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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Peggy Seeger & Ewan MacColl - The Long Harvest, Volume 6

Argo (DA 71, Record Six, 1967)

This rare LP is volume 6 of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger's ambitious 1960s project to document over 10 albums some of the most significant of traditional ballads in their English, Scots and North American variants.  Tracking the way that songs developed as they travelled across national boundaries and to new continents highlights the fascinating evolution of musical traditions.  MacColl (a Mancunian of Scottish family) and Seeger (an American married to the Scots-Mancunian) were perfectly placed to understand these variants and to perform them in appropriate styles.  The sleeve notes and accompanying booklet are detailed and scholarly, documenting ballad versions in the Child canon as well as to oral sources.

The album contains a superbly researched 12-page booklet detailing each song's history, its international variations, and its lyrics.  A rare and historical document of importance both to understanding traditions and the folk revivalists who helped keep them alive.

Track Listing
  • Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight (Child 4)
    • May Colvin (Scots)
    • Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight (American)
    • The Outlandish Knight (English)
    • Billy Came Over the Main White Ocean (American)
    • The Willow Tree (American)
  • Old Woman of Slapsadam and Johnny Sands
    • The Wife of Kelso (Scots)
    • Rich Old Lady (American)
    • Johnny Sands (English)
  • The Douglas Tragedy (Earl Brand) (Child 7)
    • The Brave Earl Brand and the King of England's Daughter (English)
    • The Douglas Tragedy (Scots)
    • Earl Brand (American)
    • The Lady and the Dragon (American)
  • The Maid Freed from the Gallows (Child 96)
    • The Prickle Holly Bush (English)
    • Hangman (American)

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