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Bertsongs? (songs of A. L. 'Bert' Lloyd)

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THE SEAMEN'S HYMN


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GUEST,Pseudonymous 29 Jul 18 - 10:40 AM
The Sandman 21 Apr 12 - 07:57 AM
mark gregory 21 Apr 12 - 02:56 AM
Matthew Edwards 09 Aug 11 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,SteveG 09 Aug 11 - 03:08 PM
The Sandman 08 Aug 11 - 05:26 PM
Andrez 08 Aug 11 - 07:01 AM
Anglo 16 Sep 09 - 11:00 AM
Brian Peters 16 Sep 09 - 10:21 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Sep 09 - 09:37 AM
Brian Peters 16 Sep 09 - 07:59 AM
Dave Sutherland 16 Sep 09 - 07:41 AM
Brian Peters 16 Sep 09 - 06:00 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Sep 09 - 11:38 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Sep 09 - 11:15 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Sep 09 - 06:17 PM
Santa 15 Sep 09 - 04:14 PM
Brian Peters 15 Sep 09 - 10:07 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Sep 09 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,doc.tom 13 May 08 - 01:41 AM
GUEST,Lighter 12 May 08 - 08:22 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 12 May 08 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 12 May 08 - 05:58 PM
Richard Bridge 12 May 08 - 03:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 May 08 - 01:07 AM
The Sandman 11 May 08 - 06:50 PM
Phil Edwards 11 May 08 - 05:20 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 May 08 - 03:00 PM
Nerd 10 May 08 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Lighter 10 May 08 - 03:58 PM
astro 10 May 08 - 03:04 PM
astro 10 May 08 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 10 May 08 - 01:44 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 May 08 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Lighter 10 May 08 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Lighter 10 May 08 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 10 May 08 - 12:43 PM
Brian Peters 10 May 08 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Lighter 10 May 08 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,redmax 10 May 08 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Lighter 10 May 08 - 09:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 May 08 - 05:19 AM
Phil Edwards 10 May 08 - 04:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 May 08 - 04:12 AM
The Sandman 10 May 08 - 04:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 May 08 - 02:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 May 08 - 09:02 PM
Nerd 09 May 08 - 09:01 PM
The Sandman 09 May 08 - 07:58 PM
Brian Peters 09 May 08 - 04:32 PM
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Subject: RE: Bertsongs? (songs of A. L. 'Bert' Lloyd)
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 29 Jul 18 - 10:40 AM

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.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 07:57 AM

We won't be including Bert's version of Heave away my Johnny, but not because he wrote it, because it's crap!"
   your subjective opinion, others may view it differently, your post reminds me of early folk song collectors who did not include songs in their collections, because it did not fit their idea of what a folk song should be.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: mark gregory
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 02:56 AM

Bert: The Life and Times of A.L.Lloyd by Dave Arthur is being launched on 31 May 2012 at

Venue: Cecil Sharp House
Start Time: 7:30:PM

Music by Dave Arthur and his band, Martyn Wyndham Read and Iris Bishop.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:10 PM

According to David Gregory's article in the Canadian Journal for Traditional Music (1997) A.L. Lloyd and the English Folk Song Revival, 1934-44 Bert sailed from Liverpool on board the Southern Empress for a seven month whaling voyage in 1937, and on his return he shipped aboard a freighter out of Liverpool in 1938.

I can't recall where I read that Bert joined the ship in Birkenhead Docks and found it crewed mainly by Welshmen who sang hymns. It may be somewhere in his sleeve notes.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 03:08 PM

If it helps, what Bert did was part of a long-lasting tradition indulged in by many highly-respected and great men, some of whom, but by no means all, came clean and regretted their forgery. Almost all of them were poets or were well endowed with creative genius. None of them ended up in prison!

Allan Ramsey, Thomas Percy, Robert Jamieson, Walter Scott, William Motherwell, Peter Buchan, Sabine Baring Gould, to name but a few.

As a singer I greatly admire their forgery/creative genius, indeed the mischief maker in me admires their daring.

However, as a researcher, it saddens me that some of them didn't see fit to eventually come clean or leave behind better clues to the extent of their creativity.

All of this sums up my feelings towards Bert.

BTW a project I'm involved in involves the recording of a version of The Weary Whaling Ground. Can anyone please give me the date of Bert's whaling season out of Hull? The recording is for Hull Maritime Museum and we will be crediting Bert with the song. We won't be including Bert's version of Heave away my Johnny, but not because he wrote it, because it's crap!


