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"It's not how pretty
your voice is
but what good
a song does."
~ Woody Guthrie

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  • LIST OF THE 84
  • 1800-2008
  • PAST 100 KNOWN

Nursery Rhymes - Games - Patriotic - Cowboy - Christian - Lullaby - Work



If you have an mp3 of someone or a chorus singing this please email the file to me.

Some songs below have more than one version. Move your cursor very very slowly over the songs to pick the one you want to hear.

1.  A Tisket, A Tasket (a green and yellow basket)
2. All Night, All Day
3. All The Pretty Little Horses
(Hushaby, don’t you cry, go to sleep little baby,when you wake, you shall have )
4.Amazing Grace (how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me)

5. America (my country ‘tis of Thee, sweet land of liberty)
6. America, the Beautiful (Oh beautiful for spacious skies)
7. Away in a Manger (no crib for a bed)
8. Battle Hymn of the Republic (glory, glory hallelujah, His truth is marching on)
9. Billy Boy (Oh where have you been Billy Boy, Billy Boy)
10. Bingo (there was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o)
11. Blue Tail Fly, The (Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care, my master’s gone away)

12. Caissons Go Rolling Along, The (over hill, over dale, we will hit the dusty trail, as those)
13. Camptown Races, The (camptown ladies sing this song, doo-dah, doo-dah)
14. Cindy (Get along home, Cindy Cindy, I’ll marry you some day)
15. Clementine (Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine)

16. Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean
(when born by the red, white, and blue, thy banners make tyranny tremble)

17. Crawdad Song (You get a line, and I’ll get a pole honey)
18. Did You Ever See A Lassie? (a lassie, a lassie, did you ever see a lassie go this way and that)
19. Dixie (I Wish I Was in the Land of Cotton)
20. Down By the Riverside (and study war no more)
21. Down in the Valley (valley so low, hang your head over)
22. Eency, Weency Spider (went up the water spout)
23. Farmer in the Dell, The (hi-ho the dairy-o, the farmer in the dell)
24. Frog Went Courtin’, A (he did ride, with sword and pistol by his side aha, ho-ho)
25. Go Down, Moses (way down in Egypt land, tell old Pharaoh, let my people go)

26. Go Tell Aunt Rhody (the old gray goose is dead)
27. Go Tell it on the Mountain (over the hill and everywhere)
28. God Bless America (land that I love, stand beside her and guide her)
29. God of our Fathers (whose almighty hand)
30. Goober Peas (goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas)
31. Goodbye, Old Paint (I’m a-leaving Cheyenne)
32. He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands
33. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (so early in the morning)
34. Hickory Dickory Dock (the mouse ran up the clock)
35. Hokey Pokey, The (you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out)
36. Home on the Range
(where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard a discouraging word)
37. Hush Little Baby (don’t say a word, papa’s going to buy you a mockingbird)
38. Rock-a-by Baby (in the treetops, when the wind blows the cradle will rock)
39. I’ve Been Workin’ On the Railroad (all the live long day)
40. If You’re Happy and You Know It (clap your hands)
41. Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho (and the walls came tumblin’ down)
42. Kum Ba Yah (my Lord, Kum Ba Yah)
43. Liza Jane (O Eliza, li’l Liza Jane, O Eliza, li’l Liza Jane)
44. Looby Loo (here we go looby loo, here we go looby light)

45. Marines Hymn (From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli)
46. Mary Had a Little Lamb (it’s fleece was white as snow) 
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 the song springs from a true story: As a girl, Mary Sawyer (later Mrs. Mary Tyler) kept a pet lamb, which she took to school one day at the suggestion of her brother. A commotion naturally ensued. Lyrics: Written By: Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book, 1830's Copyright Unknown
47. Michael Row the Boat Ashore (hallelujah)
48. Muffin Man, The (oh do you know the muffin man)
49. Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow ( anyone know how oats, peas, beans, and barley grow)
50. Oh! Dear! What Can the Matter Be? (Johnny’s so long at the fair)

51. Oh, Susanna! (oh don’t you cry for me)
52. Oh, Where has My Little Dog Gone? (oh where, oh where can he be)
53. Old Chisholm Trail  (well come along boys and listen to my tale, let me tell you ‘bout my troubles on the)

