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Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)

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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Phil Edwards 24 Sep 10 - 03:36 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Sep 10 - 03:41 AM
Art Thieme 24 Sep 10 - 03:55 AM
Anglo 24 Sep 10 - 04:10 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Sep 10 - 04:23 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Sep 10 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Sep 10 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Sep 10 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Ed 24 Sep 10 - 04:45 AM
GUEST 24 Sep 10 - 04:53 AM
banjoman 24 Sep 10 - 05:13 AM
doc.tom 24 Sep 10 - 05:17 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 24 Sep 10 - 07:12 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 10 - 07:58 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Sep 10 - 12:34 PM
raymond greenoaken 24 Sep 10 - 01:30 PM
katlaughing 24 Sep 10 - 01:53 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Sep 10 - 02:36 PM
Phil Cooper 24 Sep 10 - 03:42 PM
Matthew Edwards 24 Sep 10 - 07:30 PM
Paul Burke 24 Sep 10 - 08:23 PM
lisa null 24 Sep 10 - 11:40 PM
JohnB 25 Sep 10 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Sep 10 - 03:47 AM
Phil Edwards 25 Sep 10 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Four Fools 25 Sep 10 - 06:30 AM
Phil Edwards 25 Sep 10 - 07:21 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 10 - 08:17 AM
raymond greenoaken 25 Sep 10 - 09:34 AM
Hesk 25 Sep 10 - 10:01 AM
Phil Edwards 25 Sep 10 - 10:30 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Sep 10 - 12:15 PM
raymond greenoaken 25 Sep 10 - 12:56 PM
Wheatman 26 Sep 10 - 03:11 AM
Brian Peters 26 Sep 10 - 01:42 PM
Les from Hull 26 Sep 10 - 02:18 PM
Edthefolkie 26 Sep 10 - 04:55 PM
Georgiansilver 26 Sep 10 - 05:44 PM
lisa null 27 Sep 10 - 01:13 AM
Dave Sutherland 27 Sep 10 - 03:22 AM
Howard Jones 27 Sep 10 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,MC Fat (at work) 27 Sep 10 - 04:41 AM
Wheatman 27 Sep 10 - 05:21 AM
pavane 27 Sep 10 - 07:08 AM
raymond greenoaken 27 Sep 10 - 01:28 PM
raymond greenoaken 27 Sep 10 - 01:31 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Sep 10 - 03:08 PM
Phil Edwards 27 Sep 10 - 04:51 PM
MGM·Lion 27 Sep 10 - 04:59 PM
Georgiansilver 27 Sep 10 - 05:19 PM
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Subject: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 03:36 AM

The incomparable Peter Bellamy ended his life 19 years ago today.

Raise a glass - better still, sing a song - in his honour.

Shepherd of the Downs (with Louis Killen)

Minesweepers (Kipling arr. Bellamy)

The Leaves in the Woodland (Bellamy)

Elmer P. Bleaty RIP.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 03:41 AM

He was extraordinary. I saw him Leeds at the Grove, he borrowed my guitar, retuned it into E or something and used it on a Kipling song. Saw him later at Chester Festival -truly amazing. He got inside a song and told it's story like no one else.

Of all the trees that grow so fair ............

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 03:55 AM

A Roving On a Winters Night -- an American song--simply exhilerating in the hands of Peter Bellamy with Lisa Null.

After I finished a set in Connecticut, Peter came running up to me and excitedly exclaimes, "That was the most laid-back set I've ever heard!" ----------- To this day, I've not figured out if he liked what I'd done or not. His loss still haunts me.

Art


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Anglo
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:10 AM

Jeez, of course he liked you, Art! You have always been something completely different from boring old traddies like us, and I love you for it. As did Peter, I'm sure.

JR


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:23 AM

The quote that is the title of this thread he had sarcastically spelled out on the Scrabble board which features in the backsleeve photo to match his Dutch master pastiche front illustration on his original LP of Both Sides Then. You can only actually see "Bor... Old Tradd..." on the sleeve as printed; but I know what it said because my late wife Valerie took that picture.

