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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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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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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 05:51 PM

I dont think his lack of gigs towards the end of his life had anything to do with organisers politics, or with other performers political opinions.
in my experience,the political views of folk club organisers are quite unpredictable and idiosyncratric.
I think the folk club scene at that period,from my recollection [1988 1990], was veering towards a middle of the road, entertainment guitar orientated sound, in fact I would go further and say that even today concertina is favoured unfavourably, compared to guitar.
organisers quite often think nothing of having three or four guitarist singers, in a short space of time, but would never have the same attitude to singer concertinists.
Peter was something unusual,conservative[not in the political sense] folk club organisers [imo] thought he was too much of a financial gamble/ risk to book.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 05:54 PM

"at least, those with strong views about hunting songs"
Are we on the left the only ones who edit bits out of songs, or believe hunting to be a barbaric pastime indulged in by overpriveledged thugs (at least the English version of same)?
I doubt it somehow - I think that's humanitarianism.
As for Kipling and his Imperialism - let's not start that again, eh!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 06:26 PM

Peter was forthright and honest in his opinions. He never meant to give offence, he was so passionate about all forms of music, that he could not open his mouth without speaking the truth as he saw it. When Martin Carthy changed his style of singing in the 1980's it was Peter who challenged him to do so (in no uncertain terms-ask Martin!) and Martin says he was the only one to do so. Peter told me quite correctly, while sat in my front room, that I would never be a great singer (Yes like him, but he meant others as well) but I would always be very very competant (his words) in the same breath he was not above asking advice, and I swapped some ideas on guitar with him. In respect of his empty gig diary, we were chatting on the phone, and he asked me 'Nick how the **** do you get so much work?'I answered that it was because I was a persuasive bastard and wasn't averse to making a nuiscance of myself. He replied that he couldn't easily ring up and ask for a gig, he found it so embarrasing. He was a singer and performer, not a businessman in any shape or form. Peter needed our help, and the oxygen of the appreciation of his art.I was touring in Scandinavia when my wife Mally rang me. She is disabled, and was at Whitby festival with Sarah Grey. 'Peter Bellamy has been looking after me and helping my up and down the stairs. He also bought me a meal because I'm a bit low on cash until you come home' That was Peter Bellamy as I knew him. Brian Peters rang me up and told me the news of Peters death. I was so bloody angry. Who was I to interfere in his life or death or even his memory? but I wish he had made just one phone call to anybody anywhere on that night, I know we would have all been there for him and pulled him through and maybe carried that pain for him or with him until he felt stronger. We miss him.
Nick


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 06:43 PM

Jim, I believe hunting to be a barbaric pastime indulged in by overprivileged thugs. I still like the songs & am glad to hear them sung.

Michael - re the Transports and after, I wonder if it was a coincidental bit of bad timing. Everyone remembers that 1977 was the year of punk, but what isn't always remembered is that punk wasn't just a fashion which came and went - it was also a kind of Year Zero for pop music, so that everything that came after it was defined by reference to punk. And this Gleichschaltung effect was more pronounced after 1977 than in 1977 itself; straight trousers only really ousted flares in 1978, just as long hair became the norm in 1968-9 rather than 1967. So perhaps there was just that bit more room for a work like the Transports in 1977, when it came out, than there would be in the next few years.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: CupOfTea
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 06:48 PM

I was so delighted to meet Peter Bellamy at Fox Valley, the year Phil Cooper mentioned above. I could trace my folk influence lineage back to him for so many things, that meeting him felt like an accomplishment in and of itself. In a small, intimate festival like that, you got close at workshops and main stage, you had a chance to talk.

I had a "task" to perform, of getting a copy of "The Transports" from him for a singer here in Ohio. I was dismayed to find out that he was reduced to running off cassettes himself - the recording wasn't available otherwise. I gave him a check, and in due time the cassettes arrived from England. I thought it was dreadful that this was the only way to get his earlier recordings... everything he had with him was a homemade cassette. He was glad that a few folks were interested.

I don't think it was even 6 months after his death that a CD copy of "The Transports" showed up in the racks at the local folk music store. I wondered who made money on that, and thought it SHOULD have been the man himself, dammit.

Not too long after Bellamy's death, Len Graham was here in concert and talked about his sorrow at having had Peter ask him to do a festival with him just days before he died. It haunted Len, his declining that invitation.

We can't control how others live their lives or chose to die, but by all that's holy, This death was one more nudge to make me continue to tell people I value just HOW much I value them, and why, and OFTEN.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 07:15 PM

Thanks for that, Nick.

Having started this thread, I feel I should make a confession: I was 31 years old when Peter Bellamy died, but I didn't know about it at the time and had, in fact, never heard of him. I'd heard his voice, without knowing it, in a Young Tradition track on a Transatlantic sampler; at the time I found the YT approach bizarrely harsh and austere, greatly preferring the Steve Tilston track on the same LP. (I'd never have believed Tilston & Bellamy were friends.)

Bellmay's work still speaks to me, and makes me wish I hadn't temporarily* lost interest in folk. And how I wish he could have hung on for a few more years, to see the word "folk" become fashionable again - some of the younger acts' following would surely have found their way to him.

*1976-2001


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Heather Wood
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 10:04 PM

Thread title reminds me of the anagram: Elmer P. Bleaty (don't know who thought that one up) of Pete's name.

He was an amazing guy, talented in many ways (drawing, painting, cooking - which he got into after visiting New Orleans, dress-making - he made many of his own stage clothes with WIlliam Morris furniture fabrics he bouught in Dalston Market). Oh, and he could sing and write great tunes for that nice Mr Kipling.

One thing I really appreciated - he did not want to sing harmony. WHich left them to Ro and I, who did.

Miss him - especially when I want to ask "do you remember ..."

But since I believe we all go to a Big Party, I'll see him, and Royston, and all the too-damn-many others, later.

Much later.

Heather


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 03:08 AM

"I still like the songs & am glad to hear them sung."
Pip; personally I find them somewhat tedious and uninteresting, but I would never in a million years attempt to stop anybody from singing them - I'd rather people sang than slaughtered for pleasure.
On the other hand, I wish I had £1 for every time I've heard anybody being asked (or told) not to sing political (left-wing) songs.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 04:11 AM

I can't claim to have known him - I only met him two or three times, although I have fond memories of an afternoon in his company at a small festival in Suffolk where he was the main guest. However I think many of us who were around at the time - even those who didn't know him personally - feel a collective sense of guilt that we didn't appreciate him enough when he was alive. He could be uncompromising, with a voice and singing style which you either liked or hated, and it is undeniable that he polarised audiences.

We failed to appreciate him enough, and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that it contributed to his state of mind.

In the words of Karl Dallas, he "was a giant in a world where the pygmy is the standard by which all must be measured."


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: pavane
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 04:23 AM

Heather,
Thank you so much for the harmony. The YT recordings remain my favourites, and it is such a shame that there were so few of them.
Your Banks of the Nile stands out particularly.

I didn't discover the group until you had broken up, so I never got a chance to see you, though I did see Peter later, and met him as well.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: pavane
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 04:26 AM

Jim - I certainly did not like sitting through Ewan McColl & Peggy Seeger singing "Ho ho Ho Chi Min" and such songs in 1971.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 05:31 AM

"Jim - I certainly did not like sitting through Ewan McColl & Peggy Seeger singing "Ho ho Ho Chi Min" and such songs in 1971."
I wasn't particulary fond of the song either; both Ewan and Peggy wrote far better political songs, yet they, among others I know, were constantly being pressurised into not singing ANY political songs - ie were victims of political censorship, or should I say, left-wing political censorship. In context, Kipling's hymns of praise to the Imperialism that sent a generation of young people to be slaughteed in the obscenity that was the trenches of WW1 were just as political as Ho Chi Mhin, and far more lethal in the effect they had.
And as I've said, I've yet to hear of such censorship applies to the songs lauding killing for pleasure.
If you don't like political songs, avoid them, just as I attempt to do with songs that offend me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 05:59 AM

to see the word "folk" become fashionable again

I must have missed that!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 06:37 AM

It's true Sean, you and Rachel are the focus of a serious personality cult down here at The Beech, erm ........honest. We have kept it a secret because we know you will be against that kind of deep, personal artist worship.

As for BP. unique, powerful, mesmorising, talented I could go on. The heart of hearing old songs/ folk songs/ traditional songs is to be in a small acoustic space and have somebody sing a song that filled almost all of your senses. I heard him in the Grove, Leeds. That's what Peter did. He could do it on stage through PAs, saw him at Chester Festival around '78, and that was the measure of his talent.

We owe it to him, and all those people across hundreds of years, who sang the songs simply because they liked them, to go out and sing them again.

Need I say, The Beech, Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester every Wednesday?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 06:50 AM

I was prompted by this thread to dig out a review I wrote of a Bellamy performance for the then Folk Roots magazine, around six months before he died. He rang up on the day it appeared to say "NICE ONE!", so I guess he approved.

Peter Bellamy
Nook Folk Club, Holmfirth

The Nook is not the sort of pub you tend to see on Last Of The Summer Wine. Noisy, dingy and overflowing with spilt beer and bikers, it does nonetheless possess a certain seedy charm, and also hosts a folk club. Tiny rectangular room, fire flickering in the hearth, bench seats around the walls, a few stools and tables out on the floor, the Mean Fiddler it ain't but it manages to sustain an enviably intimate atmosphere and a quality guest list.

Peter Bellamy clearly likes it. He's spent the week playing a succession of duff clubs, and the friendliness of this one is bringing out the best in him. And when Bellamy is on form, there are few more exciting performers around. That voice, butt of Bleaty jokes and parodies, is a formidable instrument, soaring to impossibly high notes with coruscating clarity that sets hairs bristling and bone marrow a-tingle. Then there's the physical presence, an eye-rolling, lip-curling, brow-raising gamut of facial expressions, with body movements to match. His performance teeters on the edge of high camp and self parody, but always stays just the right side of assisting the song to tell its story.

Bellamy clamps his specially-made levers over the drone buttons of his concertina (no-one plays Anglo quite like this man) and launches into On Board A Ninety-Eight, a prime example of his talent for refurbishing the tradition, writing tunes that combine an authentic feel with unpredictable leaps and twists to test the singer's voice and rivet the listener. He introduces his setting of Bob Copper's poem The Old Songs with a barbed reference to performers who "used to sing traditional songs but now have more important things to sing about", and old songs there are in abundance, from Brisk Young Widow, sung in memory of Royston Wood, to an excellent ballad, Allan Tyne Of Harrow; from Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy to a supreme Trees They Do Grow High that wrings out every drop of emotion. There's Kipling too, of course, though in restrained measure, with Big Steamers and a surprisingly entertaining account of a cholera epidemic. The night ends with what would be incongruous choices for most 'traddy' performers: a bluegrass song, followed by the cowboy classic Santa Fe Trail with Steve Tilston and Maggie Boyle roped in.

Peter Bellamy loves and respects the English tradition; simultaneously he subverts it, sends it up, re-invents it and revitalises it. But he never ignores it.
Brian Peters


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 07:09 AM

I had political arguments with Peter on more than one occasion, and it was never entirely clear to me whether he was disputing my leftish ideas because he viewed them as shibboleths that needed to be challenged simply for the sake of it, or because his own preferences (which he was pretty vague about) were diametrically opposed. He liked to play Devil's Advocate on all kinds of topics, and when he criticised your choice of music, for instance, it was because he wanted you to justify it, not simply as a put-down. On the other hand, his bitter slating of prominent left-wing performers in a Folk Roots interview that same year did him no favours at all (he claimed he'd been misquoted, and definitely regretted it afterwards), but I never bought his 'lefty folkie conspiracy' theory about his lack of work in the clubs. As Good Soldier says, folk club organisers of the time were a very mixed bunch with most of them in the woolly liberal bracket, give or take one or two confirmed Marxists. The reason he didn't get the work his talent deserved had much more to do with the Marmite effect his singing had on audiences, which several people here have referred to. My local folk club organisers wouldn't book him for ages because they "couldn't stand the sound of his voice" but, when I finally persuaded them to book him, they were bowled over - as was the entire audience.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Cusco
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 07:59 AM

The first time I saw him in YT my ears couldn't beleive it. I knew what to expect but even so.

Second time it was in the foyer at Cecil Sharp house. All quiet then Peter appeared in a big black hat and Royston in clogs. Instant atmosheric electrification.

