Anthologies   •   The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 5: The Child Ballads 2 [1]

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  • The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 5: The Child Ballads 2
    • 1969 - Topic 12T161 LP (UK)
  • Side One
    1. The Royal Forester (The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter) — John Strachan Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
    2. The Baffled Knight — Emily Bishop, Bromsberrow Heath, Herefordshire
    3. Johnie Cock — John Strachan, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
    4. Robin Hood And Little John — John Strachan, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
    5. The Jew's Garden — Cecilia Costello, Birmingham
    6. The Battle of Harlaw — Lucy Stewart, Fetterangus, Aberdeenshire
    7. The Four Maries (Mary Hamilton) — Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen
    8. The Gypsy Laddie — Harry Cox, Catfield, Norfolk; Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen & Paddy Doran, Belfast
    9. Georgie — Harry Cox, Catfield, Norfolk
    10. The Dowie Dens of Yarrow — Davy Stewart, Dundee, Angus
  • Side Two
    1. Glenlogie — John Strachan, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
    2. The Grey Cock (Willie's Ghost) — Cecilia Costello, Birmingham
    3. Henry Martin — Phil Tanner, Gower, South Wales
    4. Lang Johnny More — John Strachan, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire
    5. Willie's Fate — Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen
    6. Our Goodman — Harry Cox, Catfield, Norfolk; Mary Connors, Belfast & Colm Keane, Glinsk, Co. Galway
    7. The Farmer's Curst Wife — Thomas Moran, Mohill, Co. Leitrim
    8. The Jolly Beggar — Jeannie Robertson, Aberdeen
    9. The Auld Beggarman — Maggie and Sarah Chambers, Tempo, Co. Fermanagh
    10. The Keach in The Creel — Michael Gallagher, Beleek, Co. Fermanagh
    11. The Golden Vanity — Bill Cameron, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly
    12. The Trooper Lad — Jimmy McBeath, Elgin, Moray

  • Credits
    • Recorded by Peter Kennedy, Alan Lomax, Seamus Ennis, Sean O'Boyle, Hamish Henderson, Marie Slocombe, Patrick Shuldham-Shaw and Maud Karpeles.
    • Edited by Peter Kennedy and Alan Lomax assisted by Shirley Collins
    • Notes by Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy
    • Edited for Topic by A. L. Lloyd.
    • Booklet enclosed.
    • Published by Topic Records Limited with the permission of Caedmon Records Inc., of New York
    • Original Issue No. TC 1146
    • Text Copyright ® 1961 ® 1961 Lochrae Music Corporation All Rights Reserved
    • Sleeve Design by James Boswell

Sleeve Notes

  • The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 5: The Child Ballads 2
    • "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads" Numbers 110-299
  • A Collection of ballads, romantic, historical, dramatic and comic, "canonised" by inclusion in F J Child's great compilation, "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads", and still sung today.
  • Recorded in the field from traditional singers in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

The Songs

The ballads on this disc and its companion (The Child Ballads 1/12T160) are all among those which Francis James Child included in his classic compilation The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, originally published from 1882 to 1898.

The poems in the Child collection (he dealt with texts only) have long remained the standard by which ballads are judged. Many of Child's 305 pieces have vanished from living tradition, but a large number still remain current in parts of England, Scotland and Ireland, and more than forty of them are presented on these two discs. The examples here show a great variety of vocal styles, speech-dialects, psychological ambiance, in versions extending from the craggy shores of Connemara to the flatlands of East Anglia, from the soft flowery Scillies to the gusty Shetlands.

Some of the examples are of great rarity, and were thought to have disappeared long ago; others abound in a large number of lively versions, and to show their variety and vitality they are, in certain cases, presented in a "collated" form, with successive singers from sundry areas taking up the tale, verse by verse.

A fair number of the ballads record the dramas and passions of a past age of feuding and cattle-raids especially along the border between England and Scotland. But many more of them are narratives from the general stock of international folklore, tales of magic, of battle, of romance, as much at home in France and Scandinavia, Hungary and the Balkans, as among the farm-workers and fishermen of the British Isles.

This album and its companion are indispensable to all ballad scholars. And not only that; they make fine listening for all who love a good song, well sung, with some depth to it.


About the Series

Hitherto, relatively few recordings of authentic British folk song have been issued commercially, and those few not easy to come by. Now, with the appearance on the British market of this series — formerly issued by Caedmon in U.S.A. — the range of our native tradition of folksong and balladry, in all its splendid variety, is brought into the home.

The recordings, made for the most part in country pubs and cottages over the last fifteen years or so, are largely the work of Peter Kennedy — England's most diligent folk song collector of recent years, and major contributor to the BBC's Archive of British folk song — and the distinguished American folklorist Alan Lomax, one time head of the Archive of American Folk Song in the Library of Congress. Other well-known and experienced collectors such as Hamish Henderson in Scotland and Seamus Ennis and Sean O'Boyle in Ireland also helped to compile this incomparable anthology of traditional song.

The singers here are as varied as the songs they sing: farmers and farm labourers, travelling folk and housewives, old sailors and young building-workers, some having a deadpan way with a song while others have something of the showman's approach; but all are true folksingers with a fine sense for the subtleties of the oral tradition, and their voices speak of a deep experience of life.

We confidently assert that here is the most important and rewarding series of British folk song recordings ever issued. Comments Robert Graves 'This is a faithful and authentic recording. Nineteenth century collectors lay under the mechanical disadvantage of being unable to perpetuate the voices, accents, grace-notes and tempo of the singers. The folk songs they harvested, and too often bowdlerized, lost most of their poignant magic when regularized as drawing room ballads with piano settings. Here, nothing is lost or falsified.'

Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society 'The value of the series is twofold. First, the performers are all folk singers and folk instrumentalists, not simply performers of folk music — that is. they are of the genuine kind … Secondly, the performers are for the most part excellent artists able to express fully the force and beauty of their material, not old mumblers to whom one listens with more respect than pleasure. Traditional performance of British song is rare enough on commercial records; still rarer is the experience of hearing it performed by the masters (and mistresses) of the tradition in assembly.