Is it really 19 years! Still miss him...


~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:26 AM

Michael - the full picture is in the book accompanying the reissue of the Transports.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:27 AM

Hmmmm - still no actual footage on YouTube I see. I do a have a VHS tape stuffed with concert & interview footage - including a pan across his famously eclectic cassette collection; one can but ponder how he would have fared in the world of digital media - the words pig and shit come to mind.   

Anyhoo, to add to this wee celebration, here's something I did a few years ago which re-unites PB's singing of The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate with the Raldoph Caldecott picture book that inspired it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQMsONIwng

I'll no doubt be singing it mesel' at The Moorbrook tonight...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:43 AM

PS - The full picture also features in the Wake the Vaulted Echoes booklet.

PPS - Does anyone have a recording of The Transports that featured Jim Eldon as The Ballad Singer? It went out on Folk on 2 at some point in the 80s, and my tape has long since vanished...

PPPS - My cherished vinyl copy of The Transports (gifted to me by life-long Bellamist Ian McCulloch of Durham) is not only signed by the great man but on the Transport Ship itself PB has added a 'Quantas' flag.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:45 AM

I'm crap at singing (crap at most things, for what it's worth) but I will still raise a glass.

Happy birthday, good man.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:53 AM

Happy birthday, good man.

Death day, even. Can't quite get that right..


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: banjoman
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 05:13 AM

Difficult to believe its that long ago. Peter Bellamy stayed with us when he was doing a gig locally and we talked till the small hours and he played & sang Roving on a winters night in our living room. He gave us some tapes which we still have. I always recall his comments about his own concertina playing that night- Bottle neck Concertina - because someone had told him it sounded as if he had broken bottle necks on his fingers when he was playing. Wonderful Character and sadly missed


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: doc.tom
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 05:17 AM

Gone.
Missed.
Never forgotten.
The most singular consistently creative individual ever to have graced the scene.
There'll be several glasses raised and many of his settings sung at this weekend's Song & Ale.
TomB


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 07:12 AM

Little birdie, little birdie,
Come and sing to me your song.
Got a short time to stay here with you,
And a long time to be gone.

Hail and farewell, Peter.

And to all those still above ground who remember him,

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 07:58 AM

yes,RIP.
I saw him at Whitby folk festival shortly before his death, he came and listened to one of my sets, and he made a mildly complimentary remark.I think as an interpreter of songs he was very underated, and he is sorely missed.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 12:34 PM

I've also posted an unaccompanied version of Poor Fellows, closer to Tony Rose's cover than Nic Jones's original rendition, here.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 01:30 PM

I'll be singing his setting of Kipling's Three Part Song tonight at the Cartwheel in Sheffield, and Butter 'N' Cheese 'N' All if they'll let me.

Miss him every day.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 01:53 PM

Thanks for the links, Pip.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 02:36 PM

>>>Michael - the full picture is in the book accompanying the reissue of the Transports.<<<

Many thanks for that, Pip. I shall seek it out.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 03:42 PM

Picked him up from the airport for a gig in Chicago once. He had seen the Blues Brothers many times and was wondering about whether I could drive them past Joliet Prison. I had to explain Chicago area geography, and why that couldn't happen. Margaret and I did a ballad workshop with him one year at Fox Valley Folk Festival. He was very complimentary about our arrangement of Lord Thomas & Lady Margaret. I always appreciated the comment.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 07:30 PM

Thanks, Pip for this tribute to Peter Bellamy. I remember listening to the Young Tradition on John Peel's radio programme in the mid 1960's.

Then, in the summer of 1969. while I was still a schoolboy in Colchester I went to see an incredible folk day at the University of Essex featuring Tim Hart & Maddy Prior, Shirley and Dolly Collins, the Young Tradition and Fairport Convention.

