For pop songs of the 17th Century look no further than this fascinating recording by Lucie Skeaping and the City Waits. It is an excellent release that brings us a flavour of elements of English 17th and 18th Century culture. The project explores the sound and songs that were very popular through cheap Broadside sheet ballads. These ballads appeared all over the place. They appeared in domestic places, the theatre and the walls of taverns. They were crude prints made in small rooms at the back of London's print shops and were churned out in thousands. They would cost a penny and they were much sort after as they acted as urban expression carrying news before newspapers and magazines. Also like today's newspapers they offered sensational stories of lust, sexual exploits and comedy. They followed on from their predecessors the folk ballads in that sense and they also robbed tunes from them. The actual broadside ballads as featured here were usually just printed words of new songs with no music notation. Instead they would suggest the song be sung to a already known, old and popular tune. In effect they became part of English Traditional Folk music through the re adaptation of tunes and themes. This is a branch of English traditional music. Often the songs are lewd, crude and rude but they offer a fascinating insight into the lives of some of the people in 17th and 18th Century England. The recording offers a slice of the culture of part of part of society at that time. The ballads on this recording have been taken from various sources including The Pepys collection, the Roxburghe collection and Durfey's Pills to Purge Meloncholy. Lucie Skeaping has appeared with the City Waits on many occasions as well as appearing on recordings with the Broadside Band. She also recorded with the City Waits on a similar recording for Saydisc Records that is also recommendable and is called Pills to Purge Melloncholy.
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PENNY MERRIMENTS: Street Songs of 17th Century
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