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Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??

DigiTrad:
ALABAMA BOUND
BILL MARTIN AND ELLA SPEED
BRING ME LITTLE WATER, SYLVIE
COTTON FIELDS BACK HOME
DUNCAN AND BRADY
DUNCAN AND BRADY (2)
GOOD NIGHT IRENE
JUMPIN' JUDY
KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HER
KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE
LININ' TRACK
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
ROCK ME ON THE WATER
SKEWBALL
SO LONG IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YUH
SONG TO WOODY
TAKE THIS HAMMER
THE GRAY GOOSE
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (is a mighty fine line)
WE SHALL WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY
WHOA BACK BUCK
YOU DON'T KNOW ME


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greg stephens 05 May 08 - 02:34 PM
Wesley S 05 May 08 - 02:40 PM
greg stephens 05 May 08 - 02:42 PM
Folkiedave 05 May 08 - 02:53 PM
john f weldon 05 May 08 - 02:59 PM
irishenglish 05 May 08 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 05 May 08 - 03:09 PM
greg stephens 05 May 08 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 05 May 08 - 03:28 PM
irishenglish 05 May 08 - 03:28 PM
greg stephens 05 May 08 - 03:36 PM
The Borchester Echo 05 May 08 - 03:45 PM
Little Robyn 05 May 08 - 03:45 PM
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Ferrara 05 May 08 - 09:19 PM
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irishenglish 06 May 08 - 10:08 AM
The Borchester Echo 06 May 08 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Cats 06 May 08 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Alex Dale 06 May 08 - 12:50 PM
john f weldon 06 May 08 - 01:12 PM
The Borchester Echo 06 May 08 - 01:25 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 May 08 - 02:04 PM
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Subject: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 May 08 - 02:34 PM

(I have also posed this question on the fRoots forum. I am trying to track down an intriguing little postscript to the history of the folk revival)

The controversy over Ewan McColl's attitude to people singing songs from other cultural backgrounds rolls on and on. Now, Peggy Seeger, in a bid to set the record straight, gave an account of how she started all this off, by jeering at an unfortunate English(??) skiffler. Here are Peggy's own words:

"It was that Cockney lad singing Leadbelly who started the rock rolling downhill. Was it 1960 or so? Yes, it was that poor fellow whose rendition of 'Rock Island Line' reduced me to hysterical laughter one night. I was literally doubled over in my seat, gasping. I had to be taken out of the room."

This a reference to a folk club night, by the way, not to Lonnie Donegan's record. Now, I find this event an intriguing bit of folk history. The man who shouted "Judas" at Bob Dylan has recently been identified and interviewed. So, can anyone supply a name for the unfortunate young chap so humiliated by Peggy Seeger?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Wesley S
Date: 05 May 08 - 02:40 PM

I would assume Lonnie Donegan{sp?}


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 May 08 - 02:42 PM

No, it wasn't Lonnie Donegan. He wasn't hanging round folk clubs in 1960! But a lot of his imitators were.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 May 08 - 02:53 PM

The article from which this comes is well worth a read - it was originally in Living Tradition. I appreciate it is a slight thread drift since the person in question was totally distraught and never went to a folk club again (in which case they are unlikely to be reading this) or went on to be come a famous folk (or other singer) in which case it didn't matter.

But you are right Greg - nice to know who it was. They must be aged about 66 now.

http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/edtxt39.htm


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: john f weldon
Date: 05 May 08 - 02:59 PM

Geez, folkies can be such a bunch of fussbudgets.
Lonnie Donegan's "Ain't No Cane on the Brazos" is about as inappropriate as you can get, but it sounds great.
And how did Shenandoah become a sea shanty? Some sailors liked it, I guess?
I've heard Texans sing sea shanties and claim they were songs from "back home".
Once, years ago, in the former Yugoslavia, a Croatian group attempted "Knock knock knock on Heva Do."
Maybe I chuckled too, but music doesn't have to be too serious.

Poor Cockney bugger; I hope he's still singing.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: irishenglish
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:01 PM

Well, Donegan's hit was in 1954, and from the quote you used, wouldn't it have been a little odd that she hadn't heard the song before, considering it was (possibly) 1960, six years later? Also if she was listening to an imitator of Donegan in 1960, I would have to think that even that would sound dated, because unless she completely had her ears shut, rock had already developed by leaps and bounds by 1960. I really wonder therefore if she has the year wrong, and it really was Donegan, which would account for him being in a folk club. I'm only speculating, but if an imitator of Donegan was still doing a cover of Rock Island Line in Donegan's style six years later, I doubt he had much of an audience!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:09 PM

I have no quarrel at all with a cockney lad singing Leadbelly songs as long as they aren't done with a cockney accent. If you really want to laugh your socks off at how ridiculous this might sound then I suggest listening to someone that came along later, Billy Bragg doing Woody Guthrie.
Listening to a middle class girl from the northern states singing Sourwood Mountain would probably have been quite amusing to folks in the Appalachians at the time of which we speak.
Personally I prefer hearing the "original" recorded versions but at that time very little was available. I am pretty sure that most of the shall we say succesful British folkies of today that came up in the sixties did their fair share of Leadbelly/Guthrie/Broonzy material.
I do remember in Peggy's days at the Ballads and Blues Club that Rory and Alex McEwen used to do Leadbelly and Gary Davis material and I never heard her laugh then.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:19 PM

WEll, an obvious point is also that Peggy's brother Pete used to sing Leadbelly songs and he's not exactly a black member of a chain gang, is he? But I am not after the rights and wrongs of the argument, just the facts. Who was the guy?
   On a different tack,Irishenglish expresses surprise that anyone would still be singing Rock Island Line in 1960. Well, I can inform him that there are plenty of people still singing Rock Island Line in pubs in 2008, and long may they continue to do so!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:28 PM

and the song (L. D.`s version) is used in a car commercial right now...now that is funny: advbertising a car with a train song...

Best
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: irishenglish
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:28 PM

Greg, I know they are, and good on them-it's a classic song. My point was if someone was doing a Doneganesque version of the song 6 years after his own hit, in a Cockney style,it might be a little tiresome. And still, unless she never watched tv, or listened to the radio at all, why the laughing fit for someone who was copying Donegan? Wouldn't she have come across Donegan's song by that point if the story is as she tells it?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:36 PM

I take your point,irishenglish. Yes, you would think she would have been pretty familiar with English people singing American songs in fake accents in 1960.But perhaps the guy had a really really really funny accent? Anyway, be that as it may, she says that it wasn't an isolated incident that just passed, but that it gave rise to a general discusssion, which actually included the hapless singer. Which suggests to me there should be plenty of people who ought to remember this incident, and can shed some light on it. So i do want to find this chap, if only to ask him what he thinks about singing Rock Island Line now.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:45 PM

Pete Stanley (who took over Peggy's banjo class after three weeks of lessons when she had to leg it after her visa expired( was more than probably there. Call him. (If you don't have his contacts, e me offlist.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Little Robyn
Date: 05 May 08 - 03:45 PM

Peggy doesn't say it was the first time she heard it but I guess it was the worst version, to make her laugh.
Big brother Pete knew Leadbelly so chances are she knew him too and even if she hadn't heard him sing it live, would no doubt have heard a recording of the original.
Back about 40 years ago we had a lad in our local club in NZ, who was a trier - but terrible.
He wore bright pink socks and tapped his foot all the time. We nick-named him Thumper or Pink Socks and although we tried to be polite, it was impossible to take him seriously. He bashed his guitar and sang like Dylan on a bad day. Lots of people were imitators then, trying to sound like Dylan or Donovan, Joan Baez or Judy Collins. I sounded more like Shirley Collins but not intentionally.
Most of the time we tried to sing like Pete or the Weavers.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 May 08 - 04:39 PM

Peggy doesn't say she heard it for the first time.

She also says:

I am North American.

Woody Guthrie, Jean Ritchie, Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly, et al, used to come to our house in Washington. I knew what the song should sound like and the manner of delivery and the insertion of Cockney vowels into a southern USA black prisoners' song just sounded funny.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Ferrara
Date: 05 May 08 - 09:19 PM

Peggy has also said (at Augusta Vocal Week) that the "sing in your own language" rule, which I believe she described there as "sing songs from your own tradition," had a very positive side effect.   A lot of members of the club, people like A.L.Lloyd, stopped singing American folk songs and started looking for more British songs, and it motivated them to look into their own heritage of folk songs and source singers.

Actually Peggy and I frequently differed on this issue during her ballads class. For instance, on whether it's acceptable today for an American singer such as Judy Cook to sing British ballads (I said among other things that if Judy dropped her repertoire of British songs it would be the world's loss ... but I admit I'm a strong Judy Cook fan...); and whether it's wrong to use the word "wee," as in "little wee son," in an American ballad. I argued that Almeda Riddle used "little wee son" in at least one song she insists she learned as a child, and you can hardly say Almeda's singing isn't authentic....

Peggy did sing a Scottish song, Robert Burns' version of "Hap an Roe," at a late-night song swap. It was a treat to hear it, too, very well sung. But she said she wouldn't ever sing it in a performance situation.

None of this helps with identifying the singer with the Cockney accent of course.

Rita F


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Alex Dale
Date: 06 May 08 - 06:16 AM

Just a very tiny point of order to something IrishEnglish wrote earlier. Lonnie Donegan's version of Rock Island Line was a hit in 1956, not 1954 as stated. Not that it makes the slightest bit of difference to your point. I'm just a bit surprised scowling headmistress Easby, The One Who Knows Everything, didn't pick you up on this.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: irishenglish
Date: 06 May 08 - 10:08 AM

Oops, I stand corrected. 1956, of course. Thanks for pointing out my error.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 May 08 - 10:19 AM

Anyone with a copy of the Guinness Book Of Hit Singles will be aware that Rock Island Line entered the charts in January 1956. All (except aspiring smartass Guest: Alex Dale) realised that this hadn't the slightest bearing on the topic and refrained from mentioning it.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Cats
Date: 06 May 08 - 10:50 AM

Well, whatever the outcome of the argument, she was in really good voice last night in Okehampton and singing songs from her american side, explaining that is what she does and how, when she was with Ewan, she tried singing 'English' songs but she now feels uncomfortable with them.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Alex Dale
Date: 06 May 08 - 12:50 PM

Thanks for the compliment Diane but I could NEVER aspire to your levels of smart-arssdom and pedantry. I did realise that the date of Lonnie's hit had no bearing on the point in hand - which is why I said as much. What's up Diane, is your eyesight going? Didn't you read that bit? I only brought it up because you haven't had a row for a couple of posts and I thought you'd be getting withdrawl symptoms.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: john f weldon
Date: 06 May 08 - 01:12 PM

Withdrawl symptoms? That's GWB not DE.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 May 08 - 01:25 PM

Mr Dale (Guest) has two orthographically incorrect, entirely off-topic posts to his name, each of which is some kind of attempt to make incomprehensible and inappropriate reference to me. I do not know this person, nor does he appear to have anything to contribute to a discussion about accents in singing. Clearly a troll that's lost both a sense of direction and whatever smidgeon of a brain he might have possessed at birth. If such a person has a need to address me (and I cannot conceive of one), my name to them is Ms Easby.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 May 08 - 02:04 PM

I think this is all a bit silly. After all - who will cast the first stone. breathes there a soul so dull that he believes he's never buggered up a song in a folk club?


