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Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991

DigiTrad:
AROUND ME BRAVE BOYS
BRISK YOUNG WIDOW
NOSTRADAMUS
OAK, ASH, AND THORN
On Board a 98
THE BARLEY AND THE RYE
THE GOOD LUCK SHIP
THE OLD SONGS
WE HAVE FED OUR SEA FOR A THOUSAND YEARS


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Peter Bellamy recordings? (91)
The Transports 2017 CD (4)
(origins) Origins: Fakenham Fair (61)
The Transports 2017! (81)
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Why not sing a Bellamy song? (10)
Peter Bellamy - Kipling LP needed (25)
Song about Peter Bellamy (11)
Lyr Req: Transports (Peter Bellamy/Young Tradition (10)
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Peter Bellamy Argo albums new to CD (12)
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Colin Irwin on Peter Bellamy (23)
Lyr Req: Kipling's 'Recessional' (12)
Bellamy's 'The Transports': Score Wanted (6)
Jim Lloyd Interviews Peter Bellamy, c.1987 (17)
Tune Req: Tree Song / Oak, Ash and Thorn (Kipling) (25)
peter bellamy song accompaniment (6)
Lyr Req: Onboard a 98: Peter Bellamy (8)
Lyr Req: Dockyard Gate (from Peter Bellamy) (18)
Lyr Req: Bellamy's 'On Board a 98'? (12)
Happy! - Sept 8 (Peter Bellamy 1944-1991) (10)
Bellamy/Kipling song about Drake (7)
Lyr Req: Peter Bellamy's Barbaree (5)
Lyr Req: Yarmouth Town (Peter Bellamy) (6)
Re: Music to Kipling poem (34)
Lyr Req: My Boy Jack (6)
Folk Opera: The Transports (Bellamy, et al.) (20)
Follow me 'ome (17)
Lyr Req: Sweet Loving Friendship (Peter Bellamy) (4)
Lyr Req: Follow Me 'Ome (R Kipling, P Bellamy) (6)
For Kipling/Bellamy fans (2)
Let's Talk Bellamy (9)
Lyr Req: Mine Sweepers (Rudyard Kipling) (20)


Georgiansilver 24 Sep 09 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Ed 24 Sep 09 - 07:08 AM
Micca 24 Sep 09 - 07:08 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 09 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 24 Sep 09 - 08:01 AM
Georgiansilver 24 Sep 09 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 24 Sep 09 - 08:19 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 09 - 09:18 AM
Uncle_DaveO 24 Sep 09 - 09:36 AM
cptsnapper 24 Sep 09 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Hesk 24 Sep 09 - 10:10 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 09 - 10:19 AM
John Routledge 24 Sep 09 - 10:43 AM
doc.tom 24 Sep 09 - 10:54 AM
Jack Blandiver 24 Sep 09 - 11:07 AM
nutty 24 Sep 09 - 11:18 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Sep 09 - 11:34 AM
Bill D 24 Sep 09 - 01:00 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 24 Sep 09 - 01:19 PM
VirginiaTam 24 Sep 09 - 02:15 PM
Barry Finn 24 Sep 09 - 05:17 PM
Leadfingers 24 Sep 09 - 06:58 PM
longboat (inactive) 24 Sep 09 - 07:10 PM
Desert Dancer 24 Sep 09 - 07:46 PM
Folkiedave 24 Sep 09 - 08:17 PM
longboat (inactive) 24 Sep 09 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 25 Sep 09 - 03:04 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 25 Sep 09 - 03:05 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Sep 09 - 03:52 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 09 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 25 Sep 09 - 10:10 AM
Reinhard 24 Sep 11 - 02:17 AM
GUEST,Henryp 24 Sep 11 - 02:40 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Sep 11 - 02:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Sep 11 - 05:04 AM
Jean(eanjay) 24 Sep 11 - 05:46 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 01:20 AM
DMcG 25 Sep 11 - 03:09 AM
GUEST 25 Sep 11 - 03:22 AM
Georgiansilver 25 Sep 11 - 03:24 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Sep 11 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Sep 11 - 06:46 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 07:13 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Sep 11 - 08:13 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 08:43 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 25 Sep 11 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 25 Sep 11 - 09:57 AM
G-Force 25 Sep 11 - 12:21 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 01:31 PM
The Sandman 25 Sep 11 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Sep 11 - 05:46 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 11 - 05:53 PM
georgeward 26 Sep 11 - 12:03 AM
Kampervan 26 Sep 11 - 02:04 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Sep 11 - 04:42 AM
MGM·Lion 26 Sep 11 - 04:49 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 26 Sep 11 - 08:56 AM
MGM·Lion 26 Sep 11 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Sep 11 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 26 Sep 11 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 26 Sep 11 - 11:48 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 11 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,David E. 26 Sep 11 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 26 Sep 11 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Sep 11 - 03:49 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Sep 11 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Sep 11 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 26 Sep 11 - 04:11 PM
The Sandman 26 Sep 11 - 04:35 PM
GUEST 26 Sep 11 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 26 Sep 11 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,David E. 26 Sep 11 - 06:28 PM
Phil Edwards 26 Sep 11 - 06:36 PM
lisa null 26 Sep 11 - 11:06 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Sep 11 - 11:39 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 27 Sep 11 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 27 Sep 11 - 06:07 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Sep 11 - 08:18 AM
lisa null 27 Sep 11 - 08:56 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Sep 11 - 12:21 PM
The Sandman 27 Sep 11 - 12:47 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Sep 11 - 01:05 PM
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pavane 28 Sep 11 - 01:36 PM
MGM·Lion 28 Sep 11 - 01:54 PM
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Edthefolkie 28 Sep 11 - 04:41 PM
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GUEST,raymond greenoaken 30 Sep 11 - 07:25 AM
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Desert Dancer 30 Sep 11 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 30 Sep 11 - 12:22 PM
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The Sandman 30 Sep 11 - 01:20 PM
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BTNG 30 Sep 11 - 03:59 PM
The Sandman 30 Sep 11 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 01 Oct 11 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 01 Oct 11 - 04:19 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Oct 11 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Oct 11 - 11:54 AM
Folkiedave 02 Oct 11 - 12:26 PM
The Sandman 02 Oct 11 - 12:49 PM
MGM·Lion 02 Oct 11 - 01:23 PM
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The Sandman 04 Oct 11 - 10:53 AM
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Subject: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:03 AM

How many of you remember Pete Bellamy with what some described as a nasal vibrato voice. Sung with 'New Tradition' until set off on his own... I loved most of his stuff but one in particular.. "The Shepherd of the Downs"... click the link to enjoy:-
A Shepherd of the Downs.. sung by Peter Bellamy

Tragic death on September 24th 1991.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:08 AM

RIP

Mudcat's own Sean Breadin made a great film to accompany The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Micca
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:08 AM

GS, I think the Group with Heather and Royston Wood were called "Young Tradition"


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:22 AM

I remember him well,He had STYLE,and he sang with balls.
gone butnot forgotten,thanks for the clips.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:01 AM

What method did Peter use to kill himself? Nothing in the obits.

Phil Ochs folk singer hung himself at age 35

Yogi Hortin drummer for the Stones jumped 17 stories age 37

Jason Thirsk, Pennywise bassist shot himself age 27

Graham Bond threw himself under the wheels of a Finsbury Park train age 37

Jeff Ward, drummer for Nine Inch Nails, carbon-monoxide - age 30

Rob Pilatus of Milli Vanilli - alcohol and pills - age 32

Rory Storme of the Hurricanes, the group Ringo Starr played in before joining the Beatles, died in 1974 of an overdose of sleeping pills. "He was found dead in his home with his head in the oven, the result of a suicide pact with his mother, whose body was discovered nearby"

http://www.martyangelo.com/rockmusic_suicide.htm

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:13 AM

Micca you are totally correct.. my brain is perhaps not as agile as it used to be... "Young Tradition" is correct of course. My favourite of theirs was the 'Lyke Wake Dirge' which I used to sing many years ago.

Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:19 AM

and Topic are just re-releasing Peter's album Both Sides Then on CD as part of the Topic 70 celebrations.
Derek


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 09:18 AM

he took an overdose.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 09:36 AM

Overdose of which?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: cptsnapper
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 09:49 AM

Do we really need to know how he died? It was a tremendously sad loss and I find this line of enquiry extremely distasteful.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Hesk
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:10 AM

Is it really that long? It seems like only the other day that he was performing at the White Lion club in Wherwell.His voice was an acquired taste, but I'm glad I acquired it. A great songwriter, such a pity that he felt so unappreciated.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:19 AM

yes, i found it distasteful,as well,I make allowances for Gargoyle,he seems to be on medication,I felt like teliing him to mind his own business.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: John Routledge
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:43 AM

Still remember vividly Peter performing with Heather and Royston Wood in North Yorkshire 40+ years ago. Happy memories in the sadness.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: doc.tom
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:54 AM

IMO the most consistently creative individual polymath we have had on the revival scene since the 1940 - all other 'greats' included: none were as diverse. And oh he did love a good argument! Happy memories. Never forgotten. (Never mind Topic - check out the Fellside catalogue for a LOT of Bellamy re-issues).

TomB


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 11:07 AM

Just logged into Mudcat after running through my songs for tonights sing at The Steamer in Fleetwood... all of them from the singing and writing of Peter Bellamy, so imagine my horror to read this thread.

Abe Carmen - a Bellamy composition throughout, from The Transports, though I've taken the melancholy alternative version recorded for his 1985 EFDSS album Second Wind.

Glass on the Bar - a Bellamy setting of a poem by Henry Lawson, also from Second Wind.

Ford o' Kabul River - a Bellamy setting of a poem by Rudyard Kipling, from his 1982 Fellside album Keep on Kipling.

and, of course, The Fox Jumps Over the Parsons Gate - a traditional piece he essayed in fine old style on the 1970 Topic album of the same name, although sourced from his mother's singing of verses from Randolph Caldecott's picture book. See second post above for link to my wee video which unites Peter's singing and the pictures that inspired it!

18 years? Bloody hell. Another sobering thought - I'm now a year older than Peter was when he died, which is a sobering thought.

To the Boring Bleating Old Traddy himself - I miss you madly.

Sedayne : Bellamist.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: nutty
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 11:18 AM

We also lost Keith Marsden that year. I wonder how many more wonderful songs would have entered the 'tradition' had they both still lived


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 11:34 AM

A pedantic note from one who knew them all well; Peter in particular was a close friend – my wife Valerie, at his request, took the back cover pic for "Both Sides Then"; and Valerie & I were among the first Jenny Bellamy rang, exactly 18 years ago, to tell of his death. I had lent him a D-major concertina on more or less permanent loan which he used a great deal on his later gigs and records as it much increased the range of his concertina-accompd songs, and which was on his coffin at his funeral. [Jenny gave it back to me afterwards, of course, and I play it still].

The pedantic note refd above is that Peter's two partners in Young Tradition, though coincidentally both called Wood, disliked being referred to as "Heather & Royston Wood", as this might suggest they were married or brother & sister. They once actually made a record of just the two of them called "No Relation". They much preferred being called Heather Wood and Royston Wood, in full; and if you think about it you can see why.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 01:00 PM

I met Peter only once...at a concert in Wash. D.C.. I bought a little tape from him, and he told me earnestly.."This is the best thing I've ever done!"

I recounted the story to someone later, who replied, "Peter said that about everything he recorded."

I have a number of LPs by him, and you know...he was right...they were all 'the best'.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 01:19 PM

Peter Bellamy was one of a kind - I've never met anyone quite like him, before or since. I think he was a genius (and I don't use that word lightly) in his own corner of the musical world. Sadly, he was undervalued within that field, and very little known outside it.

Outsiders might argue that the folk revival is a relatively insignificant cultural phenomoneon, and that Peter's corner of it was miniscule, whatever his talents may have been. And there were quite a few insiders who had little sympathy with him during his lifetime, or thereafter.

Nevertheless, I believe 'The Transports' and his Kipling songs are precious contributions to our heritage of song, and that the recordings he made with Heather and Royston set a standard for unaccompanied folk harmony singing that has been rarely equalled (and never surpassed) since.

Peter often presented a cynical and abrasive front to the world. But behind that front was a sensitive artist, never content to sit back and congratulate himself on past achievements, and always reaching out for something currently beyond his grasp. He could be a difficult person to get along with, but it was worth making the effort. I knew him only slightly, and for a short period of time, but I still miss him. It's good that we still celebrate his memory.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 02:15 PM

I love Peter. I discovered him posthumously a few years ago, digging through TheSilentOne's (my spouse) cassette tapes. Wish I had seen/heard a live performance.

