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The Blackleg Miner and FAF.

DigiTrad:
DADDY WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE STRIKE
THE BLACKLEG MINERS


Related threads:
Tune Req: Blackleg Miner (16)
Origin The Blackleg Miner (102)
Review: Blackleg Miner revisited (13)
Lyr Req: Black Leg Miner (19)
Lyr Req: Dirty Black Leg Miner (14)
Lyr Req: Blackleg miner (9) (closed)
Help: 'duds' in Blackleg Miner (15)


Darowyn 24 Jun 10 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astrray) 24 Jun 10 - 02:07 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 Jun 10 - 02:26 PM
Paul Burke 24 Jun 10 - 02:44 PM
Murray MacLeod 24 Jun 10 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Dave (Bridge) 24 Jun 10 - 04:30 PM
Continuity Jones 24 Jun 10 - 05:11 PM
Bounty Hound 24 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM
Paco O'Barmy 24 Jun 10 - 05:27 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 Jun 10 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Wolfhound person (lost log in somewhere) 25 Jun 10 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astrray) 25 Jun 10 - 03:29 AM
Dave Hanson 25 Jun 10 - 03:33 AM
Murray MacLeod 25 Jun 10 - 03:34 AM
Phil Edwards 25 Jun 10 - 03:56 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jun 10 - 04:13 AM
Phil Edwards 25 Jun 10 - 04:28 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jun 10 - 05:47 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jun 10 - 05:49 AM
Ruth Archer 25 Jun 10 - 07:00 AM
brezhnev 25 Jun 10 - 07:09 AM
Fred McCormick 25 Jun 10 - 07:10 AM
Phil Edwards 25 Jun 10 - 08:53 AM
Fred McCormick 25 Jun 10 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 25 Jun 10 - 09:54 AM
Phil Edwards 25 Jun 10 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe (Passing Through...) 25 Jun 10 - 11:22 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jun 10 - 11:25 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jun 10 - 12:34 PM
Herga Kitty 25 Jun 10 - 02:32 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 25 Jun 10 - 02:51 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jun 10 - 03:26 PM
Continuity Jones 25 Jun 10 - 04:00 PM
Murray MacLeod 25 Jun 10 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 26 Jun 10 - 03:39 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jun 10 - 05:44 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 Jun 10 - 05:59 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jun 10 - 07:49 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 Jun 10 - 08:04 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jun 10 - 08:19 AM
Dennis the Elder 26 Jun 10 - 09:04 AM
Young Buchan 26 Jun 10 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 26 Jun 10 - 03:48 PM
meself 26 Jun 10 - 04:07 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jun 10 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 27 Jun 10 - 04:19 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jun 10 - 05:24 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 27 Jun 10 - 06:25 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 27 Jun 10 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 27 Jun 10 - 06:26 PM
Paul Burke 27 Jun 10 - 06:49 PM
Murray MacLeod 27 Jun 10 - 08:33 PM
Phil Edwards 28 Jun 10 - 02:55 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 10 - 03:56 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 10 - 03:59 AM
Phil Edwards 28 Jun 10 - 04:21 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 10 - 04:27 AM
brezhnev 28 Jun 10 - 05:43 AM
Dave Sutherland 28 Jun 10 - 07:59 AM
Dave Sutherland 28 Jun 10 - 08:06 AM
The Sandman 28 Jun 10 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 28 Jun 10 - 11:58 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 10 - 12:46 PM
brezhnev 28 Jun 10 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 28 Jun 10 - 01:42 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 10 - 02:53 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 10 - 03:35 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Jun 10 - 05:04 PM
The Sandman 28 Jun 10 - 05:12 PM
semiotic 28 Jun 10 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 28 Jun 10 - 05:15 PM
Murray MacLeod 28 Jun 10 - 05:41 PM
Bounty Hound 28 Jun 10 - 05:46 PM
Phil Edwards 29 Jun 10 - 04:31 AM
Continuity Jones 29 Jun 10 - 04:53 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jun 10 - 05:30 AM
brezhnev 29 Jun 10 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 29 Jun 10 - 07:20 AM
Continuity Jones 29 Jun 10 - 09:06 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Jun 10 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 29 Jun 10 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 29 Jun 10 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Young Buchan 29 Jun 10 - 01:11 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Jun 10 - 01:30 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 10 - 03:03 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 10 - 03:07 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Jun 10 - 03:20 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 10 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 29 Jun 10 - 04:00 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 10 - 04:32 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Jun 10 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 29 Jun 10 - 04:32 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Jun 10 - 04:34 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Jun 10 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 29 Jun 10 - 05:15 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jun 10 - 05:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jun 10 - 06:40 PM
Tootler 29 Jun 10 - 06:41 PM
Tootler 29 Jun 10 - 06:42 PM
Jack Campin 29 Jun 10 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,S O'P (Astray) 30 Jun 10 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Ed 30 Jun 10 - 04:42 AM
Jack Campin 30 Jun 10 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Ed 30 Jun 10 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Jun 10 - 12:58 PM
The Sandman 30 Jun 10 - 01:17 PM
GUEST 30 Jun 10 - 02:14 PM
The Sandman 30 Jun 10 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 30 Jun 10 - 02:46 PM
Bounty Hound 30 Jun 10 - 05:08 PM
brezhnev 30 Jun 10 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,Ed 01 Jul 10 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 01 Jul 10 - 04:20 AM
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Subject: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Darowyn
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 01:40 PM

In the latest message from Folk Against Fascism, there is the following suggestion.

"At festivals, why not have a FAF-themed singaround? Nick Griffin challenged Billy Bragg on BBC News during the recent election to sing "a proper folk song, like the Blackleg Miner", implying that only BNP propagandists know anything about folk music. We want to make The Blackleg Miner our festival anthem, so if you're running a singaround or you're just singing at one, why not sing it? And be sure to tell people why!"

I could not despise the BNP more, but I shall certainly never sing "The Blackleg Miner"
I find it a truly hateful song in both literal and metaphorical senses, containing, as it does, and explicit death threat.
"Across the lane we've stretched a line, to catch the neck and break the spine of the dirty blackleg miner"
Living in a mining area, where there were both strikers and 'blacklegs' during Thatcher's Miners' strike, it seems to me that the mindless and violent tribalism expressed in the song is the last thing that we should be promoting as Our British Heritage.
Cheers
Dave
It's just the sort of song I'd expect the BNP to pick up on.
They can keep it, as far as I'm concerned!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astrray)
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 02:07 PM

It's not even a proper folk song - rather an invention of A L Lloyd based roughly on an American prototype (Yowie Miners) and relocated to the villages of the South East Northumberland coalfied named in the song. Supposedly collected from a nameless singer in Bishop Aukland (!) in 1949. Certainly growing up in that area (Seghill / Deleval) I never met any miners who'd heard of it - only folkies. So very much a Fakesong. Hardly the wonder the nationalists are so enamoured of Folk having swallowed the Revival Mythology hook, line and sinker!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 02:26 PM

Irrespective of the merits or otherwise of The Blackleg Miner, for a proper folk song about miners you can't do better than The Colliers Rant:

The Colliers Rant
Best I could do by way of a sound bite


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Paul Burke
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 02:44 PM

It's well known that Bert didn't make the song up. He adapted it slightly from a Lake District miner's song, but changed the location from Borrowdale graphite mines to the better- known coal mines of the North East, which is why subsequent researchers didn't find anyone who sang it. It was of course originally The Blacklead Miner.