Its the film stars you gotta feel sorry for. Poor old julia roberts in that michael Collins film, and Nick Cave sounding like a real tosser in the jesse james film, Neil diamond's rotten version of you are my sunshine in the jazz singer. The evidence is there for all eternity.

I bet they rehearsed to get that bad.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Nerd
Date: 06 May 08 - 04:05 PM

In irishenglish's defense, Donegan did record Rock Island Line in 1954.    July 13, to be exact. It didn't enter the charts until about a year and a half later, but someone with Peggy Seeger's interests would probably have heard it before it became a hit.

So his point would be valid, except for one detail: Peggy didn't move to Britain until 1959. Before that, she spent much of the previous 5 years, first in Holland, then traveling and touring all over the world, including China and Russia. She wouldn't have been likely to hear Lonnie Donegan there!

Given that she was only guessing it was "1960 or so," what she really was saying, I think, was "quite soon after I moved to England."

Peggy occasionally visits Mudcat, I think, so maybe she'll pop by and set us straight. (But I think she's probably too polite to reveal the name of the cockney Lead Belly!)

PS, I guess I just snagged the pedant's crown...


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 06 May 08 - 04:26 PM

Hey Nerd,

Sorry to be a pedant but the one detail which you point out is incorrect sort of. Peggy was in and out of the UK for about a couple of years before she was able to settle here. The reason that she had to keep leaving was she did not have a resident's visa/work permit or whatever the equivalent was. I am sure that the exact details and dates are pretty well known by others who were around at the time.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Nerd
Date: 06 May 08 - 04:32 PM

Thanks, Hoot. That's why I suggested she might set us all straight at some point. I doubt there is anyone who will remember just how much she was "in and out" in those years, except herself. Maybe not even she will!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 May 08 - 05:58 PM

I have no quarrel at all with a cockney lad singing Leadbelly songs as long as they aren't done with a cockney accent. If you really want to laugh your socks off at how ridiculous this might sound then I suggest listening to someone that came along later, Billy Bragg doing Woody Guthrie.

Can't see anything particularly absurd in people singing songs from abroad in their own accents. After all, nobody suggests that the Dubliners should have put on a Norfolk accent to sing the Wild Rover.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 May 08 - 06:30 PM

The Wild Rover?Norfolk?,surely the line no nay never,suggests a Scottish origin.Oh and to continue the fred drift,who was the man that shouted Judas.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 May 08 - 07:01 PM

who was the man that shouted Judas?

John Cordwell. Or Keith Butler. Depending on who you believe.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 May 08 - 07:07 PM

. . . and The Wild Rover . . . C# says he found it in Norfolk.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 May 08 - 07:28 PM

Nothing particularly Scottish about the word "Nay". Standard English alternative to "No". Currently more used in the North of England than down South.

"Let Your Yea Be Yea; and Your Nay, Nay"


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:00 AM

Hey, this pedant thing is fun. Can anyone play? To be both pedantic and off-topic: Julia Roberts may be to blame for her geographically-wandering accent in Michael Collins (her character is supposed to be from good old midlands Longford) but the stunningly out-of-period singing was contributed by Sinead O'Connor.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:04 AM

Round II:

>Let Your Yea Be Yea; and Your Nay, Nay

Kevin - doesn't "nay" actually mean "Yes" in Greek? No idea how you write/spell it - George P, any input?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:15 AM

And, IIRC, Bonnie the word for no is something like "Ochi" which can sound like OK.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 May 08 - 05:35 AM

Are we to assume that because Cecil Sharp found it 'Wild Rover' in Norfolk that it didn't exist prior to that date? and was unknown elsewhere?
Like so many songs/tunes We cannot really say where it originated can we?

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 May 08 - 06:03 AM

It does however help dispel the myth that The Wild Rover was made up in the back bar of O'Donaghues circa 1966.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 07 May 08 - 07:43 AM

Just for the record... Rock Island Line was sung twice(performance and encore) in the Cumberland Arms, Byker on 26 April this year, to considerable acclaim.   

For the past few years, a group of like-minded Tynesiders have hosted a come-all-ye skiffle session on the Saturday nearest Lonnie's birthday.   A capacity crowd turns up, and they seem to have a great time. There are usually some grey-beards there, but many of the participants look as though their parents could not have been born when Rock Island Line was first in the charts. Skiffle lives!

And on the question of inauthentic accents - I wonder what Ms Seeger thinks of Dick Van Dyke's attempt at Cockney in Mary Poppins?

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 May 08 - 01:19 PM

neigh,said neddy the dickey.and went off to sing some dickey music.
GUEST hootennanny says ,just because c# found it in Norfolk,it doesnt mean it was written there,
Quite.
in Norfolk the term nay is very uncommon,words like boor,and rood,and suffin cold,and was the bottom dropped out etc.The Wild Rover,clearly originated further north,probably named after one of the WilsonFamily.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 May 08 - 03:18 PM

Dick,once again you mis quote. I did not mention the word "written". I was suggesting only that the song probably pre-dated Sharp's hearing it in Norfolk. To assume that the song must have originated there because that is the first time it had been noted is treading on thin ice.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:53 PM

yes, and that is what I am suggesting too.
however all traditional songs were written by somebody.
if the song predates Sharps hearing it in Norfolk,it didnt originate there.
IMO it probably originated further north,The song is a composition perhaps 18/ 19 century.
[once again you misquote]have I misquoted you before.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 May 08 - 10:50 AM

Cap'n B said, in part:

if the song predates Sharps hearing it in Norfolk,it didnt originate there.

Now, there is a non sequitur. If you chose to insert "necessarily" before "originate", then that's fine.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 May 08 - 11:22 AM

I think I am less offended by people singing songs in their own accent (even if it is not the accent of the originator or populariser of the song) than I am by people putting on fake accents (good or not).

But one too good to miss: --

I say, I say, I say! How does a bee with a cleft palate sound?

...

Mzzzzzzzz!

(gets coat, wondering why SWMBO is so hung up on whether people have been properly introduced to her)


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Max
Date: 08 May 08 - 11:53 AM

Interesting and very relevant conversation here, one that I am very fascinated by.

I discovered, probably like much of my generation, traditional and early folk, through revival artists and rock acts of the 1960s. Robert Johnson from Led Zeppelin, Leadbelly and Woody through Bob Dylan, etc. So I heard the imitators before I heard the originals. Much like my children, see cartoon and stuffed animals before they see the real things.

I enjoy listening to and performing black folk or Carolina or piedmont blues the most, and I am a middle class white man. That said, I make an effort to not pretend to be a southern black man or a laborer, rather I make an effort to understand the performer or character in the song. And very simply make sure the emphasis is on the right beat. A common mistake of white folks , or Europeans for that matter, when singing black songs is the emphasis on the ONE instead of the TWO. Surely there is a lot more to it than that. Phrasing is a big issue too.

I rolled with laughter when I heard Taj Mahal lecture a German crowd about how they were clapping on the wrong beat.

Pete Seeger was able to handle both the beat and phrasing issues. Probably because of spending all the time he did with Leadbelly, Brownie, Libba etc, and that he was thoughtful about it. You can clearly see and hear it when he played with Brownie McGee, Big Bill Broonzy and Gary Davis.

Lonnie Donegan did sound kind of funny, but I give him a pass because of his understanding of Skiffle and his enthusiasm. He was having fun. He wasn't pretending to be anything he wasn't.

An example of doing it all wrong that was profound in my opinion was Peter Paul and Mary's "Trying to Win", "If I Had My Way" and "Stewball".   I have a lot more trouble with those as I do Lonnie's "Rock Island Line". They stripped any everything of its ethnicity and made it all bland. I would think Peggy would agree that PP&M did more damage than a cockney accent.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 May 08 - 11:57 AM

UNCLE DAVE O.ThankyouSubject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 07 May 08 - 04:53 PM

yes, and that is what I am suggesting too.
however all traditional songs were written by somebody.
if the song predates Sharps hearing it in Norfolk,it didnt necessarily originate there.
IMO it probably originated further north,The song is a composition perhaps 18/ 19 century.
[once again you misquote]have I misquoted you before.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 May 08 - 01:20 PM

I always rather like PPM's Stewball - that guitar part going c to dminor. pretty cool. or coolly pretty!

PPM and Lonnie doing damage....? they were musicians, not Ted Bundy.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Max
Date: 08 May 08 - 01:49 PM

Damage, yes. If I would have heard Peter, Paul & Mary's version of "The Cuckoo" before I heard Doc Watson And Clarence Ashley's, I would have never started the mudcat. How's that for damage?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Little Robyn
Date: 08 May 08 - 03:59 PM

Wow Max!
I heard P.P.&M.'s Cuckoo years before I heard anyone else.
I guess that's why I didn't start mudcat!
I'm very glad you did.
Cheers,
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 May 08 - 04:58 PM

Some PPM stuff was twee, but there used to be some stuff on Youtube that could still remind one of the force they could produce.

Better that than Sacha Baron Cohen asking "Is it 'cos I's black?"


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 May 08 - 05:08 PM

The Greek word for no is Oxi, pronounced like ochkee.

"Sorry to be a pedant but the one detail which you point out is incorrect sort of. Peggy was in and out of the UK for about a couple of years before she was able to settle here. The reason that she had to keep leaving was she did not have a resident's visa/work permit or whatever the equivalent was. I am sure that the exact details and dates are pretty well known by others who were around at the time.",

I was told that Alex Campbell 'married' Peggy, so she could obtain UK residency. Can't provide any evidence to back it up, just something somebody told me many years ago.


G


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Newport Boy
Date: 08 May 08 - 05:25 PM

In the Living Tradition July/Aug 1997, Ewan McVicar says re Alex Campbell:

The first time I met Alex was in 1961 in a North London folk club where I sang a Scots republican ditty called Maggie's Wedding. Alex was much taken with the song, and asked me to come and sing it at his midnight gig that night in the basement of the Partisan Coffee bar in Soho, where one of the residents was a very youthful Long John Baldry.

Alex had just returned from being a busking blind blues singer on the streets of Paris, and had briefly and platonically married Peggy Seeger so she would not be deported from the UK, but Alex's eclectic approach was worlds away from Ewan MacColl's purism.


Full article here

Phil


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 May 08 - 05:25 PM

yes, Iheard it too.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Nerd
Date: 08 May 08 - 09:16 PM

Peggy tells the story of marrying Alex Campbell herself, in The Peggy Seeger songbook. So it's pretty much gospel.

