Pete Seeger

American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 4

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By the time it reached its third volume in 1959, Folkways Records' series of Pete Seeger albums called American Favorite Ballads seemed to be running out of gas, as Seeger re-recorded old Weavers hits like "Goodnight Irene" and "Wimoweh" (the latter, of course, not even American). But arriving after two years in 1961, American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 4 seems much closer to the series' original intent to present a variety of generally well-known, traditional American folk songs in Seeger's inimitable style. Variety is the key here, as Seeger ranges from a murder ballad ("Banks of the Ohio") to a patriotic anthem ("America the Beautiful"), with comic novelties ("Hole in the Bucket") contrasting with plaintive anti-war statements ("Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier"), a children's tune ("Froggie Went A-Courtin'"), and a spiritual ("Go Down Moses"), not to mention a raucous sea chantey ("What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?") and a hyperbolic and hilarious tale of army life ("Gee, But I Want to Go Home"). The ringer in the bunch is "You Are My Sunshine," which might sound like an old song, but really dates only from 1940, when its co-author, Jimmie Davis, introduced it. (It went on to help him become governor of Louisiana.) No matter. Seeger continues to contemporize a wide range of American folk music with performances that are unfailingly engaging. [A reissue added 16 songs taken from other Seeger Folkways recordings, including nine from the 1962 album American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 5; a smattering of cuts from material he recorded for Folkways in the '50s; and even a previously unreleased performance (date not given) of "Old Maid's Song."]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:29 Spotify
2 1:45 Spotify
1:39 Spotify
4 1:59 Spotify
5 2:21 Spotify
6 1:43 Spotify
7 1:41 Spotify
8 2:44 Spotify
9 3:10 Spotify
10 2:26 Spotify
11 2:33 Spotify
12 2:56 Spotify
13 3:07 Spotify
14 2:10 Spotify
15 1:56 Spotify
16 2:17 Spotify
17 2:16 Spotify
18 2:06 Spotify
19 2:48 Spotify
20 2:54 Spotify
21 3:32 Spotify
22 2:50 Spotify
23 2:28 Spotify
24 1:14 Spotify
2:05 Spotify
26 3:35 Spotify
27 4:04 Spotify
28 3:40 Spotify
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