The final installment in an epic series from Old Town School Recordings and Bloodshot Records: The Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook, Volume Four.
The songs on The Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook, Volumes Four are, in fact, drawn for the Old Town School’s Songbook, a collection of folk chestnuts, political broadsides, frightening and/or uplifting songs of faith, chart-topping pop tunes, and lots of other great music that has found its way into the Old Town School curriculum over the last 50 years.
Old Town School Co-Founder Win Stracke leads off the album with his rendition of “El-A-Noy”, backed by current Old Town School instructor Mark Dvorak, in a recording that spans 40 years. Legendary folk singer/songwriter Tom Paxton gives us the folk favorite “So Long (Its Been Good To Know You)”. Andrew Bird (a former Old Town School instructor) delivers a stark and emotion-filled reading of “I Shall Not Be Moved”, surviving Old Town School Co-Founder Frank Hamilton turns in a very traditional version of “Simple Gifts”, and Chicago singer/songwriter Michael Smith delivers what may be the definitive version of his classic song “The Dutchman”. You’ll also hear a never-before-heard live take of Steve Goodman (Old Town School Alumnus) performing what has become an American standard, his own “City of New Orleans”, and John Prine’s (another former Old Town School student) tune “Paradise”, an Old Town School Songbook favorite. Sons of the Never Wrong close the Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook series with “I’ll Fly Away”. Listen for Steve Goodman himself singing along during the break.
Again, Old Town School Instructor and Folklorist Paul Tyler supplies a detailed history of each song.
Founded in 1957 (and currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary), the Old Town School of Folk Music plays a unique role in Chicagos cultural community. The School is the only organization in Chicago dedicated to teaching and fostering traditional music and cultures from around the world. Today over 6,000 students attend over 500 classes each week, and some 70,000 attend the Schools concerts annually. Outreach Activities reach over 3,000 youngsters who typically lack access to arts programs.