The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #110621   Message #2322661
Posted By: Brian Peters
22-Apr-08 - 12:49 PM
Thread Name: Bertsongs? (songs of A. L. 'Bert' Lloyd)
Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
"That's interesting, Brian: in A Touch on the Times (1974) Roy Palmer gives the Lloyd version, more or less, and reports that it was collected by Lloyd in Widnes as late as 1951."

Unfortunately, Ruth, when I came across the paper in the VWML I only photocopied a couple of pages' worth of song texts, not the whole article. However, I've just checked Dave Atkinson's English Folk Song Bibliography and the paper in question is listed as:

376. Palmer, Roy. 'The Weaver in Love'. FMJ 3 (1977): 261-274.
Studies variations in the song 'The Weaver and the Factory Maid' in relation to changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution.

A version called 'T'Owd Weaver' seems to be the source of the 5/4 melody we all know from our Steeleye Span recordings, but it's set in Yorkshire ("The finest lass in Morley Town, she always walks out in a fine silk gown"), and is the source for the first couplet I quoted.

Another one called 'The Weaver and the Factory Maid' (sorry, I didn't copy the pages giving the singers' names or dates so I don't know whether any is from Widnes) is the source for the "factory maid is like a queen" line, and also includes verses more familiar from the Lloyd version.

Yet another version contains the familiar verse "I went unto my love's chamber door", and then goes on to some rather rude stuff: "I put my shuttle into her hand, and bid her use it at her command...."

If you want more you'll have to look up RP's paper. Maybe the fragment I've got in front of me misses out another killer version where the factory maid is the victim of snobbery after all. Maybe not.

I've got no axe to grind against Lloyd - who contributed so much that was admirable, and was by all accounts a charming and inspiring man - nor do I disapprove of his politics. 'Folksong in England' was my Bible for many years. But like Ruth, I'm disturbed by evidence that his agenda may have swayed his scholarship, particularly in view of the influence he wielded over, and material he contributed to, the nascent folk revival.