use the song book in their church meetings, family gatherings, and all-day song services. Notes by Jim Carnes. Contemporary/Anglo- American/Shape Note Singing.

CHILDREN OF THE FINNISH IMMIGRANT: FINNISH-AMERICAN MUSIC FROM UPPER MICHIGAN. Thimbleberry Recordings THC 1008. Cassette. Traditional songs from Finland, songs of the immigrant experience, and original dance tunes from five second-generation Finnish Americans from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Songs sung in Finnish (except for a humorous song-monologue in "Finglish") are interspersed with waltzes, polkas, and schottisches played mostly on the fiddle, with guitar, mandolin, and banjo accompaniment. Notes by Oren Tikkanen contain biographical information on the musicians and some translations of Finnish lyrics. Contemporary/Finnish American/Upper Michigan.

¡CONJUNTO! TEXAS-MEXICAN BORDER MUSIC, VOLUMES 3 AND 4. Rounder 6030/6034. CD/cassette. Latest releases in an anthology series featuring well-known groups that play "conjunto," a dance music tradition from south Texas. Button accordion is the predominant instrument in conjunto bands, whose repertoires typically include polkas, _rancheras_, and other dance tunes. These two volumes comprise both traditional conjunto groups and those that reflect the influences of more recent musical forms on conjunto repertoire and style, including a pop-oriented group with keyboard instruments, and a Texas Chicano country and western band. Insert has Spanish lyrics with English translations; notes by Jose R. Reyna. Contemporary/Mexican American/Conjunto.

BLINKY & THE ROADMASTERS: CRUCIAN SCRATCH BAND MUSIC. Rounder 5047. CD/cassette/LP. Songs and instrumentals from eight-member "scratch band" from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, whose instrumental lineup includes alto saxophones, electric guitar, banjo-ukelele, electric bass, conga, triangle, and güiro (a hollow, ridged gourd that makes a "scratchy" sound when scraped). Songs on this album commemorate local characters, comment on the behavior of other community members, and recall boycotts and riots of exploited laborers. Related to a traditional British ballad, "Matty Gru" made its way into the Roadmasters' repertoire via a British folk drama known locally as the King George play. The group's instrumental tunes reflect the musical traditions of the many nationalities that have settled the island: West African, Danish, Scottish, Irish, American, and British West Indian. This recording includes a merengue that originated in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, as well as a European-derived quadrille. Notes by Mary Jane Soule. Contemporary/U.S. Virgin Islands.

THE DOC WATSON FAMILY. Smithsonian/Folkways Records SF 40012. CD/cassette/LP. A family sampler of Anglo-American songs and instrumental tunes from the Watson family of Deep Gap, North Carolina. Featured prominently are best-known family member Doc Watson on vocals, guitar, autoharp, banjo, and mandolin; Doc's father-in-law Gaither Carlton on fiddle, banjo, and vocal; and his late son Merle on guitar and banjo. Doc's mother Annie Watson, his wife Rosa Lee Watson, and other family members contribute hymns and ballads, and the family sings together on two southern hymns. This reissue contains 15 selections from original 1963 Folkways album, plus 11 previously unreleased selections (eight on the LP). New notes compiled by Jeff Place with assistance from Ralph Rinzler and Doc Watson. Historical/Appalachian.

DEL MCCOURY: DON'T STOP THE MUSIC. Rounder 0245. CD/cassette. This recording marks the start of the fourth decade of recording for bluegrass veteran Del McCoury, who first gained national visibility as a lead singer/guitar player in Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys. McCoury's band on this album is notable for the twin fiddle sound of Jon Glik and Warren Blair; other band members are brother Jerry McCoury (bass and vocals), and sons Ron (mandolin, duet and trio vocals), and Rob (banjo). Selections are strong on bluesy material, and include two of McCoury's originals as well as a version of "You'll Find Her Name Written There," originally popularized by Bill Monroe. Notes by Pete Wernick. Contemporary/Bluegrass.