Third time was when Alistair Anderson put on a series of events at the the South Bank. The Transports was one of them. Never was sure about the girl shadow dancing but the rest of the performance was stunning.

Fourth time was at a poetry society evening in a Pub somewhere at the back of Oxford St/Regent St. Apart from Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp and me I think it might have been a non folk audience. Peter did the full Kipling show and was fantastic, absolutely on form. The strange part of the evening was when he announced he was going to do "that song" to give due warning so that the lady President of the Kipling Society could vacate the room before "Danny Deever" chilled everyones bones.

Fifth and last time was in a local club just before the summer break so it would have been one of his last performances. He'd had a meal just before with Ken & Mags Whiting,the organisers. Brilliant performance but he was somewhat detached and distant. Couldn't beleive the news when it came through. Tragic.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 08:23 AM

This thread has been a revelation, with a lot of fascinating and (to me) unfamiliar information about a man I thought I knew pretty well. (thanks to all the contributors -this is Mudcat at its best.)

I met Peter shortly after he arrived in London in early 1965 (or was it late '64?) and saw quite a bit of him until I left town in the autumn of '65. We were acquaintances rather than buddies, but in those days we talked (and argued) quite a bit, mostly over coffee in Bunjies. On one occasion, having found himself inadvertently double-booked, Peter passed the less lucrative gig on to me and my then singing partner. (The fee was two quid – between us, not each – plus a plate of spaghetti Bolognese and a cup of coffee on the house. Luckily, one of us had a day job!)

How bitterly ironic it is now to think of Peter having an embarrassment of offers at the beginning of his career, and contemplating an almost empty diary when he was a respected artist with a distinguished body of recorded work behind him and plenty of fire still left in his belly.

The roots of this tragedy seem a little clearer now, thanks to some of the illuminating postings here. I always knew Peter could be difficult sometimes - you didn't have to know him very long to find that out - and that he enjoyed winding people up. No doubt this tendency didn't help his career. I hadn't realised until now just how much his uncompromising musical stance had alienated listeners who might, in time, have learned to appreciate what he had to offer.

But he could not be other than who he was, or pretend to be what he wasn't.   He was one of a kind, and we're all poorer for his early departure.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 08:34 AM

Weird coincidence, that, Cusco. Ken Whiting was the very organiser I mentioned, who was initially so reluctant to book Peter but was eventually persuaded (to be fair to Ken, he hadn't heard Peter for a long time) - so I presume you're talking about the Pack Horse club at Mottram. It was indeed a brilliant performance that night. I didn't find him distant, though - we had a lively discussion over quite a lot of malt whisky afterwards, and Peter also met and charmed the socks off my mother.

Talking of whisky afterwards, I seem to remember a story of Peter playing at the Wilsons' club in Thornaby-on-Tees and proceeding to a drinking session at one of the lads' houses which ended with them (having finished every drop of alchohol in the house) coming to blows over the last liqueur chocolate. Probably apocryphal, but a good tale nonetheless, knowing the characters involved.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 09:03 AM

Some truly touching testimonies here.

Thus far I've been resisting the temptation to include an anecdote PB related at a gig at The Bay Hotel Folk Club in Cullercoats, circa 1986 (?) which caused several of the audience to leave the room in high dudgeon, and even gave us loyal Bellamists pause to ponder. This concerned an event he'd sang at in the USA with some American Folk Singer (can't remember which one) who enquired of two young girls who'd turned up expecting to sing: 'And how long have you been professional folk singers?' To which they replied they weren't in any way professionals, but just sang for pleasure. 'Well,' quoth the AFS ' - You can fuck off then.' PB not only thought this somehow just, but also hilarious; as I say I had my reservations at the time, and I have them now, but wasn't that all part of the - er - charm of the man? On another occasion, as I recall, he stayed with mild-mannered Christian folkies who later reported their horror when PB having asked if they minded if he smoked proceedeed to skin up a spliff.

The Bellamist rejoices in such warts-and-all anecdotage as part & parcel of his very singular genius; a genius way too big for the folk scene. PB was a man could show Vivian Stanshall a thing or two about flamboyance in most respects, and whatever his politics may or may not have been, the humanity of the man was faultless. Here's what Dick Gaughan has to say about him:

http://www.dickgaughan.co.uk/chain/peter-bellamy.html

*

you and Rachel are the focus of a serious personality cult down here at The Beech, erm ........honest.

The feeling is entirely mutual, Les! Rest assured, we'll be back withing the year...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: C Stuart Cook
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 10:35 AM

Aha, Brian it is I, appearing as my alter ego Cusco.
I'm sure he was a different man sluiced on the malt. I'm comparing the only two close-up live performances I had. In London he burned the back of everybodies eyeballs with eye to eye contact of a fierce intensity. At the Packhorse I thought between songs he seemed to be concentrating on an off to the side spot. A bit of what I usually call a Stalybridge stare if you know what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Gervase
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 11:28 AM

There's no dounting that PB had presence. I remember his performance of the Kipling-inspired cycle "We Have Fed Our Sea For a Thousand Years" at the Norwich Triennial back in the very early Eighties with the also lamented Dolly Collins on cello.
It was clear that the evening was not quite what many in the audience - the county tweed and twinset types - had expected, and as he launched into the first song there was some murmuring and shuffling of prgrammes and one or two walked out in protest at this 'avant garde nonsense'.
PB seemed to see it as a gauntlet flung down and to change up a gear, and the sense of 'sod you lot, I'm going to do this my way' was palpable. Within the space of the next song he had transfixed the hall, and from then on one could have heard a pin drop.
His vocal style was never my favourite - I always found it a little too affected, but there's no doubt that he was an elemental figure. It's only the the past year or so that I've started playing his recordings again, and it saddens me that I didn't make more effort to see him live. The recorded legacy is stunning, and I'm so pleased that Jon Boden is mining it so well for some of his material.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 12:11 PM

Dolly Collins on cello.

That would have been the Maritime England Suite (1982) with Dolly Collins on piano and Ursula Pank on cello, issued in a cassette only edition with a fetching yellow photocopied cover!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Goodnight Gracie
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 12:41 PM

My husband Peter and I had the honor of meeting Peter through our good friend Lisa Null. Peter was a fine musician and person. I have wonderful memories of him in the red suit playing the concertina with a garter on it. He stayed with us 4th of July week in Ann Arbor in 1976 and had a great time participating in our bicentennial. He and Pete appreciated each others sense of humour and became fast friends. We miss him terribly as a friend and as a great artist.

Grace


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 12:49 PM

Stalybridge Stare, interesting, reminds me of the phrase Stockport Fruitcake.In culinary terms PB was more like Gentlemens Relish


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 04:05 AM

I've always understood PB's culinary flare was every bit as flamboyant as his approach to traditional song - albeit somewhat more cosmopolitan. I was talking to someone recently who'd once been PB's dinner guest and was served up authentic gumbos & jambalaya all to the accompaniment of 78s of vintage New Orleans jazz.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 04:21 AM

Indeed I recall the menu being so after their return from Nawlinz ~~ but, credit where due, the gumbos and jambalayas were Anthea's work. Peter was no sort of cook, to my recollection.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 04:23 AM

For those who can get Spotify, there's quite a number of his recordings there to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: C Stuart Cook
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 04:31 AM

I'm a 'Stopport' lad born and bred though I decamped to the hillsides above Hyde many years ago. 'Fruitcake' hardly touched the surface of some of the inhabitants. I worked on Stockport market for a number of years. Some of the characters were amazing, Dirty Les and his brother, old man Petulengro with his mane of grey hair.
Last years club combination of Barber and Wilson was a fantastic tribute to both PB and MacColl. Fantastic personal interpretations of songs rooted in the originals. I've almost worn out the CD.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,GordonT
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 12:57 PM

Good to hear these memories of PB.
I first heard him in the mid 70s at Leeds Poly folk club.I think he came on wearing a cape.I thought he was great,and went to see him again a few days later at the Grove,where I couldnt help noticing he did exactly the same set.He did his best to antagonise his audience at the Poly (which was not a very trad folk club) by saying "You think youre too cool to join in the choruses - well none of you are as cool as me"!
A few years later I did a spot at Selby folk club,run by Mike Soar,with Peter as guest.I sang The Seven Gipsies and said "this is from a singer called Harry Cox from Norfolk or somewhere".Peter didnt think much of this and took the piss out of me for the rest of the night - "here's a song from Yarmouth - or somewhere".
I got to know him a bit when he moved to Keighley.His house was stylish,the home of an "artist",and he was always wonderfully entertaining and seemed to know about everything.Did the fact that his records,cds and tapes were so meticulously arranged on his shelf show a slightly obsessive streak? I dont know, but I remember that his huge number of Beatles tapes were arranged so as to spell out The Beatles in big letters on the spines.Then there were his large busts of Keith Richard and his tudor style paintings.
i last saw him at Whitby that year and spoke to him in the spa about his quiz.In retrospect,he didnt look that great - he was perspiring heavily for some reason.
His funeral was the saddest,most emotional thing - the coffin with his hat and concertina on the top,led by John Pashley's New Orleans jazz band.We probably all thought - if only he could have seen this, the love people had for him.And yet - would it have made any difference? He was obviously in a distressed state, and had attempted to take his own life several times before.It's very hard to reach someone when they get to a certa9in place.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 01:20 PM

Regarding Heather's post, I believe Elmer P Bleaty came from Lawrence Heath - Southern Rag /Borfolk - and Googling to find the combination of SR, LH and EPB came up with a mention on this thread on Mudcat last year.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 01:39 PM

boring is a poor description, Mercurial is [imo]more appropriate


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 06:54 PM

God love you, Dick, I didn't for a moment mean to suggest that Bellamy was boring. The whole phrase - "boring bleating old traddy" - was one that he coined himself, with obvious *ENTIRELY* *IRONIC* reference to himself.

I suppose my reason for using the phrase was to reflect on the contrast between the success he had and the success he deserved. (Which was probably his reason for using it as well.)

Incidentally, I sang "Poor fellows" this evening. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool traddie, but I'm sure that won't be the last Bellamy song I sing.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 07:14 PM

You did a good job on it, too, Pip. One of the high points of the evening.

This has been a marvellous thread. Thank you, people, for all the anecdotes and reminiscences.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 04:37 AM

Love it too. Keep 'em coming!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Lanfranc on holiday and cookieless
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 07:06 AM

I didn't know Peter that well, unfortunately, but of all the people I met through my lifelong obsession with folk music, he is the one I miss the most. In YT days we shared the management services of Bruce Dunnett and I booked him at clubs that I ran whenever I could. Unfortunately, if it was a committee-run club, I was often outvoted when I suggested booking him.

He once travelled into London with me on a commuter train after spending the night after a gig. The reaction of our fellow passengers (who seldom spoke) when Peter burst into song at 8am was a sight to behold!

I'm glad his memory lives on.

Alan


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 07:11 AM

the contrast between the success he had and the success he deserved

For PB to have had the success he deserved the folk scene would have had to have been a very different thing to what it actualy was - and is. The Karl Dallas quote sums it up perfectly: ...a giant in a world where the pygmy is the standard.... Maybe in an alternative universe PB would have got the Fairport gig (he was offered the job, and did accept!) and by such means come to the attention of a wider more eclectic and appreciative audience - but the further irony her is that whilst Shirley Collins is lauded by the likes of Current 93 and darker scenes beyond the reactionary confines of the folk orthodoxy, somehow Bellamy's genius has singularly failed to attract such a cult status - thus far at any rate, despite the best efforts of we frustrated Bellamists who insist he is deserving of a world class status transcendent of genre.

I remember the first time I met Peter Bellamy - a Thursday night at the Bridge in Newcastle after a hard day tree felling with the BTCV circa 1983. I hadn't even heard of him back then, but I was nevertheless recommended to him as the sort of person who could offer him a bed for the night - so up he came to the bar, asking for me by name and looking thoroughly pissed off that such was his exalted status he was reduced to begging for a doss from a stranger who wasn't even at the gig (after a hard day tree felling all I wanted was to drink & roar with my fellows). In the event he found somewhere a little closer to Newcastle than I was living at the time but I often ponder how it would have been to have sat up smoking the night away with PB entirely unaware of his status. Anyhoo - a few days later I related the episode to Raymond who was living in the wilds of the South Tyne valley at the time, asking if he'd heard of someone called Peter Bellamy - and there was my induction, as I recall, right there and then as he took me through the entire Bellamy oeuvre long into the night.