Don't work in the pencil mine,
Across the page they draw a line
To make sure that the point is fine
Or they fine the blacklead miner!

Borrowdale is a terrible place,
They all pack pencils in a case
With filthy hands and blackened face
Those dirty blacklead miners!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 03:08 PM

I couldn't agree more with Darowyn about the sentiments of this song.

Repulsive in the extreme imo.

It has always amazed me that Dick Gaughan could sing it with such conviction ...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Dave (Bridge)
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 04:30 PM

The Mines of Seghill and Delaval were where the coal owner, Lord Londenderry, put the miners out of their houses to try and bring them to heel. That did not work so thjey diverted the stream away from their camp so they did not have water. Ultimately the military were brought in and a very bloody fight ensued. I think people would have been rightly upset


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 05:11 PM

There's a version of this on the most recent album - Spades, Hoes & Plows - by Welsh singer David Wrench. Like the rest of the album, it's a sinister piece.

For my part, I agree with the sentiments above about this horrible little song. Maybe if I were part of a mining community I'd feel I have some right to sing it, but as I'm not, it seems very odd to consider singing something so accusatory, righteous and divisive, even if the reason for singing it is claiming it back from the BNumPtys.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM

GUEST,S O'P (Astray): 'It's not even a proper folk song'. Even if it's roots lie in America and it has been Anglicised it relates back to historical events relayed above by Dave Bridge. Just because it is, in the grand scale of things a relatively modern song doesn't mean it is not a proper folk song. There are 'proper' folk songs being written today!

Darowyn & Murray MacLeod: don't be too precious about subject matter of a song, how many traditional songs do we sing dealing with murder, rape, theft, etc etc. we all sing them, but it doesn't mean we condone the subject matter. As Dave Bridge rightly says, given events at those two mines, the reaction to a blackleg seems to me to be understandable.

I appreciate that there are always going to be some things that will really hit a nerve with some people, but I take the view that I will sing a song even though I may not agree with views or events expressed if I can justify it from a 'historical' perspective. If I didn't do that, I'd lose half my repertoire!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Paco O'Barmy
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 05:27 PM

Steven Bragg is now a country gentleman residing in his Dorset estate, and shouldn't be troubled with such trifles as popular songs about manual labourers!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 05:40 PM

"For my part, I agree with the sentiments above about this horrible little song. Maybe if I were part of a mining community I'd feel I have some right to sing it, but as I'm not, it seems very odd to consider singing something so accusatory, righteous and divisive, even if the reason for singing it is claiming it back from the BNumPtys."

I don't object to the song myself, though I find the Colliers Rant is a more engaging folk song.
I understand the motivation behind FAF, but maybe John Barleycorn might have been a more apposite choice?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Wolfhound person (lost log in somewhere)
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 02:54 AM

I live in an ex-mining community, though not of that background myself. My neighbours were deep miners, and are in a few cases, "sunshine miners" working the open cast. I have sea-coalers going past the gate on a weekly basis. Their community was destroyed by the "mad axewoman" of the 80s.

Their feelings about the closure of Ellington "we could have pumped it out in 24 hours" combined with an accident to a neighbour 3 miles out under the sea two weeks before it closed (he lost a leg when a tub ran away) just reinforce my respect for these men who went down holes for a living.

Their historical treatment by their various masters - private, public, whatever - make it unsurprising that such sentiments exist, wherever and whenever they were written / adapted.

Paws


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astrray)
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 03:29 AM

'It's not even a proper folk song'. Even if it's roots lie in America and it has been Anglicised it relates back to historical events relayed above by Dave Bridge. Just because it is, in the grand scale of things a relatively modern song doesn't mean it is not a proper folk song.

Whatever the historical events, this Piltdown Song is a contrived piece of fakery dressed up to fit the remit of the 1954 definition with a provenance purporting to be authentic. It was not passed off as a modern song about historical events - rather it was passed off as a Proper Bona Fide Folk Song which met all the necessary criteria of the 1954 Definition. Worse, it has been sang in good faith as a Proper Folk Song by countless revival singers, especially by those (such as myself) who are from mining backgrounds, Northumbrian or otherwise. It was here on Mudcat that the true provenance of The Blackleg Miner (&c.) was revealed - see Bertsongs - which certainly dinted my folk faith because in Bert I did trust!

We had fragmants of The Colliers Rant in my family, though for my version I initially used Crawhall's Beuk o' Newcassel Sangs (1888) which uses an identical set of words to that found in Rhymes of the Northern Bards (1812) though I'm still not too clear on the ultimate source! Not Bert Lloyd anyway, or even the Folk Revival...

There are 'proper' folk songs being written today!

Amen to that, given that the 1954 Definition remains one of the central shibboleths of the Revival Myth and that all songs are the consequence of idiomatic traditional process - and that there wherever there are folk there will be folk songs. And whilst I dare say the saintly Dizzee Rascal wouldn't thank you if you called Shout a folk song, it is very much popular in precisely the same way the ballads collected by Francis J Child were popular. This isn't to include The Blackleg Miner however, which remains, most assuredly, a forgery.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 03:33 AM

" Horrible little song " fairly obvious that it's knockers have never had to struggle or fight for anything they hold precious and never suffered unemployment, hard times or worried about where the next meal or the rent was coming from.

tossers.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 03:34 AM

..."Darowyn & Murray MacLeod: don't be too precious about subject matter of a song, how many traditional songs do we sing dealing with murder, rape, theft, etc etc. we all sing them, but it doesn't mean we condone the subject matter" ...

Yes, we all sing songs about rape theft and murder, but as far as I am aware, all these songs simply recount the event, none of them actually urge, encourage and take delight in, the brutal maiming of a fellow human being.

Big big difference ...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 03:56 AM

Dave H - working (or striking) miners singing TBM would be something to hear, and I certainly wouldn't criticise them for the violence in the words. What turns me off is soft-handed, keyboard-driving folkies like myself (and Mr Bragg) singing it, taking a vicarious relish in life-and-death struggles we've never been part of & never will.

It's striking that when Bert Lloyd (or his unknown source) modified the Yahie Miners, he made it more bloodthirsty as well as more catchy. For example, the (brilliantly nasty) lines

Join the union while you may
Don't wait till your dying day
For that may not be far away

seem to have replaced the much more anodyne

Join the union while you may
Don't you wait till after pay

In conclusion, (a) it's a weird, weird choice of "proper folk song", and FAF certainly shouldn't be suckered into adopting it by Griffin. And (b) hi Suibhne, thought you weren't playing on Mudcat any more?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 04:13 AM

"It's not even a proper folk song"
Sorry SO'P, couldn't resist:
After all the arguments I have read from you in the past on what does and does not constitute a 'folk song', I have to admit that this raised a "WHAT!!!!!" this morning - where did I put your list....?
How was the Road to Damascus?
I've always thought that we didn't know where the song came from rather than it being "an invention of A.L. Lloyd", unless further information has slipped under the wire when I wasn't looking.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the mining struggles in the past and not-to-distant past,, Blackleg Miner stands as a fairly accurate description of poorly paid men doing extremely dangerous work in foul conditions, having been set at each others throats by predatory employers who were supported all the way up by an establishment more than happy to stamp them back into their place. Whoever made it, it's a vignette of genius - certainly on par with the novels of Alexander Cordell, A J Cronin and Richard Llewellyn.
Personally, I regard the subject matter as Bounty Hound succinctly described it, a piece of mining history, and far prefereable to those interminable dirges describing the bloodlust of "the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable" by the 'killing for pleasure' mob.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 04:28 AM

I've always thought that we didn't know where the song came from rather than it being "an invention of A.L. Lloyd", unless further information has slipped under the wire when I wasn't looking.

