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Ten representative English folk songs?

GUEST,Ben 18 Sep 03 - 05:02 AM
red max 18 Sep 03 - 05:05 AM
GUEST 18 Sep 03 - 05:16 AM
Mr Happy 18 Sep 03 - 05:18 AM
greg stephens 18 Sep 03 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Crystal 18 Sep 03 - 05:55 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 03 - 06:12 AM
Mr Happy 18 Sep 03 - 06:20 AM
billy bob 18 Sep 03 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Santa 18 Sep 03 - 08:03 AM
greg stephens 18 Sep 03 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 18 Sep 03 - 08:42 AM
Peg 18 Sep 03 - 10:22 AM
GUEST 18 Sep 03 - 10:25 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 03 - 10:55 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 18 Sep 03 - 11:40 AM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Sep 03 - 11:54 AM
Mary Humphreys 18 Sep 03 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 18 Sep 03 - 12:16 PM
Alio 18 Sep 03 - 12:34 PM
Nerd 18 Sep 03 - 12:37 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 03 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,eliza c 18 Sep 03 - 01:15 PM
Mary Humphreys 18 Sep 03 - 01:23 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 03 - 01:25 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Sep 03 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 18 Sep 03 - 05:34 PM
greg stephens 18 Sep 03 - 06:07 PM
boldreynard 18 Sep 03 - 08:23 PM
akenaton 18 Sep 03 - 08:51 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Sep 03 - 11:30 PM
GUEST 18 Sep 03 - 11:40 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Sep 03 - 11:56 PM
AliUK 19 Sep 03 - 12:11 AM
Keith A of Hertford 19 Sep 03 - 01:41 PM
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Herga Kitty 19 Sep 03 - 03:22 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Sep 03 - 03:31 PM
greg stephens 19 Sep 03 - 05:48 PM
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Hrothgar 21 Sep 03 - 06:41 AM
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Richard Bridge 21 Sep 03 - 02:01 PM
ooh-aah 22 Sep 03 - 04:04 AM
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GUEST 22 Sep 03 - 04:30 AM
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GUEST,(Ben again) 22 Sep 03 - 04:46 AM
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Thomas the Rhymer 22 Sep 03 - 01:45 PM
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Subject: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Ben
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:02 AM

I know very little about folk music, and I'd like to ask your advice. Specifically... could anyone suggest a very short list of 10 "most important" English folk songs, representative of the major genres (ballad etc.) and different periods? I guess "Barbara Allen" might be in there, but there my knowledge stops!

[By English I mean originating from the country called England. My interest is basically in pre-20th-century songs. And of course I realize that 10 is a very small number.]

Many thanks for your time and opinions!

Ben


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: red max
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:05 AM

Well, I suppose Tam Lin would have to be in there


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:16 AM

LIttle Musgrave


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:18 AM

widdecombe fair
keel row
john peel
blaydon races
farmers boy
ilkley moor baht'at
lincolnshire poacher
over the hills & far away
polly perkins/cushy butterfield
cherry ripe


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:36 AM

Top of my top ten would be "Searching for lambs", incomparable lyrics, stunning tune, very evocative of things which might be thought to be long gone but are actually all around us.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:55 AM

I'd think that Greensleaves would be somewere, it is so recognisable. Also The Unquiet Grave because it turns up so much, in so many guises. And Scarborough Fair as well.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 06:12 AM

You'll have to scratch Tam Lin, which is Scottish. I'd tend to leave out "national" type songs, too; so goodbye to Greensleeves, Cherry Ripe, and probably John Peel. I'm certainly with Greg on Searching for Lambs. Might consider The Week Before Easter (The False Bride) and, for a good English murder, perhaps one of the Bloody Miller / Oxford Girl group, or Maria Marten.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 06:20 AM

if the list is to be truly representative of english sogs, then examples from each county should be included, of course there'd be far more than ten.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: billy bob
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 06:50 AM

hang on to your little ball of string
a song tittle noytjust an instuction


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 08:03 AM

How to choose representative? By categories?

1. A broken token song - Claudy Banks if that hasn't been too "Irished" but anything with William and Nancy in

2. a pressganging/recruiting; Tender Coming will do nicely, or Recruited Collier

3. the soldiers are leaving: Doli-ah, or The rout has come for the Blues

4. a shanty: too many to choose from but Drunken Sailor is the best known

5. Transportation/poachers: Rufford Park

6. Gipsies: Lost Lady Found, or one of the Gypsy Davey variants

7. A drinking song: Wilkin's Ale, John Barleycorn

8. A courting/nightvisiting song: my current favourite is the Crockery Ware

9. Highwaymen: Solvay

10. pastoral idyll: any Jolly Ploughman type

11. Foxhunting: John Peel for sure

12. Witches/magic: Unquiet Grave. Oops, I'm over ten already and haven't reached the

13. cross-dressing Female Drummer yet. Or the

14. openly patriotic Over the Hills. At least I did manage to slip some

15. humour in, among the other categories.

16. Industrial: The weaver & the Factory Maid or Banks of the Dee

Forget it. Just buy one of the two Threlfall CDs and enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 08:29 AM

If we're going to categorise, I'd put in a vote for Joe Bowman as the best fox-hunting song, rather than John Peel.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 08:42 AM

As Greg said, Searching for Lambs has to top the list. I'm with Malcolm on Week Before Easter and Maria Martin. I think I'd add Outlandish Knight and Farmer's Boy. A forebitter or shanty should go in but there are so many to choose from. If I go on I won't stop at 10.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Peg
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 10:22 AM

Is Searching for Lambs traditional??? I recorded a version based on the Steeleye Span version, but I had always thought they wrote it based on an old text...beautiful song tho.

Anyway, some of my contenders would be:

Green Brooms
The Elfin Knight (many versions)
Bonny Portmore
Black Jack Davy/Raggle Taggle Gypsy/Seven Yellow Gypsies
Down in Yon Forest


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 10:25 AM

Raggle Taggle Gypseys!
Why didn't I think of that one? (It's doing stirling work as my current favourite song too!)
I'm sure a shanty should be in there, if not Drunken Sailor then Possibly Blow the Man Down or A-Roving.
All three appear in a "Traditional English tunes" book I got out of the library yesterday.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 10:55 AM

Searching for Lambs is traditional enough, though what Steeleye Span might have done to the poor thing is another matter! Bonny Portmore is Scots-Irish. Down in Yon Forest is a nice thought; Vaughan Williams found it at Castleton, a few miles from where I live.

This is never going to get down to just ten songs, is it...


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 11:40 AM

Vicar of Bray, Old Miner, Roast Beef of Olde England, A Roving, St. Helena, Butcher Boy, O'er the Hills, Cold Haily Rainy Night, Benjamin Bowmaneer, The Work of the Weavers, The Innocent Hare...

