Jean Ritchie’s Kentuck Mother Goose

Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose

Songs and Stories from My Childhood

by Jean Ritchie with Susan Brumfield

“The Mother of Folk Music,” Jean Ritchie, who died earlier this year, shares family stories, memories, and her favorite songs growing up.


Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose is a collection of songs, rhymes and stories recalled from childhood by the legendary folk singer, who died in June 2015 at the age of 92.

The youngest of 14 children in a singing family from Viper, Ky., she grew up surrounded by the ballads, hymns, play-party songs, singing games and dulcimer tunes that formed the Ritchie Family repertoire. Toward the end of her life, returning to the earliest memories of the songs and the stories surrounding them, Ritchie joined forces with coauthor Susan Brumfield to create this charming anthology.

Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose includes a CD, featuring 50 of Ritchie’s recordings, including those of her singing with famed collector Alan Lomax in the 1940s and ’50s and for Brumfield in the 2000s. The book itself has reader-friendly transcriptions of the songs and rhymes, enlightening notes on history and performance, and related stories that colorfully evoke Ritchie’s Appalachian childhood.

This richly illustrated volume also features photos from Richies’s family collection, and by her husband, photographer and filmmaker George Pickow, as well as never-before-published drawings by beloved artist and children’s author, Maurice Sendak.

Full of Ritchie’s spirit and a delight for the eye and ear alike, Jean Ritchie’s Kentucky Mother Goose is both a fascinating window into a musical icon’s beginnings and a fitting tribute to the memory of a true American treasure.


6.0″ x 9.0″
360 pages
BackBeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation


JEAN RITCHIE collected, composed, and recorded a wealth of folk music over her long career. She released dozens of albums, performed with artists such as Pete Seeger, written songs recorded by legends from Judy Collins to Johnny Cash, and inspired and influenced generations of musicians. She died in June 2015 at the age of 91.

SUSAN BRUMFIELD is the author of Hot Peas and Barley-O: Children’s Songs and Games from Scotland and Over the Garden Wall: Children’s Songs and Games from England, as well as First, We Sing! Kodály-Inspired Teaching for the Music Classroom. She teaches music education at Texas Tech University and lives in Lubbock, Texas.




Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on February 19, 2016, in Music Fans, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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