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Folk Music Albums Available on CD

Library of Congress and Rounder Records Folk Music Compact Discs

The Library of Congress and Rounder Records External Link joined together in a project to reissue on compact discs American folk music from the legendary Library of Congress series Folk Music of the United States. The original series, launched in 1942, was the first documentary anthology of American folk music featuring field recordings drawn from the Library's Archive of Folk Culture. [Library of Congress produced by Rounder are currently out of print. These may be available through dealers in used and out of print recordings.]

In a separate project, musician Stephen Wade produced a single CD anthology entitled A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings. This CD provides an excellent introduction to the early collections of the Archive, as well as a glimpse of American musical history of the period.

  • A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings (Rounder CD 1500) Anthology of field recordings from the collections of the Archive of Folk Culture 1933-46. Selected, annotated, and produced by Stephen Wade, 1997.
  • Negro Blues and Hollers (Rounder CD 1501) Originally edited by Marshall Sterns and issued in 1962, this CD features African American musical traditions from the Mississippi Delta country, recorded in 1941-42 by Alan Lomax from the Library of Congress and John W. Work and Lewis Jones from Fisk University.
  • Songs and Ballads of the Anthracite Miners (Rounder CD 1502) This CD features the "minstals of the mine patch" in the Pennsylvania anthracite region. Originally recorded and edited by George Korson in 1946-47.
  • Songs and Ballads of the Bituminous Miners (Rounder CD 1522) A companion to Songs and Ballads of the Anthracite Miners, this album of mining songs, documented in 1940 by "folklorist of the coal fields" George Korson, presents the performances of bituminous (soft coal) miners, from the time before automation drastically changed the way their work was done.
  • Sacred Harp Singing (Rounder CD 1503) Recorded at the thirty-seventh annual session of the Alabama Sacred Harp Singing Convention at Birmingham, Alabama, by George Pullen Jackson and Alan Lomax, 1942.
  • The Hammons Family: The Traditions of a West Virginia Family and Their Friends (Rounder CD 1504/1505) A study of the music and way of life of a West Virginia Family, coedited by Alan Jabbour and Carl Fleischhauer. This two-CD set incorporates two 1973 publications; the Library of Congress double LP set The Hammons Family and the Rounder Records LP Shaking Down the Acorns.
  • Children of the Heav'nly King: Religious Expression in the Central Blue Ridge (Rounder 1506/1507) Recordings made by the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project, a study conducted by the American Folklife Center with the National Park Service, 1978/1979i, edited by Charles K. Wolfe. The two-CD set presents a cross-section of the region's religious expression, including hymn-singing, prayer, and sermons from church services; performances of gospel music, a baptism at a creek, and stories of religious conversion. An enclosed booklet describes the region and its religious expression and annotates each of the selections.
  • Railroad Songs and Ballads (Rounder CD 1508) Recorded by sixteen different collectors between 1936 and 1959, this anthology includes songs about the construction of the railroad and railroading as a craft, as well as songs that tap the symbolic significance of the train.
  • Songs and Ballads of American History and of the Assassination of Presidents (Rounder CD 1509) An anthology of recordings from the Archive of Folk Culture dealing with the Civil War and the assassination of American heads of state, the latter category taken from a large body of recordings made by Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Recorded by John Lomax, Duncan Emrich, and others, 1937-42.
  • Afro-American Spirituals, Worksongs, and Ballads (Rounder CD 1510) Powerful performances of African Americans at work and in worship, recorded in 1933 and 1939 by John A. Lomax, traveling across the rural South for the Library of Congress.
  • Anglo-American Ballads, Volume One (Rounder CD 1511) Originally released in 1942, edited by Alan Lomax, this the first in the Library's series Folk Music of the United States. Includes such recorded treasures as Woody Guthrie's "The Gypsy Davy," Pete Steele's "Pretty Polly," and versions of "The House Carpenter" and "Barbara Allen."
  • Anglo-American Ballads, Volume Two (Rounder CD 1516) Originally released in 1943, edited by Benjamin Botkin. Successor to Alan Lomax's Volume One, this CD includes "The Golden Willow Tree," "The Two Sisters," and "Lord Thomas and the Fair Ellender."