FROM RICE PADDIES AND TEMPLE YARDS: TRADITIONAL MUSIC OF VIETNAM. World Music Press, no catalog number. Cassette/soft-cover book set. Education-oriented book and tape set documents the music and culture of Vietnam, including game songs, love songs, boating songs, recited and sung poetry and instrumental music, performed by a group of Vietnamese musicians who now reside in the U.S. Accompanying book, co-authored by musician and ethnomusicologist Phong Nguyen and music educator Patricia Shehan Campbell, contains photographs and information on Vietnamese history and culture, Vietnamese musical forms and musical instruments, and an account of changing traditions in Vietnamese-American communities in the U.S. Lessons corresponding to each recorded selection include musical notation, text, pronounciation, and translation; study guides containing questions and exercises range from early childhood to adult levels. Contemporary/Vietnamese American.

GEORGIA FOLK: A SAMPLER OF TRADITIONAL SOUNDS. Global Village SC 03, produced in association with Georgia Folklife Program. Cassette. Anthology of the diverse sacred and secular folk traditions found in the state of Georgia, from the more familiar traditions of old-time stringband music, unaccompanied ballads, gospel quartets, and blues guitar, to less recorded traditions such as mouth bow music, ring shouts, buckdancing, and hambone. The sampler, which spans the years 1928 to 1989, is drawn from commercial 78 rpm records, home disc recordings, and recent field recordings. Notes by Maggie Holtzberg-Call. Contemporary and Historical/Georgia.

"HOW I GOT OVER:" AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC - THE FESTIVALS AT LOWELL, VOLUME 1. Co-sponsored by the Greater Lowell Regatta Festival Committee and the New England Folklife Center, no catalog number. Cassette. Fourteen genres of African American music selected from three years of live performances at the National Folk Festival held in Lowell, Massachusetts. Mostly North American traditions, with a few examples from Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Some of the traditions represented are black stringband music from North Carolina, Mardi Gras Indian music from New Orleans, a Washington, D.C. gospel brass band, African palmwine music, and Creole stringband music from the Cape Verde Islands. Notes by Joe Wilson. Contemporary/African American.

I HEAR MUSIC IN THE AIR. RCA Heritage Series, RCA/BMG Music 2099- 2/4-R. CD/cassette. Presents the music of six unaccompanied gospel quartets recorded between 1931 and 1942 in a stylistic cross-section that encompasses the raw, bluesy, "hard" gospel of the Heavenly Gospel Singers, the sophistication of the famous Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, and the rhythm and blues-presaging lead lines and harmonies of the Southern Sons. Also, sermons and songs by Rev. J.M. Gates, Elder J.E. Burch, and Rev. E.D. Campbell, three early "recording preachers," and their congregations. Notes by Billy Altman. Historical/African American.

J'AI ETE AU BAL (I WENT TO THE DANCE) VOLUMES 1 AND 2. Arhoolie 331/332. CD/cassette. Soundtrack recording for the Les Blank, Chris Strachwitz, and Maureen Gosling film that comprehensively documents the historical development of Cajun and zydeco music through the early recording, string band, post-World War II revival, and contemporary periods. This anthology presents the major musical developments and key figures in Cajun and zydeco music from 1928 until the present, giving full length versions of the songs and tunes excerpted in the film. Notes by Chris Strachwitz, Maureen Gosling, and Dix Bruce contain biographical and historical information on each selection; English translations for French songs by Barry Jean Ancelet, Michael Doucet, and Sharon Arms. Contemporary and Historical/Cajun and Zydeco.

THE BADGETT SISTERS: JUST A LITTLE WHILE TO STAY HERE. Global Village C 214. Cassette. Trained in harmony singing by their Baptist quartet-leader father, the three Badgett sisters continue a family tradition of unaccompanied harmony singing begun in 1933. They learned most of the quartet-style hymns, gospels, jubilees, and spirituals in this collection during their childhoods in rural Caswell County, North Carolina. Later they incorporated songs they feel are important to African American heritage, such as "Wade In the Water." All of the Badgetts' arrangements are original. The album closes with one of their father's "one-man quartets," an overdubbed recording in which the late Cortelyou Badgett, Sr. sings all four parts. Notes by Glenn Hinson. Contemporary/African American/Gospel.

SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: KEEP IT TO OURSELVES. Alligator AL 4787. CD/cassette/LP. Reissue of material from a 1963 recording session of influential Delta blues harmonica player and singer Sonny Boy Williamson (AKA Willie "Rice" Miller). The session, recorded in Copenhagen when Williamson was on a European tour, is noted for its informal, improvisatory quality, spoken introductions, and free exchange between Williamson and the other musicians. Selections run the textural gamut from unaccompanied voice and harmonica ("I Can't Understand" and "Don't Let Your Right Hand Know") to four-piece band with harmonica, guitar, piano, and drums ("Movin' Out"). Most tracks have guitar accompaniment by Matt "Guitar" Murphy; a few feature Memphis Slim (AKA Peter Chatman) on the piano. New notes by Bruce Iglauer. Historical/African American/Blues.

CLIFTON CHENIER: THE KING OF ZYDECO LIVE AT MONTREUX. Arhoolie 355. CD/cassette. Live recordings of the late southwest Louisiana accordionist and singer Clifton Chenier, a leading figure in zydeco, the accordion-driven dance music of Gulf Coast Creoles that blends Cajun, African-Caribbean, blues, and early rock influences. This reissue includes most of Chenier and his band's July, 1975 concert at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland. Chenier's band includes brother Cleveland Chenier on "rubboard," Joe Morris on bass, Paul Senegal on guitar, and Robert St. Julian on drums. Insert has photos of Clifton and Cleveland Chenier and discography of Chenier's Arhoolie recordings. Historical/African American Creole/Zydeco.

BRAVE OLD WORLD: KLEZMER MUSIC. Flying Fish FF 70560/90560. CD/cassette. Contemporary klezmer (Eastern European Jewish music) from Michael Alpert, Alan Bern, Stuart Brotman, and Joel Rubin. Group members learned many of the songs and tunes, such as the Ukrainian-Jewish style ballad of the sinking of the Titanic and a suite of wedding music in the pre-war Warsaw style, from older Eastern European immigrants. Contemporary selections include a parody on the Chernobyl disaster set to a popular Ukrainian Jewish melody, and an original song about the importance of friendship and community in Jewish life. Songs are all sung in Yiddish; predominent instrumentation is clarinet, accordion, piano, violin, and bowed string bass, with one cimbalom (hammered dulcimer) instrumental. Notes by members of Brave Old World contain Yiddish song lyrics with English translations, and historical information on songs and tunes. Contemporary/Klezmer.

MINNESOTA POLKA: DANCE MUSIC FROM FOUR TRADITIONS. Minnesota Musical Traditions series (cosponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota State Arts Board) C-004/C- 004A. Cassette/LP. Anthology of sixteen of Minnesota's best-known and widely respected working polka bands, with four selections each from the state's German, Czech, Slovenian, and Polish polka traditions. Although "polka" refers to a specific Bohemian/Czech couple dance in 2/4 time, the broader term "polka music" also encompasses waltzes, schottisches, laendlers, and other dances. Tunes in this collection range from the brassy "big band" sound of a German polka to the slow, lyrical vocal rendition of a Polish waltz, rousing Czech singing, and the distinctive Slovenian button accordion sound. Recordings are reissues originally made from 1965 to 1990. Twenty-page booklet by James P. Leary has essay on the history of polka music in the U.S. and Minnesota; song notes with biographical information on musicians; transcriptions and translations of song lyrics; photos. Contemporary and Historical/Polka/Minnesota.

THE SAM-ANG SAM ENSEMBLE: MUSIC OF CAMBODIA. The New Americans series, World Music Institute WMI 007. Cassette. Wedding music (_phleng kar_) from various phases of Cambodian marriage ritual, interspersed with pieces from the entertainment (_mohori_) tradition in which a percussion, wind, and string ensemble plays for folk dances and a play of the same name. Both feature instruments such as the 3-string zither, low and high-pitched xylophones, hammered dulcimer, goblet drum, duct flute, 2-string fiddles, and finger cymbals. Side one recorded live in concert; side two in a studio. Insert has illustrations of some of the featured instruments and notes by ensemble leader Sam-Ang Sam. Contemporary/Cambodian American.