She was visibly pregnant, and Ewan was the father, but Ewan was still married to someone else. The clergyman who married Seeger and Campbell obviously thought Campbell was the father, so he gave him a stern lecture on looking after this young girl he'd gotten in trouble!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 May 08 - 09:39 PM

Cecil Sharp didn't find 'The Wild Rover' in Norfolk, as various people have stated; but that's because he never collected songs there. In fact he doesn't seem to have come across it at all, though other collectors did. It was pretty widely known in the southern half of England and the north of Scotland, where most of the early C20 collecting was done; probably throughout the UK if it comes to that, but we don't know for sure. Versions have also been found, more recently, in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Ireland.

It's an English, not Scottish, broadside song; widely printed in varying forms from the early C19 onward (plenty of examples at the Bodleian website. None from Scotland, though it clearly arrived there, albeit a little later): it was based on material from an earlier and much longer song written by Thomas Lanfiere in the later part of the 17th century (and published in London): 'The Good Fellow's Resolution; Or, The Bad Husband's return from his Folly.' We don't know what tune 'Wild Rover' was originally sung to (traditional versions vary), but at least one other broadside song (a re-write of 'Captain Ward and the Rainbow') was to be sung to 'The Wild Rover'.

More details are in thread Origins of The Wild Rover, though some of the posts aren't very accurate, and the mistaken reference to Sharp (where on earth did that come from?) is made there too.

The version in question here was from the repertoire of Sam Larner of Winterton in Norfolk, as has already been mentioned, though some people have drawn unwarranted conclusions based on what they would like people to have said rather than what they actually did say; that makes it so much easier to dismiss the question without really addressing it.

Ewan MacColl (not, as I have said, Cecil Sharp) got the song from Sam in 1958, and it appeared in MacColl and Seeger, The Singing Island (London: Mills Music, 1960, number 45, page 50). Sam's chorus (which doesn't appear in most traditional versions) was essentially the now-familiar one. It's a little late to ask him whether or not he thought that 'nay' was an uncommon word in Norfolk, but I see no reason to think that it would be any more out of place there than anywhere else. I will ask around next time I am there, but Jim Carroll (who knew Sam) may have more immediate and helpful things to say when he returns from his holidays.

At some point, if we accept the usual story, the Dubliners picked the song up (they and the Clanceys drew freely on the English as well as Irish repertoires) and the rest is, after a fashion, history. If that is indeed what happened, then the tune of the verses was changed a bit at some point during the course of borrowing: Sam's verses were sung to a form of the 'If I Was a Blackbird' melody, while his chorus was the familar one. It only takes a little ironing out of the subtleties of Sam's tune to arrive at the one made famous by the Dubliners; who also changed it from a reflective thing to the table-thumping anthem for drunks that we all know so well.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 May 08 - 03:42 AM

> Peggy tells the story of marrying Alex Campbell herself, in The Peggy Seeger songbook. So it's pretty much gospel.

Yep. I've always thought that Cyril Tawney's song New Names For Old was about this, though it also introduces some emotional vulnerability into the mix. I have no idea whether that aspect is true or not, but it certainly makes for a poignant song. A Cyril-related webpage (not his official site) asks a similar question:

NEW NAMES FOR OLD (1968)
If a career-conscious American lady offers a fellow money to give her his name and British nationality in a marriage of convenience, with no strings attached, he might well turn her down, as a friend of mine did. But what if she's the girl of his dreams? Might he not take a chance on something more permanent?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 May 08 - 04:57 AM

Malcolm,I agree with a lot of what you are saying.
As someone who spent quite alot of time[many years] living in East Anglia,North Essex and Suffolk,I am fairly well acquainted with the language/dialect.
Nay is not a common term in Norfolk or East Anglia.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 May 08 - 05:41 AM

furthermore, my ex wifes family were all either Norfolk or Suffolk,I never heard them use the word nay once.
more likely to be further north, yorkshire?teeside?lancashire?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Banjiman
Date: 09 May 08 - 05:43 AM

....don't know about this debate but I'm going to see Peggy tonight (with Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson & Mike Waterson) at Reeth Memorial Hall, shall I ask her?

Paul


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 09 May 08 - 06:08 AM

This episode is pretty well covered in Ben Harker's "Class Act"


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Santa
Date: 09 May 08 - 06:28 AM

I hope Greg does find out who this singer was - can no-one even come up with any suggestions? Even a list of those who did sing at the club around this time might at least help to rule out who it wasn't, or jumpstart a few memories?

Otherwise it is just another thread on the (to me) empty argument about singing/not singing outside your own tradition. I think the scene would be poorer without the wider distribution of such songs, but can understand why some combinations just don't work!

My wife has similar problems with some of the songs she'd like to sing. She loves the big ballads, but as they tend to come in Scots dialect she is never happy about how much she should go in attempting/avoinding the accent/dialect without ruining the rythms.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 May 08 - 06:56 AM

Thanks for the heads-up about Harker's book, DaveS. I had managed not to know about it.

Amazon page here - the first customer review (written by Mike Mecham of Essex) is particularly good, I thought.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0745321658/ref=cm_r8n_gvthanks_cont?ie=UTF8&%


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 09 May 08 - 11:51 AM

As to the word "nay" being or not being common in that area, I think it's irrelevant, or at least far from conclusive.

If you want to fill a line with three alliterated words starting with N, and you want all of them to be a negative, your choice is pretty limited, isn't it?   Sure, the line COULD have been "No, no, never", but that's pretty pallid, and the use of "nay" gives three distinct negatives, making it far more interesting.

"Nay" doesn't, for that purpose, have to be part of your everyday speech; all it has to be is known and recognizable.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Shannock
Date: 09 May 08 - 02:12 PM

'Nay' is a very common part of speech in my part of North Norfolk.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Nerd
Date: 09 May 08 - 02:17 PM

Uncle Dave-O's point is well taken, and anyway Shannock makes the "nay" question even less relevant with his revelation.

It just occurred to me, though, that in 2008 America, it would be

No, NOT, Nuh-uh
No, NOT, Nuh-uh No More...


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Shannock
Date: 09 May 08 - 04:11 PM

I do see why you're called 'Nerd'. Why assume I'm male?

I was merely challenging Birdseye's point that 'nay' wasn't used in Norfolk.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 09 May 08 - 04:29 PM

"I was merely challenging Birdseye's point that 'nay' wasn't used in Norfolk"

and so you should, Shannock...I mean isn't this what its all about..debate?

and speaking of irrelevant
No, NOT, Nuh-uh
No, NOT, Nuh-uh No More... *LOL*

Charlotte R


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 09 May 08 - 05:37 PM

Can we return for a moment to Greg's original query about the identity of the "Cockney Leadbelly"? Perhaps we might get closer to identifying this mystery man if we knew whether he accompanied himself on a twelve-string guitar (as Leadbelly did on the original recording of "Rock Island Line").

In the very early 1960s, 12-string guitars were very rare on this side of the pond. As far as I recall, the first imports from the US began appearing in British musical instrument shops in 1963 - round about the time the Rooftop Singers had a hit with "Walk Right In". Before then, I can remember seeing only three used in folk clubs.

One was played by Rory McEwan, a singer of Scottish folk songs with a strong interest in the blues, who had travelled extensively in the US probably bought his instrument there. It seems unlikely that anyone - even a recently arrived American - would have mistaken Rory for a Cockney.

Another belonged to Cyril Davies, who played in blues bands with Alexis Korner and Long John Baldry before his tragically early death. I believe Cyril's 12-string was specially made for him by Tony Zemiatis. If Cyril ever frequented MacColl's Club, his reputation as a "hard man" would probably have deterred anyone there from challenged his right to sing Leadbelly songs.

The third 12-string I heard during that era belonged to Alec Davidson, a Londoner equally comfortable singing American blues and country music or British songs and ballads. I was told that Alec became so inspired by Leadbelly's guitar playing that he wrote to the great man's widow asking for the vital statistics of his Stella 12-string, and that a friend who was a skilled woodworker used this data to produce an instrument which sounded reasonably authentic.

Of these three suspects, Alec sounds the most likely to have been the "Cockney Leadbelly". If he's still around, maybe someone who knows him could ask if he remembers the incident?

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Nerd
Date: 09 May 08 - 07:28 PM

Sorry, Shannock. Just a joke. And as for the gender, I didn't so much assume as guess...sorry I guessed wrong!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 May 08 - 01:42 PM

'Nay' is actually a midlands word and is still frequently to be heard amongst the equine population of the counties Staffordhire and Derbyshire.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 08 - 02:08 PM

There is something to be said for "doing your homework" and knowing about the style,
tradition and history of the song you are singing.

Peggy has done her homework.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Judy Dyble
Date: 10 May 08 - 04:02 PM

This is all a bit away from the question of who the poor fellow was in the first post, but I thought this might help (or indeed confuse) the issue of the Norfolk 'Nay' I checked with my cousin who is a Norfolk woman and she was definite that 'Nay' was not a word she'd heard used. Both my father and hers were born to a fishing family in Winterton and, in fact, the family knew Sam Larner and sang with him on occasions. Possibly even in the pub (the Fisherman's Return) which is still a fine place today.
Sam Larner was known to my Uncle Walter as 'Funky' Larner but I haven't been able to find out why!(Uncle Walter is in his late 90's so that may be a bit of a muddled memory.) He is now the last of his generation of the family still living, and I am trying to find out what he remembers of those times.

Judy


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Alex Dale
Date: 11 May 08 - 01:12 PM

To return to the original question, Peggy's recollection appears to differ slightly from that of Ewan, who addressed the issue in an interview with Fred Woods in Folk Review when he accepted collective responsibility for the policy. "We initiated a rule that you sang the songs of the language you spoke and the language that you had grown up with." He said the issue had arisen over a "Newcastle lad of Irish extraction and wanted to sing Greek songs though he'd never been to Greece." No mention of a cockney Leadbelly.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 May 08 - 01:30 PM

shannocks eh,they will be telling us next that the Singing Postman was born in Grantham.
Didnt stop him from writing some good songs,and singing in a Norfolk accent.
the world is full of pillocks,and it was a pillock that interupted the Singing Postmans set,when he was singing Im a shannock.[With no your not you were born in Grantham].For our overseas friends a Shannock[ To be a true Shannock, it means you have been born in Sheringham, your parents were born in Sheringham and your Grandparents were Sheringham born and bred].Sheringham is part of Norfolk .


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 11 May 08 - 06:41 PM

Cats

I was at Peggy's concert in Okehampton too! really enjoyed it, particularly her Ballad of Jimmy Massey. (Wasn't able to make the Bridstowe event in the end, wasn't practically possible. Trust it went well?)

Sorry, slight drift here.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 May 08 - 11:53 AM

MYSTERY SOLVED(Possibly?)

