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STILL GROWING 'English Traditional Songs and Singers from the Cecil Sharp Collection' Compiled & Edited by Steve Roud, Malcolm Taylor and Eddie Upton London:
The English Folk Dance & Song Society in association with Folk South West 0854181873

I am delighted to welcome this wonderful contribution to the centenary of Cecil Sharp collecting his first folk-song "In the field". I must immediately declare an interest in that I supplied a couple of the biographies for the Gloucestershire singers, but this is a very minor part of the publication and it's quite a thrill to see it included in a publication of such overwhelming excellence. After a touching Preface by Shirley Collins, there follows an important introduction to Sharp and folk-song from Vic Gammon. As fascinating, readable and combative as ever, this is an important contribution to the current debate on the placing of Sharp within his society and the society of this singers. Then we come to the songs. Each is from a featured singer, and many have photographs of the singer and an excellent short biography - we really start to feel we may have known them, followed by 50 songs, beautifully typeset and crying out for people to use - this could well become the 21st-Century equivalent of the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs. Obviously the songs are biased towards the south, especially the West Country, but hopefully this will stimulate someone to produce another such collection for other areas. I suggest that people buy two copies of this book; one to keep on the shelf so that you can enjoy it as a reference and the other to keep in a travel or instrument bag so that it is immediately to hand whenever you are able to spend a moment learning one of these splendid and varied songs!

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 55 of The Living Tradition magazine.