California History Through Folksong Set 


Keith ∓ Rusty McNeil - California Songbook with historical commentary


This attractively illustrated eighty-seven page companion to Moving West Songs includes forty-eight of the songs Americans sang as their nation expanded westward across the continent during the period between the War of 1812 and the Civil War.  The song selections include words, music and chord symbols, plus historical commentary, background information on the songs and a bibliography.


Companion Book To CD Collection - Moving West Songs.

"...interesting resource to supplement history units."


"...They use the songs to focus on the concerns of the people who sang them...the package makes a useful teaching and learning tool..."

Dirty Linen

Timeline. Folksong methodology.

 The Songs:

Old Rosin The Beau

Lincoln and Liberty

The Washington Badge

Hayseed Like Me

Sawyer's Exit

The Old Settler

Part One:
Territorial Expansion and Abolition

As the United States expanded into the old Northwest Territory, Louisiana Territory and the Pacific Northwest, Americans built canals, cut forests, farmed the land, and trapped beaver. Their songs reflected their pride, fears and hopes, and described the dangers, the boredom, the discomforts and the loneliness of life on these new frontiers.
Songs were effective tools for African-Americans. Slaves spread the word of escape plans through "code" songs. Songs about the hardships of slavery helped recruit white support for abolition and the Underground Railroad.

 The Songs:

To The West

Shenandoah  (3.122 MB mp3 file) 

The Erie Canal

Darling Nellie Gray

The Wisconsin Emigrant

Steal Away

The Shanty-Man's Life

The Abolitionist Hymn

The Jam On Gerry's Rocks

Follow The Drinking Gourd

Part Two:
Texas and the Mexican War

The lyric quality and rhythmic patterns of Mexican folk music reflect our Mexican heritage. Americans who settled in Texas sang of Texas Rangers and the struggle to make Texas a republic.
During the Mexican War, soldiers sang of American General Zachary Taylor and Mexican General Santa Anna, of the 2,000 mile march of the Mormon Battalion, and of brutal treatment at the hands of their own officers.

 The Songs:

Cielito Lindo (Norteņo)

Zachary Taylor

Cielito Lindo (Huasteca)

The Mormon Battalion Song

El Capotin

Buck Him And Gag Him

The Texas Rangers

The Leg I Left Behind Me

The Texas War Cry

Las Maņanitas

Will You Come To The Bower

Part Three:
Minstrel Shows and the California Gold Rush

Miners carried minstrel tunes to the gold camps in California and wrote parodies which created a vivid picture of life among the forty-niners.

 The Songs:

Old Dan Tucker

The Days Of Forty-Nine

Camptown Races

Cripple Creek-Square Dance  (742 KB mp3 file)

Hard Times Come Again No More

California Ball

Oh, California

Sweet Betsy From Pike

Crossing The Plains

California As It Is

Part Four:
Immigrants from China, Ireland and Germany

The songs depict the prejudice against California's Chinese population in the 1850s and the suffering of the Irish, fleeing famine, as they migrated to a new, often hostile, home in America. The songs also reflect the defiance and spirit of the Germans who, after losing the fight for a free Germany, sought freedom in the United States.

 The Songs:

The Heathen Chinee

Lather n' Shave Em

John Chinaman

The Night That Paddy Murphy Died

John Chinaman's Appeal

The Bold Fenian Men

The Famine Song

Die Gedanken Sind Frei

No Irish Need Apply

O Tannenbaum

Who Threw The Overalls
In Mrs. Murphy's Chowder

Du, Du, Liegst Mir Im Herzen

Sources for and about Moving West Songs 
Picture Credits
Index of Songs

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