That's strictly true, but I think the balance of probabilities is that it's trad. (the Yahie Miners) arr. (and rewritten) Lloyd.

having been set at each others throats by predatory employers

That to me is the point - it's a song about being at the throats of other workers, without any apologies or second thoughts. With some crowds, if you finished the evening with TBM there'd be windows broken on the way home. I think it's borderline dodgy even for people who are actually at the sharp end, and for those of us who thankfully aren't it's radical tourism of a fairly nasty kind.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 05:47 AM

How was the Road to Damascus?

My Folk Faith insists on authenticity, JC; this is how I was raised, to think of the Old Songs as integral aspects of the people, communities & traditions that created them. I might argue with the finer points of that, but when I sing (say) The Collier's Rant it is by way of direct communion with my own cultural dreaming, the vibrant wonder of which I first caught glimpses of in my childhood whilst the family gathered around my grandmother's kitchen range on a cold winter's night and my grandfather sang of the two hapless miners and their encounters with their various demons both actual and metaphorical.

Otherwise - I heartily agree with Pip about Radical Tourism; that emotive polical songs have been written by non-working-class folkies about the struggles of the working-class is an idealistic pornography which I find irksome in the extreme. I'd have to include The Blackleg Miner in that. Just a shame Billy Bragg wasn't savvy enough to point this out to Nick Griffin at the time; and doubly a shame that FAF persists in wishing to claim it as authentic!

And (b) hi Suibhne, thought you weren't playing on Mudcat any more?

In the words of one Marshall Mathers:

Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody just follow me
Cause we need a little controversy
Cause it feels so empty without me...


I'd even log-in but it won't let me...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 05:49 AM

...change my name that is, so I remain, yours truly, Mr Inactive as of 16-3-10...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 07:00 AM

"doubly a shame that FAF persists in wishing to claim it as authentic!"

Actually, it was Nick Griffin who called it "a proper folk song" - and when Billy Bragg was challenged, he re-wrote the lyrics on the spot so it was about "the dirty fascist" instead of "the blackleg miner" - that's the folk process, that is.

I would hate to excise the entire canon of Bert Lloyd just because there are doubts about the authenticity of some of the songs - they are still fantastic songs, whether he re-wrote or enhanced them or whatever. What is a "proper" folk song anyway? (Hahahahahahahahaha....)

Nick Griffin's implication was that only the BNP are keepin' it real, and know about the folk music of Britain - they want to set themselves up as some notional keepers of our heritage. The reason we at FAF chose this particular gesture is because we feel that, in order to prevent them "normalising" their politics any further, the thing to do is to turn all of their inroads into dead-ends.

If you don't like the song, fine. Choose another one. Or re-write the words like Billy Bragg (and Bert Lloyd) did. That's folk, innit?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: brezhnev
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 07:09 AM

Steady on with that bashing of radical tourism and idealistic pornography! Some of us get off on The Blackleg Miner, The Streets of London, Seth Lakeman and all those songs that keep getting written about the Spanish Civil War.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 07:10 AM

I've just read an account of how an unemployed weaver in 1920s Lancashire was mistaken for a strike breaker and got beaten up so badly that he nearly died. Far from being a scab he was merely looking for work, not realising that the factory he'd called at was on strike.

I'm all for working class solidarity, whether it be for stopping scabs or fascists. But a song as nasty as the Black Leg Miner, and remember it revels in breaking people's spines, is best remembered as an unsavoury bit of history.

As far as I'm concerned, Nick Griffin is welcome to it.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 08:53 AM

when Billy Bragg was challenged, he re-wrote the lyrics on the spot so it was about "the dirty fascist"

Oh, great. So the leader of the main fascist party says to his opponents "why don't you sing a song about how you like to maim and kill your enemies?". And we say, "we can do better than that - here's a song about how we'd like to maim and kill you!"

I make that Griffin 1 FAF 0


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 09:44 AM

The newsclip I saw cut from Nick Griffin saying "I bet Billy Bragg doesn't know The Blackleg Miner" to Billy Bragg saying "Of course I do", and singing the first verse.

He then said, I know a parody as well and sang

"It's in the evening after dark
When the fascist toe rag goes to work.
With his (next bit forgotten, but I think it was a description of how a fascist dresses when he goes leafletting)
There goes the fascist toe rag.

Nothing at all about maiming or killing anyone, or any suggestion that Bragg made it up on the spot. Just another cut as he was inging it; this time to the great fat hope himself leafletting houses just as it's going dark.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 09:54 AM

I'm sorry, I'll post that again...

What is a "proper" folk song anyway? (Hahahahahahahahaha....)

Well, one that hasn't been to written to comply with the patronising polemic of the 1954 Definition for a start, Ruth; one that isn't passed of as being genuinely of the tradition and sung in good faith thereafter. At least we know Bert wrote the truly awful Jack Orion and might embrace or avoid it according to what it is. Whilst I'm wary of throwing out the babies with the bathwater, I feel the entire Lloyd canon is somehow tainted - and my folk-faith accordingly. But what else should we expect from the man who implied that a search for the roots of jazz would lead to English folksong!

I've just read an account of how an unemployed weaver in 1920s Lancashire was mistaken for a strike breaker and got beaten up so badly that he nearly died.

I knew a man who came over from Ireland as part of the scab labour force assembled tio break the Miners' Strike in the 'twenties. His tale was a curious one - having been hosptalised, he was visited by a delegation who explained to him their cause, after which he hung around and even married into the community, though not without a certain ongoing hostility which existed even 60 years later when I knew him. A fine singer too, but he didn't know any folk songs as such.

I say again, the only reason the nationalists are so enamoured of Folk is that they've swallowed the myths of the revival hook, line and sinker. The Blackleg Miner is part of that myth, and a shameful one at that.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 10:02 AM

Fred - thanks for the clarification. It sounds like a much more trivial incident than I'd realised, & certainly not as bad as I'd imagined.

I still think it's a very bad song for FAF to adopt, precisely because it glorifies violence. There may have been a time when the NF or the BNP could have been stopped in their tracks by physical-force mobilisation, but that time isn't now. When the fascists are wearing suits and drawing salaries from the EU, anti-fascists don't want to start looking like bootboys.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe (Passing Through...)
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 11:22 AM

"the truly awful Jack Orion"

Tsk tsk, Suibhne. Go and listen to the second side of Pentangle's "Cruel Sister" immediately!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 11:25 AM

CS mentioning The Collier's Rant set me thinking I haven't touched it since coming up with a fiddle version back on Christmas day last year. So today, exactly 6 months on, I made a recording of it, which you can listen to here: http://www.myspace.com/sedayne

You can also watch me recording it HERE, although what you get is wax cylinder quality directly off the old camera on account of problems with syncronisation. Can this really be the only Collier's Rant Youtube???

Anyhoo - it's hearty stuff but by no means flawless. Needless to say such feral folkery opposes Fascism & Nationalism by default, I thereby dedicate it to the Multicultural Northumbria into which I was born and the certainty that Planet Earth is home enough for me.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 12:34 PM

Go and listen to the second side of Pentangle's "Cruel Sister" immediately!

