Folk Music in America


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Here is an extrememly generous gift to the world,  from, for this 4th of July.  Thank you Dinosaur Discs! 

This 15 LP set is also a timeless gift of scholarship and love from legendary musicologist Dick Spottswood.  Many thanks to him for his decades of contributions to the understanding and appreciation of American vernacular music..  Read more about him here and here.

This post and links are copied with permission from

Folk Music in America

“Folk Music in America” is a series of 15 LP records published by the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978 to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolution. It was curated by librarian/collector-cum-discographer Richard K. Spottswood, and funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The music, pulled primarily from the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Song (now Archive of Folk Culture), spans nearly a century (1890-1976) and virtually every form that can be considered American music. This includes native American songs and instrumental music, music of immigrant cultures from all over the world, and uniquely American forms like blues, jazz and country.

Download “Folk Music in America” (1.1GB) (Individual links below)

At 15 LP records (252 songs, 12 hours), the series stretches what can be considered a single publication, but represents a somewhat comprehensive survey of American folk music of the 20th century. The booklets (included here in PDF form) transcribe lyrics, share images and tell short stories about sources and symbols helpful in understanding the material. Each disc is organized along a theme, which follow. Click the links below to download the “discs” individually, or the image above to download the whole anthology.

  1. Religious Music – Congregational and Ceremonial
  2. Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage
  3. Dance Music – Breakdowns and Waltzes
  4. Dance Music – Reels, Polkas, Etc.
  5. Dance Music – Ragtime, Jazz, Etc.
  6. Songs of Migration and Immigration
  7. Songs of Complaint and Protest
  8. Songs of Labor and Livelihood
  9. Songs of Death and Tragedy
  10. Songs of War and History
  11. Songs of Humor and Hilarity
  12. Songs of Local History and Events
  13. Songs of Childhood
  14. Solo and Display Music
  15. Religious Music – Solo and Performance

Additional info about the downloads here.

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