  • Cowboy Songs, Ballads, and Cattle Calls from Texas (Rounder CD 1512) Edited by Duncan Emrich, this album was originally released in 1952. All but two of the selections on this CD were recorded on portable equipment by John A. Lomax, the greatest collector of cowboy songs in the West. Includes "Good-bye, Old Paint," "The Texas Rangers," and "The Streets of Laredo."
  • Afro-American Blues and Game Songs (Rounder CD 1513) Edited by pioneer collector Alan Lomax, this set includes such recorded treasures as the first transcriptions of Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry in his prime, as well as blues and children's songs by lesser known but just as accomplished performers.
  • Negro Religious Songs and Services (Rounder CD 1514) This album presents performances that have become benchmarks for the grand tradition of African America religious expression. They were recorded between 1934 and 1942 for the Library of Congress by John Lomax and his son, Alan Lomax, as they criss-crossed the Southern states in search of authentic Southern folk music. Their quest yielded some of the finest exemplars of African American sacred song ever gathered in a single collection.
  • Afro-American Folk Music from Tate and Panola Counties, Mississippi (Rounder CD 1515) This album presents an amazing array of African American folk music from the small farms and traditional rural communities of Tate and Panola Counties in the Mississippi Hill Country, just east of the more famous Delta region. The album features two generations of African American music-making, recorded by Alan Lomax in 1942 and by David Evans in 1969-71.
  • Negro Work Songs and Calls (Rounder CD 1517) Among the root traditions of African American music are the traditions of song and chant associated with the world of men's work. This classic album of field recordings from the 1930s and 1940s captures the imaginative call-and-response work songs of Southern prison camps, the soulful proto-blues of cornfield hollers, the creative energy of track-lining songs used by Southern railroad crews, and the calls used to sound the river depth on Mississippi riverboats (including the traditional sounding call "mark twain"). Also included are boat-launching songs featuring the sponge-fishing communities of the Bahamas.
  • American Fiddle Tunes (Rounder CD 1518) Edited by Alan Jabbour, this album was originally released in 1971. The 28 fiddle performances are drawn from the vast array of field recordings in the Library's Archive of Folk Culture from the 1930s and 1940s. From New England to Wisconsin, from Kentucky and Mississippi to California, the convey the range, energy, and creativity of one of America's most vigorous and enduring folk traditions.
  • Songs of the Mormons and Songs of the West (Rounder CD 1520) The traditional Mormon songs on this CD go back in time to the very earliest days of settlement and pioneering and are, for the opening of Utah and the West, extraordinarily unique documents. Songs of this nature, dealing with early pioneering and settlement, are virtually non-existent for any other state in the Union. Songs and ballads of the West reflect many aspects of Western life, ranging from peaceful pursuits to outlaw life and frontier Indian warfare.
  • Folk Music from Wisconsin (Rounder CD 1521) In the 1940s, the Wisconsin Folk Music Recording Project, sponsored by the Library of Congress and the University of Wisconsin, took Helene Stratman-Thomas and other fieldworkers on a collecting expedition around Wisconsin to document a folk music that reflects the colorful pattern of immigration and occupational development in the state.
  • American Sea Songs and Sea Shanties (Rounder CD 1519) The songs and shanties on this album are all sung, without exception, by men who used them in the days of sail. With the advent of steam and the end of sail, any practical use for these sea songs disappeared only in the memory of old-timers. The old-timers themselves have passed on, leaving these recordings as their legacy.

Rounder Records has produced several other CD compilations of music from collections in the Archive of Folk Culture.

  • Sacred Music of the Moroccan Jews from the Paul Bowles Collection (Rounder CD 5087) In 1959, Paul Bowles recorded in Morocco a wide variety of music from the different ethnic groups of that country, including the Jewish communities of Meknes and Essaouira. Edited by Edwin Seroussi, with the assistance of Rabbi Meir Atiya, one of the leading authorities and performers of Moroccan Jewish religious music in Israel today, this CD set presents a rare glimpse into one of the most venerable Jewish musical traditions.
  • Jelly Roll Morton (4 volume series) (Rounder CD 1091, 1092, 1093, 1094)
  • Leadbelly (6 volume series) (Rounder CD 1044, 1045, 1046 and 1097, 1098, 1099)
  • Altamont: Black Stringband Music from the Library of Congress (Rounder CD 0238)
  • Library of Congress Banjo Collection (Rounder Audiocassette 0237)
  • Woody Guthrie: Library of Congress Recordings (Rounder CD 1041)


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   November 8, 2011
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