Sad sad loss.

Hope you find what you were looking for on the other side my dear.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 05:17 PM

I wasn't fortunate enough to hear the "Young Tradition" live but I can still remeber vividly Peter's perfomance at the Eisteddfod that used to be held at SMU in Dartmouth, Mass back in the late 70's & early 80's. Peter was like lightening lighting up the stage solo, dressed in a flamming red suit. He did a number of songs but his redition of "On Board a Man O War" & his "Roll Down" were like nothing I had ever experienced bfore or after. He was electrifying & the halls were bellowing. It was truely a remarkable all out emotional performance that still to this day I have never been so knock over by the likes of it. My socks were rolling up & down like window shades. I wish he could've only known the impact he'd had on generations of folk music lovers to come.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 06:58 PM

Peter was indeed 'One of a Kind' ! He coud be somewhat abrasive if rubbed up the wrong way . but could be a superb entertainer and a wonderful purveyor of songs !


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: longboat (inactive)
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:10 PM

re The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate. If anyone's interested the complete bookis available at the Project Gutenburg site
The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:46 PM

(Also others in the series...)


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:17 PM

and that Peter's corner of it was miniscule, whatever his talents may have been. And there were quite a few insiders who had little sympathy with him during his lifetime, or thereafter.

I think Peter's influence has been immense - afterwards. I'll be honest I was never sure.

But if you think he had no influence, isten to Jon Boden and also Bellowhead.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: longboat (inactive)
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 09:15 PM

Thanks for that, Desert Dancer, I have P Bellamy's The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate on vinyl,that and The Transports, two much trasure records
Peter Bellamy, still missed after 18 years


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:04 AM

Here we go - New York Times Published Thursday September 25, 1991.

He committed suicide, taking an overdose of tranquilizers and alcohol, his family said.

To balance out more variations on this theme within the music community...

Edwin Pearce Christy - founder of the Christy Minstrels,(original) threw himself from a window

Clara Blandick - Auntie Em from The Wizard of Oz, suffocation

Albert Ayler - American jazz saxophonist, drowned in New York City river

Kurt Cobain - American singer of Nirvana, shotgun

Louis-Gabriel Guillemain - French violinist - stabbed himself

Cass - singer Mama's and Papa's - glutony (choked on beef-steak

Vachel Lindsay - American poet - syncopated jazz rhythms (The Congo etc) drank a bottle of Lysol
Charlotte Mew - English poet, quite remarkably drank Lysol too. (Fhweeu!)

Per Yngve Ohlin - Norwegian vocalist for the band Mayhem, cut his throat.

WOW !

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

It appears musicians have used almost every means immaginable - however the catagory of self immolation is still available for those seeking a novel approach for a musician to "shuffle off this mortal coil."


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:05 AM

On a brighter note - by Dorothy Parker:

Resume

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And the drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live,
.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

I like Ms. Parker ...

however....for the Grandest of Exits....I like Hamlet.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:52 AM

On the topic of mysterious deaths and Peter Bellamy, when I saw him at The Bay Hotel in Cullercoats around 1988 he was sporting a Brian Jones t-shirt and encored with You Can't Always Get What You Want - famously released as a B-side to Honky Tonk Woman on the day Brian Jones died. It might also be noted it was the Stone's producer who played drums on this track - his name: Jimmy Miller.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 07:10 AM

gargoyle,youremarks are tasteless,and upsetting,I knew Peter,will you desist.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 10:10 AM

Saw Pete quite a few times, also lucky enough to see the Young Tradition after they broke up! I think it was a benefit for Clive Woolf and there may have been another occasion too.

There's really no question that he was some sort of genius and had got considerable star quality. But there was never much danger of him being accepted by the mainstream. I wish he was here to give his opinion of people like Simon Cowell.

Mind you he might have liked the "X Factor"! I'd describe him as what my grandma used to call "tommy-opposite" - er, frequently objecting to the authorised version - and by God there are a few authorised versions in the folk world, we need guys like Peter to shake things up.

I couldn't believe it when he died, having been quite envious of his many gifts - it seemed so unnecessary. But as others have said we'd better not go there.

A lovely song about Pete (and others who have gone before) is "Over There In Paradise" by Steve Ashley, and he's also referred to in Steve's "Down Among The Hop Poles".


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Reinhard
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 02:17 AM

20 years ago now...

Rest in peace, Peter.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Henryp
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 02:40 AM

Rest in peace - I understand the sentiment but that is the least likely thing he would do. Still vividly remembered.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 02:47 AM

Again adieu, dearest of friends ···

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 05:04 AM

You just have to wonder what was the source of his unhappiness. He was loved and respected and , for the most part lauded by the critics that matter. His contemporaries in the traddy world had huge respect for him. I know several people went to his gigs and warned me off, because they found him very 'difficult' to understand.
I thought he had some cracking ideas - like The Transports and the Kipling - but I was never keen on the results.

I was aware of his work and always thought we'd meet up somewhere down the line - but we never did.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 05:46 AM

I saw him perform live many times ~ wonderful. I'm listening to this at the moment:

Mandalay


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:20 AM

Al ~ It was a career thing. I remember his once showing me an almost empty forthcoming gigs diary, and saying words to the effect that "I did The Transports, everyone loved and respected it {just as you say above}, ~~and from that moment my bookings practically ceased and my career went phhhttt!" Jenny told Valerie and me that, a few days before he died, he spent the entire evening playing right back thru all his records, listening carefully and as best he could objectively, and said at the end, "Well, I AM good!. What the hell has gone wrong?!" She also told us of the precise sequence of events on the evening he went out, sat on a hilltop where he could look down on their house in Keighley, and took an OD, to be found there dead the next morning.

AFAK that was the reason ~ & I think, having been to that extent in his and her confidence, that I probably know as well as anybody.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: DMcG
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 03:09 AM

First hearing the LP 'The Young Tradition' was the moment when I moved fron regarding going to a folk club as a pleasant way of passing a few hours to recognising the music as something really worth study and attention. If I had a 'folk epiphany' that was it. I never had occasion to talk to Peter but heard him live many times and it was always enthralling.

It is intriging to hear that he identified 'The Transports' as killing his career. I bought a copy when it came out - naturally! - but even today I don't think I've played it right though apart from when I first took it home. I admired it but can't say a really liked it, and Without doubt it didn't fit neatly into any classification,   I can imagine people running folk clubs wondering whether sections from that really fit into their club"s style which would damage bookings, but other artists have produced 'different' releases as well without such a dramatic effect. What made 'The Transports' so damaging?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 03:22 AM

RIP Pete!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 03:24 AM

Sorry Guest above was me sans cookie!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 04:16 AM

I agree it is strange about The Transports. The inspiration was The Who's 'Tommy' ~~ Pete was a big rock fan, had pix & sculptures of Mick Jagger all over the house & once gave me a painting of his own of Jimi Hendrix [where the hell has that got to? I suddenly find myself asking: just realise I have lost it, and am distressed]. Anyhow - he told me he thought to himself, if a 'rock opera', why not a 'folk opera'? Hence The Transports. Why it should have ended his career rather than enhancing it, neither he nor anyone else ever seems to have worked out. Rave reviews. Everybody's 'folk record of the year' [mine in The Guardian, Karl Dallas, Eric Winter, Colin Irwin, Andrew Means...]

'Tis a mystery...

~M~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 05:02 AM

There's a huge gap between The Transports and PB's untimely demise; indeed he had many triumphs thereafter, even on the back of it, with some great productions, including that from Portsmouth filmed by Doc Rowe currently in pre-post-possible DVD (?) production after all these years. Amongst a stellar cast that show featured Jim Eldon as The Ballad Singer, John Kirkpatrick as MD, and the whole shebang was directed and choreographed by Taffy and Chrissie Thomas. It was even broadcast by Jim Lloyd on Folk on Two...

Twenty years ago the Folk World was a very different place; Bellamism was a persecuted cult restricted to a few scattered souls - wild & raggy prophets, voices crying in the wilderness - whose enthusiasms were generally met with distain, spitting and mockery - and wry bewilderment by PB himself I might add. This was the era of the triumphal Songs and Rummy Conjurin Tricks which made one hell of a splash at the time. And believe you me when I say that as wonderful as that recording is, it's as nothing compared to the passion and the piety and prowess that PB was packing into his performances at the time. Near the end was his show at The Durham Folk Party on the last Saturday of July 1991. I had the honoured to be doing 'the sound' that night. As soon as he took the stage a good 50% of the Good North East Folkies (in what was already a pityful small audience) made a Big Show of standing up and walking out. Why? Who knows? No doubt in some sort of small-minded political protest (we've a long tradition of such empty gestures in the North East) but it necessitated that I then run out into the night among the pub sessions & singarounds to raise up an audience. My rallying cry? Come on you lot - there wouldn't even be a Folk Scene if it wasn't for Peter Bellamy!. Whatever the case he was not simply on top of his game that night, he trascended even that and reached heights us lesser mortals might only dream of - I have a tape to prove it! Blistering is not the word. He was firing mighty broadsides on all 98 canons and that One Voice seriously threatened the structral ingretity of Durham Town Hall.

Two months later we got the tragic news. We Bellamists withdrew in shock. Hell, I'm still in shock to be honest, even though twenty years on his name shines in the hearts of a new generation of Bellamists entirely unforeseen back in the dark days of 1991.

*

Today in the Sunday Times, you can read a very nice review from Stewart Lee of our album Songs from the Barley Temple. You can hear tracks on the fRoots playlist, and read Ian Anderson's erudite assessment of our efforts the October edition of fRoots. I'm just mentioning this because SFTBT is by way of our more personal tribute to Peter Bellamy on various levels (someone on Mudcat recently thought our Porcupine song was genuine Kipling:Bellamy; as accolades go it doesn't get any higher than that!) right down to Barley Temple being an anagram of the great man's name. He is no longer with us, but in terms of Cultural Impact his light, beauty, example and inspiration live on undimmed.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - we will, quite simply, never see his likes again.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:46 AM

MtheGM wrote re the source of PB's 'unhappiness':

"It was a career thing. I remember his once showing me an almost empty forthcoming gigs diary, ..."

I suspect that by the late 1980s/early 1990s many Revival singers had almost empty forthcoming gigs diaries. As I recall the Revival was at a low ebb at that period. Both of my favourite trad. clubs, in both my home town and my adopted city (on opposite sides of the country), were long gone by then. The scene was not nearly as healthy as it had been in the 1960s/1970s. Perhaps Mr Bellamy's unhappiness ran deeper than that?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 07:13 AM

Maybe, Shimrod. But his marriage to Anthea was over by then, and he had remarried to Jenny and seemed well-contented in emotional aspects of his life. Jenny's account was as I have related above ~ Valerie and I were in his and her confidence, and I have no reason to doubt her relation that, not it was not just 'a low-ebb', but almost complete drying-up of gigs, that caused his depression ~~ by no means as widespread on the scene as you suggest: Martin Carthy, who was close to Pete - I was more than once a fellow house-guest at the Norwich house with him, and whose scene status and Peter's could be well compared - I think was maintaining a living; and he is but one example that comes to mind. I remember conversing long with him at Peter's funeral, and he unquestioningly attributed the reason for our being there at all to the causes I suggest. I was close to many on the scene at the time in my capacity as active reviewer &c; & Peter's case, to my observation, really was worse than most of his standing, gig-wise.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 07:23 AM

... and Sweeney: re Rummy Conjuring Tricks & his other issues [Fed Our Sea, Exceedingly Good Songs, Soldiers 3] of that period were all cassettes, not vinyl, which he privately recorded & sold at gigs, rather than their being properly trade-distributed: and without the gigs, the sales went. It wasn't, as you say, immediately after Transports came out ~~ but he himself always dated the beginning of the decline, resulting in the complete ultimate atrophy of 1990-91, to that time, and expressed himself absolutely at a loss as to why such a project should have been so peculiarly counterproductive. I repeat, with added emphasis, that his words to me were, as nearly as memory serves, exactly as I quoted above ~~ "I did The Transports, everyone loved and respected it ~~and from that moment my bookings practically ceased and my career went phhhttt!"

~M~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 08:13 AM

You may well be right, MthGM - you knew him and I didn't.