Toss out one, and then there are ten...
ttr


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 11:54 AM

Malcolm Douglas said:

I'd tend to leave out "national" type songs, too; so goodbye to Greensleeves, Cherry Ripe, and probably John Peel.

I don't understand what you mean by "national" type songs. The questioner asked about peculiarly English songs, which I should think would be national songs by the very terms of the question. So why rule out Greensleeves, Cherry Ripe, and John Peel?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:03 PM

I think that 'The Seeds of Love' which set CJS on his lifelong quest should be considered as one of the most important English songs. So should Brigg Fair as sung by Joseph Taylor and collected by Percy Grainger.
Barbara Allen, in any version should also be there as it was so frequently collected.
Other thoughts later perhaps...
Mary Humphreys


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:16 PM

Pleasant And Delightful?
The Sprig of Thyme?
And definitely The Week Before Easter!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Alio
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:34 PM

When you look through all these suggestions, it strikes me that so many of them are the ones we learnt in Singing Together as children!

Ali


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:37 PM

I'm partial to The Banks of the Sweet Primroses as sung by Phil Tanner. This is tricky, 'cause he was from Wales but didn't apparently consider himself a Welshman. Still, great song and probably English in origin.

Has Solvay survived in oral tradition? Most versions sung today are based on Lloyd re-construction, hence more representative of the revival than of the folk tradition.

I love Spencer the Rover.

I also think The Bonny Bunch of Roses, as it appeared on broadsides, was very English and indeed hegemonically so: "England and Ireland and Scotland, Their unity has never been broke." Ha!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:47 PM

By "national" songs I mean the kind of composed parlour and minor art songs that used to be thought typical -by the cultural establishment- of the various nations of the British Isles. It's the usual term. Exactly the things that Cecil Sharp and other progressive educationalists wanted to replace in school curriculums with genuine folk songs. Greensleeves, Cherry Ripe and (though it's a grey area, which is why I said "probably") John Peel aren't folksongs by generally accepted definitions. Ben didn't ask for typically English songs (or we might be looking at things like Tom Bowling or Drink to Me Only) but for typically English folksongs.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:09 PM

Sovay (nobody ever called it Solvay so far as can be told, though the heroine did have a remarkably large range of names, usually corruptions of Sylvia, and did turn up once as Salvay) was very popular in tradition; most of the collectors of the early 20th century found it. It's certainly true that almost all revival singers copy Bert Lloyd's adaptation rather than going to traditional versions, though. Still, he didn't actually change it very much (certainly not as much as he changed The Recruited Collier, mentioned earlier, which wasn't about a collier at all until he got hold of it). The song was still turning up in tradition in the 1970s, and may well still be lurking out there.

The Bonny Bunch of Roses was probably written in England (some broadsides credit it to George Brown, to whom The Lily of the West and The Constant Farmer's Son have also been attributed) but it was written specifically to an Irish tune. Another grey area, perhaps.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:15 PM

Please,please
No Greensleeves
It make me quease...
y
& it ain't no folk song
   
x ec x

p.s. How about "You're Going Home in a f****** Ambulance" ?
;)

pps Searching for Lambs is no.1, allo the rest come after. Claudy Banks and The Trees they do Grow High and Sheath and Knife are in there, as is Bushes & Briars. x


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:23 PM

Malcolm,
Are you saying that the version of the Recruited Collier printed in Come All You Bold Miners, and credited to a singer from Westmoreland - if my memory serves me right - is not what it seems? ( I have mislaid the book in one of my infrequent tidyings-up at home. )
I should be interested to see & hear the original collected version you are referrring to. Would you post it here?
Mary


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:25 PM

Yes, Bushes and Briars. Can't leave that out. Sheath and Knife is surely impressive, but seems never to have been found in tradition in England, unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 04:27 PM

Rather than distract further from this discussion, I've posted such information as I have on The Recruited Collier to an earlier thread devoted to it:

Recruited Collier


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:34 PM

A couple of people have mentioned John Barleycorn, but I don't think they've said it loudly enough. This is a song that seems to me uniquely English. There's nothing like it that I can think of in the American folk idiom, though we've absorbed lots of other English folksong types. We've got a Barbara Allen and a Gypsy Davy -- we even have the odd hunting song or two. But nary a John Barleycorn in the bunch.

Plus it's not *just* a folk SONG, it also represents some deeply English folkLORE as well.

And while we're on that subject, how about a May song?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 06:07 PM

I voted against John Peel in favour of Joe Bowman,because it's the better song I think.But I'll take issue with Malcolm Douglas as to the "folk" nature of John Peel. Even on the strictest possible definition of folk,it comes out fine, as the words and tune have changed since it was written!
   Glad the votes are rolling in for Searching for Lambs, and the blackballs are being cast against Greensleeves. FolkTUNE,certainly ,but those words!!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: boldreynard
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 08:23 PM

Although this is a discussion of English folk songs, I must respond to ClaireBear's assertion that there is "nary a John Barleycorn" to be found in America. Helen Hartness Flanders (in The New Green Mountain Songster) records a fragment from Springfield, Vermont, taken down in 1935. Ian Robb and Margaret Christl also sing a Canadian version on "The Barley Grain for Me". (I take American to mean North American in this instance.)


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: akenaton
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 08:51 PM

One of my favourite English songs is "joe Peel" by June Tabor. I know its not traditional, but i was fortunate enough to have been brought up by a man very like Joe,and I cant listen to it with out my eyes misting over.It also seems to typify the Nothern folk ...Ake


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 11:30 PM

G'day Malcolm and Greg<

Re. John Peel: I seem to remember that the first time I saw St David's Park, Hobart (formerly the graveyard of St David's Anglican church, Hobart, Tasmania) ... around 1965 ... there was fence around it, with a section of five horizontal metal rails forming a music stave - bearing the first few bars of D'Ye Ken John Peel. Apparently this was a memorial to the composer of the tune - who was buried there in Hobart ... about as far as he could travel from England (and still speak English!).

This, of course, doesn't bear on the "Englishness" of the song - and Tasmania is the "English" part of Australia.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 11:40 PM

BEN....WHY do you ask?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 11:56 PM

Change of pace--Froggy Went a Courtin' (various versions) or Old Bangum.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: AliUK
Date: 19 Sep 03 - 12:11 AM

Let´s see

The lincolnshire Poacher is pretty good to have in there, as would be Yellow Handkerchief, Gower Wassail for an end of year song, John Barleycorn without a doubt, What about the Horn of the Hunter? Sovay is a must as others have pointed out and the Blackleg Miner for the socialist workers amongst us.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 19 Sep 03 - 01:41 PM

All ten of the above, and High Germany.
Married bye and bye,
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 03 - 02:48 PM

I believe that Froggy Went a Courtin' was initially a Scottish song.

Gower is in Wales


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 19 Sep 03 - 03:22 PM

Ake

You may like Joe Peel as sung by June Tabor, but it was of course written by Pete Bond. It is a real tear-jerker though not traditional.

Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor
Lord Randall
Lord Franklin....


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Sep 03 - 03:31 PM

Phil Tanner, however, is only one of a great many people who sang Banks of the Sweet Primroses. It was so widespread in the early years of the 20th century that the Hammond brothers, for example, didn't bother noting it at all.

The "frog" link with Scotland rests solely on a mention in The Complaynt of Scotland (1549) of a song called The frog cam to the myl dur: this may, or may not, refer to a Scottish song, which may, or may not, have been a form of A moste Strange weddinge of the ffrogge and the mowse, which was licensed to Edward White, 21 November 1580. It doesn't survive; the earliest extant text is in Ravenscroft's Melismata of 1611.

I don't think we need to worry too much about these two.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Sep 03 - 05:48 PM

Bob Bolton:that would be the writer of the words(John Woodcock Graves from memory,that could be wildly wrong).The tune was trad.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 03:12 AM

Malcolm,

Thanks for your response re: Sovay and Tanner. I knew others had sung it, of course. But it was one of those occasions where I'd heard a song many times, then heard Phil Tanner's version and was blown away by the singing. So to me, it's not just the song but Tanner's performance that is such a classic.

I've added my 2 cents worth on the Recruited Collier over on the other thread. Some stuff I don't believe has been said on Mudcat before.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:41 AM

To go back to Ben's original problem - perhaps it would be best to look at the Topic catalogue and pick out a few of their samplers. Might get stuck with some Scots, Irish, and Welsh songs, but who really thinks that life is perfect?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 01:33 PM

Wonderful thread.....even if the original asker may have been scared off.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 02:01 PM

Benjamin Bowmaneer
Nottamun Town
The Cutty Wren
A street cry or something from the Copper family (maybe get both with Chimney Sweep)
Rigs of the Times (the English do love to complain)
Ram of Derby
Ramble Away
Dives and Lazarus
Cowdenowes (Yorkshire, not Scotland!!)
The White Cockade
The Famous Flower of Serving Men


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: ooh-aah
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 04:04 AM

The Foggy Dew (not the Irish rebel thing, the good one)
The North Country Maid
The Banks of Sweet Mossom
All For Me Grog
Dido, Bendigo (gets my vote as the best hunting song apart from)
The Innocent Hare
Lady Franklin's Lament
Brave Benbow
The Poacher's Fate
The Banks of Sweet Primroses
The Two Brethren - which must be the most stirring and evocative farming/seasonal song I've heard.
Bugger, that't eleven.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,cranky yankee
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 04:15 AM

The word is, "REPRESENTIVE" Not representative. A representative is a person who represents something or someone.

See? I can be cranky.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 04:30 AM

Rick wrote "even if the original asker may have been scared off": no, I've just been disconnected for a couple of days. GUEST asked me "WHY do you ask?": I've been unable to find any useful introductory articles about English folk on the Internet, so I thought it might be a good idea to ask you lot (and it was).

Meanwhile I've been listening to "Folk Songs" by Alfred Deller on Harmonia Mundi, which is all I've got to hand at the moment. I guess Deller's style is best defined as an early attempt to recreate the vocal music of the Elizebethan court? It's certainly not a popular folk style. But it's got some very beautiful songs, including Barbara Allen, Lord Randall (Scots origin?) and She Passed Through the Fair (Irish origin?). It also has a song with a tune very like Monty Python's "I'm a Lumberjack", I'm sorry I can't remember what it's called.

I shall print out this thread and study it conscientiously: very many thanks! And I'll certainly try to find Searching for Lambs, which seems to be just about everybody's favourite!

Ben


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Jody Gibson
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 04:44 AM

Maggy May
It's the Same The Whole World Over
Old Jimmy Bean
My Old Man's a Dustman
Knees Up Mother Brown
Any Old Iron

Unless you are looking for "Arty" songs, These are representive of the English Folk Songs that TODAY'S English population (not just we "folkies") are singing.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,(Ben again)
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 04:46 AM

Hi cranky... The claimed word "representive" is not listed in either OED or Merriam-Webster. Of course, dictionaries aren't 100% definitive, but if you dispute them the burden of proof is on you, no? Ben


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 07:14 AM

This word "represntive" may exist in some ex-colonial dialect of the English language( the name "Crankee Yankee" suggests some such origin): but this thread is about English folk-songs, and I am perfectly certain(backed up by my Oxford English Dictionary) that there ain't no such word in English English. "Representative" conveys exactly the meaning we need here. Perhaps Crankee Yankee is an example of rhyming slang?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 01:31 PM

What about
The Keeper
Martin Said to His Man
Sheperd on the Downs (the Copper one, not sure if that is the right title}
53 Vincent Black Lighning (What do you mean it's not traditional, it is representative of the genre)
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 01:45 PM

Fifty two... "They don't have a soul, like a Vincent Fifty Two..."

And in the same category would be "Julian of Norwich"...

ttr


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 07:07 PM

Couldn't possible pare my choices down to ten, but Ben, if you're looking for introductory material you might do worse than have a look at Musical Traditions. It's a treasure trove of (mainly) English traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:33 AM

It's all good!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:47 AM

Anyone mentioned "Polly On The Shore"?
I have now.
JB


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 01:06 PM

In no particular order:
The Blackmsith.
Dance to Thee Daddy (When the Boat Comes in)/John Peel.
Johnny has Gone for a Soldier.
Over the Hills.
John Barleycorn.
The Lark in the Morning.
The Foggy Dew.
The Recruited Collier.
Barbarah Allen.
Elfin Knight.

Of course, these list are way too short and could change according to whim.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 02:03 PM

Here's my top ten representative English folksongs (not necessarily my favourites but ones that encapsulate the English tradition)

Banks of Sweet Primroses
Buttercup Joe
The Outlandish Knight
Barley Mow
All Jolly Fellows that follow the plough
Green Bushes
Nutting Girl
The Blacksmith
A Sailor coming home one night (Died for Love)
Seeds of Love

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 02:05 PM

Is John Barleycorn an English song? It is in my works of Burns. Lord Randall is also ,I think an old Scottish song.

Fathom the bowl, Sorrows Away, Byker Hill, just some of my favourites that I haven't seen mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 02:30 PM

Well, let me add

The Barkshire Tragedy
The Derby Tup (Ram)
Turmut Hoeing
On Ilkley Moore
Jan's Courtship
Old Farmer Buck
Johnny, My Jinjalo
I'm Seventeen Cum Sunday
Jack (Sam) Hall
The Eddystone Light


A few of these may have already been mentioned; if so, my apologies.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 03:03 PM

Representative of a crap night in boring folk club. thank god its a while since I've been in one that bad.

pretentious toi?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 03:08 PM

I think, weelittledrummer, that you're missing the point of the thread and also the point of what English folk music is all about.