Colin Irwin has just told me that he saw Peggy Seeger the other day, so he thought he would go right ahead and ask her. And she said the Cockney Leadbelly was Long John Baldry. Alas, he is not around to pass on his own comments. Unless someone turns up who remembers him talking about the incident?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: irishenglish
Date: 30 May 08 - 12:16 PM

Interesting Greg. I have to admit I know the name, but don't really know anything about Long John Baldry.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 May 08 - 12:28 PM

long john baldry,was a great Rand bsinger
John William Baldry, popularly known as Long John Baldry, (January 12, 1941 – July 21, 2005) was an English blues singer. He sang with many notable British musicians, with Rod Stewart and Elton John appearing in bands led by Baldry at various stages of the 1960s. He enjoyed pop success in the UK where "Let the Heartaches Begin" reached No. 1 in 1967 and in Australia where his duet with Kathi McDonald "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" reached No. 2 in the charts in 1980. Baldry lived in Canada from the late 1970s until his death, where he continued to make records and do voiceover work. He is known by a younger generation as the voice of Dr. Robotnik in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 May 08 - 12:38 PM

Supporting circumstantial evidence from this obituary -

By the late 1950s, Baldry was a leading figure on the Soho scene and the only regular performer at both the blues club of Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies and the folk-song sessions run by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. The policy of the irascible MacColl was that singers should perform only the music of their native country, but he made an exception for Baldry, who remained a close friend until MacColl's death in 1989.

The Guardian, Saturday July 23 2005


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Newport Boy
Date: 30 May 08 - 12:48 PM

This doesn't ring true for me. Anne & I were in London together from 1958 to 1960, and were regulars at Ballads & Blues in Soho Square, which doesn't seem to be mentioned these days. As far as I recall, Long John Baldry never appeared there.

I first heard John in a coffee bar in St Martins Lane early in 1958. He sang unaccompanied one of the solo blues from the Parchman Farm recordings on "Murderer's Home". This was a straight copy, and it was near-perfect - pitch, intonation and accent.

I heard him a few times over the following year, mainly at the Partisan, and his American blues singing was always spot-on. I heard him sing a number of things, but never the popular skiffle songs.

Peggy reports the incident as about 1960. I can't believe that in 1960 Long John Baldry would put cockney vowels in a Leadbelly song - unless he was parodying the Lonnie Donegan version. It would fit with his sense of humour.

Phil

Phil


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 30 May 08 - 12:50 PM

Despite the fact that I think this thread is pretty pointless,I must say that John was one of few people in the UK that could put blues material across pretty convincingly. To call his accent cockney is completely incorrect, he never even spoke with a cockney accent.
I knew John well and worked with him from 1961 onward. At that time he was very well respected on the folk and blues scene. He appeared regularly at the Ballads and Blues Club before going on to appear with New Orleans revivalist jazz bands, then Cyril Davies's Allstars. He then took over the band after Cyril's early death. Followed that by being one of the three vocalists in the Steampacket, the other two being Rod Stewart and Julie Driscoll.
John went on to a quite successful career and and moved to Canada but continued touring in Europe. If he had followed the "rules" that Peggy/Ewan put down and only sang songs from North West London where he lived, I don't think anyone would remember him.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 08 - 01:33 PM

Fascinating to see 'Chinese whispers at work'
The Snail wrote:
"The policy of the irascible MacColl was that singers should perform only the music of their native country,"
While Hootenanny wrote:
"the "rules" that Peggy/Ewan put down and only sang songs from North West London where he lived,"
C'mon fellers, if you are going to get it wrong, at least sing from the same hymn-sheet.
It was the policy of The Singers Club committee, on which I served, that only singers who sang in their native accents should be booked or be a resident at the club.
Whatever happened outside of the club was no concern of ours.
Our aim was to open up or own national repertoires - it worked.
If you haven't already, suggest you read Peggy's letter to The Living Tradition on the subject.
Baldry was a friend of E&P's; both admired his music, but he was certainly never booked there during my time at the club.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: irishenglish
Date: 30 May 08 - 01:39 PM

Jim, Snail was quoting from the obituary posted, Snail did not write those words.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 May 08 - 01:58 PM

Thank you irishenglish. At least someone is paying attention.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 May 08 - 02:19 PM

can we all just get on with playing and enjoying music?
Fascinating to see 'Chinese whispers at work'
The Snail wrote:
"The policy of the irascible MacColl was that singers should perform only the music of their native country,"
While Hootenanny wrote:
"the "rules" that Peggy/Ewan put down and only sang songs from North West London where he lived,"
C'mon fellers, if you are going to get it wrong, at least sing from the same hymn-sheet.
It was the policy of The Singers Club committee, on which I served, that only singers who sang in their native accents should be booked or be a resident at the club.
Whatever happened outside of the club was no concern of ours.
Our aim was to open up or own national repertoires - it worked.
If you haven't already, suggest you read Peggy's letter to The Living Tradition on the subject.
Baldry was a friend of E&P's; both admired his music, but he was certainly never booked there during my time at the club.
Jim Carroll.
and they all lived happily ever after,flopsy and mopsy,and peter rabbit ,along with pigling bland,never ever sang songs other than those from their native Westmoreland.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 08 - 02:41 PM

Sorry Snail, My mistake - wasn't concentrating.
Cap'n
I think you might have hit on your own level at last - I'd follow it up if I were you.
"and they all lived happily ever after,flopsy and mopsy,and peter rabbit ,along with pigling bland,never ever sang songs other than those from their native Westmoreland."


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 08 - 02:41 PM

Whoops,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 May 08 - 03:20 PM

"can we all just get on with playing and enjoying music?"
Forgot to add Cap'n - please mind your own business and stop telling others what to do!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 30 May 08 - 03:56 PM

Just to try and clarify things, I was writing about The Ballads and Blues Club where Ewan and Peggy were virtually resident at the time. It would have been there probably that Peggy heard Long John.
I was not referring to The Singers Club which Ewan and Peggy formed along with Bruce Dunnett at a later date. I have pointed out on earlier threads that it was at the Ballads and Blues Club where Ewan started all the bit about singing songs of your own country. He did not consult us the paying audience. He may have done so at his own club but as my visits there were very rare I cannot say.
I would have been very surprised indeed if John had appeared at the Singers Club. He never did while I was handling his bookings.

As a matter of interst Jim Were you around the London folk scene during the fifties? It didn't just start with The Singers Club you know.
Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 May 08 - 04:13 PM

the Singers club had a policy,of telling singers they should only sing in their own native accent.,If they wanted to be resident or booked at the club
One of the reasons I never bothered with the Singers club.,
mind you I sing in my native accent,but it seemed a bit precious to me.,there were plenty of other good clubs to choose from where people had a more sensible attitude.
I have ran many clubs,and never told singers what they should or shouldnt do ,in fact I booked Ewan and Peggy,and they gave a very good night,were very professional,and drew a big audience.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Def Shepard
Date: 30 May 08 - 04:18 PM

I agree with the Captain, I also sing, some songs, in my native accent, but I wouldn't if I was told I had to. Precious isn't the word I'm thinking of right now, but it'll do.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 May 08 - 04:34 PM

Cap'n
I have just replied to you on another thread where you seem quite happy to tell other people what to do.
For the record-I told you to mind your own business.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 30 May 08 - 04:46 PM

there were plenty of other good clubs to choose from

That seems to me to be the main point in this story. I don't see why people get so excited about what one group of people decided to do for one particular club.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 May 08 - 05:06 PM

Hootenanny,
Wasn't round in the fifties - early sixties was my first time (for several things)
It is hotly debated whether The Ballads and Blues was the first - on balance, it seems like it probably was.
Have a (poor) recording of a radio programme made at The Ballads and Blues, if it is of any interest to you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 May 08 - 05:46 PM

The people who were there seem a bit vague. It's all very confusing to those hicks from the sticks among us, who sung in clubs in the provinces. So, could we have a summing-up from some clever person who was actually there? This incident, the laughing at Long John Baldry that Peggy Seeger found so hilarious. Was it in the Singers Club? Or the Ballads and Blues Club? And was the butt of her wit actually her good friend Long John Baldry? And did the friendship survive the laughter? And how does this relate to the not-singing-foreign-songs policy of Ewan McColl's? Or this policy that was in fact nothing to do with Ewan McColl, but imposed by some quite other people at some club or other? We need to know more.(Well, maybe we don't actually need to, but I would be interested to know the facts, put it that way).


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 30 May 08 - 05:53 PM

Jim,

Is that recording one that was made at the Princess Louise by the BBC?
I have a couple of photographs taken during one of those recordings; Peggy & Ewan, Peggy and Guy Carawan and the McEwen brothers Rory & Alex. If you are interested. Who is on the recording by the way?
Re the "hotly debated" matter of being first, the Ballads and Blues definitely pre-dated The Singers Club. However there may have been a club or two elsewhere that pre-dated The B & B. The Topic Club in the north of England, Bradford if I remember correctly may be a contender. Possibly the Gyre and Gimble and The Troubador also.
I suspect that Guest John above wasn't around in the fifties either as there weren't that many clubs (here I speak of London)around at the time good or bad. Which is why the B & B had excellent residents and excellent guests dropping in each Saturday night.
I don't get excited about it, in fact I find it rather amusing but hopefully try to tell what I remember. And incidentally unlike the 1960's, if you can remember the 1950's then you probably were there.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 May 08 - 06:10 PM

I am such a fan of Peggy's and when she says something I listen (Smith Barney style).
Peggy and Alan Lomax love folk music so much that when something comes down the pike that seems out of kilter, they comment. Although Alan is gone, now, I remember his rants and also the reason for them. He cared! So does Peggy.

It's best to listen to why she reacts because she is one of the most knowledgeable people in folk music around today. She has heard folk music practically in the womb and so she, Pete and Mike have knowledge that you can take to the bank (except folk music doesn't make much money so it'll be a slim account).

Ewan and Peggy made a point out of maintaining a fidelity to the culture from which the singer emanates. This degree of consistency and integrity is a hall-mark of a folklorist
or musicologist who has studied, compared, sifted, collected, and found those who folklorists call "informants" that represent a specific tradition in music.

If, for example, Bo Diddley sang a Mozart aria, y'all might be on the floor too.

I've made it a point to come as close as I can to understanding the songs, styles and techniques of folk music (and I've done some laughable things too) but this reaction by Peggy can be constructive if you see it in the light of learning something about folk traditions. The Cockney guy who sang a style with which he was unfamiliar showed a kind of insensitivity to the song. I'm all for people doing anything they want with music but if they lack an education about it, then they have to take their lumps. I certainly have taken mine plenty of times. When I sang "Tying A Knot in the Devil's Tail" by the great late cowboy poet Gail Gardner, I got the liner notes all wrong which prompted him to say to me, "That guy doesn't know which end of a horse is up", and he was right. Since then, I've had a few horseback riding lessons and an important lesson about having applied and educated integrity to the song you sing.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 30 May 08 - 06:51 PM

I suspect that Guest John above wasn't around in the fifties either as there weren't that many clubs (here I speak of London)around at the time good or bad.

