Sound and vision blog

21 December 2009

Recording of the Week: traditional English Christmas songs

It’s the season for goodwill, so there are two selections this week, both traditional English Christmas songs. The first recording, made by Peter Kennedy, is of a fine performance from East Sussex by Bob and Ron Copper, famous for their unaccompanied performances of English folk songs, of The Twelve Days of Christmas:

The second is an unpolished but spirited rendition along with pub sounds and banter of We Wish You a Merry Christmas by unidentified singers in The Fountain Inn at Ingbirchworth, between Sheffield and Leeds, Yorkshire. The track was recorded in December 1973 by Bill Leader:

You can find similar recordings by entering ‘Christmas’ or related words into the search box on the Archival Sound Recordings website.  Remember that for licensing reasons, not all recordings on this website are publicly accessible, so unless you are at a licensed UK higher or further education institute, select the checkbox “Restrict search to recordings everyone can play”.

Traditional-music-in-England 'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's items were selected by Richard Ranft, Head of the British Library Sound Archive, from the Reg Hall collection of over 400 hours of songs, instrumental music and customs from around the UK. The collection itself forms part of the Traditional Music in England collection at the British Library. With over 20,000 field recordings of traditional music, including popular ballads, children's skipping songs, customs, music hall, soldiers' songs, folk tales and interviews, the Traditional Music in England collection is the largest aggregation of unique recordings on the Archival Sound Recordings website.


Hello, I'm new here so not sure where to share this but I thought I'd let folks know that I used to, as a young lad in Harrow and around there in the mid sixties, go to a pub and listen and join in with a lot of the old songs the old men used to play on the piano. My favourite was I'm going back to Imasas and I was knocked back to find it on this site. The 'ladies' used to fight over who sang their one's and another fav was 'while I'm away oh please remember me'
Us youngsters in those days liked all kinds of music, not just the Kinks :-) I'm 63 now.

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