KHAMVONG INSIXIENGMAI, THONGKHIO MANISONE, AND KHAMSEUNG SYHANONE: MUSIC OF LAOS. The New Americans series, World Music Institute WMI 010. Cassette. Singers Khamvong Insixiengmai and Thongkhio Manisone perform in the _lam_ vocal tradition, in which male and female singers alternate parts in a pseudo-courtship ritual. Khamseung Syhanone provides accompaniment as well as solo selections on the _khene_, a three-foot long bundle of 14 or 16 bamboo tubes containing free reeds similar to those in a harmonica. Side B contains a solo piece played on the _phin_, a plucked lute. Notes by Terry Miller. Contemporary/Lao American.

MUSIC OF VERACRUZ: THE SONES JAROCHOS OF LOS PREGONEROS DEL PUERTO. Rounder 5048. CD/cassette. This traditional _jarocho_ group, originally from the Mexican state of Veracruz, is now resident in the U.S. In _jarocho_ groups the lead singer is called the _pregonero_ (literally, "caller," which refers to the characteristic high, loud, narrow-range singing style). The "calling" of the pregonero alternates with harmony singing from the rest of the group, whose instrumental leads alternate between the syncopated figures of the _arpa_ (a 4 1/2 to 5 foot tall diatonic harp) and the explosively plucked _requinto_ (small 4- string guitar). Other instruments include the _jarana_ (thin- bodied eight-string guitar) and the guitar. Notes and transcriptions/translations of Spanish lyrics by Daniel Sheehy. Contemporary/Mexican-American/Jarocho.

THE PHONG NGUYEN ENSEMBLE: MUSIC OF VIETNAM. World Music Institute WMI 008. This recording features a variety of the traditional music genres of North, Central, and South Vietnam, performed by recent immigrants to the United States. Vietnamese music is characterized by the prominent use of stringed instruments such as the _dan tranh_ (zither), _dan nguyet_ (moon- shaped lute), and _dan ty bae_ (pear shaped lute). On this recording, they appear both as solo instruments and as accompaniment for songs, along with _dan bau_ (monochord) and _sinh tien_ (coin clapper). One instrumental selection, from the ritual/festival music tradition of South Vietnam, is an improvisation on four drums. Side one was recorded live in concert; side two in a studio. Notes by ensemble leader Phong Nguyen. Contemporary/Vietnamese American.

NAVAJO SONGS FROM CANYON DE CHELLY. New World Records 80406. CD/cassette. Ceremonial and social music of the Navajo Indians recorded in 1975 at Chinle and Canyon de Chelly, Arizona. This album features a group led by Sam Yazzie, Sr., with additional songs by Kee Chee Jake and Lena Clark. Many of the songs come from the Enemy Way Chant (often called the Squaw Dance), a healing ceremony to purify those who have come into contact with the ghosts of non-Navajos. Among the songs from this ceremony are Riding or Sway songs, so named because of the body movements of the singers; Spinning Dance songs; Gift songs that are sung as the medicine man distributes gifts; and fast and slow Round Dance songs. Other song genres represented include the Two-Step, Skip Dance, Corn-Grinding, and Shoe Game. Songs are accompanied with a small double-headed cylinder drum, and an inverted basket drum plus rattle. Notes by Charlotte Heth contain brief bibliography and discography on Navajo music. Contemporary/Native American: Navajo.

POLISH HIGHLANDERS: NA ZYWO GESLE: MUSIC FROM THE SOUTHERN TATRA MOUNTAINS. Modal Music 911, in cooperation with Urban Traditions. Cassette. Once the music of agrarian villages in Poland's Tatra Mountains, Highlander music is now also played in Chicago, home to the largest Polish Highlander community in the U.S. Side one is traditional Highlander music, with its robust duet vocals and string trio consisting of two violins and a basy (cello-like instrument with 3 strings). Most of the music on side one is dance music played primarily at family functions such as weddings and christenings. Side two is an assortment of polkas, waltzes, and czardasz dance tunes that reflect the influence of other Eastern European cultures on Highlander social music. Notes by Andrew Tokarz and Lynn Hamer. Contemporary/Polish American.

