What are some really good old folk songs?

I was listening to House of the RIsing Sun, and became curious to its origins. When I looked it up, apparently no one really knows for sure who created the song or when. I find it super neat that such a good song has been passed down for so long over the years before it was officially written down somewhere. So now I'm wondering, are there any other songs with an old and unknown history?

5 Answers

  • 2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you want to dig into old folk songs, start with these people.

    Lead Belly

    Pete Seeger

    The knew literally hundreds of songs and Pete, especially, knew a great deal of the history of the songs.

    (His exploration of the history of Rosin the Beau on his Saunders theatre concert album is classic. Note how got a thousand people to sing "I will point a gun for my country, but I won't guarantee you which way")

    But Lead Belly (Hudie Ledbetter) is gold. His life spanned the transition from pre-radio (where songs were passed from musician to audience) to radio (where everybody heard the same songs from the same source) made him an invaluable source for pre-radio black American music.

    If you want to really dig deep, look at the songs collected by John and Alan Lomax.

    The current artists Marcie Marxer is only one of the several current artists who respect and pass on the old songs.

    Also, Odetta, Bob Gibson, Arlo Guthrie, Woodie Guthrie, Kim & Reggie Harris

    Edit: Also, if you liked House of the Rising Sun, you might enjoy the Blind Boys of Alabama's version of Amazing Grace. They have one version where they put the words of Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun. Superb!

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    There are tens of thousands of traditional (i.e., of unknown authorship) folk songs. Just google "folk songs" and you'll find them

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    House of the rising Sun was a pop song sung by the Animals. It was never a folk song. I remember when it first came out.

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    Yes. Many old folk songs have unknown origins. Whiskey In The Jar is one that comes to mind.

    And, no folk music didn't start with Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel.

    You'll want to consult the different folk song indexes.

    The most commonly known folk song index is the Roud Folk Song Index,


    But there are plenty more.

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  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    Anything by Neil Young.

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