Maddy and Tim sang a song which (marginally) involved hunting, and explained the context of the song and apologised for any offence it might cause.

Next up was The Young Tradition, and it was clear that Peter wasn't going to brook any compromise when the group launched into a full-blooded hunting song. The audience responded with an initial stunned silence, before some rather nervous applause!

A great man indeed.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Paul Burke
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 08:23 PM

Gone, sadly, down to Yarmouth Town.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: lisa null
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 11:40 PM

It is very hard for me to write about Peter as he was as close to a soul mate as I've ever had. I've never learned to deal with his death-- to accept it or to put it behind me. While many in the public world saw his arrogance and occasionally blunt insensitivity, my family and I saw a kind, comfortable, and endlessly entertaining playmate who lapped up affection like a puppy and gave as good as he got.

Peter was like a big brother to my sons and helped them see connections between the current pop music they loved and the groaning shelves of blues and old time music stashed in my bedroom. He helped smooth over the generation gap between me and my teenagers. I rediscovered America through his eyes and fell in love with England through the two tours he and Anthea, especially Anthea, arranged for me and Bill Shute. We would come home late at night after our gigs and he would always be up waiting for us, with taped bits from the night's evening tv programs he was sure we would not want to miss.

We could talk for hours about everything under the sun and we did. Never was there a better human for shooting the breeze. I got him to articulate his own aesthetic and learned tremendously from that experience. His advice to me as a revival singer was priceless:

Listen to the traditional sources not just for the songs themselves but for what those singers do with the songs. Learn their textures, their rhythms,their phrasing, their ornaments, and their attitudes about the songs. You don't have to imitate them but you can draw upon their techniques to enrich your own. This becomes your own "bag of tricks."

These singers have so much beyond the songs to pass on. There is nothing simple about these singers or their songs-- they are giving you the most wonderful music and stories in the world. Remember that when you are singing.

I'm paraphrasing quite a bit, but anyone who listens to Peter will know that these precepts governed his own art.

We didn't always agree but we found each other's ideas endlessly interesting. He was my storybook friend: here today, gone tomorrow -- but there were always a few weeks to look forward to in the future-- sometimes enchanted, sometimes poignant, but always memorable.

He was broke, unable to find gigs, unable to adapt. He complained so much about this, many of us kind of got used to it-- a bad mistake. He was sending out warning signs.

But I am deeply moved that Peter's songs, his repertoire, and memories of his person as well as his persona have carried on long after his death. It is wonderful that people can appreciate his creative gifts without turning him into a "paper saint" as Kipling would have said. He was a great artist, a vulnerable man, and absolutely unforgettable.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: JohnB
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 12:01 AM

Thank you for your personal insights of a truly great individual Lisa.
JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 03:47 AM

Yes indeed, thanks for that, Lisa

I had the fortune / misfortune of doing the sound for one of his last ever gigs (Durham Folk Party, July 1991) when as soom as PB took the stage half the audience very pointedly got up and left, necessitating a quick run around the singarounds to fill the empty seats. God knows hat their problem was. I have a tape of the first few songs he sang that evening and as ever he's on blistering form - On Board a '98 is perhaps even definitive.

The tragedy is that if only he'd hung on a few more years he'd be a national treasure by now, lauded by a younger generation who were entirely unforseen at the time. For those of us for whom Revival Folk will always be a lesser music than the Tradition it barely references, much less the resplendent continuities of Popular Music in it's myriad guises so beloved by PB, he was unique in being World Class. Ordinarily my appreciation of folk singers is based on the standards of other folk singers & the insular conservative world they inhabit, but Peter Bellamy is up there alongside Sun Ra, Ian Curtis, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis and Henry Purcell (to name but a few) as one of the true master of a universal art. Seeing Peter Bellamy live - just one man and his anglo, PA or no PA - was to live and breath a performance magic one rarely finds in folk clubs. One time I saw him not long the Art Ensemble of Chicago played to a packed hall in Leeds; Peter Bellamy in the back room of the Bay Hotel, Cullercoats, was every bit their equal - ebodying the same sense of energy, excitement, wonder and transcendence upon which he transported us out into the cosmos along the Santa Fe Trail...