54. Old Folks at Home (Way down upon the Swannee River, far, far away) Florida's State Song.
55. Old MacDonald (had a farm, e-i-e-i-o)
56. Onward Christian Soldiers (marching as to war)
57. Over the River and Through the Woods (to grandmother’s house we go)
58. Polly Wolly Doodle (oh I went down south for to see my Sal, singin’ polly wolly doodle all the day)
59. Pop, Goes the Weasel! (all around the cobbler’s bench the monkey chased the weasel)
60. Ring Around the Rosies (pocket full of posies)
61. Rock-A My Soul (in the bosom of Abraham)
62. Row, Row, Row Your Boat (gently down the sea)
63. She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain (when she comes)

64. Shenandoah (oh Shenandoah, I long to see you, away, you rolling river)
65. Shoo Fly (don’t bother me, shoo-fly don’t bother me, shoo-fly don’t bother me for I belong to somebody)
66. Shortnin-Bread (mammy’s little baby loves shortnin’ shortnin’)

67. Silent Night (holy night, all is calm, all is bright)
68. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (a long way from home)
69. Star-Spangled Banner, The (Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light)
70. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (comin’ for to carry me home)
71. Take Me Out to the Ballgame (buy me some peanuts and crackerjack, I don’t care if I ever get back)
72. There’s A Hole in the Bucket (dear Liza, dear Liza)
73. This Land is Your Land (this land is my land)
74. This Little Light of Mine (I’m gonna let it shine)
75. This Old Man (he played one, he played knick-knack on my drum)
76. Three Blind Mice (see how they run)
77. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (how I wonder what you are)

78. We Gather Together (to ask the Lord’s blessing)
79. Wheels on the Bus, The (go round and round)
80. When Johnny Comes Marching Home (again, hurrah, hurrah, we’ll give him a hearty welcome then, hurrah, hurrah)
81. When the Saints Go Marching In (oh how I want to be in that number)
82. Yankee Doodle (went to town riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his cap)
83. You are my Sunshine (my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray)

84. You’re A Grand Old Flag (you’re a high flying flag)


A recent nationwide survey found school music programs are allowing generations-old lullabies, and historical children’s and folk songs to be ignored.

Marilyn Ward, did the research for her doctoral dissertation in music in the summer and early fall of 2002. Ward surveyed 4,000 music teachers nationwide from elementary to high school about how much they taught and how well their students knew by memory 100 well-known songs considered representative of the American heritage.

Children in the United States aren’t singing the songs of their heritage,  an omission that puts the nation in jeopardy of losing a longstanding and rich part of its identity. Learn where your own state ranks in comparison to the others.

Dr. Ward interviewed the elderly and used information from the study to determine, of those 100 songs, which were most frequently taught to children growing up in America between 50-100 years ago.This created a recommended song list (84 songs) above.

"The study found that, overall, the vast majority of young people could not sing patriotic, folk and children’s songs, because teachers who teach them at all frequently don’t go over the songs enough for students to learn them," she said.

"Most students could not be expected to sing from memory songs such as 'Home on the Range,' 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' or 'Bingo.'" Few students can even sing the national anthem, the study found.

  • 75 percent of todays (2008) elementary school children have Xer parents.
  • Generation X parents, are more likely to try to arrange their work around their family life.
  • When they describe the time they spend as a family, its not enough for them just to be together physically.
  • They want opportunities to connect with each other and build their family relationships.
  • They place more emphasis on experiences that provide fun and learning for them and their kids and less on trying to create the best mini-me in town.
  • Xer fathers have almost doubled the amount of time theyre spending with their children, at home and at play. Learning is less of a competitive sport.2005 X Tended Family: Attracting the Post-Boomer Audience By James Chung and Tara May published in Museum News November/December 2005


  • 97% own a computer
  • 94% own a cell phone
  • 76% use Instant Messaging.
  • 15% of IM users are logged on 24 hours a day/7 days a week
  • 34% use websites as their primary source of news
  • 28% own a blog and 44% read blogs
  • 49% download music using peer-to-peer file sharing
  • 75% of college students have a Facebook account [17]
  • 60% own some type of portable music and/or video device such as an iPod.

