Singers (yes, even old folkies like me) can learn a lot about interpretation, sight-reading, and general musicianship by working through the melodically and rhythmically-simple arrangements of the well-known folk ballads included here. The arrangements are simple enough for the singer to add layers of interpretation to the vocal line, something crucial for songs as emotive as blues selections “Nine Hundred Miles,” and “Motherless Child,” and as freewheeling as "Old Joe Clark," and "Honey Babe." But the creative arrangements also flesh out the ballads and spirituals to concert performance length with modulations in pitch and style, keeping them interesting, even challenging, while maintaining their essential simplicity.
American Folk Songs for Solo Singers is a fine addition to the Alfred repertoire; the songs included, as arranged by Jay Althouse, are fine additions to any vocalist’s toolbox. The book is available in two versions, arranged for either high or low vocal ranges.