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 05:26 PM

To clarify an earlier point, what Martin Simpson said about "Peggy and the Soldier" is in the text of his Kind Letters CD.
Any way the original has a happy ending


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Andrez
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 07:01 AM

Refreshed so I can trace this thread.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Anglo
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 11:00 AM

Checking the contents, I discovered that Topic's CD reissue of the Iron Muse had only seven pieces from the original LP. Not including The Poor Cotton Weaver. I have a strong memory of Lloyd singing it. I thought I had the original LP, but can't turn it up, so that may be a figment of my imagination, but the cut listing is on Musical Traditions' Topic Discography page, 12T86.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 10:21 AM

Point taken, MtheGM (and who wrote the 'Fanny Blair' tune??). I've just realised - my recent messages repeat completely a load of stuff I'd already posted. Whoops. And still no smoking gun on the 'FLW' tune after a year and a half! One day...


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 09:37 AM

Brian - I agree that Ewan's '4-Loom Weaver' has a fine dramatic tune, which would appeal to us as folk-oriented people [I know you will understand what I mean by this]: but I don't think that sort of 'soaring Dorian-ness' is the sort of thing to appeal, melodically, to a Victorian Noncomformist minister's wife as melodic, but rather as a sort of recitative. Our ears are attuned to a certain kind of air, which non-folkies just don't get: — my father, just for a for instance, could never even hear any tune whatever in Fanny Blair, which I think has one of the most magnificently scary tunes of the lot of them.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 07:59 AM

Yes, Dave, it's a gap in my education and I'd love to hear a copy, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 07:41 AM

Brian, I am surprised to see you say that you haven't heard "The Iron Muse" as it probably still stands as a milestone in recorded folk music. As well as Lloyd it featured some of the major singers and musicians of the day including Bob Davenport, Louis Killen, Anne Briggs, Ray Fisher, Matt McGinn, Colin Ross, Jim Bray and Alf Edwards.
Bert uses the 'Jone O'Grinfilt' tune, as in Folksong in England, but he omits the three verses concerning the bailiffs on the LP.
When I first heard it, around 1968, it was undoubtedly the main item on the album and I still go back to it on occasions. I once asked Bert to sing it but he told me that he didn't do it very often and that it was rather long.
Since those days I have heard the original "Jone O'Grinfilt" sung on various occasions and I have seen printed versions of the ensuing family of songs.
Hopefully I'll see you at Grand Union Folk in a few weeks time, if so I'll try to remember to bring you a tape of "The Iron Muse"


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 06:00 AM

>> 'a kind of droning recitative, depending much on expression & feeling'. This description fits MacColl's Jon o Grinfilt's 4-Loom Weaver version much more, in fact, than Bert's Poor Cotton Weaver on Iron Muse, which is quite catchily tuneful <<

I don't think I've ever heard 'The Iron Muse', but if the tune there is the same as the one printed in 'Folk Song in England', then it's the generic tune to which all of the broadsides of the 'Jone O'Grinfilt' family were sung (Sid Calderbank gave a very interesting presentation on the history of these broadsides at Sidmouth a couple of years ago).

I would hardly describe the tune to which MacColl sang 'Four Loom Weaver' - a magnificent, soaring Dorian melody that's one of the most dramatic in the revival canon - as a 'drone'.

>> The question I have is whether the "Mary Barton" version reflects the politics claimed to have been reversed/inserted by Bert Lloyd? <<

The original broadside, as Pip says, contains all the bitter expressions of anger and injustice that we know from the song. The interesting question is whether those scars ran so deep that the song was still alive in the memory of a singer in the immediate vicinity of Greenfield as late as the 1950s - when MacColl met Beckett Whitehead. One of these days I really am going to get down to the necessary research, but my hunch is that Mr. Whitehead (a prominent local historian and dialect enthusiast, rather than the humble mill-hand of legend) might well have had a copy of the text in Harland and Wilkinson's 'Ballads and Songs of Lancashire', rather than holding the piece in his repertoire of songs.

