Originally published in 1977. The Travellers, from those living in bow-tents and horse-drawn caravans to those dwelling in motor caravans and permanent homes, are an important source of traditional music. Their society means that songs that have died out in more settled communities are preserved among them. Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, widely known as two of the founding singers of the British and American folk revivals, here display a vast fund of folklore scholarship around the songs of British travelling people. Resulting from extensive collecting in southern and southeastern England and central and northeastern Scotland in the 1960s and 70s, this book contains 130 songs with music and comprehensive notes relating them to folkloristic and historical points of interest. It includes traditional ballads and ballads of broadside origin, bawdy, tragic and humorous songs about love, work and death. Most are in English or in Scots dialect with four in Anglo-Romani.
Reviews of the original publication:
"…a distinct pleasure to hold, use and sing from. Each song is accompanied by extensive systematic documentation with very helpful introductions to the songs’ textual tradition, the transcription employed in the tune, its distribution among other cultures, the scholarship on it to date with exact references; in short, a mine of information and criticism which is as delightful as the songs themselves." J. M. Kirk
Introduction. Music Note. General Arrangement. The Singers. The Songs 1. Child Ballads 2. Additional Traditional Ballads 3. Faithful Lovers 4. Erotic Songs 5. Casual Encounters 6. Hesitant Lovers 7. Unfaithful Lovers 8. Family Opposition to Lovers 9. Soldiers and Sailors 10. Crime and Criminals 11. Rural Life 12. Humorous and Miscellaneous 13. Travelling Life. Glossary. Bibliography – Folksong and Folklore, Works Dealing with Travellers. Index of Titles. Index of First Lines.