WUMB October Program Guide

The Child Ballads

I like to devote October to the Child Ballads. These ancient songs, dating from the 13th to 17th centuries, remain intriguing because they tell stories of deception, jealousy, revenge, obsession, murder, romance, superstition and the supernatural. In short, drama, drama, drama!

Born in Boston on Feb. 1, 1825, Francis James Child’s life’s work was to research and collect more than 300 English and Scottish popular ballads, including every obtainable version and the fullest possible discussion of related songs. His great passion was the preservation of the ballad tradition. Child published the English and Scottish Popular Ballads between 1882 and 1898.

My 5 favorite Child ballads are: “Little Musgrave,” “Willie O’ Winsbury,” “Hughie Grame,” “King Henry,” and “Tam Lin.”

You’re welcome to let me know your favorites in the comments section!

~ Gail

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