McGuinn's Folk Den

  1. Wading in the Water2006/03/01

    Mp3: Wade In The Water
    Camilla and I were on the road when I remembered this song and thought it would be a good one to record. I used my iBook and free cross platform software called Audacity along with my Samson C01U USB microphone. This is a great mic for [...]
  2. Mary Had A Little Lamb2006/02/01

    Thomas Edison, the father of audio recording recited the first stanza of this poem in testing his new invention, the phonograph in 1877, making this the first audio
    recording to be successfully made and played back. It was all done on tin foil.
    They say [...]
  3. St. Clair's Defeat2006/01/01

    Mp3: St. Clair’s Defeat

    I first heard this song at the Gate of Horn in Chicago. Bob Gibson and Bob Camp were a duo for a short time and this was one of thier most intense songs. It’s about The Battle of Wabash River. It was also known as ‘St. Clair’s [...]
  4. Children Go Where I Send Thee2005/12/01

    A traditional spiritual with a meaning for each number. I have placed the meaning next to the verses in parentheses.

    [E] Children go [A] where I [E] send [A] thee
    [E] How [A] shall I [E] send [A] thee?
    [E] I'm gonna [A] send thee [E] one [...]
  5. Oh Mary Don't You Weep2005/11/01

    A good old gospel song from the southern United States. This has been recorded by many folk singers and exists in numerous versions.
    Oh Mary Don't You Weep
    Mf - If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus
  6. Ruben Ranzo2005/10/17

    Ruben Ranzo
    Ruben Ranzo, an inexperienced sailor is shanghaied aboard a whaling ship. The captain's daughter takes pity on him, teaches him navigation and the finer points of sailing, marries him and he becomes the finest sailor on the seas.
    It has been suggested that Ranzo is a [...]
  7. There's A Hole In The Bucket2005/10/01

    There's A Hole In The Bucket
    A circle song is one that comes back to where it started and begins again. It can go on indefinitely. This is the amusing story of Henry and Maria. Their bucket leaks and she wants him to fix it, [...]
  8. Red River Valley2005/09/01

    I remember watching Roy Rogers when I was a Chicago cowboy in the 1940s. Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers sang Red River Valley in a movie by the same name. This song always reminds me of my childhood fantasies of riding the range with [...]
  9. Erie Canal2005/08/01

    This is a comic story about a tragic boat ride down the Erie Canal. I decided to sing this in the style of the late 50s - early 60s college folk groups. I can see the audience sitting an a large hall, the men wearing three button jackets [...]
  10. On Top Of Old Smokey2005/07/01

    I remember lying on the floor in front of the big brown cathedral radio at my grandmother's house, listening to The Weavers sing 'On Top of Old Smokey.' It was on the 'Hit Parade' back then, just as popular as Coldplay, Weezer or [...]
  11. Old Riley2005/06/01

    Painting by: William H. Johnson
    Chain Gang
    National Museum of American Art
    Smithsonian Institution,
    Washington, D.C.
    This song is actually made up of two traditional songs combined by Lead Belly. They are prison work songs used for flat weeding. 'Rattler' was the name generally given to the lead search dog on a prison [...]
  12. So Early In The Spring2005/05/01

    This is a sea chantey that got distilled, and transformed into a love ballad in the Appalachian Mountains. The origin is Scottish, but the lyrical style is obviously from the Southern United States. Many settlers to the New World brought their music with them, only [...]
  13. Wanderin'2005/04/01

    This was originally a post World War I lament of a soldier returning
    to hard times in America. I've interpreted it as a tribute to traveling and have
    written a few new verses to reflect my love of wanderin'

    [C] My daddy is an engineer, [Em] my brother drives a hack
    My [F] [...]
  14. Follow The Drinking Gourd2005/03/01

    Special thanks to Nedra Talley Ross (of the Ronettes) for background vocals.
    [A] Follow the [Em] drinking gourd!
    [A] [...]
  15. Let The Bullgine Run2005/02/01

    The term bullgine was derisive shipboard slang for an engine. Sailors didn't like them much, and many still don't today.
    I recorded this song on the album 'Judy Collins 3' on Elektra Records in 1963. This is a slightly different version,
    but my banjo part is pretty close [...]
  16. Cindy2005/01/02

    This is one of the great American folk songs that I learned at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. I love playing banjo on this song, which according to John Lomax is originally from North Carolina. Cindy is a widely known frolic tune, appearing in many [...]
  17. The First Noel2004/12/01

    One of my fondest childhood memories is of standing around the piano with my mother and father at my grandparents' house in Chicago. My grandfather and grandmother sat at the keyboard. Every Christmas we would go through the small book of carols. The tree in the next [...]
  18. The John B's Sails2004/11/01

    This is a sea song from around Nassau. We recorded this at Ridley Pearson's house at the beginning of the Rock Bottom Remainders Wannapalooza 2004 Tour. Riddley, Dave Barry, Greg Iles, and I were the vocalists. Ridley played bass, and I played 6-string acoustic and Rickenbacker [...]
  19. Spanish Ladies2004/10/01

    This song gives a vivid picture of the sailing ships in the English Channel. The 'Grand Fleet' was an old name for the Channel Fleet. 'Deadman' and 'Fairlee' are sea names for Dodman Point near Plymouth and Fairlight Hill near Hastings, and Ushant is the Ile d'Ouessant off [...]
  20. Oh Freedom2004/09/01

    This is a great old spiritual. I recorded it during a thunder storm in Florida and decided to leave the thunder on the track to give it more ambiance. Freedom is often taken for granted, but is sorely missed when it's gone.

