Camp Songs, Folk Songs

A folkloric analysis of the song repertoire of American summer camps from the 1950s through the ’70s.
This volume originated in the ’70s as a manuscript, written when the author was a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, with a doctorate in American studies and a concentration in folklore. Although her career ultimately led her away from academia, she has decided to publish it to show what she calls “a tradition in its final flowering”: the American tradition of summer-camp songs. She divides the book into five sections: “Folklore,” “Age Group Influences on Repertoire,” “Camp Philosophy Influences on Repertoire,” “Gender Influences on Repertoire” and “Midwestern Influences on Repertoire.” She also includes photographs, an extensive list of participants, archives, camps and references, and the publishing histories of the 19 songs she uses as case studies. The chapters discuss the songs’ use of humor, how children acquire language from songs (and develop motor skills, for songs that use gestures), musical styles, and other concepts. Each chapter looks specifically at one song that illustrates a theme, along with variant lyrics, but not, surprisingly and disappointingly, the sheet music. That said, Averill provides a treasure trove of raw data about American summer-camp music in the mid-20th century, and she effectively illustrates how the songs moved seamlessly between musical genres. She points out the influences of 19th century religious “camp” revivalism, European immigrants and their tradition of communal singing, the songs of Tin Pan Alley and World War I, and the folk revival of the 1960s. The book also demonstrates how singing was used to foster communal feelings among campers; at other times, it allowed them to express subversive humor, thus pushing adolescent boundaries. However, much of the information in this book is provided in haphazard order, regardless of relevance. As a result, although the author certainly knows her folklore, some of the discussions may be difficult for laymen to follow, as larger themes often get lost in a shuffle of names and references that may mean little to casual readers. (A minimal index is available, but on a separate website.)

A dense resource that may be most useful for folklorists, folk-music scholars, and historians of Americana.

Pub Date: May 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493179114

Page Count: 714

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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