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Books & Videos about the Great Folk Scare Era

General Books

Which Side Are You On?: An Inside History of the Folk Music Revival in America by Dick Weissman
Highest  recommendation!  Well organized, highly informative and very readable - written by someone who was himself part of the scene.  Click here to order now, or for more info!

Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties
by Suzy Rotolo
This late author was Dylan's girlfriend and on the cover of his Freewheelin' album.
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Political Folk Musis in America from Its Origins to Bob Dylan
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Discovering Folk Music by Stephanie P. Ledgin
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The History of American Folk Music by Adam Woog
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Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, and Richard Farina by David Hajdu
"In Hajdu's candid, often intimate account-based on several hundred new interviews-the four musicians' rise from scruffy coffeehouse folksingers ...
Positively 4th Street is that rare book with a new story to tell about the 1960s -- the story of how some of the greatest and most enduring American popular music was created in a fit of collective inspiration." Click here to order now, or for more info!

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down: The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years
by Eric von Schmidt & Jim Rooney.  Second Edition.
This fascinating , thoroughly readable book about that east coast hotbed of the folk music revival has some great old photos of Joan Baez and her cohorts you've probably never seen before.
FROM THE PREFACE: "Folk music in all its various forms, from Elizabethan ballads to Delta blues to Kentucky bluegrass to songs of social protest and personal discovery, brought us together in a community of our own making and led each of us to find a new path - a path that each could truly call his or her own ... If there is anything we can take from our time        together in Cambridge and pass it on to those who will follow, it is that focus and the energy it generated in us". 317 pages, profusely illustrated with classic photographs and wonderful stories." Great fun!  Click here to order now, or for more info!

Romancing the Folk by Benjamin Filene
""Romancing the Folk" presents an extremely lively, readable and well thought out discussion of the way folk music was presented to the American public and ultimately accepted as a valid art form in its own right."
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Making People's Music: Moe Asch and Folkways Recordsby by Peter D. Goldsmith
The author uses Asch's career as a lens through which to view folk music, leftist politics, and the recording industry during the middle decades of the twentieth century.  "Making People's Music is the single best book I have ever read on the sources and implications of the 'folk revival' of the 1960s." - Maurice Isserman, author of If I Had a Hammer
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American Troubadours: Groundbreaking Singer-Songwriters of the 60s by Mark Brend
"This book explores the musical and cultural phenomena that shaped the singer-songwriter movement of the 1960s, including Dylanís reinvention of folk ..."
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Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival & American Society, 1940-1970
by Ronald D. Cohen
"Reading Rainbow Quest by Ron Cohen.  It's quite a history." - Frank Hamilton
"...a remarkably informative historical survey and commentary of the phenomena of folk music's mass audience appeal as represented by concerts and album sales from such luminaries as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, The Kingston Trio, The Weavers, and scores of others. Originally centered in New York's Greenwich Village and sustained by a robust record industry, this revival of folk music through the 1950s and culminating in the mid-1960s ... those glory years of folk music popularity have left an astonishing musical legacy that still reverberates within the American culture. Rainbow Quest is a seminal, core addition ..."
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Artists of American Folk Music: The Legends of Traditional Folk, the Stars of the Sixties, the Virtuosi of New Acoustic Music by Phil Hood
"...different eras of modern folk music: from the early days (Woody Guthrie and Malvina Reynolds) to the height of popularity 25 years ago (the Kingston Trio, Joan Baez and Arlo Guthrie) to new acoustic artists (David Grisman and Tony Trischka). Also of note: an article about the Lomax family, the archivists who have made extensive recordings of folk music that might otherwise have been lost."  Click here to order now, or for more info!

When We Were Good : The Folk Revival by Robert S. Cantwell
Valuable if you want to dig deeper into the era. Click here to order now, or for more info!

