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A Celebration Of Traditional Singers Since 1998" EFDSS CD02

This is a CD celebrating the work of the Folk Song Society, later to be part of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). The recordings stretch from 1907 to 1998 and are intended to reflect the work of the Folk Song Society and the EFDSS.

We owe a debt tothe compilers of this collection especialy for making available the 5 tracks of phonograph recordings made in the first decade of this century. These enable us to have at least a small sample of how folk sang then. These tracks whilst lacking in audio quality, pay dividends by repeated listening to them.

Inevitably, this CD will be compared against the Topic Series The Voice of The People, and there is some overlap both in the singers and the songs but thankfully this overlap is quite small and in only in one instance does the same singer sing the same song, ie Harry Cox singing The Pretty Ploughboy.

A Century Of Song is in many ways more ambitious than the Topic series despite being confined to a single disc. For one thing the time span it covers is much greater and it introduces to a (hopefully) wider audience singers that are otherwise unknown and with little prospect of being heard. It is just pity that the financial position of the EFDSS makes it unlikely to see further issues of their archive material.

One cavil I have is the omission of any Scottish material on the CD. A fair proportion of the early contributions to the journal of the Folksong Society were Scottish and I would have thought anod in that direction would have been appropriate, especially given the two USA contributions included on the CD.

Overall however this is an excellent CD. Lets us all buy it and hope more in this vein are issued.

Bob Blair

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This album was reviewed in Issue 32 of The Living Tradition magazine.