We already know that 'To The Begging' appeared in the Folk Revival with a completely different tune from the Beckett Whitehead original.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 11:38 PM

BTW - in a post of 06 May 08 0910a.m., Pavane drew a distinction, which seems relevant to this thread, between 'intellectual' & 'scholar'; Bert was much aware of this distinction, discussion of which forms a fair part of the theme of an interview I did with him for Folk Review (published in issue of September 1974 under title "The Donkey & the Zebra" [a phrase he used to illustrate how two kinds of song could have similar outlines but not be identical, part of the traditional/contemporary distinction]. The main theme of this thread obviously didn't explicitly arise as the doubts hadn't really surfaced then; but some parts of the interview might nevertheless be germane — Dave Arthur has commented to me that he found my interview helpful in the biog of Bert we know he is working on, though 'Bert chose to ignore huge areas of his life as he always did'. If anyone would like to read this interview but can't access it [I am not sure how accessible back numbers of folk review are after all this time], I should be glad to send a copy to anyone who requests & lets me have a steam-mail address - my email is - mgmyer@keme.co[dot]uk -

Michael Grosvenor Myer


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 11:15 PM

Mrs Gaskell presumably heard the song from one of her husband's Nonconformist congregation, whom she befriended on their having, to her initial distaste, to move northwards to heavily-industrialised Manchester [the subject of some obviously autobiographically-derived incidents in her later novel North&South], subsequently interpolating it into Mary Barton where it fits well thematically. Obviously she gives no tune, but she describes one - 'a kind of droning recitative, depending much on expression & feeling'. This description fits MacColl's Jon o Grinfilt's 4-Loom Weaver version much more, in fact, than Bert's Poor Cotton Weaver on Iron Muse, which is quite catchily tuneful, & whose text, as I have already remarked, is very close to Mrs Gaskell's Oldham Weaver. Bert, incidentally, in his Iron Muse note, expresses the opinion that this version excels the Grinfilt version, unlike most of many parodies of the latter which he doesn't adduce; adding the information [but without citing any authority] that his version is known as 'Jon o Grinfilt Junior'; but within the context of the theme of this thread, it may be begging the question to mention this, or to know how seriously to accept it as fact.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 06:17 PM

Santa - having checked Mary Barton and the Jone O'Grinfield broadside, I think we can say Bert's off the hook with regard to this one. The "fight with blood up to th'een" line is in the broadside, I think (the printing gets very smudgy at just that point). The relevant verse is also in Mrs Gaskell's version, although she seems not to have liked the idea of a weaver's wife talking about fighting the power - rather than "fight till she was in blood up to her eyes", she has the woman saying she'd sew up her own mouth and eyes.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Santa
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 04:14 PM

The question I have is whether the "Mary Barton" version reflects the politics claimed to have been reversed/inserted by Bert Lloyd?

To clarify an earlier point, what Martin Simpson said about "Peggy and the Soldier" is in the text of his Kind Letters CD.

"....appears in one form only in the EFDSS Journal. Carthy took it and married it to the tune "Lord Ellenwater". This required him to alter the scansion of the verses. He then asked Bert Lloyd for any verses he might know which miraculously duly appeared, fitting the scansion of "Lord Ellenwater", suggesting that Bert had probably written them himself. Martin also recalls writing the odd verse. Ah, the folk process."


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 10:07 AM

I haven't the time to look through the messages again, but I'm sure the 'Mary Barton' reference has been mentioned at some point on this thread or another one. It's widely recognized that the text of 'Four Loom Weaver' is drawn from one of the Jone O'Grinfilt (spell it how you like!) broadside ballads of the 19th century. The mystery surrounding it relates to its 'collection' by MacColl from Beckett Whitehead of Delph. Was it actually part of Mr. Whitehead's apparently small repertoire of songs, and from where did it acquire that mighty tune?


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 02:53 PM

What a long thread. But nowhere within it can I find [or if it's there I missed it] the fact recorded that a version of 'Four-Loom Weaver', aka 'Poor Cotton Weaver' (one of the songs named by OP in first entry, and about which argument occurs above as to whether it was more the work of Bert or Ewan) is reproduced in a very full version, extremely close to the one Bert sang on 'The Iron Muse', under title 'The Oldham Weaver', in Chapter IV of Elizabeth Gaskell's 'Mary Barton, a Tale of Manchester Life' [*1848*].


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 13 May 08 - 01:41 AM

Yes, Lighter, they did. Collected from Thomas Edison (!!) - 1929 - but it's not the tune Bert used.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 12 May 08 - 08:22 PM

The refreshed "Paddy and the Whale" thread now shows how Lloyd altered that song from a simple tale of an Irishman accidentally swallowed on his way to England into a comic whaling epic set in Antarctic waters.

He may also have added the tune. My very old notes do not indicate whether Greenleaf & Mansfield provided one when they printed the only known traditional text in 1933.