No. I was born in 1960, only started to go folk clubs around 1980, have never set foot in a London folk club and have been pretty much local (firstly Llandudno area, N Wales and now Cromer area/Norwich) in most of my folk outings.

I speak only as an observer of countless of these "Ewan McColl" threads over the years. For me, it has struck me as particularly puzzling as to why this one person seems to have been singled out for so much stick and I guess if what you say was happening in other places, presumably organised by other people?, in the 50s, the mystery gets deeper.

---
fwiw, my own view on policies is I favour variety. My own "perfect night" when I can find one is a mostly Irish instrumental night but with a couple of well chosen (IMO of course) unaccompanied songs at appropriate points...

OK, I can't legislate for that but out of my choices, I can for example find a very good purely Irish instrumental session in Norwich. I can also find things, eg. "anything goes" that I may find I enjoy, not that I know of one, might dip into an evening purely of unnacompanied song once in a while.

There may also be things, eg. a night of purely contemporary "American style" where it's unlikely I'd get anything out of it but I wouldn't object to it existing.

Opening everything up to say all clubs/sessions should cater for everthing would IMO actually reduce my choices of different things to go to, suit in various degrees my personal preferences, etc. And another thing I don't get is why (at least to me and perhaps wrongly) some of the supposedly more open types seem to be more restrictive (ie. it MUST allow everything considered folk) than some of those who follow their choices (without inflicting thier "rules" on others.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 30 May 08 - 06:53 PM

I don't know about Elias McDaniel singing a Mozart Aria but I did hear Mississippi John Hurt sing Gilbert and Sullivan, and it's on vinyl. Didn't Red Ingle too once record Mr Mozart's Turkey Trot?

I would like to point out here to our friends across the pond. Kids of our generation growing up in the UK were brought up listening to American music whether it was pop, country or jazz. My parents bought and listened to Jimmie Rodgers and Carson Robison, my sisters bought Lione Hampton, Louis Jordan etc and we had many British people doing covers of American hits. So for us to sing American songs wasn't un-natural. I was singing a Carter Family song in 1951 but didn't know it's origin. We also saw many American films of all types so we weren't unaware or uneducated about the US. At the risk of starting WW3 I would suggest that we knew more about America and it's music in the 1950's than most Americans knew about ours.
Most people get things wrong when they start out, so what's new?

Meanwhile, have fun and keep singing.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: meself
Date: 30 May 08 - 07:12 PM

Stringsinger -I don't think anyone in this thread has jumped on Peggy S. for her moment of questionable behaviour fifty years ago, so I'm not sure why you feel the need to go to such lengths to rationalize it. And I certainly hope that most of us would have enough respect for Bo Diddley not to laugh in his face if he shared some musical experimentation with us - whatever we thought of it.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 May 08 - 04:06 AM

Sorry - crossed lines.
The Ballads and Blues was forerunner to The Singers Club; B&B - 1957, Singers - 1961; never been any doubt about that. What is argued is whether Topic Club started before that. There were a couple of folk/jazz evenings prior to the B&B at The Theatre Royal, Stratford, East London. It's all in Ewan's biography, 'Class Act'.
Hootenanny;
The recording I have was, I think, one of two made at the Ballad and Blues by the BBC; if you shut your eyes you can see the interviewer's bow-tie. It sounds very much like the one in your photograph.
Peggy's letter on her behaviour towards the singer can be found on the Living Tradition web-page dated July 2000 - still makes interesting reading.
What needs to be remembered about the 'national' policy was that the British clubs at the time were rapidly filling up with whey-faced young men wearing windcheaters and leather caps, singing 'Blowing In The Wind' in whiney mid-Atlantic accents, usually accompanied by long haired Joanie-clones.
Lomax, Lloyd and MacColl had set out to open up the British repertoire: it succeeded as far as I'm concerned with the introduction of the sea repertoire, the industrial songs, and later people like Harry Boardman and The Critics started to open up regional repertoires. The threat of American acculturation never totally disappeared, but it was kept in check.
The Singers Club was, I'm proud to say, a policy club with specific aims in mind. It is conveniently forgotten that there were clubs with far stricter policies; like the ones were you were virtually body-searched in case you were carrying a musical instrument. Ewan, Peggy and members of the Critics Group were constantly being asked not to sing political songs at some clubs, or modern songs - none of these conditions were ever part of The Singers Club policy. The writing of new songs was encouraged with song-writing classes, and were published in the magazine Peggy edited, The New City Songster. She also ran accompaniment classes and gave a several stunning talks on the subject.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Dazbo
Date: 31 May 08 - 04:28 AM

my first 100


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 31 May 08 - 04:42 AM

Jim wrote: Peggy's letter on her behaviour towards the singer can be found on the Living Tradition web-page dated July 2000 - still makes interesting reading.

It sure does. Thanks for that, Jim. Link here:

http://www.livingtradition.co.uk/htmfiles/edtxt39.htm


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 31 May 08 - 05:15 AM

Folkie Dave, my humblest apologies - I see you beat me to it!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 31 May 08 - 05:26 AM

But this bit bears repeating:

The editor wants to know "Who are Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie?" They were members of the Critics Group for most of the life of that group. They were two of the most loyal, industrious and intelligent members by far. It is possible that they have inherited some of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament (that's the way things go?) but there is no doubt that their work in the folksong world has been invaluable and dedicated.

And so say all of us...


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 May 08 - 05:29 AM

"my first 100"
Happy Birthday Dazbo
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bert
Date: 31 May 08 - 01:28 PM

It strikes me that if a Cockney can't sing folk songs from outside of his tradition then he wouldn't have too much to sing.

Music hall, yes but folk songs, I don't know of many.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 May 08 - 01:33 PM

Bert
Who said he 'can't'?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 May 08 - 02:36 PM

Incidentally,
The policy at the Singers Club led to the opening up of the London repertoire, which produced 2 albums of London songs and a whole stack left virtually untouched.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 May 08 - 10:08 PM

So a Cockney singing Leadbelly is laughable but THIS is OK?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 03:24 AM

Your point?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 04:10 AM

Don't be puposefully obtuse, Jim.

The point is obviously that it would ill behove any member of the Seeger family to sneer at the inauthenticity of another artist's version of a Leadbelly song, when one of their number had so thoroughly dismantled, reassembled and changed the character of Goodnight Irene. Then took the song to Number One in the charts.

That's what I take to be the point. I'm not sure I agree. However I can see that it is that sort of minding of other singers business that has reduced folkclubs in popularity. Too much backbiting - perhaps Ewan picked it up from Joan Littlewood and the theatrical crowd - none of whom seem to have a good word to say for each other, not til obituary time anyway.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 04:48 AM

WMD
Not being 'purposefully obtuse' - Peggy laid out her stall fairly openly and honestly in her letter to The Living Tradition; she apologised for for her behaviour and 'confessed to her own wrongdoings'. I'm happy to grant her 'absolution' - how about you? As far as I'm concerned, she has no reason to apologise for the actions of her half-brother.
It's more than a little slick to blame the decline of the clubs on 'backbiting'.
My experience leads me to believe that they have reached the present sorry state because a parasitic growth has choked the life out of them to the extent that the term 'folk' has become meaningless and can now refer to anything from the Child ballads to the compositions of George Gershwin or William McGonagall.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 05:08 AM

That's what I take to be the point. I'm not sure I agree. However I can see that it is that sort of minding of other singers business that has reduced folkclubs in popularity. Too much backbiting - perhaps Ewan picked it up from Joan Littlewood and the theatrical crowd - none of whom seem to have a good word to say for each other, not til obituary time anyway.
WLD, well said,What is important in my opinion,is the performance and enjoyment of the music,when I go to a folk club,I go to enjoy myself,to hear the music I like.
I certainly do not expect when I buy an lp off the artist[in this case Ewan Maccoll and PeggySeeger]to be made to feel small by Ewan,because I am purchasing an lp of american folk songs by Peggy and Mike Seeger.
I was made to feel that I shouldnt be listening to American folk songs,and should only be buying lps of English songs.
Ewan and Peggy were/are very good performers,but his comment was bad mannered,out of place,and sarcastic.
I was a young man/teenager who felt intimidated by the guest performer ,and lacking in confidence to argue the toss with Ewan.Dick Miles


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 06:17 AM

the club where I saw Ewan and Peggy and where I bought the lp was Farningham,this club was very successful,in fact there was a friday and a sunday club[singers club ]the residents were Skinners Rats and Pete Hicks,
In complete contrast with my experience with Ewan, this club was very encouraging to all types of folk music,floorsingers[I remember Brixton Bert,SimonPrager/SteveRye JeffDale all blues singers and good ones doing floorspots and pretty broad in its booking policy].
now this must have been about 1970,Stephane Grappeli was booked one night and people were being turned away,this was about the same time that Ewan and Peggy were booked.
so as far back as 1970 there were sucessful folk clubs with booking policies.
Jim Carroll said.
Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 04:48 AM

WMD
Not being 'purposefully obtuse' - Peggy laid out her stall fairly openly and honestly in her letter to The Living Tradition; she apologised for for her behaviour and 'confessed to her own wrongdoings'. I'm happy to grant her 'absolution' - how about you? As far as I'm concerned, she has no reason to apologise for the actions of her half-brother.
It's more than a little slick to blame the decline of the clubs on 'backbiting'.
My experience leads me to believe that they have reached the present sorry state because a parasitic growth has choked the life out of them to the extent that the term 'folk' has become meaningless and can now refer to anything from the Child ballads to the compositions of George Gershwin or William McGonagall.
Jim Carroll .
Well, I can remember going to a club in 1967,and hearing Ron Geesin,Ron on occassions during his gig used to recite Mcgonagle.
The reciting of Mcgonagle,and a fairly broad repertoire including blues ,American folk songs and bluegrass,has been going on for over forty years,.
to say they are in a sorry state,because of a catholic inclusion of Mcgonagle,child ballads,and others in the booking policies/and or floor spots at folk clubs,is historically inaccurate.
in fact I can recall seeing
Jug bands,Stephane Grappelli,PeteStanley,
Ron Geesin,GerryLockran,Ralph Mctell,Roy Harper, Derek Brimstone Red Clay Ramblers,Between the period 1966 and 1970.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 06:22 AM

However I can see that it is that sort of minding of other singers business that has reduced folkclubs in popularity.

I don't see that any club setting it's own scope, aims or policy affects the popularity of folk clubs overall and I don't consider setting such things "minding of other singers business".

