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It is astonishing to think that Folk Music journal and its predecessor titles have never published anything of any substance on the Revd Sabine Baring-Gould. Yet, if any one individual can be so identified, Baring-Gould can be called the true pioneer of the late Victorian folk song revival. Martin Graebe's article is the fruit of research into his life and work that has been going on for the best part of four decades. He has chosen to focus here on Baring-Gould's relationship with Cecil Sharp; and as if to reinforce this sense of the social networks that underpinned the whole revival of interest in English vernacular song, David Gregory's article gives the same detailed attention to the pioneer female collector, Lucy Broadwood.

Michael Wright's study of the Jew's harp in the law is also a ground-breaking piece, unearthing the association of what in past centuries was an extraordinarily popular musical instrument with criminal wrongdoing. Making use in part of records that have become newly available on the World Wide Web, the author provides an insight into the material and cultural circumstances of music-making at the less respectable end of the social scale.

Regrettably, this year sees a plethora of obituaries. There is no denying that Peter Kennedy was a controversial figure and we have taken the approach of offering three different accounts which, while giving the necessary facts, also provide a set of more personal perspectives on his life and achievements. Among the other noteworthy figures to be remembered in this issue are the West Country singer Sophie Legg and the Yorkshire song collector Nigel Hudlestone. Frank Purslow, too, sadly died just before the publication of the revised edition of his influential song book, Marrow Bones, which stands as a lasting tribute to his work and is also reviewed in this issue. News of the death of the Irish song collector Tom Munnelly came too late for an obituary to be included this year.

Reviews are indeed plentiful, ranging from traditional drama and calendar customs through songs, hymns, and fiddle music, to revival practices and the editing and publishing of ballads and songs. The CDs, too, include English fiddle music, Trinidadian calypsos, Scottish children's songs, rhymes, and stories, European ethnic recordings, and traditional American music and song. In short, something for everyone.

I am aware that there is much exciting work going on in the field covered by our journal--on traditional song, music, dance, drama, and so forth--and I would encourage readers carrying out their own research to consider submitting articles to Folk Music Journal. We are also grateful to be informed of items that should be reviewed in these pages, and, indeed, offers to write reviews for us.
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Author:Atkinson, David
Publication:Folk Music Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Previous Article:Duncan Williamson (1928-2007).
Next Article:Devon by dog cart and bicycle: the folk song collaboration of sabine Baring-Gould and Cecil Sharp, 1904-17 (Part I).

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