*

Whilst rummaging around for masters for the forthcoming release of the double CD set John Barleycorn Rebirth on Coldspring, I found a rehearsal session of me singing A Tree Song (AKA Oak, Ash & Thorn) from March 2007 which I'd forgotten about entirely. Not bad - even if I say so myself: you can hear it as the first track on my Myspace Page. I fancy PB would have been singularly unimpressed!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 07:42 AM

"For PB to have had the success he deserved the folk scene would have had to have been a very different thing to what it actualy was - and is."

More accurately, the world would have had to be a very different thing. PB's wildly idiosyncratic style, larger-than-life character, outspokenness, sartorial eccentricity and general other-ness would never have gained him mass adulation in any musical genre. Most humans prefer conformity. Where did eccentric genius get Vivian Stanshall?

"a giant in a world where the pygmy is the standard" is a good soundbite, but are we to infer that MacColl, Lloyd, Carthy, Nic Jones, Ray Fisher etc. (I could go on) were pygmies?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 08:18 AM

but are we to infer that MacColl, Lloyd, Carthy, Nic Jones, Ray Fisher etc. (I could go on) were pygmies?

Dare I say big fish in a small pond? Whereas PB is a big fish in any pond. I file PB alongside Rene Zosso, Duke Ellington, Davie Stewart, Sun Ra, Kraftwerk, Harry Cox, The Fall, Jim Eldon and Miles Davis. Much as I love the others they're still filed under folk.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 08:58 AM

"Whereas PB is a big fish in any pond"
This is entirely a matter of personal taste - as reflected by Peter's empty appointment diary - not a problem with any of the others mentioned to my knowledge.
It is possibly to have respect for Peter's character without particularly liking his singing, which reflects my own attitude.
Let's leave the beatification to the church and avoid contentious arguments on a thread paying rightful respect to somebody who deserves it, shall we?

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 09:23 AM

This is entirely a matter of personal taste

Of course it is! Who's saying anything different?

beatification

Hardly that - just giving credit where credit's due that's all. PB was a man who dared to push the conservative Folk Envelope (just a bit) and suffered rebuttal as a consequence. The others played it safe, and continue to do so, which accounts, IMHO, for the disparity between the glories of The Tradition and the MOR / Easy Listening status of The Revival even at its most (dare I say) traditional.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 09:41 AM

"and suffered rebuttal as a consequence."
Nope - he was a professional performer who chose his career and failed to please his customers - no more, no less.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: DebC
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 09:45 AM

I didn't know Peter; he had left this world just as I was discovering the YT and many of the traditional folk songs of the British Isles. I do, however, count as good friends the many people on both sides of the Atlantic who knew Peter well and it's always interesting to hear their stories.

If he had stuck around a wee bit longer, I am sure we would have met, though what I would have thought of him personally, I can't ever know. But his artistic legacy is huge and has inspired me to look deeper into the music and try to find the gems amongst the thousands of traditional songs out there.

That said, I have never liked the "sainthood" bestowed on anyone in the folk community (or anywhere else for that matter) be it PB or Guthrie. There is no denying that the contributions each has made to the folk genre are significant.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 10:29 AM

he was a professional performer who chose his career and failed to please his customers - no more, no less.

Which is exactly what I meant, of course. But for those of us who still believe in some sort of musical transcendence it is the inability of his customers to appreciate the genius in their midsts that remains, sadly, the untimate legacy of his craft. And he isn't alone in that - Van Gogh was just such another. This isn't about the bestowing of sainthoood though, this is about the MOR mediocrity that has typified the folk scene since it's inception and continues to do so, with but few notable exceptions - and most of them I hear in singarounds for which I remain eternally thankful.

What seems to be emerging here is less a celebration of a uniquely gifted human being who challenged such cloying folk mediocrity, than it is a solemn shaking of the head that he didn't rein himself it in a bit and knuckle under. A dire warning indeed to anyone who dares aim just that little bit higher because your customer demographic is so limited in their horizons they just won't understand. So you too must knuckle under, laddie / lassie, and give them the schlock they can understand, because, as we know, the customer is always right.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 11:08 AM

with Dolly Collins on piano and Ursula Pank on cello

Bloody hell. Just realised what this actually means - that Mrs Ursula Pank, wife of Steve Pank, is in fact none other than Ursula Smith, who played cello with the Third Ear Band circa 1970, appearing on the classic Air, Earth, Fire, Water and the soundtrack for Abelard & Heloise. She briefly joining the re-formed band circa 1988 to play some truly demonic violin on New Forecasts from the Third Ear Almanac. She also played in various other contexts, including the album Spirit of Love by Clive Palmer's COB.

For more on Mrs & Mrs Pank & the TEB see HERE.

Now there's a link to cherish!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 11:24 AM

I'd like to split the difference between Suibhne and Brian (which will probably satisfy no one).

I think what leaps out at me when I look at Bellamy's discography is how focused he was: there always seems to have been something he wanted to achieve, some project at the back of his mind. Most artists - and I really want to stress that I mean no disrespect in what I'm about to say - record An Album, followed if they're lucky by Another Album, and they're pleased if the album sounds nice and even more pleased if other people think it sounds nice. For most artists, something as wilfully single-minded as (say) an entire album of Kipling settings would attract labels like "side project", "personal passion", "indulging a longstanding obsession".

There are very, very few Another Albums in Bellamy's discography: it seems to consist mostly of personal passions and longstanding obsessions. In this he wasn't much like Nic Jones or even Ewan MacColl, and he was a lot like Sun Ra and Mark E. Smith (and Viv Stanshall, come to that). And Brian's right: these are not the kind of artists the nation clasps to its bosom. Most people like stuff that sounds nice.

However, I don't think single-mindedly following your passions is a sign of genius, or of being a giant among dwarves. On the other hand, coming back to the bit about not meaning any disrespect, I don't think making An Album and trying to make it sound nice is a mark of mediocrity. The Noah's Ark Trap goes down quite smoothly, and you'd be listening to it for a very long time before you were reminded of the Fall; it's still a brilliant album.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 11:29 AM

"this is about the MOR mediocrity that has typified the folk scene..."
No it isn't - you have chosen to confuse this with personal taste and judgement. It really does take a special kind of arrogance to claim that anybody who doesn't share your tastes in singing must be mediocre
I reject totally the idea that any of us who didn't particularly like his performance had anything to do with his ultimate fate. As far as I'm concerned, he was an experimentalist whose experiments just didn't work - for me, at least.
This does not prevent me from being eternally grateful to him for his role in introducing Walter Pardon to a wider audience; something that influenced and enriched my life for over twenty years.
I find it totally unacceptible and extremely distasteful that you should use Peter Bellamy to belabour a revival which you obviously despise, yet choose to be part of and take enjoyment from, along with many others, including me (and Peter Bellamy)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 12:20 PM

a revival which you obviously despise

No I don't, I might despair of it at times, as any self respecting lover of traditional song would, yourself included, but I certainly don't despise it. If I did I wouldn't be here.

these are not the kind of artists the nation clasps to its bosom

Hmmmm. I think they are you know - Sun Ra was cherished and regularly played to packed concert halls. The last time I saw him (1991?) was at the RNCM in Manchester after his first stroke and the place was heaving & the music typically transcendent. Mark E. Smith - what can I say? The latest album (Your Future Our Clutter) is one of the finest ever; he has a devoted following and National Treasure status with BBC 4 documentaries to boot. The only thing that got in the way of Vivian Stanshall's career was the booze - not long before his untimely death he did a Late Show Special which is up there with his finest work, with plenty more in the offing, including a cinematographic return to Rawlinson End.

Odd that PB was top of his game too, as S&RCT testifies. I saw (and did the sound for) what might well have been his final gig and he tore the place apart. That he had nothing in the offing tells us more about the folk scene than it does about him.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 12:26 PM

Nurse, nurse

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 12:53 PM

"No I don't, I might despair of it at times, as any self respecting lover of traditional song would, yourself included,"
True - but we are talking of a different stage in the revival when mediocrity wasn't the main problem by far.
Peter was part of the scene at the same time as MacColl, Lloyd, Killen.... and when it was possible to catch the occasional glimpse of Joe Heaney, the Stewarts... et al; all demanding performers and hardly middle-of-the-road by anybody's standards.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 01:45 PM

Back off boys! No fisticuffs allowed here; this thread, I hope, is about raising a collective glass to a much missed artist and human being. Mind you, it's good that we can argue about PB, and even fall out over him. He would have loved that, I'm sure. But no-one's trying to beatify him here. He can be a genius without having to be a saint, surely.

I'm chuffed that Suibhne feels I converted him to the Bellamist cause. I've actually got an almost 100% success rate in such endevours. The only person I ever failed with is the one with whom I share my life. But I'm not finished trying...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 02:02 PM

somehow Bellamy's genius has singularly failed to attract such a cult status

I'm not so sure of that. He certainly seems to be held in high regard by a younger generation who probably never had the chance to see him live. Jon Boden's admiration for him is well known, but he's far from being alone. Check out this new band, made up of young but well-established musicians, who do a cracking version of the Kipling/Bellamy "Pilgrims' Way", and even named the band after the song:

Pilgrims' Way


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 02:06 PM

I'm not falling out with anybody - I hope! I hope if we were all on the lashg in some boozer we could roar heartily without coming to blows and stagger off into the night singing Butter and Cheese and All happy as larry.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 02:27 PM

"Genius" is a much over-used word and I'm not sure it applies to PB. However he was a supremely talented performer and musician, and surely that is worth celebrating. On the other hand, the other singers Jim mentions are/were surely giants too, and Karl Dallas was not entirely wrong in recognising that in the folk world mediocrity is all too often accepted.

It is undoubtedly true that PB's idiosyncratic style was not to many people's taste. However I wonder whether, if he had had a more mellifluous voice and more conventional style of playing concertina, whether he would have had half the impact he did. For those who manage to get past the bleating voice, he stands out as a stunning interpreter of songs, with a superb sense of timing - so many times he managed to put just the right amount of emphasis on exactly the right word.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 03:11 PM

What a wonderful thread. My wife and I had the pleasure of Peter and Anthea's company at our home in California for an extended stay while he was doing some local gigs and we have such fond memories of them both. I remember he wanted to buy some wine to go with the dinner we were preparing and I had to take him to the most run down "whiskey store" I could find in the worst part of town, nothing else would do! On seeing a fan with a "Save the Whales" bumper sticker on her Toyota he commented "If you cared that much about saving the whales you wouldn't be driving a Japanese car." I think of that often. We searched local used record stores for Rolling Stones bootlegs for his collection and upon looking through my record collection he wrote down a list of what I SHOULD be listening to. (He was right.) Somewhere I have a photo that I took, at his insistence, at a local lake side recreation area: a big smiling Peter next to a sign pointing the way to "Negro Bar." I think I need to find that again.

David E.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 05:06 AM

A blogging friend has posted some more Bellamy memories here. I missed the Rosselson/Bellamy debate (if that's the word) - sounds memorable!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 04:22 PM

Political or not, a song should be well-crafted with knowledgeable writers doing the service.
Whether it's a Left-wing song or a political song is irrelevant. The question to be asked is
"Is it a good song" with imagery, context, a sense of form, appeal to the senses and not generalizing, stanzaic consistency (either uniform or not), subject matter that reach people,
and not inane preaching but "showing".

Eric Bogle, Stan Rogers, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Tom Lehrer and occasionally a song crafted for a rally or demonstration can be useful (though probably not for a concert).

There must be plenty of good songwriters in the UK who I don't know about.

I found Rosselson to be a little too glib and clever (without being clever like Tom Lehrer).

Peggy's songs "Engineer" and a couple of others are very good especially when she doesn't feel obliged to "screech" her message with a shrill voice. The lady can sing and write.

Don't forget Jean Ritchie, "Black Waters", "The L. and N. Don't Stop Here Anymore".
These are terrific songs and have a political intent.

Expressing political intent in a song is fine as long as it's a good song (see definition above).

