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On This Day in History (of Rock and Roll and Folk Festivals) July 25, 1965

The Newport Folk Festival begins today, and features current artists and new arrivals on the scene.  It began as a counterpart to the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959.  The first participants, playing on a single afternoon, were Odetta, Pete Seeger, the Weavers and the Kingston Trio.

As the afternoon program created quite a buzz, George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival collaborated with Albert Grossman and scheduled a longer festival with Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, the Kingston Trio, John Jacob Niles, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Odetta, The New Lost City Ramblers, and more, including the debut performance of a teen-age Joan Baez.

Folk festivals focus on folk; and along with ballads of murder and lost loves, protest songs are written and adopted.  The Civil Rights movement was merged with the folk music community with performances by the Freedom Singers and Peter, Paul and Mary.  After their performance of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” they were joined onstage by Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Theo Bikel and the Freedom Singers and sang a variation on the hymn “I’ll Overcome Some Day.” This developed into “We Shall Overcome,” anthem for the Civil Rights movement.

Now the history gets interesting.  Dylan’s reputation was established and supported by the folk community, but in 1965 he went electric and premiered “Like a Rolling Stone”. He had recorded it as a single six weeks earlier, and released it five days before his appearance at the festival.  There are mixed reports the jeers and boos were for the new electric medium, or the sound quality was poor.  But as we know, the song made it to the top of the charts and became a breakthrough for Dylan personally from folk singer to rocker.  I can’t imagine it being presented any other way and having the same impact with the small electric organ accompaniment.

I’m glad Dylan’s career evolved and survived his radical move over to electric.  But, we have several titles by other artists that cover acoustic instruction as well as electric. Here are some titles with description of acoustic or electric or both.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps, (acoustic) DBM 02853

The Needle and the Damage Done (acoustic) DBM 02923

Cowgirl in the Sand (acoustic) DBM 02927

Change the World (acoustic) DBM 02996

Rain Song (acoustic and electric) DBM 03474

Route 90, Johnny Walker  (acoustic and electric) DBM 03475

Love in the First Degree, (acoustic and electric) DBM 02475

Friends in Low Places, (acoustic and electric) DBM 02473 

And here are some titles with folk songs and about folk artists.

The Joan Baez Songbook, BRM 24841, three volumes

Singer as Activist, DBM 00113

Positively 4th Street; the Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña, DB 52658

On the Road with Bob Dylan, DB 77606

You can borrow or download our instructional guitar catalog from BARD, DBM 03689. Call or contact the NLS Music Section today for more information at 1-800-424-8567, option 2, or [email protected]

And don’t forget, we shall overcome, some day.

From Anderson to Zaninelli: Audio Lessons for Classical Singing

Learn to sing classical art songs and arias with audio lessons available from the NLS Music Section!

What Do Music Reader Service Librarians Do?

As many of you know, the NLS Music Section is a specialized music library serving blind and print-impaired patrons. This week’s blog post will reveal some of the many interesting things our music reader service librarians do. One of the most important tasks we do in the Music Section is reference service. We receive diverse […]

New BARD Additions: October 2018

This is a guest post from Hannah Noel, a West Coast native currently living in North Carolina. She is a recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, where she earned her MSLS and focused her studies on archival work in an arts and museum-specific context. She is interning at NLS at the […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: G (Part 2–Grasse, Edwin)

Welcome to a new installment of the NLS Music Section’s journey through the alphabet to learn about musicians and composers who were blind or visually impaired. In part 2 of the letter G, we’ll meet Edwin Grasse and introduce our new violin scores catalog.

Carnegie Hall of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 2

This is the second half of a two-part post on Nashville’s musical history and related books in the NLS Music Collection. Read the first part here: Athens of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 1. Nashville’s most famous music venue, the Ryman Auditorium, was completed in 1892 and was originally a church called the Union […]

Athens of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 1

Here in the Music Section of the National Library Service we are counting down the days until the National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals begins next month in Music City, Nashville, Tennessee! As I mentioned in my last article, I’ve been taking the opportunity to learn about the musical history of […]

New Catalog Available!

Maybe that’s not the most exciting news you’ll hear today, but we’re excited! The Music Appreciation Catalog is making its debut and ready for all patrons interested in learning about music. Previously, we had music instruction and music appreciation joined together in one large print catalog, and while they were happy sharing the space, it was […]

Golden Days of Yesteryear

My attention recently was called to a very historic event; on June 2, 1896, Guglielmo Marconi applied to patent the radio. When we think of Marconi as the inventor of the radio, it is easily overshadowed by contemporary inventors of computers, 3-D printing, and copy machines. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have […]