I am however concerned about people minding other folk clubs, etc. business and I think a fair amount of damage is done on the Internet by people believing their way to run an event is the only way.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 06:41 AM

Is there any hope that people could please not copy-paste long passages of the posts they are replying to, when the originals are only one or two slots away? We can perfectly well glance up and refer to them if we need to. Long unnecessary quotes are just confusing and they waste so much space.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 07:12 AM

Cap'n,
You once reprimanded me for bringing up something that happened 'a long time ago'; I believe that on that occasion it was about a dozen years previously.
I don't know when your 'incident' with MacColl happened (I'm not even sure I understand how he managed to earn your disapproval), but I would guess it was at least twice that length of time - seems a long time to be carrying a grudge - especially against a man who has been dead for nearly twenty years!
I always found MacColl extremely approachable, generous, polite, and very helpful when his assistance and advice was sought - but that's me.
Who knows, perhaps you caught him on a bad day - on the other hand it is not inconceivable that you managed to get up his nose, as you do mine (and I suspect others) on a regular basis.
Strange as it may seem, MacColl did not often take part in public polemic. From the mid-sixties onward, around the time of the John Snow debacle, he set up The Critics Group, and confined his work to that and to The Singers Club.
He gave a few interviews, but he wrote little on the folk scene, at least I have been hard-pushed to find anything of any great significance.
Personally, I believe that his failure to engage in public debate was a fatal mistake - but again, that's me.
He was always forthcoming and honest when an opinion was sought, which quite often didn't go down too well with many of the sycophantic 'lovies' of the revival, but he usually confined his comments to that level.
Despite this, he remains the target of constant vituperative abuse and slander nearly twenty years after his death, all of which proves to me that he must have done something right.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 08:43 AM

Jim,
I have the utmost respect for Maccoll as a writer and performer.
I am not carrying a grudge,but relating an incident,that I think illustrates that Ewans attitude .,and is relevant to the discussion in hand.
I bought an LP off him, he criticised my choice, because it was American folk songs.,I walked away[end of conversation].
I later booked Ewan/ Peggy at a folk club I ran,and also did a support act at their concert,we got on well.
Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 08:58 AM

Jim Carroll

Your point?

WLD has it about right. (Who would have thought that we would ever agree about anything?) I'm not holding Peggy Seeger responsible for anything thet the Weavers did, just pointing out that she must have been very familiar with interpretations of Leadbelly far removed from the original culture. I will never know what the Cockney Leadbelly sounded like, but, to my taste, the Weavers' version of Goodnight Irene is toe-curlingly embarrassing.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 11:10 AM

Cap'n,
"I have the utmost respect for Maccoll as a writer and performer."
I'm sure that's a weight off his mind!
He questioned your taste in music - the bastard - that's worth an eternity of roasting in Hell at least. He criticised your buying an American record - oh come on, give us a break! He must have gone through hell living with Peggy.
Snail,
Peggy was aware of what the Weavers, and Pete were doing - and had things to say about it on occasion!
I seem to have missed the point somewhere, WMD appeared to be criticising Peggy for what The Weavers did - have I got that wrong.
Couldn't agree more about what they did to poor Irene.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bert
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 02:57 PM

Bert
Who said he 'can't'?
Jim Carroll


Well it seems to me that Peggy Seeger and The Singers Club are of the opinion that one shouldn't sing songs from outside of one's own
culture.

But more important, what songs are on the two albums you mention?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 03:13 PM

No - read Peggy's letter again - it was really aimed at accent and language.
Can't lay my hands on the records at present,
Off the top of my head
Blind Beggar of Bethnall Green, Betsy Baker, Georgie Barnell, London Ordinary, Tottie, Fan in the Lion's Den, London Burning in Ashes - can't remember any more; will dig them out later.
Prior to these albums Ewan did 2 Folkways albums of London broadsides which containes Roome For Company, Pity's Lamentation, There's Nothing to be had Without Money, The Midwife's Ghost, Merry Progress to London, London's Lottery, King Lear and his Three Daughters, The Female Frolic, Give Me My Yellow Rose, King and no King and Constance of Cleveland.

Terry Yarnell was/is researching material for a book of London songs and had compiled a large list of them last time I spoke to him
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 03:16 PM

I only said "WLD has it about right." I can't take responsibility for everything he said.

In Peggy's letter to The Living Tradition, she makes it clear that a lot of people were singing all sorts of things from all sorts of cultures in a variety of accents. This seemed to be the accepted norm. I find it hard to understand why a Cockney singing a traditional song from a different culture in his own voice should have such an impact.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 03:33 PM

You have obviously never seen an Irishman's reaction to a cod 'Oirish' accent.
Then again - there's always Dick Van Dyke's cockney chimney sweep.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: meself
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 04:02 PM

Jim - Granted you were much closer to the action than I, but - don't you have this the wrong way around? Isn't it the point that the 'Cockney' was NOT singing in a put-on accent, in other words, he was singing a southern Black song in his own accent, as opposed to (for example) Dick Van Dyke's attempt at doing a Cockney accent? Or have I misunderstood the originial story?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 04:23 PM

Thanks meself, you beat me to it.

The accusation against The Cockney Leadbelly was not that he was trying to imitate the real thing but that he was singing in his own voice whereas Peggy Seeger said "I knew what the song should sound like and the manner of delivery and the insertion of Cockney vowels into a southern USA black prisoners' song just sounded funny." which implies that he should have tried to reproduce the original (or not sung it at at all.)


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 04:48 PM

Sorry if I got it wrong, but I'm pretty certain that I didn't.
As I understood the story it was a cockney stab at a black Texan accent that pushed Peggy off her chair.
The mid- Atlantic accents used for the singing of American material gave rise to the term 'Walthamstow Cowboys'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 04:58 PM

Jim Carroll

Sorry if I got it wrong, but I'm pretty certain that I didn't.
As I understood the story it was a cockney stab at a black Texan accent that pushed Peggy off her chair.


Not the way I read it. Peggy said -

I knew what the song should sound like and the manner of delivery and the insertion of Cockney vowels into a southern USA black prisoners' song just sounded funny.

It was singing a black Texan song in a cockney accent that was the problem.

Neither of us was there. Will we ever know?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: meself
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 05:28 PM

Peggy's statement is open to interpretation: was the singer trying to do a Black Texan accent but failing to mask his "Cockney vowels", or was he singing the song with no attempt to disguise his native accent? But if Jim has the story from other sources (other than the article), or is basing his impression on other things Peggy has said, then I'm willing to accept his take on it (a great relief to him, no doubt!).


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 06:18 PM

I don't think any of the Seeger have anything to apologise for. I never said they did. Their contribution has been enormous. Peggy and Pete have shown generosity of spirit to me personally.

But when you're a pot you should show proper respect for the ethnic origins of the kettle.

as to your other point:-
'folk' has become meaningless and can now refer to anything from the Child ballads to the compositions of George Gershwin or William McGonagall.

I went a songwriting workshop with Pete Morton today at Grantham folk festival. Pete said something interesting during his little lecture. Namely that folkmusic isn't 'factory line' stuff. It sort of binds us together.

If you find the humanity in a piece of music, maybe that's just another word for folk, isn't it?

best wishes

al


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 02:22 AM

I heard the story years ago from Peggy and have always assumed (in fact, in context of how I heard it, I'm pretty certain) that he was attempting an American accent and didn't quite make it. I hope to see Peggy later this year and I'll make a point of asking her.
The question of phony accents - mid-Atlantic, 'Oirish' or 'Ooo ah' etc was one that came up regularly in the Critics Group.
Nobody had problems with singing songs from outside our culture as far as I'm concerned, as long as you managed to sound like the real 'you' not a pretend 'you'.
I have around fifty-sixty songs in my repertoire taken from Scots or Irish sources, all Anglicised to fit my accent. When we started collecting I made it a practice to learn at least 1 song from each of the people we recorded (Irish Travellers, West of Ireland, Norfolk), but it was me singing the songs, not them.
Bert - contents of Critics Group London albums as promised.
Album 1 - 'A Merry Progress to London'
Street Cries, Painters Song, Roome For Company (at Bartholemew Fair), A Merry Progress to London, Maid of Tottenham, In Newry Town, Ploughboy and The Cockney, The Bold Leiutenant, London Ordinary, London Mourning in Ashes, Lass ofd Islington, Through Moorfields, Jarvis The Coachman, The Blind Beggar, There's Nothing to be Had Without Money, Georgie Barnell, Lawyer's Lament for Charing Cross.
Album 2 - Sweet Thames Flow Softly.
Street Cries, Tottie, Judges and Juries, Parson Grocer, Betsy Baker, Plank Bed Ballad, The Jail Song, William and Phyllis, Randolph Turpin and Sugar Ray Fight, Supermarket Song, Ratcliff Highway, Outward Bound, My Jolly Sailor Bold, Streets of London, Colour Bar Strike, Landlord's Nine Questions, Sweet Thames Flow Softly
Whew!!!
Both albums were originally released on Argo - there were rumours of Topic re-releasing them; don't know if it came to anything.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 02:32 AM

Sorry, 'sme again
WLD
"If you find the humanity in a piece of music, maybe that's just another word for folk, isn't it?"
Not for me it isn't.
The term was created to describe song, music, tales, customs with specific origins, creative patterns, transmission etc.
Apply it in the general sense, as you propose, and it ceases to have any meaning - I find much 'humanity' in Beethoven's string quartets, or Goya's war paintings, or Zola's short stories, but I would never describe them as 'folk'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 05:36 AM

Put it another way......a string quartet arrives at your folk club.

They say, can we do a ten minute spot mate?

You say, nah piss off! Ludwig Van Beethoven....he doesn't fit the 1954 definition, so he can bollocks!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 05:48 AM

Depending on the club and the situation, I could well point out that we have folk spots not classical pieces, perhaps ask if they did anything in keeping, etc. yes.

And I've yet to hear of anything describing itself as a folk club that is truly open to everything musical. Perhaps one might draw the line at heavy metal, classical seems to me a good one at getting people complaining "it's not folk", and oddly enough I've found this sort of thing with people who themselves claim to be open to anything...


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 06:25 AM

We've had classical guitar and all sorts, down Chorlton. We had someone do a spot on solo trumpet once - with sheet music.

What you think about that will depend on what question you're really asking. Was that folk music? No, not in any sense of the word. Did it make a reasonable floor spot in the middle of an evening? Yes. Is it a problem if people pitch up at a folk club and do stuff like that? No - at least, not as long as there's stuff that can be called folk going on as well.

A lack of traditional material is a problem - or at least a danger - but I don't think it's a problem that can be solved by prescriptive MCing.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 06:35 AM

I suppose how long the performance goes on is a factor too - a ten-minute string quartet movement (never mind all the setting up time) isn't the same as some piece which is only the length of an average song and doesn't use up more than one floor spot. Most club audiences I've seen are pretty broad-minded provided their tolerance isn't abused - and going on for too long probably falls into that category.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 07:59 AM

But then the lead violinist says, Only kidding mate! Fields of Athenry, Streets of London and The Wild Rover. It'll go down a storm!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 10:02 AM

Hootennanny - just for the record, the question of what and which was the oldest folk club in England has been discussed on Mudcat. I'll link to a post from me half way down concerning the Topic in Bradford (opened 1956) - BLICKY.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 11:51 AM

Thanks for the trouble Geoff but I am not that interested. I was only pointing out that The Ballads and Blues club in London pre-dated the Singers Club in London. Jim Carroll kindly supplied the dates above. It could be misconstrued from Peggy's item that the Ballads and Blues Club became the Singers club. It did not.
When Peggy and Ewan went to form the Singers Club the Ballads and Blues club continued until May 1965. We had no quarrel with them or their club, they just chose a different policy to us. My own policy was to use singers that would entertain rather than educate and no, I am not looking for another pointless argument.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 12:19 PM

thankyou hoot,I was unaware of that.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 12:22 PM

Jim Carroll

I heard the story years ago from Peggy and have always assumed (in fact, in context of how I heard it, I'm pretty certain) that he was attempting an American accent and didn't quite make it.

