John Langstaff

The Lark in the Morn and Other Folksongs and Ballads

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Long before he established the Christmas Revels (an annual winter solstice celebration that has become one of the most beloved annual musical events in the Boston area), baritone John Langstaff spent just over a decade living in England, where he performed both classical and folk songs in concert and in recordings for various record labels. The HMV label asked him to come to its Abbey Road Studios to make a series of records of traditional English songs between 1949 and 1956, and those recordings are collected here. Originally recorded on 78-rpm wax records, they have been digitally remastered and sound remarkably clear and fresh on this CD collection. To modern listeners, Langstaff's style may sound a bit stylized -- his style of singing is more classically refined than unpretentiously folky in tone. But his voice is so rich and his love of the material so infectious that it's easy to forget about the 50 years that have passed since these recordings were made and simply to give in to the sumptuous loveliness of the songs. The first half of the program consists of traditional songs with British roots, though some were collected in the United States; these include such familiar fare as "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" and "Lark in the Morn," as well as many that will be brand-new to most listeners. The second half consists largely of children's songs, many of which are actually of Dutch origin. This album concludes a four-disc series that brings back to market all of the folk recordings Langstaff made during the middle decades of the 20th century.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
feat: Gerald Moore
2:17 Spotify
feat: Gerald Moore
1:14 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Gerald Moore
0:52 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Gerald Moore
1:25 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Gerald Moore
2:10 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Gerald Moore
3:08 SpotifyAmazon
7 2:49 SpotifyAmazon
8 3:08 SpotifyAmazon
9 1:34 SpotifyAmazon
10 1:28 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:04 Spotify
12 1:22 SpotifyAmazon
13 2:11 SpotifyAmazon
14 0:32 SpotifyAmazon
15 0:32 SpotifyAmazon
16 1:35
17 1:05
feat: Sam Mason
1:17 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Sam Mason
1:48 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Sam Mason
2:17 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Sam Mason
1:15 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Sam Mason
feat: Sam Mason
2:00 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Sam Mason
0:29 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Sam Mason
0:40 Spotify
feat: Sam Mason
0:42 SpotifyAmazon
27 0:35 SpotifyAmazon
28 0:41 SpotifyAmazon
29 0:20 SpotifyAmazon
30 0:58 SpotifyAmazon
31 0:38 SpotifyAmazon
32 0:23 SpotifyAmazon
33 1:02 SpotifyAmazon
34 0:25 Spotify
35 0:37 SpotifyAmazon
36 0:27 SpotifyAmazon
37 0:36 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick