May Erlewine’s great song “Rise Up Singing” celebrates the restorative power of singing. Rise Up Singing: The Group Singing Songbook collects words, chords and sources for 1200 songs from many folk traditions as well as the commercial music industry. This venerable print resource is organized by topic from America to Work. My favorite topical section is Play. That’s where you’ll find so many of the songs you’ll remember from childhood. But this songbook isn’t only for kids. There are protest songs as well as sacred rounds and chants from a variety of traditions. Rise Up Singing is easy to use. The songs are indexed by artist, by culture, by holiday, and by subject. The title index includes first lines and alternate titles. And Pete Seeger’s introduction is worth reading even if you go no further. One thing that makes Rise Up Singing different from many other vocal fake books is that, except for the Sacred Rounds and Chants section, there is no musical notation to express the melodies of the songs. That leaves more room for lyrics in this portable book from Sing Out. Because the book is meant for group singing environments, there’s usually someone in the group who knows the tune. If you’re thinking of a popular or folk song, a show tune or kids’ song, it may very well be here.
Rise Up Singing