"Most of the content on the network is contributed by the users of the Internet," he said, "so what we're seeing on the Net is a reflection of the society we live in." Vint Cerf

More Teens and 'Tweens Are Creating Content and Connecting Online for Educational Benefits [source]
August 14 2008 Offering Schools New Opportunities to Use Technology Reports New National School Boards Association Study:
A new study released today by the National School Boards Association and Grunwald Associates LLC exploring the online behaviors of U.S. teens and *tweens shows that 96 percent of students with online access use social networking technologies, such as chatting, text messaging, blogging, and visiting online communities such as Facebook, MySpace, and Webkinz. Further, students report that one of the most common topics of conversation on the social networking scene is education.
Nearly 60% of online students report discussing education-related topics such as college or college planning, learning outside of school, and careers. And 50% of online students say they talk specifically about schoolwork. [snip]
Students report they are engaging in highly creative activities on social networking internet sites including writing, art, and contributing to collaborative online projects whether or not these activities are related to schoolwork. [snip]
Today, students report that they are spending almost as much time using social networking services and Web sites as they spend watching television

"Do you have wi-fi?" In the future, schools that incorporate social networking tools in education can help engage kids and move them toward the center of the learning process.* [snip]
The report, *Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking,* is based on three surveys: an online survey of nearly 1,300 9- to 17-year-olds, an online survey of more than 1,000 parents, and telephone interviews with 250 school districts leaders who make decisions on Internet policy.


Silver, Burdett & Company a school music book publisher offered the nation Songs We Like to Sing Published in 1912.
Title Page - A collection of Familiar Songs and Hymns for High Schools and Normal Schools and for Assemblies Compiled and Edited by Birdie Alexander Supervisor of Music, Dallas
Silver, Burdett & Company Boston New York Chicago
"Believing that there is a demand for a well balanced collection of familiar songs for assembly use--one designed primarily to give pleasure and inspiration rather than to teach music--this book has been compiled.
The fundamental idea underlying it has been to include only those songs which experience has shown that boys and girls of the North, South, East and West like to sing. Thus it avoids the defect common to many song collections, which contain a large amount of material that no one enjoys singing. It is confidently believed that there is no song in the book that cannot be sung and enjoyed in the average school.
Before compiling the collection the publishers obtained from many teachers in different states lists of the songs that appeared on the greatest number of individual lists. This selection was again submitted for criticism and suggestions to many different teachers and supervisors; the collection represents, therefore, the judgment and experience of many."

Art and Music Advocates

Song Lyrics Reflect Culture and help us examine our common social heritage as well as specific events in our personal life and in American History.

  • Folksong Lyrics can give the music teacher a means for working with other teachers to integrate music into social studies and humanities.
  • Folksong Lyrics are example of oral history, social commentary and America's cultural heritage.
  • Folksongs never meant historical accuracy but the events may be supplemented by journals, wikipedia, newspapers, and then these audio reports placed in context make resonable audio reports that introduce American cultural history.
  • Folksongs carried elements of social criticism and political discontent about war, freedom, equality, brotherhood, love and justice.
  • Folksongs carry information about historical events like murders, trials, wars, financial problems, the bomb, politicians, and assassinations.

When you lose touch with the generation who knew the songs the child gets cut off from living history, and can feel disconnected. Parents, grandparents, great grands and great great grands won't live forever. As time goes by, each generation loses the connection since no one is alive that was there and remembers.
The youngest now called the Z generation is scared. They don't know why they should bother to learn anything, afterall, we are in a war, the planet is warming, the snow is melting, we're all going to die, and clearly there is no hope.


Folksongs sing about certain doom, and courage, they speak to historical moments encapsulated in each lyric. We find historical information on topical political, economic, and social factors like, natural disasters, sharecropping and tenant farming, mechanization, drought, offering detailed analyses of how these songs speak of and for their times.
Popular history, songs that turn into "national anthems," through oral tradition, cover versions and parodies, protest music, and promoting nationalist sentiment like "This Land is Your Land" showing of the dark side of the American dream and what meanings it may hold for us when we sing it today.
Issues of song ownership and appropriation, by both the individual and the collective, unions, sexism, women's rights, activists, class issues, strikes, violence, attitudes and approach towards racial issues, racial stereotypes, prejudices, using the n-word, racism in the Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican communities, as well as discrimination faced by white Okies.
Song told stories about people who rebelled against the status quo, like The Dalton Boys, Belle Starr, Jesse James, Pretty Boy Floyd, Tom Joad, Harriet Tubman, and Jesus Christ eventually replacing Western gunslingers with bankers and others who enforce the status quo in order to preserve unfair advantages.
Folksongs' continuing legacy in and influence on the current generation, and the timelessness of the social problems addressed by songs: hate crimes, lynching, legally sanctioned executions, these topics served to heighten public awareness of social injustices, thereby setting the stage for progress and change by reporting on the life lived by the "folk".