Nevertheless, I have suffered from depression, of varying severity, for most of my life. At one stage I received treatment for it and the first thing the docs wanted to know is whether or not I was entertaining suicidal thoughts. I very much suspect that if I had answered "yes" alarm bells would have started ringing and the treatment would have shifted up a gear (in my case the answer was "no").

Six years ago my career went "phhhttt" too - just when I believed that I was at the top of my game (I was made redundant). The next 18 months were pretty tough but, eventually, I realised that I was more financially secure than I thought I was and that I had other options. The last four years or so have actually been among the best of my life.

If you commit suicide you don't get to find out what happens next - for worse or for better!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 08:43 AM

Ah, yes Shimrod. I am most sorry to learn of your troubles, and am happy at your present situation as you describe it.

I know a bit about suicide; my first wife's death, when she couldn't bear the thought of 'what happens next' ~~ 'for better' in her case as it would just have been worse & worse degeneration as she had Parkinson's ~~ and my reaction to it, became something of a cause célèbre 3 years ago [google 'grosvenor myer suicide' if it is of interest and you haven't heard of it] & for a while, along with Debbie Purdy et al, I became something of an icon of the Assisted Suicide campaign ~ there was a Newsnight featuring interviews with her & me, tho we have never actually met. Things are better for me too; I am happily remarried - but I naturally continue to mourn the wife of that ½-century.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 09:29 AM

[I wrote the following before seeing Michael's latest post]

I wonder if Peter was the best judge of his own situation? I didn't know him in anything like the depth that MGM did, but can remember chatting to him, mostly backstage at various festivals (perhaps also in some digs somewhere, can't really recall). One small scenario stands out in my mind which perhaps illustrates this trait (if trait it was) of seeing things in an unrealistically negative cast:

We had just finished some multi-billed festival concert somewhere and were chatting in the bar. I have to emphasise that this conversation was light-hearted and jokey, not heavy or dour as cold computer-screen print may make it seem. Peter (in Oscar-Wilde-as-played-by-Stephen-Fry mode that night) interjected midstream with a comment about how Packie & I had got two encores, though this hadn't been the topic we were discussing. I pointed out that he had received two encores too, as indeed he had. But this fact seemed not to have registered with him (though I am only going on my own impressions and can't tell what he was thinking).

It did strike me as strange that he would notice another artist's minor triumph but overlook his own. It may be that his view of himself and his accomplishments was unnaturally dark? He made nearly identical comments about the Young Tradition having been neglected, that everybody raved about them but didn't rush to fill the gaping holes in their gig diary. Reading what he said about the Transports just gives me a sense of deja-vu. And terrible, terrible loss. R.I.P. Peter.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 09:57 AM

Some good points made here. As Michael says, he DID know how good he was. This wasn't conceit, but simply a clear understanding of what could be accomplished in his chosen idiom and a recognition of his own ability to accomplish it. THAT'S what made the neglect he suffered so hard to endure, I think. If he'd believed himself to be mediocre I think he would have gone and done something else.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: G-Force
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 12:21 PM

I still remember a phrase from the Daily Telegraph obituary of the man, to the effect that people who view the folk scene as jolly people in arran sweaters clutching pints and singing lusty choruses etc. etc. would be surprised by its capacity for 'vituperative intolerance'.

While many people loved and respected him, there were also many who couldn't stand him at any price, either because they didn't like his unusual singing or because they were suspicious of his politics (I mean, all that Kipling!).

About 30 years ago our local club had him as a guest, paid for as a gesture of gratitude by two of the club regulars. Four of the six club organisers stayed away (and a bloody great night they missed).


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:31 PM

He could also rub people up the wrong way with a misplaced SOH & a sharp tongue ~~ don't think he realised, but perhaps didn't care, how offensive some people could find him. Paradoxically, he had a strong sense of social courtesy: excellent host and appreciative guest.

An example: I had made a new will & mentioned to him I had left him my instruments. "Hurry up and die then," was his rejoinder; "you've got a d-major concertina haven't you!" I laughed, as I thought it funny: but Anthea tole me later that he would make such remarks, and not everyone by any means responded as tolerantly as I had done.

{To finish the story ~ I offered it to him straight away, as he was the hardworking professional and his need greater than mine; but in fact he wouldn't take it ("Didn't really mean that, couldn't possibly" &c.). Valedrie & I did persuade him to take it on long loan, and it was the one on his coffin! Jenny, to whom he was married by then, was unaware of thre history, but of course returned it to me and I have, and play, it still. It is the white-bellowed one on my Youtube channel, on "Rag Fair" e.g., with the decorative fancy-knot tassel [Pete's work & I have kept it there].

Anyhow, there's another example of why, maybe, not everyone would patronise his gigs or buy his records or sympathise with him generally ~~ just maybe, I say again...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 03:20 PM

Peter Bellamy was an extraordinary performer.
I cant imagine what he would have been like as a mudcat member, he wasn't someone to tolerate fools gladly.
I remember both him and his singing with fondness.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 05:46 PM

MtheGM,

I have some sympathy with the concept of assisted suicide in the context of incurable illness and I can appreciate the fact that a person's quality of life can deteriorate so much that a quick, painless death can be a merciful release from suffering.

But depression is also a serious illness and the type which can lead to suicide is the most serious of all. A person in the grip of depression may claim that they are suffering so much that their life isn't worth living but treatment for such a condition is usually available. Once restored to a condition closer to good health, via therapy and/or medication, a depressive patient is likely to see things very differently. Although it's too late for Peter Bellamy I would urge anyone suffering from depression - especially if they are entertaining thoughts of suicide - to seek help as soon as possible.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 05:53 PM

Indeed, Shimrod. I was not trying to extrapolate any general or catch-all principle from my personal experiences.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: georgeward
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 12:03 AM

It's a sad bit of irony that 'The Transports' has been successfully put on several times times since Peter's death, very successfully here in upstate New York at the Old Songs Festival a few years ago.

But I think, as Bonnie, has suggested that Peter was not always a good judge of his own situation. That's part of what depression is, "looking at one's word through shit-colored glasses." And Peter had that, to a sometimes frightening degree. No need for details, but my late wife Vaughn and I did know him reasonably well and he gave us a hell of a scare during one tour over here.

Of course, life as a self-employed solo artist is really asking for it if one has that tendency. I should know (and do). It's also a way to make a place in one's life for periodic creative outpourings bordering (at least) on mania.

Do I wish that I, or any of his friends, had, had a better handle on PB's complex personality while he lived...had been better placed to help? Sure. Do I think it would have affected the final outcome ?
Probably not likely.

But I do believe he enriched this world more than he imagined. Wish I could believe he really realized that at some point, in a way that wasn't episodic and fleeting. He deserved to.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Kampervan
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 02:04 AM

I am fortunate to have seen him several times both as part of YT and as a solo act.

With YT producing some of the best close harmony singing I've ever come across and as a solo singer electrifying his audience with his unique interpretation and delivery.

Sad loss but enduring legacy.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:42 AM

I can only guess that true genius comes with its own equally serious depressions. This does not mean that every suicide is an act of genius, nor that every genius must kill themselves, just that those that do, do so for reasons beyond the reach of mere mortal understanding. Great art has its hazzards; part of which has to be the quest for the immortal.

For now anyway, the album I'm playing most is The Maritime England Suite, which ends with one of Bellamy's most poignant settings, that of The China Clipper. Music rarely gets as perfect as that.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:49 AM

Dryden: "Great wits are sure to madness near allied"


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 08:56 AM

This thread has made me both laugh and cry, although in both cases I couldn't entirely say why. I only discovered Bellamy a few years ago - far too late - and it's only sinking in now just how much I missed. (I can't even plead youth - the second band I ever saw live was Steeleye Span, in 1974.)

Some of the stories on last year's thread made me think that he could be quite a prickly customer with his friends, & presumably even more so with those who weren't his friends. I think (and I'm drawing on my own experience here) that a deep-rooted self-doubt can manifest itself, paradoxically, as arrogance: if you dismiss other people's opinions, there's no danger of having them confirm your lurking suspicion that you're useless. I wonder if there was some of that going on for him.

Dick Gaughan said that he thought Bellamy was always looking for the next project, the vehicle that would finally let him find his voice & do what he wanted to do. That could also be a way of warding off self-doubt - OK, maybe that wasn't so great, but wait till they hear the next one... The realisation that there really wasn't anything seriously wrong with his work - he really was good - may have tormented him even more.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 09:16 AM

Indeed so, Radish. But then he found it, that project ~~ The Transports: it was adulated, critically acclaimed, led to widespread respect for him - see above: and then, inexplicably, to his career going Phhhttt, as he said to me. And he lost heart.

Tragic.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 10:14 AM

Lost heart? Where's the evidence for that? The Transports was a vehicle for all sorts of triumphs but it's not his crowning glory even amongst his surviving works. What it is does is underline just how much he'd taken on board of The Traditional Idiom as his creative MO; as a work of Folk-songwriting it is an astonishing piece of work, but its broader appeal is in The Stellar Cast and Company it invariably engenders, rather than The Man himself who seemed content to take a back-seat to other singers in its various productions.

Look at the albums that followed it; no evidence there of losing heart at all. Indeed, one finds in his ongoing collaboration with the ghost of Rudyard Kipling his mastery of melody really taking shape. I find it intersting (& ironic) that the Kipling:Bellamy songs that don't quite work are the onrs for which he found a traditional tune. However, his own melodic genius has furnished many a Tune in the Traditional Idiom that never fail to not only beggar belief but serve to underline the essential inner-beauty of Traditional Melody and the Not-Transferable nature thereof. The Idiom however is something else, and from this point of view alone Keep on Kipling will always be my favourite Bellamy album, with Merlin's Isle running it a very close second.

Anyone who heard Bellamy kick off his set with On Board a '98 will have been in no doubt of the seriousness which PB took his craft, nor yet that he was a creative master of that craft; a true Folk Singer immersed in the glories of a genre who could easily take his place alongside The Coppers, Cox, Larner, Tanner, Stewart - all of whom were idiosyncratic stylists in whose hands The Tradition is at its most vivid. To my ears Bellamy quite simply smoked The Revival on those terms, and his recorded legacy will always stand as a testimony to something a whole lot bigger than Folk because of that. Maybe that's why he couldn't get work; in a scene for whom MOR easy listening was the preferred norm he always came across as a fish out of water somehow. I'd have said the manifest arrogance and flamboyance was not only entirely justified, but inevitable - the man not only had swagger in spades, he'd earned it a thousand fold.

Many true artists are only appreciated long after they're gone. Maybe Bellamy's true audience have yet to be born? Whatever the case, for My Generation, Bellamy shone forth as a beacon in a music where beacons aren't really what you expect to find. Even before I ever heard him sing I remember the time he was doing a booking in Newcastle and wasn't even offered accomodation. Someone suggested to him that I was the sort of person who might put him up, but left it to Bellamy to find me! So imagine that - prior to his performance he was reduced to seeking out a complete strangers and begging them for a doss. That was 1984 I think. It struck me as odd that anyone should be granted humiated bum-status who was a booked guest at The Bridge Folk Club (or whatever it was called back then), but it was at that gig that my friend bought me his self-bootlegged cassette of Merlin's Isle which was the beginning of a far deeper astonishment that I'm still dealing with to this day.

Having worked & lived very close to death & disability all my life, I generally have little time for suicides; in Bellamy's case, however, I might count it a minor miracle that he made it as far as he did. Then, as I say, I think if only he'd hung on another ten years he'd be a National Treasure now - cherished by all but the usual suspects who wouldn't know genius if you sat them in a room full of Van Goghs whilst playing them the collected works of Joy Division.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 10:14 AM

You can call me Pip. (You can even call me Phil, which is my name - "Pip Radish" started out as an anagram & then stuck.)

Did anyone see the re-scored Transports at Sidmouth? Not so sure about having Henry and Susannah played by a brother and sister - that would never have happened in Bellamy's day...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 11:48 AM

Peter was Marmite as far as audiences went. Like the club organisers mentioned above by G-Force, the people in charge of my local club were very resistant to booking him, not because of Kipling or politics or his sharp tongue, but because they "couldn't stand his voice". Eventually my persistent advocacy prevailed, and in our case the organisers did go along to the gig - and were won over by a brilliant performance (this was in his last year when, as Suibhne says, he was consistently on outstanding form).

