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
31. The Message in the Music - Political and Social Images in Songwriting and Folk Music in Canada in the 60’s and 70’s

From the definition of a first folk music repertoire in the late 40’s and early 50’s, politics and folk music were linked. The roots of the music as a popular art form in the political left maintained a permanent space at the folk music table for songs that addressed social and political issues. Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, and Phil Ochs in the US, and Ewan MacColl in England were important influences on Canadian songwriters. The peace, civil rights, and anti-Vietnam War movements, to mention the most important, had a resonance in Canada and songs from these movements were widely sung in folk circles. Yet by and large there is a dearth of songwriting by Canadian folk songwriters that deal with Canadian issues. The Travellers recorded an album of Canadian labour songs as their centennial project, and continued to perform topical material from a previous age but they were not writers. Canadian folk singers relied on interpretations of non-Canadian material or commented in general terms on the ills of the world. Despite or perhaps because of the strong Canadian nationalist movement in the 60s and 70s most political commentary was aimed at the misdeeds of our neighbors to the south. Lightfoot’s Black Day In July and Ian Tyson’s “House of Cards” are examples, not to mention Ohio by Neil Young, who by then had moved to the United States. Even the “quiet” and then the not so quiet revolution in Quebec, including the declaration of the War Measures Act did not inspire much more than a maudlin plea for unity by Ian Tyson and Peter Gzowski in the early 60’s Song for Canada. In the ironic and the satirical compositions of Bob Bossin and Nancy White there was a whiff of rebellion, as there also was in the work of Perth County Conspiracy, but it was a few women writers influenced by the women’s movement and aboriginal songwriters, for whom Canada was not any better than the US, that the few songs with bite were found. Rita MacNeil in her first album, Born A Woman and Willie Dunn with his Ballad of Crowfoot are exceptions that stand out in two decades regarded in popular mythology as the time of the protest singer. The vast majority of singer songwriters who emerged in Canada in these decades turned their art to celebrating the land and exploring universal themes. They created a vocabulary of Canadian images that matched the new sense of national identity that produced such diverse phenomena as Trudeaumania and the Waffle. For the first time there was a bank of Canadian contemporary songs that went beyond ditties and approached art.


Program from the Toronto Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam’s Vietnam Peace Concert held on Thursday May 18, 1967 at the Eaton Auditorium
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