Definition "poor folkist". . .
Woody Guthrie's "poor folkist" term, coined in his letter to Stetson Kennedy was using the common vernacular and everyday wisdom to move folks emotionally and politically. You may assume the stress is on the first word ("poor folkist"), implying that the concern is for "poor folk," and aligning the folklorist whose subject was "poor folk" with socialist and communists and other left "ists." Or, that "folkist" may on occasion have been a pun for "focused"-- potentially an ironic comment on the more formally-driven folklorists and political theorists in his midst.
Why would anyone want to know these folksongs? 
Why should we pass these songs along?

1870's - 1910's Boomer's Great Grand Parents are now 100+ (AS OF 2008)

114 Year Old Edna Parker a retired teacher, born on April 20, 1893 is the oldest living person in the world! She probably heard all these songs in her life.

107 Years Old - Frank Woodruff Buckles lives in Charles Town, West Virginia and is 107 years old. He was born February 1901 and fought in World War One. His advice is to "Make your own Decisions".

1890-1933 - Some are on the List of the 84

1910's - 1920's Boomer's Parents now 78 to 98 years old.

1946 - 1964 Baby Boomers now 44 to 62 years old.

1965 - 1979 Generation X now 29 to 43 years old.
AKA MTV Generation (1975-1985)

1980 - 1995 Generation Y now 13 to 28 years old.
If the years 1978–2000 are used, as is common in market research, then the size of Generation Y in the United States is approximately 76 million.

 1997 - now Generation Z born after aka Net Generation
"the first generation to be born into a digital world".

Time Line of Shared Songs that Americans are Losing: 1890 -1930's
  • 1878 The first recording of a human voice in history on a phongraph.

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    Frank Lambert was a French - American inventor. Lambert was born in Lyon, France and then moved to the United States in 1876 and became a citizen in 1893. Lambert is currently in the Guinness World Book of Records for the oldest playable recording on a machine called the Phonograph. Lambert was also famous for inventing the modern typewriter.
  • 1890--Jesse Walter Fewkes records the Passamaquoddy Indians off the coast of Maine. This is the first field use of the newly-invented recording machine.
  • First Nation and Hymes
  • 1790's Origins of Hillbilly Music Story, Roots of Moonshine, Whiskey Rebellion - Amber Waves of Grain. 1796 Irish American Stephen Foster - America's Troubadour, Etymology of Hillbilly and Race Terms of Music Story, Origins of Gospel Music
  • Sacred Harp
  • Roots of Rap 1861
  • Wassail History Culture of Honor connections between charivari, rough music and forerunners of the KKK in American Southern history
  • Music From the 1800's
    Songs can be windows into the racism and intolerance tied to this country's past. These songs can be invaluable as resources to teach lessons of tolerance and understanding, but only when presented in that context.
  • Medley: Plantation Songs
    Minstrel Performer: Harry Macdonough
  • Legacies of Racism and Discrimination -- Irish  Historic American Sheet Music Historic American Sheet Music Homepage1850-1920

African American Sheet Music, 1820-1920
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, sheet music was produced in enormous quantities in the United States. To historians and other interested parties, much of this material serves as a way to look at social and cultural mores of the times.

Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922 includes historic recordings of one of the earliest minstrel records in existence; from 1894, it's Spencer, Williams & Quinn's Imperial Minstrels doing their Minstrel First Part and featuring George W. Johnson's great "Laughing Song."

The Traditional Ballad Index lists a 1933 recording by James "Iron Head" Baker, as the first record of the song. The version with the lines about the "n-i--xx--e-r from Shiloh" was sung by Moses Clear Rock Platt, African-American singer, story teller and sometime prisoner on prison farms in Texas. His material was first recorded by Lomax (printed in Lomax and Lomax, 1934, "American Ballads and Folk Songs," pp. 231-233).