Great music can have crap words though; for every Mark E Smith and Ian Curtis there's a Pete Sinfield and Jon Anderson. Mind you I can't fault Blackleg Miner as a piece of Idiomatic Trad - bet he couldn't have passed of Jack Orion so easily (which is probably why he didn't) although I've had arguments regarding its authorship in the past. Either way, it's one 97-verse ballad I could do without. Talking of which, I've been asked to take on the thankless task of running the ballad session at The Durham Folk Party this year, but that deserves a thread on its own I guess for me to outline the nature of the thing...

Now back to Kraftwerk!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 02:32 PM

ITV last night showed a repeat of an episode of Taggart, the plot of which was the repercussions of violence meted out to "scabs" (in inverted commas because it included the wife of a scab) during the 1984/85 miners' strike - 4 corpses, 2 from the strike era and the other 2 from the repercussions a quarter of a century later... only fiction, I know but....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 02:51 PM

""never had to struggle or fight for anything they hold precious and never suffered unemployment, hard times or worried about where the next meal or the rent was coming from.

tossers.
""

Thus says Dave Hanson, speaking from a wealth of total ignorance about what any of us have or have not suffered.

Who is the TOSSER?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 03:26 PM

S O'P
"It's not even a proper folk song"
Sorry about this, but it's been bugging me all day.
Given your somewhat catch-all definition that a folk song is anything that is performed in a folk club, why can't Blackleg Miner be one?
Bert went to many folk clubs; he was a founder resident at The Singers Club and sang the song there, as did many others.
Is there a hidden clause in your definition that debars anything that Bert sang from being 'folk'.
Please reply a.s.a.p. - I'm sure I won't sleep tonight otherwise.
"because it glorifies violence."
Not if it's introduced properly it doesn't.
Brutalisation of workers by extremist politicians and bosses during strikes is still fairly fresh in the memories of those of us who became involved in supporting the miners' strike. I heard the song used then on numerous occasions with tremendous effect.
When Bert sang it he talked about the cut in wages imposed by the mineowners in the middle of the 19th century, and he went on to describe the many Irish fleeing The Great Famine, taking up miners jobs at the reduced figure. The song took on a totally new meaning; one of desperation rather than vindictiveness, given that background.
MacColl and Charles Parker said they met with a great deal of anti-Irish feeling when they were recording actuality for Radio Ballad, The Big Hewer, particularly in South Wales, dating back to this period.
Jim Carroll
S O'P - nice to have you back - even if you are still tilting at half-a-century old windmills.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 04:00 PM

Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Dave Hanson - PM
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 03:33 AM

" Horrible little song " fairly obvious that it's knockers have never had to struggle or fight for anything they hold precious and never suffered unemployment, hard times or worried about where the next meal or the rent was coming from.

tossers.

Dave H

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

Nice one Dave H. I literally laughed out loud. Modern society is a funny old place isn't it? Very black or white, love or hate, good or downright scum.

Imagine if real life wasn't quite like that Dave H? Imagine if some people had to make some tricky choices based on that very predicament you bleat of?

"have never had to struggle or fight for anything they hold precious and never suffered unemployment, hard times or worried about where the next meal or the rent was coming from."

I can hardly type for laughing at your self righteous snort of ignorance and unbridled rage.

God Bless The Pope! Blacks Stay Put!

I'll be the first in line to join in at the next lynching. I'd hate to put some thought into a situation when there's some puffing up of my chest to do.

Yours, tossing myself with laughter,

Continuity Jones, man of steel.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 25 Jun 10 - 04:03 PM

CJ, go easy on Dave, he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, bless him.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 03:39 AM

Given your somewhat catch-all definition that a folk song is anything that is performed in a folk club why can't Blackleg Miner be one?

Why? Simply because it's so evident a forgery by someone who out to have known better. Whilst it manages to convince on every level, it isn't what it claims to be: it is fake, bogus, couterfeit, phony; it is an excercise in specious fraudulence by someone who, as I say, really ought to have known better.

My catch-all definition was, in fact, an evidence-based exercise towards an empirically based understanding of the nature of Folk as we find it in the Field - the Designated Folk Contexts of this world, including Mudcat and The Digital Tradition. Like any other religion, Folk remains a Faith that only has any meaning to the Faithful, founded as it is on various myths, agendas, credos and shibboleths which are entirely extraneous to the Traditional Source of the thing. This is not to call into question the sincerity of believers, just to point out that Folk does not, in fact, exist outside of this faith - nor did it ever. Folk came into being via the sharp cultural practise of bourgeouis revivalists who fabricated the very perspectives which remain of such appeal to both the Folky Faithful and the Nationalists alike, as the present topic demonstrates. You can't fabricate a National Folk Music then complain when the Nationalists take it to their hearts. On the contrary, it is this myth of a National Folk Music that helps engender such notions of Nationalism in the first place.

A half-century old windmill she may be, but she's still grinding her corn and paying her tax as good as she was back in her day. So well worth the tilting I'd say!

S O'P


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 05:44 AM

"Why? Simply because it's so evident a forgery by someone who out to have known better."
Where does fake or genuine come into someone having written a song?
Your deninitition makes every song performed in a folk club a folk song - Blackleg Miner is performed in hundreds of folk folk clubs therefore, by your own definition - it is a folk song - stop blustering and take your foot out of your mouth.
The rest is reguritated, obscurantist bullshit waffle.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 05:59 AM

Doesn't it all kinda hinge on how peeps interpret NG's use of the term 'proper folk song'?

We don't really know what he meant by that - whether it be a traditional song, or a more modern composition that's been adopted by folkies?

If the latter, then any composed song with a known author that's been adopted by folkies would fit. If the former, then he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Either way, it is pretty shit that a supposed scholar would make up something, pretend to have 'discovered' it and then pass it off as the real thing. That's shitty charlatanism in any field.

As for Bragg's parody, it works well in the context IMO - so long as the violent bits are left out. I can't see any objection to a parody of a song that was fraud in the first place!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 07:49 AM

"Either way, it is pretty shit"
Bert was fairly obscure over the source of many of his songs; whether that was deliberate or not I couldn't say. I always found him a rather private individual, difficult to pin down.
I can say that many of the songs he introduced into the revival have turned up in unpublished collections, though not necessarily where he gave the impression they were from.
Typical was the rather nice bawdy song, The Weaver, which I always thought was British, but I now believe he got it from Edith Fowke's Canadian collection.
As an entertainer Bert was superb, and did nothing with his songs that anybody in his position hasn't done a thousand times.
The jury's still very much out on his scholarship; waiting for Dave Arthur's biography on him is like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Personally, the pleasure and the encouragement to go and find out more about this music Bert, MacColl and the others gave to me and my generation of folkies makes me happy to wait and see.
Like everybody else here, I have no idea if Blackleg Miner is fake or genuine.
Lloyd gives a source for it;
William Sampey, Bishop Auckland. Co Durham 1949
It is possible he adapted it from Korson's 'Coaldust on the Fiddle': If he did so, he did a brilliant job.

THE YAHIE MINERS
[Text contributed by Stuart McCawley, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. "This 'come-all-ye is sixty years old and still sung in District 26 (Nova Scotia)"—McCAWLEY.]

Early in the month of May when all the ice is gone away
The Yahies they come down to work
With their white bags and dirty shirt,
The dirty Yahie miners.

CHORUS
Bonnie boys, oh won't you gang!
Bonnie boys, oh won't you gang!
Bonnie boys, oh won't you gang!
To beat the Yahie miners.

