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.

February - April 2016

Our Songs of the Session as we approach springtime in Chicago involve the national pastimes of baseball and irresponsible drinking, a combination that can often be found in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Let's have some fun with these two chestnuts.

"Drunken Sailor"

This sea shanty has been a long time favorite at Old Town School. Like most sea shanties it is sung by sailors at sea and open to many lyrical improvisations both funny and bawdy. Originating in the early 19th century, it has been sung by many popular artists and has appeared in numerous television episodes. Burl Ives is credited with odd pronunciation of "earl-eye." The Irish Rovers have made it a staple of their musical set. We invite you come up with your own verses and methods of sobering up or punishing the inebriated seafarer. On page 41 of our songbook.

Chart for "Drunken Sailor"


"Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

Jack Norworth's 1908 classic, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," was written on some scrap paper on a train ride to Manhattan, New York. Norworth then provided those paper scrap lyrics to Albert Von Tilzer who composed the music which in turn was published by the York Music Company, and before the year was over, a hit song was born. Norworth was a very successful vaudeville entertainer/songwriter and only spent 15 minutes writing this classic, which is sung during the seventh inning stretch at nearly every ball park in the country. One can really say that the chorus of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is truly an American folk song. Like "Happy Birthday," it has been sung by just about everyone. And now we are learning the unknown verses of this classic.

Chart for "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Inc.
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