MUSIC OF THE MIDDLE EAST: ARAB, PERSIAN/IRANIAN, AND TURKISH TRADITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES. Sounds of the World series, Music Eduators National Conference MENC 3040. Three-cassette set. Music, interviews, and narration originally broadcast on National Public Radio's "Music in a New World" radio series produced by ethnomusicologist Karl Signell, now paired with a study guide for individual or institutional use (elementary through college level). Arab tape inclues a classical suite with voice, _ud_ (lute) and violin, and a vocal solo accompanied by the _ud_ and hourglass drum. The Persian/Iranian tape contains a Sufi song accompanied by the _santou_, a type of hammered dulcimer, and a suite for _kamancheh_ (4-string spike fiddle) and goblet drum. Village songs, instrumental pieces on the _saz_ (long-necked lute), and a cabaret song are the varied styles presented on the Turkish tape. Illustrated study guide by Sally Monsour gives information on Middle Eastern culture; study questions; bibliography, discography, and filmography. Contemporary/Arab American, Iranian American, Turkish American.

LOS PLENEROS DE LA 21 AND CONJUNTO MELOD¦A TROPICAL: PUERTO RICO, PUERTO RICO MI TIERRA NATAL. Shanachie SH 65001, produced by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center. CD/cassette. Two distinct traditions within Puerto Rican music, represented by two New York City-based groups of Puerto Rican musicians. Conjunto Melodia Tropical typifies the _jibaro_ music of the inland farmers from Puerto Rico's mountainous interior -- music rooted in the European social dances brought to the region by Spanish settlers over one hundred years ago. The more urban, percussion-dominated bomba and plena music of Los Pleneros de la 21 was developed by the descendants of enslaved Africans who labored on coastal plantations. Insert notes by Howard Weiss, Morton Marks, and Ethel Raim. Free bilingual Spanish/English booklet containing song texts and extensive information on the music and musicians on this recording available from the Ethnic Folk Arts Center. Contemporary/Puerto Rico.

THE WHITSTEIN BROTHERS: OLD TIME DUETS. Rounder 0264. CD/cassette/LP. Charles and Robert Whitstein sing country duets in the tradition of the Blue Sky Boys, the Monroe Brothers, and the Delmore Brothers, who brought the style to its peak of popularity in the 1930s. Unlike the Whitstein's last two albums, on which they used a fuller band sound, this recording features only guitar and mandolin accompaniment. Selections such as The Louvin Brothers' "Sinner You'd Better Get Ready" and the country music standard "Maple On the Hill" highlight the Whitsteins' trademark sound of moving from parallel harmony to occasional octaves and unisons. Other material includes Hank Williams's "Mansion on the Hill" and Lacey Daugherty's contemporary song "Beautiful Lost River Valley." Notes by Doug Green. Contemporary/Country Duet.

ROBERT JOHNSON: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS. Columbia Roots N' Blues Series C2K 46222/C2T 46222/C3 46222. 2-CD/2-cassette/3-LP set w/ booklet. Flagship album of the Columbia Roots N' Blues series contains every existing master and alternate take of the 29 known songs of influential Delta blues singer and guitar player Robert Johnson. The 1936-37 recordings made by the American Record Company in San Antonio and Dallas have been digitally remastered. Comes with 48-page booklet containing comprehensive essay by Stephen C. LaVere; historic photos, discography, footnoted transcriptions of song lyrics, and appreciations from Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. Historical/African American/Blues: Mississippi.

Other 1990 releases in the Columbia Roots N' Blues series: LEGENDS OF THE BLUES: VOLUME 1 Columbia CK 46215 WILLIE DIXON: THE BIG THREE TRIO Columbia CK 46216 NEWS & THE BLUES: TELLING IT LIKE IT IS Columbia CK 46217 THE SLIDE GUITAR: BOTTLES, KNIVES & STEEL Columbia CK 46218 BIG BILL BROONZY: GOOD TIME TONIGHT Columbia CK 46219 CAJUN VOLUME 1: ABBEVILLE BREAKDOWN, 1929-1939 Columbia CK 46220 LONNIE JOHNSON: STEPPIN' ON THE BLUES Columbia CK 46221

STEVE RILEY AND THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS. Rounder 6038. CD/cassette. Debut album from highly acclaimed group of young southwest Louisiana Cajun musicians who are the third generation of "Mamou Playboys," continuing not only the name, but the older Cajun style and repertoire of waltzes and two steps. Band leader Steve Riley sings lead vocals and plays diatonic accordion and fiddle. Other band members are David Greely (fiddle and vocals), Kevin Barzas (acoustic guitar), and Mike Chapman (drums). The band is assisted by Tina Pilione on upright bass, Christine Balfa on triangle, and Zachary Richard on background vocals. Notes by Zachary Richard and Barry Jean Ancelet; transcriptions and translations of song lyrics by David Greely and Barry Jean Ancelet.

