Hunting Songs Volume One: The Lakeland Fell Packs
Most of the songs in this book have been passed down from generation to generation, each an important part of Lakeland oral history. Hence there is no conventional spelling, punctuation or grammar for these written versions, many containing words of dialect. A glossary of terms & dialect words has been added to help with understanding the characters, events & journeys described within the verses. More
I have frequently been at meets or supporters events (including balls) that have, at some point during proceedings, included a song or two, so I was delighted to be asked to review a copy of Hunting Songs Volume One: The Lakeland Fell Packs. This collection of songs from a number of packs across the Lakeland area of the UK has been gathered by Ron Black, with editing and illustrations provided by Wendy Fraser.
... it is packed with a wealth of songs from the featured packs which have formed part of the local oral tradition for decades or even hundreds of years. Unlike some collections in the past, Black and Fraser have left many of the dialect words and region-specific phrases in place instead of trying to sanitise the songs into modern English, and this adds greatly to the charm of the book. The glossary is a handy touch, allowing readers from other areas to understand the words in full.
The introductions to the various sections, ranging from historical notes to biographies to personal remembrances, are well-structured and easy to read, in some cases revealing details that might not be widely known outside the area. I can imagine these being used as the source of questions for hunting quizzes across the UK, and perhaps further afield. There are some widely-known favourites in the collection, such as John Peel, and others that are not familiar outside of Lakeland, and this mixture makes the book very engaging with an easy to read narrative enhanced by Fraser's drawings.
I am very much looking forward to the release of Volume 2 and hope that hunting people everywhere enjoy Volume 1 as much as I have.
Dr H Brook, Bailys Hunting Directory