I think it's perfectly fine and important to rewrite lyrics to traditional songs to reflect contemporary times provided that there is an understanding of the source material.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 04:49 AM

PB's politics were never directly expressed in the rhetoric of song, though if we take the human sentiments (though never sentimental!) found in The Transports together with his setting of Kipling's Humanist Hymn A Pilgrim's Way then I think we might be getting the picture. But what of that other Kipling/Bellamy oft-sung masterpiece The Land? This is generally supposed to reflect a left-wing bias, but in context it is, in truth, a celebration of the continuity of serfdom under feudalism with the faceless Hobden being a mere type, a patronising caricature of tradition rather than a flesh & blood individual. The irony of him somehow owning the land only because it is comprised of his dead forefathers is a bitter one. A bleak testimony indeed, but wholly analogous to the actual condition of Folklore as a subject perceived by the feudal masters of their lesser subjects.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 05:47 AM

"This is generally supposed to reflect a left-wing bias, but in context it is, in truth, a celebration of the continuity of serfdom under feudalism..."

Well, yes, perhaps. Others see (and sing) it differently, and I think the point here is that Kipling is amenable to ambiguity in a way that is rarely acknowledged. The trouble with thinking about the Kipling-Bellamy settings as a corpus, as we inevitably do, is that it encourages us to see them as presenting a distinct and consistent agenda. We don't think of folk songs that way. Because we don't know of the original maker's identity or views, we tend to see a folk song through the prism of our own individual sensibility. Nowt wrong with that! My guess is that if we encountered a Kip-Bell song and thought it traditional or anonymous, the same process would take place. But tell someone "This is a song by Rudyard Kipling" and a set of expectations (or prejudices) clicks instantly into place.

Yesterday I was watching a vid of PB being interviewed by Eddie Upton around 1990. It's interesting – and perhaps germane to this discussion – that PB says here of Kipling (I'm paraphrasing from memory) "I don't by any means think all of his work was good, "and "Some of his work contains opinions that I personally detest." Detest is the word he uses here. Now that's food for thought...

In the same interview – remember, this is about 1990 – he declares himself thoroughly pessimistic about the emergence of a new generation of singers. "They'll come, but probably neither you nor I will be around to see it." He was, of course, 50% correct in that assumption: as far as I know, Eddie's still hale and active.

But here's a game everyone can play. Supoose PB was still around. Who among the new cohort of singers would he rate? John Boden may be the most obvious contender, but what would PB have made of someone who is so obviously and unrepentently in his debt stylistically and in terms of repertoire? "He's great – he reminds me of me!" Maybe it's more complicated than that...

Form an orderly queue...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 11:24 AM

I remember an interview somewhere in which Peter opined that 'clonedom', whether the clones were of Martin Carthy or himself, was something he found embarrassing and musically sterile. What he wanted was for singers to listen to the kind of stuff he had listened to, whether Sam Larner, Robert Johnson or American Baptist hymns (he once made me a cassette boldy titled in his own hand 'REAL Sacred Harp', that contained some really wild singing) and form their own style based on those models. As he'd done himself.

At the same time he was generous in his praise of any younger singers he could find, who were interested in traditional song, so I'm sure he'd have been thrilled to bits with some of the present crop. Jon Boden has all of his attack, and the high notes, but is no clone, even when singing Bellamy material.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 02:35 PM

He'd have been delighted, too, with Damien Barber's current eminence, and I think Fay Hield would have ticked the right boxes for him. He'd have loved Tim Eriksen to bits. Who else?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 06:06 PM

I think he'd have found Jon Boden a bit polite (although I'm sure he would have liked "A Folk Song A Day"). I'm not sure who there is out there now who has Bellamy's rawness or attack as a singer.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM

I wouldn't call Jon Boden's delivery "polite"... I'd say he's one of the few around who isn't, and more power to his elbow for that. Raymond's bang on the money with Fay, Tim and Damien too. I'd add Mike Wilson to the list - his album with Damien Barber is a corker. I'd like to think he'd have approved of the wonderful Alasdair Roberts, too. He's one of the few current artists whose output inspires in me the same sort of devotion I have for PB's output.

However... too much bright young trad (TM) sticks doggedly to the limitations of the envelope rather than tearing it up. I think we're going to see some changes to this over the next couple of years. Elle Osborne, Jackie Oates, Emily Portman, Sam Lee and Lisa Knapp, for example, have far too much about them to be content to be mere Radio Two fodder...

I think we're still waiting for the next Bellamy, though.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:36 AM

I'd like to draw your attention to The Beech Band who not only tear up the envelope of dancin' music but sniff the glue off the seal first. Bigger, often twice as big, as Bellowhead and working towards a stranger collection of instruments.

Forget 'New Wave of English Country Dance Music' listen out for 'Acoustic Metal Dancin' - What would PB made of that?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:54 AM

Any fule no the Beech Band are in a class of their own!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:59 AM

Very diplomatic Mr Cringe - bring your spoons and you are in

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 07:33 AM

I think we'll be waiting a long time for the next Peter Bellamy - just as we'll be waiting a long time for the next Frank Zappa, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sun Ra, Miles Davis etc. etc. The age of the great Individual Traditional Restructuralist is past. Besides which, Folk was always a matter of a few exceptions proving rules anyway; such a shame PB never took his craft to a more discerning audience who might have understod it better. These days I hear a lot of great singers in singarounds - such as Crow Sister, John Jocys in Chorlton, Dave Peters in Preston and Piers Cawley in Newcastle (himself a commited Bellamist with a repertoir to match) - but after what happened to PB, I doubt any professional folkie would dare push the envelope so far again.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 08:48 AM

Perhaps 'polite' is the wrong word, but I find that when Jon Boden lets rip he often does so in ways that sound fairly mannered and predictable; to my ear he sounds more raw and unprocessed when he's doing quieter stuff (e.g. today's AFSAD, "Deep Blue Sea"). Bellamy's delivery, at least on his later stuff, was *all* mannered - which meant that, once you'd tuned into that style, the voice could sound extraordinarily raw and powerful. It's an odd trick but a good one; I wonder if he'd listened to a lot of Beefheart in between the Sam Larner.

When I ask myself what advice Bellamy would have given newish singers like me, I suspect he would have told us to sod off. On the other hand, when I ask myself what example Bellamy set, the words "de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace" come to mind.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 09:22 AM

Damien Barber says: "One of my main inspirations in folk song is Peter Bellamy who I had the honour of knowing for a couple of years before his untimely death in 1991. Peter's nickname for me was 'The Demon Barber'".

Check out Damien Barber and Mike Wilson's version of "On Board a 98" here.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Toby Ashton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 10:38 AM

I find it interesting that both Damien Barber and Jon Boden both cite and clearly display the influence of PB on them. As much as I really like and admire Damien's singing I really can't abide Boden's affected bleating.

TA


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 11:05 AM

This thread reminds me of the great contribution sheep have made to the continuance of traditional music, specially in the UK. Being out in the pasture all day with not a lot to do has led many a good ram or ewe to while away the hours singing songs by Robbie Burns or composing their own unique variations of Mary Hamilton, Little Musgrave, etc. And they usually don't do a Ba-a-a-a-a-hhhd job at it either! If it were possible to persuade the local Irish and Scottish lads to stop harassing these poor animals in the dead of night, I should think we'd get to hear even more good trad swelling up joyfully from the meadows.

Boring? NEVER! Let's hear a big round of applause for our wooly friends who have given their all to keep the music alive!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 12:09 PM

Out of the mouths or something related


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 12:56 PM

This whole discussion just serves to highlight why traditional music in the UK is in such a miserable state. You can argue all you like about how the "young guns" (Barber, Moray, Unthanks, Bellowhead et al) are part of a whole new wave of folk musicians who are putting the spark back into this ailing scene, but you must realise that it's really only folkies who are noticing this.

There may be a few more articles than normal stuffed away in a broadsheet or even a tabloid and other media streams might be picking up on this, but it's merely to pat this scene on it's head, not celebrate it.

The scene is far too backward and defensive. Elevating Bellamy to this status, again, highlights this. The anger over Mumford and Marling by folkies in the UK highlights this. Boden's self promoting, backward looking, love in (AFSAD) highlights this. Moray's obsession with scratchy old wax cylinders highlights this. And these are considered to be movers and shakers in this sparky new folk scene.

Unfortunately it's not just this that ails the UK folk scene. It's the level of performance that these guys think is acceptable. Moray wails, Boden bleats and no-one (outside of the cliquy scene) wants to hear it.

Sorry for going OT and for the perceived unkind tirade, but it irks me when people blindly keep defending this dying tradition with arguments and empty justification which will only serve to ultimately destroy it.


Get over Peter Bellamy.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 01:32 PM

Catherine, go to Shrewsbury Folk Festival and you will find more exciting quality music than you can hope to fit into a few days. Performed by all sorts and ages and endlessly brilliant.

As for looking backwards and searching old books and wax cylinders? Well 'folk' now a more or less meaningless word, but traditional or just old? Yes that's what it is part about.

Since the mid 50s a whole genre of music has been re-created and created in folk clubs, festivals, in books and in recordings. Some of us go back there to learn songs and tunes because we like them and we want to perform them. Bellamy was very important. If you don't like him fine. We really don't mind

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 01:51 PM

Hi Les,

I was there this year and it was my first year, but your response sums up everything I was "banging on" about. Shrewsbury FF is a FOLK FESTIVAL. It appeals to folkies and within those hallowed, insular walls each and every one of them can feel comforted that their mediocre tradition is safe in the hands of the even more mediocre Kerr, Fagan, Sartin, Hield, Kerfuffle, Causley etc. A more dull and less exciting, forward looking event would be hard to find.

You may want to bring up the Afro Celts. Christ so would I. More pretentious than Bellowhead (and that's saying something), but musically inferior.

It was folkie through and through with a capital F. What upsets me so much is that this is music that our entire nation should be celebrating and as long as we present it in this kind of way, Joe Public isn't going to sit up and take notice. No other nation would stand for their traditional music being treated as such.

Catherine


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Ian Gill
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:08 PM

Tam Batyellper, they used to call him in the mags... I reckon he was a great singer and a great artist who influenced more folks than like to let on.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:11 PM

Yes, Catherine, but consider the sheep! They are giving it their all, and not in a pretentious way either. In fact, they've always struck me as rather modest animals, quite self-effacing.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Hesk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:17 PM

Are you playing Devil's Advocate, Catherine? I find it difficult to tell?
Do you really find Bellowhead pretensious and many of the young musicians mediocre, or do you mean to state the opposite?
This thread started as a reminder that it was 19 years ago that Peter Bellamy committed suicide, and for the most part, what followed was a series of memories, mostly fond. I really can't see the problem with that.
As for the current festival scene, it seems pretty healthy and enjoyed by a large minority. As with any interest, it is largely ignored and disliked by anyone outside of it, and again, as with any interest, has a wide range of opinions within it.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:39 PM

Hi Hesk,

Unfortunately I'm not playing Devil's Advocate. I do think this scene celebrates mediocrity more-so than any other musical genre. As I see it (and hear it) the performers revered as the professional top of their game are no better than the eager amateur elsewhere. This is not the case in exponents of any of the other international traditional musics that I have encountered, enjoyed and engaged with over my many years of listening. As long as this mediocrity continues the masses will continue to be turned off by something that they should be proud of.


I'm sorry to hijack this thread, and do not wish to sully the memory of anyone who has passed, but let's not go overboard harking back as that will only fuel the apathy.

The current folk festival scene is oversubscribed. There are too many similar festivals with the same artists (I use the term generously), the same audiences and the same insular, self-gratified non-inclusive outlook.

