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The Sound of History: Songs and Social Comment [Paperback]

Roy Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

7 Nov 1996
An examination of popular songs and the social comment they make. On subjects as diverse as crime, pastimes, war and industry, the song has always been a vehicle for the expression of popular feeling. Many examples are provided and the book includes a discography and music for 40 of the songs.


Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New edition edition (7 Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712673164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712673167
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,844,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Roy Palmer was educated at Manchester University where he obtained B.A. and M.A. degrees. He taught for many years, the last eleven as head of a Birmingham comprehensive school, before taking early retirement. Involved from the 1960s in singing and seeking traditional songs, his collection of field recordings is now in the Recorded Sound Archive at the British Library. Since the 1970s he has published a number of anthologies of traditional songs and street ballads reflecting different aspects of social, military, maritime, industrial, agricultural and recreational history. In addition he has contributed articles to a variety of periodicals, including English Dance and Song and Folk Music Journal. He has written a number of entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He has also written a series of books, always with a chapter on song, dealing with the folklore of different counties, the most recent being The Folklore of the Black Country (2007). In 2004 he received an honorary M.A. from the Open University and was awarded a gold badge, its highest honour, by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. He is also a longstanding member of the Folklore Society, and for the last seven years has been chairman of the Friends of the Dymock Poets. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous 7 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
Roy Palmer takes us through the centuries and presents to us hundreds of folk songs which illustrate the life of ordinary people, and, to some extent, defens their interests. Highwaymen heroes, ballads supporting strikers, songs reflecting the (very harsh) condition of women, it makes for a fascinating hike, with a mug of crude red wine at the end of the day.

No doubt there is a certain idealization of "authentic" folk music, the "voice of the people"; but this is really just a counterbalance to official history where the people all too often even today are quite invisible, and only Great Men get their say.

So, the selection is no doubt impressionistic, the historical conclusions difficult to be sure of, but on the whole an exciting and fabulous contribution to our understanding of our ancestors' lives.
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