As far as I can see, the Bodleian has no broadside version of the song, though an Irishman does get swallowed up near Greenland in this otherwise unrelated ballad:

http://bodley24.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/acwwweng/ballads/image.pl?ref=Harding+B+11(4100)&id=05035.gif&seq=1&size=0


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 12 May 08 - 07:19 PM

Nerd said:
When Dave Arthur's book on Lloyd finally comes out, we MAY have a better idea of how many songs from the revival have been substantially altered by Lloyd, but even in that work it isn't likely Dave will have had a chance to do all that much song-sleuthing.

Les asked:
When is Dave's book expected?

The book is due to be launched at the Tribute to Bert day at Cecil Sharp House on 15 November. The book is being published by the EFDSS.
Incidentally, I have enjoyed the debate as it's unfurled here... lots of food for thought. And ... i have alerted Dave Arthur to the thread ...
Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 12 May 08 - 05:58 PM

"I'm sincerely hoping, Charlotte, that you were being as sarcastic as I. "

nope...but there again I'm not really that concerned about what Lloyd wrote and what he didn't write, I'll perform the songs regardless.

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 May 08 - 03:02 AM

This thread is very informative in places - but not all places.

Oh, and 300!


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 May 08 - 01:07 AM

What you're not allowing for is that where you say a song is from, may be part of where you want to take it.

I can see that such a subject might be of overwhelming concern to an academic or an educator like Brian who doesn't wish to impart false information.

its amazing rthough how people will warm to a song if you tell them its from their local area. Sometimes they even tell you they knew the writer, even if you've got your facts all wrong.

The artist must surely take the version of the song he feels most able to 'sell' to the audience - however unsatisfactory its provenance. That's my instinct at least, and I wouldn't be surprised if these considerations crept into Lloyd's considerations.

Even if he didn't leave a record of himself thinking like this - isn't it how all singers think?


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 May 08 - 06:50 PM

I think Bert Lloyd did all of these, but they're not the same thing - most of us have done 1. to a greater or lesser extent, but I shouldn't think many of us have done 4.
I must work on it then.
now how about Bob Roberts,does anyone know did he rewrite Gamekeepers lie Sleeping? or is it a Bert song


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 May 08 - 05:20 PM

Thanks, Steve - as the saying goes, I'm still ignorant but at least now I'm ignorant on a higher level.

Perhaps one of the things that makes this such a slippery topic is that we're bundling together several different (but related) elements of Lloyd's working practices:

1. Reworking traditional sources, sometimes quite heavily (Skewball, Wings of a Gull, TW&TFM).
2. Patching together traditional material with substantial chunks of his own work (probably Long a-growing, possibly Blackleg Miner)
3. Using authored material without acknowledgment, either to make a whole song (TRC) or to patch together with traditional material (Reynardine).
4. Giving patched-together songs false and misleading attributions (TRC, Reynardine, possibly Blackleg Miner).

I think Bert Lloyd did all of these, but they're not the same thing - most of us have done 1. to a greater or lesser extent, but I shouldn't think many of us have done 4.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 May 08 - 03:00 PM

When is Dave's book expected?


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Nerd
Date: 10 May 08 - 04:39 PM

Charlotte, it's not so much that no one knows the answer as that it's inherently unanswerable (and the answer wouldn't necessarily tell us much). The question assumes Lloyd was a significant "collector," which he wasn't; his "collections" from Australia and from his days on ships may never have existed at all; if they did, they were never published and the manuscripts (if there ever were any) have disappeared. His "collection" "Come All Ye Bold Miners" is really an anthology; he reprints previously published material, sometimes claiming an "as-sung-by," which is almost always unverifiable, sometimes making no claim at all that an item was ever sung, or a "folksong." (One item in the book is a 400-line-long abridgement of an even longer poem by Edward Chicken, which was never in the oral tradition.) Often, the material is reprinted from old books, sometimes from old sheet music, with no indication that they were ever in oral circulation. So it's not what a folklorist would call "collecting."

Because of this, the only "collecting" work Lloyd did, in the sense of collecting from verifiable oral tradition, was (1) a very small project (seven songs and a tune) and (2) recorded on disc by the BBC, so any alterations he made will be immediately apparent (if the BBC saved the recordings).

