And now for something completely different, two songs from my parents' cultural background in Germany.
This is a German campfire song written in 1967, when a bunch of kids broke off from one of the long-established groups of the German Youth Movement (an amorphous lot of more or less Scout-like organisations, but with a different and rather less centrally-controlled history), took over a medieval castle ruin owned by their parent organisation, and decided they needed a song of their own. They called themselves "Raubritter", which translates as "robber barons" or "robber knights", and so that's the name of the song as well. Never commercially recorded in any meaningful way, but now sung all over Germany in Scout groups and youth groups of all kinds.
Recorded on tenor guitar and Mid-Mo M-0W - not a particularly sophisticated tune, but good fun to play and sing!
2) Wir sind eine kleine verlorene Schar
This one is also from the German Youth Movement, but written around 1933 and with a darker background: when the Nazis took over, they tried to assimilate the patchwork of existing youth groups with their millions of members into the Hitler Youth. Many groups resisted; this song was a clandestine protest song, its singing punishable. The title translates as "We are a small lost bunch". Like Raubritter, this song has also been passed on orally from group to group without ever having been commercially recorded in a meaningful fashion.
Also on tenor guitar and Mid-Mo.
Just saw this: great posts with some deep history. I really dig the these obscure kinds of folk songs. If you didn't post these, I would never have known about these songs, so thanks.
Thanks, Ryan -- glad you've enjoyed these songs. I recorded a couple more of similar origin at about the same time, one slightly less obscure than the two above, the other one very famous indeed!
1) In Junkers Kneipe: Much the same background as "Wir sind eine kleine verlorene Schar" -- this song was written around 1933 as a clandestine song by one of the Youth Movement groups unwilling to assimilate into the Hitler Youth, but this song has a slightly wider mainstream recognition as it actually did get recorded by a few commercial recording artists, not necessarily to the song's advantage:
2) Die Moorsoldaten (Peat Bog Soldiers): Written in 1934 inside a Nazi concentration camp, for a prisoners' revue, this is probably the most famous German resistance song of them all, and unlike the other German songs I've recorded, this one has been recorded widely in its English translation as "Peat Bog Soldiers", including among others by Paul Robeson, The Dubliners, Pete Seeger and (for the bluegrass crowd here in the group) Laurie Lewis. Here's my version:
Although you mention that these tunes have varying degrees of popularity, I'm sure I had heard none of them before. But they all have that familiar quality that makes me relate to them and want to learn them. A nice little collection, and so different from the usual fare! Thank you.