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Free Reed's award-winning Revival Masters series of box-sets has so far explored the careers of some of the greatest folk and folk-rock stars. This UK label's next release dedicates four CDs and a 156-page book to the music and traditions of Mid Winter. the period that Americans now refer to as "the holidays". Most of the key elements and a great many of the songs that make up what we call the Traditional Christmas began life in America, but as this set shows there are midwinter traditions which stretch back hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus including practices both pious and pagan, which were among the first exports from Britain to the New World. The set's 115 recordings include music and readings from both sides of the Atlantic and cover an astounding range of traditional genres from Sacred Harp to the Sheffield Carols, big ballads to blues, singer-songwriters and tradition-bearers, living legends and recent stars. For the first time in its Revival Masters series, Free Reed is proud to include a who's who of stars of the American folk scene: Joan Baez, Jean Ritchie, Leadbelly, Loudon Wainwright III, Richard Farina, "Blind Boy Grunt", John McCutcheon, John Fahey, Mahalia Jackson, Jeff Warner, Debra Cowan. And the greatest names in British Folk: The Watersons, Peter Bellamy, Maddy Prior, Shirley Collins, Young Tradition, Sandy Denny, Martin Carthy. Folk Rock too: Richard Thompson & Jethro Tull offer unique tracks. Exclusive new recordings from (among others) John Tams, Steve Tilston, Martha Tilston, Martyn Wyndham-Read, Laura Hockenhull, Maggie Boyle & Gary Boyle. Rare source recordings from great traditional performers including Phil Tanner, The Copper Family, Scan Tester, Buell Kazee, Leadbelly, Sacred Harp, May Bradley and Fred Whiting. To complement the classic and new songs and tunes of the Midwinter season, the set features readings by John Betjeman, Robert Frost, T S Elliott, Tony Barrand, Jim Lawton, Boris Karloff and even a rare on-disc appearance of Free Reed's author-and-compiler Nigel Schofield. Never before has an exploration of the traditions that span the holidays of mid-winter brought together such a collection of essential recordings with an authoritative, in-depth and copiously illustrated text. Here you'll discover that Christmas traditions have deep and sometimes startling roots: among the scores of topics explored are - wassailing, mumming, feasting and fasting, traditional sports (including the only true game of football!), the evolution of Santa Claus, a range of Nativities and the question of "just who were the wise men?" Covering the time of year between Advent and Plough Monday, here's a set that proves that an "Xmas" album isn't just for Christmas it'll last the whole season round.


  1. Name
  2. Gower Wassail (first part)
  3. Stopping by Woods
  4. The River
  5. Skater's Waltz
  6. Christmas is now drawing near at hand
  7. The Spirit of Christmas
  8. from Hamlet Act 1 Christmas Is A Comin'
  9. Xmas Island
  10. The Humstrum
  11. Sound your instruments of Joy
  12. Wassail
  13. Snow Falls
  14. Wintergrace
  15. Cherry Tree Carol
  16. Red & Green Christmas
  17. Emmanuel
  18. Song to Mithras
  19. The Meadowhall Carol
  20. God bless the birthday boy
  21. Moving on song
  22. Christmas eve can kill you
  23. Workhouse boy
  24. Snow is on the ground
  25. Christmas comes but once a year
  26. Jack Frost & The Hooded Crow
  27. The Night before Christmas
  28. Christmas Tree
  29. READING: Luke 2:1
  30. Christmas must be tonight
  31. On the morning of Christ's Nativity John McCutcheon
  32. Shepherds Arise
  33. READING: Luke 2:8
  34. Hark Hark What News
  35. Once in royal David's city
  36. The Three Harks
  37. Wexford Carol
  38. I sing of a maiden
  39. Lullay My Liking
  40. Silent Night
  41. The first Nowell
  42. READING: Matthew 2:1
  43. Star in the east (Brightest
  44. Astrologers' Journey
  45. Journey of the Magi
  46. Follow the star
  47. Herod & The Cock
  48. Coventry Carol
  49. The Carnal & The Crane
  50. Go tell it on the mountain
  51. On Christmas Day
  52. Jesu Joy of Man's desiring
  53. Fire & Wine
  54. In the winter
  55. Papa ain't no Santy Claus
  56. Winter flowers
  57. Christmas in Prison
  58. Jogging along with my reindeer
  59. Cardboard Christmas boxes
  60. Comfort & Joy
  61. First Snow in Brooklyn
  62. Lady gay
  63. Peace o'er the world (Bradda Anthem)
  64. Oh What A Lovely War
  65. Christmas 1914
  66. Christmas isn't what it used to be
  67. Christmas (edit)
  68. Ghost of Christmas Past
  69. Christmas morning
  70. Days of Holly & Mistletoe
  71. Huron Carol
  72. The King
  73. The Christmas Hare
  74. Chariots
  75. Remember Bethlehem
  76. Old Christmas / Shooting
  77. Apple Tree Wassail
  78. Gloucestershire Wassail
  79. The Oxen
  80. The Burning Babe
  81. Bushes and Briars
  82. Poor Ditching Boy
  83. Reading Clock Almanac
  84. Dunstan Lullaby
  85. Watts' Cradle Hymn
  86. Boar's Head Carol
  87. The Grinch
  88. Hunting the Wren
  89. Cutty Wren
  90. The Wren (The King)
  91. First Christmas away
  92. Miner's dream of home
  93. Excerpt
  94. Happy Christmas (War is
  95. None but One
  96. Mari Llwyd
  97. Carol for the New Year
  98. The Oxplough Song
  99. Three Ships suite
  100. Gower Wassail (reprise)
  101. Midnight chimes
  102. The January Man
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