Built upon a foundation of balladry inherited from old-world Scotland, the familys repertoire was certainly eclectic but not haphazard. The Child ballads, lyric folksongs, play party or frolic songs, Old Regular Baptist lined hymns, Native American ballads, hant songs, and carols brought together in this collection were assembled by family members who actively sought out fragments of tunes and completed them by adding or embellishing verses and melodies.
This new edition has faithfully retained all seventy-seven line scores of the songs and added four new ones, Loving Hannah, Lovin Henry, Her Mantle So Green, and The Reckless and Rambling Boy. The original headnotes and photographs tell the history of the song as well as how it became a part of the familys life. Chords are indicated for accompaniment; however, music notation and the printed word can only present a reasonable facsimile of any actual song. Jeans singing is simply the best guide to how the song should be sung, so a new audiography and videography have been added to this edition.