I know Dick's going to be along soon to berate me for my Bellamism, but Peter Bellamy was a star who shone with stars; a star who revered stars indeed, as much for their humanity as for their rare and precious genius. In PB's case that genius was all too rare, and all too precious, certainly in the context of a folk scene which, as Lisa points out, singularly and shamefully failed to appreciate him - or was simply a lesser music, too insular and conservative to deal with a genius of that scale.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 05:15 AM

I've put some more thoughts in this blog post: "In dark and empty skies".


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: GUEST,Four Fools
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 06:30 AM

Hard to believe its 19 years. Peter was a regular guest at Four Fools club and also at the Festival. He was at the Festival in 1991 and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He even organised a quiz with two teams of artists, he'd prepared all the questions including music excerpts etc. It was a great success. Roy Harris and Martin Carthy led the two teams (I believe Martin's team won). One of the questions was he played a tape with snatches of 19 different versions of Barbara Allan and the teams had to try and guess them all. It really was a unique event for us. He also turned up occasionally when he was in the area. We've always loved his singing and what he did with a song, he truly got inside the song and made it his own.

I just feel sad that he didn't get the recognition he deserved. With so many people now saying how great he was, why did things end the way they did. As Lisa says, why did we miss the warning signs.

Cheers Peter, I know you're singing somewhere!

Angie and Ken


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 07:21 AM

Maddy and Tim sang a song which (marginally) involved hunting, and explained the context of the song and apologised for any offence it might cause.

Next up was The Young Tradition, and it was clear that Peter wasn't going to brook any compromise when the group launched into a full-blooded hunting song.


God bless him.

Personally I'm against hunting, as it goes, and broadly in favour of the ban; I'm certainly on the side of the fox (and the hunt sab) rather than the hunter. But Dido Bendigo, Three Jolly Huntsmen and The Old Gray Fox*, to name but three, are really good songs - and the songs need no apology. I guess that's the key thing about Bellamy's politics - he cared less about politics than he did about the songs.

*Not actually traditional - it was written by Arthur Conan Doyle of all people. Carry On Doyling, anyone?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 08:17 AM

I am not going to berate anyone, I liked Peter as a performer,I used to book him when I ran a club, I miss him and I think he was not appreciated[at the time] as much as he should be.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 09:34 AM

"He was at the Festival in 1991 and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He even organised a quiz with two teams of artists, he'd prepared all the questions including music excerpts etc. It was a great success. Roy Harris and Martin Carthy led the two teams. One of the questions was he played a tape with snatches of 19 different versions of Barbara Allan and the teams had to try and guess them all."

He tried this quiz out on me in earlier in the year. He even managed to fox me with stuff I had in my own record collection.

"(I believe Martin's team won)."

I'm more inclined to think both teams lost.

It's good to have another thread active that celebrates the man and his music, even one prompted by the anniversary of his death. I was much moved by Lisa's reminiscences, and Suibhne's view of his achievement rings like a bell to me. Today, of course, is the 19th anniversary of when I heard the news. A wee personal tale: On the US tour shortly before his death, Peter had picked up a fantasy novel to read on the road, but found it unreadable and abandoned it after a hundred pages or so. Back in the UK, he thrust the book into my hand and challenged me to read it through and give him an appraisal. You don't say no to a Bellamy challenge, and I dutifully ploughed through it (and loved it, actually). I finished the book about half an hour before Jenny came on the phone with the baleful tidings. A couple of years later, in what seemed like an astonishing coincidence. I met the book's author in a coffee shop in Whitby and told her this story. She was in tears. I guess it's the way I tell 'em...

