Can You Complete the Lyrics to These Traditional Folk Songs?


Stella Alexander

7 Min Quiz

Image: jukejointjohnny48

About This Quiz

"Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"... to take this quiz! When it comes to mainstream music, you'll hear about pop, rock, and hip-hop. If you were to travel back to the mid-20th century, it was all about the folk revival. Performed by artists such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, the songs of the times would go on to become major folk classics. Can you complete their lyrics?

Although music has been around for thousands of years, the 20th century brought about a major change in the music scene. At the turn of the 20th century, patrons were introduced to jazz music. Country music would come about during the 1920s. Rock and roll grew during the 1950s, and the 1960s would bring about a new take on an old classic - folk music. 

While its meaning might be a bit ambiguous, folk music can be described simply as music that's been played over a long period of time. Even with its ambiguous meaning, folk music always related to the history and culture of the people behind the story. This can be heard in songs like "This Land Is Your Land" and "City of New Orleans." Do you remember the stories behind some of the most popular folk music? Enough to complete the lyrics? Let's find out!

As I was walking that ribbon of highway / I saw above me that endless skyway

"This Land Is Your Land" was originally written by Woody Guthrie in 1940. The song wouldn't be released until 1945 and is one of the most famous folk songs ever written.


How many roads must a man walk down / Before you call him a man / Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail /

"Blowin' In the Wind" was originally recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962 before Bob Dylan released it. It was featured on his 1963 album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan."


Saying "don't ya know me? I'm your native son / Yes, I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans /

Steve Goodman released the song "City of New Orleans" in 1975 on the album "Judith." The song would go on to win a Grammy Award.


I'd ring out danger / I'd ring out a warning

Pete Seeger and Lee Hays wrote "If I Had a Hammer" in 1949 and it was performed by their band, The Weavers. It would go on to be performed by Peter, Paul and Mary.


Where have all the young men gone? / Gone for soldiers every one / When will they ever learn?

The Kingston Trio are well-known for their recording of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." This was another song written by The Weavers singer, Pete Seeger.


Out on runway number nine / Big seven o seven set to go / Well I'm stuck here on the grass /

Gordon Lightfoot wrote and recorded the song "Early Morning Rain." the song appeared on his 1966 album "Lightfoot!"


And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind / And you think maybe you'll trust him

Leonard Cohen wrote and recorded the song "Suzanne." The song first appears on his 1967 album "Songs of Leonard Cohen."


We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome, some day /

"We Shall Overcome" was another song written by singer-songwriter, Pete Seeger. Joan Baez's rendition would go on to become well-known in the genre.


If I get there before the snow flies / And if things are goin' good / You could meet me if I sent you down the fare /

Originally written by Ian Tyson, the group Ian and Sylvia recorded the song "Four Strong Winds." It was released on their album "Four Strong Winds" in 1963.


It's a lesson too late for the learning / Made of sand, made of sand / In the wink of an eye my soul is turnin' /

Tom Paxton wrote and recorded "The Last Thing On My Mind," and the song appeared on his 1964 album "Ramblin' Boy."


Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now / Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town / And they tell him

Joni Mitchell collaborated with L.A. Express for the song "The Circle Game." The song was released on Mitchell's 1970 album "Ladies of the Canyon."


Throughout history there have been many songs / Written about the eternal triangle

In 1958, The Kingston Trio recorded the song "Tom Dooley" about a 1866 North Carolina murder. The song appeared on their self-titled album.


But now they only block the sun / They rain and snow on everyone / So many things I would have done /

"Both Side Now" was originally recorded in 1968 by Judy Collins. Joni Mitchell would go on to record her own version and release it on her 1969 album "Clouds."


Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving / But how can they know it's time for them to go /

Sandy Denny wrote and recorded "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" in the late 1960s. She would then join forces with The Strawbs to record the song for her 1973 album "All Our Own Work."


Last Saturday night I got married / Me and my wife settle down / Now me and my wife are parted /

"Goodnight, Irene" was first recorded in 1943 by Leadbelly. The Weavers would go on to record the song and release it on their 1957 album "The Weavers at Carnegie Hall."


