The subject of Dave Bulmer/Nic Jones keeps appearing in on-line folk music forums at regular intervals because there is a small, core group of Nic's self-appointed "defenders" who have such extreme views about Bulmer that they've made this whole sad scenario into something of a folk jihad.
This situation strikes me as no worse than what Alan Lomax did to Leadbelly. Countless other collectors and publishers have done the same when they collected and published someone else's music and kept the royalties for themselves.
Yes, it's a real problem. No, there likely won't be a solution which benefits Nic Jones in his lifetime. Yes, that is very sad for Nic.
But it also seems that Nic and some of his friends have found a way around the problem, to the extent that we are now seeing some of his back cataloge here and there. With the release of the new CD, it appears things are looking up for him and his wife financially.
So why beat the dead Bulmer horse again? What purpose does it serve, but to whip people up into a frenzy, as this whole thread has once again, long before this GUEST ever entered into it...
I have no idea what kind of person Dave Bulmer is, but I do know that the Jones jihad is way out of proportion to the "morality" (or lack thereof) of what Bulmer has done regarding Nic.
Histrionics is what this is about, nothing more, nothing less.
I don't like the fact that Bulmer doesn't release back catalogue material as much as anyone.
But the suggestion the catalogue Bulmer or Celtic Records has rights to should be considered a national treasure, and his failure to use his own money to produce new commercial product with it an act of "cultural vandalism", is way over the top in my book.
The problem of having the rights to old masters, whether owned by a commercial or not for profit entity (like the School of Scottish Studies), will always present disagreements between the artists and their estates, and the entity with the rights. These are complex issues, to be sure, and there just plain aren't easy answers to them.
But even if Bulmer had released the rights or put out new CDs of Nic's material, Nic would still be disabled. Would his comfort level be better than it has been? I don't know. I don't know how much rereleases of Nic's material would actually have earned him, and nor does anyone else.
But to make an argument, which I believe the Jones camp are doing, that Nic's suffering is a result of Dave Bulmer's greed and immorality, is specious.
I've never seen Nic Jones publicly make a statement or an issue about this. Ever. So if Nic himself doesn't feel compelled to make a public issue out of what's happened, what the hell possesses Folk Roots and this on-line Jones jihad to keep bringing it up over and over and over? Is that supposed to make Nic Jones and his wife feel better?
Or are they getting on their high horses of indignation to make themselves look good?
Did it ever occur to people that the reason Nic himself isn't involved in this mudslinging is because he wants to leave it in the past and get on with his life? Being bitter and vindictive, like some of the Jones camp are, won't help Nic's situation. Like I said, Nic's accident and his disability are very sad. But it has been many years since he was disabled, and people do need to heal. Ripping open Nic's wounds publicly, over and over, serves absolutely no good purpose for Nic or anyone else.
And how paranoid can a person get about the GUEST thing? I'm actually Dave Bulmer? Good grief.
Why not just let the whole Bulmer thing go, and let Nic enjoy the limelight of his new release? Would that be so horrible? Why whip up such a frenzy that people start suggesting that someone physically assault Bulmer at his local session?