was a poet, a political activist, a playwright, a fine songwriter (his "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is one of the greatest love songs ever written), and a nuanced and balanced interpreter of traditional folk songs, particularly those that were sung in his native Scotland. This unassuming album of Scots ballads was recorded in 1959 for Tradition Records, the label started in the early stages of the folk revival by song collector Diane Hamilton
and Patrick Clancy
of the Clancy Brothers
, and prominently features MacColl
's wife Peggy Seeger
(sister of Mike Seeger
and half-sister of Pete Seeger
) on banjo, guitar, and second vocals. The versions presented here (half of which are Child ballads) are wonderfully casual and even appropriately ragged at times, with an easy intimacy that gives them the feel of field recordings. This set was previously released on CD by Tradition in 1997 with a slightly different running order.