Folkways means that “everything occurring on the earth and in the contemporary time is being recorded. Folkways is a record company to describe the human race, the sound it makes, what it creates.

Moses Asch

Music for Children and for Learning

Moe Asch had a special mission to reach and teach children and children's albums have held a central place for generations of Folkways' fans. The cover art here resonates with a style of children's book illustration whose aesthetic articulates the progressive pedagogy of the 1960s.

 
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Who Goes First? ¿Quien Va Primero? image1Who Goes First? ¿Quien Va Primero? image2Who Goes First? ¿Quien Va Primero? image3
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Who Goes First? ¿Quien Va Primero?

FW07857
1979
Ronald Clyne
David Gahr
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Dos y Dos; Tito; Tortilla; Pico; Arre Moto; Los Patitos — Bertha Cordova

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The cover is a finely textured photograph by David Gahr of a young girl striking a playful pose. She looks ready to join in the counting-out rhymes heard on the recording.

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Songs to Grow On for Mother and Child image1Songs to Grow On for Mother and Child image2Songs to Grow On for Mother and Child image3
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Songs to Grow On for Mother and Child

FW07015
1950, 1953
Ronald Clyne
David Gahr
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Little Sack of Sugar — Woody Guthrie

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This luminous photograph by David Gahr conveys the intimacy between a mother and her baby. The first of a series, the album contains playfully instructive songs by Woody Guthrie about everyday activities, such as bathing, eating and playing, meant to amuse and stimulate the imagination of very young children. The liner notes include drawings by Guthrie.

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Songs to Grow On, Vol. 2 image1Songs to Grow On, Vol. 2 image2Songs to Grow On, Vol. 2 image3
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Songs to Grow On, Vol. 2

FW07020
1951
Irwin Rosenhouse
Irwin Rosenhouse
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Skip to My Lou — Lead Belly

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Artfully stylized to resemble children's drawings, the cover by Rosenhouse shows children playing alone and together, fittingly illustrating the songs on the record. Part of the iconic series of folk music for children, these songs, performed by renowned folk artists, are among the best-known and most beloved children's songs still sung today.

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Songs to Grow On, Vol. 1: Nursery Days image1Songs to Grow On, Vol. 1: Nursery Days image2Songs to Grow On, Vol. 1: Nursery Days image3
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Songs to Grow On, Vol. 1: Nursery Days

FW07675
1959
Unknown
David Stone Martin
Riding in my car (Car song) — Woody Guthrie

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This volume of Songs to Grow On contains nursery songs that Woody Guthrie sang to his own daughter. The cover drawing by David Stone Martin shows three children, each one taller than the next, with the tallest having "grown" right out of the frame of the picture.

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Old Timey Songs for Children image1Old Timey Songs for Children image2Old Timey Songs for Children image3
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Old Timey Songs for Children

FW07064
1959
Unknown
Unknown
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Hopalong Peter — New Lost City Ramblers

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This cover shows a photograph of two young boys playing harp and fiddle. Their old-fashioned formal dress and caps are in keeping with the "Old Timey" music on the album, which features songs meant to entertain children and adults alike.

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The Story of Jazz image1The Story of Jazz image2
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The Story of Jazz

FW07312
1954
Unknown
Carlis
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The Beginnings/Blues — Langston Hughes

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The cover illustration by Carlis is in a style typical of children's educational material produced in the 1950s. The drawing of two distinct bands - one in formal dress, the other in vivid turquoise jackets - suggests the wide range of jazz styles as presented on the album. The recording was narrated by Langston Hughes and is based on his book of the same title.

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Woody Guthries Childrens Songs image1Woody Guthries Childrens Songs image2Woody Guthries Childrens Songs image3
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Woody Guthrie's Children's Songs

FW07503
1974
Ronald Clyne
Woody Guthrie
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Bling Blang — Logan English

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Although best known for his songs, Woody Guthrie was also a prolific writer and artist, illustrating countless of his own stories and songs. The drawing for this collection, with the bright red background, swinging hammer, and modest little house, is typical of his style--cheerful, animated, and accessible.

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Songs of Camp image1Songs of Camp image2Songs of Camp image3
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Songs of Camp

FW07510
1959
Robert Mentken
Robert Mentken
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The Hole in the Ground — Ed Badeaux

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This cover design by Robert Mentken features an engaging photo of two young boys enjoying the intimacy and fun of summer camp. The camp songs on the recording were chosen to evoke and spread that joy. The selection of the cover image of the two boys arm in arm, was a bold anti-segregationist statement in 1959.

