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.
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.
Z IS COMING SOON! BE SURE TO SEND IN YOUR ARTIST/GROUP SUGGESTIONS FOR POTD, ROUND 2!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.