Various Artists

The Only Folk Collection You'll Ever Need

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While "folk music" originally defined the sort of indigenous music that was passed from one self-taught musician to another over years and even centuries, by the '60s the phrase came to refer to the work of singers and songwriters who used acoustic melodies as a vehicle for lyrics that often carried personal, social, or political messages. Featuring 30 songs, The Only Folk Collection You'll Ever Need offers a bit of the former and a great deal of the latter; along with performances by legitimate folk legends the Carter Family, Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, Mississippi John Hurt, and Woody Guthrie, this set also features classic tracks from most of the major folk stars of the '50s and '60s, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, Phil Ochs, Dave Van Ronk, Gordon Lightfoot, Donovan, Judy Collins, and many more. Though it is far from the only folk collection one might need or want, this set does feature an impressive cross-section of important and essential artists, who are for the most part represented by their most celebrated works. As a sampler of the cream of the postwar folk boom, this collection does a fine job, and would be a good starter for a youngster eager to learn about the folk and singer/songwriter movements.

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