Tim Hardin

60s folk singer Pete Seeger had a song called “If I Had a Hammer.” 60s folk singer Tim Hardin had a song called “If I Were a Carpenter.” Somebody was cheating.

Tim Hardin AllMusic page

Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs titled the very last song on the very last album he recorded “No More Songs.” As prophetic titles go, that’s right up there with the Beatles titling the very last song on the very last album they recorded “The End.” Except the Beatles cheated by following that with a hidden joke track, and then releasing an entire album of stuff they recorded earlier. So I guess Phil Ochs wins for consistency.

Phil Ochs AllMusic page


Woody Guthrie


Did you know Woody Guthrie’s “Do-Re-Mi” is not the song from The Sound of Music? I’ll bet Julie Andrews was really bummed when she found that out.

Woody Guthrie AllMusic page

Seventies Soul/Folk Women

This is basically a made-up category, but as a child of the 70s, I wanted to recognize the brief period where there were a number of female artists whose music and lyrics pretty much identified them as folk singers, but who had a rich, soulful delivery that Joan Baez would probably sell all her diamonds for. (The one dude I can think of in this category was Donny Hathaway, who will get his own list in round two.) (Also, I promise not to make any jokes about Janis Ian, even though I think “At Seventeen” is the most unintentionally hilarious song ever. As a gay guy who went to an all-boys Catholic high school, I know those years can be tough. But good Lord—get a grip, woman.)

Janis Ian AllMusic page

Maria Muldaur AllMusic page

Minnie Riperton AllMusic page

Phoebe Snow AllMusic page

Roberta Flack AllMusic page

Pete Seeger

Doing this lists makes me realize that I know almost nothing about the protest/folk singers of the 50s and 60s. Sorry about that, Pete. I do know that he is not Bob.

Pete Seeger AllMusic page

Lead Belly

I’d like to pretend I’m all badass and know a lot about Lead Belly … but mama taught me it wasn’t nice to tell lies. I do know he wrote “Goodnight Irene,” which … Irene? Did Lead Belly really hang around women named Irene? I picture a (very white) character in a 40s high-society rom-com starring Cary Grant.

Lead Belly AllMusic page

John Prine

See John Hiatt.

John Prine AllMusic page

Harry Belafonte

Day-O!! Da-a-a-ay-O!! I bet people bust that out all the time when they run into Harry Belafonte. I bet Harry Belafonte is really sick of people doing that.

Harry Belafonte AllMusic page

Folk Women

Given my love affair with Joni Mitchell, you might think I’d be a big fan of these other women folkies. On the contrary … Judy Collins takes interesting songs and turns them into boring mush, Joan Baez seems famous mostly for once being involved with Neil Young, and Melanie makes me want to stab myself in the ears. Buffy Saint-Marie I can’t take seriously because her name sounds like a character on Dynasty. Odetta gets a pass, mostly because with song titles like “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” I’m afraid of making her mad at me.

Buffy Saint-Marie AllMusic page

Joan Baez AllMusic page

Judy Collins AllMusic page

Melanie AllMusic page

Odetta AllMusic page