But I don't buy the idea that Peter was shunned by the Folk Establishment - if such a thing existed. He was booked regularly at Whitby Folk Week, where he edited the daily newsletter in characteristically entertaining and forthright style; I remember seeing him present the Maritime Suite to a full house at Sidmouth; the traditional festival at Redditch loved him to bits, and Folk Roots at one point gave him a regular opinion column (as well as the notorious Karl Dallas interview which did some partly self-inflicted damage).

As for the record companies, he had bad luck with labels that went bankrupt, sure, but he had a good relationship with Fellside (who produced 'Songs & Rummy Conjuring Tricks' as well as some of the Kipling stuff. Peter's habit of turning up at gigs selling bootlegged cassettes of his own albums must have been at least partly his own choice.

Shimrod is dead right: the 1980s and 1990s were a pretty bleak time for traddies on the folk scene. I know, because I was trying to get gigs myself - "We don't like that finger-in-the-ear stuff at our club" was a not uncommon response to enquiries from an artist presenting traditional song in any guise. Peter was utterly uncompromising in everything he did, and the sad fact is that trad songs performed in his wildly idiosyncratic style must have been a hard sell, whoever was doing the selling.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 12:34 PM

"We don't like that finger-in-the-ear stuff at our club" was a not uncommon response to enquiries from an artist presenting traditional song in any guise. Peter was utterly uncompromising in everything he did, and the sad fact is that trad songs performed in his wildly idiosyncratic style must have been a hard sell, whoever was doing the selling."
I was doing a lot of gigs singing trad songs in the eighties and nineties,but i was able to supplement gigs with ceilidhs playing my concertina, I also played in a concertina quartet, and played in a duo with Richard Grainger mixing traditional songs with our own contemporary songs., so I suppose on reflection versatilty helped me survive.
I do remember[this was in the eighties] being told at one club not to tell jokes, and at another club that we dont have politics here.
   I encountered a different attitude occasionally, it was more we dont like concertinas, we prefer singer songwriter guitarists.so in PETERS case it may also have been occasional organisers having a dislike of concertinas.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 01:09 PM

One of my fondest memories of Peter is of him sitting in our kitchen with his concertina, knocking off song after song... Heaven only knows why I didn't have my tape recorder going...

David E.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 03:29 PM

"...dislike of concertinas..."

That's the wildest theory yet, but there may be a grain of truth in it. Consider M Carthy: as a singer he's as weird and uncompromising in his own way as PB; indeed there was a time when his singing was so gnarled by mannerism that PB had to tick him off about it. If he'd played an anglo concertina instead of a guitar, would he have achieved the eminence (and made the comfortable living) he's enjoyed these past forty years and more? I think the answer might well be no.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 03:49 PM

Amuse yourself on a rainy autumn day, my fellow Bellamists of Leisure, by compiling all of his guitar-accompanied songs you can find - Harp Song, Sir Richard, Motherless Child, Devil Got Your Man - and marvel afresh at the genius of the man.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 03:52 PM

Stones In My Passway!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:06 PM

I saw him do a sublime You Can't Always Get What You Want at least twice but don't have a recording of it. Does anyone??


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:11 PM

"If [M Carthy had] played an anglo concertina instead of a guitar, would he have achieved the eminence (and made the comfortable living) he's enjoyed these past forty years and more? I think the answer might well be no."

Do you know, raymond greenoaken, that's just what I was thinking! I can't help but notice that 'guitar heroes' tend to rule.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:35 PM

I speak from experience, here is a recent example from my own experience, I had a gig cancelled at Mansfield folk club on the pretext that the previous organiser had booked two concertina players within six weeks, never mind that they would happily book guitarists more regularly.
after much argument,I persuaded the new organiser to give me the booking at a later date [ nearly a year later],In fact I had a great gig at the club,and really enjoyed the club.
but it was an example of the idea that its ok to have x amount of guitarists in a given period but not concertina players.
Peter when he was on song was an exciting and exhilirating performerof his kind, he was an up front in your face performer, I have known other great performers like Roy Harris, who were great perfomers of a different kind ,.
which brings me on the other prejudice that i have witnessed against solo unaccompanied traditional singers


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 05:26 PM

Michael's "Hurry up and die" story is hilarious and sad. It's hard to escape the conclusion that only a humourless prig would fail to find such a remark amusing. It's the sort of thing close friends feel at liberty to say to each other with no fear of misunderstanding. But he didn't, by all accounts, confine such utterances to close friends. In this, he was a sort of Kingsley Amis of folk, using calculated outrage as a means of weighing people up. If you responded priggishly, he was probably unrepentant. If you were on his wavelength, however ("simpatico" was his term), his generosity and warmth were remarkable. Kate and I once stayed the weekend at his house in Keighley. "Bring lots of blank tapes," he counselled in advance. Once there, I was given the freedom of his compendious record collection (by then all converted to cassette). I returned home with so much stuff – all patiently copied by him in real time over two days – that twenty years on there are still two albums I have yet to listen to.

Later that year he dropped a fat, impenetrably written American fantasy novel in my lap. "See if you can get to the end of that," was his challenge. I reached the final page half an hour before Jenny came on the phone with the news of his death. It's one of the most extraordinary books I've ever read.

I suspect many others will have similar tales to tell.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 05:27 PM

sorry – GUEST was me.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 06:28 PM

"a fat, impenetrably written American fantasy novel in my lap."

Okay...own up... what was it?

David E.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 06:36 PM

the other prejudice that i have witnessed against solo unaccompanied traditional singers

Ha! Carrying a guitar does seem to translate to "reliable all-round entertainer" in some MCs' minds - while singing unaccompanied translates to "awkward squad, handle with care". It's understandable - if the MC's a guitar-playing singer-songwriter him- or herself, any other g.-p. s.-s. is automatically going to look like One Of Us - but it does get annoying.

At 52 Folk Songs, incidentally, I decided to mark PB's birthday rather than the day of his death. Here are three bits of Bellamy. There will be more. (In a couple of weeks' time I'll be uploading "Derwentwater's Farewell", and...)


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: lisa null
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 11:06 PM

In many ways Peter and I were two sibling peas in a pod. He would stay for weeks, even months at a time with my sons and me in America, first with Anthea and then with Jenny. Sometimes on his own. My kids adored him, and he shaped their musical tastes considerably. Peter and I would often tour together-- over here at first, and then England with Anthea and Bill Shute. Bill and I would also do our own gigs and come back to his lovely town house in Norwich. We'd find Peter up and waiting for us like an eager parent waiting to be briefed after the prom. Bill and I found him true-hearted, ethical, kind, and endlessly interesting and companionable.

No one was more delicious to introduce America to, and no one was better to share England with than Peter Bellamy. He was an intrepid fan of African-American culture.

I remember him delighting the manager and customers of a St. Louis thrift shops when he tried on a royal blue tuxedo and sashayed down the aisles playing air guitar.

I remember him bursting out with "Gunga Din" in a ferociously authentic waterfront bar Gale Huntington took us to and holding the customers spellbound.

Yes Peter had a savage and tactless humor, but it was humor-- often taken to mean more than he meant. He also had some serious problems, on tour, with taking too many pills to put him to sleep and mixing them with too much beer. His sleep schedule would get screwed up and he'd become simultaneously exhausted and unable to sleep. Once, in Philadelphia, Caryl P. Weiss and I had to take him to the emergency room.

I know he went to the doctor, aware that he was experiencing depression. He was somewhat surprised that they spent so little time with him and merely prescribed pills. He was certainly morose about his career slipping away. He'd achieved prominence in the midst of the folk boom and, like so many revival celebrities of that period, the fall from fame felt very steep. But beyond thinking of himself as a "has been," he was terrified of having no other calling and little preparation or training to follow another occupation.

He created because he had to rather than simply out of a desire to be successful. It was absolutely essential to be true to his muse in his own way, no matter what the public reception.


There was no end to his ideas and his passionate embrace of singers, actors, television shows, books. He was a devote of pop culture, partly because he had had such an isolated childhood. He was fascinated by it but rather like an alien exploring earth for the first time. He often described people and events as boring, but the truth is he could survive on a desert island and never be bored for a minute.

Peter's suicide is something I will never get used to though I certainly saw warning signs on his last visit to my apartment in Washington DC. Unfortunately, those signs only became clear in retrospect.

In any case, his death left a great and unfilled hole in my life, not only because we were friends but because we were such close artistic companions, nearly alter-egos. He was my biggest booster and perhaps vice versa. Because of this, then, it's no wonder that I remember him as the world's best playmate.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 11:39 PM

Hi Lisa. One thing I will always be grateful to him for was sending you & Bill to call on me at my home in Cambridge when you were over here in the 70s. We met for a couple of hours and had a delightful chat & song session which I recall tho this day as a hilite of my life. Wonder if you remember it?

❤~Michael~❤


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 04:26 AM

Lisa - a beautiful post from a beautiful lady. Thank you so much for sharing your memory of Peter with us. It helps him to live on.

I so wish he had been better grounded to face the tide-going-out (as it always does) of the performing market. I remember what another beautiful lady, Joan Baez, said of this (metaphorically addressing a spoiled young pop star who has indeed faded from sight): Trips to the grocery store will not be easy at first. It's as inevitable as the turning of the world.

It's heartbreaking that Peter didn't find, or couldn't see, enough of an island to remain standing on.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 06:07 AM

"If he [Martin Carthy] had played an anglo concertina instead of a guitar, would he have achieved the eminence (and made the comfortable living) he's enjoyed these past forty years and more? I think the answer might well be no."

It's true that there are many more players and afficionados of the guitar than of the concertina, but taking up the anglo doesn't seem to have done John Kirkpatrick any harm. However, Peter's concertina playing - whilst very effective as song accompaniment - was not at a level of virtuosity that would attract hardline fans of the instrument, in the way that guitar wannabees have followed Martin around.

Lovely post from Lisa Null. Hello there!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 08:18 AM

Its a harrowing tale.

A few years ago I advanced the theory on Mudcat that the rejection suffered by original artists on the English folkscene had led to the living in exile and the premature death of several artists.

Diane Easby and Folkiedave hurled abuse at me for suggesting this. I still think its true.

You can't help wondering how much the economic malaise of England - if not the entire word is due to dull conformists getting the better of, and suppressing originality and creativity.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: lisa null
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 08:56 AM

From Big Al:


"You can't help wondering how much the economic malaise of England - if not the entire word is due to dull conformists getting the better of, and suppressing originality and creativity."

At times when Peter pumped himself up with braggadocio, he would certainly have agreed with this sentiment!"

To MtheGM (Michael): I remember that day too-- a lovely time!

And here's a shout out to Bonnie (I have wonderful memories of you playing (with Packie Byrne) and good conversations.

Brian, yes are exactly the one to talk about how good will out no matter what instrument you work your magic on!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 12:21 PM

That's very gratifying, Lisa.

If interested, you will find Santa-Fe Trail on my Youtube channel; which I learned from Pete, who, if I have it right, learnt it from you. So turns the world merrily on...

All v best

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 12:47 PM

in my opinion Peter was an excellent accompanist, he had a good sense of harmony,he never made the mistake that some guitarists make of forcing the vocals to foLlow a rhythym or to follow an interesting guitar riff.
"that would attract hardline fans of the instrument, in the way that guitar wannabees have followed Martin around".
quote, very well put Brian,
but guitar wannabees or carthy clones , just dont seem to understand, that being a clone is not what it is about, what is about is being yourself putting your own individual stamp on a song,which is whatPETER DID
still what would I know I am just a Charlatan,as some mouthie gob iron nasty described me.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 01:05 PM

forcing vocals to follow a rhythm - thats singing, isn't it?   Be a bit of a mess if you didn't make it follow the rhythm.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 01:43 PM

ok, forcing vocals to follow a guitar , is imposing a rhythym rather than the guitar following the singers phrasing that is good accompanying


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 03:32 PM

You can't help wondering how much the economic malaise of England - if not the entire word is due to dull conformists getting the better of, and suppressing originality and creativity.
absolutely,
I have experienced this in a very minor way,when I have tried to suggest the english concertina, can be played more rhytmically.. by careful thought of bellows movement, its so obvious, but people do not like having their cosy ways challenged.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: pavane
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 01:36 PM

Though when I played Peter's (Luxembourg, 1984, I think), it was an Anglo... as mentioned above. A lovely instrument, too.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 01:54 PM

Yes ~~ A Shakespeare, IIRC; he had ingeniously unscrewed the ends and lightly muted with patches of silk to give it a beautiful soft tone.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 04:04 PM

>"a fat, impenetrably written American fantasy novel in my lap."

Okay...own up... what was it?

