The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

by Steve Roud, Julia Bishop

In 1959 EFDSS published The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd. This book had a deep impact on the English folk revival and 50 years later it seemed time to commission a New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs; edited by two leading experts and enthusiasts in the field, Steve Roud and Julia Bishop, and in cooperation with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, which has since its origins in the 1890s, been at the heart of the recording and celebration of these songs.

The book consists of a broad selection of lyrics with music as well as fascinating material on the origins of each song. Folk song has always been a living art - a song would only be passed down if it was in demand. Both tune and lyrics were honed and adapted for generations of highly demanding and restless audiences - in pubs, on ships, in the fields and among friends - and it is not surprising that those tunes are often brilliantly memorable and the lyrics moving, funny and strange.


Go back