Folk Music USA.: The Changing Voice Of Protestby Ronald D., Jr. Lankford
Kind of the opposite of the above book, this covers the Folk Scare era in a brezy style for a general audiance.
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Follow the Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture by Jac Holzman, Gavan Daws
"The best book available on the pop music industry!...tracing the history of Elektra Records from its inception in 1950 until 1973. This is no ordinary autobiographical account; here Holzman's voice is just one of hundreds, a colorful cast of friends, family, lovers, colleagues, musicians and observers of the music scenes in New York and Los Angeles during the 1950s, '60s and early '70s."  Click here to order now, or for more info!
Here are excepts and free music clips.

There Is No Eye by John Cohen
Photography book that includes great pictures of the Greenwich Village folk scene from our Folk Scare Era.
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We Shall Overcome: A Song That Changed the World
by Stuart Stotts
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Republic of Dreams: Greenwich Village: The American Bohemia, 1910-1960
by Ross Wetzsteon
See why Greenwich Village was prepared to nurture the Folkniks.
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The Portable Sixties Reader by Ann Charters (Editor), Ian Fleming
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Chronicles, Vol. 1 by Bob Dylan
"...his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities ..."
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The Mayor Of Macdougal Street by Dave Van Ronk
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Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music  by Judy Collins
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And A Voice to Sing With: A Memoir by Joan Baez
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Bob Gibson: I Come For To Sing by Bob Gibson and Carole Bender
The life of Bob Gibson, the unsung father of commercially popular folk music, whose influence is still being felt in today's music, is celebrated in "Bob Gibson: I Come For To Sing", by Carole Bender and Bob Gibson.  Included with the book is Bob Gibson's CD "Stops Along the Way".
The book is autobiographical as much as possible, but his importance to his          contemporaries is emphasized by original contributions by such legends as Shel Silverstein, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peter Yarrow, Tom Paxton,...
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The Honor of Your Company by Tom Paxton
A combination autobiography and songbook of this still-popular singer and songwriter.
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Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie by Ed Cray
Ed Cray is the first biographer to be granted access to the Woody Guthrie Archive, and he has interviewed over seventy of the people who knew Woody best.  On this basis he creates a haunting portrait of an American original who profoundly influenced Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and American popular music itself. 16 pages of photographs.
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Red Dust and Broadsides: A Joint Autobiography This joint autobiography of Agnes (Sis) Cunningham and Gordon Frieson who mostly worked behind the scenes in the Folk Scare era includes a foreward by Pete Seeger.
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Rise Up Singing: The Group-Singing Song Book ed. Peter Blood
With an introduction by Peter Seeger.  "Rise Up Singing brings out the best of the folk tradition by including music that is rooted in both history and revolution."
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American Ballads and Folk Songs by John A. and Alan Lomax
Music, lyrics and history for more than 200 authentic ballads and songs collected by the famous Lomaxes.
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Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians by Jean Ritchie, et al
"Originally published in 1965, this new edition has faithfully retained all 77 line scores and added four new songs. The original headnotes and photographs tell the history of the song and how it became a part of the family's life."
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Folk Songs of Old New England by E. H. Linscott
Lyrics and music of traditional songs from New England such as "Katy Cruel"
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Folksongs of Britain and Ireland by edited by Peter Kennedy
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Joan Baez Songbook  Has 66 songs from Joan's early Vanguard recordings with historical-musical annotations.  Arrangements for voice and piano with complete chord progressions for the guitarist and cap-key indications enabling the beginning instrumentalist to play along with the Joan Baez recordings.  Each song is enchantingly illustrated by Eric von Schmidt (who was a marvelous artist as well as musician).
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The Peter Paul and Mary Song Book by Barry Feinstein
Recollections by the singers, a discography, chord diagrams for five instruments, plus 42 of their American folk favorites.
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The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad
by Sean Wilentz, Greil Marcus
Not exactly a songbook, "In words and in drawings, the collaborators have tapped the veins of America's most imaginative and expressive form. From "Barbara Allen," one of the earliest, through "The Wreck of the Old 97," to contemporary ballads by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, The Rose & the Briar presents a rich new patch of art and commentaryólike the ballads, no two the same, but all of a piece, about stories, storytellers, and American death, love, and liberty. 25 illustrations."
There is also a like-named CD.
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Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation a feature-length documentary about the Greenwich Village music scene and how it sparked everlasting political, social and cultural changes. For the first time, the greatest singer-songwriters, authors and performers from Greenwich Village reflect on how they collectively became the voice of a generation.