David E.<

Ya want names, titles? Here they are:

Moonwise by Greer Ilene Gilman (1991)

Not for all tastes, I warn 'ee – it's closer to Finnegan's Wake than to Harry Potter. But at the least you'll enlarge your vocabulary.

I trust this thread isn't thinning to a close: it's been fascinating and moving. Even his concertina is interesting!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 04:41 PM

I hope the thread carries on too, stories like Lisa Null's are very illuminating. Thanks Lisa, please remember some more! I always remember walking into some club in North London to see Peter - he was sitting near the door and quite definitely checking people out to see if they looked likely to "get it" so to speak. He needn't have worried.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 05:35 AM

"I still remember a phrase from the Daily Telegraph obituary of the man, to the effect that people who view the folk scene as jolly people in arran sweaters clutching pints and singing lusty choruses etc. etc. would be surprised by its capacity for 'vituperative intolerance'."

Great quote.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 05:58 AM

'vituperative intolerance'

Great name for a band...!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 07:49 AM

... or sung to the tune of Hernando's Hideaway while madly tango-ing (an incongruity I think Peter would appreciate).

Not much has been mentioned about Peter's prose writing - articles for various folky mags and suchlike - but I'm sure I used to read pieces he had written, and always appreciated the sheer intelligence of the man. Does anyone have more detailed memories of any articles by him, or where they were published? I recall being impressed at the time. Wish he were around to have a blog today. I'd sure follow it.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 08:23 AM

Yes, indeed: he was regular record critic and feature writer for Fred Woods' Folk Review in 70s-80s; and indeed one of the best of the lot of us who wrote regularly for that journal: articulate,stylish, with high critical standards, and a knack for witty & cogent expression Other regulars were Eric Winter, Karl Dallas... I often go back to my collection of FRs and give them another read. Pete's work stands up after all these years as well as any there.

I believe he also went on to do a regular column for fRoots.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 02:47 PM

And interestingly, in view of his sometimes spiky opinions of fellow performers, he contributed to Folk Review some rather generous albums reviews of The Spinners and The Corries.

Here's a wee follow-up anecdote to my posting about Greer Gilman's Moonwise. The story behind this was that PB picked up the book on his final US tour – the author was a friend of The Watersons - and set about reading it on tour. But, as I hinted earlier, the text bristles with obscure and difficult words. As PB evidently didn't have access to a dictionary on tour, he underlined in pencil all the words he intended to look up when he got back home. As I was reading his own copy, I looked up all the words he underlined. One of them was "belantered". I chased it in vain through all the dictionaries I had to hand. When I consulted the Compact Oxford English Dictionary (the mighty OED compressed into two breeze-block sized volumes with magnifying glass supplied) I couldn't find it there either. But where it should have been, my eye fell on –

"belamy : fair friend, good friend (esp. as form of address)."

Now how weird is that? And how perfectly, painfully apt? Moonwise is unnervingly full of strange, spectral coincidences like that. It's one of the reasons that makes it extraordinary.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 04:50 PM

There's an interview with Greer Gilman HERE in which the term belantered is explained. It also alludes to Malykorne...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 04:53 PM

What a wonderful thread and great memories. I ordered Fair England's Shore and the Moonwise book from Amazon today.

David E.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 06:18 AM

"Greer Gilman's Moonwise. The story behind this was that PB picked up the book on his final US tour – the author was a friend of The Watersons"

I suspect this is the same book that PB was brandishing and enthusing wildly about during a somewhat well lubricated party at Whitby Festival in the last summer of his life. Do the Watersons appear, thinly-disguised, in the book by any chance? I have to say that on an admittedly cursory examination I pronounced the book the most utter tosh, and a spirited discussion ensued.

This was the same occasion at which PB (who had apparently only recently twigged that Ewan MacColl might, just possibly, have tinkered with some of the songs in his repertoire) went into a rant about his discovery that MaColl had composed the tune to his version of 'Sir Patrick Spens'. "That fucking Marxist lied to us!"


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 06:30 AM

There has been another thread, I recall, about the extent to which Ewan composed the tunes he claimed to have got from his parents. Bob Thomson used to point out that Bronson's only tune for Eppie Morrie was the one that Ewan sang! I should have expected Pete to have known all about that, mind. Your anecdote reveals him as unwontedly naive ~ or perhaps not: he was a complex and unpredictable sort...

~M~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 06:30 AM

Good luck with Moonwise, David E – it's a vast hag-tangle of language, but anyone with a love of George Mackay Brown, Ted Hughes, Bob and Carole Pegg and Lal Waterson will feel at home in it.

Here's a postscript. The year after PB's death I was at Whitby Festival (the year they did The Transports as a memorial), and sitting on the final day in a cafe nattering with Kate. A woman at the next table leaned across and asked me about a story I'd told at a Storytelling open session earlier in the week. We fell to talking and after a minute or two I found myself compelled to ask her the question: "Are you Greer Gilman by any chance?" And indeed she was.

This is not nearly as weird as it sounds. PB had described her to me the previous year, having met her on a couple of occasions, and told me that she was a regular attender of Whitby Fest, despite being based in Massachussets. When I told her how, for me, her novel was intimately woven in with Peter's demise, she was visibly moved. We met several times afterwards, at Whitby and the old National Festival. Suibhne's link will give you a pretty good idea of her writing style, and cast of mind. A very remarkable woman.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Andymac
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 06:40 AM

I never saw Peter Bellamy live and indeed until only a few years ago had never heard of him.

After a long chat with friends of him when we were in Ireland, my wife were keen to listen to this man who had been rated so highly by fellow singers whom we in turn rated highly. I wasn't immediately sure when I listened but there was enough to make me want to listen to more.
Now if I come across a new Bellamy recording I pounce on it. Some of his vocals may sound contorted (to some ears) but it always came across as compelling. I was trawling youtube recently boucing from artist to artist, link to link as one does when I came across the seam of gold which was an interview with the man.
Part of the way through he stops explaining and starts singing.
Compelling, stunning and spellbinding can be over-used in these days of hyping up everyone to the nth degree but they don't do justice to how I felt watching him on this crackly poor quality piece of video.

My wife had the same reaction when she saw the film and all I can say is that I'm envious of everyone here who got the chance to see him live and I'm sad (without even having known him) at the loss of such a wonderfully talented man but the finest tribute anyone can pay him (as well as the tribute of this thread in itself) is to keep singing his songs but in your own style and never to compromise on that.


Andy


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 07:09 AM

I got lots of opportunity to see him, but never did. His reputation wasn't good - it has to be said. The reverence he is held in nowadays wouldn't surprise anyone though. He was held in high regard some, but others (far more in fact) warned you off him.

At the time , people talked about the 'larry the Lamb' type voice. My own in laws were on holiday and phoned and asked me should they go and see him. As they had enjoyed Carthy, Roy Harris, and The watersons, I said yes. They loathed him, and left in the interval. They were pretty open minded for people of that generation. they just didn't 'get' him.

I was always a fan of his ideas. Kipling and The Transports as I say being good ideas, and i had a few samplers with odd trax that I liked. Loved his version of Yarmouth Town.

When he died Martin Carthy spoke movingly about him on the folk programme on the radio. I think we were all stunned by his death - he was a presence - because you met people who were influenced by him all the time. Carthy also spoke about the isolation that love of the old songs brings with it. And that's really when I started wondering about this tradition business - does a 'living tradition' leave you isolated from the community from which it springs? Shouldn't ordinary people 'get' it?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Bearheart
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 07:10 AM

a fine and inspiring singer, with many fine songs... thanks for the tributes...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 07:25 AM

>I suspect this is the same book that PB was brandishing and enthusing wildly about during a somewhat well lubricated party at Whitby Festival in the last summer of his life.<

Good chance, I'd say: according to my 1991 diary, the book came into my keeping the following week.

> Do the Watersons appear, thinly-disguised, in the book by any chance?<

No, but Martin & Norma's kitchen does!

>I have to say that on an admittedly cursory examination I pronounced the book the most utter tosh, and a spirited discussion ensued.<

Interestingly, that was my reaction too to the first ten pages or so. As in so many things today, one needs to persevere...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 07:26 AM

but anyone with a love of George Mackay Brown, Ted Hughes, Bob and Carole Pegg and Lal Waterson will feel at home in it.

I love all those people deeply & dearly (Ted Hughs notwithstanding), but found the Greer Gillman interview possessed of that oppressively inpenetrable Graves-Frazerian absolutism that runs contrary to all good sense. Utter tosh just about covers it! As I said to Raymond on Saturday whilst wandering around the Ryland's library in MCR, and quoting Mark E Smith I might add: 'The book world's far crappier than the music world: it asks more of you and offers you less.' The older I get, so the more care I take in how much of my precious life will be spent (i.e. wasted) reading anything. Right now I'm enjoying Neil Slaven's Frank Zappa: Electric Don Quixote & if someone brought out a similarly balanced in-depth overview covering The Life, Times, Genius and Vituperative Intollerances of Peter Bellamy I'm sure I'd be quite happy to read that too...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 12:00 PM

Spring 1991 Silvia Sass Interview with Peter Bellamy (YouTube)


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 12:22 PM

The Gilman interview is rather like a private conversation in code between two savants, and is certainly impenetrable if you haven't read at least one of the works under discussion. I'm not sure I detect any Graves-Frazerian absolutism ("As a scholar, I know that The White Goddess and The Golden Bough are flights of fantasy..." GG says at one point) in what after all are works of fiction. But not fiction in the Gravesian style of dramatising a historical or mythological theory. Moonwise at least has no ideological designs on the reader as far as I can see; it doesn't seem to be saying "this is how things actually are, or were". It's a ripping yarn, a very long prose poem or a costive folie de grandeur according to taste.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 01:12 PM

And as good a TIME as now to re-issue his Maritime Suite onto CD?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 01:20 PM

the problem with all performers and all performances is that it is a two way communication, it is not necessarily the performers fault if he is not appreciated.
From my own experience of being an audience member I know that I could have Appreciated or not appreciated a performance because of my particular mood on a particular day, and could have had a completely different response on another day.
finally we cannot expect everyone to like the same thing, why should we expect lots of people to appreciate Peter, because someone is talented is not a guarantee that they will be liked, meanwhile lots of supremely untalented people who are promoted well are liked by the mass of the people.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 01:26 PM

Michael Swanick (the interviewer)! Has anyone read his novel 'Bones of the Earth' (2002)? In the first chapter a palaeontologist is presented with a cooler containing a fully fleshed Stegosaurus head! I just thought you might like to know ...

Right - carry on ...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 03:47 PM

Back of the net, Dick! Personally, I'm well aware that the things I love about PB's singing are precisely the things that annoy so many. I love the ferocity, the theatricality – and the bleat. I'm not being wilfully eccentric: these are just the things that go straight to the emotional bullseye for me. It's noteworthy, I think, that his singing always makes me laugh – with mirth, when he's putting across a humorous trope, but also with sheer delight when he unerringly nails some intrinsic quality in the song. Can't think of any other singer who makes me laugh even at serious bits, with the sole exception of Jim Eldon. And if push comes to shove, I'd say that's why he (PB) is the best singer, for me, that the folk movement has produced.

He also happens to have written some of the very finest tunes to have come out of that same movement. Do any of his tunes get up people's noses too?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: BTNG
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 03:59 PM

There are three songs, from Bellamy's Maritime England Suite(1982), included on the Free Reed issued Wake The Vaulted Echoes set. They are:

We Have Fed Our Sea

Sir Andrew Barton

The Death of Nelson


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 04:42 PM

Death of Nelson[RICHARD GRAINGER]

On the 21st of October before the rising sun
We formed a line for battle and at twelve o clock begun
Old Nelson to his men did say t he lord will prosper us this day
Set fire the broadside fire away on board a man of war

Chorus
Let him die in peace, God bless you all
On board a man of war. ( Repeated)

Fromroadside to broadside the cannon balls did fly
Like hailstone the small shot across our decks did fly
Our main mast was blown away besides some hundreds on that day
Were killed or wounded in the fray on board a man of war

Chorus

And then our great commander with grief he shook his head
Theres no reprieve no relief old Nelson he is dead
It was a fateful musketball that caused old Nelson for to fall
Let him die in peace god bless you all on board a man of war

Chorus
the above is not to be confused with Peters song.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 04:11 AM

I'm not sure I detect any Graves-Frazerian absolutism

It's there in the tone of the discussion; the certainty that folklore must carry an esoteric / symbolic / occult meaning and derive from something deeper, the understanding / appreciation requires initiation - or else the sort of mystic ephiphany you imply is awaiting the reader of such cosmic debris. I suppose it counts as SteamFilk, which one finds to a certain extent in the novels of (say) Diana Wynne Jones or Phil Rickman (I would imagine young Jane Watkins would be a huge fan of Gillman's work), though their work is less densely proscriptive (or yet contrived) in terms of its own significance, or indeed terminology. I accept that for Greer Gillman-fans such things are obviously held as strengths rather than weaknesses though.

it is not necessarily the performers fault if he is not appreciated.

