[Cafe Wha? Coffehouse, Greenwich Village][Joan Baez]

The Great Folk Scare

Legendary Folk Music Revival of the
late 50s thru early 60s

"They believed if they sang loud and long enough they could change the world"
    - Gavan Daws, co-author of  Follow the Music

This site is dedicated to the Folkniks (as they were often called then), the folk and protest singers of the folk boom from the late 1950s through early 1960s.  These warriors, armed only with voice and guitar, inspired the nation and the world with their conspiracy against racial segregation, military draft, McCarthyism, blacklists, censorship, the cold war. nuclear Sword of Damocles,  nuclear fallout,  and  prevailing  "don't rock the boat" mindset of the time.  It may seem strange now, but then folk musicians could sell millions of albums, hear their songs played even on commercial radio and television, and read gossip about themselves in the mass media.  There will be folk music revivals again, but there will never again be anything like those heady days!

Essential Artists.  A baker's dozen albums representing the best of that era available on CD.  I have somewhat arbitrarily included only North American artists, and displayed only one CD per artist.  Here you can click on the artist's name for a fan site or biographical data.  You can also click on an album cover to get more info on the album itself, usually including some sound clips, along with an option to purchase the CD (and while there you can click on the artist's name to see more albums by that artist).

Honorable Mention.  I ran out of room on the Essential Artists page, but these artists also certainly deserve notice.

Compilation Albums.  You say you can't afford to buy all the CDs  from the above links?  Then take a look at these compilation CDs, an excellent way to start a collection.   Also included on the page is a CD box set reissue of the collection that most influenced the Folkniks, plus a tribute album to the 60's folk artists from some of today's artists.

Children's Albums.  Kids love folk songs, let's not lose the tradition of music for them!

Reissue Campaigns.  A source of extreme frustration to the fans of that era is that much of the wonderful music is still unavailable on CD.  Find out how you can help.

Books and Videos.  This link lists books that can give you the flavor of the Folk Scare era's social, political and cultural context, plus some biographies and songbooks.  Videos include the "must have" Festival!.

Community.  Join our Virtual Coffeehouse Discussion Board, or just visit and browse the messages.  The coffeehouses of the period were as noted for their impassioned discussions as for their music and expresso.  On this BBS you can discuss anything you like as long as it is at least remotely relevant to the Folk Scare or other folk revivals.  This is also where any site news will now be announced.  

Rogues Gallery.John Byrne Cooke, both a photographer and a member of the Charles River Valley Boys,  has created this wonderful website chock full of images of musicians from the sixties, both the Folkniks and the folk-rockers.

Links.  External web sites with related content, including web broadcasts of folk music.  See the lyrics to folksongs, read a brief history of the era, etc.

A few words about the scope of this site, in case you're wondering why your favorite musician isn't included.  One of the realities of running a website is that you need focus; if it's too inclusive visitors will be overwhelmed with the volume of material and leave.  To maintain such  focus,  I have not included the more commercial, clean-cut groups like the Kingston Trio, Limeliters, New Christy Minstrels, Cumberland Three, Rooftop Singers, Serendipity Singers, Highwaymen  etc. who targeted a mass audience.  I have nothing against these groups, some of whom still have enthusiastic fans, they're just not the focus of this site (however, several are included in our webcast, which has a broader scope).  For the same reason I have not emphasized those who got their start in a previous folk music revival, such as Pete SeegerRamblin' Jack Elliott, Cisco HoustonThe Weavers, and Josh White.  Finally, I had to exclude primarily regional performers, as well as artists like Gordon Lightfoot, Tim Hardin and Ritchie Havens who indeed started their careers in the era, but did not come into national prominence until after the "official" end of the Great Folk Scare era when Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival of 1965.

Please report any SITE problems (broken links, etc.) to the Webmeister.  Please discuss any CONTENT issues on our Virtual Coffeehouse discussion board.

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