Legends of Folk: The Village Scene
This PBS documentary is finally available for purchase.  All the greats are here!

Inside Llewyn Davis  An aspiring singer-songwriter navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s, based on the life of Dave von Ronk

Festival! the Newport Folk Festival Film 1963 - 1966  Murray Lernerís  film "Festival" is finally available on DVD. It's like a time machine, seeing performances by all the heavy hitters at their prime!  " cinematic synthesis of four Newport Folk Festivals in which the art of folk music is pictured in transition during its most crucial years. The range is from Bob Dylan performing "Tambourine Man" and Joan Baez doing "Farewell Angelina," to country artists like Johnny Cash playing "I Walk the Line" to the Georgia Sea Island Singers. The range is also from the high-priced professionals like Peter, Paul, and Mary to the authentic folk dignity of living legends such as Son House and Mississippi John Hurt. Joan Baez, Donovan and Judy Collins are all on view, as are Pete Seeger, the Ed Young Fife and Drum Corps and numerous others that give a feeling of community with the whole American present, and continuity with the American past. "
Segments from "Festival!" are prominently featured in the recently released Dylan documentary, No Direction Home, directed by Martin Scorsese.

Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound  American Masters explores fifty years of folk legend and human rights activist Joan Baez

The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965
The Other Side Of The Mirror captures Bob Dylan's metamorphosis from the folk family's best-kept secret to rock's fiercely confrontational poet who would electrify an entire nation and become the voice of his generation

The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose
This fascinating documentary explores the music and personalities behind psychedelic folk rockers the Holy Modal Rounders, a band that's continued to perform for a small but rabid cult following for four decades.

Don't Look Back.
D.A. Pennebaker's cinema verite look at Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England includes lots of footage of Joan Baez singing and just hanging out.  Long out of print, it is now available again in DVD and VHS formats.  The new (2/27/07)  2 disc DVD version includes a ton of extra stuff, including new footage and a  168-page companion book.

The Best Of Hootenanny  3 DVD set of an ABC TV series that ran 1963-1964 with 80 performances by:
Eddy Arnold, Hoyt Axton, Leon Bibb, Theodore Bikel, The Brothers Four, Bud & Travis, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The Clara Ward Gospel Singers, Judy Collins, The Coventry Singers, Dian & The Greenbriar Boys, The Dillards, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Bob Gibson, Ian & Sylvia, Joe & Eddie, The Journeymen, The Limeliters, Trini Lopez, Miriam Makeba, Herbie Mann, The New Christy Minstrels, Richard & Jim, Jimmie Rodgers, The Rooftop Singers, The Serendipity Singers, Mike Settle, The Simon Sisters, The Tarriers, The Travelers Three, Doc Watson, Josh White, Jr., Beverly White, Marion Williams

Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest  In the early 1960's Pete had a TV series seen mainly in Canada featuring famous Folk Scare performers, now it's finally out in DVD.

The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack
Among other things, learn about Ramblin' Jack's Greenwich Village days with Bob Dylan.  In DVD and VHS formats.

American Roots Music
album coverThe 2001 4-part PBS documentary now available in DVD and VHS.  You can also get the 240 page companion book.

A 17 minute documentary by filmmake Dan Drasin.  On April 9, 1961, several hundred musicians and their friends gathered in New York's Washington Square Park to sing folk songs and hang out, just like they did most Sundays. But on this day, the New York Police Department came to kick them out.
The events of that day became known as the Beatnik Riot, and Saturday marks its 50th anniversary

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