The Songs of
1. Old Dan Tucker
American Land Edition Additional Songs:
Seeger Sessions Tour Songs:
The Orel Family
In early March, 2006, I was going through the songs that Bruce Springsteen had selected to include in his upcoming release, "The Seeger Sessions." I learned that the song "Froggie Went A Courtin'," which we've known at home from the Pete Seeger record "Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Fishes (Little and Big)," is an ancient song. Not only did I have multiple recorded versions about the house, including a 1928 recording by Chubby Parker under the title "King Kong Kitchie Ki-Me-O" that's part of the widely owned "Anthology of American Folk Music" collection, but the song itself has been around for more than 450 years and has seemingly countless variations.
I sent out a note to a small group of friends, saying: "It would be interesting to make a list, for each song, of who has done prior versions of them. That is, if that list hasn't already been made."
I decided to do it myself. This site is the result of my search. Overall, I initially found nearly 1600 recordings, by more than 1270 artists; since the site launch, readers have submitted several more. Some songs, such as "John Henry" and "Shenandoah," are among the most widely known and recorded songs in the English language, while a few others -- most notably "My Oklahoma Home" and also "Pay Me My Money Down" -- have been recorded only by a few.
Please note that, as with any listing of this size gathered in this time frame, there are undoubtedly many inaccuracies, omissions, false positives, and/or duplicate entries. If you have any corrections or additions to submit, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The site is divided in to several main sections:
The Songs area details the previous recordings for each song, as well as some summary notes. Select any song in the left panel of this page to see the details for it. The presentation is in the form of sortable tables; click on any column header to sort (may not work quite right in Safari, sorry). To the extent possible, I tried to listen to all of them; however, some are out of print, in archives, or otherwise unavailable. I limited the listings to a single entry per artist combination per song variation; for example, Pete Seeger may have released one studio version and several live versions of "We Shall Overcome," but it gets only one line. Exceptions are made if the lineup is different (e.g., "Pete Seeger" would be different than "Pete Seeger and Tom Glazer"), or if the song is different (e.g., Seeger has recorded 3 different versions of "Froggie Went A-Courtin'"; they are all included). I tried to list the original recording date for all items, as well as a representative album on which the recording was, or is, available. Genre listings usually reflect the entries at allmusic.
In the notes section for each song, I gathered several statistics from my listening notes -- in addition to who wrote the songs and when, also notes regarding when the recordings were made and in what style. I have -- at least this far -- avoided adding editorial comments.
The Performers pages list out the artists who have recorded multiple tracks from The Seeger Sessions. The front page of the section is a longish list showing all artists who have recorded at least 2 of the 15 songs on The Seeger Sessions (Pete Seeger is listed for 14; he only released "Pay Me My Money Down" as part of The Weavers). As with the song lists, the presentation is sortable. A 2nd page shows only the artists who have recorded at least 3 -- a much shorter presentation.
The Albums page lists out 20 albums that contain prior recorded versions of at least 3 of the songs on "The Seeger Sessions." 17 of them are available from amazon, and I have included links for those who may be interested in purchasing them. Note: A portion of all amazon.com sales generated from the albums page will be donated to one of the charities listed on the Bruce Springsteen charitable causes page. See the donations page for details.
Finally, the Audio page links to full-length audio of 80 prior recordings, from various web repositories and artist sites.
For an excellent overview of the songs on this album, their history, and their significance, please read Dave Marsh's introduction to them at www.brucespringsteen.net
--Matt Orel, April 10, 2006