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At the heart of English folk

Folk Music Journal: Volume 9 Number 5

Volume 9 Number 5 (2010) contains the following pieces:



Rosemary Coupe  The Evolution of the 'Eightsome Reel'

The 'Eightsome Reel' is a fusion of opposites: the elegant quadrille with its French roots and the energetic reel native to Scotland. In the three-part structure of the 'Eightsome Reel', which evolved from the mid-1880s to the late 1890s, communal figures derived from the quadrille frame a long core section in which individual dancers display their prowess in reel steps of their choice. The community expressed by the dance was originally aristocratic, as the dance first appeared on the programmes of the exclusive Highland balls. Dance publishers stressed its social prestige and soon included it in the canon of Scottish national dances. In particular, the vigour of the reel steps and the traditional reel tunes used for the 'Eightsome' were perceived as emblematic of the robust energy of the Scottish character. So cultural nationalism enhanced the dance's popularity, and the community it expressed grew to encompass the nation itself.

Paul Cowdell  Cannibal Ballads: Not Just a Question of Taste . . .

William Makepeace Thackeray's poem 'Little Billee' was a literary parody of a traditional French song about survival cannibalism at sea. It entered oral tradition not only among its target audience in the song and supper clubs, but also among sailors. This reflects not only its closeness to its source material, but also its relation to the subject matter. This article relates the song to its sources, and to other songs about cannibalism. It also sets it in the context of the changing experience of survival cannibalism.

Andrew King  Resources in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library: The Ella Mary Leather Manuscript Collection

The character of the folklorist Ella Mary Leather (1874–1928) has remained something of an enigma, a curious fact, considering the importance of her seminal study The Folk-Lore of
Herefordshire (1912), her work with Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the role she played in the use of the phonograph for documenting traditional song. The purpose of this article is to look at the possible reasons why this situation came about, and, by providing a provisional list of the songs that she collected, to go some way towards redressing the balance.


Gordon Ridgewell

The North Skelton Sword Dance


Reviews — Books

Dave Townsend

The Sheffield Book of Village Carols (Russell)

The Seventh Festival of Village Carols (DVD)

Ewan McVicar

Songs from North-East Scotland: A Selection for Performers from the Greig–Duncan Folk Song Collection (Campbell)

Michael Pickering The Elliotts of Birtley (Wood)
Liz Doherty Driving the Bow: Fiddle and Dance Studies from around the North Atlantic, 2 (Russell and Alburger)
Michael Heaney Book Trade Connections from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries (Hinks and Armstrong)
Roy Palmer Historical & Political Ballads and Songs of the Stuart Era (Bennett)
E. Bradtke May Day Festivals in America, 1830 to the Present (Thompson)


Reviews — Sound recordings

Keith Chandler As I Went Down to Horsham (Mabs and Gordon Hall)
Andrew King Wild Wild Berry: The Songs of Ray Driscoll
Paul Cowdell Onder de Groene Linde
Andy Turner The Brazil Family: Down by the Old Riverside


Reviews — Films

Michael Heaney The Morris Films of Lionel Bacon
Peter Clifton

Dot Murphie: Lancashire Clog Dancer

Bert Bowden: Clog Dancer and Entertainer



Norm Cohen and Judy McCulloh Archie Green
Len Graham Rita Keane
Marjetka Golež Kaučič  Zmaga Kumer
Joseph C. Hickerson Charles Alexander 'Sandy' Paton
Ian Russell William Stanley Robertson
Jerry Epstein Mike Seeger
John Moulden Hugh Shields
David Nuttall Ken Stubbs
Eddie Upton George Withers
Keith Chandler Three Bampton morris dancers: Thomas Albert 'Son' Townsend, Francis Shergold, and George Hunt


Cover illustration 'Fearful Suferings at Sea. Lad Killed and Eaten.' Ralph Vaughan Williams Broadside Collection. Courtesy of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

Editor: David Atkinson


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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