Catherine


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,gluemania
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:42 PM

Good opinions Catherine. I'll buy you a beer for those any time you like.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 03:35 PM

Without wishing to sound censorious, in either the literal or the conventional sense, I feel I owe it to the memory of a dear, dead friend to remind posters that this thread was intended, as I understand, to pay tribute to the memory of a fine man and fine singer; and should not be allowed, I feel, to drift into an animadversion on the current state of the club and festival scene, or denunciations of the talents and qualities of those involved therein. Would it not be more seemly to start a new thread for such a purpose, rather than to hang it on speculations as to what Peter might have thought of this or that regarding the current situation, or to inveigh against "Elevating Bellamy to this status" ~~ [which 'status'? who has?]?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,gluemania
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 03:45 PM

The thread has remained on topic. Peter Bellamy's lack of bookings may be a barometer of the expectations of 'the' 'folk' 'scene'. I read Catherine Foster's rebuke as a warning that nothing had changed on that front, not as a criticism of PB.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 03:50 PM

Right, gluemania; very fair point. Neither did I take it as any sort of criticism of Peter; simply as perhaps a drift too far from what we should be remembering him for. I still feel we are getting a bit too far from what I perceive as the purpose of the thread: but that's no sort of novelty on this forum, to be sure!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 04:36 PM

For what it's worth, I agree with Michael. Catherine, start a new thread why don't you? I'm sure you'll get a few takers. I've got a couple of points I want to make back at you, but not on this thread where so many people who were friends with Peter Bellamy have shared their memories. It would be a little distasteful.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,gluemania
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:27 PM

Tasteful? Surely people are missing the point?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: brezhnev
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:46 PM

i think a thread on peter bellamy is the perfect place to bang on about endlessly dreary folk singers. Not sure that they're unique to this country, though.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:55 PM

You would, I think, find the North American folk festival scene much more to your liking, Catherine. There are a tremendous number of absolutely great young performers and newcomers to be seen at the Canadian and American folk festivals, as well as the oldtimers and more nostalgic acts from decades past. There's also a tremendous variety of music being offered. It's definitely not a narrow little alleyway just for trad music at Ontario folk festivals, but a showcase for all kinds of different styles and ages.

I can't comment on the festivals in the UK, because I haven't attended any of those yet.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 04:35 AM

LH: "I can't comment on the festivals in the UK, because I haven't attended any of those yet".

I think you'd be pleasantly surprised, LH. Your description of Canadian festivals sounds just like a lot of UK folk festivals.

Glueman: Tasteful

Ok, maybe distasteful was too strong a word, but I think Catherine's all out attack on the perceived failings of the current UK folk scene probably is better served by its own thread... especially if dreary wallpaper music like the Mumfords and Marling are the alternatives being championed.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,glumman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:23 AM

Ashtray had it right when he said Bellamy would have found new and different champions if he'd have hung on, once the folk scene had exercised natural de-selection. Unfortunately his own dark night coincided with that of his career or we might have had a sort of folk Robert Wyatt, with his own South Bank Show and continuing retrospectives.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:17 AM

To add to the thread drift, my feeling is that you're possibly more likely to find interesting interpretations of folk songs from musicians from genres other than folk (just so long as they're not actually trying to do 'folk'. Take this version of The Cruel Mother for example. Not a cart of rustic merry-makers to be heard..


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Foul Ole Ron
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 10:42 AM

Cobblers to thread drift! Look there are peple trying to make a nice noise & then there are peple trying to capture TAHT sound, the one that nobodys' made bofore. Some of the peoplel with the nice noses noises i mean are briliant, most of them arent', and if you go ot a folk fest looking for seehr briliantness you'll be disappointed. You might hear some nice noises noses I mean though. No I mean noises.

Where was i. Some of hte people trying to capture THAT sound are briliant too, mos of them aren't, sods law or surgeons law or somethig. But Bellamy was briliant I reckon, brillant maybe even. Some people don't think he was and that's up to them. But wether you can get any sheer briillantness in a rusty cart at a folk fest is neither here not the other. Millneeium hand and shrimp.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 10:48 AM

Millneeium hand and shrimp.

I'll have some of that - with a side order of rice and chopped chives.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 11:59 AM

I suspect that Foul Ole Ron had Sturgeon's Law in mind (when he referred to "surgeons law" above). For those not familiar with Theodore Sturgeon or his ("law"), he was a brilliant science fiction writer who is reported to have said (I'm paraphrasing here), "90% of Science Fiction is crap. But of course, 90% of everything is crap."

(Actually, I just Googled "Sturgeon's Law" to make sure I had it right, and my quote/paraphrase above is not entirely accurate -- though it does correctly represent the general idea of what he said, which (it turns out) was at greater length and rather more complicated. If you want to check it out, you can here.)

I've being reading this thread with great interest, as I have only ever heard of PB -- never actually seen or heard him myself.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 12:17 PM

YY - you've been missing out! (As indeed I was until recently.) There are some links in my commemorative blog post.

Interesting about Sturgeon's Law - I didn't realise the proportion was as low as 90%!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 01:50 PM

Nothing is crap, only to those who find it crap; there are no absolutes, only a vague sort of conscensus whih in the folk world has a habit of assuming a frightening level of orthodoxy. Here's a thing whilst I collect Peter Bellamy's albums avidly, I don't think he made anything like a good one, he made a few good folk albums (and never a bad one) but even at their best it's NOTHING compared to what he was like live. Even S&RCT is nothing compared to what he was like live. When I sing his praises, I sing the praises of the man who blew my brains out as a live performer; I listen to his records in echo of that, but they're pretty remote at best. I love watching Christy Moore live but his over-produced albums leave me cold; same with Jane Siberry; same with Robin Williamson, though his ECM album The Iron Stone is very special (I wonder, how would Peter Bellamy have fared on ECM?). Folk albums - IMHO - are generally shite with few but exceptions; for whatever no folk albums do it for me in a way that a proper rock, jazz or classical album does. There is no folk album to match Unknown Pleasures. Bright Phoebus comes close (Danny Rose is the greatest recorded folk song ever) & Jim Eldon albums are in a league of their own (I have no words to account for Rockin' With The Band such is its perfection). Jim Eldon is my Folk God anyway - he's a far greater singer of Traditional Song than Peter Bellamy and he makes better records; Jim Eldon makes both good albums and good folk albums too. Again, just My Humble Opinion, guv, but to me Jim is the Real McCoy in a way that Bellamy, regretfully, never was.

There's a lot of great music out there; great singers & musicians most of whom I'll never hear let alone fall in love with. On the phone to Spleen the other day I think I realised I'm too old to fall in love with musicians the way I used to. I fell in love with Peter Bellamy and I continue to be in love with Jim Eldon; in singarounds I honoured to hear some amazing singers & roar in hearty transcendence for the sweet joy of life itself, and for this I a truly thankful; likewise the great singers I meet & share the stage with at festivals. Makes me sad to think I'll never love any of them with unreserved adoration, but, most essentially, respect where respect is due...

There is no bad music; no absolutes, just opinions; all music is great to someone. Today in Blackpool we passed a wooden shack selling Commercial Irish Music, out of which oozed the most syrupy rendering of Fields of Athenry you could imagine. It struck me as the purest expression of that song I'd ever heard - perfect, in fact, in terms of authentic folkloric experience & it probably sells by the shed load. Certainly put a smile on my face anyway.

Context is all; love what you love & love what you are.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 02:58 PM

"Nothing is crap"
SO'P - as far as I can see you are the only contributor to have used the term 'crap' in relation to Bellamy's singing - a 'straw man' technique of arguing that you seem to be rather fond of.
A piece of creative art, which is what I believe all singing to be, works or doesn't work in relation to what the artist claims it to be and what he or she sets out to achieve with it.
Bellamy's singing never worked for me (happy to discuss why), and eventually it ceased to work for others on such a scale that led to an empty booking diary. To suggest that it was anything other than a failure of his part to satisfy an audience that he had chosen to provide his bread and butter, is dishonest in the extreme.
"The world isn't ready for me yet" is an argument that belongs far more with Tony Hancock's 'The Rebel' than it does to the folk scene.
"..... who blew my brains out as a live performer;"
Is that where they went?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:17 PM

One of these fine days, old man - you're going to actually bother to read what I write before cracking off yet another frenzied obnoxious reply which misses the point by several merry country miles. Just in case anyone else missed it - when I say nothing is crap I mean it in relation to Sturgeon's Law discussed above. Bellamy's singing was an acquired taste for some (the best things in life very often are) but I loved as soon as I heard it.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:13 PM

OK ... I've got a confession to make ...


Ummm ... I'm not terribly fond of Theodore Sturgeon's fiction ... There! I've said it!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:21 PM

Bellamy live was more than a bit special. I was lucky to see him 2 or 3 times and it really made me understand that at the heart of this old music is being in a human sized acoustic space, say a room, and hearing somebody sing a song that really hits all your senses.

I didn't expect everybody or even most or even quite a lot of people to feel as I did. Name any genre of music and most people will probably be unmoved by it.

Luckily some people come down the Beech and sing songs and I think we all appreciate what everybody sings. Sometimes am greatly affected and sometimes not. But soemtimes is not bad. Providing the "human sized acoustic space, say a room" is the first step and showing friendship and respect are others and PB knew that. I feel sure most people on this thread will feel likewise. As for cerrying this great music to convince all the people to like it? Forget that daft idea

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:27 PM

Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Catherine Foster - PM
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 01:51 PM

Hi Les,

I was there this year and it was my first year, but your response sums up everything I was "banging on" about. Shrewsbury FF is a FOLK FESTIVAL. It appeals to folkies and within those hallowed, insular walls each and every one of them can feel comforted that their mediocre tradition is safe in the hands of the even more mediocre Kerr, Fagan, Sartin, Hield, Kerfuffle, Causley etc. A more dull and less exciting, forward looking event would be hard to find.

You may want to bring up the Afro Celts. Christ so would I. More pretentious than Bellowhead (and that's saying something), but musically inferior.

It was folkie through and through with a capital F. What upsets me so much is that this is music that our entire nation should be celebrating and as long as we present it in this kind of way, Joe Public isn't going to sit up and take notice. No other nation would stand for their traditional music being treated as such.

Catherine
This is a good post, Catherine how would you like IT to be presented?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,JTB
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:03 PM

Did anyone catch young Lucy Ward at Shrewsbury. It would be hard to call her boring or mediocre.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:02 AM

I wasn't going to bother Soldier but since you have brought it up:

"comforted that their mediocre tradition is safe in the hands of the even more mediocre ......... "

This simply misses the essence of music - it either does something for you or it doesn't. That's it really. Calling it mediocre is irrelevant.

"our entire nation should be celebrating" This is never going to happen. I don't think this entire nation has ever celebrated anything has? The end of WW2?

My experience, only nearly 50 years, is that if you present old songs and tunes well in the right environment lots of people enjoy it. That's it really

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Hesk
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:17 AM

Hi Les,

We've never met, but I think you may have met my daughter, Helen, who helped to run the Green Festival, at Chorlton.
I have read many of your threads with interest and want to thank you for your good common sense.
Your recent post, above, was a case in point. I couldn't agree with you more.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:23 AM

Thanks Ms / Mr Hesk, that's very kind.

I have been involved with the Big Green and much fun it was. We are thinking of a Ceilidh in Januaryish involving as many Chorlton environmental and community groups as possible.

Perhaps you and you family & friends will come and shake a leg?

Les


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:48 AM

I think Peter would have been greatly amused by what's been written on this thread, and infuriated by some of it. What he would have posted in reply, I can't imagine – but I'm sure that even if I disagreed with it, I would have enjoyed reading it.

The earlier question of what he would have thought about today's folk scene is (IMHO) unanswerable. Like the Elephant's Child in Kipling's "Just So Stories", Peter was possessed by a "satiable curtiosity". This made him a perpetual seeker, experimenter, and challenger of entrenched orthodoxies. He was always asking new questions, exploring new territory, and offending somebody's sensibilities.   So if he were still here today, he wouldn't have exactly the same tastes and opinions he had twenty years ago (though many people would still have found them infuriating). I wish he had given us the opportunity to discover what they would have been.

Not having been at Shrewsbury Festival, I have no basis for questioning Caroline Foster's assessment of the performers she encountered there. But the general tone of her comments suggests that she is making what Professor Gilbert Ryle used to call a "category mistake".   This is like regarding an apple as something that has tried to be a banana, and failed. People who love apples and don't much care for bananas have a perfect right to organise apple festivals. And people who love bananas and despise apples should look somewhere else for entertainment.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:56 AM

" ... Catherine how would you like IT to be presented?"

Yes, Catherine, I think we should be told. You can't just tell us that something is rubbish without telling us exactly why you think it is rubbish. Some examples and counter-examples (derived from what happens in other countries, perhaps?) might be a good place to start.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:56 AM

MoN, I disagree with your assessment of what I took to be Caroline Foster's point, which is that the music she hoped to find had been mis-sold. An analogy might be entering MacDonalds and asking for a double cheeseburger and expecting it to look like the thing on the poster. The mistake was her's but it was an error of expectation, not type.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:57 AM

People who love apples and don't much care for bananas have a perfect right to organise apple festivals. And people who love bananas and despise apples should look somewhere else for entertainment.

