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
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 New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs couldn't be better timed ... an utterly indispensable collection of music for murder, wooing and wanton abandon
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
A wonderful resource of knowledge and scholarship