Sometimes, he created a song text and CLAIMED to have collected it from someone. The two times we pretty much know that happened were with The Recruited Collier and Reynardine. Other times he changed the person he claimed to have collected a song from ("one of the has-beens"). If we add these three to the seven songs we know he collected, we get ten songs. Three of them he made false claims about, or 30 percent. Two of them we know are substantially different from any collected version, so 20 percent. If someone could compare his later sung versions of "The Foggy Dew" and "Pleasant and Delightful" with the ones he collected, I suspect we'd get ap around 40 percent. But these are all based on a very small sample of material he "collected," and therefore pretty meaningless numbers.

If we wanted to base it instead on the number of songs he "passed on," we'd doubtless get a smaller percentage that he had substantially altered in a way that misrepresented the past. But we run into the difficulty that no complete list exists of the songs he passed on, so we can't work out a proportion.

When Dave Arthur's book on Lloyd finally comes out, we MAY have a better idea of how many songs from the revival have been substantially altered by Lloyd, but even in that work it isn't likely Dave will have had a chance to do all that much song-sleuthing.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 May 08 - 03:58 PM

I just posted my findings on the "Drunken Maidens" to the song's own thread - for those interested.

For those less interested, Lloyd's "English Drinking Songs" LP/CD features the song pretty much as Baring-Gould collected it from an old man in Lydford in 1887-88.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: astro
Date: 10 May 08 - 03:04 PM

Sorry - the above from astro is actually Desert Dancer on his machine.

~ Becky in L.A. at the moment


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: astro
Date: 10 May 08 - 03:03 PM

Sure, why should we bother trying to answer questions that have not been answered YET? Surely that's a waste of time... let's shut down all the research departments of universities while we're at it.

I'm sincerely hoping, Charlotte, that you were being as sarcastic as I.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 10 May 08 - 01:44 PM

"Charlotte, no one does know the answer.

As far as I know."

That's the answer I was expecting :-D Thank you

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 May 08 - 01:30 PM

43.7%


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 May 08 - 01:24 PM

Charlotte, no one does know the answer.

As far as I know.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 May 08 - 01:23 PM

Brian, you are correct. "The Weary Whaling Grounds" on "Leviathan" is the song now known as "The Wings of a Gull."

"The Whaleman's Lament" on "Leviathan" ends with the words "them bitter whaling grounds." The Catalpa version in Huntington ends, "For the pleasures are but few my boys /Far from our native shore."

Huntington doesn't say where he got his tune for "The Whaleman's Lament." Lloyd's is, appropriately, rather more melancholy.

"Leviathan's" notes (by Lloyd) say that the "Lament" "comes from some time between the 1820s and '40s." Since the log of the Catalpa dates from 1856, it is difficult to account for Lloyd's certainty.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 10 May 08 - 12:43 PM

"All I'd like to know is which songs are heavily rewritten, and what proportion of his work as a collector they represent."

Apparently no one appears to know the answer, thus the reason(s) for studiously avoiding the question.

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 May 08 - 12:30 PM

Can we just clarify this? On my copy of 'Leviathan', Lloyd gives the title 'The Weary Whaling Grounds' to the song beginning "If I had the wings of a gull, my boys...."

'The Whaleman's Lament' is also on the LP, and it finishes with the lines:
"The pleasures they are but few my boys
On them bitter whaling grounds."

Only the former has has a modal tune. We're probably talking about the same two songs, but I don't have a copy of Huntington so I thought I'd better check.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 May 08 - 09:36 AM

"The Weary Whaling Grounds," another American piece solely in Huntington, is distinct from "The Wings of a Goney/ Gull." The original title, from the log of the Catalpa, 1856, was "The Whalemen's Lament."

Huntington tells us frankly that the whalinhg logs he examined contained no tunes at all. He explains that the melodies he prints "come from every possible source," and that he trimmed and changed some to fit the words.

Lloyd's tune is a modal version of Huntington's.

Lloyd's verbal alterations are less extensive than those he worked on "The Wings of a Goney," but "The Whalemen's Lament" does not include the climactic and memorable phrase, "those weary whaling grounds."


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 10 May 08 - 09:33 AM

Thanks for the First Person analysis, Brian. Very interesting stuff.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 May 08 - 09:14 AM

This thread

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=63876#1040999

nails down the origin of "Hullabaloo Belay." Briefly, stanza one and the tune are legit; the rest of the story was made up in 1925 by the arranger, S. Taylor Harris, because the singer could not recall any more of the lyrics, if theer were any.

No earlier version of the shanty is known.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 May 08 - 05:19 AM

Do any of you lot remember Eric Illott who used to travel round with a sort of kit bag full of ukeleles?


