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The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs [Kindle Edition]

Steve Roud , Julia Bishop
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Refreshing ... beautiful ... academic but lively ... the book offers the experience of immersion into the strange, romantic and occasionally frightening world these songs were, and are, a part of ... A triumphant addition to the English folk canon, both as a source of reference and as an endlessly enjoyable collection to dip into (The Times)

The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs couldn't be better timed ... an utterly indispensable collection of music for murder, wooing and wanton abandon (Record Collector)

Compelling ... fascinating and refreshingly objective ... Free of any cloying romanticism, [Roud and Bishop] are willing to point out the many quirks and flaws in the progress of the art form, and show how ideology, nationalism and class all played a part in forming our wide notions of folk today ... An impressive and nourishing book, with an appeal far beyond the folk aficionado. Roud and Bishop have created something vital (Telegraph)

A wonderful resource of knowledge and scholarship (Tim Cumming Independent)

Product Description

One of the Spectator's Books of the Year 2012

'Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies

Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain

For we've received orders for to sail for old England

But we hope in a short while to see you again'

One of the great English popular art forms, the folk song can be painful, satirical, erotic, dramatic, rueful or funny. They have thrived when sung on a whim to a handful of friends in a pub; they have bewitched generations of English composers who have set them for everything from solo violin to full orchestra; they are sung in concerts, festivals, weddings, funerals and with nobody to hear but the singer.

This magical new collection brings together all the classic folk songs as well as many lesser-known discoveries, complete with music and annotations on their original sources and meaning. Published in cooperation with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, it is a worthy successor to Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L.Lloyd's original Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

'Her keen eye did glitter like the bright stars by night

The robe she was wearing was costly and white

Her bare neck was shaded with her long raven hair

And they called her pretty Susan, the pride of Kildare'

In association with EFDSS, the English Folk Dance and Song Society

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4767 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00867V6S4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,986 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new selection for a new generation 20 Jun 2012
By Laura
This is not a reproduction of the earlier Penguin book of English folk songs edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd! This is a completely new selection of folk songs as chosen by the eminent writer and folklorist Steve Roud, and music scholar Julia Bishop.
The new selection was made by examining all major folk song collections and finding those songs which had been most widely collected around the country, thus producing a true representation of the voice of the people and the songs which stuck in their collective memory.
With extensive notes for each song, and extensive notes on the development of folk song and music in England, this is a must have book for any serious folk singer, folklorist, and academic.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
By A. J. Sturgess TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a superb book - beautifully produced, full of great songs (many that will be unfamiliar and not just all the usuals that appear in folksong collections).

Songs are gathered into categories and each section is preceded with interesting, well written notes about historical and social issues. The themes are -

Soldiers and sailors
Happy relationships
Unhappy love
Lovers' tricks, disguises and obstacles overcome
Lust, infidelity and bad living
Rural life and occupations
Animals and nonsense
Songs of death and destruction
Pochers, highwaymen and other criminals
Traditional religious songs

There is then a HUGE 130+ page section titled 'Notes to the songs' which provides individual historical and social information about the songs.

The book itself is immaculately produced with high-quality stitched and bound binding and a very unusual and beautiful printed cover. (No dust jacket). I have uploaded a few images which illustrate these points and also give an idea of how music appears in the book. (You can also use the 'Look Inside' feature to explore more for yourself.)

Music is printed in notation form for all songs. There is no guitar tab and there are no chord diagrams. Most songs are shown just as melody lines, but a few also suggest some form of ornamentation. This is very much a resource book, but as such it is superlative.

Two other resources I can recommend through experience that are well worth exploring are -

The Folk Handbook: Working with Songs from the English Tradition (English Folk Dance/Song Societ)

The wonderful website 'The Contemplator[...
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to Folk Song 11 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This fine hard back will stand comparison with many earlier collections. This intoduction and notes on the songs tell you a lot of what you should know about this tradition. The songs are taken from genuine country preformers, and the only possible problem is that they are sometimes a bit different from the ones already sung in folk clubs, which can cause some confusion. But no doubt the folk process will even that out eventually

Essential for any English folkie
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needle in a haystack! 20 Feb 2013
By david
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recently purchased this wonderful book and feel the need to share how satisfied and excited I am by it. It provides enough detail whilst being succinct. This book will aid me and many others in breathing new life in into Traditional English Folk Songs. Bravo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to any folk song lovers library 29 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A collectors item!
Some really good old folk songs that need to be sung- good layout of categories and a super selection backed up by an associated CD with good modern performers- a must have (for both)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new penguin book of english folk songs 12 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An absolutly fantastic book with an outstanding.

Full of some of the best, well known songs with all the relevant music and lyrics aswell as all the notes / history to join it.

A must have for anyone interested in folk music!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant revision 27 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a most enlightening book which casts new beams upon very old material - the folk songs of
England. I do remember being taught one in primary school in which the words of the chorus were
'O Rare Turpin Hero, O Rare Turpin O! - I didn't find that, but one in similar vein. If you have
any interest in our folk history then this book is not to be missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars insight into an English tradition 17 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an anthology that brought about modern music in England. It tells the story behind old traditional songs some that are well known and those to ne discovered.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs
Comprehensive and easy to follow.
Published 3 days ago by Stainer's fan
5.0 out of 5 stars All life is here - love, death
The daddy of them all. The folk music lovers bible.
All life is here - love, death, heroism, betrayal,
political struggle, war, sailors, soldiers, rogues, etc
For... Read more
Published 23 days ago by William Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and it arrived very quickly.
Published 2 months ago by JMJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new collection of old songs
Lots of meat in this collection. The book is well laid out and the notes comprehensive. Just as with the original Penguin Book of English Folksongs, of which I have worn out two of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by V. Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection.
Well overdue book. The new upsurge in interest for authentic folk songs is amply catered for in this collection. Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. Dunn
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Way to Keep Heritage Alive
Having played Folk music for a number of years I’m always interested to not only hear new songs but traditional epics that whilst I’m aware of a variation, lost something in not... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
2.0 out of 5 stars A review of the New Penguin book of English Folk Songs
I blame myself -I think-. I thought it would be a book of traditional folk songs and I recognised none of them. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Hettiel
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and interesting for fans
If you like English folksongs this is a must for you. One can always criticize omissions and yesterday after a discussion with a fellow folksong lover I found one: "High... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Richard Condon à Bruxelles
4.0 out of 5 stars Present for my son...
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my son. A lovely looking book, though fewer illustrations that I expected...
Published 9 months ago by Ms. C. Whiting
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Bought the hardback version as a gift for my partner. The production values of the book are very high and it is really interesting.
Published 11 months ago by Steve Mac
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