Pennsylvania Songs and Legends - George Korson
The fact that this collection was published by Johns Hopkins Press might suggest an academic sobriety it doesn't possess. For the most part, the authors of these articles took their commission as an invitation to let out their storytelling impulses, generally preferring a nostalgic, glorifying style full of ethnic and social stereotypes. Even when quoting people they'd met, many of the authors give descriptions of their interlocutors that can come off as condescending, and record their words with eye dialect.

The general remarks in the first article, "The British Folk Tradition", are far too vague to add much to the understanding of English, Scottish, and Irish cultural transmission in Pennsylvania or anywhere; it does contain transcriptions of nice variants of (mostly) well-known songs in a range of genres, with helpful brief indications of who sang them when.

The purplest prose is probably that in the article on "Canallers", but it has a lot of competition. Still, I do think this book is a nice source of stories and songs, taking its contextual observations with the necessary grain of salt. There's a wonderful anecdote about two blacksnakes in the chapter "Pike County Tall Tales" that I intend to try retelling myself if I get the chance; and some fine stories attributed to one Gib Morgan in the "Oilmen" chapter. In the coal mining chapter, George Korson claims (in language that suggests exaggeration) that there was an "epidemic" of rhyming in the mining communities in the later nineteenth century; I can believe that cultural circumstances would encourage the composing of verse, and Korson quotes enough samples to back up his case that something a bit out of the usual was going on. Some of the newly-composed songs in the chapter are definitely above average quality for such doggerel, too. One article that's strikingly different from the rest, much more detailed and paying attention to historical and musicological research, is "Amish Hymns as Folk Music" by J. William Frey.