    [G]Oh freedom [D]Oh freedom [G]Oh freedom [D]over [...]
  21. Haul Away Joe2004/08/01

    This is a tack and sheet, short haul chantey. There are many verses and it may have been used as a halyard chantey as well. Sheet chanties were usually no longer than three or four verses. Sometimes the word 'pull' or 'haul' was used instead of Joe. [...]
  22. Down by the Riverside2004/07/01

    This is a great old spiritual that has new meaning every time there is a conflict in the world. We recorded this live at the Fairfield concert hall in Croydon England on June 30, 2004. The audience is singing very well.

    [G] Gonna lay down my sword [...]
  23. Salty Dog Blues2004/06/01

    This is one of the songs I recorded in 1958 at my house at 57 E. Division Street in Chicago. It's a country blues. I was speaking with a man from a radio station in Belgium who mentioned that his favorite songs from the Folk Den were [...]
  24. Gypsey Rover2004/05/04

    This is one of the great songs I performed night after night with the Chad Mitchell Trio back in the early 60s. It's a sweet love song for May.

    [A] Gypsy [E7] rover, come [A] over the [E7] hill, [A] down through the valley so [E7] shady
    He [A] whistled [...]
  25. Whistling Gypsy2004/05/04

    This is one of the great Irish folk songs I played night after night
    with the Chad Mitchell Trio. It's a fine love song for May.

    The [A] Gypsy [E7]rover, come [A] over the [E7] hill,
    [A] down through the [E7] valley so [A] shady. [E7]
    He [A] whistled and he [E7] [...]
  26. Ezekiel Saw A Wheel2004/04/01

    Image Credit:
    This is a spiritual I learned many years ago at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. It refers to a part of the Old Testament where Ezekiel sees a vision of concentric wheels floating in space. They have many properties attributed [...]
  27. Drunken Sailor2004/03/01

    This song is well known on both sides of the Atlantic, used on sailing ships as a short haul as well as a forcastle (fo'c'sle) shanty.

    [Dm] What shall we do with a drunken sailor
    [C] What shall we do with a drunken sailor
    [Dm] What shall we do with a [...]
  28. Silver Dagger2004/02/11

    Silver Dagger is a song I first heard in the early 60s on a Joan Baez album. I loved the beautiful melody and the way Joan sang and played it. This was a ladies song. I always wished I could sing it, but I minded doing songs of [...]
  29. The Gallows Pole2004/01/08

    Some of you may think this song was written by Lead Belly, or Led Zeppelin, or is the name of a now defunct German band, but it's really a traditional American song that may date back to the 18th Century. A case of true love being stronger [...]
  30. We Wish You a Merry Christmas2003/12/01

    This is a very popular old English Christmas carol. It's also a subtle ad for a cup of grog to ease the singer's throat. Many versions include the line 'Good tidings we bring to you and your friends,' but this must have been added [...]
  31. Heave Away2003/11/01

    This is a sea chantey that I have always loved. I recorded it on my first solo album for Columbia Records 'Roger McGuinn.'
    Spanky McFarlane sang harmony on the original recording.

    [G] There's some that's [Am] bound for [C] New York Town
    And other's is bound for [G] France
    Heave [D] away [...]
  32. Banks of Ohio2003/10/01

    Camilla and I were just in Ohio doing a concert for the Columbus Cancer Clinic. When We got home it was time to record another song for the Folk Den, and this one came to mind. This is a sad traditional song about a young man, so [...]
  33. Michael Row the Boat Ashore2003/09/11

    The Georgia Sea Islands is a section of the United States rich in African American folk song. For over a hundred miles, these low flat islands decorate the Atlantic Coast. Here's where slaves were brought fresh from Africa and for generations, spent their entire lives [...]
  34. Squid-Jigging Ground2003/09/11

    This squid catching song originated in Newfoundland, though the names of the places have changed due to the folk process.My wife Camilla and I love to taste and compare crispy calamari at restaurants around the world. She always asks “where do they get all this squid”? A fair [...]
  35. Shenandoah2003/09/02

    This was a sea chantey, used with the windlass, and the capstan.The lead man would sing the first and third lines of each verse and the crew would sing on the second and fourth lines, as they did their work, with winches for loading cargo, raising sails, pulling up [...]
  36. Go Tell Aunt Rhodie2003/07/31

    This is a very popular children's song in spite of its rather dark lyrics.

