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A Collection of traditional British Folk Songs

A Collection Of Traditional British Folk SongsAn Acoustic album celebrating traditional English and Irish Folk Music, a collection of well known English songs, put together, arranged, and recorded by the folk musician and multi-instrumentalist Mat Williams.

With his way of playing typical folk instruments like fiddle, mandolin, banjo, Irish whistles etc., Mat already added a folky touch to many of the arrangements featured on the Nursery Rhyme Collections.

On our pages you find extensive sound samples and full lyrics to each song. Furthermore we proudly provide commentaries about the origin and deeper meaning of each Folk song, written by Gillian Goodman, a true Folk music expert.

Mat Williams about the development of Full English

Mat WilliamsThe groundwork for this album started in the early 1970’s, in my childhood. As I listened to my mother’s folk music records and heard people singing these old folk songs, I liked the music because it told great stories and I would work out, or have the meaning explained to me, with all the strange and unfamiliar words presenting age old scenes of country life. Now my youngest children skip around the house singing three hundred year old lyrics and in the truest sense of tradition, the songs are passed on. Most of these come from ‘families’ of songs and the lyrics and tunes have been changed and adapted by generations of singers and players, like an ancient and never ending game of ‘Chinese Whispers.’

So why didn't I record this album any earlier? I don't know! Lack of time? Lack of opportunity? However, in September 2011 Mike Wilbury contacted me to see if I would be interested in putting together some traditional folk songs for use in his multi-lingual education website. I had already met and worked with Mike on two of the nursery rhyme albums and also on his German nursery rhymes album. I liked the idea so I started researching the songs and recording my own demo versions to send to him. It soon became clear that these songs should also be made into an album for a worldwide market and instead of just recording some guitar/vocal arrangements I should find some quality musicians to collaborate with for the project.

Dicky DeeganThe first obvious choice was Dicky Deegan the piper and whistle player. I had played in a folk band with him in the mid nineties and we had roughly kept in touch ever since. The uilleann pipes are my favourite instrument and I just knew that Dicky would be perfect for the job. Once Dicky was on board I contacted Gerard Byrne to come and play bodhran. We had played together some years back and one of my fondest memories of him was him playing in my wedding procession down a lovely old cobbled street in my hometown-what a great day!

The final key-player was easy. Ian Watts and I have collaborated on many different Mat Williamsprojects over the years and his many talents are well known to me. Rebecca Leivers, who sang the lead vocals on many songs of the Nursery Rhyme Collection joined us for some backing vocals, along with my daughter Briony.

Recording started in October 2011 and by early 2012 we had the makings of a fine album. Full English is a humorous title as although the songs are nearly all English, the style and instrumentation was very Irish and one or two of the songs are from the Scottish borders. What I wanted to create was an album of English songs with the flair and feel of music more normally associated with Irish folk. Hopefully we have achieved this and if the album is enjoyed anywhere near as much as I have enjoyed getting it together then it will indeed be a great success.

Mat Williams, 2012


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