The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #110621 Message #3940225
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
29-Jul-18 - 10:40 AM
Thread Name: Bertsongs? (songs of A. L. 'Bert' Lloyd)
Subject: RE: Bertsongs? (songs of A. L. 'Bert' Lloyd)
I know this is an old thread, but I only just read Arthur's book and have found it interesting on a range of topics. I was surprised it hadn't been discussed more on this site.
To this list of 'Bertsongs' I would maybe add 'The Coalowner and the Pitman's Wife'. The EFS version seems to be a composite with tune selected by Lloyd. Lloyd did not say so in that book, though he seems to have done elsewhere. Given how highly he praises his own 'improved' version several times in that book, it seems a bit of a cheek to me. I don't know where the originals might be, so I cannot judge how much he 'improved' upon it.
Another, which is a pair really, would be 'The Unfortunate Rake' when masquerading as a 19th century broadside, when so such thing of that name appears to exist, and a closely similar version called 'St James' Hospital' both of which seem to be Bert Composites. There is a long discussion on this website, partly on a 'The Unfortunate Rake' thread and some on another one, maybe about St James' Hospital.
Arthur also mentions the 'misinformation'/confusion about the date Lloyd returned from Australia, and gives an example or two when it seems Lloyd misrepresented his own background and/or his background was misrepresented on record covers to make it seem more folk-based than it was.
Not to downplay the contribution Lloyd made, but to try to get some sort of realistic overall picture. Like most of us, he was not a 'perfect' human being.
Sorry if I am repeating points already made on the thread: I did skim it first to see but may have missed stuff.
An interesting point raised by Arthur was that Lloyd did not remark on or write about how Traveller culture in Eastern Europe was side-lined by Eastern European folklorists of his time, and how staged folklore celebrations were put on by the regimes. I forget which country Arthur mentioned. And what Arthur said was more nuanced that this brief summary. Also you cannot expect Lloyd to know/do everything: not expecting him to be Superman.