I'm sure we all have our fund of Bellamy stories. Here's one more from me. The first time I had a go on his Anglo I found myself approximating his accompaniment for The Trees They Do Grow High, even though I'd never studied it or even thought about it. It was as though he'd programmed it into the concertina. But when I tried to play something from my own repertoire, my mind went completely blank. That was the same morning in my kitchen that he rocked out with Tumbling Dice on my girlfriend's guitar. I replay that in my head whenever I need to remind myself that Jagger and Richards were great folk writers.

And our own MtheGM once told a story that he may now have forgotten. If so, I'm happy to remind him. In the days when Michael had a regular column on the back page of Folk Review, he was playing host to PB in his kitchen. PB had a banana skin or food wrapper or some such in his hand and said: "Where do you put your rubbish – apart from the back of Folk Review?"

I'm sure that was true, even if it never happened.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Hesk
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 10:01 AM

Going back to the title of this thread, is this one of Peter's infamous ruderies?
I too have fond memories of Peter, especially when he came to the White Lion Folk Club in Wherwell. He just did a stomping set, and didn't say or do anything untoward.
I can understand why people didn't like his voice, if indeed that was his natural singing voice. He played about with it in an extreme way, and created a unique sound. This can be uncomfortable listening if you are not ready for it. There are songs in the back catalogue that sound relatively "normal", but they are in the minority. If you acquire a taste for his sound, however, it can haunt you for the rest of your life. But like a lot of good things, you need to be in the mood for it!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 10:30 AM

Hesk - it was applied to himself ('bleating' is a clue!)


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 12:15 PM

Raymond ~~ No, it was true; it really happened in my kitchen; and I certainly hadn't forgotten either the incident or my having quoted it in my next 'Taking The Mike' column on the back page of Folk Review. But fancy you remembering it after all these years!

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 12:56 PM

I never forget a good story. And that's the best PB story I've heard.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Wheatman
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 03:11 AM

Stayed with us many times when we helped to run Stevenage Folk Club in the 70's. I remember one conversation in the car following the club. "you know" said he "you and Martin Carthy sing The White Hare of Howden the same". Cor an accolade I thought not bad from the great man. Then the sting "you both miss off the falsetto bit at the end". He was certainly not Boring.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 01:42 PM

After a local performance of the Transports, in which I'd played the part of Henry Cabell and been quietly pleased with my 'Black and Bitter Night', Peter strode up to me to offer what I hoped would be the compliment I could dine out on:

"I really like your... [pause - what's he gonna say? singing style, maybe?] ... shirt!"

Well it was a rather attractive Hawaian print.

On our arrival at the house in Keighley for dinner one evening, he greeted my wife and I with:

"Come in... do you mind if I smoke dope? Because if you do, you can always go home now."

The same evening, after a bowl of excellent gumbo (accompanied by scratchy recordings of New orleans jazz) he presented the main course with the words: "Red beans and rice - it was good enough for Louis Armstrong, so I'm sure it's good enough for you!"

The saddest Bellamy moment arose after I'd complimented him on a barnstorming performance the last time I'd seen him. With a wan smile, he picked up his diary and, holding it up for me to see, leafed through empty page after empty page, without saying a word.

I was on one of the teams for that quiz at Redditch, an event he admitted cheerfully had no significance as a contest, but was designed solely to force the audience to listen to source material. I think I'm right in claiming that I was the first to guess the identity of the obscure blues singer / bottleneck guitarist featured in an obviously ancient 78 rpm recording from the Deep South, as Peter himself. He'd faked the whole thing, including scratches, clicks and surface noise - it was pretty convincing.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy
From: Les from Hull
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 02:18 PM

Sounds like 'Stones in my Passway' the Robert Johnson song that Pete recorded for the Young Tradition lp 'Galleries'. People were sending the record back, not realising that the record was doing 33rpm but the scratches were doing 78.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 04:55 PM

Michael GM and Brian P, that is really upsetting. I am astounded that people could walk out on Peter of all people and that he couldn't get bookings. Even if you weren't used to his style, it must have been obvious that he had enormous charisma and something very like genius.   