I think we should all strive to the ideal of the fruit salad, though there are times when only a single fruit will do. Do people approach vegetables in the same way? Even your Traditional Roast is a thing of complements and contrasts; added to which are the mustards and sauces, which are always a matter of taste. Peter Bellamy was like a fine Horseradish Sauce - an essential garnish to The Traditional Roast Beef of Old England, though perhaps a bit strong for those who prefer everything boiled to a pulp.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:47 AM

Brilliant Sean

Les


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:34 AM

Not being a folkie really I never heard of PB.
Been for a listen on Spotify and enjoyed listening'
Cheers all


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 12:12 PM

It might be worth pointing out that Will Fly has started this thread to discuss the issues Catherine Foster has raised:

'More pretentious than Bellowhead'

Perhaps Catherine could visit that and explain what she'd prefer.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 02:43 PM

Dear Catherine - profound apologies for mistakenly referring to you as Caroline in my last post. (As it happened, I had a CD by somebody called Caroline on my desk at the time of writing.)

And please do enlighten us - here, or on Will Fly's "more pretentious than Bellowhead" thread - as who and what you would like to hear more of at folk festivals. You never know, some festival organisers might be following this correspondence, so this is the time to ...

"Accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative..."

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 03:07 AM

Well Catherine you know what they say here in Yorkshire, ' them as can, do, them as can't, criticize ' [ or teach ]

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 04:11 AM

'them as can, do, them as can't, criticize ' [ or teach ]

Steady on. I teach criminology.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 04:39 AM

Didn't Thatcher get rid of doing?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:34 AM

Yes Pip, so you're obviously not a criminal.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Oct 10 - 08:50 AM

I didn't think it was entirely for lack of ability, though.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 05:29 PM

We spent the day being happy tourists in sunny Chester today. One part of this pilgrimage was to visit THIS on the old Bellamist trail. Thanks to PB, I've become a huge RC fan, collecting many originals, including The Fox Jumps Over the Parson's Gate, which furnished the art for PB's album of the same name which, for shame, gets short shrift on the otherwise very welcome Fair England's Shore CD reissue.

Talking of PB albums, my favourite is Keep on Kipling in its original vinyl form as the CD re-issue messes up the continuity with various extraneous session tracks with mess with the original sequence. They would have worked better as extras! Anyhoo - I won the album off PB at a gig as part of the raffle, and asked him to make the choice for me. He have me KOK saying it was the best thing he'd ever done. Both Sides Then runs it a close second, CD re-issue included. which features Maid of Australia, one of PB's near perfect duets with Swarb. Shame they didn't do more together really.

What's yours?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 04:38 AM

Both Sides Then. Bought it mainly for the YT / Watersons big band, was disappointed by those tracks but loved everything else on it.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: pavane
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 07:03 AM

I have a copy of KOK, signed by PB - but not for me - bought s/hand


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 07:43 AM

"Rummy Conjuring Tricks" - Peter Live and Kicking Ass.

Don't tell me this would not compare favourably with any genre 'cos you would be wrong!

If you ain't heard it before, it will delight and scare the pants off you, in the same minute...Genius is a term used too lightly...but he was one of the few that has yet come to light, out of our music...he was a wild, unstable, reliable, volatile, scary, honest and true, gentle-man.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 04:27 AM

My only problem with Both Sides Then is Martin Carthy's bass; shame they couldn't have got a more convincing bottom end in there and it would have been perfect.

I could have got my my copy of Keep On Kipling signed, but felt a bit weird about it at the time - a mixture of being in awe of the man yet wanting to acknowledge his humanity at the same time. Hey, remember that time a few years back when you were reduced to grovelling for a doss from strangers at The Bridge? Well, I'm the one they sent you up to bar to seek out. Hadn't heard of you then of course but thanks to my mate Raymond I'm now of the opinion that you're the most important singer on the scene and as a performer you generate as much excitement as the Art Ensemble of Chicago who I saw last week in Leeds by the way...

Yes - Songs & Rummy Conjurin' Tricks - which is a fine piece of work & always a firm favourite over the years since his untimely demise which made it his swan song thus giving it that unique status in any body of work, which I have to say it more than adequately lives up to. I can't help feeling there was something else on his mind that night - maybe like recording the near-perfect live album??


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 10 Oct 10 - 07:11 AM

Well, I'll throw my potsherd in for Merlin's Isle Of Gramarye (1972). Fairly early in his recorded oeuvre – he was only 28 at the time - but its impact for me was tied in with the fact that it's the first of his records on which the sheer blast and serrated edges of his voice had been captured successfully on tape. Suibhne's right, of course – you had to hear him in the flesh to experience the Bellamy pipes at full operating capacity.

Plus the songs themselves are quite monstrously good, and the arrangements perfectly honed. Nic jones' fiddle accompaniments are the very pip. If Pan played the fiddle he's sound like that. And then of course there's Harp Song Of The Dane Women, on which PB sailed well beyond the sight of land and produced something the like of which had never been heard before, a thing of sheer uncompromising otherness. And all with a cheap guitar and a bodhran made out of a garden seive.

Having said all that, Songs And Rummy Conjurin' Tricks captures a giant in his pomp. His last thrill and testament!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Oct 10 - 07:58 AM

Oddly enough my favourite on MIOG remains The Queen's Men; the rest of it is as anomalous a piece of wyrdness as you could wish for in the context of folk. Seminal I calls it, with respect of the primal muse that moved RK to write such stuff in the first place, let alone for PB to give it such chthonic resonance. When will it see long overdue re-issue from the Argo vaults in a gleaming digital edition with OA&K? Maybe when some mobile phone company uses Song of the Men's Side as an advert soundtrack. For those who don't know THIS is a good place to find out.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Oct 10 - 08:00 AM

Make that THIS


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 10 Oct 10 - 06:30 PM

"Plus the songs themselves are quite monstrously good, and the arrangements perfectly honed. Nic jones' fiddle accompaniments are the very pip."

Nic Jones was always keen to promote the folk club where he was appearing, Before he finished his act, he would ask, Who's on next week? He would then encourage everyone not to miss that artist.

On one occasion in Southport, the answer came back, Peter Bellamy.
Oh, said Nic, Who's on the week after?

I'd give anything to see Peter again.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Mick Tems
Date: 11 Oct 10 - 06:45 AM

Peter stayed with me a number of times, but my fondest memory was at Bracknell Festival, just after his American tour, when he proudly wore a gaudy, light-flashing Rolling Stones T-shirt which he'd spent some dollars on! He truly was one in a million.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 11 Oct 10 - 03:33 PM

"Nic Jones was always keen to promote the folk club where he was appearing, Before he finished his act, he would ask, Who's on next week? He would then encourage everyone not to miss that artist.
On one occasion in Southport, the answer came back, Peter Bellamy.
Oh, said Nic, Who's on the week after?"

Brilliant! PB always described NJ as his "favourite English revival singer". Clearly the respect we mutual...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 11 Oct 10 - 03:34 PM

er.."was" mutual. You know what I meant.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Oct 10 - 03:40 PM

He didn't "always" ~~ at various times, I heard Pete describe Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Paul Brady and Mike Waterson as the best revival singer. But, indeed, he certainly regarded Nic very highly.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 06:22 AM

Odd that as I've never got Nic Jones at all, though his fiddle accompaniments on MIOG are, indeed, the very pip, he seems to belong in a very different world to Peter Bellamy. Paul Brady? Never got him at all either, though I've always enjoyed Martin Carthy and could listen to Mike Waterson all day. Here's a thing - our car sprung a leak the other day necessitating we borrow Rachel's folks' car, in the CD player of which is a folk compilation featuring (amongst other things) ISB's First Girl I Loved, the Young Tradition's Lyke Wake Dirge and Martin Carthy's Scarborough Fair, the latter of which I'd never heard before, though I've heard plenty about it. I have a mind to burn off a Bellamy disk and put in there for a treat when they come home from their holiday...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 06:37 AM

What's 'odd' about it, Suibhne? We were talking about Peter Bellamy's tastes, not yours. Why is it in any way 'odd' that they should not be identical?

Regards

~M~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 07:13 AM

My deepest apologies, MtheGM - I must always remember to preface my comments with an IMHO in order to clarify the entirely subjective nature of what it is I'm expressing here. In my world Nic Jones and Paul Brady don't feature much beyond the easy-listening folk racks of a few regretable purchases made long ago, whereas I've got Peter Bellamy up there on the shelf with Sun Ra, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Jim Eldon. I have revival issues anyway, unresolved since I was 13 and used to listen to Jim Lloyd in a state of abject despair in the hope of hearing some actual folk songs that weren't mired in MOR gloss. But that's entirely subjective too, deriving from a love of Traditional Folk Song and the Traditional Singers thereof, which is why the singing of PB made such perfect sense to me and why I'm surprised to read of his affection for the singing of Nic Jones and Paul Brady which never did. IMHO of course.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: pavane
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 08:48 AM

Suibhne, have you heard Nic's first four albums (now unobtainable)? His style evolved considerably in his later albums, and became more what I would call 'laid-back'. But in the early 70's his gigs were much more lively.

And he was also responsible, at least in part, for writing tunes to songs he found in broadsides, many of which have been taken up very widely.

(Sorry for the thread creep)


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 10:02 AM

I've think I've heard them all over the years - I know I've certainly had most them in my keeping at one time or another, though right now I can account for Ballads and Songs, and the eponymous second album on Trailer. I have mixed feelings about his ballad settings, though I'm not about to raise any sort of stink over it (though I might over his tune for Mad Maudlin / Mad Tom o' Bedlam purely because it's the one you're most likely to hear it sung to at the expense of the original which is too fine a melody to go unsung).

Just personal taste though; I think it all depends how receptive you are to certain artists when you first hear them. Or maybe it's just folk guitarists I have a problem with - Bellamy excepted, natch, where the occasional appearance of a borrowed guitar for Ramblin' Robin, or Devil Got Your Man, or even Motherless Child made you sit up & ponder, or else give thanks for his trusty anglo. Also on my father-in-law's folk compilation the other day was Bert Jansch singing Blackwaterside which didn't do it for me either, so you might think of me as a lost cause in this respect!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 10:33 AM

I must confess that PB's bleatyness doesn't strike the right chords with me, but I do think his arrangements for Kipling's poems are fabulous and far more engaging than any self-penned 'folk songs' I've heard. I could happily learn much of what I've heard. Harp Song of the Dane Women remains one of the most inspired and other pieces of music I know, and much-like Mad Maudlin's Search (as referenced by Suibne above) is a song I'm still a tad too daunted by it's potency, to properly tackle.

As for the rest of the revival, it's still pretty much a 'meh' from me. As I've said elsewhere, barring a Pentangle compilation lately reclaimed from my teens, the odd youtube and some purloined research materials, I'm pretty much still revival-free in my listening habits. I'll no doubt ditch most of what I've purloined once I get around to tidying up iTunes, but I'll certainly be keeping my PB bootlegs.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 11:14 AM

Suibhne ~~ I was not criticising your opinions qua opinions; nor in any way questioning or impugning your right to hold them. It was just that I was exercised as to why you should consider it "odd"
("Odd that as I've never got Nic Jones at all," were your exact words) that they should have been different from Pete's. I mean, they would be, wouldn't they? ~~ or anyhow they well might ~~ as you were two different people.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 11:34 AM

Odd as in aesthetically disparate let's say, to my ears anyway; odd as in surprising, but always good to know of course, and a lovely anecdote from HenryP besides. Oddness too, it would seem, is highly subjective and probably best not analysed too closely.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here looking at the Peter Bellamy VHS on the shelf wondering how best I might get it up onto YouTube...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 12:20 PM

"Quickly"?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 12:28 PM

Quickly means playing the tape whilst pointing my wee camera at the TV screen. People actually do this, and it works, up to a point anyway as you might imagine. None of the video footage is exactly high quality (badly edited 10th generation dub) so, I'll have a think & see how it turns out. There are places who'll do a digital transfer for you onto DVD-R, but I've heard there is a significant loss of sound.

Also on this tape is as documentary on Cox & Larner. Maybe I should invite everyone over for viewing? Bring your own crisps, pop & cake...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 12:33 PM

Sorry, just got distracted there by the thought of Suibhne's Bellamy tape.

What I wanted to say was in reply to CS, about the 'bleat'. I think my introduction to Bellamy solo was the song "the London Waterman", which he does magnificently but... um... it's a bit... y'know... raucous, and, er... bleaty. Some time later I came across the song again, this time sung by June Tabor, and immediately had to learn it. Once I'd got the words and the tune off I started really listening to how the song sounded when I was singing it; I knew I wanted to do something different from June Tabor's version, which is very nice but a bit too pretty, and that meant being a bit declamatory here and a bit more emphatic there... At that point a lightbulb went off - so that was what Bellamy was doing!

