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“A Man Who Could Outrun the Shot” and Other Hunting Stories

My  mother did not like the taste of game, and wouldn’t cook it.  To her wild meat recalled childhood poverty, when her father was short of work and so would pick up his rifle and go into the Maine woods to hunt.  As an adult I had opportunities to try several kinds of wildfowl prepared […]

Songs of the Abundant Ocean

June eighth is World Oceans Day, and an opportunity to look at a few examples of folksongs that relate to the interconnection between humans and the sea from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. In this recording, available via the link, James H. Gibbs of Nantucket, Massachusetts sings an untitled song about sperm whaling, […]

The Animals Marched In Two By Two: More Songs About Noah’s Ark

In my last post, I discussed the more serious side of songs about Noah’s ark. As I mentioned, though, there are other songs too, often with more celebratory messages–or even silly ones.  We’ll look at some of those Noah songs in this post. Celebratory songs tend to focus on the joy felt by Noah when […]

“The Fox”: A Song for Pete and Capitol Hill

Last month, there were several sightings of a fox on and around the grounds of the Capitol complex, where the Library of Congress is located.  Also, sadly, the wonderful American folksinger Pete Seeger died, and I wrote about him for this blog.  These two events both made me think of the old folksong often just […]

The Life and Times of Boll Weevil

The first time I saw Boll Weevil, He was sitting on a cotton square. The next time I saw Boll Weevil, He had his whole family there. This song about the boll weevil is one of many popularized by Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, Woody Guthrie, and other artists. A version of this most widely known […]