But if you look at Bonzo's posting further down you'll see that quite a few audience members complained that a new production of "Lark Rise" wasn't like the TV series. God bless the British people, who will never willingly embrace quality (who said that? I did.)

Incidentally Les, I cheerfully confess that I thought that song on "Galleries" was Robert Johnson for about six months!

I am now going to drink a dram to Peter's memory.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 05:44 PM

Last years thread!

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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: lisa null
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 01:13 AM

And I am so moved by all the stories and anecdotes emerging here on this thread. They have the stamp of truth to them and show that multi-faceted as he was, there was a certain integrated force to Peter reflected in all our various experiences and settings. I'm so glad that this force is being remembered accurately and, yes, with affection and respect.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 03:22 AM

I too suffered the disappointment of watching audiences walk out on Peter on two occasions. Once at The Marsden Inn in South Shileld and later at a club in Quorn, Leicestershire in each case it was for the same reason, that Peter was totally uncompromising. If you wanted to go along to your local folk club for a cosy night out then Peter wasn't your man! Audiences who were expecting him to sing "Butter and Cheese And All" for the millionth time were frustrated when he would concentrate on his latest discovery/project e.g. Walter Pardon songs, "The Transports" and "Both Sides Then" instead, obviously not appreciating how vital is was for him to move on.
Around the time of the Quorn episode (late seventies /early eighties)clubs were breaking up into the "anything goes" gatherings and those clubs which were almost 100% traditional and it was in the former that Peter, probably the most musically broad minded person that I have met on the folk scene, was most out of place.
Such a sad siuation for the most inventive person ( along with MacColl) that I have encountered in folk music and I agree that were he still around today he would be held in the highest esteem.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 03:44 AM

Peter's singing style was very different from the usual folk revival style of singing prevalent at the time. and many people found it challenging. I've often thought his recordings didn't quite do him justice, and people who'd only heard him on record may have decided they didn't like him without ever seeing him. Live, he was never less than electrifying.

He was also an uncompromising and sometimes difficult personality, which some people took against, failing to understand he was striving against the complacent mediocrity so often found in the folk world.

Then there was politics. Some on the Left objected to his political views (although I wonder how many were his actual opinions or were expressed simply to provoke a good argument). They never forgave him for his espousal and promotion of Kipling, who they saw (incorrectly, imo) as a racist imperialist.

It is immensely encouraging to see how he is now regarded (rightly) as a hero by the younger generation of singers, and tragic that he is not here to appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,MC Fat (at work)
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 04:41 AM

I remember seeing Peter at the Bridge Hotel when I was at Newcastle Poly (I refuse to call in Northumbia University cos it wasn't that then) he was in blistering form particullary with Nostradamus. We booked him for the Poly Folk Club and that was in an old Whitbread boozer called the Barley Mow, again was in great form. Move on a couple of years and I booked him for the Kings Head Folk Club in Aylesbury which I was running. Peter seemed to be in a very beligerant mood. I had a crowd of 'bar flys' who weren't out and out folkies but were prepared to mostly listen and give it a try. They took an interesting approach to him and promptly didn't like him. Peter dug his heels in and the night was a a disaster. About 18 months later I rebooked him thinking it was a one off. It wasn't the same crowd were there waiting and that night to was a flop. But it still doesn't diminish the memories of those wonderfull Newcastle gigs.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Wheatman
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 05:21 AM

I think his perceived right wing stance did not do him any favours and he played into the hands of the influential (at time) left wing folk club etc organisers. He did not seem to recognise the edge of the envelope or if he did he ignored it and thus he made a lot of enemies and his bookings dried up. Not withstanding this, his ability as a song smith was unsurpassed presenting his material in a way which was unique.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: pavane
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 07:08 AM

A few notes: Hesk - I am sure his natural singing voice was different, as he seems to have been a choirboy at one time, but he states that he modelled his performances on Sam Larner.