This doesn't explain the actual tremolo, I have to admit, and that does get in the way when you're not used to it. But I think it was all part of his way of getting a performance out of every song.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 12:35 PM

And "quickly" really means "as quickly as possible consistent with getting something decent at the end of it", I'm not demanding haste at all costs! Just another way of saying "yes please", really.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 12:55 PM

ah but could that be the problem that suibhne has an identity crisis, I hope he doesnt think that he is becoming like the policeman// bicycle in the third policeman.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 12:56 PM

"He didn't "always" ~~ at various times, I heard Pete describe Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Paul Brady and Mike Waterson as the best revival singer. But, indeed, he certainly regarded Nic very highly."

Fair play, michael – I should have said "more than once". And we'd probably have to add Louis Killen to that list.

As for the "bleat". Cards on the table– I like the bleat. Love it, actually, and can't see why anyone has a problem with it. It adds something indefinable but essential. And I don't hear it as a tremolo effect but as a sort of chuckle, always inserted at exactly the appropriate point. It came from Harry cox, of course, but PB does something quintessentially..er.. Bellamyesque with it.

Let's hear it for the bleat!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Oct 10 - 03:09 PM

i) Love the bleat; love the Killen too.

ii) I've been losing sleep over De Selby's theory of molecular interchange for some years now. For this reason alone I don't ride bicycles, though have noted how regular travellers on Blackpool Trams have a certain tram-like lurch to their walking gait.

iii) London Waterman - you heard Bob Roberts sing this? You may forget the rest, though PB's particular garnish is more than acceptable, but it remains very much Bob's.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 09:33 AM

Okay.

A bit poorly today so I spent the morning pointing my wee camera at the TV screen whilst playing the Peter Bellamy VHS. Not perfect quality, but then again the original tape isn't really that much better, so I judge it acceptable in the circumstances. Part One is up one YouTube:

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

Part two - two songs - will be following shortly...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 10:35 AM

Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 10:50 AM

Thanks Sean, I really enjoyed that

Les


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 11:12 AM

Suibhne

I really appreciate you taking the time to put this up.

Thanks,
Ed


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 05:24 PM

Many thanks. A great man. (I'd love to have heard his version of "You can't always get what you want"!)


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 05:59 PM

thankyou , it was,very, interesting.
he talks about Kipling, I think Kipling wrote his poems to a rhythym, which is why they worked as songs, is there any evidence that Kipling was aware of folk songs?or is Peter stating what he wants to believe is the truth.
I think he is right, that it is a good thing that folk music should include political and non political songs.
to be honest,I wouldnt particularly like to hear political songs extolling xenophobia, but I am happy to hear songs of social comment.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:04 PM

Second instalment up now - two songs from the same interview - Death of Bill Brown and Goodbye Old Paint.

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

Not the best quality in the world, but as I say the VHS isn't that much better - and by YouTube average I'd say this is around 8/10. I'll persevere with the tape in like manner as time allows. Next up a snippet from the Maritime England Suite featuring Dolly Collins & Ursula Pank (nee Smith).

I don't think I've got a recording of him doing You Can't Always Get What You Want, but I certainly remember him doing it as an encore (with borrowed guitar) whilst sporting an image of Brian Jones on his vest around the time Psychic TV immortalised Jones as Godstar. Reminds of Spleen sporting his 'Bellamist' t-shirt at the Beech a couple of years back!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Goatboy
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:08 PM

Interesting to hear his speaking voice - closer to RP than one might have guessed from the records. The exaggerated regional accent he used when singing was clearly as affected as the bleat.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Goatboy
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM

By the way Dick, I believe Kipling was more influenced by music hall songs than folk songs: he lived opposite a music hall in the early 1890s, and visited regularly. However, the rhythms of the music hall to some extent grew out of the same street ballad tradition that we now consider 'folk', so the connection is there.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 04:30 AM

Quick gather-up...

"I don't think I've got a recording of him doing You Can't Always Get What You Want"

If I'd been cheeky enough to switch on the cassette recorder in our kitchen in the Spring of 91, we'd have had Can't Always Get, Tumbling Dice and Harp Song Of The Dane Women. Chiz...

"Interesting to hear his speaking voice - closer to RP than one might have guessed from the records. The exaggerated regional accent he used when singing was clearly as affected as the bleat"

And your point is...? That traditional songs should be sung utterly without artifice? You can "own" a regional accent without necessarily using it in your everyday speech.

"I believe Kipling was more influenced by music hall songs than folk songs"

Yes, if it's possible to quantify such things. Actually Kipling didn't have much of an ear, by all accounts. He knew his folk song pretty well, but not necessarily through hearing it sung. He'll have known it better on the page, I think.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: brezhnev
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 06:29 AM

There's an interesting article about musical settings of Kipling by Brian Mattinson here that seems to back up Bellamy's belief that Kipling was familiar with the kind of songs his one-time Sussex neighbours, The Copper family, sang.

It suggests, inter alia, that he may have written A Smuggler's Song with the Copper's version of The White Cockade in his head.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 06:38 AM

Kipling mentioned a local family called Copper in one of the stories in Rewards&Fairies.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 06:40 AM

Thanks for the upload - inspirational stuff.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,freebornman
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 09:40 AM

Suibhne! Thank you very very much!!!!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: brezhnev
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 10:25 AM

Great tapes! What a treat!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 10:47 AM

I just wish I could do them a bit better that's all but, as I say, the VHS dub isn't that much better than what you see there. Hopefully whoever has the originals might be moved to post them?? Meanwhile I tried Part Three earlier - British Man o' War (from the Martime England Suite with Dolly Collins & Ursula Smith) and The Liner She's a Lady (excerpt with Chris Birch and Anthea Bellamy) - but there was too much flickering interferance.

I'd love to know where these were from - someone's obviously taken some time over them, with insets of suitably maritime scenes. Whilst the Maritime England sequence looks like footage from a studio rehearsal, TLSAL looks like it could have come from the Rolf Harris Show, with lights, backdrop and all: CB in fine hat and boots, AB looking beautifully folkly-fey and BP adopting that classic stance and widow's peak. If he were around now, PB would be in his element guesting with Bellowhead in packed concert halls where punters would be playing air-anglo in the aisles.

Will persevere!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 03:31 PM

I doubt it, people seem to prefer the Kate Rusbys of the world, Girly voices and no balls.thanks for putting up the videos ,I enjoyed them


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 03:51 PM

Girly voices and no balls

So much for Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, June Tabor...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 14 Oct 10 - 07:13 PM

Isn't it a shame that Anne doesn't want to sing any longer? The last time I heard her was in the "Acoustic Routes" film and I thought she was still wonderful. But, that's her choice, so I guess we should be glad for the records we have.

(Sorry about the thread drift. I did play Peter's Fair Annie cd last night, that's wonderful stuff too.)

David E.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 07:55 AM

no I dint put their singing in thAT category, you mentioined them Pip.I did not
I think both JT AND AB do excellent versions of Reynardine


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 08:22 AM

Distinct lack of balls, though.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 01:39 PM

SANDY DENNY?she sings with balls.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM

I was fortunate enough to see Sandy with Fairport one time. Other than a few songs where she slid behind the piano, she spent the entire evening with her hands on her hips glaring at Dave Swarbrick. I didn't know Sandy of course so I can't read into this, but I did come away with a definite feeling of relief that she wasn't glaring at me.

(More thread drift. Sorry)

David E.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 06:43 PM

who can blame her?she probably thought he had come back from the dead.
his premature death has previously appeared in That August pillar of the establishment The Daily Telegraph


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Oct 10 - 07:57 PM

Again we might speculate on how Fairport would have been with Bellamy as their singer. They approached him, he accepted, but it never happened - although maybe it did in some alternate universe.

Has anyone got the full story?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: raymond greenoaken
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 05:37 AM

You have! That's all it boils down to, really. In their final '70s incarnation Fairport were well aware of their vocal limitations, but disobligingly broke up before the idea could be pursued. With today's audio technology, surely it must be possible to graft a Bellamy vocal onto a Fairport rhythm track – or a Stones rhythm track, come to that. That would be worth hearing.

Of course, at one time Fairport were toying with the idea of using Bert Lloyd as a vocalist. I hear tell they're in discussions with Rolf Harris for next year's Cropredy...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 09:30 AM

I bet they didn't dare ask MacColl!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 07:22 AM

Okay - catch this one whilst you can, a 30-minute Edited Highlights of The Transports production from the 1980s (date please??) as broadcast on Folk on 2; directed by Taffy Thomas with John Kirkpatrick as MD - Jim Eldon as The Ballad Singer, featuring Peter & Jenny Bellamy singing The Greenfields of England, and PB delivering a mighty Abe Carmen and... Oh, just download the bloody thing and enjoy!

Peter Bellamy - The Transports, Folk on 2, 1980s

It'll be available for the next 7 days, or 100 downloads max, but if anyone misses it enter your plea here and I'll post it up again.

Even though it's edited, I can't help feling there's bits missing. Does anyone have a more complete version??? For now though, there's plenty here for everyone I would have thought. Starts off sounding a bit scrappy, but picks up after a few seconds - not bad for a 25-year-old Sony HF 90!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 07:52 AM

Suibhne, that's fantastic stuff, thanks so much for that


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 08:28 AM

Isn't it though? Just a shame we don't (as yet!) have the full version.

More details meanwhile...

In May 1987, Charivari staged a lavish production as part of the Portsmouth Festival. Peter again appeared in the role of Abe Carman, and as one of The Transports with Jenny Bellamy. Jim Eldon played The Street Singer and the rest of the cast included Dave and Heather Brady,
Pete Morton, Mike Bettison, Tim Laycock and John O'Hagan.


From HERE.

There exists video footage too! Hopefully we'll see this on YouTube in due course...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 11:43 AM

Interstingly enough, I've just read 'Kipling Sahib' a biography of Kipling' time[s] in India, fascinating. Concerning his knowledge, or otherwise, of 'folk' song, there is a statement that one of his relatives, an aunt I think, sang lot's of folk songs, one of which was 'False Knight on the road'. Which the author states that Kipling, on what hard evidence is not clear, used the form for 'Danny Deever', which of course PB put to Derwentwaters farewell, though it can of course be sung to several other tunes. The first part of the verse does, more or less fit False Knight on the road' but the second half doesn't.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 12:39 PM

The Q / A format of Danny Deever certainly has ore than the one traditional precedent, though I doubt Kipling had any such tune in mind for it in mind given, as you say, it's not all Q / A, and the rhythmic foot is quite different.

Interesting to note I've been scolded in Tyneside clubs for singing Deever to Derwentwater because a lot of Geordie folkies are naturally affronted that the melody should be used for anything but Derwentwater. Also, ertain of them have been offended that I should have dared sing an anti hanging song anyway. Strange reactions in my reactionary homeland where Danny Deever is somehow anti-capital punishment and The Land is a pamphlet call to a socialist uprising. Give me air! Give me air!

*

Anyway, enough about that - I spent a good hour this morning doing that digital transfer from the old cassette of the Folk on 2 Transports broadcast from 1987, so all you Bellamists and lovers of good music out there in Mudcat Land, go back a few posts click the link!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 04:12 AM

I think, in the 1980s versions mentioned by Suibhne above in which Pete sang with his wife, it was with his first wife Anthea, not his second Jenny as stated above. I would not swear to this; but it was certainly Anthea who sang with him at a live performance I saw at the Purcell Room as part of London Folk Festival {directed by Alistair Anderson} in 1980s.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 05:39 AM

It was definitely Jenny Bellamy in Taffy's 1987 production, MtheGM; download the MP3 (The Transports - Folk on 2, 1987) and hear Jim Lloyd confirm as much in the credits. As I say, video footage of this production exists - I have it in part (only two songs: Abe Carmen as sung by PB & The Green Fields of England sung by PB & JB) but I hope YouTube will prove a suitable platform for that wider audience of such archive classics.