They take their picks and they go down
A-digging coal on underground,
For board and lodgings can't be found
For dirty Yahie miners.

Into Mitchell's they do deal,
Nothing there but Injun meal,
Sour molasses will make them squeal,
The dirty Yahie miners.

Join the Union right away,
Don't you wait till after pay,
Join the Union right away,.
You dirty Yahie miners.

Mrs. McNab, she keeps a hall
Where the Yahies they do call,
You'll see them flock around the hall,
The dirty Yahie miners.

Don't go near McDonald's door,
Else the bully will have you sure,
For he goes round from door to door
Converting Yahie miners.

Jimmie Brimick he jumped in
Caught MacKeigan by the chin,
"Give me Maggie though she's thin
For I'm no Yahie miner."

From Ricky Boston they do come,
The damnedest Yahies ever found,
Around the office they do crowd,
The dirty Yahie miners.

The Lorway road it is now clear,
There are no Yahies on the beer,
The reason why they are not here,
They're frightened by the miners.


No, it isn't a shitty song - it's a bitter, vindictive song that fits the situation it deals with perfectly.
Lloyd's collection is housed in Goldsmith's College - it's not beyond the realms of possibility to pursue the song further should those interested raise their bums out of their armchairs for long enough to do so.
It has been my experience that armchair knockers fit the old building trade adage that it's far easier to pull down something someone else has built than put something up yourself.
One thing I do know for certain - Lloyd's contribution was a million times greater than these demolition squads, flawed as his scholarship might have been.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 08:04 AM

"Either way, it is pretty shit that a supposed scholar would make up something, pretend to have 'discovered' it and then pass it off as the real thing. That's shitty charlatanism in any field."

I'll rephrase that:

"Either way, it is pretty shit that ANY supposed scholar would make up something, pretend to have 'discovered' it and then pass it off as the real thing. That's shitty charlatanism in any field."

"Flawed scholarship" isn't the same as outright lying. And that's what I called shitty, not the song itself. Aesthetic merits is another matter.

Sorry Jim, I can't be impressed by any scholar in *any field* knowingly deceiving the world about their work. That's an abuse of trust and plain dishonourable! Though no doubt it goes on in lots of ways all over the place.

Whether or not Bert actually was knowingly bullshitting, I guess I'll leave for scholars who prefer not to bullshit, to determine ;-)


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 08:19 AM

"Sorry Jim, I can't be impressed by any scholar in *any field* knowingly deceiving"
Neither can I - I simply say we don't know and the road is open for those who wish to to take it further.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 09:04 AM

I would ask a simple question.
Are there many "folk songs" that have not been altered or amended by others for their own use?
Could it not therefore be argued that most folk songs are "fake"?
I believe not.
The older a folk song the more it appears to have changed, the more different versions, extra verses there are.
On many occasions the original meaning appears to have been changed or lost.
This is folk music and why I love it.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Young Buchan
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 11:47 AM

In his retirement Jack Dash the former dockers' leader used to help out at pensioners' dos. Some time in the late 70s/early 80s he was officiating at one of these when an old ex-docker came in. Jack saw another ex-docker of about the same age already sitting at a table and suggested the new arrival sit with him. His response was - 'I'm not sitting with him. He scabbed in our strike!' Jack said, 'Oh, no, I'm sure he didn't. You know me. I was involved in all the dock strikes in the 60s and I can't remember him scabbing.' He gave Jack a pitying look and said simply '1926'.
It lasts that long. It's that important.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 03:48 PM

Your deninitition makes every song performed in a folk club a folk song - Blackleg Miner is performed in hundreds of folk folk clubs therefore, by your own definition - it is a folk song - stop blustering and take your foot out of your mouth.

JC - for feck's sake at least read the posts before mouthing off. In the past I've wasted more words than enough trying to get you to understand the most basic of points & I don't intend doing so here. We can't get any place as long as you continue to misrepresent what I've said in the past, much less obfuscate what I've said here.

CS sumks it up perfectly anyway. Nothing more to say on the matter.

Otherwise, for the record:

1) My primary interest in so-called folk concerns the Old Traditional Songs and the people who made and sang them.

2) If what happens in the name of Revival Folk doesn't relate strongly to 1 then I'm not really interested.

3) Because it very rarely does, in my despair I postulated a new evidence based definition based on what does actually happen in the name of folk - i.e. that Folk Music can be pretty much anything that happens in a Designated Folk Context - including Fake Song like the Blackleg Miner.

4) Because of this I don't attend those sort of clubs any more and am as a consequence a more contented soul altogether.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: meself
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 04:07 PM

Please note, btw, that Yahie Miners was collected in Cape Breton, and is about local events, so is not in any way 'American' in the usual sense of that term, as it has been erroneously characterised a couple of times in this thread.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 03:33 AM

"JC - for feck's sake at least read the posts before mouthing off"
Have done so several times - all I could come up with was 'anything sung at a folk club unless it was sung by Bert Lloyd'.
Are there any more names I should add to that before I pin it up to the notice board?
... or I might just stick to the one that makes coherent sense.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 04:19 AM

Jaze; and to think of the fun we used to have around here in the rare owld times! Maybe it's the heat - or the vuvuzelas...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 05:24 AM

"Jaze; and to think of the fun we used to have around here"
You mean this ISN'T fun?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 06:25 AM

Maybe, maybe - but Jack Orion isn't much fun either way, though I do concede that The Blackleg Miner is a fine piece of work and have no qualms regards the violence which is pure reportage on one level, and justified warning on the other. As Young Buchan points out - It lasts that long. It's that important.

Question here is, do we go rooting through the electoral rolls in search of Wm Sampney and his decendents thus risking the raising of all manner of ghosts and skeletons? Or do we perhaps allow for the possibility that the real folk process could be at work here to the extent where The Yahie Miners was based The Blackleg Miner? After all, I have, somewhere, pictures of Chopwell Miners working in Canada and America. The earliest source for The Collier's Rant is 1812 - could the roots of The Blackleg Miner be of a similar age?

Certainly when (say) Dave (Bridge) Minikin sings it, I suspend all such concerns and immerse myself in the beauty of the thing. And no mention yet of Kieth Blackburn's Bootleg Taxi parody which is a thing of wonder too...

And for those of you who missed it earlier:

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd (aka Sedayne) Sings The Collier's Rant on the Afternoon of Friday 25th of June 2010

Maybe I'll do The Blackleg Miner next time...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 09:18 AM

So, do we actually have access to the lyrics of Bragg's parody anywhere? It would seem this thread might be a suitable place to post them if anyone has them. Or was it very much an off the cuff verse? I'm not put out by TBM at all, but I think a song tekking the pee outa leafleting national fronties in nice suits, might be amusing..


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 06:26 PM

A genuine Miners' Song I do sing is the masterful Oakey Strike Evictions - oft cited as Traditional, which idiomatically it is of course, but we have an author, one Tommy Armstrong (1848-1920). Replete with violent imagery, which is hardly the wonder given the circumstances - and a chorus rivalled only The Collier's Rant...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Paul Burke
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 06:49 PM

How do we know that Lloyd made up the verses? Is it documented anywhere? Or could the song have been, just to give a possibility, composed by a miner who had heard the American song and adapted it.. then sang it to Lloyd? Unless there's some evidence that he actually fabricated it, isn't the assumption that real miners couldn't (or wouldn't) have written a song like that comes across as the paternalistic sort of attitude that blue-pencilled so many collected folk songs. Singing, singing, buttercups and bloody daisies?