I introduced a friend to Young Tradition, and he was so taken by them that when he discovered he couldn't get their records, he arranged to take his own cassette deck to the company who had the masters, and record a copy. He got it in stereo, though I think the vinyl releases were only mono. He recalls that there was a note "Unplayable" against "Stones in my Passway" - looks like they hadn't read the sleeve notes!

I met Peter while he was visiting his (then) brother-in-law in Luxembourg. He says it was supposed to be a holiday, but he and his wife Anthea got roped into giving an excellent concert in a castle there. I do have a poor quality cassette recording of an interview on the RTL English service. We then had a session at a flat.

Altogether a great performer and it was a pleasure to play some harp to his blues guitar.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 01:28 PM

Somebody may contradict me on this, but I think his "right wing stance" is a canard. Fact is, he wasn't a left winger, which in many people's minds places him at the opposite end of the spectrum. Where else would he be? I got a strong impression that he was essentially apolitical, and that his views on the various issues of the day did not add up to an easily identifiable position (or stance). But he enjoyed winding up lefties, even though (perhaps especially because) his best friends on the folk scene were all of the left. And he told me the best Margaret Thatcher joke I've ever heard.

As for Kipling, the best of his work effortlessly transcends his politics; some of it even contradicts his politics. Life can get complicated...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 01:31 PM

But he enjoyed winding up lefties, even though (perhaps especially because) his best friends on the folk scene were all of the left.


...to which rule our own MtheGM stands as an honourable exception!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 03:08 PM

"Somebody may contradict me on this, but I think his "right wing stance" is a canard."
His politics were, to say the least, somewhat enigmatic.
His father was an active supporter of Sir Oswald Mosely's fascist Blackshirts - I think a secretary of one of their branches, yet Peter openly disassociated himself from these views.
His unpopularity as a performer in certain quarters had nothing whatever to do with his 'right wing stance', percieved or otherwise. Rather it was his style that made him unpopular to the point of never being booked at some clubs. He once describes his own singing as his "Larry-the-Lamb imitatiions" when we spoke to him at the Walter Pardon concert at Cecil Sharp House, not long before he died.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 04:51 PM

The question of Bellamy's politics intrigues me. I'm sure he was to some extent anti-Left - if by Left we mean "editing bits out of some songs, refusing to sing others and bad-mouthing Kipling". He would definitely have been anti-PC, if PC had been around then. (I dread to think what he would have made of the Imagined Village.) And Brian and Michael both describe someone who could be fairly abrasive with his friends, so I can well believe that he made a few enemies among leftish folkies (at least, those with strong views about hunting songs and Kipling). All the same, it's interesting that nobody has cited any specific right-wing opinion Bellamy held.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 04:59 PM

Richard Reynall Bellamy was actually National Inspector and Director of Propaganda of the British Union of Fascists, as Pete once told me himself with a certain amount of pride in his tone ~~ "Mosley's No 2 of Blackshirts," was his own description of his late father.

He was largely a-political, though tending rightward himself; but he disliked concepts of "positive discrimination" in favour of perceived minorities at the expense of the majority population, saying it was bound to lead to resentment. I don't, however, think that his sudden diminution in popularity, which paradoxically coincided with his greatest success, the issue of The Transports, was politically based ~~ thought it exercised him then, and exercises me still. "The Transports was a runaway success," he once said to me in a tone of complete puzzlement, "since when my career has gone ppppfffff" ~~ &, as related by another acquaintance above, he showed me his pretty-well empty engagement diary. And it wasn't too long after that we got that phone-call from Jenny.

It a remains a mystery to me to this day.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 05:19 PM

Peter Bellamy... the historic enigma??? I loved his music.. what the heck does anything else matter except our memories of him!.. What a guy!


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