Songs of the Session

In an effort to recreate and honor a tradition that was begun back in 1957, when Frank Hamilton would teach the same song to different levels of players, we proudly present The Songs of The Session.

Each session two songs are chosen, one from the songbook and one from the general repertoire. All classes are encouraged to learn these tunes and apply the skills they are working on at their individual levels.

As we are in the middle of the second decade of the century, our songs of this session exhibit the diversity that is so much a part of the Old Town School experience. These songs are rich in tradition and there is simply no reason why they can't be approached by any of the instruments we teach here at The Old Town School.

October - December 2016

Session 6 kicks off with a World Series on the North Side of Chicago and a presidential election in our great land. On December 1st Old Town School turns 59! Here are the Songs of the Session.


"Stewball" can be found on page 113 of our current songbook. It's a timeless tune about a British race horse dating back to the late 1700s. It was made popular in the States originally by Woody Guthrie and Huddie Ledbetter aka Leadbelly. In England, Lonnie Donegan did a skiffle version. It was later adapted by Peter, Paul & Mary. It's been a staple in our songbook since the early 1960s. Check out this lovely version by Joan Baez from 1964. Note that the melody transformed later into John Lennon's "Happy Christmas."

Chart for "Stewball"

"Mr. Tambourine Man"

We celebrate Bob Dylan's recent Nobel Prize in Literature by singing and playing one of his legendary masterpieces. In 1964, Dylan broke away from traditional social/political folk music and began writing from inner experience. "Mr. Tambourine Man" represent a departure from topical subject matters and is more transcendent and spiritual. "Let me forget about today until tomorrow." Learn the chords, sing the song, or just read the words. It is a rich piece of poetry that rings as true today as it did over 50 years ago!

Chart for "Mr. Tambourine Man"

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625  •  773.728.6000