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 03:32 PM

10 from Northumbria:

1. Fareweel to Regality
2. Blow the Wind Southerly
3. De ye ken Elsie Marley, hinny?
4. Waters of Tyne
5. Scarborough Fair
6. Byker Hill
7. Sunderland Lasses
8. The Chep that Knaas Nowt
9. Cushie Butterfield
10.The Shoemakker

so many songs ... so little broon ale ...


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Surreysinger
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 04:02 PM

Hmm ... thought I might throw my two-happorth in.

Died for Love (preferably the version collected from Joseph Taylor by Lucy Broadwood and Percy Grainger in 1906 - great tune)

The Unquiet grave (got to have a revenant ballad of some sort)

Searching for Lambs (CJS thought it the most beautiful song - who could disagree?)

The Bonny Bunch of Roses

The Lover's Ghost or the Grey Cock (from Cecilia Costello - apart from the fact that I love the song, the words "the burning Thames I have to cross" always gets me intrigued - strong words which imprint themselves on the brain, but what were they originally before the folk process got involved ?)

The Seeds of Love (but not Mr England's version ... don't like the tune)

Bruton Town (a great example of a big murder ballad, with a story traceable back to at least Boccaccio. I remember having to study Keats' "Isabella or the Pot of Basil" at school - same story!)

All Things are Quite Silent (probably because it was one of the first folk songs I came across while around 9 years old, and because it reflects a historical practice, pressganging, which no longer existed when Vaughan Williams collected it - folk song as social history)

I give up - two more to go, and there so many that I'm fond of!! I'll stop there.

Incidentally, looking at some of the postings it's quite clear that some people's choices reflect where they come from! In my case it probably reflects the fact that I don't like chorus songs, and LOVE songs that are miserable or blood-thirsty!!

Just thought of one more - definitely need to have a broken token song, so how about Claudy Banks (I think it's already been mentioned, hasn't it?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 04:40 AM

no. English folk music is a living breathing developing artform - not a gang of necrophiles trying to strike up a relationship like the bloke in the unquiet grave.

Anyway its a daft question. How would that work out if it were applied to any other artform?

Ten English novels. what would they be representative of. dickens represented himself, so did Charlotte Bronte, so did Evelyn waugh.

leaves out a lot , doesn't it.

ten English paintings gainsboro, stanley Spencer, john piper, ls lowry

I mean its all nonsense isn't it? what could it all represent. and anyway. What about the guys who have given folk music such a kick up the arse these last few years. How to assess their relative importance. Many have devoted their entire lives to folk music.

Lets face it for the last two thousand years - nobody has thought it was important at all - and then in the last hundred years we've had Cecil sharp, ewan Mac Coll.....one or two others

I doubt if it would make sense to do it for a single area of England - let alone England as a whole

anyway that's what I think

all the best

big al


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: John C.
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 01:42 PM

Why not just pick your 10 favourite songs from the Penguin Book (recently repub. 'Classic English Folk Songs', of course). In my opinion the best anthology and showcase of English song ever.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 03:09 PM

WLD - you have missed the defintion of folk music.

Almost all the other contributors to this thread understand it.

Would you put Nottamun town on your liest of the best ten Death metal anthems?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Surreysinger
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 06:12 PM

John C - if I hadn't seen anything other than the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (or Classic Folk Songs as it now is) I might agree with your suggestion. Yes it is a classic collection, and now with additional information about the singers who sang the songs, and the verses that Vaughan Williams and Lloyd left out or tinkered with - maybe guest Ben should consider getting a copy to start himself off with. I've owned most editions of it,adn return to it frequently, but then I moved outside it's contents and found versions that I prefer/ other types of song which it does not touch. After all, it was in itself a selection suggested by only two individuals.

Frankly I don't think you CAN make a list of only 10 best songs - everybody's taste differs, as does their experience of folk songs. The regional difference in types of song sung in clubs is quite marked even on a local basis for starters. However, it's certainly fun trying, and seeing what others suggest.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 07:12 PM

Strangely enough Nottanum Town is one song i did ask Ewan macColl about. What did it mean, and he was very patient with me and explained it was all about riual and magic and he advised me to look at The Hunchback of Notre Dame to get a flavour of the festival of all fools.

Is it a folk song, when only learned men can conjecture at the meaning.

or is it a folk song when Bob Dylan writes a variant that scares the shit out of your parents, makes you proud to be young in a world of bloody old warmongers, takes a part in igniting the resistance to the Vietnam War. I believe there were some heavy metal versions.

which is the folk song? Which involves folk, and which involves dessicated old farts saying shush! when somebody wonders when its going to end, and the performer saying oh dear me I've forgotten the words, because nobody really knows the meaning - so no wonder somebody's forgotten them.

Which is the living art form?

i've an idea, which your answer will be. But I was listening just recently to one of our most talented young singers having a bash at Sheaf and Knife. He was doing cos it was worthy thing to do - every serious actor wants to have a go at the Hamlet soliloquy. I really didn't feel he had any purchase on the characters in the story, or that quite frankly that it fitted into a modern young mans mouth.

I think a lot of creative energy is being wasted on stuff that is quite resistant to being brought back to life. If there are eternal truths in these songs they are frequently very well hidden.

And I think I know enough about folk music through both my reading and listening in folk clubs for forty years and performing for over thirty years to be allowed an opinion as to what constitutes folk music - even if if it doesn't conform to everybody elses.

as for the bloke who wants ten reprensentative folksongs. why can't he stretch a point, and listen to eleven. Who knows perhaps the eleventh will give him an idea of the vain nature of his quest.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 12:26 PM

WeeLittleDrummer:

"Why ten songs? Why not eleven?"

Because the questioner was throwing a ball out onto the field, knowing that (this being Mudcat, after all) many people wouldn't stop at ten.

Also, if a submitter gave (as an extreme example) 100 songs instead of ten, not only would the thread become unreadable because of the great mass of suggestions, but even that 100-songs-submitter's post would tend to make a reader's eyes glaze over.

But also, having SOME limitation implies an effort to find (in this case) a limited set that is still representative. (And note that the question was "representative", not "good" or "best".) Given that there will be/have been many submitters, each with varying candidates, the body of suggestions can be expected to give a good survey of the field.

And to deal with your question of (in effect) why only these old, hackneyed songs instead of more current songs, I right away think of two answers:
1. Because the initial poster wasn't at the moment interested, for the purpose of this question, in the current songs that you might prefer; and
2. The field you'd prefer to discuss does not and cannot have the breadth and depth of the body of what I might call old-tradition folk songs, even though it may contain a lot of good songs.

If you'd like a similar survey of what's happening in the current "folk" scene, you are entirely free to start a thread asking that question. And it may well be an intensely interesting thread, but that's not this thread.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Lutz Eikelmann, Germany
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 01:52 AM

I suggest "Gypsy Davy" from the 14th Century, but it is still played today!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: John P
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 09:27 AM

Off the top of my head:

Black Jack Davy
The Hangman
John Barleycorn
Little Musgrave
Geordie
The Three Ravens
The Two Sisters
The Outlandish Knight
Billy Boy
Barbara Allen


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 11:48 AM

And off the top of my head...

