The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs: The Times review
The New Penguin Book of
English Folk Songs
Edited by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop
Size: 153 x 234mm
Published by Penguin Classics in association with the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs will be available from June 7 (hardback and eBook). EFDSS will host a launch event at Cecil Sharp House on June 12. To book your free ticket, reserve it through EventBrite.
The Times's Literary Editor, Erica Wagner, reviewed the book on May 12 - see excerpt below.
An excellent companion volume to the Lloyd biography is the forthcoming New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, edited by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop. It is the follow-on volume to Ralph Vaughan Williams's and Bert Lloyd's Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, which was first published in 1959. But the new book is quite different, as the fascinating introduction details; their discussion of exactly what constitutes a folk song is intriguing. As Roud writes: “The definition of 'folk song' is fraught with difficulty and many researchers avoid the term altogether.” The music sounds simple, or can; the subject, however, is not.
So, don't trouble your pretty head about bloody Mumford & Sons. But the interesting thing about their kind of faux-folk is that it is missing the real stuff's critical quality: endurance. There are songs that I have been listening to for nearly 40 years — songs with titles such as The Cruel Mother, The Lark in The Morning, Lord Bateman — and I've not got to the bottom of them yet. If I'm lucky, I'll listen to them for another four decades and they'll still sound new.
Read the full article on The Times website