One of the things I remember most about a PB gig at The Bay Hotel in Cullercoats circa 1988 was an anecdote concerning Folk and Professionalism which ended with two fresh-faced amateur female hopefuls being told to 'F*ck Off' in no uncertain terms by the organiser of a gig. Whilst he found this hilarious (no one else laughed I'm sure), a number of the audience were so deeply outraged they walked out. I must admit I failed see either the humour or significance of the tale which seemed primarily designed to upset those for whom the Heart o' Folk is the very amateurism PB was scathing of and yet had done so much to engender. One audience member was equally upset when PB berated them for not getting the upper harmonies of the Santa Fe Trail chorus. Turns out this was a rehearsed and regular feature of the song & PB regularly berated his audiences for failing to spot a harmony which was obvious only to him. A similar aura of elite erudition prevailed in one of his Folk Quizzes that took place in Durham in 1991. I only managed to get ONE question right simply because I happened to have the particular record the song was from; others, as I recall, were less fortunate.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 04:19 PM

I think I get your drift. But bear in mind it's a story – it's fiction. In fact it has a lot in common with a whodunnit: pulling threads together, making connections. Everything has significance, a deeper meaning. Even the characters are symbols rather than real personalities. The challenge is to make sense of it all. It's not a credo, but a narrative convention. Whether folklore operates like that in the real world is not, I don't think, relevant to the book's imaginative world. Unless you're writing kitchen sink fiction, authors have a bit of latitude to play with.

I didn't realise I was implying Moonwise would deliver its readers a mystic epiphany. I'm still waiting for mine.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 05:53 AM

Weird business revealed in that old video. This terribly nice middle class chap. Then he picks up the concertina and you really can't make out the words of the song - is it that the concertina accompaniment is too loud, or the adopted accent is so opaque?

Yet this guy is worshipped (not enough to book him and give him a living, but worshipped anyhow) by people who find my apparently pseudo American accent infra dig. Well at least I play quiet enough for you to hear me and no ones in any doubt what the songs are about.

Anyway a fascinating insight. Thankyou for posting the thread. As a traditional singer (or singer of traditional songs) he's alot more difficult to get your ears round than Tony Rose, Martin C, Fred Jordan, or Roy harris or others of the period.

I used to teach Danny Deever in English classes in another life. It was before PB's recording. However I'm not sure I would have used the recording in the class room. You never know with kids - they might have latched onto the refrain. Any teachers out there who have used it?

I always thought PB should have been the soundtrack for the nautical museum of the fishing industry in Yarmouth. I suggested it to them. But I went again two years later and they hadn't done it.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 11:54 AM

Here we go again with the can't understand the words thing. I think PB is an exemplary if somewhat idiosyncratic stylist in this respect - as are most of your actual Genuine Traditional Singers, none of whom could be called easy listening and many you're glad the albums come with transcriptions. Listening to most musical genres I'm not sure if I bother listening to the words too closely, or even bothering if I can understand the words anyway, or even if the words are worth listening to. I caught some singer-songwriters on BBC4 on Friday night and I thought it might be more to my tastes if couldn't hear what they were singing about - something about an American Pie which I don't ever recall hearing before, though my wife informs me it's seminal to the genre and in some corners held to me a 'classic'; then some chick called Melanie (?) singing about peace and love at which point I switched over to watch a random episode of Daffy Duck. Otherwise, with music, I'm happy if I catch the odd word, phrase or image; I only take in maybe 9% (at best) of any given Ballad or Folk Song performance in terms of its narrative, and most of the stuff I'm listening to right now is in Latin or Spanish anyway so if I want the words, I must read them in translation. I enjoy Kipling better when it's sung, then I don't have to bother with what it's about, though of course when it comes to singing the stuff myself I then have to decide if I like it or not as poetry, or if I want to lend my voice such reactionary sentiment, which usually I do, even I disgaree with the text. For example, I love singing the Ralph & Ted fantasy of The Land, for whilst the fuedal sentiments of which offend my innate low-born left-wing sensibilities, they appeal to my more deeply rooted sense of human land-management and history.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 12:26 PM

A few years ago I advanced the theory on Mudcat that the rejection suffered by original artists on the English folkscene had led to the living in exile and the premature death of several artists.

Diane Easby and Folkiedave hurled abuse at me for suggesting this. I still think its true.

You can't help wondering how much the economic malaise of England - if not the entire word is due to dull conformists getting the better of, and suppressing originality and creativity.


I seem to remember that this was part of a discussion on how folk music was dying. And how really good singers were being ignored by some cabal that existed (though it's existence was never shown - just surmised).

Well that is not how I see it now with virtuoso young instrumentalists coming onto the scene and good young singers all over the place.

I suspect most people would imagine that the economic malaise of England/entire world being due to dull conformists is bollocks and would prefer to seem it as a result of (say) the wonderfully original and creative financial experts who get huge bonuses for being creative and original with our money, knowing that if they got it wrong we would bail them out.

To say nothing of the squillions wasted on original and creative wars.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 12:49 PM

Well that is not how I see it now with virtuoso young instrumentalists coming onto the scene and good young singers all over the place.""   Really?it depends how you define virtuoso and good singers? part of the problem in my experience, is that much emphasis is laid upon technique, but the end product is often performers who sound disinterested as if thay are there only for the money. this problem is partly down to the4 fact that for some music is just a job.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 01:23 PM

Oh, Sweeney, you are naughty, you great big tease you!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 01:46 PM

"Here we go again with the can't understand the words thing. I think PB is an exemplary if somewhat idiosyncratic stylist in this respect - as are most of your actual Genuine Traditional Singers, none of whom could be called easy listening and many you're glad the albums come with transcriptions. Listening to most musical genres I'm not sure if I bother listening to the words too closely, or even bothering if I can understand the words anyway, or even if the words are worth listening to."

Well, each to their own. One of the things that attracted me to folk music right from the outset was that the words were worth listening to, and the more I got into the ballads the more the words mattered. I can't imagine getting much reward from 'False Foudrage' or 'Willy's Lady' if I only picked up 9% of the words. Most of the traditional singers that I've listened to put their words over well, with clear enunciation and emphasis, albeit complicated occasionally by regional accents.

As for Peter Bellamy, he was, it's true, a vocal stylist and not of the "sing it like you speak it" school - but when you saw him live you could scarcely miss a syllable, so committed was he to the lyric. He also used a lot of body language to help get the words across. On that video the sound is pretty ropey, with a lot of extraneous high pitched noise around both the vocal and the concertina - which is more prominent in the mix than a record producer would allow.

I think Al Whittle's reaction is interesting. Certainly PB was a more mannered and confrontational singer than the likes of Tony Rose or Roy Harris, which is exactly why even some traditional song fans couldn't stomach the sound he made while others (who had got across that barrier) thought he was the best of the lot. He wouldn't have been my first choice to play to a non-folkie friend, but then again I've come across people who loved his voice from the word go.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 02:07 PM

but the end product is often performers who sound disinterested as if thay are there only for the money. this problem is partly down to the4 fact that for some music is just a job.

Well I can sincerely suggest that you are wrong there Dick, the ones I am talking about are still in full time education - some still in school.

The idea that they are in it for the money is a joke isn't it Dick? People come in to folk music for the money?

And do you think people should not do it as a job? Do you do it as a job?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 02:08 PM

And I apologise for the thread drift.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,oldstrings
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 02:43 PM

Wonderful to be able to catch up on Peter Bellamy's career, and hear all the stories.
I first met Peter when he and a fellow student named Robin asked me to solicit performers for a benefit concert for Oxfam and World University Service. That must have been around 1964, when I was running the singers' booking service at Cecil Sharp House. The concert, headed by Bob Davenport and The Rakes, was sold out and everyone very pleased.

The last time I saw Peter was only a few years later, when I was included in the chorus for the recording of an EP of chanteys (yes, a gramophone record!) by The Young Tradition. After that, I lost touch and only heard in recent years of his death.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 02:55 PM

I'm not criticising Peter Bellamy. I obviously don't know enough about his style of music. If you say the words don't matter - I bow to your superior knowledge.

I suppose its cos I'm a singer myself that I like to know the words. You may have noticed my threads on mudcat asking what Lightning Hopkins is talking about - when it clearly doesn't matter all that much! It obviously bothers me when it shouldn't.

Great to hear of you Brian - try and make it down the south west. I've got a spare room with a bed setee if you ever fancy an exploratory visit or a holiday. I live near Weymouth these days.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 03:07 PM

That was me


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 03:52 PM

I have never understood the beatification of Peter Bellamy.
I knew him back in my days on the London folk scene, and while he was doing intersting things, he was doing them in what I thought of as an oddly mannered style.
Never thought he was an original, he was a vocal stylist. He could be touchy too, and he once warned people not to sing songs that he considered his territory.
I'm sorry to seem irreverant, but I also think that the manner of his death, and it's prematurity, has given his work 'added value'
I can't remember whom it was said it, or whom it was about,but somebody once described the premature death of a star as, "A good carrer move"
Come to think of it, it may have been Gore Vidal who said it.
I feel that Bellamy suffers fronm a touch of that, and it prevents total objectivity of his ouevre, in some quarters.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 03:57 PM

Career, sorry.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 04:50 PM

Folkie Dave,you are attempting to personalise this discussion if we were talking to one another face to face, you would not use my name twice as you have done in your post
I find your post unnecessarily aggressive, indeed, I have found many of your past posts to me unnecessarily aggressive.

it is a fact that the very nature of being professional and having to accept any gigs that come along can lead to situations where a performer after many consecutive one night gigs in different parts of the country can just switch on to automatic pilot and seem disinterested.
Peter could never have been accused of sounding disinterested.
Finally Dave, how you see it does not interest me very much,
The peoples whose musical opinions I value, are musicians I respect.
you are of course entitled to your opinion, but when you talk about virtuoso musicians and singers, you seem to have given yourself a pedestal of some authority, you are just like everyone else, whether they be a road sweeper, bricklayer,or book seller,entitled to an opinion., but I do not agree with your opinion


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 03:42 AM

I'm sorry to seem irreverant, but I also think that the manner of his death, and it's prematurity, has given his work 'added value'

On the contrary - Bellamy's status was assured in his lifetime, and posthumously by both his recorded legacy and the testimony of those who knew him and saw him live (to the full). If anything, the manner of his passing is generally held as being perplexing to say the least, the tradegy being that if he had lived but a few more years he would have - without doubt - attained the living-legendary status he denied us (& himself) by taking his own life. Other artists have assured their own cult status through suicide, not so Peter Bellamy. Talk to anyone and you'll find they don't regard it as 'added value' in the slighest - it robbed us of a very essential genius, personality, idealogue and performer who was unique on all counts.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 03:59 AM

John Mackenzie, whilst I recognise a degree of truth in what you say about "death being a good career move", I suspect that opinions about PB are as polarised now as they were when he was alive. Despite his being championed by Jon Boden and other influential musicians from the younger generation, I suspect there are still many listeners who can't get past the vocal mannerisms.

The young musicians now discovering his music don't have to contend with his provocative and sometimes confrontational personality, on the other hand they are deprived of his live performances - in my opinion his recordings seldom manage to capture his energy and sheer "dangerousness".

Like him or loath him, it is surely undeniable that PB was quite unlike anyone else on the folk scene at the time.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 04:01 AM

In which connection, see final, summarising, sentence of my obit of him ~

http://www.bens.connectfree.co.uk/pb/FIRST2.HTM#obits


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 04:03 AM

If you say the words don't matter - I bow to your superior knowledge.

