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Folk Music News & Blog Posts

Roy LIchtenstein, "Hopeless" (1963)

BANG BANG: POP! goes the murder ballad

Prelude: Battle for the Charts, Battle of the Sexes In 1966, Cher released “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),” her biggest solo hit of the 1960s and her first to make the top ten on Billboard’s Hot 100 - the ...

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Which Side Are You On? - Coal and Blood, Part 2

Twice in recent weeks I've delved into Hazel Dickens's work to find songs that walk the line between life and death in America's coal fields. "Black Lung" is no murder ballad, but we saw how it used Primitive Baptist singing ...

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The Legend of Lead Belly Continues to Grow

WFDU-FM's TRADITIONS  Playlist for February 15, 2015 Huddie Ledbetter, best known to the world as Lead Belly, passed away in December 1949, a few short months before the Weavers recording of  his "Goodnight Irene" entered the Billboard best seller chart. The ...

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The Yablonski Murder - Coal and Blood, Part 1

"Well it’s cold blooded murder friends, I’m talking about ..." Such is the accusation that opens the angry chorus of "The Yablonski Murder." Hazel Dickens penned the musical indictment in January of 1970 after she read the newspaper story describing what she ...

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Armstrong Tower

Turn Your Radio On

WFDU-FM's TRADITIONS Fund Drive Playlists for February 1 & 8, 2015 The Carter Family recording of "Heaven's Radio" and John Hartford's version of "Turn Your Radio On" are two of my "lucky charm" songs that I play on my WFDU-FM radio ...

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Freddie Mercury

Bohemian Rhapsody

Prelude: The Ears of Babes "My class loves this song!" This is my daughter. She's referring to her elementary school class of 10 and 11 year-olds. She says this as we are driving down the highway a few weeks ago, listening to Queen's "Bohemian ...

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Video of the Week

The wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks of a few weeks ago, followed closely by the Boko Haram slaughters in Nigeria, set our minds to thinking about the right musical response to the seemingly endless violence perpetrated in the name of religion. It strikes us that this is not solely the domain of Islamists who shame their own scripture by their violent misinterpretations of it's meaning ... but the result of ignorance meshed with the absolutism of fundamentalist thinking propelled by the corrupt power-driven politics of all such twisting of dogma. Holly Near hit the nail perfectly on its head in her song "I Ain't Afraid" (published in Sing Out! v.47#3), so we share this live performance of the anthem, with Holly joined by the terrific duo Emma's Revolution" and an inspired audience from Marblehead, Mass. If you really want to stop terrorism, start by not being afraid!