In The News

The Folksongs Of Illinois #3

Humanities Council 0703

This is the third CD volume in the Folksongs of Illinois series, produced
with funding and obvious loving encouragement from the Illinois Humanities
Council. I wish every state in the
country would take their lead.

This series establishes a broad,
and I mean wonderfully broad, definition of folk music that includes blues,
gospel, country, traditional ballads and ethnic sounds from a diverse
population scattered throughout the Prairie
State. The recordings
range from almost the earliest possible to material generated specifically for
this project.

of Illinois
#3 opens with electric blues from the stockyards and ends with
a new recording of the traditional song, "Way Down In Shawneetown."
In between you’ll find songs and tunes from obscure ethnic groups like the
Kosatka Concertina Quartette and Eddie Terlikowski with Little Wally Jagiello,
as well as some familiar Illinois
heroes like Big Bill Broonzy and Old Town School of Folk Music founder, Win
Stracke. Prepare yourself to be stunned by the sheer power of the voice of
Mahalia Jackson and charmed by famed children’s performer, Ella Jenkins. I was
also glad to hear a brief conversation between Studs Terkel and Big Bill
Broonzy preceeding the courageous recording of "Black, Brown, And White

The Package comes complete with
informative and scholarly liner notes including short essays on collecting folk
music, music on records and radio, public folklore and revivalists. There is
also a delightful illustration of Mr. Broonzy on the cover, created by Heather

I applaud the Illinois Humanities
Council for recognizing the importance of documenting and sharing the important
musical culture of the state of Illinois.
I applaud as well the dozens of artists who contributed to this ambitious

Michigan? Florida? Maine? You’re next! — MW

Originally published in print: Sing Out! Vol. 52 #1 Spring 2008