Anyway, it's a bloody good song, made up or not, and if the indigenous working class still had that attitude, they'd have strangled Nicky Griffin and his bonzos before the Labour party had tried to copy them. After all, it wasn't the Pakis and coons who destroyed our mines was it? Perhaps nice white Mrs ThatPerson or Nobrains Tebbit had something to do with that.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 27 Jun 10 - 08:33 PM

..." it lasts that long " ...

does it indeed.

my grandmother was a McDonald, maybe I should go and kill myself a few Campbells.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 02:55 AM

the assumption that real miners couldn't (or wouldn't) have written a song like that

I don't think that at all. (My grandfather was a miner, for what it's worth.) But we know that Lloyd did a particular kind of job on some old songs - improving rhymes, sharpening political points & generally turning a dull old song into a catchy and memorable one. We also know that he sometimes lied about what he was doing and invented singers who he had supposedly collected his version of the song from.

The Recruited Collier was
...supposedly collected by Lloyd from a named singer
...never found anywhere else in traditional singers' repertoires
...similar to a poem called "Jenny's Complaint", but sharper and punchier
...and was actually adapted by Lloyd from "Jenny's Complaint"

The Blackleg Miner was
...supposedly collected by Lloyd from a named singer
...never found anywhere else in traditional singers' repertoires
...similar to a song called The Yahie Miners, but sharper and punchier

...and?

We don't know for certain that TBM was one of Bert's, but the circumstantial evidence (and absence of evidence) is quite strong.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 03:56 AM

"We also know that he sometimes lied about what he was doing and invented singers...."
I'm not sure we KNOW any such thing Pip; we SUSPECT that he might have done so, but we have no evidence that he did and it seems a little 'rush to judgement' to be so catergorical.
If someone had presented me with a list of Traveller John Reilly's repertoire (Maid and the Palmer - et al) or Duncan Williamson's magnificent ballads and his enormous collection of traditional stories, thirty odd years ago I might well have echoed your sentiments about these. Now I have come to the conclusion that we know so little of the living tradition that we only KNOW an iceberg's tip of it's quality, content, function, mechanics..... anything really.
In the light of our own ignorance it seems more than a little unfair to be so definite that he 'lied' about anything.
The same accusation was constantly being made about MacColl's father's songs - I confess I was one of the cynics until a contemporary of his, Eddie Frow, told me "William had hundreds of queer old Scots songs and bits of songs"
One thing I do know for certain; the fact that a song has never been "found anywhere else in the traditional singers repertoires" does not mean that it wasn't there - want a list of one-off songs and ballads that have turned up in Ireland over the last half century or so?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 03:59 AM

"maybe I should go and kill myself a few Campbells. "
What a good idea - can you put Alastair at the top of your list?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 04:21 AM

In the light of our own ignorance it seems more than a little unfair to be so definite that he 'lied' about anything.

I think we can be pretty sure that he didn't collect The Recruited Collier or Reynardine, despite claiming that he did.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 04:27 AM

For the record Pip - Bert's Reynardine is similar to a few verses of it we heard from a couple of elderly farmers here in North Clare - both insisted it was a supernatural song.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: brezhnev
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 05:43 AM

Hey, this is turning into an armchair folk killing spree! We've got the FAF wanting everyone to sing about killing scabs, a lament that the indigenous working class is no longer up to strangling the likes of Nick Griffin, incitement to top Alastair Campbell...

Bang, bang!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 07:59 AM

Arriving late to this thread (been away all week)I am pleased to see that SO'P holds Tommy Armstrong in such high regard but I can not understand how he sees the anger expressed in a fine song as "Oakey Strike E


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 08:06 AM

Start Again.
Arriving late to this thread (been away all week)I am pleased to see that SO'P holds Tommy Armstrong in such high regard but I can not understand how he sees the anger expressed in a fine song as "Oakey Strike Evuctions" more acceptable than that in "Blackleg Miner". Look at a few more Armstrong songs such as "South Medomsley Strike", "Oakey's Keeker" and the original set of words to "The Durham Strike (Lockout)" to see that he didn't exactly preach peace and love to the oppressors either.
Anyway first time I sang "Blackleg Miner" some forty odd years ago I was told I didn't sound angry enough.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 08:08 AM

sedayne say it is not even a proper folk song, his reasoning being its been altered and relocated[ its been folk processed]
Ithought when something had been processed it becam a Folk song
.HardTimes of old england is a song that has been altered and processed, It is considered by many to be part of the folk repertoire


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 11:58 AM

but I can not understand how he sees the anger expressed in a fine song as "Oakey Strike Evuctions" more acceptable than that in "Blackleg Miner".

If that anger is genuine working-class vitriol (as it is in Tommy's songs) I've no problem with it; but if it's a cosy folky-fantasy of working-class life then it's a different matter. If Blackleg Miner is genuine then the violence is integral; if not, then it's Political Pornography.

...his reasoning being its been altered and relocated[ its been folk processed] Ithought when something had been processed it becam a Folk song...

Bleedin' hell, Dick - can it really be that easy? Maybe it is after all... I have an especial fondness for Jim Eldon's rewrites & relocations - for example his rewrite of The Tide is High - but I'm sure there are High Priests of the Revival who'll quote chapter & verse as to how this simply cannot be otherwise the whole folk thing becomes meaningless.

Er - hold on a minute...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 12:46 PM

"but if it's a cosy folky-fantasy of working-class life then it's a different matter."
You have no evidence whatever that Blackleg Miner is a "folky-fantasy of working-class life" and what on earth is 'cosy' about it. If Bert took it from The Yahi Miners, as is quite possible with his track record, then it comes with a folk pedigree; if he wrote it (which has never stopped you from including it under 'folk' in the past), he made an excellent job of capturing the bitterness of a strike.
Wherever it came from it has served the revival pretty well since the earliest days of 'Come All You Bold Miners' - therefore, if you are not in the process of disappearing up your own arse, it is a folk song by your own standards (whatever I might think).
You are now in the process of re-writing your own crap definition to suit your personal likes and dislikes and adapting even the re-write as you go along to try to score points.
The fact that you appear to dislike the song doesn't mean squat; it reflects perfectly my own impressions of the atmosphere engendered by a strike. I worked on the Liverpool docks not long after they stopped being casual labour based and the fight for union recognition was at its height, and later when containerisation was introduced, which eventually destroyed shipping on the Mersey altogether, so I saw the effects up close.
God knows, we had enough examples of miner versus miner in the last two strikes to realise to what lengths men will go when their livelihood is threatened. It seems you have painted yourself into a corner - get used to the view.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: brezhnev
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 01:08 PM

Jim, what does that mean - "it has served the revival pretty well"?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 01:42 PM

The fact that you appear to dislike the song doesn't mean squat

Not true actually, old man - I like the song a good deal & when I have thrice expressed an opinion it has been positive; thus:

From 25 Jun 10 - 12:34 PM : Mind you I can't fault Blackleg Miner as a piece of Idiomatic Trad - bet he couldn't have passed of Jack Orion so easily (which is probably why he didn't) although I've had arguments regarding its authorship in the past.

