Mudcat Café message #3369563 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #120890   Message #3369563
Posted By: GUEST
29-Jun-12 - 10:32 AM
Thread Name: New Penguin Book of English Folk Song
Subject: RE: New Penguin Book of English Folk Song
Got my copy last week and like Eliza it is me new bedside book, lovely for that mix of dipping, browsing and more serious study.

The quality of the scholarship is superb; good introduction, valuable notes on each song, the singer, the collector, and what is known about its past. For me the book properly contextualises the "core repertoire" with its earliest traceable versions mainly in the broadsides, exploding for ever any lingering romantic notions that this material was purely oral, untainted by popular culture in written formats and descended to us through some mythical rural idyll of happy singing farm labourers (or miserable ones come to that!).

It is DE-scriptive (Drawing on meticulous research) rather than PRE-scriptive, so i don't see it becoming the new rule-book on How It Should Be Sung. That would be silly and surely most of us are too intelligent to allow any one music collection (or expert) become the new dictator.

For me this book is a feast for the ears, the brain, and the musical soul and does not make any claims to be other than it is: a collection of the MOST collected songs, but with selections of versions that are less well known. It is going to be a near-endless treat to have around!