VSL:WEB // Hear the ultimate guide to American music

The way audio engineer Moses Asch remembered it, it was his sometime collaborator Albert Einstein who told him to create a universal archive of 20th-century sound. And so, in 1948, Asch created Folkways, and set about recording everything under the sun.

“The Folkways Collection” splits the remarkable story of Asch’s label (which was also home to Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Pete Seeger, and was transferred to the Smithsonian after his death) into 24 podcasts, each of which features interviews and original recordings from the Folkways archive of 2,000-plus recordings: You’ll hear folk music, children’s music, recordings of frogs, and examples of Allen Ginsberg’s ill-advised forays into the blues. Our favorite episode, No. 23, is dedicated to Phil Ochs — the Greenwich Village folksinger who lived (and died) in Bob Dylan’s shadow.

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