If you're not familiar with Topic's monumental "Voice of the People" set of CDs, it consists of twenty (20!) CDs of field recordings collected by Peter Kennedy. It's probably the most impressive collection o its type ever assembled, with artists that include : Sarah Makem, Geoff Ling, Mary Anne Haynes, Tommy McGarth, Pop Maynard, Willie Clancy, Jimmy McBeath, Paddy Tunney, Harry Cox, Rose Murphy, Joe Heanny Belle Stewart, Phil Tanners, Eddie Butcher, Turp Brown, Margaret Barry, Walter Pardon, Martin Gorman, Joseph Taylor, Jimmy McBeath, Micho Russell, Jeannie Robertson. Cyril Pocher, Tom Willet, Johnny Doughty, John Rae, Sam Larner, Lizzie Higgins, Turp Brown, George Ling, Walter Pardon, Frank Verrill, Harry Upton, Micho Russell, Bob Hart, Bob Roberts, Willie Scott, Fred Jordon, Packie Manus, Byrne, Liz Jefferies, Stanley Robertson, Geordie Hannah, John McDonald, Ben Butcher, Freda Palmer, John Reilly, Phoebe Smith, Enos White, Scan Tester, Eddie Butchers, Michael Coleman, Sarah Anne O'Neill, Paddy Breen, Davie Stewart, Jinky Wells, Tom Lennihan, Jimmy Nights, Bob Cann, Maggy Murphy, Bampton Morris, Charlie Wills, Sheila Stewart, Jasper Smith, May Bradley, Percy Brown, Oscar Woods, Stephen Baldwin, Walter Bulwer, Font Whatling, Fred Whiting, Sarah Makem, Amy Birch, Wiggie Smith, George Spicer etc. etc.
These are the people that the likes of Ewan MacColl and Bert Lloyd learned their material from; the CDs typically have 20-25 tracks each, come with lavish notes and are organized by subject material:
TSCD651 COME LET US BUY THE LICENCE 'Songs of courtship & marriage'
TSCD652 MY SHIP SHALL SAIL THE OCEAN 'Songs of tempest & sea battles, sailor lads & fishermen'
TSCD653 O'ER HIS GRAVE THE GRASS GREW GREEN 'Tragic Ballads'
TSCD654 FAREWELL, MY OWN NATIVE LAND 'Songs of exile & emigration'
TSCD655 COME ALL MY LADS THAT FOLLOW THE PLOUGH 'The life of rural working men & women'
TSCD656 TONIGHT I'LL MAKE YOU MY BRIDE 'Ballads of true & false lovers'
TSCD657 FIRST I'M GOING TO SING YOU A DITTY 'Rural fun & frolics'
TSCD658 A STORY I'M JUST ABOUT TO TELL 'Local events & national issues'
TSCD659 RIG-A-JIG-JIG 'Dance music of the south of England'
TSCD660 WHO'S THAT AT MY BED WINDOW? 'Songs of love & amorous encounters'
TSCD661 MY FATHER'S THE KING OF THE GYPSIES 'Music of English & Welsh travellers & gypsies'
TSCD662 WE'VE RECEIVED ORDERS TO SAIL 'Jackie Tar at sea & on shore'
TSCD663 THEY ORDERED THEIR PINTS OF BEER AND BOTTLES OF SHERRY 'The joys & curse of drink'
TSCD664 TROUBLES THEY ARE BUT FEW 'Dance tunes & ditties'
TSCD665 AS ME AND MY LOVE SAT COURTING 'Songs of love, courtship & marriage'
TSCD666 YOU LAZY LOT OF BONE-SHAKERS 'Songs & dance tunes of Seasonal events'
TSCD667 IT FELL ON A DAY A BONNY SUMMER DAY 'Ballads'
TSCD668 TO CATCH A FINE BUCK WAS MY DELIGHT 'Songs of hunting & poaching'
TSCD669 RANTING & REELING 'Dance music of the north of England'
TSCD670 THERE IS A MAN UPON THE FARM 'Working men & women in song'
CAMSCO has been selling these CDs for $12.98 each, and, IMO, they've been a bargain. We're now able (for a very limited time) to offer the complete set at a price of $200 (less than I have been paying wholesale.) It would make a spectacular Christmas present for anyone who loves traditional music.