Rosemary Lane
The Trees They Do Grow High
Reynardine
As Sylvie Was Walking
Lord Franklyn
Geordie (or Georgie)
Pretty Saro
Scarborough Fair
The False Bride
Willie O' Winsbury

Pete


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: John C.
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 12:01 PM

Weelittledrummer, what is your problem? Why do you continue going to folk clubs if you hate the old songs so much? If I understand you correctly, your definition of folk song is different from everyone elses - so why not call it something else and start your own club?
You also seem to be suggesting that a person can only appreciate/sing songs which are relevant to his/her own time and place (I seem to remember that when Ewan MacColl suggested that people only sing songs from their own backgound he was damned for all eternity!).
Actually, I like lots of music which is not from my own milieu - I wasn't brought up in Mitteleuropa in the Eighteenth century but I like Mozart; I didn't experience New York in the 1920's but I'm fond of Gershwin; I wasn't a black slave or labourer in the Deep South of America but I appreciate Blues and I wasn't an exile from Anatolia in Piraeus but I love Rembetica etc., etc. But my first love is English traditional song and I have friends who share my passion - and if that offends you WLD, tough!
Actually, I have spent the last 30 years in Manchester which has produced loads of very fashionable popular music in the last few decades - frankly none of this stuff is to my taste and it doesn't speak to me or move me like English trad. song does. I'm sure you don't approve of that WLD - but again, tough, and please feel free to call me all the names you like.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: John C.
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 12:36 PM

I noiced earlier in this thread a query from Mary Humphreys about the 'Recruited Collier'. Well, Mary, an interesting (free) article has recently appeared on the Web called 'A.L.Lloyd and Reynardine: authenticity and authorship in the afterlife of a British broadside ballad' Folklore, Dec 2004, by Stephen D. Winick. This an interesting article about Bert and his methods and sources and includes some info. about 'The Recruited Collier'(which, sure enough, is not what we thought it was - oh dear!).
If I knew how to do it, I would provide you with a link - but just put 'Reynardine' into Google and it's easy to find from there.

Happy Reading!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 06:22 PM

I still sing Nottamun Town. I learned it from my late wife, who may very well have learned it from MacColl - but if MacColl wanted people to sing songs of their own traditions, why did he not stick to Sheffield songs - or his real name or birthplace? I hate to say of of a good socialist, but the man was a fraud through and through.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 07:27 PM

I suppose there's something to be said for the idea that a person can only appreciate/sing songs which are relevant to his/her own time and place, and I must say I keep finding relevance in traditional songs - many have been honed over the years to embody timeless human conditions, in whatever guise. Also, I like songs whose words aren't either drowned out by the music or are mercilessly moronic - something I find lacking in a lot of 'modern' rock or pop music. But that's a matter of personal taste, of course.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 10:34 PM

John C might note that Mary's enquiry was made in 2003, and that I provided a link to a current discussion here which dealt in some detail with The Recruited Collier, and which includes a reference to more extensive analysis.

This is an old thread recently revived. I hadn't realised that Stephen's paper from the most recent edition of Folklore could be seen online. On the subject of Rinordine/Reynardine (not an English song) see various past threads on the subject, to some of which Stephen has contributed under his mudcat alias.

As for MacColl; he probably was talking nonsense when it came to Nottamun Town, but it was fashionable to read arcane and "pagan" meanings into all sorts of things in those days.

Why would Ewan need to be singing Sheffield songs in order not to be hypocritical? He never lived here. (Yes, I know about the much-quoted, and usually misunderstood, "policy". It didn't last long, though resentment over it clearly has; he was inclined to be tactless, by all accounts. There was a good reason for it at the time, but that, too, has been discussed elsewhere and needn't be gone over yet again).


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Bert
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 01:14 AM

Cornish Nightingale
A-Roving
The Mermaid
Widdicombe Fair
Lincolnshire Poacher
Willikins and Dinah
The Keeper
London's Burning
Pop Goes the Weasel
Three men went a hunting


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 05:42 AM

Sorry: not Sheffield. Salford.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 05:47 AM

PS. I think 25 miles is close enough!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 05:54 AM

It's a bloody long and hilly 25 miles though Richard!!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,PC Copper
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 11:13 AM

'Hard Times of Old England'?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM

Suzanne said (and others referred to the same idea):

I suppose there's something to be said for the idea that a person can only appreciate/sing songs which are relevant to his/her own time and place,


Ahh, but what does "relevant" mean?

Folksongs (almost all of them, if not all) relate to human nature and experience, and that is always relevant to all of us.

Sure, a Tibetan folksong, say, or a Hottentot song, sung in its original language, is not likely to be something that I as a singer or my kind of audiences find relevant.

But a folksong which has it's "home" in English, whether from Britain, Ireland, Oz, NZ, Canada, or the USA, and which hits MY imagination enough to want to sing it, is relevant, to my mind. And nobody has any business criticizing my decision to sing it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 12:02 PM

I suppose there's something to be said for the idea that a person can only appreciate/sing songs which are relevant to his/her own time and place,

If we take this to mean that most people will find it easier to appreciate songs that relate to their experinces, than those that do not, then the above statement is hard to argue with.

Yes, for most of us now getting conscripted/dying in childbirth/insert typical folk song event is fairly rare, but other common themes, such as broken hearts are not.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 07:58 PM

MacColl and his colleagues were reacting against people singing songs from traditions which were entirely foreign to them, and of which they had no understanding. In those days it was fashionable to sing African and Jewish songs, for instance; most of the people who did that belonged to neither culture and had simply learned words in a foreign language parrot-fashion. They didn't like having their little "aren't I cool" bubble punctured.

Admittedly, Ewan was inclined to be tactless, and at times the rule (which only lasted a short while) was taken too far and many feelings were hurt. Nevertheless, the principle, however mis-represented today, was soundly based. I'm afraid that we are still plagued with people who want "phonetic" transcriptions of Gaelic songs so that they can pretend to sing them without having to bother to learn even the most basic rules of the language; and with "Socialist Choirs" who trot out African songs without the smallest understanding of language or context.

Fashion victims; and, what is worse, cultural imperialists: exactly the people they affect to despise. Say that sort of thing here, and you'll get some really quite venomous reactions from people who want instant gratification ("You can't tell me what to do! You're a folk nazi!") but who are too lazy to make the effort to learn even the basics of somebody else's culture before cherry-picking from it.

