Comic, sentimental, political or just plain lewd, the Broadside Ballads that flooded England between the time of Byrd and Purcell constitute one of the richest veins in our musical culture. These wer the pop songs of their day, distributed up and down the land, and they offer us a glimpse into the lives, attitudes and sexual mores of ordinary people. Their subjects range from The Great Fire and The Gunpowder Plot to fumbling husbands, royal gossip and the latest 'outrageous' fashions!
The ballads in this volume have once more been re-attached to their original melodies - including simple chord suggestions based upon historical modes. Singers will find a treasure trove of some of the most delightful tunes England has ever produced. Explanatory notes place each ballad in its historical context, exploring sources and the meanings of obscure words. A host of enchanting woodcuts, taken from original broadsheets, illustrates throughout. Also included is a performance-ready edition of The Cheaters Cheated, a raucous musical entertainment - or Jigge - for a cast of four singers/actors which shares many characteristics of the broadside ballad.
Forward by Andrew Motion