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.

March - April 2015

"Skip to My Lou"

We are all looking forward to spring and to April, which is Dance Month here in Chicago. So let's celebrate the expression of dance with two special songs. From our songbook "Skip to My Lou." This well known tune originated in the 1800s as part of the ritual of play parties. In those puritan days, the fiddle and such were thought to be the devil's instruments. That's where play parties came from with just people singing, clapping, and dancing. Originally no instruments were used, but eventually, they were added and along came barn dancing and square dancing. The "lou" in the lyric comes from the word "loo," which is Scottish for love. The tune has been recorded by a host of artists including Leadbelly, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, and even Bugs Bunny.

Chart for "Skip to My Lou"

"Ghost Dance" by Patti Smith

Patti Smith's Easter album released in 1978 yielded the hit song "Because The Night." Also included in the set was "Ghost Dance," which references a specific Native American ritual. According to the collective knowledge of Wikipedia, "proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with the spirits of the dead and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to native peoples throughout the region." The refrain of this haunting minor melody says, "We shall live again." Patti will grace our halls mid-session. Let's learn this song and sing it with her. Maybe she'll show us the dance steps!

Chart for "Ghost Dance"


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