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My lyric and melody sources are given in list of English Songbooks and there is also a list of English CD's.
What is English Folk music?
It is not quite so easy to answer as the question sounds. I suppose the narrow definition is that it is made up those airs arising from the lips of those rustic unlettered persons whose mongrel ancestry includes the Pre-Celtic Silurians and Iberians, the Celtic Goidals (Gaels) and Brythons (Britons), Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings and Normans within the largely over millennia unchanged political boundaries of that land known as England. Within the framework of this colourful background can be found the reason the plethora of incomprehensible English dialects ranging from Northumbria to Cornwall, from Kent to Westmoreland and from the combined counties of Worcester and Hereford to East Anglia.
There must be literally thousands of English folk-songs (mostly now unsung), I have never come across a definitive compilation, perhaps some surfer could put me right. When going through my own collection of songbooks I am always amazed and a little dismayed at the sheer number of songs that I know I will never get around to singing. For my taste, perhaps reflecting my Worcestershire origins, English folk music as sung for the last 100 years by mostly literate people and no longer by the illiterate rustic isolated in remote hills and valleys has become a gentle affair. Beautiful, witty, informative, social comments galore, many, many long verses, not raucous (when making comparisons ... well you know who I mean do you not), a huge body of work. My hope is that these songs will still be sung in the present and coming millennia