Child Ballads is a studio album by American singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and musician Jefferson Hamer, released on February 11, 2013, by Wilderland Records. It serves as Mitchell's sixth studio album and Hamer's second. The album is composed of old folk ballads from the collection of the same name by Francis James Child re-arranged by the duo. They recorded the album with producer Gary Paczosa in early 2012.
The American academic Francis J Child devoted much of the latter part of his life to collecting and studying traditional ballads. His first publication on the subject was English and Scottish Ballads, 8 vols published in 1857-8. This was revised and augmented in a collection of 305 British ballads, published in 5 volumes in 1882-1898 as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, often known as the ‘Child Ballads’. These were republished in 2003 by Dover Press. In addition, copies of the 19th-century edition are now available on the Internet Archive: vols I, II, III, IV, V. Copies of the original 1857 vols are also available on Google Books: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII. See Wikipedia entries on Child and the ballads. The text on this site, based on files kindly provided by Cathy Lynn Preston of the University of Colorado, provides the text of those ballads for browsing and searching; it does not provide Child’s scholarly commentary.
The Child Ballads are 305 traditional ballads from England and Scotland, and their American variants, anthologized by Francis James Child during the second half of the 19th century. Their lyrics and Child's studies of them were published as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. The tunes of most of the ballads were collected and published by Bertrand Harris Bronson in and around the 1960s.
Burl Ives’s 1949 album, The Return of the Wayfaring Stranger, for example, includes two: “Lord Randall” and “The Divil and the Farmer”. ❧
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In 1956 four albums (consisting of eight LPs) of 72 Child Ballads sung by Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd were released: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Vols. 1–4. ❧
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Illustration by Arthur Rackham of Child Ballad 26, “The Twa Corbies” ❧
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Joan Baez sang ten Child ballads distributed among her first five albums, the liner notes of which identified them as such. ❧
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