Keith ∓ Rusty McNeil - 
 California Songs with historical narration, Volume 1

Song Samples (MP3 Format)

Cielito Lindo (Norteño)-Cielito Lindo (Huasteca)  (2.574 MB mp3 file)

The Days of Forty-Nine  (3.150 MB mp3 file)

Sweet Betsey From Pike (2.034 MB mp3 file)

CALIFORNIA SONGS with historical narration - Volume One- Nineteenth Century

Thirty-nine songs depicting California before and during the turbulent 19th century.

Total Playing Time: 2 hours



Buy/Stream Individual Songs/Disks Online.

Disk 1                 Disk 2




". . .the historical sweep of this lively, enlightening work is impressive. . .the McNeils take care to include a multi-cultural perspective on the racially fractured times, noting in sound and historical narration the plight of women, African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and immigrant Chinese."

          San Diego Union-Tribune

". . .These performances are truly inspired...Performed by the McNeils in the spirit of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly...This music absolutely belongs in a library.  For all practical purposes, no library in either the public sector or at the college level should be without access to these CDs and the songbooks...This is multidimensional and deep work, broad in scope, collecting the myriad influences of our music..."

          The Electronic Review

Part one:
Indian, Spanish and Mexican California

Spain explores California and establishes missions. Indians at the missions chant the mass to European traditional and popular music. Mexico gains independence from Spain and creates a distinctive California culture. Americans arrive, clash with Mexicans, and establish the short-lived Bear Flag Republic. The United States declares war against Mexico.


 The Songs:

You Who Don't Believe It

La Sandunga

Mouth Bow

Muiñeira D' A Fonte

Kyrie Eleison

Cielito Lindo (Norteño)-Cielito Lindo (Huasteca)  (2.574 MB mp3 file)

The Spaniish Fandango

Windy Bill

El Cañtico Del Alba

La Paloma

All The Way to Californy

The Dying Californian

Part Two:
1800 to 1860

Moving West.  Shape Note singing.  Slavery.  Abolitionists.  Joseph Smith founds the Mormon religion.  Persecution sends Mormons westward.  Mormon converts arrive from Europe, push handcarts across the plains to the great Salt Lake.  Famine in Ireland sends Irish-Catholic refugees to America.  “Know Nothings” push anti-Catholic agenda.


 The Songs:

My Darling Clementine

Oh, California

A Ripping Trip

Seeing The Elephant

Crossing The Plains

Joe Bowers

The Days of Forty-Nine  (3.150 MB mp3 file)

Cripple Creek

California Ball

Sweet Betsey From Pike (2.034 MB mp3 file)

Mark Twain Quote

John Chinaman's Appeal

We're All A-Panning

Over My Head


North to Victoria

Steam Navigation Thieves


The Big Five Gallon Jar

La Indita

My Log Cabin Home

Part Three:
1860 to 1890

Civil War.  Pro and con religious justification of slavery.  Free African-Americans create new musical sounds at Congo Square in New Orleans.  Italians swell America’s Catholic population.  Mennonite immigrants produce American winter wheat.  The “Social Gospel” comes to the United States.  Temperance.  Native American Ghost Dancers slaughtered.


 The Songs:

I've Been Workin' On The Railroad


John Chinaman, My Jo

Hayseed Like Me

The Bummers' Hotel

I Had But Fifty Cents

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