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10 Folk Albums from the 1960s John Oates Thinks Everyone Should Own

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Welcome back to Crate Digging, our recurring feature that dives into music history and turns up several albums that all music fans should know. In this edition, John Oates gives us his list of the most essential 1960s folk records.


If John Oates understands anything, it’s the raw fundamentals of songwriting. After famously linking up with his writing partner Daryl Hall, Oates came through with hit after hit after hit. Now, he’s back with Reunion, a collection of tracks that finds the aging artist returning to his roots and embracing the classic folk music that captivated his creative mind as a pre-teen. To celebrate the new release, Oates has outlined what he considers to be the 10 most essential 1960s folk records, from icons like Bob Dylan to deep cuts like John Jacob Niles.

“I was turned on to this music as a kid, when I was about 12. I had a good friend whose older brother went off to college in North Carolina, and he came back with all these albums that I had never heard by people that I’d never heard of,” Oates recalls. “I started playing guitar at six years old, so I was already playing guitar for six years. I wasn’t good, but I was good enough to learn things. I started to hear this music for the first time and started trying to learn it from the records.”

Fast forward about a decade, and his love for Joan Baez and The Byrds had translated into classic tunes like “Rich Girl,” “You Make My Dreams (Come True),” and “Maneater.” Keep going to Reunion, and the direct lineage between the Greenwich Village scene and Oates’ output becomes even clearer. And as he tells it, these 10 records are where it all started.

Listen to the title track from John Oates’ new album Reunion below, then read on to see what made his list of the most essential 1960s folk albums.


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