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Jambo and Other Call and Response Songs and Chants image1Jambo and Other Call and Response Songs and Chants image2Jambo and Other Call and Response Songs and Chants image3
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Jambo and Other Call and Response Songs and Chants

FW07661
1974
Unknown
Bernadelle Richter
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Jambo — Ella Jenkins

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One of many recordings that Ella Jenkins made for Folkways, this album is based on Tanzanian call-and-response songs. Jambo means "hello" in Swahili. Photographs by Bernadelle Richter document Ella Jenkins's visit with Tanzanian children and the American children's group "Choir in Training," which performs with her on the album.

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Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Bigger Fishes image1Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Bigger Fishes image2Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Bigger Fishes image3
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Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Bigger Fishes

FW07611
1955
Unknown
Carlis
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I Know an Old Lady (Who Swallowed a Fly) — Pete Seeger

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This imaginative children's album cover by John Carlis shows a collection of playful animals arranged in tic-tac-toe formation. The curvilinear typography resembles a child's handwriting. Carlis illustrated many of Folkways earliest covers, especially, but not exclusively for the childrens series. His simple, straightforward designs evoke folk art and children's art.

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Childrens Game Songs of French Canada image1Childrens Game Songs of French Canada image2Childrens Game Songs of French Canada image3
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Children's Game Songs of French Canada

FW07214
1959
Unknown
Irwin Rosenhouse
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Allo, Monsieur (Recto-Tono Song) — n/a

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This album cover features another Rosenhouse image, dominated by vivacious black pencil lines drawn on a glowing pink background, outlining, shaping, and filling in spaces to create four lively children huddled in play and laughter.

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The Story of the Klondike image1The Story of the Klondike image2The Story of the Klondike image3
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The Story of the Klondike

FW07108
1959
Unknown
Unknown
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The Klondike Valley — Pierre Berton

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Iconic Canadian Pierre Berton records his well-known narrative of the Yukon goldrush, taken from his book on the subject. Berton, born and raised in the Yukon, is pictured in the foreground of this cover. Behind him is a drawing by "MacPherson," taken from the book and showing a cortege of gold seekers who are crossing a valley to meet up with others in the mountain pass encampment.

Folkways also pioneered recordings of folk musicians demonstrating how to make music on their instruments, an important teaching tool and addition to the canon of folk music performance. The cover images for the instructional records are often candid and unassuming photographs of musicians or their instruments.

 
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The Violin, Vol. 5 image1The Violin, Vol. 5 image2The Violin, Vol. 5 image3
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The Violin, Vol. 5

FW03355
1963
Ronald Clyne
Ronald Clyne
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Anton Webern - Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7 — Hyman Bress

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This abstract cover design visually complements the twentieth-century modernism, sonically represented in the experimental and avant-garde music for violin, that is played by renowned Canadian violinist and composer Hyman Bress.

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American Guitar image1American Guitar image2American Guitar image3
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American Guitar

FW03534
1960
Bob Sloan
David Stone Martin
David Gahr
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Saga of a Guitar Picker - Ernest Tubb's Talking Blues — Ed Badeaux

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The cover presents two guitars in juxtaposition: David Stone Martin's stylized drawing and David Gahr's photograph. The images are united visually by the reiterated curves of the instrument. The album, characterized as "an informal survey of several basic types of folk guitar accompaniment styles," demonstrates the tunings and picking styles of folk and blues musicians, such as Elizabeth Cotten, Merle Travis, Mississippi John Hurt, Lead Belly, Maybelle Carter, and Woody Guthrie.

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Blues Harp image1Blues Harp image2
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Blues Harp

FW08358
1965
Ronald Clyne
David Gahr
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Combined Effects - Two Examples — Tony "Little Sun" Glover

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The cover photograph focuses all attention on the source of the music: the blues musician's mouth in contact with the harmonica. The blue background underscores the subject at hand.

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Traditional Cajun Fiddle image1Traditional Cajun Fiddle image2Traditional Cajun Fiddle image3
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Traditional Cajun Fiddle

FW08361
1976
Unknown
Unknown
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Regular Waltz and Two-Time Waltz: "Gran Mamou" and "Mademoiselle, Quoi Tu Veux Manger?" — Dewey Balfa and Tracy Schwarz

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The photograph conveys the pleasure of two people making music together. Dewey Balfour's appearance at the 1964 Newport Folk Music Festival, where this photo may have been taken, introduced Cajun fiddle music to a very enthusiastic audience. This reception inspired him to promote Cajun music back home in Louisiana, where it had almost disappeared.

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The Mama-Likembi Instructional Record image1The Mama-Likembi Instructional Record image2The Mama-Likembi Instructional Record image3
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The Mama-Likembi Instructional Record

CRB 14
1975
Ronald Clyne
Leonard Byrd
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Stroke Combinations — Nadi Qamar

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The cover is a photograph of the Likembi-Mbira, built by African-American composer and jazz musician, Nadi Qamar, who created this instructional record for both the instrument and the African music that he composed, performed, and taught in America.