I didn't say they didn't matter, BAW - just that they don't matter to me too much, certainly not when I'm listening to music. As I say I might catch the occasional snippet only have it turned into an instant mondegreen as my brain gives up trying to make sense of a half-caught chorus in which there are brownies in a bath on a cycle-path, or whatever... It's all subjective in the end.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 04:30 AM

Despite living in a cruel world where people like Folkiedave and youself misunderstand our genius - GSS and I categorically refuse to do ourselves in, as a career move.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 05:35 AM

On Smokey's obit thread I mentioned that Mudcat feels like a welcoming fireside around which passing travellers might meet and chat and mouth off at will. It's a friendly place, a homely nook, where beards wag all, and opinions flow freely and free speech is not only encouraged but cherished; here, everyone has their say but no one is cast aside or yet insulted. They come, they go, they leave (sometimes in high dudgeon) but they come back and the crack* resumes - and all in time honoured fashion.

My own feeling is that life is way too short as it is without shortening it any further, but I guess most people feel this way anyway and - as I said somewhere above - that whilst I generally take a dim view of suicide, I don't suppose anyone would ever do such a thing without very good reason - indeed the sort of reason that passes all common undertanding. I've known a few - silly bastards as I think of them - for whom the preciousness of life became eclipsed by something I hope I'll never have to deal with. I've had too many friends die of natural causes, but who's to say suicide isn't a natural cause?

I recall once hearing a story from an old copper pal who was seriously distressed on having been to this house in which a chap had meticulously constructed a guillotine for which he'd cut through the floors from the attic to the ground floor, so that the granite-weighted blade would gather enough momentum to make sure it would do the job for which it was built. He described it as a work of first class craftsmanship and engineering, one that had obviously taken some time and dedication to complete - how even the holes he'd cut through the floor-joists were finished off with the skill of a master joiner (housecarpenter?) - and he joked (as one must in such cases) as to the value it would put on the property when it finally came onto the market, speculating on the Estate Agent's patter as he was showing a young couple around what might potentially be their dream home... But what power lay behind such an ingenious scheme? Any death makes us look very hard at our own life and the inevitable mortality thereof ; and there is always worse things than dying, for life is always a matter of subjective quality, but even then we have an innate ethical sense least we run away with absolutes. To take ones own life is to seize the ultimate control; it must take more than mere courage to do that. Thus we look on in as much dread as we do awe...   

Meanwhile, I'm glad to be alive, and glad we can all be alive together in this happy moment even if we can't agree on a single issue other than that common something-or-other we share in being here in the first place. Even though I reckon 9% of Fause Foodrage is better than none, because these things become a journey of life in themselves, acquired by slow degrees of a lifetime's acquaintance. That said, I found I could sing Childe Owlett having only heard Crow Sister sing it three times - once in recording, once in the rough mix, once in playback...   

*I am Tynesider by birth; on Tyneside we celebrate The Crack, as oppose to the Craic; so much so it's the name of a local magazine (still going? I hope so) and a quartet of the finest bench-mark misbegotton gobshite storytellers in the country (bar none) go by the collective heading of A Bit Crack (still going? I hope so...)


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 06:06 AM

Sweeney ~~ not sure if I have mentioned to you the death of my still-much-mourned, though happily superseded, first wife? Google

grosvenor myer suicide

for some possible reasons why first para of your most meaningful statement above is not necessarily an invariable; as my poor Valerie discovered.

Not that I am arguing that Pete, who still had his health if not all his contentment, will necessarily fit the same category: that is a separate question.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 06:29 AM

Indeed so, MtheGM - I suppose that's the sort of thing I was thinking of regarding life quality and ethics which will always be subjective. I often wonder if I could be as courageous, or, indeed, as level headed in similiar circumstances - I've known plenty who weren't. Then there's bastarding strokes that might rob a person of their life without warning without going so far as to actually deprive them of it; my own mother is now 6 years in such a situation following one such that robbed her of everything that might be considered essential to the old compos mentis. The rule of life is one endless round of exceptions!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 07:35 AM

FolkieDave my point, regarding virtuosos and technically excellent musicians, is this.. I live in Ireland you live in england we have different experiences.
my experience is this Comhaltas have turned out an assembly line of technically good and stylised musicians many of whom sound like clones of each other.When Ilisten to irish music recordings, I tend to go back to the roots, I find recordings like paddy in the smoke do much more for me than the comhaltas produced musicians, the musicians may not be technically s good , but they sound like they are enjoying themselves.   
as a matter of fact I prefer other revival and traditional singers to Peter Bellamy, but that does not mean that I dont think he was a good live performer and a talented writer


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 02:02 PM

One year at Whitby, the most memorable event I attended was Doc Rowe showing a film of a Peter Bellamy concert. And it wasn't even a very good film. And, yes, it was a good week!

I passed a pub the other day which used to host a folk club. I went there specially to see Peter. As soon as he started singing, the audience stampeded towards the door. Very strange - did they buy tickets just to see the residents? I really don't know.

May I repeat my Nic Jones story, please. Nic was very supportive of folk clubs. At the end of each performance, he would always ask the organiser, Who is the guest next week? He would then say how good the artist was and encourage the audience to come and see them. One night at the Coronation in Southport, the answer came back, Peter Bellamy. Oh, said Nic, Who's on the week after?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 02:07 PM

That story has now appeared at least twice. I think it apocryphal ~~ Pete & Nic were the greatest of friends and greatly admired one another's singing. I don't believe Nic would have made such an undermining comment, even in jest.

~M~

Still, as they say ~ "Never let the truth stand in the way..." If it IS a good story.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 03:11 PM

No. That doesn't sound at all like Nic Jones - who was a gentleman in his heyday - and still is, of course (I had the privilege of speaking to him a couple of years ago).


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 05:26 PM

Even if he did say it - get a life - its not fair to put every utterance under a microscope just because Nic's a musician you admire. Haven't we all said things that might be regarded as a bit iffy.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 05:45 PM

For heaven's sake, it was Nic's joke! It's precisely because they were such good friends that he could say it. Nic was known for his impish sense of humour. But it is interesting that his sense of humour can be misunderstood just as Peter's was from time to time. And perhaps it does also reflect the fact that everyone recognised how sharply Peter divided audiences.

I'm sorry that a note of controversy has entered into this thread. I've enjoyed it very much so far.

I've posted the story here before, so it may well sound familiar. You don't think that I could make up a story like that, do you? I wonder if the archives of the Coronation Folk Club can confirm their old guest lists.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 02:49 AM

"I'm sorry that a note of controversy has entered into this thread. I've enjoyed it very much so far."
,..,.,
Sorry about that, henryp, if that is what you think I have done. But don't you think yours a somewhat provocative contribution, joke or not ~~ esp repeated?

Regards

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 06:39 AM

Don't worry Michael. The story made me laugh and I wanted to share it. Let's move on. I hope there are more memories of Peter to be revealed.

I remember the last time I saw him. He cut a distinctive figure standing outside Preston bus station, a street map blowing wildly in the wind. He was looking for the Unicorn, the home of Preston Folk Club, and we walked there together.

He was in a good mood despite his bus journey. After enquiring about bus times, he had travelled into Keighley to catch his bus. So he was not at all pleased to find that it then took him straight back to Haworth!

I was on my home from work - I only lived around the corner. I had already had tea but wanted to go home and change. I still remember the pained expression on his face when I said I would leave him at the pub. He must have thought that, although I knew very well who he was, I did not consider him to be worth staying to see. I had to reassure him that I was indeed coming back to see him, and looking forward to it too. I think it was a glimpse of his insecurity.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 06:41 AM

That was me - Henry Peacock - obviously becoming more forgetful.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 07:15 AM

I had a similar experience to Henry's when we booked him at South Tyne Folk and Blues which at that time met in the Turks Head, South Shields. Before the night began we sat chatting in the club room until I had to excuse myself as I had to nip to Shields Market Place bus stop to pick up my wife (then girlfriend) as the walk to the Turks was not entirely safe for a single female.
Peter was most alarmed as he thought that I was leaving the club and I too had to reassure him that I would be returning in a few minutes!
His worry and concern over lack of work was apparent around that time too.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 08:26 AM

I once went to hear a very well-known folk star who was playing in a Sunday night club, back in the days when pubs shut at 10:30 on Sundays (remember that?). I was travelling by train (the club was on the other side of London from where I lived) and of COURSE the last blippin' one left at 10:25. So I had to get up out of the audience and go, during the nearest applause-break to the end that I could manage.

I was as quick & quiet as I could be, but I suppose there's no unobtrusive way to stand up when everyone around you is sitting quietly. The artist shot me the merest, briefest glance and then looked away, but I have been struck from that day to this by the pain in the man's face. I so wished I could explain to him that I wasn't leaving because I wanted to (in fact I hated having to go before he was finished) but was obliged to if I was to get home that night.

But I was too shy to call out "Train to catch!" as I might have done in later years (it was only about my second time ever in a folk club, I was by myself in a strange part of London and nobody knew who I was). But the memory of his hurt - from someone who had every reason to be supremely confident of his popularity - has stayed with me ever since. It doesn't surprise me that Peter had the same vulnerability. That sensitivity also goes into the making of their art. But what a price to pay.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 10:53 AM

The subject of leaving before time reminds me of a story about Ron Geesin , I believe he was playing in a restaurant and was rather pissed off by the lack of attention, so halfway through the night he packs up his gear goes outside puts his face to the window and waves the eaters good bye, they carry on eating their scampi and chips thinking its all part of the act, Ron Geesin gets in his car and drives home and doesnt return.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 10:59 AM

It's terribly sad. It's tempting to say that great artists need that gnawing edge of self-doubt - show me a happy and well-adjusted artist and I'll show you Paul McCartney - but I suspect that's a rationalisation; a happy and well-adjusted Bellamy might have made just the same music, but made it for longer.

In this respect I'm haunted, if that's not too strong a word, by MGM's story upthread:

Jenny told Valerie and me that, a few days before he died, he spent the entire evening playing right back thru all his records, listening carefully and as best he could objectively, and said at the end, "Well, I AM good!. What the hell has gone wrong?!"

That must have been a comfort on one level, but I suspect it also sent PB the bleakest, darkest message imaginable - it wasn't a case of "you're being rejected because you're no good", it was "you're being rejected because you're you".


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 11:21 AM

That must have been a comfort on one level, but I suspect it also sent PB the bleakest, darkest message imaginable - it wasn't a case of "you're being rejected because you're no good", it was "you're being rejected because you're you".

Do we have any evidence that that IS why he decided to commit suicide? I am not sure we do. Not saying I know any better by the way. Just no idea why at all.

Another bus stop story. I went to pick him up at Sheffield Bus Station once when he was singing at the Grapes. No-one else there claimed to be able to recognise him.

How barmy is that?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 11:54 AM

folkie dave, good point, no one knows?
I thought but perhaps I was told incorrectly that he had tried suicide many years before, lets face it many things can contribute to depression including a persons up bringing, none of us know why he decided to kill himself, the best thing in my opinion is to remember him when he was happier.
I have good memories of Peter, particularly at Whitby and Chippenham just before he left us.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Speedwell
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 06:58 AM

We held a special evening last Friday at the Milkmaid to celebrate Peter's life and songs. Local people performed some of whom knew him quite well. It was a special night and brilliant to hear some of the less frequently sung songs.I never knew him nor met him - only through his music; a heartfelt, enthusiastic and inspired folk artist.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 07:11 AM

I'll be singing Glass on the Bar tonight in Preston, PB's setting of the Henry Lawson poem from his EFDSS album Second Wind. Did he set any other Lawson poems? This one is particularly poignant...

*

Three bushmen one morning rode up to an inn,
And one of them called for the drinks with a grin;
They'd only returned from a trip to the North,
And, eager to greet them, the landlord came forth.
He absently poured out a glass of Three Star.
And set down that drink with the rest on the bar.

'There, that is for Harry,' he said, 'and it's queer,
'Tis the very same glass that he drank from last year;
His name's on the glass, you can read it like print,
He scratched it himself with an old piece of flint;
I remember his drink — it was always Three Star' —
And the landlord looked out through the door of the bar.

He looked at the horses, and counted but three:
'You were always together — where's Harry?' cried he.
Oh, sadly they looked at the glass as they said,
'You may put it away, for our old mate is dead;'
But one, gazing out o'er the ridges afar,
Said, 'We owe him a shout — leave the glass on the bar.'

They thought of the far-away grave on the plain,
They thought of the comrade who came not again,
They lifted their glasses, and sadly they said:
'We drink to the name of the mate who is dead.'
And the sunlight streamed in, and a light like a star
Seemed to glow in the depth of the glass on the bar.