From 26 Jun 10 - 03:39 AM : Whilst it manages to convince on every level, it isn't what it claims to be

From 27 Jun 10 - 06:25 AM : though I do concede that The Blackleg Miner is a fine piece of work and have no qualms regards the violence which is pure reportage on one level, and justified warning on the other. As Young Buchan points out - It lasts that long. It's that important.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 02:53 PM

"Jim, what does that mean - "it has served the revival pretty well"?
I've heard it in pretty well every folk club I've been involved with for the last forty-odd years - even the 'trad only' ones, and the ones Bert never set foot in.
"bet he couldn't have passed off...."
and you continue to make definitive (and unqualified) statements as to its origin - but I forgot - that's what you always do, isn't it.
If you have any evidence that the rest of us don't on the origins of the song, let's have it - won't hold my breath.
I hope you're not suggesting 'Jack Orion' to be a fake - it isn't, Lloyd adapted it from Glasgerion; quite skilfully, in my opinion, though I much prefer MacColl's.
Still don't know why anything Lloyd might have written doesn't fit your definition of 'folk' - and I don't suppose I ever shall.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 03:35 PM

"It lasts that long. It's that important."
Doesn't it just.
There are still streets in Bethesda, Gwynedd, that no local would live in and incomers who do find that they are cold shouldered. The streets of the Bradwyr (Traitors), those who went back during the strike.

...oh yes...the strike was from November 1900 to June 1903.
look here


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 05:04 PM

Precisely three people have got it. Precisely three people understand the class war and treachery. Precisely three people understand that only when unions eventually smash capitalism will there be justice for the workers. Fucking brilliant.

Even in white collar jobs like mine the need is still there.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 05:12 PM

I agree, Richard


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: semiotic
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 05:14 PM

"Workers by hand and brain"


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 05:15 PM

and you continue to make definitive (and unqualified) statements as to its origin - but I forgot - that's what you always do, isn't it.

Pish. A few posts back I was speculating on the possibility of Yahie Miners deriving from Blackleg Miner - a sweet compromise! And you do favour the Lloyd Provenance yourself, do you not?

I hope you're not suggesting 'Jack Orion' to be a fake - it isn't, Lloyd adapted it from Glasgerion; quite skilfully, in my opinion, though I much prefer MacColl's.

Sorry, old man - I've sat through too many renderings of JO to change my mind on it, no matter what it was based on! Just my opinion though - and my preference...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 05:41 PM

Richard, I understand the class war as well as anybody, in fact I understand it to the extent that I know that unions are never going to smash capitalism.

The only way capitalism is going to be smashed is when a majority (globally) of the population understand the true tenets of socialism, and when and if that ever that happens, capitalism will be overthrown.

Capitalism can not be overthrown in one country, in isolation.

It is not going to happen in my lifetime, and not in my children's lifetime, however, so meanwhile I will continue to espouse the ethical values which I absorbed with my mother's milk, and continue to despise the brutality of the sentiments expressed in "The Blackleg Miner".


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 28 Jun 10 - 05:46 PM

Whatever the provenence of the song, It's a cracking song. The sentiments expressed are totally understandable, it's called human nature! Sadly our current trade unions don't have the same fire in their bellies.

I'ts always gone down well when the 'Hounds' perform it, and we will dedicate it to FAF from now on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F3OvZvUgIU


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:31 AM

Precisely three people understand that only when unions eventually smash capitalism will there be justice for the workers.

Steady on, Richard. The Blackleg Miner has absolutely nothing to do with smashing capitalism - it's a celebration of division in the working class, workers fighting other workers. I understand the anger of the song, but the fact is that brutality against scabs isn't always a good tactic - & sometimes it's a very bad tactic. (Sometimes the best tactic is to choke down your completely justifiable anger and use friendly persuasion.)

So I don't think it's appropriate for people who aren't faced with those decisions, and don't feel that anger in their own right, to celebrate aggression and brutality against other workers as if it was a natural expression of working-class anger. I certainly don't think it's the jolly right-on singalong that FAF are looking for.

Incidentally, I think Griffin lobbed Billy Bragg a bit of a soft one, presumably because the fat fraud doesn't know any traditional songs himself. We were lucky it wasn't "I bet Billy Bragg doesn't know The Four Loom Weaver".


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:53 AM

Precisely three people have got it. Precisely three people understand the class war and treachery. Precisely three people understand that only when unions eventually smash capitalism will there be justice for the workers. Fucking brilliant

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

Or, precisely three people thought the same as you.

It's a Commando comic song. Commando comics have their place - heck, we've all read one or two - but most of us have moved on to slightly more - ahem, detailed and thorough - literature. Unfortunately, a Commando comic can't adequately describe the complex and varied reasons, situtations and problems / choices bought on by striking miners in any real depth. A few good vivid pictures, but I never learned any substantial German. Hände hoch!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 05:30 AM

And you do favour the Lloyd Provenance yourself, do you not?
I accept it as a possibility - no more; so I don't make definitive statements about it.
"I've sat through too many renderings of JO to change my mind ...."
So you don't let the facts spoil a good theory - no change there then.
Suggest you try Child or Bronson - or maybe Bert faked them!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: brezhnev
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 05:54 AM

Continuity Jones: did you ever see Commando No 15 ?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 07:20 AM

So you don't let the facts spoil a good theory - no change there then.

What facts are those? I know he based Jack Orion on Glasgerion - so what? Does that automatically qualify it as quality piece of work? Obviously not in this case - Jack Orion is a piece of bogus repro folkery of the worst order. In its attempt to effect idiomatic ballad language it falls short by many country miles, and yet it goes on forever. It is an overkill of Pugin Psuedo Gothic proportions - some may like it, but each time I here it sung all I think is - that's ten minutes (at least) of my life I'll never get back.

Suggest you try Child or Bronson - or maybe Bert faked them!

I'm well acquainted with both thank you very much. But tell me pray, what's that got to do with Jack Orion?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 09:06 AM

Brezhnev, that's very funny indeed, at least to my happy eyes.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 09:40 AM

What facts are those?
The facts that Lloyd based Jack Orion on Glasgerion, nothing more - the rest is down to personal taste.
You appear by your tone, to wish to shove yours down everbody elses throats.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 10:02 AM

It's so nice that SO'P is back and that he and Jim are at each others throats.

Just like old times!! I've missed it!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 12:42 PM

He started it, curmudgeonly old grunter that he is.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Young Buchan
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 01:11 PM

Murray McLeod [..." it lasts that long " ...
does it indeed.
my grandmother was a McDonald, maybe I should go and kill myself a few Campbells.]

If, as was the case in my example, you know a few Campbells who personally took part in the Glencoe massacre, then yes, maybe you should.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 01:30 PM

"curmudgeonly old grunter that he is."

Tsk, you should all be ashamed of yourselves! What no Folk Degree? ;-)


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 03:03 PM

OK, OK - peace, love, sweetness, and light, y'all.
In other words, please stop acting like crotchety old men whose testosterone has gone sour. I think that's the crux of a lot of the problems we have at Mudcat - testosterone that's gone sour. I used to think that happened to my parents' generation, but now I see the men of my own generation turning into crotchety old farts......and I wonder when it's going to happen to me.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 03:07 PM

...or could it be constipation????


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 03:20 PM

"...or could it be constipation????"

Well Joe, I prefer that to the thought of curdled testes I must say.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 03:54 PM

Well, Crow Sister, constipation is certainly a factor in the crotchetiness of aging Mudcatters, both male and female. Maybe we should distribute virtual prune juice when they appear to be getting "that way."
Heck, yesterday I had to delete messages in a thread about the weather, because people were getting too ornery. I'm not sure if I should force-feed people with prune juice, or it it would be better to spray them with prune juice and cool them down.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:00 PM

Oh for goodness sake, Joe - enough with the nannying already & think about the spirit of the thing. It's this sort of policing that ruins Mudcat, not the heated debates - and in any case this isn't heated as far I'm concerned, just a series of idle banter and in-jokes.

