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Thread: Folk songs that sound good on the pump organ

  1. #11
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    New England

    1 members found this post helpful.

    Try the following links:Since the piano and pump organ were the 2 primary instruments in homes during that time period, most of these pieces are intended to be played on either of the two instruments. Some improvisation is necessary.

    I have another collection of songs called Everybody's Favorite Songs, No.1, 1933 from Amsco Music Publishing Co., NYC. There are 2 or more versions of that book, and one version will have songs the other won't, and the index is not necessarily accurate on a few songs--some are even omitted from the index, even though they're in the book.

    From that book I can suggest songs like:
    • Beautiful Dreamer
    • Whispering Hope
    • Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
    • Funiculi, Funicula
    • Goodnight Ladies
    • Home, Sweet Home
    • Home On the Range
    • Listen to the Mockingbird
    • My Old Kentucky Home
    • Song of the Volga Boatman
    • Still as the Night
    • Who is Sylvia?
    • Aloha Oe
    • Auld Lang Syne
    • Blue Danube Waltz
    • Tennessee Waltz
    • Skater's Waltz (not sure if that has words or not)
    • Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes
    • Grandfather's Clock
    • Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here
    • In the Gloaming (a favorite of The Andy Griffith Show)
    • Irish Washerwoman
    • Last Rose of Summer
    • Oh, My Darling Clementine
    • Oh Susanna
    • The Old Gray Mare
    • The Old Oaken Bucket
    • Red River Valley
    • Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
    Pretty much anything that's a hymn, Civil War, WW-1 or WW-2 songs would be ones the older people either remember personally, or remember their parents singing. Be prepared for disagreement on lyrics, though. During the late 19th century and the early 20th centuries, folk songs were passed down more by word of mouth than by standardized printing and music notation. For that reason, lyrics became regionalized, and sometimes customized for a particular region of the country.

    Another thought would be to utilize the cowboy ballads of the early 20th century. Many of those songs were made famous by the likes of Gene Autry, Jimmie Davis, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and many others. However, they were generally intended to be played with guitar, although they were often adapted for piano and pump organ.

    I hope this helps a little.


    P.S. It depends on what you mean by "folk songs", but I think the above will suffice. You neglected to mention the decade you were targeting, as folk song traditions changed from decade to decade.
    Last edited by myorgan; 05-03-2017 at 06:07 PM. Reason: P.S.
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  2. #12
    ppp Pianississmo John S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Thanks for the great response. My folk sing around group is pretty loose. They sing anything from 16th Century to the Eagles. Some of out participants like Vaudeville era tunes.
    I have a number of things that I sing to the accompaniment of the uulele and guitar but am looking for songs that fit the sound of the pump organ. You list is impressive.

  3. #13
    ppp Pianississmo Tamara'sFirstOrgan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Beaverton, Oregon

    1 members found this post helpful.
    What a Great Question !!!! I only got my first Reed Organ (Cornish) a few weeks ago, and a Story & Clark two days ago --- both need a lot of work done, but play somewhat If I really pump hard.

    I am a Pianist, new to trying Organ at all, let alone a pump style with all the air to think about.

    On Sunday I went to browse at a used bookstore, as I needed to cool down after the Story & Clark was deposited in my living room with frozen keys due to being transported on its back.

    I found a most wonderful book, and used copied of it are available on Amazon ; The American Treasury Of Golden Oldies , compiled by Sandy King. 328 pages of songs right from the Reed Organ's Era. Very Organ Friendly, cheerful, traditional, some are humerous. You should be able to order a copy for under $15 if you like it. Very Very Delightful ! Songs from 1890's through perhaps 1940's.

    It's easy to sound dreary when choosing typical songs I thought of first. I am so glad to have found this book, and highly recommend it.

  4. #14
    ppp Pianississmo Tamara'sFirstOrgan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Beaverton, Oregon

    Those Links Are Amazing !!! Thank You !! To Michael

  5. #15
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Cape town South Africa

    I want that book!

    Thanks Tamara!
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

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