    [G] Go tell, Aunt Rhodie
    [D] Go tell, Aunt [G] Rhodie
    Go tell, Aunt Rhodie
    Her [D] ole gray goose is [G] dead
    Th one she's been savin'
    Th one she's been savin'
    Th one she's been savin'
    T' make [...]
  37. He's Got The Whole World In His Hands2003/07/02

    In these troubled times it's reassuring to know that, He's Got The Whole World In His Hands.

    He's got the [G] whole world in His hands
    He's got the [D7} whole world in His hands
    He's got the [G] whole world in His hands
    He's got [...]
  38. 12 Gates To The City2003/06/01

    This is an old southern spiritual, inspired by the Bible's Revelation chapter 21.
    Revelation 21 - King James Version ( Public Domain)

    [Em] Oh, what a beautiful city.
    [B7] Oh, what a beautiful city
    [Em] Oh, what a beautiful city
    [Em] Twelve gates to the city, [B7] - [[Em] Hallelujah
    Three [...]
  39. Wild Mountain Thyme2003/05/01

    Back in Greenwich Village, in 1963, I experimented by putting this song to a rock beat. The result was the folk rock sound of the Byrds. Now, I thought it would be fun to try this traditional Scottish love song. with a reggae beat.

    [G] O [...]
  40. Pretty Saro2003/03/01

    This song was collected in the Asheville area of North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia around 1930 by Dorothy Scarborough. She included it in her book 'A Song Catcher in Southern Mountains, American Folk Songs of British Ancestry.' This is an excerpt from her text:
    'Mrs. [...]
  41. St. James Infirmary2003/02/05

    One of the great blues from New Orleans, originally 'Gambler's Blues.'

    [Em] I went down to [Am] St. James [Em] Infirmary.
    [Em] I saw my [C] baby [B7] there.
    [Em] Lying on a [Am] long white table,
    [C] So sweet, [B7] so cold, [Em] so fair.
    I went up to see the [...]
  42. When the Saints Go Marching In2003/01/01


    [G] I am just a lonesome [C] traveller,
    [G] Through this big wide world of [D] sin;
    [G] Want to join that grand [C] procession,
    When the [G] saints go [D] marchin’[G] in.
    Oh when the [G] saints go marchin’in,Oh when the [G] saints go marchin’[D] in,
    [G] Lord [...]
  43. Away In A Manger2002/12/01

    Verses 1 & 2, were written by an anonymous author, Some sources show the author as Martin Luther; this attribution (probably incorrect) is based on the title 'Luther's Cradle Hymn,' given to these words by the composer, James Murray. Verse 3 is by John Thomas McFarland [...]
  44. I Am A Pilgram2002/11/01

    This is an old spiritual, sung by numerous country artists. It has a good melody and is a good picking song. I thought of it in conjunction with Thanksgiving, as it was the Pilgrims who started it all. Happy Thanksgiving 2002!
    [G] I am a [D] pilgrim [...]
  45. Wildwood Flower2002/10/01

    This is a nineteenth-century North American parlor song that has gone into the public domain. There are many variants, some quite amusing when compared to this version. For instance the line:
    I will dance I will sing and my life shall be gay
    I will charm every heart in the [...]
  46. Railroad Bill2002/09/01
    Info (Show/Hide)
  47. Delia's Gone2002/08/01

    This was originally an American Honky-tonk song but has returned to the United States by way of the Bahama Islands.

    [D] Tony shot his [G] Delia
    [D]'Ton a Saturday [D7] night
    [G] The fist time he shot her [Em] Lord
    [A] She bowed her head and [D] died
    [A] Delia's gone, one more [...]
  48. All My Trials2002/07/01

    Though this song has Bahamian origins, it is usually classified as a Spiritual. A mother is comforting her child on her deathbed.
    This is dedicated to the memory of Paul Lowman.

    [D] Hush little baby don't you cry [D7]
    [D[ You know your mama's bound to [G] die
    [D] All my [...]
  49. Tarrytown2002/06/01

    In the summer of 1959, Marsha, Dick and I formed a trio. We called ourselves 'The Old Town Singers.' The name came from the Old Town School of Folk Music, where we had met. We rehearsed for weeks, but to my recollection, never did a paying gig. When the [...]
  50. Rock Island Line2002/04/01

    The Rock Island Line
    One of the great songs performed by Lead Belly and interpreted by numerous
    artists, over the years, such as the Weavers. Many interpreters have added
    their own humorous words, but these are the original lyrics created and sung by Lead Belly.

    The Rock Island Line
    (Huddie Ledbetter 'Lead [...]
McGuinn's Folk Den
Roger McGuinn carries on the tradition of folk music