Alan Lomax

Classic Ballads of Britain and Ireland, Vol. 1

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Drawn from field recordings made between 1949 and 1969 (gathered now under the umbrella title of Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), Classic Ballads of Great Britain and Ireland deals with storytelling songs as recorded by Francis James Child in his English and Scottish Popular Ballads (the first uniform attempt at getting these songs onto paper). Time, naturally, brings changes -- often dramatic ones when it comes to an oral tradition such as folk song -- so this collection is replete with songs varying from Child's versions (even where Child himself recorded numerous variants), sometimes with verses dropped, sometimes with verses added, sometimes both; others have been modified for a particular purpose, some are regional variants, and others have changed little over the years. Others yet are familiar in either lyric or melody but not both -- folk song being sometimes a crazy quilt. The notes for this edition acknowledge several collecting and reference sources. This entry in the Alan Lomax collection is a rich collection that bears well with repeated visits -- the songs are delivered a capella, in locations ranging from little cottages to packed pubs, with performers ranging from the wonderfully able all the way to the worn and rough (these folk songs were beginning to die away at the time Lomax's team was doing this set of field recordings). Some of the recordings are rough, despite the remastering, but all of them are captivating. A number of the recordings on this set have never been released previously, which makes it all the more interesting a set. Indispensable for any U.K. folk song collection.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Thomas Moran
2:27
2
2:56
3
feat: Fred Jordan
4:47
4
1:07
5
2:34
6
3:30
7
5:55
8
feat: John Stickle
0:43
9
5:20
10
5:02
11
feat: Thomas Moran
3:12
12
3:43
13
0:53
14
2:12
15
2:43
16
3:22
17
4:01
18
5:44
19
5:12
20
feat: Enos White
1:52
21
3:17
22
1:49
23
feat: Albert Beale
1:44
24
3:30
blue highlight denotes track pick