Serious thread-creep here, of course.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: red max
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 05:28 AM

It did seem to be a well intentioned rule. Last St George's Day my local club ran an English-themed night, and some of the regulars were clearly nonplussed by the prospect of singing something from their own country


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,sj
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 12:45 PM

Hi
A friend of my dad's died recently, and his family who he didn't have much contact with, asked us about the kind of music he likes, re plans for the funeral. My dad knows he liked folk music but has never had an interest in it himself. The guy didn't have a selection of CDs to give us clues, and din't get out to a Folk Club regularly. Any suggestions of English folk music appropriate for a funeral would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Sue the Borderer
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 07:35 PM

Hi sj

That's a really hard question to answer without knowing anything about your dad's friend. It set me looking through mudcat threads about funerals. You might like to try some, though you could end up confused since everyone has different views (like they do on this thread)
If you search for 'RE: Memorial Service Threads?' you'll find that the second posting on it has a list of other threads, such as 'What song do you want sung at your funeral'. (Sorry, I can't manage the blue clickies)

There's a huge mixture of stuff - and you probably won't feel any the wiser! It might help if you tell us a bit about what your dad's friend enjoyed doing. Did he have any hobbies/interests?
For instance, if he was a walker then Ewan MacColl's 'Joy of Living' which starts off 'Farewell you northern hills' could be appropriate.
If he liked the sea/sailing then 'the Farewell Shanty' or 'Leave her Johnny leave Her'
More serious or religious? 'Only Remembered' or 'What's the life of a Man'
Just instrumental? 'Ashokan Farewell'
Me, for my funeral I would like 'When All Men Sing' by Keith Scowcroft and Derek Gifford.
Some (but by no means all) of the 'English Folk Songs in this thread could be suitable, depending on the tone that the family want to set. (eg sombre or upbeat)

If you can give us some guidance, it would help. 'Folk' covers such a huge range of stuff! Is there anyone you can ask about what kind of folk music he listened to? Even one CD would give us a clue!

I imagine time is fairly short, but it would be good if whatever was played in his memory and to celebrate his life was 'right for him'. Do post again if you're still stuck - and do let us know what is chosen.

I hope you and you're dad find what you're after


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 08:55 PM

No one's mentioned sheep's crook and black dog yet. It is English trad isn't it? Also, not songs, but if you're interested in english folk you ought to have at least a brief look at some morris tunes etc.

Also I'd be tempted to add things like crazy man michael, however new they are, because they've become such an important part of the folk scene these days. Some of the more common cross-pollinations from ireland, scotland etc wouldn't go amiss either. Oh! and flondike shore I think it's called. Bloody good song. Where's Henry Martin from? And something dodgy like the cuckoo's nest. The whirly whorl is good too.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 11:04 AM

Depends what sort of friends the deceased had. the important thing is not to upset the living any more than possible. No use singing ain't it grand to be bloody well dead if they're a gang of miserable sods.
If the dead chap had a profession, there are lots of songs about jobs.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 11:32 AM

"No-one stands Alone" by Blue Murder worked well for a mate of mine.

My friend Jacky - wants "Hit the Road Jack". Depends on your sense of humour I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Sue the Borderer
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 05:58 PM

Another thought, sj, was that whatever song you choose, you need to be able to get hold of a cd with it on very quickly. Is there a local folk club? Have you - or your dad - approached them for any ideas? They might even lend you the CD.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 03:38 PM

I had forgotten this thread until it was revived. What a wonderful range of English roots music listed: my roots.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Schantieman
Date: 01 Feb 07 - 03:16 PM

What's the Life of a Man?
Blessed Quietness


S


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,irishenglish
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 12:24 PM

In no particular order:
1.Banks Of The Sweet Primeroses
2.Claudy Banks
3.John Barleycorn
4.Seven Yellow Gypsies
5.Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard (Or Matty Groves, etc, whichever)
6.The Trees Do Grow High
7.Brigg Fair
8.Here We Come A-Wassailing
9.William Taylor
10.The Happy Man

My two cents: representative to me has to include a sustainability. If every major English folk musician has performed, or wanted to perform these songs at some point, there is a reason. Yes, the tradition goes deep, but there is a reason these songs are performed again and again. Mind you, there are sometimes better, darker, creepier, funnier, or make you lust for a pint songs than these songs, but they haven't stood the test of time (or been transcribed in books more!). To me as well, the songs have to "smell" English. Take tunes for example. When I listen to the tunes that someone like, Brass Monkey arranged, I am instantly transported to England, same as when I hear bluegrass I'm in Kentucky, or an Irish tune, in a pub in my dear Donegal! Banks Of The Sweet Primeroses, or The Happy Man, etc, just transport me, and for that reason, that is why they are here. Cheers,


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST, Mikefule
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 02:27 PM

Even today, most English people only think of themselves as English when they are comparing themselves to people who are not English. Within England itself, I think most of us notice the differences more than the similarities.

Cornwall has its own flag which is flown all over the county, and features in anti-English grafitti. The flag of Devon is starting to be flown by individual citizens and businesses in Devon. We have Geordies, and Scousers, and Londoners, and so on. And don't foget the Yorkshiremen (try as you might...) who themselves think of themselves as being from one of the three ridings, or the various individual cities and towns. People think of themselves as "northerners" because they look down on southerners; and vice versa.

So what is an English folk song? Even if we agree on a definition of "folk", and "song" we must still struggle with "English".

It is no coincidence that so many of the songs suggested in this thread have place names, Brigg, Byker Hill, Cornish, London, Scarborough, Widecombe, Winsbury...

And choosing one of each sort (broken token, night visiting, shanty, hunting...) is artificial, because these categories are recent inventions, overlaying an earlier tradition.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 02:57 PM

1 April Morning.
2 Claudy Banks
3,JustastheTideisFlowing
4 The Bold Fisherman
5 GameofallFours
6 Bushes and Briars
7LovelyJoan
8Streams of Lovely Nancy
9DevonshireFarmersDaughter
10ThoughI live Not Where I love.
Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 03:06 PM

Dick, we must get pissed together sometime - if either of us sing any of that lot - they're paying for the drinks!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:27 PM

Interesting to see this old thread revived and rerevived. A quick glance back suggests "Searching for Lambs" is the "winner" with most nominations. Well, by me and Eliza Carthy anyway.I have not the time or nerdiness, but it would be interesting to see them all actually counted and arranged in order.Wee Little Drummer is the most intriguing poster, everyone else likes English folksongs and he appears to hate them because they are not relevant to something or other, not sure exactly what they are not relevant to. Very odd. AS someone who has just finished working on a project with young black rappers looking at some old folksongs, I assure you the most unlikely songs can be "relevant", check'em out. Safe.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:59 PM

ah that's me, a man of intrigue.....

trad music is all right. you just don't meet many people who can actually do it in a less than boring manner. When you do meet someone with a dash of creativity in their soul - its actually bloody surprising.

you could say the same thing about contemporary stuff - true enough, but our ears are more attuned to modern language use. Its easier to be rubbish at doing Just as the Tide was flowing than it is at say Tom Paxton. I know - I've been rubbish at both in my time.

