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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new selection for a new generation
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...
Published on 20 Jun 2012 by Laura

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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. The book was to be a present for my sister with whom I used to sing along. I shall still give it to her, better on her bookshelf than on mine. A disappointment.
Published 6 months ago by Hettiel


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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
This review is from: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning - but for the music you'll need to be able to read notation, 7 Aug 2012
By 
A. J. Sturgess "Alan Sturgess" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Hardcover)
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[...] which has a massive resource of song lyrics, music, links to other history-based websites and associated midifiles in sections such as -

Folk Music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales & America
Francis J. Child Ballads
Popular Songs in American History
Songs of the Sea
Turlough O'Carolan
Contemplations on Life
Taylor's Traditional Tunebook

If English folk music is a key interest for you (and why else would you be reading this?), I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending the Penguin Book of English Folksongs as well as the two resources shown above.

Enjoy.
Learn and enjoy.
Play and enjoy.
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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
By 
Mr. George R. Featherston (Redcar, Teesside) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (Hardcover)
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
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great new collection of old songs, 30 May 2014
By 
V. Lowe "Songsinger" (Gloucester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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 my three copies, I will be learning and singing songs from this volume for many years. It is also an excellent book for newcomers to folk song. The melodies lines are set out clearly, and the information is illuminating. These are songs for singing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection., 8 April 2014
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R. Dunn (England) - See all my reviews
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Well overdue book. The new upsurge in interest for authentic folk songs is amply catered for in this collection. This should be a valued addition to the bookshelves of anyone interested in English folk song.
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The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs
The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs by Julia Bishop (Hardcover - 7 Jun 2012)
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