Jean Ritchie is the best known and most respected singer of traditional ballads in the United States. It has been nearly thirty years since she originally published Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians, and the music found here tells the story of the "Singing Ritchie Family" at a time when railroads, coal mines, and hillbilly radio were making their first incursions into the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Built upon a foundation of balladry inherited from old-world Scotland, the family's 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 family's life. Chords are indicated for accompaniment; however, music notation and the printed word can present only a reasonable facsimile of any actual song. Jean's 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.