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book: Dear Companion: Cecil Sharp in America

28 Nov 04 - 08:27 AM (#1341067)
Subject: Dear Companion: Cecil Sharp in America
From: Matthew Edwards

In view of some recent complaints about there being too little American folk material here is news of a publication from (ahem!) the English Folk Dance and Song Society which may help redress the balance.

On this thread Song books from Cecil Sharp House Joe Offer was asking about a reissue of Cecil Sharp's Appalachian collection. The publication announced below by the EFDSS isn't quite that, but it promises to be something just as exciting:-



Appalachian traditional songs and singers

from the Cecil Sharp Collection

Cecil Sharp, a music teacher from south London, is England's most renowned collector of folk music and dances, noting down nearly five thousand tunes on his travels throughout England and the Appalachian states of North America up until his death in 1924. The previous volume in this series, Still Growing, demonstrated the richness of the song tradition that he found in his native England. But perhaps the most significant part of his vast collection is that assembled during the First World War years in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. At the instigation of American enthusiast Olive Dame Campbell, he embarked with assistant Maud Karpeles on a truly remarkable journey through America's southern uplands, to discover a living tradition of songs and ballads, largely of British origin, which had all but died out back home.

Dear Companion is a collection of fifty-three songs and ballads from Sharp's American collection. An authoritative introductory essay by collector Mike Yates, together with biographical sketches of the singers and notes on the songs, are copiously illustrated by previously unpublished photographs, extracts from diaries, letters, and biographical writings.

Dear Companion is a celebration of the close links between the musical traditions of Britain and North America.

Dear Companion: Appalachian Traditional Songs and Singers from the Cecil Sharp Collection

Published by the English Folk Dance & Song Society in association with Sharp's Folk Club, November 2004

ISBN 0-85418-190-3

[vi], 137p, illustrated.

£14.99 plus £2 p&p (UK) / £3.95 (Europe); air mail: £8.60 (Zone 1), £10.10 (Zone 2); surface mail: £4.75 (Zones 1 & 2)

Trade terms available on application to:

EFDSS, Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY

Tel: 020-7485 2206

Fax: 020-7284 0523

Email: admin AT

Copied from:News from efdss

28 Nov 04 - 12:55 PM (#1341219)
Subject: RE: book: Dear Companion: Cecil Sharp in America
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

By pure co-incidence there is also a new CD officially launched in December of American ballads (one of which is Dear Companion), this also is a British product by a British singer Gail Williams. It is called 'Women of a Certain Age' and includes songs previously recorded by such as Almeda Riddle, Texas Gladden, Dan Tate etc. If you like your ballads well sung with sparse sensitive guitar or banjo accompaniment (only on a few tracks, the remainder being unaccompanied) then I would thoroughly reccommend this disc. And no I personally have nothing to gain from a "plug", it's just that I appreciate good singing and think that this CD will appeal to many of you ballad lovers out there that do likewise.

28 Nov 04 - 07:53 PM (#1341517)
Subject: RE: book: Dear Companion: Cecil Sharp in America
From: Stewie

An essay by Yates on Sharp in America is also available on line at the Musical Traditions site: CLICK HERE.


29 Nov 04 - 03:32 AM (#1341755)
Subject: RE: book: Dear Companion: Cecil Sharp in America
From: BanjoRay

Thanks for that heads up, Hootenanny, Gail Williams has a gorgeous voice and a superb feel for Appalachian ballads.

29 Nov 04 - 03:36 AM (#1341757)
Subject: RE: book: Dear Companion: Cecil Sharp in America
From: BanjoRay

Oh yes - she's also a member of Foaotmad which I suppose means I could well be biased - but I'm not!
Ray (Chairman of Foaotmad)

28 Dec 04 - 01:44 PM (#1366049)
Subject: RE: book: Dear Companion: Cecil Sharp in America
From: dick greenhaus

I (CAMSCO Music) finally received pricing information from EFDSS on the Sharp Collection of US songs "Dear Companion". They charge £14.99 ($29 US) + shipping (roughly $8 to US). I can offer it for $28 + actual US postage (under $2.00 for media mail). Sorry about the high price, but it includes my shipping costs from the UK.

As usual, I'm not going to stock this item, so if you want to order it (if you haven't already), please E-mail me soonest, so I can tell how many to order.

On a related note, CAMSCO Music has recently re-released US editions of Folktrax's two CDs of material Maud Karpeles collected in the Southern Appalachians in the 50s. Well recorded, no snippets, good listening as well as (IMO) historically important.

I also carry Mike Yates' (the editor of Dear Companion) two 2-CD sets "Far in the Mountains" from his collecting trips in the Southern Appalachians (1979-1982) where he retraced Sharp's steps some 60 years later, and recorded decendants and relatives of Sharp's sources. A truly brilliant collection--$25 each for the 2-CD sets, along with superb notes and photos.