Outline of the book


  1. What Is This Book About?
  2. Beginning in the Middle - Mariposa, 1961
  3. The Invention of Folk Music
  4. A Child Shall Lead Them
  5. Canadian Beginnings
  6. Gibbon and the Canadian Mosaic
  7. Red Is The Colour- The Other Mosaic –1900’s-30’s
  8. The Early Labour Song Tradition in Canada
  9. Red Front to Popular Front
  10. New Deal and No Deal
  11. Birth of a Nation
  12. Put Canada First!
  13. People’s Songs and People’s Music
  14. The Golden Age of Canadian Folk Song 1947- 1962- The Beginning
  15. The Emergence of a Repertoire
  16. The First Tour- The UJPO Folksingers
  17. Foreign Affairs
  18. World Music in the Golden Age
  19. Founding Folkies
  20. From Bonavista to the Vancouver Island
  21. Sam Gesser and Folkways Canada
  22. Country and Folk
  23. The “Revival”- Folk as Pop
  24. Mariposa Revisited- The End of the Beginning
  25. The Boom - Early Canadian Folk Professionals and the Marketplace
  26. The Songwriters
  27. East is East and West is West- Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver & Smaller Towns and Smaller Scenes
  28. Folk Rock
  29. The Real Boom- Folk in the 70’s
  30. The Festivals
  31. The Message in the Music- Political and Social Images in Songwriting and Folk Music in Canada in the 60’s and 70’s
  32. Bigger Than Ever- the 80’s
  33. New World, New Music
  34. The Little Folk- Children and Folk Music
  35. Looking Forward – Looking Backward- Folk Music at the End of the Century and the Beginning of the New Millennium
  36. What Does It Mean
1. What is this book about?

In Nova Scotia in the first decade of the last century Roy Mackenzie, an academic on holiday in his native province, gathered ballads from acquaintances of his youth, sure that he was preserving the last remnants of a dying tradition. Almost one hundred years later hundreds of artists perform folk music at almost one hundred festivals and from countless stages in clubs and concert venues. Much of the music they perform bears little resemblance to what Professor Mackenzie and his associates thought of as folk music. Yet the songs they collected are still there, joined by a dozen other traditions. Reports of the death of folk music, pronounced with regularity throughout the 20th century have been found to be not only premature but also simply wildly erroneous. How that genre of music came into being, who created it, how it found its proponents and its audience is a tale worth telling. This book will look at the academics, the collectors, the singers, the entrepreneurs, and everyone else who had a hand in creating folk music in English Canada.  It will look at how a musical form that began as the nostalgia of the political right became the vehicle for the ideas of the political left. It will trace a story that is about more than music, a story that encapsulates much of the history of the search for national identity in a state that has never been fully convinced that it is a nation. Moreover it is also the tale of dreamers, fools, hustlers, visionaries, and some of the best-loved artists and art this country has produced.
A photograph of Bob, one of Roy Mackenzie’s sources, as printed in the book, The Quest of the Ballad, by W. Roy Mackenzie, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1919), page 44.
Title page from the book, Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia, by W. Roy Mackenzie, (London: Oxford University Press, 1928)
Copyright © 2008-2015 Gary Cristall. All rights reserved.