Happy Birthday America!

10 p.m. to Midnight Host: Steve Winters

We’re closing out this year’s July 4 holiday celebration here at WSHU Public Radio with our annual Profiles in Folk musical salute to the greatest nation on Earth as America marks its 238th birthday and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

As in past July 4 musical salutes, I honed in on a significant point in American history or its musical soundtrack. Just two days ago on July 2, it was the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson signing into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation was initially forwarded to Congress by President John F. Kennedy before his assassination. Essentially, the Civil Rights Act made discrimination illegal in public places and employment and began to tear down the walls of segregation. The law gave all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public — such as hotels, restaurants, theaters and retail stores.

Folk music and musicians played a vital role in the civil rights movement through the 1950s and 1960s, but not more so than in the early 1960s when the folk revival stood side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and “the movement.”

  • Artist, "Title", Album, Label

  • Eddie From Ohio, “Star Spangled Banner”, 9eleven Relief, Virginia Soul

  • Matt Turk, “America The Beautiful”, American Preservation, Independent

  • Eric von Schmidt, “My Country’Tis Of Thee”, 2nd Right, 3rd Row, Poppy

  • Jack Hardy & Steve Forbert et al, “This Land Is Your Land”, Classic Protest Songs, Smithsonian Folkways

  • Roy Hesson, “Stars And Stripes Forever”, Prime Cuts Of Bluegrass/Vol. 75, KBC


  • Ralph Bodington, “Washington’s March”, Old Paint, Independent

  • Ed Petterson, “The Liberty Song”, Song Of America, 31 Tigers Records

  • Tony Trischka, “Yankee Doodle”, Minstrel Banjo Style, Rounder


  • Joan Baez, “We Shall Overcome” 1963 March On Washington, Folkways Records,

  • Peter Paul & Mary, “Blowin’ In The Wind”, Freedom Is A Constant Struggle, Folk Era Records

  • Judy Collins, “Hey Nellie Nellie”, Judy Collins #3, Elektra

  • Bob Dylan “Only A Pawn In Their Game”, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Columbia,

  • Phil Ochs, “Here’s To The State Of Mississippi”, There But For Fortune, Elektra

  • Kim & Reggie Harris, “Introduction/Too Many Martyrs”, Songs Of Social Justice, University Of Rhode Island


  • Guy & Candie Carawan, “Ain’t You Got A Right To The Tree Of Life”, Ain’t You Got…., Flying Fish

  • David Massengill, “Number One In America”, Coming Up For Air, Flying Fish

  • Pete Seeger, “Oh Freedom”, We Shall Overcome/The Complete Carnegie Hall Concert, Columbia

  • Broadside Singers w/ Len Chandler & Tom Paxton, “Carry It On”, Best Of Broadside, Smithsonian Folkways


  • Phil Ochs, “Power And Glory”, All The News That’s Fit To Sing, Elektra

  • Eric Andersen, “Waves Of Freedom”, Freedom Is A Constant Struggle, Folk Era Records

  • Big Twang, “Pastures Of Plenty”, Pastures Of Plenty, Independent

  • The Old 78s, “Liberty Bell March”, The Women Wear No Clothes At All, Independent

  • Jake Shimabukuro, “Stars And Stripes Forever”, Song Of America, 31 Tigers Records