TEXAS PRISON SONGS: I'M TROUBLED WITH A DIAMOND (VOLUME 1) AND OLD RATTLER CAN'T HOLD ME (VOLUME 2). Curlew Cassettes 1002/1003. Cassette. Bruce Jackson's 1964-1966 field recordings of black convicts singing work songs on Texas prison farms. Prisoners used the songs to pass the time and to keep large groups working in unison so that slower workers could not be singled out for punishment. The songs were employed in such work as crosscutting (felling trees with axes), logging (cutting up felled trees), flatweeding (working with a hoe), and cotton picking. This centuries-old plantation work song tradition ended in the 1960s, when southern prisons were forced to desegregate. Notes and cover photos by Bruce Jackson. Historical/African American/Work Songs.

MANCE LIPSCOMB: TEXAS SONGSTER. Arhoolie 306. CD/cassette. Reissue of Mance Lipscomb's 1960 debut album and live recording of a 1964 folk club concert. Lipscomb (1895-1976) was a rural Texas sharecropper and "songster," a versatile musician who played and sang for a variety of social events in his community. Like other songsters of his time, Lipscomb had a wide-ranging repertoire comprised of dance tunes, rags, ballads, slow drags, breakdowns, blues, and popular songs. This recording is a representative cross-section of his repertoire, including the blues standard "Baby Please Don't Go" and the bawdy standby "'Bout a Spoonful." Original notes by Mack McCormick; new notes by Chris Strachwitz. Historical/African American/Songster: Texas.

DANIEL WOMACK: "THAT'S AN OLD FOLK STORY." Global Village C 216. Cassette. Born at the turn of the century to a farming family from Piedmont Virginia, Daniel Womack tells African American "home tales" he learned from his father and others. On this recording, made recently in Womack's living room, he tells tales of animals who outwit each other and Master and John stories dating from slavery times, and reminiscences about hearing and learning the tales. Tales are interspersed with songs that he sings either unaccompanied ("Lord I Want More Religion"), or with guitar ("School March" and "There's a Man Going 'Round Taking Names"). On several selections, Womack alternates vocals with harmonica instrumentals. Notes by Vaughan Webb and Michael Schlesinger. Contemporary/African American/Storytelling and Song.

THE MENHADEN CHANTEYMEN: WON'T YOU HELP ME TO RAISE 'EM. Global Village C 220. Cassette. Documents a seldom-heard tradition of African American maritime work songs sung by the Menhaden Chanteymen of Beaufort, North Carolina. Until the late 1950s, members of the group sang these chanteys on fishing boats that were part of a fleet working for America's largest volume fishery. Before the introduction of hydraulic lifters, chanteys helped the crew synchronize the hauling of heavy nets filled with fish known as menhaden, which were valued for industrial uses. Musically, this call and response singing draws upon other work song traditions, blues, church singing, glee clubs, and barbershop harmonies. Texts are also from diverse sources such as spirituals, hollers, parlor, and love songs. Although no longer singing on the boats, the men now gather regularly to sing and reminisce about their days in the fishery. Notes by Michael Luster. Contemporary/African American/Work Songs.


Publishers of Recordings Listed in this Booklet.

Alligator Records P.O. Box 60234 Chicago, IL 60660

Arhoolie Productions, Inc. 10341 San Pablo Ave. El Cerrito, CA 94530

Columbia Records c/o Legacy Records P.O. Box 4450 New York, NY 10101

Curlew Cassettes, "Ceol-na-Mara" BRUICHLADDICH, Isle of Islay Argyll PA49 7UN UNITED KINGDOM