Recently I saw John Rigby and his version of Polly on the shore (accompanied by a harmonium) really stopped me in my tracks - he was that good. But I don't expect to see stuff like that every week.

i think with trad - its a case of many are called, but few are chosen - whereas anybody can have a half decent go at a beatles song. If you forget the words the audience can help you out.

there are no lifelines out there for the trad singer. he's on his own.

And that isolation, in turn should tell you something. If its that good Greg, why do you need to tell rappers about it - why isn't it part of everyday life. I think if we are honest - a lot of isn't that good - as performance material - it belongs in a museum.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 02:01 PM

Benjamin Zepheniah's dub poetry version of Tam Lyn on the new Imagined Village CD is a good example of that, Greg.

Peace out.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Crazy_Man_Michael
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 02:46 PM

Maria Marten.

I have in mind the Shirley Collins and The Albion Country Band version, which ends with the recording of a horse and cart rolling over a stone of gravel road..indicating the murderers last ride...very creepy indeed


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 05:42 PM

It is that good, but I had to share it with the rappers, they didn't know about it. Their rapping was that good too, but they had to share that with me too. None of us know everything, we know a bit, we can try to find out the rest.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 08:05 PM

And, yeah, like, rappers are really into Tom Paxton.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 02:32 AM

Oh Snail, how sweet! Someone who implies that there should be mutual respect - from traditionalistas (the provisional wing of the traditional folksong movement reckon anybody who wasn't born following the plough and harpooning whales hasn't got much to tell us about anything - certaily shouldn't be allowed to call themselves traditional singers!) to the contemporary school of folk music.

Know ye not that Tom Paxton and his ilk are snigger snogger whining navel contemplating self indulgent bores - a minus quantity on the great account ledger of the tradition.

That's why its okay for Jack Hudson (the neatest guitar picker, most awesome voice, who has lived his life for the folk club scene) to be entering his his 7th decade and be completely unbooked at any major festivals in his native midlands and his songs remain unplayed on even the local radio.

Actually theres no room for Jack, all the platforms that his seniority should entitle him to, are taken up by young whippersnappers who've just learned how spell DADGAD.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Roberto
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 03:19 AM

My team, complete with reserves:
1.        Australia
2.        Banks of the Nile
3.        The Blacksmith / Our Captain Calls
4.        Barbara Allen
5.        Farewell Charming Nancy (Farewell Nancy)
6.        Geordie
7.        The Gypsy Laddie (English versions)
8.        John Barleycorn
9.        The Jolly Waggonner
10.        Off to Sea Once More
11.        Polly on the Shore (The Valiant Sailor)
12.        Rambleaway
13.        Ratcliffe Highway
14.        Robin Hood and the Pedlar
15.        Seventeen Come Sunday (As I Roved Out)
16.        Spanish Ladies
17.        The Trees They Do Grow High
18.        The Unfortunate Rake
19.        The Unquiet Grave
20.        Ye Mar'ners All


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Roberto
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 03:28 AM

I had left out Henry Martyn and the Outlandish Knight (and many others I'd like to include):
1.        Australia
2.        Banks of the Nile
3.        The Blacksmith / Our Captain Calls
4.        Barbara Allen
5.        Farewell Charming Nancy (Farewell Nancy)
6.        The Gypsy Laddie (English versions)
7.        Henry Martyn
8.        John Barleycorn
9.        The Jolly Waggonner
10.        Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight (Outllandish Knight)
11.        Off to Sea Once More
12.        Polly on the Shore (The Valiant Sailor)
13.        Rambleaway
14.        Robin Hood and the Pedlar
15.        Seventeen Come Sunday (As I Roved Out)
16.        Spanish Ladies
17.        The Trees They Do Grow High
18.        The Unfortunate Rake
19.        The Unquiet Grave
20.        Ye Mar'ners All


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Marje
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 05:02 AM

I've enjoyed this thread, and am appreciating being reminded of the immense richness and variety of English song.

WLD, I take your point that traditional songs are often done badly, but I've also heard Tom Paxton etc done badly. Maybe the difference is that some singers seem to think that doing a traditional song badly is somehow authentic and that makes it OK. I know you understand as well as I do how wrong they are.

It doesn't mean that Just as the Tide was Flowing is a worse song, simply that it isn't as easy to make a good job of as many people think. We could all sit around singing Yellow Submarine and it would sound OK, but the lowest-common-denominator songs aren't the best, even if they are the easiest.

Why should we dumb down our traditional songs? It may require a bit of commitment and work to learn to sing them well, but that's because many of them are wonderful songs.

If I had the chance to hear, say, Dick's list of ten songs all performed well at a local club or concert, I'd think myself lucky.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 07:50 AM

No offense weelittledrummer, but after what you just wrote, what are you doing on here? Freedom of speech, of course, but traditional music does not belong as a museum piece, that's exactly where it was going in some places in the 50's, thank God it didn't succeed! And I can take that approach without even including the folk rock approach, which made it more palatable for some. You appreciate someone sloshing their way through a Beatles song more than a 15 year old singing The Elfin Knight that they learned from a Kate Rusby record? Well, fine if thats what you want, but I want to listen to that 15 year old, ask them why the song is interesting to them, ask them how they heard traditional music the first time, and what are you going to sing next! Just because you don't like apparantly most traditional singers out there personally, don't condemn a tradition that is still surviving thank you very much by people born after the internets invention, much less the plough and harpoon. Honestly! Maybe we should all follow your lead, and only listen to the singers that you feel are good traditional singers, because everyone else clearly is crap. Of course, there will be no new singers afterwards, because they will all be crap by your definition, and then of course 50 years down the line they will all be dead, and you can personally install the music in the museum yourself. You know what, I'm neither a traditionalist, or a contemporary folk fan-I LIKE IT ALL, because it is perpetuating this wonderful music. I'm sorry, being good natured aside, your points just don't seem to add up. You like what you like, and I can respect that, but don't tell people on this site that their opinions are sillier than yours. I guess field recordings such as the Voice of The People series are pointless to you, because lord knows, some of those people can't sing. Maybe Fred Jordan, Sam Larner, Harry Cox and Joseph Taylor should have formed a group together to compete with The Beatles.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 10:02 AM

weelittledrummer

Oh Snail, how sweet!

Didn't understand a word of that.

You imply that because rappers need to be told about traditonal music it can't count for much. My point was that they probably don't know much about Tom Paxton either (just not their territory) so the same should apply to him. Are they that keen on Jack Hudson either?

Just had a listen to him on Woven Wheat Whispers. If he comes from the Midlands, why does he sing with an American accent?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM

WLD. Thank you for actauallyingwhat you like at last, instead of perpetually attacking folk song: a strange preoccupation on a folk forum.I will go forthwith and have a listen to Jack Hudson. You seem to think it proves a point that on the rapper project had to sing old songs to rappers,and they had to rap to us. Well,of course that's how it was, and good fun too. I've never heard of Jack Hudson either, but now I have. Isn't telling me that, and me acting on the information, a bit more sensible than bad-tempered continuous sniping at those who sing trad songs?


