The "Child Ballads" are a large collection of 305 songs from England and Scotland compiled by Francis James Child in the late 19th century. Here, Ewan MacColl presents 7 of these songs, sung without accompaniment. MacColl explains the notion of the ballad: "Defined in its simplest terms, the ballad is a folksong that tells a story...is always narrative, and is always learned from the lips of others rather than by reading." The songs presented here all detail historical events from Scotland and England. It is appropriate then that they are sung by MacColl who himself played a role in English history through his affiliation to the communist parties of the 1930's which hindered his musical career at the time. His roots in the laboring class add authenticity to the concept of the ballad which grew out of the "popular" lower classes. Liner notes include some song information and lyrics.
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Top Customer Reviews
By Thomas Hurst on March 15, 2011
Format: Audio CD1 Comment Sending feedback...
Five stars for the performance - a real classic (at least if you like folk icon Ewan MacColl's vocal style) - but one star for the Smithsonian Folkways production of this straight re-issue of the original 1964 Folkways album (the third of a three-volume series) that runs about 42 minutes. Smithsonian Folkways has simply made a sloppily-labeled CD-R of the original LP, and then put it in a generic paper sleeve with a poor quality laser copy of the original LP cover pasted on the front. And, of course, absolutely all liner notes are missing; only a simple track listing is included. If you already have the vinyl LP (as I do), don't waste your money on this overpriced CD-R (as I did).
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