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 May 08 - 04:19 AM

who put the parrot in the outlandish knight?

"I'd like to shake his hand..."

Thanks, Dick - there's a song in there.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 May 08 - 04:12 AM

Dick


do you not think it possible that shanties were created spontaneously,that new verses were added as the work was being performed.

Yes.

I was greatly entertained by Stan Hugill's account of the origin of Hullaballo-Balay:

P484 Shanties of the Seven Sea

Hugill met a collector called Taylor-Harris who had been commissioned to produce 6 shanties. In his search he had run to earth an aged seaman called Woodward and got 5 shanties from him. After sometime he got one verse and the tune so Taylor-Harris made up the rest.

I have to say I think it's a good song and I enjoy singing it and telling the story.


I feel sure that most people agree with what you say about Bert but he did willfully deceive us about the origin of quite a few songs - it's just dishonest, that's all really


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 May 08 - 04:00 AM

do you not think it possible that shanties were created spontaneously,that new verses were added as the work was being performed.
so a collector was dishonest,but left us with a better shanty,how important is it?isnt the performance of the music the most important thing.
when I play Irish tunes, I treat the tune as a skeleton,and often when I play,I might play a phrase with different ornamentation,or just differently.
folk music, traditional music, should change and evolve.who put the parrot in the outlandish knight?who cares.,Isnt this one of the differences between folk music and popsongs.
I have learned something from this thread, [the origins of some so called trad songs],but it wont make any difference to how I perform them,nor do I think it vitally important to mention in an introduction exactly the alterations Bert made.
Why?because all traditional/folk music by its nature gets added to, its a Folk process,is it necessary to mention the Parrot as being an addition.
what is important for the singer is to try and convey the sentiment of the song.
that which is a Bert song,IS important for scholars,but not so important[imo]to those who sing the song.,as regards its performance.
which bring me to modern composed folksongs,I would always try and credit the author.why? because he/she wants to be credited for agood song,BertLloyd clearly did not,he just wanted people to enjoy the music. http://www.dickmiles.com

Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 May 08 - 02:22 AM

Thanks a lot Brian I think what you have done is given us a sense of proportion about Bert's interventions.

I suppose that since he was so influential it is so much more important that we get nearer the truth.

I once met a man in a Liverpool Club, the 43 Club on Catherine Street as it happens, who claimed that Stan Hugill had written most of the songs in "Shanties from the Seven Seas", clearly nonsense but I do believe, and will go and sort out my refernces, that a collector made up most of the verses to Hullabaloo belay!


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 May 08 - 09:02 PM

'sorry to interrupt,when I hear trad music being used to promote fish fingers,or some other consumer desirable,the music becomes spoiled for me.'


so you're not the real Captain Birdseye. Another false source of folk music! I bet that buggers up an entire folksong PhD thesis for some researcher in the 22nd century.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Nerd
Date: 09 May 08 - 09:01 PM

You are right, Brian. My being able to be specific about what Lloyd had done to "Reynardine" was not only more than an afternoon's work, it took lots of luck, too. I happened upon the Campbell rewrite in a book I chanced to find in a used bookshop in Seattle. Then I happened upon a recording Lloyd made of the song in about 1956, in another used bookshop in New York. It was when I realized that Lloyd's 1956 version was much shorter than the version he recorded ten years later, and that Shirley Collins had also sung the shorter version in the late 50s, and that the short version was entirely made up of verses from rewrites by Campbell and his friend Hughes, that I realized Lloyd had worked it over twice, and that the first time he had recourse to Campbell and Hughes.

That's where his claim about Tom Cook came in for scrutiny: when had he encountered Cook, how did Cook get a version that shared almost no lines with any traditional or broadside version, but only with Campbell's and Hughes's rewrites? It was years of work and good fortune to put all that together!

Thanks for your roundup of "First Person." I agree, they sound like pretty good ones. I do wonder about "Four Drunken maidens." In the Notes to English Drinking Songs, Lloyd is more specific about Four Drunken Maidens, stating that it was primarily spread in a chapbook known as Charming Phylis's Garland.

One thing about the Bodleian site: their search engine isn't very good. If you don't get the title exactly, you're likely to miss versions....

Oh, well, I'm off to have supper (I know you blokes do that, too...)


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 May 08 - 07:58 PM

Brian ,you do,and very well,I might add.


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Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 May 08 - 04:32 PM

Yeah, I do that, too.


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