From the sleeve notes:
"The songs on this record belong to the period roughly between the years 1780 to 1830. They are the songs of a semi-literate population — weavers, farm labourers, travelling ballad-mongers-who lived in a time of unparalleled economic, political and social change when old ways of life, old patterns of thought were being swept away on a tidal wave of revolution. The reactions of the people whose lives were shaped by the stormy events of that era are mirrored vividly in the songs they created.
The times were stormy indeed. The revolution in France, with its message of hope to some and of terror to others, cast its shadow every where. Napoleon's armies marched and countermarched, re-making the map of Europe. Forges glowed and steam hissed as engineers harnessed iron and coal and water to the service of industry. It was an age which great men — Napoleon, Byron, Paine, Shelly, Stephenson — and also millions of men and women who did not aspire to be great, but only to keep themselves and their children from penury and starvation. Ruled as they were by men who held the doctrines of laissez-faire in somewhat higher reverence than the Sermon on the Mount, they could be forgiven if they had despaired and given up the struggle. Despair they did. but they also fought, sometimes physically, sometimes in less spectacular fashion. Driven from the land, herded into the slums of London or the dark industrial ghettoes that mushroomed like fungoid growths over the countryside. they held on to as much of their old culture as they could and set about forging a new one to meet the challenge of their changed situation.
There is no lack of literature dealing with this period of English history. The mass of statistics of birth-rates, death-rates, wage-rates, corn prices, import and export levels, the plethora of Enclosure Acts. Combination Acts, Gagging Acts, Corn Laws and Seditious Meeting Acts, the endless procession of inventors and their ingenious inventions have been scrupulously chronicled and minutely analysed by an army of historians. But it is often difficult for us to gain any immediate impression of the thoughts and reactions of those shadowy figures, the English common people, who fought and starved and loved and laughed and died to build the world that we know to-day. They did not usually commit their feelings to the pages of books. But the songs they created and sang open up a window directly on to their everyday lives. Bitter or humorous, tragic or ephemeral, these songs have tended to be rather undervalued by most historians as source material. More important for us. perhaps, many of them are fine songs and well worth singing.
We wish to thank the Midlands Folk Centre for allowing us access to their archives."
Sung by The Critics Group:
John Faulkner – mandolin, English concertina
Sandra Kerr – guitar, dulcimer, tin whistle, spoons
Jim O’Connor – drums, percussion
Peggy Seeger – guitar
Tracklist:1. With Henry Hunt We'll Go
2. The Lancashire Lads
3. The Labouring Man
4. Jone 'O Grinfilt
5. Humphrey Hardfeatures
6. Van Deimans Land
7. The Death of Parker
8. Drink Old England Dry
9. The Battle of Waterloo
10. Boney Was a Warrior
11. The Victory
12. The Dudley Boys
13. Keepers and Poachers
14. I Should Like to Be a Policeman
15. The Way to Live
16. Hand Loom Weavers Lament
The Critics Group - Waterloo, Peterloo (1968)
(320 kbps, cover art included)