You seem to have knowledge beyond that available from the Living Tradition letter so I'll take your word for it. What you describe would, indeed, be embarrassing.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bert
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 01:02 PM

Thanks Jim, that is an interesting list. It puzzles and worries me that I haven't heard of most of those songs.

Are they really that obscure or is it just a lack of experience on my part? I was born in London and our family had a great singing tradition but those songs weren't among those that we sang.

I suspect that they predated the music hall songs which seemed to be a big part of my family's repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 05:32 PM

Bert,
The bulk of the songs on the albums were from broadside collections.
The following were (I think) to be found in the tradition; not sure of the sources of those particular versions:
Street Cries, Painters Song, Maid of Tottenham, In Newry Town, The Bold Leiutenant, Lass of Islington, The Blind Beggar, Outward Bound, Ratcliff Highway, Judges and Juries, Plank Bed Ballad, The Jail Song.
These were composed in the latter half of the 20th century:
Randolph Turpin and Sugar Ray Fight, Supermarket Song, Streets of London, Colour Bar Strike, Landlord's Nine Questions, Sweet Thames Flow Softly.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 05:34 PM

"I'll take your word for it"

Me three.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 06:23 PM

Did no one else notice that we were treated to a rare post, above, by the grand and glorious Max?

Max made an excellent point that has not really been acknowledged in the various ramblings posted since. Embarrassingly clueless performances (and even inappropriate audience participation) is not so much a matter of "accents" real or fake, but of a fundamental understanding of the music.

If you take a song from the African-American tradition and emphasize the "one" and "three" beats instead of the the two and four, you pretty much destroy the most basic feeling upon which the entire composition is built, regardless of whether your vocal accent is an authentic imitation of the the orignal, your own authentic voice, or a hapless and transparently fake attempt at reinterpreting a voice you obviously do not understand and cannot truly "hear."

There are plenty of excellent British singers who have demonstrated a true understanding of The Blues and related American soul/roots genres. Long John Baldry was one, or at least eventually became one, even if he actually did give offense in his youth by a weak attempt at interpretation. Chicago white-boy Paul Butterfield, may God rest his soul, was every bit as authentic and true a blues singer and harp player as any of the older black artists who inspired him. But of course, not every wannabe is that good or that true.

I was a fan of PPM, but with reservations. Having grown up next door to a CME church, I knew very well what real black gospel music was supposed to sound like, and I knew darn well that PPM filed miserably to capture that sound in such efforts as, say, "Jesus Met the Woman at the Well."

I was not as familiar with the original versions of many other pieces, representing other folk subgenres, such as "Cuckoo," and therefore was not the least bit unhappy with the PPM versions of most of their repertoire. If I've learned more about this music in the years since then, I suppose the "popularizers" should be given credit.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: meself
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 08:00 PM

"If, for example, Bo Diddley sang a Mozart aria, y'all might be on the floor too."

Obviously it was just bad luck that Bo Diddley would have come up here in a hypothetical example of dubious performance just a couple of days before his death, but reading an article linked in the obit. thread, I came across this:


"He [Bo Diddly] then patches his instrument into a guitar synthesizer and begins playing Bach on the strings, ... "


Maybe the idea of Bo Diddley doing the Mozart aria is not so far-fetched ...


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 11:21 AM

Despite my better judgement and my determination not to get involved in all this seemingly endless discussion, much of which is hearsay, myth and supposition, I finally can't resist throwing my three penn'orth in.
Firstly, Ferrara (5.8.08), I don't know where you got your information from but the idea that A.L.Lloyd 'stopped singing American songs and started looking for more British songs' and then became motivated to look into his own heritage because of Ewan and Peggy's song policy is just silly. Bert had been listening to and recording English traditional performers for some twenty years before the Ballads and Blues came into existence. And he certainly didn't need to be encouraged to sing English material by Peggy or Ewan. Admittedly, earlier, both Bert and Ewan and virtually everybody else on the '50s folk/skiffle scene had sung some American material, usually influenced by the Almanac Singers, Guthrie etc.
Secondly, Stringsinger, in defence of Long John Baldry, whom I knew well in the late 50s, when we would both, along with other teenage folk music players and singers, hang out in the GGs (Gyre and Gymble) in John Adam Street, next to Charing Cross Station, he was not a Cockney, he was a policeman's son who grew up in Edgeware . And to describe him as 'the Cockney guy who sang a style with which he was unfamiliar (and) showed a kind of insensitivity to the song' is as silly, and as ill-informed, as Ferrara's Bert Lloyd quote. John was perfectly familiar with the 'style' of music he played. He immersed himself in the blues and especially Leadbelly and, even as a late teenager well before Peggy saw fit to laugh at his, he was an impressive, powerful singer and a great 12-string guitarist. He was one of the first Soho players to own a 12-string made by the fine luthier Toni Zamaitis who died in 2002. He certainly undestood the blues as well if not better than most British singers of that period, and probably some Americans.
Someone earlier suggested that the GGs was a folk club that might have pre-dated the Ballads and Blues. It wasn't actually a club, it was simply a basement coffee bar run by a banjo player (Fritz) and a guitarist (Max?) where people dropped in and played either en route to Soho (if you came off the train at Charing Cross) or at some point in the evening during the obligatory circuit of pubs, clubs, coffee bars - the Partisan, Sam Widges, the Nucleus, the Farm (possibly the St Martin's Lane coffee cellar where Long John was spotted by another writer on this thread. Although the Farm was actually further up in Monmouth Street, next to the As You Like It salad restaurant, but when I usd to run it for a while, John, Davey Graham, Jerry Lochran, Clive Palmer and many other guitarists and banjo players used to drop in and play), The Duke of York, The Skiffle Cellar, etc.,
I don't think that the repertory rules laid down by E & P and the committee did any harm. most of the folk scene went on its own way and did its own thing, and some of the more rigid clubs tended to end up in a bit of a cultural cul-de-sac. But I'm all for people feeling free to sing whatever attracts them and whatever audiences are happy to accept. The only
criterion for me is whether or not its done well and (back to LJB) with understanding. As someone else pointed out many of the singers of folk songs in Britain have been listening to American folk music and absorbing other forms of popular U.S. culture all their lives, which might not be a good thing, and is exactly what Bert Lloyd and MacColl were attempting to counteract with the 2nd folk Revival, but, like it or not, many of us have probably got as much of a feeling for, say Appalachian music, as has a middle-class New Yorker. Most of the leading Old Timey revival musicians in the '50s and '60s were New York Jewish with as little or possibly less cultural relationship to the mountain ballad singers of Kentucky and Carolina than the average Brit. It's an area riddled with quicksands, and a subject as slippery as a greased pig, and it's a brave person who lays down rules and laws when it comes to traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: irishenglish
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 11:31 AM

Well said Dave. "it's a brave person who lays down rules and laws when it comes to traditional music. Would you mind repeating that to Walkaboutsverse in his English folk music degree thread!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 12:05 PM

no, dont go there.I went there and thought I had died and gone to hell.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: irishenglish
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 12:07 PM

Just kidding, I am there, can't get an answer out of the guy.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:20 PM

Nice to hear from you Dave Arthur. I can understand your reticence in joining in on this but you were there and I was there and Jim Carroll at a slightly later date. So much garbage has come up from people who weren't and don't realise how much American "culture" had been soaked up over here (for better or worse) before the folk scare of the late fifties.
I realised when I mentioned the Gyre & Gimble above that it may look as if I was inferring that it was a club. Of course it wasn't. I went there once or twice after my guitar lessons with Peggy which used to be held above Greek restaurant in Coram Street.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:38 PM

Just another thought that I meant to put in the last posting. The idea that one should or should not sing songs in accents other than one's own, or songs from one's own culture would rule out a large percentage of the middle and upper classes, or anyone that uses 'Received Pronuncation' - which is why so many '70s and '80s singers of English rural songs adopted a folky Mummerset accent to cover up their Grammar school or university tones.
    As for American songs we tend to forget, or p'raps haven't even thought about, the fact that what we think of as an American accent is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the gunslinging, trail-riding, river-boating days of the 19th century many people spoke with British or other European accents. There were plenty of first or second generation gunfighters and Marshalls with Lancashire accents, cowboys with Scottish and Cockney accents, Welsh miners, storytellers and farmers on Beech Mountain, North Carolina, speaking an even earlier English, and Irish accents everywhere especially in the army and the police. In the American Civil War there were English adventurers riding with the Confederate cavalry and Irish infantrymen, straight off the ships fighting, singing, and dying for the North. From the 1840s through to the end of the century Nigger Minstrel Shows such as the Christy Minstrels toured the length and breadth of Britain leaving their blackface songs (often sung to Irish tunes) in villages across the country. Norfolk's Sam Larner sang the minstrel song and dance 'Old Bob Ridley' and Alfred Williams collected minstrel songs in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. Collections of Minstrel songs were published in London from the midde of the 19th century. Some of the finest recordings of early 20th century Irish music were made in America, There are field recordings from California of what most would think of as a southern English dance tune repertoire and the same in Australia. In the 1930s traditional melodeon, concertina and fiddle players, from Australia or America could have sat down in a Suffolk or a Devon pub and played the same sets of tunes, in a very similar style.
The only difference with all of the above and the blinkered folk revival world is that nobody told any of those people that they shouldn't be doing what they were doing, many of them would have sung songs without any inhibitions or looking over their shoulders for the folk police. I've yet to meet a traditional performer who judges you on where you come from, what accent you've got, or whether or not you should be playing that particular instrument or tune. All I've ever met both here in Britain and America are traditional performers who are so steeped in the music and so keen to play or sing it with you and to share the pleasure of the music that they've got no time or inclination to lay down rules and query your right to play with them. If traditional performers can be so open and welcoming how come so many revivalists who claim to love and understand the music are so anally retentive and joyless? Or p'raps I've got it all wrong and I've just been extremely lucky in my dealings with traditional performers, and haven't yet come across the crabby ones. I wonder if Elizabeth Cotton and Leadbelly had any doubts about the young, white, middle-class Seegers learning and playing their music? I doubt they had much more in common with them culturally, and vocally than the love of the music.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: meself
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 07:23 PM

"The idea that one should or should not sing songs in accents other than one's own, or songs from one's own culture would rule out a large percentage of the middle and upper classes, or anyone that uses 'Received Pronuncation'"

These are two separate, if related issues: 1) singing songs in affected accents; 2) singing songs supposed to be from a culture not one's own. One might fully approve of one practice but not the other. Or vice versa.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Nerd
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 01:11 AM

Hmmm.... One thing that is puzzling me is the repeated references to "mid-Atlantic" accents. Does this mean English people trying to sound American and coming out halfway between English and American (and hence in the middle of the Atlantic?) I ask because here in the US, mid-Atlantic refers to the east coast states starting south of New England. The census bureau includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in this region, while other organizations such as the Mid-Atlantic Folklife Association include Delaware, Maryland and Virginia as well.

