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American Folk Songbook

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iTunes Review

Suzy Bogguss draws on her affection for traditional musical forms on American Folk Songbook, a well-selected 17-track collection of ballads, children’s ditties, and other timeless tunes. Released with an accompanying hardcover songbook, the album recalls folk music anthologies by Pete Seeger, John Jacob Niles, and other musicians who combined entertainment with cultural education. Bogguss takes a sparse, acoustic-oriented approach to her material, giving the album an intimate feel. She takes an obvious delight in her treatments of such favorites as “Sweet Betsy from Pike,” “Old Dan Tucker,” “Erie Canal," and “Froggy Went A-Courtin’.” She adds a hint of the blues to “Wayfaring Stranger” and lends an almost Victorian purity to “Banks of the Ohio.” Western balladry—a strong suit for Bogguss even in her country hitmaking days—is represented by luminous readings of “Red River Valley” and “Git Along Little Dogies.” From Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer” to A.P. Carter’s “Wildwood Flower,” Suzy reaches across eras to craft a family-friendly spirit, inviting everyone to sing along.

Customer Reviews


It is SO good to hear Suzy Bogguss again! How I have missed that rich, pure voice that rolls off you like cool water on a hot day. Suzy takes these American folk songs and sings them with a respect and sacredness they deserve. Way to go, Suzy! Don't wait so long next time.

The simple pleasures of classic folk music

If you grew amidst the 1960s folk revival, you may well remember a favorite Pete Seeger, Burl Ives or Johnny Cash record of great American folk songs. You might have been schooled by the Dillards (in the guise of the Darling Family) on The Andy Griffith Show, had parents who sang these songs as you drifted off to sleep, sang folk songs at camp or had a progressive grade school teacher who introduced these songs at music time. But it’s probably been a few decades since folk songs were central to your life. Of course, you’ll still hear many of these titles on Prairie Home Companion and at bluegrass festivals, but their mainstream circulation has dwindled, pushing their legacies to the fringe. And that’s a shame, because these are great songs, rife with historical significance (both in their creation and in the stories they tell) and deep musical pleasures.

Suzy Bogguss has collected seventeen titles, mostly well-known, and assembled them into a songbook of both musical and intellectual depth. In addition to her lovely acoustic renderings, assisted by a terrific band of musicians and backing vocalists, she’s written a companion book that provides history and sheet music. The song backgrounds essay the unsettled origins of many songs (is “Red River Valley” a reference to a tributary of the Mississippi, a spur of the Hudson, or the valley drained by the Red River of the North?), the variations of their lyrics, and their paths to prominence. The sheet music is perfect for accompanying your home sing-along on piano or guitar, and the CD is sure to be a favorite for both parents and kids, not to mention a nutritious respite from calorie-free children’s records. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

Well done folk songs from the Great American Songbook.

I bought 5 songs individually and within 12 hours I went back and bought the rest of the album. Guess I needed more of a good thing.


Born: December 30, 1956 in Aledo, IL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most acclaimed female country singers of the late '80s and '90s, Suzy Bogguss was able to balance country tradition with a contemporary mainstream sensibility, thereby satisfying both audiences and critics. Bogguss was born in Aledo, IL, in 1956, and began singing in her church choir at age five. Encouraged by her parents, she learned piano and drums as a child, and took up guitar as a teenager. While studying art at Illinois State University, she performed in local coffee houses and clubs,...
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American Folk Songbook, Suzy Bogguss
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