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.
Here's the plan:
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 start 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.
This session's songs are inspired by our upcoming tribute to the heyday of the Greenwich Village Folk Scene of the 1960s. Like all songs of the session, we invite you to learn the tune first and then put a little bit of yourself into them so they will eventually be a part of your songbag.
From our Songbook the traditional gospel classic "I'm On My Way." This one has been covered by Mahalia Jackson, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Ella Jenkins, Mavis Staples, and others. It's been adapted by country gospel artists as well as the Civil Rights Movement. It's a zipper song which means lyrics can be altered to fit whatever the situation is. The late great Richie Havens has a unique recording of the tune done in the later '60s. It's been in the Old Town School Songbook since we opened in 1957.
"Pack Up Your Sorrows" was written by Richard Farina and Pauline Marden, who was one of the three Baez sisters (Mimi and Joan being the other two). It was in our Songbook back in the day, but copyright has once again prevented its continued inclusion. We bring it out every once and a while. It is a beautiful melody that expresses a selfless empathy. Farina was an interesting character. He was married to Carolyn Hester briefly, then he hooked up with Mimi Baez. They performed around the Village and elsewhere. He played mountain dulcimer in addition to guitar and banjo. He also wrote a book Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me a very experimental post-modern piece of fiction. Unfortunately, Farina passed away in a motorcycle accident in 1966. Be sure to check out his recording in our Resource Center and get tickets for the Tribute to Greenwich Village: Freewheeling Folk from the '60s show on June 14th.