Needless to say, the US accent aimed for by most folksingers is either a southern accent a la Carter Family, or a Western one a la Woody Guthrie, not a mid-Atlantic one. (Dylan himself was a midwesterner attempting a more rural Western accent, a la Woody.)


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:05 AM

"Does this mean English people trying to sound American and coming out halfway between English and American (and hence in the middle of the Atlantic?)
Yup - sure does pardner.
"The idea that one should or should not sing songs in accents other than one's own, or songs from one's own culture would rule out a large percentage of the middle and upper classes,"
(Hi Dave) As far as the Singer's Club went - and it was aimed at the Club's residents and guests (though it was a topic for discussion elsewhere occasionally) it was a guide rather than a set rule - I can never remember it being an 'issue' with the many floor singers who performed at the club in an attempted American accent. The basic idea was, if you were English, you sounded English. Hootenany's point about American culture being soaked up, was precisely what it was aimed at. Had the 'own culture/accent' thing been insisted upon it would have been a problem; it wasn't, so it wasn't - if you know what mean.
I can think of numerous singers with r.p or precise accents, who made the songs work perfectly without sounding either cut-glass or Mummerset. Frankie Armstrong, who is very 'well-spoken' was, and remains one of my favourite singers. Ewan sang Scots songs with what sounded to me, a fairly comfortable Scots accent. His speaking voice was somewhat neutral, though he had grown up surrounded by a variety of Scots accents. I was quite friendly with his mother Betsy, whose accent I often found impenetrable; this remained the case to the end of her life in the 80s. Ewan's accent did bother some Scots, but I can only say, when he sang, the earth usually moved for me (and still does)! The only exception was on some of his early recordings where he attempted a legs-crossingly excruciating Liverpool (my home town) accent. The only time this didn't bother me was on the song 'Leaving of Liverpool' which he often used to end the club evening and still never fails to induce waves of nostalgia in me.
The question of 'Oirish' accents used to be an issue here in Ireland, but it seems to have receded into the background nowadays, though there is a constant debate going on about whether non- Irish speakers should sing Gaelic songs, many of which have been learned parrot-fashion.
A slight divergence; The Clare Festival of Traditional Singing (to my mind, one of the best events I have ever attended) during the mammoth singing session on Sunday afternoons, introduced a period of around one hour where only songs in Irish were sung. The aim was to cater for the number of Sean Nós singers who attended and quite often (in the early days) didn't take part because they felt out of place. Nobody (in my hearing) ever accused this practice of being draconian; it worked like a charm and the festival became prominent in encouraging Irish language singing.
Jim Carroll
PS For those interested, The Clare Singing Festival, which stopped some years ago, is being re-started at the end of the year by the late organiser's widow, Annette Munnelly.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:51 AM

Completely off-topic
There is a story I heard about the wonderful Kerry box-player, the late Johnny Leary and a Northern Ireland singer having a conversation in a local pub here in Miltown; collector Tom Munnelly was sitting with them.
Johnny went to the bar to buy a round and the singer turned to Tom and said, "He's a lovely man, but I can't understand a word he says".
Some time later the singer went to the toilet and Johnny said, "What a nice man - I wish I knew what he was talking about"!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 04:45 AM

on some of his early recordings where he attempted a legs-crossingly excruciating Liverpool (my home town) accent

I'm a southerner in Manchester; I've been here 25 years now, but I know my limits. I'll put in a short A here or there (bath, not bahth) but that's it - Ee By Gum But I'm Cowd is not in my repertoire.

Funnily enough, the worst accent I ever attempted was a novelty cockernee for The Ploughboy And ditto - and that is my home area. I can see the straight faces now (-shudder-).


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,maxoz
Date: 30 Dec 10 - 07:48 PM

the singer in question was a guy called david tennant..........not the ex dr who.

he busked a lot round soho in that era.......often with john baldry or bryn holloway.

and the accent wasn't cockney, it was north london......he stemmed from tottenham.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 11:33 AM

Just came across this old thread, and I note that no-one has answered the original question. Singer Paul Snow says he was there at the time and the 'offending' singer was Redd Sullivan, whose proud unregenerate Cockney approach to songs I much loved. He was a resident at the folk club in the basement of the Partisan Coffee Bar along with Martin Windsor and young Long John Baldry. So happens I was just yesterday recalling my favourite verse as sung by Redd in the South African song Sarie Marain [un sure of this spelling].
The verse was
Peeping through the knothole in grandma's wooden leg
Who will put the cat out when I'm gone?
You can ride a knitted bicycle down the High Street
Oh, a boy's best friend is his mother
Ewan


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 05:17 PM

Redd Sullivan a cockney ? Are you sure ? I know Red had a pretty wide ranging repertoire which included some old music hall songs but I don't think that qualifies him as a cockney. I was under the impression that he wasn't even from London but I could be mistaken.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 06:01 PM

Fair enough, I've no idea where exactly he was born, I was responding in part to earlier terminology in this thread, and partly thinking on memories of his Southern English accent and urban vocal style -parading my ignorance, I'm afraid. He may never have even heard Bow Bells.
Ewan


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 08:31 PM

If you're one who objects to phony accents, how about Woody Guthrie (as well as Dylan and Rambling Jack )?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 08:38 PM

I think it was not Redd Sullivan AT ALL, The offending singer was not a cockney and not Redd Sullivan, but someone who was born north of london.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 11:58 PM

It must be great to have historical significance. Its funny how odd things (like this bloke singing the rock island line) are remembered whereas other things are not (like the sausage sandwich Napoleom ate before the battle of Austerlitz).


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 01:00 AM

===I suspect that Guest John above wasn't around in the fifties either as there weren't that many clubs (here I speak of London)around at the time good or bad.===
---
Yes there were ~ see Dave Arthur some posts above ~~ including one he mentions:-
So to revert 3 years behind the fair for the record to this over 3-yr-old post on this just-revived thread: Long John Baldry used right at beginning of his career to sing at the Skiffle Cellar in Greek St, later The Cellar FC, then The Establishment Club where the 'satire boom' was born & Lenny Bruce caused offence in v early '60s; & one of those venues named by Dave Arthur above as those frequented by early-revival folkies. It was run by Russ Quaye & Hylda Syms, who encouraged beginners ~ they gave me my first ever paid gig, in 1957 I think it was: ten shillings = 50p ~ not a bad first-gig rate then! & among the other more-or-less starters I remember at the time was Long John; also, I would estimate, late-56 or '57.

This, as I say, just for the record & to try to establish a time-line re Long John.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 08:36 PM

Just to clear up any possible confusion - the Skiffle Cellar and The Establishment club were not the same place. They were, in fact, opposite each other at the Old Compton Street end of Greek Street. I remember walking past the red-painted Establishement when Lenny Bruce was performing there, and reading a blown-up review from one of the more staid London papers which described Bruce as suffering from ' diarrhoea of the mouth'! An 'illness' that not even Peggy accused young British blues singers of suffering from.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,maxoz
Date: 26 Oct 12 - 09:38 PM

i always find it amusing that MacColl (sic) who was always on about purity in folk was himself a fake scot really named James Henry Miller and hailing from Salford (love Dirty old town...that traditional irish ballad   lol).


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 07:33 AM

Casting an eye over this old thread, it occurred to me that there is an interesting distincion between those who would criticise people for singing songs in their own accents and those who would criticise them for singig the same songs in an accent that isn't there own.

And the odd thing is that there are people who would who believe both things at the same time, which implies that songs should never spread more than a few miles from wherever they were first sung.

My feeling is that we should feel free to sing songs from anywhere, using our own natural language.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 07:28 PM

I would take a cockney Leadbelly any time over the pious screechings of old Peggy but each to his own.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 08:34 PM

Iwas under the impression that Redd Sullivan was of irish extraction


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: Bugsy
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 09:02 PM

So, is Peggy Seeger's idea that if you are Not American, you can listen to Her sing songs from US but You can't sing them?

Bit of a bugger that eh? Didn't a lot of the "Traditional" folk songs in the US originate from UK/Ireland and other Celtic Countries?

I was born in UK and emigrated to Australia. Does that mean I can only sing songs from UK and my son (who was born in Australia) can't sing them and can only song songs from Aussie?

Give me a break.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 11:40 PM

Redd Sullivan may have been of Irish 'extraction', Dick ~~ the name suggests it; but he was in no way Irish-born, and his accent was entirely Southern English. Sounded sort of Cockney or S London or S Middlesex or thereabouts to me. I always took him for a Londoner, but he might I suppose have been born anywhere in Home Counties, or pretty well anywhere S of the conventionally thought of line between Bristol & the Wash, and between the areas thought of as The West & E Anglia.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,maxoz
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 05:44 AM

always thought red was scots origin..............martin was very jewish and was fond of self-aggrendising jokes.

we had a love hate relationship when he ran the g&g.............i was very naiive...................always thought 'boy' was real schoolboy on his way home lol.

got kicked out when i set light to russels's sunday times when he was reading it.

anyone remember eddie with the taxi.....ran an off licence in destroyed part of battersea?

and of course, when arnold murray knocked the place over...........his time at HMP improved his guitar no end!


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 04:32 PM

For Newport Boy - (Phil)

Hi Phil - I'm working on a history of Soho in th 1950s/early 60s, from personal memories and impressions, of people, places etc. Not just musicians and music clubs, but they are obviously an important part of it. I wondered whether or not you fancy expanding on your Ballads and Blues days, also Partisan etc., and the coffee house in St Martin's Lane where you heard Long John Baldry.
Any memories and impressions of any, or all, of the above would be so useful. The actual physical space -description of the clubs - audiences? Organisers? Residents? Atmosphere? Guest lists? What attracted you to those clubs and Soho in general. Impressions of Soho itself at that time?
You can contact me apart from Mudcat at - storyart at aol dot com
Thanks a lot. Best wishes, Dave


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Subject: RE: Peggy Seeger's Cockney Leadbelly??
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jul 18 - 11:50 AM

Some people go through life regarding it as half empty rather than half full, these people that criticise someones accent are half empty people.
isnt the most important thing that the songs are sung.I believe Martin Carthy said the only damage you can do to a song is not to sing it. some people who are interested in folk song end up getting incredibly precious about it, i wish they would fuck off


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