The Best English Folk Music Playlist

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Looking for the best English folk music to add to your playlist? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite folk tunes, perfect for any occasion.

Introduction to English Folk Music

What is English Folk Music?

English Folk music is a genre of music that typically uses traditional instruments and covers a wide variety of styles.

Folk music has been around for centuries and has been used by various cultures as a way to express their identity and heritage. The term “folk music” can be used to describe both traditional music that has been passed down orally, as well as more modern music that has been inspired by traditional folk styles.

Some of the most popular instruments used in English Folk music include the violin, accordion, penny whistle, and guitar. Traditional folk songs often tell stories about real life events such as love, loss, and religion.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in English Folk music, with many young people rediscovering the genre and incorporating it into their own musical style.

The Origins of English Folk Music

Folk music has its roots in the traditions of the common people. In England, folk music began to develop in the medieval era, and continued to evolve over the centuries. By the 20th century, English folk music had developed into a distinct and vibrant genre, with its own distinctive sound and style.

There are many different types of English folk music, ranging from traditional ballads and sea shanties to more modern styles like skiffle and Morris dancing. The best-known performers of English folk music include Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ewan MacColl, Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Simon Nicholas, and Richard Thompson.

If you’re interested in exploring this fascinating genre of music, why not start with our English Folk Music playlist? You’ll find some of the best-loved songs and tunes, ranging from traditional ballads to more modern styles.

The Best English Folk Music Playlist

I’m a big fan of English Folk music, and I’ve put together a playlist of some of my favorite songs. I think you’ll enjoy it.

“The Lark in the Morning” by The Wailin’ Jennys

This recording of “The Lark in the Morning” comes from the album “Firecracker.” The Wailin’ Jennys are a trio of Canadians who sing primarily English-style folk music. This particular song is a traditional ballad that tells the story of a young man who goes off to sea and is never seen again.

“The Leaving of Liverpool” by The Dubliners

“The Leaving of Liverpool” is a traditional English folk song, made popular by The Dubliners. The song is about a young man who is emigrating from Liverpool to America, and is full of nostalgia for his home city.

“The Cuckoo” by Pentangle

Pentangle was an English folk-rock band, founded in the late 1960s. They were one of the few folk bands to achieve mainstream success in the UK, and were particularly popular in Europe. The band’s music combined elements of British and Irish traditional music with jazz and rock. They had a number of hits, including “The Cuckoo” and “Light Flight”, both of which reached the Top 20 in the UK Singles Chart.

“The Unquiet Grave” by Steeleye Span

“The Unquiet Grave” is a traditional English folk song, written in the 18th century. The song is about a young man who is mourning the death of his love, and how he wishes he could trade places with her so that he could be the one who is at peace.

The song has been covered by many artists over the years, but the most well-known version is probably by Steeleye Span, a British folk rock band that was formed in the 1970s. Steeleye Span’s version of “The Unquiet Grave” was released on their album Temptation, and it quickly became one of their most popular songs.

“The Water Is Wide” by Fairport Convention

“The Water Is Wide” is a traditional English folk song that has been recorded by many artists over the years. The most famous version is probably the one by Fairport Convention, which was released in 1970 on their album Liege & Lief. The song is about a young man who is in love with a girl who is married to someone else. He tries to persuade her to run away with him, but she refuses.

“Wild Mountain Thyme” by The Pogues

“Wild Mountain Thyme” is a traditional English folk song set in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. The song tells the story of a young man who is in love with a girl who lives in the Highlands. He is trying to woo her, but she is unimpressed by his city ways and rejects him. Undeterred, he continues to pursue her, vowing to win her heart.

The Pogues version of “Wild Mountain Thyme” was released in 1988 and quickly became a folk music classic. The band brought their own unique style to the song, infusing it with elements of Celtic music and punk rock. The result was a raucous and infectious track that perfectly captured the spirit of English folk music.

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is a song written by British folk singer Ewan MacColl for his wife, Peggy Seeger. The song was first recorded by Roberta Flack in 1972 and has since been covered by many artists including Carly Simon, Peter, Paul and Mary, and John Legend. The song has been described as “one of the most perfect love songs ever written” and is a staple of folk music playlist.

“The Parting Glass” by The Dubliners

“The Parting Glass” is a Irish folk song that has been recorded by many artists over the years. The Dubliners were one of the first to put their spin on the tune and their version has become one of the most well-known. The lyrics are about a group of friends who are parting ways and drinking to their memories together. The song is sad but also upbeat, making it perfect for a night out with friends or a quiet evening at home.

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