South Riding Folk Arts Network logo
SRFAN : Miscellany: Classic English Folk Songs

Classic English Folk Songs: front cover

Classic English Folk Songs

A new, revised edition of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

Selected and edited by R Vaughan Williams and A L Lloyd.

This new edition has been revised by Malcolm Douglas of the SRFAN, and includes a new bibliography by David Atkinson and a foreword by Martin Carthy.

Softback, 176 pp. £14.99. Published by The English Folk Dance and Song Society in association with The South Riding Folk Arts Network.

First published in 1959 as The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, this ground-breaking collection reclaimed traditional song from the school and the recital room, and from the 'evening dress' into which it had so often been put during the first half of the twentieth century. Drawing on material collected mainly in the early years of that century and originally published in The Journal of the Folk Song Society and its successor, The Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, the editors compiled a selection that revealed the vitality and beauty of English folk song in its natural form.

The book was enormously influential in the folk song revival and was regularly reprinted over some thirty years. It is reissued in response to popular demand in the centenary of the year in which both Ralph Vaughan Williams and Cecil Sharp began their folk song collecting. The notes to the songs have been revised with much new information, and biographical details of the singers from whom the songs were noted have been added.

These fine songs are once again readily available to new generations of singers and musicians.

'A long awaited and very welcome reprint.' - Martin Carthy

Available from good bookshops or direct from

The English Folk Dance & Song Society
Cecil Sharp House
2 Regents Park Road
London NW1 7AY
Telephone: 020 7485 2206

New: secure online ordering at

ISBN 0-85418-188-1   £14.99 plus £2.00 p&p

Penguin: 1959 cover Penguin: 1970s cover Penguin: 1980s cover
Covers of the 1959, 1970s and 1980s editions
Update (late 2005): the first imprint of 1000 copies is now sold out, and a second impression has been printed. This incorporates various additions and corrections to content and layout. Cumulative errata and corrigenda, together with supplementary material for which there was not space in the book, will be made available online at the South Riding Miscellany as time allows:

Classic English Folk Songs


Musical Traditions


Traditional Song Forum

The Folk Mag (no longer available online)

Stirrings (currently unavailable online)


Cover, A L Lloyd, England and Her Traditional Songs: link to Fellside Records Two selections of material from the book are currently available from Fellside Records:

A. L. Lloyd: England & Her Traditional Songs: a selection from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (FECD173)
A re-mastered release of the LP and EP originally issued by Collector Records in 1959.

Linda Adams, John Bowden, Martin Carthy, Roy Harris, Jez Lowe: A Selection from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (FECD47)


The March 2004 edition of fROOTS included a competition with ten copies of Classic English Folk Songs as prizes. This is what they had to say:

" 'Classic' is certainly the right word to have in the title of Classic English Folk Songs - not only for the songs that are included, but also because it's a reprint of one of the most influential books of the English folk revival, the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs. First published in 1959, the songs were selected from many of the great collections and edited by A. L. Lloyd and Ralph Vaughan Williams. This new version, published by the EFDSS to coincide with the centenary of the year in which Ralph Vaughan Williams and Cecil Sharp began their folk song collecting, has been revised, expanded and updated. It now includes notes on how and from where the editors adapted texts, biographical details of the source singers, and a new foreword from Martin Carthy. And of course you can hardly turn a page without encountering one of the great songs of the English tradition."

[ Top of Page ]   [ Home Page ]

Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved. Built for SRFAN by Malcolm Douglas