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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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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
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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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