VARIOUS ARTISTS. - Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook Vol 1.

 VARIOUS ARTISTS. - Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook Vol 1.
 OTS 002 

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, has been open since 1957 with a commitment to teaching songs and instrumental styles to students eager to learn about traditional music.  To say they have been successful is putting it mildly.  The figures are staggering, I quote from the CDs publicity leaflet "Today more than 6,000 students attend over 500 classes each week, and some 70,000 attend the School's concerts annually. Outreach activities reach more than 3.00 youngsters who typically lack access to arts programs".  The list of instructors available to these students over the years has included some outstanding names, Big Bill Broonzy for instance, whose guitar was hanging on the wall there when I visited some years ago. 

As the title indicates, this cd is primarily a learning tool delivering a comprehensive selection of American traditional styles including blues, ballads, worksongs, gospel, etc, sung and played by a variety of artists many of whom are currently instructors at the school.  Titles like Cripple Creek, Shady Grove, Wayfaring Stranger, Salty Dog, Midnight Special, Down in the Valley, Erie Canal, will give you an idea of the scope of the music on offer.  This will serve its purpose to the students very well. It's also good for putting on to groove to some grand songs.  The Old Town School is doing a fine job. If you're ever in Chicago put it on your 'must see' schedule.

Roy Harris.

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This album was reviewed in Issue 72 of The Living Tradition magazine.