So, in searching for nonannoying kids music for Fairy Girl, I’ve discovered I REALLY like folk music. I like it for aesthetic reasons, but I also like it because it’s fluid, changing to suit your purposes- if you add a verse or change some words here or there- well, that’s the folk process. That’s how we get verses like, “She’ll be wearing pink pajamas when she comes….” Or the ones that change with technology, like the last verse of “The Cat Came Back”:
“The atom bomb fell just the other day,
The H-Bomb fell in the very same way;
Russia went, England went, and then the U.S.A.
The human race was finished without a chance to pray.”
But the cat came back, the very next day!
That song always cracks me up, as a cat lover.
Anyway, that’s the folk process, and there’s something so earthy about it that I love. I also love that they often sing about daily life, human emotions and nonsense. And they’re so easily singable! A Capella, or with just a guitar, hands clapping, or a full band- whatever.
So, I stumbled across this book of folk songs in the library, called Rise Up Singing. Reviews at Amazon say it’s the quintessential hippie songbook. I have to have it.
I checked it out, and it has EVERYTHING. All arranged by category. I can’t even begin to give you an idea of the depth and breadth of this book. Here is a sampling from the table of contents:
Home and Family (my favorite so far)
Sacred Rounds and Chants
And so much more, really, get your hands on this book!
I looked up some of the songs whose lyrics touched me- because despite there being chords and keys noted with the lyrics, I can’t translate that into a song- so, I hoped to find the recordings online. I found that, and much more.
But before I share with you what I’ve found, I need to type this out. It’s the one song I could find no traces of, and I’m dearly hoping that by putting the lyrics out there, with the proper credits, someone will be able to lead me to the recording of it. It’s called “My Little Girl”, and it is NOT the same one as on the Flicka soundtrack. NOT the same. It makes me cry, and I NEED to know this song.
My little girl, teach me to laugh again
Run in the wind and tumble in the grass again
When you’re so alive and running by my side
Then you teach me to laugh, little girl.
My little girl, teach me to cry again
To feel my pain and to stop and wonder why again
when you bow your head from something I have said
Then you teach me to cry, little girl.
My little girl, teach me to love again
Put your arms around me and teach me how to hug again
when you know I”m sad and you touch me with your hand
Then you teach me to love, little girl
My little girl, teach me to live again
Let me be near you and teach me how to give again
Life is fresh and new in everything you do
When you teach me to live, little girl.
By Mary Dart 1975 In Songs About People
That’s all I have, and I NEED the music to it. Help if you can.
Other great gems I’ve found. (I hope you aren’t laughing too hard- I have a feeling these people were very well known in a time before I was born, but *I* have just discovered them, and I love it!)
The first woman I found (They’re all women, for some odd reason) is Carol Johnson, and she’s got a website! With samples! Woohoo! The song that prompted me to look for her is called “Family” from her album “Might As Well Make It Love”, which you can sample here. I expect I will be spending some money there later, when I have some.
The next one I found and bookmarked was Jean Ritchie. She still performs, apparently, which is happy for me, because I might like to see her perform sometime. (When I discovered Simon and Garfunkel, I was sad, because I was born ONE YEAR after their last performance in Central Park. But joy of joys! I was able to see them in their reunion tour!)
You can listen to samples of her music here. Make sure to listen to some of her Christmas Album.
I wasn’t able to listen to the song I wanted to from her site (God Bless the Moon), but she has such a sweet soprano voice that even when she’s singing about surface mining, it’s pretty.
And here’s a You Tube link I got from her site:
Bonnie Lockhart has a sweet lilting voice and sings for children especially (Like Carol Johnson) Make sure to listen to her samples, especially “Who Were the Witches”, but don’t miss “When I Feel Mad”, either. I keep thinking “Who Were the Witches” is going to be haunting and slow, but it’s buoyant and cheerful, and it makes me giggle! And “When I Feel Mad” is just as helpful for grown up children as it is the younger ones. “But I don’t have to hurt anybody/to let my anger out!/ Cause I use words/Words make me strong/ and I can tell everybody/ just what is wrong/”
And I saved the best for last. Oh, yes I did. Betsy Rose. Oh, woman. Go, and listen. “Welcome to the Circle” is now on my wish list.
Listen to “I Sing for the Mothers” , “Battle Hymn of Women” “How Could Anyone Ever Tell You”, “Open Up and Let Her Through”, “Women’s Hands”, and for a tongue in cheek song, “Unreasonable Women”.
Then go and check out her other albums- HOW is it that as immersed in the lactivist culture I’ve been, I’ve never heard “Mama’s Milk”??? Makes me laugh and cry at the same time.
And I think in addition to “Shine” by Rachel Coleman (of Signing Time fame), everyone who works with children should listen to “Spirited Child”.
In my quest for decent children’s music, I’ve found other gems.
Lester Family Music. They have songs in 4 parts, so you can memorize your voice part, and everyone else memorizes theirs, and voila! Harmony! You don’t have to know music, you just have to be able to carry a tune. And they also have music CDs celebrating the nursing relationship. I think the more songs about breastfeeding a woman knows, the better.
And there’s also the company, Naturally You Can Sing , a series of Waldorf friendly songbooks. I have Lavender’s Blue and “This is the way we Wash A Day”, and I especially like the second one. It’s full of songs for cleanup, cooking, hygiene, and some folk songs too.
And I’ve also found more folk music for kids here, along with a CD called “Letting Down”, to listen to while you nurse. Awesome!
For Christian homeschoolers, there’s also Praise Hymn Inc.– my mom had one of these CD’s for me when I was a baby, and I listened to it over and over again. Actually, these are all folk songs too, you don’t have to be Christian to appreciate them. I haven’t checked out any of the books, just the CDs.
And for any homeschooler interested in Appalachian music, I found this. I’m not a huge follower of curriculum, but I think it’s ripe with ideas to adapt to your own.
Ok, this took me a LOT longer to do than I expected, so I have to end this here.