Steve Roud (//; born 1949) is the creator of the Roud Folk Song Index and an expert on folklore and superstition. He was formerly Local Studies Librarian for the London Borough of Croydon and Honorary Librarian of the Folklore Society.
Life and career
Roud Folk Song Index
The Roud Folk Song Index is a database of over 240,000 references to nearly 25,000 songs collected from oral tradition in the English language from all over the world. It began in around 1970 as a personal project, listing the source singer (if known), their locality, the date of noting the song, the publisher (book or recorded source), plus other fields, and crucially assigning a number to each song, including all variants (now known as the 'Roud number'). The system initially used 3x5-inch filing cards in shoeboxes. In 1993, Roud implemented his record system on a computer database, which he continues to expand and maintain and which is now hosted on the website of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.
In the past few years the numbers have been widely accepted in academic circles.
Since 2000, Roud has written a range of volumes on folklore, calendar customs and folk music. A number of these have met with substantial acclaim; 2003's The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland was awarded the Folklore Society's prestigious Katharine Briggs Award for the outstanding folklore-related book of the year. 2006's The English Year, which summarises the calendar customs of the British ritual year, was hailed by The Independent as "a rich and wonderful compendium." The Lore of the Playground, Roud's 2010 exploration of the way children's games evolve and transmit through an oral tradition, was praised in publications including The Spectator and The Yorkshire Post, with The Sunday Times describing it as "a delightful compendium".
Roud's later works on folk music, which build upon the deep research embodied in the Roud Index, have also met with strong reviews. The Daily Telegraph called 2012's The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (co-edited with music specialist Julia Bishop) "(a)n impressive and nourishing book, with an appeal far beyond the folk aficionado", with similar praise coming from The Times, Record Collector and The Independent. Writing in The Guardian, Kathryn Hughes described Folksong in England (2017) as a "monumental history of the English folk song".
In 2009, Roud was one of five people to be awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. This award recognises "those who have made unique or outstanding contributions to the art or science of folk dance, music or song, and/or those who have given exceptional support in furthering the aims of the Society".
In 2014, Roud was given the Walford Award by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals' Information Services Group. His 2012 book with Julia Bishop, The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, had won the Reference Award the previous year.
- (with Jacqueline Simpson) A Dictionary of English Folklore. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2000. ISBN 019210019X.
- (with Eddie Cass) Room, Room, Ladies and Gentlemen: an introduction to the English Mummers' play. London: English Folk Dance and Song Society/Folklore Society. 2002. ISBN 9780854181858.
- The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland. London: Penguin. 2003. ISBN 0141006730.
- A Pocket Guide to Superstitions of the British Isles. London: Penguin. 2004. ISBN 9780140515497.
- The English Year: a month-by-month guide to the nation's customs and festivals, from May Day to Mischief Night. London: Penguin. 2006. ISBN 9780140515541.
- London Lore: the legends and traditions of the world's most vibrant city. London: Random House. 2008. ISBN 9781847945112.
- Monday's Child is Fair of Face: ... and other traditional beliefs about babies and motherhood. London: Random House. 2008. ISBN 9781905211524.
- The Lore of the Playground : one hundred years of children's games, rhymes and traditions. London: Random House. 2010. ISBN 9781905211517.
- (with Julia Bishop) The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. London: Penguin Classics. 2012. ISBN 9780141194615.
- Folksong in England. London: Faber. 2017. ISBN 9780571309719.
- (with David Atkinson) Street Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2017. ISBN 9781443894999.
- Roud, Steve (14 April 2011). Challenges of Designing the Roud Folk Song Index (Video). Introduced by Nancy Groce of the American Folklife Center. Library of Congress. Event occurs at 3:45. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
- Wilks, Jon (30 August 2017). "Steve Roud interview: What is folk music, exactly?". The Grizzly Folk. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2021. Alt URL
- Faulkner, Kate (September 2016). "From shoeboxes to the World Wide Web: the enthusiast as indexer". The Indexer. Society of Indexers. 34 (3): 99–103. doi:10.3828/indexer.2016.29.
- Valentino, Andrea (12 September 2022). "'I've got to stop somewhere!' How Steve Roud compiled his epic folk song archive". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
- "Vaughan Williams Memorial Library". English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "The Katharine Briggs Award". The Folklore Society. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
- O'Brien, Murrough (17 February 2008). "The English Year: The nation's customs and festivals, from May Day to Mischief Night, by Steve Roud". Review. The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
- "Critical eye: book reviews roundup". The Guardian. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
- Keens, Oliver (25 June 2012). "The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs". Review. The Daily Telegraph.
- Hodgkinson, Will (11 June 2012). "A lewd and lusty rendering of England's past". Review. The Times. No. 70596. London. p. 14. Retrieved 29 July 2021 – via Gale.
- Draper, Jason (23 May 2012). "The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs". Review. Record Collector. No. 402. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
- Cumming, Tim (29 June 2012). "The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Edited by Steve Roud and Julia Bishop". Review. The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
- Hughes, Kathryn (11 November 2017). "Folk Song in England by Steve Roud review – the music of the common people?". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
- "Gold Badge Awards". English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
- Duffy, Amanda (16 October 2014). "The Walford Award 2014". K & IM Refer: Journal of the Knowledge and Information Management Group. Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
- Lezard, Nicholas (24 April 2010). "London Lore: The Legends and Traditions of the World's Most Vibrant City by Steve Roud". Review. The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
- "Street Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century: Producers, Sellers, Consumers". Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Retrieved 29 July 2021.