Our post is rather special this time as it’s Peter on his favorite song or tune:
I know way too many folk songs to have a special favorite, Cat. Besides, I’m not always sure what counts as a folk song. Big Bill Broonzy used to say, ‘I guess all songs is folk songs – I never heard no horse sing one.’ When Merle Travis was asked to write an album’s worth of folk songs and explained to the producer that you don’t write folk songs – they just sort of spring up, like grass – the producer replied, ‘Well, then write some stuff that sounds like folk songs.” Travis came up with, among others, ‘Sixteen Tons’ and ‘Dark As A Dungeon,’ which any number of people still present as a folk song. And Aristide Bruant (Toulouse-Lautrec’s buddy, the guy in the black hat and red scarf) wrote ‘Sur La Route De Louviers’ – I don’t know how many times I heard that as a folk song in Berkeley, in the old days…’
I do love the haunting old French song ”A La Claire Fontaine,’ and my friend Phil and I still love to sing ‘The Miller of Dee’ when we get together. But if I had to pick just one, it might be a strange, utterly surrealistic tune called ‘Nottymun Town’ that I picked up from Jean Ritchie. I’m teaching it, on the rare occasions we’re able to jam together, to the guys of Emerald Rose, a great Celtic band, who could do it justice.
And then there’s wonderful ‘Tumbalalaika’ in Yiddish, and ‘La Llorona’ in Spanish…But in the end, my favorite song of all is still ‘Au Bois De Mon Coeur,’ which is not a folk song, but was written by Georges Brassens – so there you are. Go figure…