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English Folk Music
Geoff Grainger
Last updated: 13.06.17

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.

Geoff Grainger, Bremen-Vegesack, January 2001

English Links

Folk Songs of Various Countries a massive site with over 10000 folk songs (midis and lyrics) by Frank Petersohn
AGGI online - Das Liederbuch im Netz , lyrics for "And I gave her kisses one".
Kings Singers , performers home page
Sixteenth Century Ballads: A work in progress... , an interesting ballad site, has exhaustive ballad of Gossip Joan.
www.blupete.com , has the lyrics of "Here's to the Maiden" by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816).
Lieder und Melodien: Henry Kochlin & Susanne's Collection 
The REC Music Foundation , classical midis, Lieder & Song texts.
Iconxxx Title Files Remarks
       
english15.gif Affetside Carol  
english15.gif All Around my Hat  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Amazing Grace  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Anacreontic Song, The  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif And I Gave Her Kisses One   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Aye Sir Aye  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Babes in the Wood   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Baker of Colebrook, The  mp315.gif
english15.gif Balaclava  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Ballad of Bethnal Green, The  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Barbara Allen  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Barley Mow, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Billy Boy  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Birmingham Jack of All Trades, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Blow Away the Morning Dew  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Bog Down in the Valley Oh  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif    nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Bolinder Boatman, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Calling on Song  
english15.gif Captain Webb   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Card Song, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Chariots   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Christmas Thought, A  
english15.gif Come me Lads (Let union be)  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Come my Little Roving Sailor  
english15.gif Come to my window  mp315.gif
english15.gif Country Life  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Countryman, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Coventry Carol, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Cricketer's of Hambledon, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Cruel Mother, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Dammed Idle Fellows   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Dashing away with the smoothing iron  midi15.gif  nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Deck the Hall   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Dirty Old Town  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Down in Yon Forest   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Drink to me only with thine eyes  notes5usa.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Drinking - in Cellar Deep  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Dudley Boys, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Early One Morning  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Edward  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Farewell, ye green fields   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Farmer's Boy, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Fill Her Up!  
english15.gif Fill the Cup Philip  
english15.gif Foggy, Foggy Dew, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Follow Me   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Follow Me Sweet Love   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Four Drunken Maidens  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif  nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Game of Cards, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Gaol Song  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Geordie  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Go From My Window   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Going to the fair with my young man  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Good Ale   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Gossip Joan  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Gower Wassail, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Green grow the rushes-oh!   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Greensleeves  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Guide to Britten   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Gypsy Girl, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Gypsy Rover, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Gypsy, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Had Neptune when first he took charge of the sea  
english15.gif Helston Furry Dance  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif    nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Here's to the maiden   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Herring's Head  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif High Germany  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Holly and the Ivy, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Home Lads Home   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Humble Heart, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif I Am the King and Prince of Drinkers  
english15.gif I Cannot Eat But Little Meat  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif I once went a-courting  
english15.gif I Want To Have a Little Bomb   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif I went to Market  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif I whipped my horse  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif I wish there were no prisons  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif I'm a freeborn man  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif If music be the food of love   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Ill Wind  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif    nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Jack Thou'rt a Toper   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Jillian of Berry  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  
english15.gif Jogging Along With Me Reindeer  
english15.gif John Barleycorn  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif John O' Dreams  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif John Peel  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Jolly Shepherd, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Jolly Toper, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Jolly Waggoner, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Keeper, The  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Leather Bottel, The  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Lily the Pink  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Lincolnshire Poacher, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Lord of the Dance  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Lovers' Tasks, The  notes5usa.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif  nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Lullaby  
english15.gif Maid on the shore, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Maids at eighteen   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Maltworms  
english15.gif Matty Groves  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Meet me Polly in the Dell  
english15.gif Miller of Dee, The  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Mon like thee, A  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Morning has broken  notes5usa.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Motor Trade Workers   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Murder of Maria Marten, The  notes5usa.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif My daddy is dead  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif My Liverpool Home  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Names  
english15.gif Newcombe Gauger, The  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif North Americay  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif    
english15.gif Nothing at All  
english15.gif O Soldier Won't You Marry Me?  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Oak and the Ash, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Oh, no, John!  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gifmidi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Old Woman  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif One More River  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  
english15.gif Peter Warlock's Fancy  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  
english15.gif Ploughboy and the London Cockney, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Poor Little Jesus   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Punters   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Push Boys Push   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Queen of Hearts  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Railwayman's Farewell to Darlington   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Scarborough Fair  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Shoemaker's Kiss, The  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Shores of Old Blighty, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif    nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Short Song, A  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Simon the Cellarer  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Song of Patriotic Predjudice  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Song of the Weather, A  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif St. Stephen's Day Carol   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Still Waters   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Streets of London   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Strike it up Tabor   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Suddenly afraid  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Sussex Carol, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Sweet Christmas Bells   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Sweet Thames flow softly  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif There Are No Lights On Our Christmas Tree  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif There is a Lady sweet and kind  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Three Butchers, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Three Gypsies  mp315.gif  nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Three Jolly Fishermen   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Three Pretty Maidens  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Three Ships, The   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Toper's Song, The  
english15.gif Tree Song, A   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Trees They Do Grow High, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif True Lovers, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Turpin Hero  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Twelve Days of Christmas, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Twelve Oxen  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  
english15.gif Unison in Harmony   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Unquiet Grave, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  midi15.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Ups and Downs, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Wassail  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Watkin's Ale   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Way Down to Lamorna  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif    nlyrics.gif
english15.gif We've Been a While a Wandering   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif When All Men Sing   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif When it's Night Time in Italy  notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif  mp315.gif nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Whenas the Rye reach to the Chin  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Widdecombe Fair   nlyrics.gif
english15.gif Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, The  notes5usa.gif notes5uk.gif notes5de.gif notes5fr.gif   nlyrics.gif