And he's fighting for Canada / he's fighting for France

"Universal Soldier" was written by Buffy Sainte-Marie and appeared on the 1964 album "It's My Way!"


So long honey babe / Where I'm bound, I can't tell / Goodbye is too good a word, babe /

Bob Dylan wrote the song "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" in 1962. The song was recorded and released on his 1963 album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan."


Well you burst on the scene / Already a legend / The unwashed phenomenon /

Joan Baez wrote "Diamonds & Rust" in 1974. She recorded the song and released it in 1975 on her same-titled album.


And in the naked light I saw / Ten thousand people, maybe more / People talking without speaking

Paul Simon wrote the song "The Sound of Silence" during the early 1960s and would go on to perform it as his duo, Simon & Garfunkel. The song appeared on the 1964 album "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M."


The ship was the pride of the American side / Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin / As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most

Gordon Lightfoot wrote "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" in 1975 and recorded it that same year. The song was released on his 1976 album "Summertime Dream."


You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant / You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant

"Alice's Restaurant" is a song that was recorded and performed by Arlo Guthrie. At over 18 minutes long, this song appears on his 1967 album named after the song.


A time to be born, a time to die / A time to plant , a time to reap

"Turn! Turn! Turn!" was another song written by Pete Seeger. The song was recorded and released on the 1965 album by The Birds.


Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail / Jackie kept a lookout perched on puff's gigantic tail

Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton collaborated to write the song "Puff, the Magic Dragon." Peter Yarrow would bring the song to his group, Peter, Paul and Mary to record. They released it on the 1963 album "Peter, Paul and Mary."


Then tell me of the ones you saw / As far as you could see / Across the plains from field to town

Eric Andersen wrote the song "Thirsty Boots" in the early 1960s. He released it on his 1967 album "'Bout Changes 'n' Things Take 2."


And there but for fortune, may go you or I / Show me the alley, show me the train / Show me a hobo who sleeps in the rain

Phil Ochs wrote the song "There But For Fortune" in the mid-1960s and released the song on his live 1968 album "There and Now: Live in Vancouver 1968."


"It's gone away in yesterday / Now I find myself on the mountainside / Where the rivers change direction /

The song "Across the Great Divide" was originally recorded by artist Katie Wolf.


"Like my father before me, I will work the land / Like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand

Robbie Robertson wrote "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and the song would go on to be recorded by The Band. It was released on their 1969 self-titled album.


When Amsterdam is golden in the summer / Margaret brings him breakfast, she believes him

Michael Peter Smith wrote the song "The Dutchman" in 1968 which was later recorded by Steve Goodman. The latter released the song on his 1972 album "Somebody Else's Troubles."


Lord Donald's wife came into the church, the gospel for to hear / And when the meeting it was done, she cast her eyes about /

"Matty Groves" is an old English song that was first heard during the 1600s. Fairport Convention recorded the song and released it on their 1969 album "Liege & Lief."


California and Arizona, I make all your crops / And Its North up to Oregon to gather your hops /

Woody Guthrie wrote "Pastures of Plenty" in 1941. The song would go on to be recorded by other artists such as Bob Dylan.


And when the young man's fancy was turnin' to the spring / The railroad men grew restless for to hear the hammers ring

"Canadian Railroad Trilogy" was written by Gordon Lightfoot. The song was released on his 1967 album "The Way I Feel."


He was a pal and a friend always / We rambled 'round in the hard ol' days / He never cared if I had no dough /

"Ramblin' Boy" was written by Tom Paxton in the early 1960s. The song was released on his debut album "Ramblin' Boy" in 1964.


Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more / She sits and stares through the back door screen

John Prine wrote the song "Hello In There" which he released on his 1971 self-titled album.


Rise again, rise again / Let her name not be lost to the knowledge of men /

Stan Rogers wrote "The Mary Ellen Carter" during the late 1970s. He would release the song on the album "Between the Breaks ... Live!" which came out in 1979.


Tell her to make me a cambric shirt / Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme / Remember me to one who lives there

"Scarborough Fair" is an old English song that Martin Carthy would go on to record for his self-titled 1965 album.


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