Flying Fish Records, Inc. 1304 W. Schubert Chicago, IL 60614

Global Village Music P.O. Box 2051, Cathedral Station New York, NY 10025

Greater Lowell Regatta Festival Committee P.O. Box 217 Lowell, MA 01854

Hollow Square Productions 2216 Shady Dell Lane Birmingham, AL 35216

Minnesota Historical Society Press 690 Cedar Street St. Paul, MN 55101

Modal Music P.O. Box 4614 Oak Brook, IL 60521

Music Educators National Conference 1902 Association Drive Reston, VA 22091

New World Records 701 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10036

RCA Records/BMG Music Distribution Department, 2nd floor 1133 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10036

Rounder Records One Camp Street Cambridge, MA 02140

Rykodisc U.S.A. c/o EARFUL Mail Order 530 North 3rd Street Minneapolis, MN 55401

Shanachie Records 37 East Clinton Street Newton, NJ 07860

Smithsonian/Folkways Records distributed by Rounder Records c/o Roundup Distribution P.O. Box 154 Cambridge, MA 02140

Thimbleberry Recordings c/o Postman North Route 1, Box 195 Calumet, MI 49913

World Music Institute, Inc. 49 West 27th Street Room 810 New York, NY 10001

World Music Press P.O. Box 2565 Danbury, CT 06813


For a more complete guide to folk record labels and direct mail-order sources, write for the free reference aid RECORDING COMPANIES IN NORTH AMERICA SPECIALIZING IN FOLK MUSIC, FOLKLORE AND ETHNOMUSICOLOGY (LCFARA 3) prepared by the American Folklife Center.


Mail-Order Dealers of Folk Recordings

Alcazar Records P.O. Box 429 Waterbury, VT 05676 (802) 244-8657

Andy's Front Hall Wormer Road Post Office Box 307 Voorheesville, NY 12186 (518) 765-4193

Appalshop Marketing and Sales 306 Madison Street Whitesburg, KY 41858 (606) 633-0108

The Celtic Trader P.O. Box 35495 Charlotte, NC 28235 (800) 822-2420

Country Dance and Song Society of America 17 New South Street Northampton, MA 01060 (413) 584-9913

County Sales P.O. Box 191 Floyd, VA 24091 (703) 745-2001

Down Home Music Mail Order 6921 Stockton Avenue El Cerrito, CA 94530 (415) 525-1494

Elderly Records 1100 North Washington P.O. Box 14210 Lansing, MI 48901 (517) 372-7890; 372-4161

Flying Fish Records 1304 West Schubert Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 528-5455

House of Musical Traditions 7040 Carroll Avenue Takoma Park, MD 20912 (301) 270-9090 after noon, E.S.T.

Music of the North American Indian Canyon Records and Indian Arts 4143 North Sixteenth Street Phoenix, AZ 85016 (602) 266-4823

National Catalog of Storytelling National Storytelling Resource Center P.O. Box 309 Jonesborough, TN 37659 (615) 753-2171

Note-Ably Yours 6865 Scarff Road New Carlisle, OH 45344 (800) 828-0115

Original Music R.D. 1, Box 190 Lasher Road Tivoli, N.Y. 12583 (914) 756-2767

Rooster Blues 232 Sunflower Avenue Clarksdale, MS 38614 (601) 627-2209

Roundup Records P.O. Box 154 North Cambridge, MA 02140 (617) 661-6064

Uncle Jim's Country Music Catalog P.O. Box A Arcadia, CA 91066 (800) 776-8742

World Music Institute 49 West 27th Street, #810 New York, NY 10001 (212) 545-7536

World Music Press P.O. Box 2565 Danbury, CT 06813 (203) 748-1131

Previous editions of AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC AND FOLKLORE RECORDINGS: A SELECTED LIST are available from the American Folklife Center and at facilities across the United States through the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) of the U.S. Department of Education. Consult your librarian or online service vendor (such as BRS or DIALOG), or contact:

ERIC Document Reproduction Service 3900 Wheeler Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304 (703) 823-0500 (800) 227-3742

END ************************************************************

Note: This version of the AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC AND FOLKLORE RECORDINGS: A SELECTED LIST, 1990 has been edited for use on computer networks. Of necessity extended ascii characters such as diacritics and fonts such as bold and italics have been removed. For a hard copy of the original publication, write to the American Folklife Center at the address at the top of this file.

The SELECTED LIST for recordings issued in 1991 will be made available online when it is published in the fall of 1992.

Stephanie A. Hall, American Folklife Center 8/92


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