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: stallion
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:25 AM

got to get off Nelson


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Mr. Norrell
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:19 PM

:Maybe Fred Jordan, Sam Larner, Harry Cox and Joseph Taylor should have formed a group together to compete with The Beatles:

well there was this folk "supergroup"


Bob Hart, Percy Webb, Ernest Austin, Flash Company. Topic 12 TS 243. Stereo/Mono. Notes by Mike Yates. London, Topic Records Ltd., 1974


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Thanks Mr Norell
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:25 PM


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,irishenglish
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:34 PM

Oops, something happened to my post, so I'll retype it. Thanks for that, I love Bob Hart! One of my absolute favorites as well is Johnny Doughty. But that would be a great album in my book!
Cheers, Thanks Mr Norell!


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Mr. Norrell
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:44 PM

Musical Traditions Records has a 2CD set by Bob Hart, called A Broadside
reviews and such can be found here


Bob Hart: A Broadside


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 07:21 AM

Well, kids, here is my penny-ha'porth :

Searching for Lambs ; (was it Tony Rose's version which was accompanied on the bowed psaltery ?)

Banks of the Sweet Primeroses (Martin Carthy's version, for preference) :


Grasmere Hunt Song ;

John Barleycorn (any version you like !)

Bedfordshire May Day Carol ;

Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor ;

Cherry Tree Carol ;

All Bound to Go (Heave away, my Johnnie - preferably, Louis Killen's version) ;

Plains of Waterloo ;

Fhir a Bhata - well, fuck me, that one is Scottish.

This is an observation about Ewan McColl, and not a 'pop', before the Fan Club takes the steel to the gelding knife. It follows from the previous posting as to Ewan's take on a song having magickal overtones.

I seem to remember that Ewan and Peggy sang a song to the tune used later by Martin Carthy for 'Prince Heathen', the chorus, as well as I can remember went something like

Leeze to me and thou and a'
And Madam, will ye do ?
The seal of me is abrickee
Fair Maiden, and for you.

which Ewan said (MSG, Manchester, late 1960s or early 1970s) was

a breakdown of a Druidic chant.

Now, has anyone any idea on this ? Perhaps you, Jim Carroll, as one who was close to Ewan and Peggy ?

Mind you, there was more bollocks than enough talked about magick in song, in those days, and as Witch and Templar, I should know.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 07:26 AM

Bryn Pugh: yes Tony Rose definitely used bowed psaltery to good effect on Searching for Lambs.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: the button
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 08:04 AM

Military transvestism: Little drummer girl (Lal & Norma W)

Military derring-do: Brave Wolfe (The Watersons)

Booze: Good ale (version on "Come write me down")

Tragedy & death: Lizzie Wan (Dave Burland)(might be Scots, but what the hey?)

Ritual: Pace-egging song (the version off that old Lancashire compilation that I've only got on vinyl & haven't heard for years)

Religious: Shepherds arise (Young Tradition)

Hard-luck stories: Christ, where to start with this one? Unfortunate lass (version on "A true hearted girl")

Humour: Wensleydale Lad (Mike Waterson)

Foxhunting: Reynard the Fox (Martin Carthy)

Not a folk song but should be: Big steamers (Peter Bellamy)

English culture & society in a nutshell.

*emigrates*


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: oggie
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 12:26 PM

Two points that interest me in this thread. One is the lack of industrial folksong, most nominations seem to come from the "rural idyll" end of the spectrum. Second, is that the word "traditional" seems to have been inserted by default into the lists.

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Marje
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 01:03 PM

Oggie - the original poster asked for nominations for specifically English folk songs, and also (ideally) pre-20th century. To many people, an English folk song is a traditional one, and if you're going to exclude modern compositions, most of the "folk" that's left and worth considering is traditional.

You're right that there don't seem to be many industrial songs. I'd say this is probably because on the whole the songs of industry, however worthy their sentiments, aren't always as appealing to those not engaged in that specific occupation, whereas rural matters and settings tend to have a more general appeal.

But I'm happy to be proved worng on any of the above: can you (or anyone) suggest:
1) A pre-20th century English folk song that's not traditional, or
2) an industrial song
- it goes without saying that the songs have to be worth including.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Mr. Norrell
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 01:19 PM

To correct the lack of industrial folk song.....

The Iron Muse: a panorama of industrial folk music
Topic Records 12T86 1963. My vinyl copy of this is very well worn.

and this as well maybe of interest.
The Bold Navigators: the story of England's canals in song
issuded in 1975 on Tradition Records. re-issued in 1993 on Fellside Records


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,Mr. Norrell
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 01:31 PM

:The claimed word "representive" is not listed in either OED or Merriam-Webster:

I checked several other online dictionaries and I got the same reply "no such word in this dictionary"
checked my hard copy OED...it isn't there either....


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: Jonathan Strange
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 01:37 PM

I think you'll find it comes immediately after the word 'rat' Mr. Norrell


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 02:10 PM

Richard Bridge said:

Cowdenowes (Yorkshire, not Scotland!!)

I must admit, I've never heard of a Cowdenowes in Yorkshire. The only one I know is in the Scottish Borders, hence The Broom of Cowdenowes. Could still be classed as an English song though as the lassie singing it has been taken away from her homeland (presumably to England): 'Fain would I be in my ain country, to milk my daddy's ewes'.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: the button
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 10:12 PM

Clearly "Cowdenowes" is a corruption of "Howden now." And Howden's definitely in Yorkshire. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 06:35 AM

Re the Bold Navigators and industrial songs.The English canal world, as far as I know, has always been singularly lacking in traditional song about itself. Plenty of singers,step dancers, melodeons and fiddles to be sure on the boats, and plenty of people also wrote songs to celebrate the opening of certain canals, etc etc.But I don't think they ever caught on much with the boaties. Emma Vickers(Burscough, Lancs) had one "The Cruise of the Calibar", but I have a feeling that songs like that were the exceptions that proved the rule.I expect there always were a few songs coming on line, but they would be socially local, and ephemeral.
   I'd love to hear different, and be proved wrong. I'm a canal man myself, and would relish a few more old songs to sing. But the fact is, 99% of the songs about canals I hear at jovial boatie get-togethers are recent Ye Old Days stuff written by modern leisure or residential boaties, rather than passed on by the old working boaties.


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Subject: RE: Ten representative English folk songs?
From: oggie
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 04:13 PM

Industrial songs? Where to begin, Poverty Knock?(Pete Coe's arrangement using the minor chords is great), Rap te Bank? Four(Poor) Loom Weaver?

Pre 20th Century "Folksongs with known author". Off the top of my head most of Tommy Armstrong's output (1848-1919) so, for example "Oakey Strike Evictions"

All the best

Steve


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