And still in that shanty a tumbler is seen,
It stands by the clock, ever polished and clean;
And often the strangers will read as they pass
The name of a bushman engraved on the glass;
And though on the shelf but a dozen there are,
That glass never stands with the rest on the bar.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 07:25 AM

From your introduction, I thought it was going to be a song set in Preston. Its Australian, I take it.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 07:56 AM

It feels more like Preston to me, especially our pub there, which is quite like no other... a shanty with a dozen tumbers...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: NOMADMan
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 10:51 AM

On the same album, Second Wind, Peter recorded his setting of Lawson's poem, "The Bush Girl." In the liner notes Peter commented, "My father, who spent some time as a 'jackaroo' on a New South Wales sheep station in the 1920s, tried to interest me in the verses of Henry Lawson, but it never 'took' until I toured Australia in 1980. After that I rethunk, and noticing the long shadow of Rudyard Kipling over many of his pieces, I set several Lawson poems to music. The tender BUSH GIRL and the bizarre GLASS ON THE BAR seemed my most successful efforts."

Regards,
John


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 11:17 AM

I've just put up my version of the London Waterman as one of 52 Folk Songs. From that blog post, here are some thoughts about Bellamy's singing style:

"I got this song from Peter Bellamy's recording. Learning it – and learning how to sing it, which is slightly different – helped me understand why Bellamy sang the way he did, with that pouncing, declamatory attack on the lines. The short answer is that he did it because it works – it really gets you under the skin of the song. Also, taking a song by the scruff like this is fun – and it's not *pretty*, which for some of us at least is a virtue."

I was thinking then of June Tabor's version of the same song, which has absolutely nothing wrong with it except that it *is* pretty. I dislike it intensely and greatly prefer Bellamy's more abrasive version. But I suspect I'm in the minority.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 12:08 PM

The original (and definitive I might add) version of The London Waterman is that of Bob Roberts on Songs from Sailing Barges, which is where PB sourced his, at JT likewise (as well her Macrame Beat version of When Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping). I can't be 100% certain but Bellamy featured that particular recording (i.e. Bob Roberts singing TLW) in his Folk Quiz at Durham in 1993. If you can't find them (and would like to hear them) frop me a line...


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 02:09 PM

June Tabor's singing *pretty*? Nah.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 05:47 PM

She generally escapes that trap, but I think she does drift into it sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: GUEST,schlimmerkerl
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 06:14 PM

Well, at least Heather Wood is still around and singing (quite nicely, too) in the NY area.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 08 Oct 11 - 10:36 AM

So glad to hear she's well. The only one of the YT troupe left now. We lost Royston before his time too. (And TOO MANY OTHERS dammit.)


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy 18 yrs today since he died
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 01:59 PM

Came across this old thread while browsing the Cat, as one does from time to time.   I recalled, and thought I would share, a Bellamyism that came back to me as I read it.

It was a fine day and someone said "Aren't those birds making a beautiful noise!".

"Yes," Pete replied; "but you know what they're singing, don't you? — 'This is my tree: you fuck off!'."

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 03:15 PM

I prefer to think they were celebrating life.
Bloody Shame, Peter was so depressed.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Sep 15 - 03:57 PM

I don't think that remark was a symptom of his depression tho, Dick. He meant it as a somewhat sardonic joke.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Jim Martin
Date: 19 Sep 15 - 06:40 AM

I don't think it was a joke at all - that's what birds do & why they do it - fact!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 15 - 02:10 PM

depends on the birds and the time of year, birds sing for many different reasons, and have different bird noises some are warnings, of predatirs. some are mating calls.
this is my tree you fuck off, is not just what bird song is about it is not all territoria; , that is too simplistic.
"The distinction between songs and calls is based upon complexity, length, and context. Songs are longer and more complex and are associated with courtship and mating, while calls tend to serve such functions as alarms or keeping members of a flock in contact.[3] Other authorities such as Howell and Webb (1995) make the distinction based on function, so that short vocalizations, such as those of pigeons, and even non-vocal sounds, such as the drumming of woodpeckers and the "winnowing" of snipes' wings in display flight, are considered songs" quote. so it also depends on how you define" Bird song"


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 04:12 AM

I can just hear Peter making that bird comment. It strikes me as being deliberately anti-poetic, to puncture any lofty sentiments and the pretensions that so often accompany them.

In a few days it will be 24 years since we lost him. A whole generation has grown up since. I wonder what he would have made of internet culture, and whether he'd think YouTube a blessing or a curse.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 04:57 AM

I think he would have embraced the internet and used it for publicity, but have been scathing about it
I am sorry but I found that remark about birds, negative, I prefer to listen to beauty and appreciate it, for what it is.
the song of the nightingale for instance is incredibly beautiful, to say oh hes just telling another bird to fuck off, in my opinion demeans the experience.
Peter was a highly individualistic performer, who added colour and excitement to the folk scene, but that comment tells us a lot about Peter Bellamy.
When the birds are singing open your ears listen to the beauty of the sound and you should need no more.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 05:37 AM

Lets take a moment to remember the beautiful things we have witnessed, bird songs and Peter being two of them. A good friend posted the following message on Facebook, which reminded me of those who ended their lives, when they thought they had nothing to live for.

"A lot of us have been close to that edge, and some have lost friends and loved ones. Let's look out for each other and stop sweeping mental illness under the rug. Suicide Prevention week September 6-12. May I ask my family and friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just needs to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for no body is immune".

When I hear a bird sing, I will think positively about Peter and those who suffered similarly.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 05:42 AM

Sorry the post above is mine, thought I was logged in


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 06:44 AM

PB died because the Folk Scene rejected him; he might as well have died of a broken heart. A month before he passed I witnessed about 40% of a festival audience wait until he took the stage before making a big show off standing up and walking out. I then had to leave my post at the sound desk and run off around the festival singarounds to drum up support for his performance. Somewhere I have a tape of it - same basic Bellamy set you'll hear on Songs and Rummy Conjurin' Tricks, only bigger somehow. Quite possibly his last ever gig.

As I said earlier in this thread (see my Suibhne posts) if he'd only waited a few years for Jon Boden et al to come along and champion his cause he'd be a bona fide national treasure by now. I can just hear him guesting with Bellowhead and having a ball.   

What would he have made of the internet? As an incorrigible & eclectic archivist he would have been the proverbial pig in shit, as the lingering shots over his legendary cassette collection in this 1980s video interview goes to show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bt3tKhVXBc

There was never, and there never will be, anyone quite like him.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 06:55 AM

PS - I'm currently looking into the life & times of one my favourite composers, William Lawes whose life was brought to an end at the age of 43 when, as a Cavalier, he was casually shot by a Parliamentarian during the battle of Rowton Heath near Chester on September 24th 1645.

That's my listening for this coming Thursday sorted then - two masters of Quintessential Englishness who share the same passing-day.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Sep 15 - 06:59 AM

William Lawes : She Weepeth Full Sore


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 06:39 AM

I've been thinking for a while of writing a song about Bellamy, & his death in particular - a song that would go beyond dignified sentimentality to express something of how sheerly bloody awful it was, just as PB did when he sang Two Pretty Boys or That Day.

I woke up this morning with a tune in my head and an idea for how it could be done (possibly), and had about three verses by the time I'd got dressed.

I've only just noticed the date.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 09:06 AM

an interEsting interview,
Thankyou for puting it up here
not sure i agree with a number of things he said, i believe for some songs, accompaniment can enhance a song immensely.,and if used well can provide an atmosphere that gives the song something extra, of course the words are most important, but in my experience a good accompaniment can or should draw attention to the words
his comments about left wing political songs are what i might expect from someone from his family background, we are all influenced to some extent by our upbringing.
I am not sure the statistics he quote are correct, and if they are correct, might be because very few english songs were collected from industrial areas, for example sharp and baring gould and many others had an agenda of collecting rural songs, if more industrial songs had been collected there might be a very different overall picture.
I think Peter was an asset To the UK FOLK REVIVAL.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: GUEST,damhan alla
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 08:04 PM

Hearing Green Fields of England was what spurred me on to pursuing folk music beyond what my parents listened to. I owe most of the happiest moments of my life to him, although I could not have met him. Thanks man.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Speedwell
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 08:53 AM

Totally agree that Green Fields of England is a fantastic song of Peter's.
Many thanx (again) to Jack Blandiver for that video of Pete (the only one still on youtube to my knowledge).
Peter has been an inspiration to me since the age of 16 or so when I first heard Chicken on a Raft sung by YT at a mate's house.
One of my lasting regrets is that I never got to see him perform. Oh well.
So next year will be 25 years - any plans for a PB event anyone?


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 09:41 AM

Interesting seeing this thread come up again. I met Peter, when I had to pick him up at the airport in Chicago way back in the late 1980's. I loved his singing and performance style. I had to convince him it was really impractical to drive over to Joliet prison (which was featured in the film The Bluesbrothers) I did promise to drive him under some el tracks,which also appeared in the film. However the reason I'm posting this is that my wife and I have retired from our days jobs and are still doing music. We supplement our pension income by substitute teaching. I was subbing for an english lit class in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and heard some sophomore girls quietly singing the chorus of Oak and Ask and Thorn. I finally asked if that's what I was really hearing. They said they were singing it in choir and really liked the melody. They were surprised when I told them I'd met the man who composed that tune. The choir was not singing all the verses, unfortunately (some religious folks would probably object to the "do not tell the priest this night" verse). I suspect Peter would have been suprised that some choir teacher in the far reaches of the Northern US would be having kids sing his melody.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 06:10 AM

The Genius & Joy of Peter Bellamy - Bill Brown & Old Paint:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIDkhEIUveQ


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Speedwell
Date: 03 Oct 15 - 12:13 PM

Another favourite of mine is Peter's version of this Kipling Poem about Heffle Cuckoo Fair.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LazFAINSH5c

Sorry tried to make a link but got Error showing.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: cptsnapper
Date: 04 Oct 15 - 08:45 AM


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: cptsnapper
Date: 04 Oct 15 - 08:56 AM

My two favourite memories of Peter were a concert in Peterborough for which I was the compere when Nic Jones also appeared and one of the Norwich Folk festivals where I was told yp try & end the day long session in the bar in the bar when amongst other songs I sang Jesus Is On The Mainline only to hear Peter suddenly joiniing in. Fantastic!


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 04 Oct 15 - 10:02 AM

A song that Peter converted from a Kipling Poem is "The Vampire", but I am not sure if he ever sang it. It was put to a tune by Keith Marsden, who I have heard sing it, again my knowledge is lacking as I do not know if this was before or after Peters death.
Its on Cockerdale's "Picking Sooty Blackberries" CD.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Speedwell
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 11:43 AM

I vaguely remember seeing somewhere Pete saying that quite a few of Kipling's poems seemed to be written with a folk song in mind. He felt that they quite naturally fitted.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 11:51 AM

I think he said "Poor Honest Men" just was "Spanish Ladies", and who are we to argue? There's also a lyrical overlap - as well as a musical fit - between "Cupid's Garden" and "The Dutch in the Medway".


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 07:00 AM

Funny how PB's Kipling / Folksong thesis doesn't work too well when he sets them to actual traditional melodies (with the exception of Danny Deever). The real magic happens when he composes his own tunes in the traditional idiom, making the pairing of Kipling / Bellamy quite the dynamic song-writing team.

Both RK & PB were concerned with an idiomatic creativity in which they drew on a common heritage, however differently they might have perceived it. Sadly, I don't think Kipling left us his feelings on the matter, but we're in no doubt about his cultural imperialism as it comes over in the patronising verses of The Land and The Barrack Room Ballads.

The latter were still popular with common soldiers in my grandfather's day - he served in India during partition and thought of Ghandi as the greatest man he'd ever met. Interestingly, he wasn't impressed at all when I played him Bellamy's settings, even though Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny was a favourite of his, as was Gunda Din, so I naturally thought he'd be made up by Bellamy's pairing of the two. He wasn't, and I can't say I am either to be honest, BUT then again, few Kipling people are in my experience.

Well, two others. The first was an English tutor who'd done his PhD on Kipling, and the other an old woman I once knew whose favourite books from her childhood were Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies. Neither were convinced by Bellamy's thesis, settings or performance, but, to give them their due, both were non-folkies, entirely unprepared for our hero's abrasive bleating, however so meticulously contrived. Though old Doris did enjoy Dik Cadbury's counter-tenor to Dolly Collins' flute-organ on The Queen's Men.


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Subject: RE: Peter Bellamy - died 24 Sept 1991
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 07:09 AM

FIDDLERS HILL uses the tune When a man is in love, and works very well, but it is nothing to do with Kipling


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