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Folk Music Index - Frequently Asked Questions
Many people have contacted me with expressions of thanks as well as
specific questions about items in the Folk Music Index. Since a major
purpose of the index is to support and encourage the community it
documents, I welcome all inquiries and comments. Although I endeavor to
answer all email, occasionally inquiries have gotten lost on my desk.
If I have failed to respond to your email, please accept my apologies
and feel free to try again. By way of explanation, I can only say that
the index is maintained and updated completely outside of any regular
employment or income producing activities.
The items listed below are more or less in the order of frequency
received. Your questions and comments are always appreciated, so keep
those cards and letters coming!
I am searching for the words to a song which
is listed in your website. Can you help me?
Finding words to songs can be tricky. Several of the sites listed in my Other Folk Music Resources provide full lyrics to
songs in a
wide number of styles. Others such as the Traditional Ballad Index are
more oriented to bibliographic listings of resources that contain words
to the songs. Folk music labels with a strong traditional music
orientation, such as Folkways, Folk Legacy, etc. often include booklets
with the complete words to all the songs performed on an album. Future
editions of the folk music index may indicate such information.
I'm surprised you haven't listed the famous
"Really Good Folkster" group. They had a number of hit recordings in
the the 60's. What gives?
Libraries are always a good place to start looking for the words and music
to songs. Many libraries maintain their own indexes to published song
books and folios. One such effort, The Song Index of the Enoch Pratt
Free Library, New York, Garland Publishing, 1998, has now been
published. To find a library near you with the recording or book you are
interested in, try Worldcat
maintained and updated daily by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).
Simply type the key words of the title of the book or recording that has the piece
you are are looking for into the search box, and worldcat will return a
listing of all libraries with the item in their catalogs, starting with the
libraries closest to the location you provide.
All the titles and performers listed in the index point only to sources
in my personal collection, purchased over the past 30 years. Except for
an increasing number of donations as noted in the Donors
section, all purchases have and continue to come out of my personal
funds. Although the index and its maintainence and expansion is not
supported directly by any institution or grant, the web service support
by the iBiblio site at UNC is provided free of change, for which I am very
Is there any way I can access the recordings you
Not at the moment. For a variety of reasons, including copyright issues
and the fact that index is strictly an individual effort at this time,
it is almost impossible for me to provide any real time access to
recordings. However, I will do my best, within the constraints of time,
etc. to assist you with specific recordings, including copying liner
notes and out of print items.
Do you have any plans for providing access to the
recordings both for now and in the future?
Many LP's have been reissued on CD and
these may be available thru your local library or via the publisher, which
is hotlinked to my publisher listing
Your questions is one I have been thinking about seriously in the past
couple of years as I ease into the "retirement" segment of my life.
Ideally I would like to see the recordings along with the index housed
in some archive, perhaps at some public or university library.
Currently I am exploring the process required to implement this, and I
welcome inquiries from potential archival sponsors, such as libraries,
universities and also non-profit organizations with a strong folk arts
I am looking for more information about a
performer listed in your index?
If you have suggestions or ideas in this area or are associated
with a potential archive for the collection, feel free to contact me about this.
Many current performers now have websites. In keeping with the
discographic character of this index I currently do not link directly
to such sites. Such links can be found in many folk oriented web hosts
now and one such site, The FolkLib Index, is listed in my Webliography For less well known
performers appearing on out of print items, I am always willing to
share information contained on liner notes.
Do you accept corrections and/or additional
information about a recordings, performers or specific performances on
Absolutely! My thanks to everyone who has sent me updates on record
publishers, mispellings, performer names, etc. Any database of this size
is bound to have some errors, and all assistance is gratefully accepted.
How do you acquire records for your collection?
Currently I buy recordings, mostly used or demos, from record
conventions and certain stores that provide access to a wide variety of
formats. I have also received donations, as documented in the Donors listing for this site.
What criteria do you use to select recordings
There are two main criteria that determine whether a recording is added
to my collection; price and content. As to content, the focus of my
record collection is to document traditional and tradition based music
as reflected in both commercial and non-comercial recordings. By
traditional, I mean music performed by people for their own individual
and community purposes. Such music in the past has been transmitted
mostly aurally and within informal music making settings. Tradition
based "folk" music, on the other hand, is music that consciously
imitates traditional music, either by faithful reproduction of
traditional versions of music or through composition of pieces that
emulate the structure and style of traditional musics.
Our band performs traditional music. How can we
get our recording listed in your website?
Since traditional music, by definition, is always evolving to meet
the needs of its community, there is no hard and fast rule by which a
recording can be decisively classified as traditional or tradition
based. Only hindsight can be applied since every community will
spontaneously develop musics to meet their needs. I try to maintain a
reasonable balance between commerical and non-commerical, well-known
and obscure, composed and public domain, and regional versus national
performers. Of the criteria noted above, I am particularly
interested in regional recordings, since these are the least likely to
Last but unfortunately, by no means the least, you should be aware
that financial considerations are always a factor in my selection,
since all purchases come out of my pocket. And as much as I regret it,
this factor will increase in importance as I edge into a retirement
mode and my income decreases. As much as possible, I attempt to get the
most bang for my buck and this means that my focus is generally on LP's
and other used sources of recordings.
Currently all new recordings added to the index are
audited. That is, I listen to all the tracks, either assigning a
performance to a title already listed in the database or creating a new
title entry for it. Cross references are added as needed based both on
my own knowledge and from information contained in the liner notes. If
you believe your recording meets my selection criteria described above,
send me a copy for inclusion in the next database update. Updates
generally occur about one a year. My address is:
4111 SE Raymond St.
Portland, OR 97202
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Last Updated, Nov 2008