Pete Seeger picked it up, and along with the printed version in Silber, "Folksinger's Wordbook," p. 123 (with chords), it became a standard among folk singers. I believe it was Seeger who introduced the "Jump down turn around" lines, borrowed from the old dance and strut songs (Jump Jim Crow, mentioned in a previous post) of the minstrels. Another African-American who recorded it, first on a Texas prison farm, was James 'Ironhead' Baker (Rounder Records).  According to the Traditional Ballad Index, Seeger also recorded it with Sonny Terry.

History USA Music up to World War II

Folk Music - "Plea for the Old Ballads" [1914 Sep 18 "far superior to the Present Day Lyrics"]. "Put a volume of fine old ballads on the piano and begin you child's education not only in song but romance."

The Florida Folklife Collection has the following is a compilation of all of the known Zora Neale Hurston sound recordings* created while she worked for the WPA in the 1930s. Today, the original recordings are housed at the Library of Congress. Hurston worked for the WPA in 1935 and again in 1939. Today, Hurston is better known as a major literary figure, but she was also a trained anthropologist.


A Tisket, A Tasket              
All the Pretty Little Horses              
Bought Me A Cat (the cat pleased me)              
Did You Ever See A Lassie              
Eency, Weency Spider              
Farmer in the Dell, The              
Hickory, Dickory Dock              
Hokey Pokey, The              
Hush Little Baby (don’t say a word, papa’s ...)            
Rockaby Baby (in the treetops, when the wind...)        
If You’re Happy and You Know It              
Looby Loo              
Mary Had A Little Lamb              
Muffin Man              
Mulberry Bush              
Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow              
Oh! Dear! What Can the Matter Be?              
Oh, Where Has My Little Dog Gone              
Old John the Rabbit              
Old MacDonald                        
Polly Wolly Doodle              
Pop! Goes the Weasel              
Ring Around the Rosies              
Row, Row, Row Your Boat              
She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain              
Take Me Out to the Ballgame              
There’s a Hole in the Bucket              
This Little Light of Mine              
This Old Man              
Three Blind Mice              
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star              
Wheels on the Bus, The              
All Night, All Day              
Amazing Grace              
Aura Lee              
Away in a Manger              
Billy Boy              
Camptown Races              
Columbia, Gem of the Ocean              
Cotton-Eyed Joe              
Crawdad Song              
Down by the Riverside              
Down in the Valley              
Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill!              
Erie Canal, The              
Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd              
Frog Went A-Courtin’, A              
Go Down, Moses              
Go Tell Aunt Rhody              
Go Tell it on the Mountain              
God of our Fathers              
Goober Peas              
Goodbye, Old Paint              
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands              
Home on the Range              
I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray              
I’ve Been Workin’ On the Railroad              
Jim Along, Josie              
Blue Tail Fly, The              
Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho              
Kum Ba Yah              
Liza Jane              
Michael Row the Boat Ashore              
Oh, Susanna              
Old Chisholm Trail              
Old Folks At Home (Way down upon the Swanee River, far, far away)
Onward Christian Soldiers              
Over the River and Through the Woods              
Shoo Fly              
Shortnin’ Bread              
Simple Gifts              
Silent Night              
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child            
Susie, Little Susie              
Sweet Betsy From Pike              
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot              
Water is Wide, The              
We Gather Together                    
When the Saints Go Marching In              
You Are My Sunshine  
America, the Beautiful              
Battle Hymn of the Republic              
God Bless America                    
Marines’ Hymn (From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli)
Star-Spangled Banner, The              
Caissons Song              
This Land is Your Land              
When Johnny Comes Marching Home              
Yankee Doodle              
You’re A Grand Old Flag


John Broomall
John Broomall Executive Director
Pennsylvania Alliance For Arts Education

[P] 800-782-4289 or 610-564-0002

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If you are interested in Arts Education, Children's Health, and Society the National Children's Folksong Repository is a public folklore project will preserve what is left of our oral culture. Children in the United States aren’t singing the songs of their heritage, an omission that puts the nation in jeopardy of losing a longstanding and rich part of its identity.

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List of the 84 Print Out Thanks to Dr. Marilyn Ward's PH.D. Thesis from 2002

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