From the Library: The Folk of England

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 18 February, 2009

Elrik Merlin writes:

When I heard Otenth playing Gillian Welch yesterday, it struck me that it’s some time since I did a programme of folk music from my side of the Pond, and particularly from England (I do play quite a lot of Celtic music). So I started sorting through my library to build a good 24-hour playlist. I stopped when it got to 35, and then cut it back a bit — but it’s still too long, so you’ll hear some more on another occasion. There is plenty more where today’s show came from.

So today, we’ll hear some of the best of English folk, from the late Fifties onwards, primarily. Though there are bound to be some oddities. For example, I want you to hear June Tabor’s moving version of Maggie Holland’s A Proper Sort of Gardener, and on the same album is Di Nakht, a song in Yiddish written in New York in 1929 and also very moving in a very different way. Am I going to exclude it? Well, no. There are also a couple of compilation albums, such as Anthems in Eden, including artists who are by no means exclusively English. But the general thread is one that winds its way through the English folk scene over the past 40 years or so, from people like Ewan MacColl (pictured above with Peggy Seeger and others) to tracks from The Imagined Village, an album of modern re-workings of classic folk songs.

I do hope you enjoy it.

From the Library is produced in conjunction with the Caledon Library; today’s programme was produced by Elrik Merlin. You can listen to it on our Main Stream as follows:

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Saffia Widdershins February 19, 2009 at 04:23

This was lovely. Some of these were completely new to me - Fanny Blair sent shivers down my spine, but I missed who was the singer.


Elrik Merlin February 19, 2009 at 09:49

Aha! That was actually from Maddy Prior's 2001 release, "Arthur The King". She is still touring regularly and releasing very impressive albums.

Not all this album is based around the story of King Arthur - that occupies 10 tracks and runs about 30 minutes. The other five are excellent renderings of traditional songs, and "Fanny Blair" is a good example.


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