I was rather enjoying being back; now I'm reminded why I left - the clampdown on free-speech backed up by the malicious PM-ing.

Soon as one of my posts get deleted I'm out of here!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:32 PM

Yup. In the severely crotchety case of S O'P, it's clear that it's both constipation and curdled testosterone, causing a severe inability to accept a touch of humor.....


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:32 PM

"Well, Crow Sister, constipation is certainly a factor in the crotchetiness of aging Mudcatters, both male and female. Maybe we should distribute virtual prune juice when they appear to be getting "that way."Heck, yesterday I had to delete messages in a thread about the weather, because people were getting too ornery."

Heh Joe, well you can't blame *that* on age in my case, though maybe a disrespect for it ;-)
Otherwise, I was going to post Clampdown by the Clash, but thought this would be more suitable considering the context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL15Ya5fsgo


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:32 PM

I'd let them be Joe (actually prune juice sounds about right). They're pretty harmless really...... and pretty well-informed.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:34 PM

"curdled testosterone,"

I doubt that, having met his wife..


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM

Yeah, banjiman, that's the problem - these crotchety old men have lots of good information and I don't want to chase 'em away, but they sure can be a surly lot. I make a crack about constipation and testosterone, and I get accused of operating a police state.
Prune juice is what's needed to make this world a more peaceful place - lots of it.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 04:44 PM

"in any case this isn't heated as far I'm concerned, just a series of idle banter and in-jokes."

Amen, banter aside, this is err only banter..
Nothing too rough going on here IMO.

Just wondering - did you get complaints Joe?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 05:15 PM

"Prune Juice For a Peaceful World"

Should be a T Shirt Slogan!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 05:25 PM

No, Crow Sister, I saw it on the list of Guest messages. I wish people would learn that if they want to fly under the radar, they should register and log in....

Hmmmmm.....my 21-yr-old stepson had to explain the term "E.D." to me yesterday. I wonder if THAT plays a factor.....


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 06:40 PM

The Yahie Miners and the Blackleg Miners are two variants of the same song.

Most of the songs we sing exist in numerous variants, with new ones cropping up all the time, thanks to faulty memories, changing circumstances, and personal preferances.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 06:41 PM

I think You Tube has constipation. It got halfway through the song Crow Sister posted a link to and then suffered a seizure. It's done that a few times on me in the last couple of days.

How about prune juice for You Tube - or maybe Sennacot might be more effective.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 06:42 PM

Oh and 100!

First time I've done it!!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 07:13 PM

I don't think I'd even heard of "Jack Orion" until this thread.

I looked for it on YouTube. The Pentangle version is unlistenably self-indulgent rubbish (like virtually all the output of the English electric-revival crowd). The Jansch one has a tasteful accompaniment, but he put zero effort into the vocals - I can't decode enough of that mumbling to tell what's going on in the story.

Is there a clearly sung unaccompanied or minimally accompanied version out there somewhere?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 04:14 AM

I make a crack about constipation and testosterone, and I get accused of operating a police state.

It was not a crack, Joe - it was an intervention. FYI - my bowels are fine & my testosterone likewise; and at 48 I am still young for Folk & Mudcat which is not so much a police state, more of a nursing home overseen by faceless moderators in white coats lurking behind two-way mirrors and all to the strains of Mantovani's Charmaine - which actually begins to sound dangerously edgy compared to a lot of lobotomised so-called folk around these days.

S O'P

PS - I've decided to keep signed out in so as people don't PM me - good or bad, say it up front or don't say it at all. I certainly have no desire to duck under your searchlights and radars...


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 04:42 AM

Is there a clearly sung unaccompanied or minimally accompanied version [of "Jack Orion"] out there?

Martin Carthy's version is clearly enunciated and accompanied solely by Dave Swarbrick's fiddle. I can't find it on youtube, but I'll happily forward you an mp3 if you wish.

Ed


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 08:57 AM

Thanks - there are several versions of "Jack Orion" on Spotify.

Dunno why Sean is complaining about it being too long - of the versions on Spotify, only Jansch and Pentangle go over 5 minutes. Lloyd's own version is the shortest, at 3:59.   Somebody who uploads to YouTube as "sabrinaeden" has 31 videos longer than that. In any case, long songs have a place - a concert programme made up entirely of numbers that would fit on one side of a 78 will always sound scrappy.

I can't imagine what Laura Cortese thinks she's up to with that song.

The tune seems to be a variant of "Katherine Ogie" - is that traditionally associated with "Glasgerion"?


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 09:15 AM

a concert programme made up entirely of numbers that would fit on one side of a 78 will always sound scrappy.

Most '60s pop bands managed OK... (or maybe that's what you meant)


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 12:58 PM

On the whole I prefer extended durations - right now I'm chilling to John Coltrane live in Japan, circa 1966, with a version of My Favourite Things that clocks in at nigh on 58-minutes. Bliss. Today we've been out driving with Krafwerk's original Autobahn very loud on the car stereo - 22-minutes. Earlier on, my breakfast listening was Rene Zosso's solo rendering of Jaufre Rudel's Lanquan li Jorn on the Clemencic Consort's Troubadours trilogy (or 2 CDs if you prefer!) which he brings in around 16-minutes. I say again - bliss.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 01:17 PM

please, can those people who wish to sing a song be allowed to do so, those who wish to sing a song to support FAF do so, those who dont want to sing the song but wish to support FAF, SUPPORT faf in some other way.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 02:14 PM

On the whole I prefer extended durations

Me too, and I'd put Krafwerk's original Autobahn down as a favourite, along with various stuff from the 'Canterbury scene' (Soft Machine, Caravan etc)

To my mind there is a place for the 2 minute 'pop song'.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 02:42 PM

there is a place for the 2 minute popsong , definitely, it is excellent material to be flushed down the jacks, along with all the other flotsam and jetsam, and consumer waste of society.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 02:46 PM

along with various stuff from the 'Canterbury scene' (Soft Machine, Caravan etc)

I love that live version of For Richard that covered an entire side of the old Canturbuy Tales double. Can you get that on CD anywhere I wonder? My favourite Soft Machine right now is the Live at the Paradiso, March 1969 CD in which the Ratledge, Hopper, Wyatt trio blast their way through most Volume 2 in a single unbroken 40 minute sequence - utterly amazing!


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 05:08 PM

Good Soldier Schweik:
'please, can those people who wish to sing a song be allowed to do so'

A resounding 'Hear Hear' from me to that.

And just in case anyone missed it last time, the bit of gratuitous self promotion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F3OvZvUgIU

John


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: brezhnev
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 05:48 PM

Continuity Jones: did you ever get to see Battle Picture Library? I've still got my copy of No 15.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 02:56 AM

I love that live version of For Richard that covered an entire side of the old Canturbuy Tales double. Can you get that on CD anywhere I wonder?

Suibhne,

That version of 'For Richard' is currently available on the Live at the Fairfield Halls CD.


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Subject: RE: The Blackleg Miner and FAF.
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 04:20 AM

Cheers, Ed - I'll make sure that's part of my summer listening before much longer!

Right now I savouring the delights of early Kraftwerk - those first three pre-Autobahn albums that have never seen official CD release. Dismissed by Ralf as '...archaeology...', keen archaeologist might take heart that they might be had gratis from various blogspots.


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