Some choice playing by John Kirkpatrick in there too - his tender variations on The Leaves in the Woodland are among the many highlights on offer here; one almost feels tempted to resent PB's narration!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 07:19 AM

Yes indeed ~~ many thanks Suibhne. I managed to open it that time, tho for some reason couldn't do so last time. Much appreciated.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 06:34 PM

I've been checking this out on the Transports thread, because I remembered seeing it on the South Bank with Anthea (and Bridget Danby as the mother). But the 1987 version was with Jenny, and she's credited in the highlights recording.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 06:39 PM

Peter was a genius, a great guy too. I miss him.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 08:57 AM

Wonderful stuff. PB's Abe Carman is at least the equal of Bert Lloyd's.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 09:43 AM

Are you familiar with PB's rewrite of Abe Carmen, Pip? It originally featured on his EFDSS album Second Wind and found its way onto Wake the Vaulted Echoes. Apparantly it was done in response to a call from one of The Transport's poducers who felt the original a little too bright for a man bound for the gallows. Naturally this darker version is the one I'm inclined to sing myself, though it does carry a rare potency as well as mighty a melody as you'd expect.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Nov 10 - 06:20 PM

Can I draw your attention to this sterling effort by Mr Greenoaken of this parish, who has not only transcribed PB's original sleeve notes for Oak, Ash & Thorn and Merlin's Isle of Gramarye, but also provided entertaining and informative annotations? If you're that way inclined, and I hope you are, you can read them on the Folk Police Blog.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Reinhard
Date: 02 Nov 10 - 01:02 AM

Suibhne, Yousendit says "file not available". Can you pretty please upload it again?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 10 - 05:36 AM

YouSendIt files are only available for 7 days after posting. I've posted this one again today, so it'll be up there until the 9th. Enjoy!

Peter Bellamy: The Transports, Folk on 2, 1987


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Reinhard
Date: 02 Nov 10 - 01:22 PM

Thank you very much!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 12:24 PM

I'll leave it to someone better qualified to flesh out the whys & wherefores of the Maritime England Suite, but basically it's a 40-minute sequence comprising PB's settings of Kipling, traditional and other lyrics arranged by Dolly Collins and performed by the trio of PB: voice / Dolly Collins : piano / Ursula Pank (nee Smith) : 'cello. It existed as a lo-fi cassette only edition, copies of which are very scarce and fading fast but the music is of a perfect Golden Charm that will beguile even the most casual Bellamist; the hard-core will already have it of course, in one form or another - so, here's part one; part two to follow.   

Peter Bellamy : Maritime England Suite - Part One

NB - This is a basic transfer of a very old unbranded cassette copy as sold by PB at his gigs. No attempt has been made to clean it up at source (no Dolby certainly!) or otherwise enhance it on the computer other than to fix a patricularly messy edit. One hopes the masters are extant and that plans are afoot to release them officially, but as life is generally too short for the awaiting of such miracles...

File expires on 22nd November, so get it while you can!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 12:25 PM

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

I'll leave it to someone better qualified to flesh out the whys & wherefores of the Maritime England Suite, but basically it's a 40-minute sequence comprising PB's settings of Kipling, traditional and other lyrics arranged by Dolly Collins and performed by the trio of PB: voice / Dolly Collins : piano / Ursula Pank (nee Smith) : 'cello. It existed as a lo-fi cassette only edition, copies of which are very scarce and fading fast but the music is of a perfect Golden Charm that will beguile even the most casual Bellamist; the hard-core will already have it of course, in one form or another - so, here's part one; part two to follow.   

Peter Bellamy : Maritime England Suite - Part One

NB - This is a basic transfer of a very old unbranded cassette copy as sold by PB at his gigs. No attempt has been made to clean it up at source (no Dolby certainly!) or otherwise enhance it on the computer other than to fix a patricularly messy edit. One hopes the masters are extant and that plans are afoot to release them officially, but as life is generally too short for the awaiting of such miracles...

File expires on 22nd November, so get it while you can!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 01:18 PM

thanks thats very good of you,I appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 02:06 PM

Peter Bellamy : Maritime England Suite - Part Two


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 10:18 AM

Some interesting comments going up on the Bellamy VHS vids on YouTube.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Max Johnson
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 08:21 AM

I saw The Transports at the South Bank, and thought it was wonderful.

One of many fond memories was a Folk Quiz at Cecil Sharp House. The EFDSS took on The Rest Of The World, and I was in Eddie Upton's Rest Of The World team. We moidered da bums.

Last time I saw Peter we played darts. Padstow, I think. A true visionary, a very average darts player and a lovely, lovely guy. RIP, mate.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 09:42 AM

A treat for Bellamists... this is a recording of Peter Bellamy live at Stainsby Folk Festival in 1981: Peter Bellamy in Concert


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 20 Jun 11 - 10:56 AM

New page up today on the Sidmouth website:

The Transports


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Jun 11 - 12:18 PM

Hardly on the same scale as the stellar new Sidmouth Transports...

But we're doing a wee show at The Fylde this year entitled Bellamy: Kipling with the Tradition featuring Ron Baxter, Ross Campbell, Rapunzel & Sedayne. The performance will feature both our own interpretations of PB's various settings (including our setting of Harp Song of the Dane Women from the Oak, Ash, Thorn CD now updated - listen HERE) as well as a couple of recreations of his classic arrangements, such as the original up-tempo Wassail of A Tree Song and the trio arrangement of The Liner She's A Lady.

A free show too, on the Saturday afternoon slot at The Mount which has proved such a success over the last few years for us Earthbound Souls - so do make note if you're coming to The Fylde!

*

Expect some free downloads soon to go along with it...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 06:24 AM

And on Mike Harding's show on Wednesday 29 June 2011 - 7:00pm BBC Radio 2 - James Fagan and Damien Barber 'discuss their roles in a production of The Transports'.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 07:25 AM

And wonder of wonders, Oak Ash and Thorn and Merlin's Isle of Gramarye now have handsome CD reissues. Well done to the good people of Talking Elephant Records. And cheers!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,SRD
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 05:54 PM

Many years ago Peter dossed at mine after a great gig at Farningham. I was living in NAG at the time and the following morning we made our way through the footpaths that litter that place of little boxes on our way to catch him the bus to take him on to the next gig. It was a glorious summer's morning, the sun was out and the birds were singing their hearts out. I said "Isn't this fabulous, just listen to those birds." He replied "You know what they're saying don't you - fuck off - this is my tree!" He wasn't joking.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Jun 11 - 03:26 PM

And this:

The Kipling/Bellamy Songwriting Team

Who'd have thought it?


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 02:08 PM

>He wasn't joking.<

He was, you know.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,raymond Greenoaken
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 03:32 PM

apologies - that was from me.

Raymond Greenoaken


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Oct 14 - 11:03 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Oct 14 - 01:06 PM

Continuing from the Bellamy drift on the "NewSong" thread:

I said I would tell how I came to lend Pete the D-major concertina that graced the coffin at his funeral, and which I now have back & it's one of the two on my YouTube Channel. It's a tale which might afford some insights into his character and his particular style of sardonic wit.

Pete was staying over with Valerie and me once, as he generally did when he had a gig anywhere around Cambs. I happened to mention that I had recently made a new will, and had left him my instruments, as Valerie, who was no sort of musician, wouldn't want them anyhow. In typical Pete fashion [if you knew him you will know what I mean], he replied, "Well, hurry up & die then. You've got a D-major concertina haven't you!" We laughed -- it was so obviously a joke (tho Anthea, who was still his wife at that time, and whom I was back in touch with for a while more recently when our paths happened to cross again, told me recently that it was the sort of thing that got him quite a lot of enemies, too many persons not appreciating his sort of humour). Anyhow, I replied, "Well you'd better have it now, then, You're the professional and obviously will have more use for it than I will, with my few gigs in a year". Well, of course it was 'no-no I couldn't, I didn't mean it seriously' &c. So I said, "Well, seriously, now; take it on permanent loan. It'll still be mine but you'll have the use of it." Which was what we settled. I took it up to Keighley on an arranged date, and Valerie & I stayed over as guests and Anthea did her beautiful creole cuisine for us; and all very nice. But not that much later he broke up with Anthea, and she went to live with a guy in Sussex, and he married Jenny. We visited the new couple once or twice. Then came his tragic death; and Jenny, who didn't know its provenance, put that concertina on his coffin. Fred Woods, who had edited us both regularly in Folk Review, knew it was actually my property, and told Jenny; and that's how it came back to me. I still play it, as I say; much honoured to recall in whose hands it had figured, and who had put that decorative knot on the strap -- see my Channel, like I say.

Hope this has been of some interest or enlightenment to any who remember Peter.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Oct 14 - 02:59 PM

And to some who really, really wish they did! Thanks, Michael.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Oct 14 - 04:00 PM

A touching tale, Michael. I have as similar sense of sentimental attachment to the various copies of his self-bootlegged cassettes I still have, likewise an vinyl copy of The Transports, signed, corrtented & a Quantas flag added to the transport ship on the inner booklet in his own fair hand! Here's a pic:

Cherished vinyl!


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Oct 14 - 04:39 PM

I must add that my copy of The Transports was gifted to me (or rather donated to my Museum of All Things Wonderful) by Ian McCulloch (Mudcat's own Ian1943) for whom PB signed it. I doubt I'd have had the nerve; my vinyl copy of Keep on Kipling is unsigned despite having won it off the man himself at a raffle...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Oct 14 - 06:57 PM

Sadly ,too many people did NOT 'get' Peter - Though he COULD be quite caustic .
ONE of my memories is when he filled in for Lou Killen after a Shanty festival when Lou finished up with No Voice ! One of 'the locals' who
I had heard earlier saying he did NOT like P B requested one of the longer Kiplings , and then got a book out and was obviously looking for mistakes . Peter walked 'off stage' , took the book out of his hand , walked back to the stage and never missed a word ! BRILL !


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Oct 14 - 12:32 AM

Trouble was [& don't forget I speak as a close friend], his causticity became a sort of reflex or tic, and he would resort to it at times which were inappropriate; he could never resist a dig, resulting, as Anthea told me [see my last post] in alienating a lot of people. He would, of course, have said, Well tough titty for them; I should care!. But, as the tragic upshot showed, aS THE OLD RHYME PUTS IT "DON'T-CARE WAS MADE TO CARE!"

He cared right enuf when the gigs dried up just when he should have been poised for the real breakthru he had striven so long for.

And look what happened...

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Oct 14 - 02:39 AM

Was it really true he told Janis Joplin to her face that she was the worst blues singer he'd ever heard? For sure, there's a lot of choice Bellamylore out there, but my limited experience of the man himself was a gentle soul with the voice of an angelic demon whose causticity was very much part of the act. I often wonder if it wasn't a defence to how he was treated by much of the folk scene who took exception to his supposed political stance with respect of his father being who he was and his unapolegetic championing of of Maggie Thatcher's favourite poet at a time when (to nab a phrase from Flann O'Brien) it was neither popular nor profitable to do so.

A wee while ago I took the liberty of YouTubing parts of a very low-grade VHS cassette featuring an interview that finds our hero sitting proudly in front of his famously eclectic cassette collection (Elton John, Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention) with the crown missing from his front tooth. I remember Esme Ryder (the only singer I've ever heard with a voice to match Bellamy's) telling me she was at the gig (again in Durham) where it fell off mid song.

Peter Bellamy VHS - Part One : The Interview


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Oct 14 - 07:23 AM

Peter walked 'off stage' , took the book out of his hand , walked back to the stage and never missed a word !

Excellent stuff (although I hope it made him more friends than it lost him). Most of those poems are seriously long, and delivering them non-stop and at speed (which is basically what he was doing) is a real challenge. I've been working up "Back to the army again" (no particular reason, it just stuck in my head); it's a long job.

The 80s weren't kind to folk generally and traddies in particular - Steeleye had made it big and then buggered off to Wombledon - but I do wonder why PB had such a hard time of it. He really seems to have dropped off the radar as far as bookers were concerned - on one occasion, when he phoned asking about a gig, they hadn't even heard of him ("sorry, you're Peter who?"). (I heard this from John Kelly.)


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 02 Oct 14 - 12:41 PM

We too have a copy of The Transports signed by Peter Bellamy.

I think we were the only ones to buy a copy that night. He wrote QANTAS on the prow and, for my wife, wrote on the cover Thank you Freda for making my night!

It amused us at the time but, looking back, perhaps it was a sign of his growing despair.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 02 Oct 14 - 01:42 PM

Nice to see this thread pop up again, and to re-read it. Stirrings (that is, me) celebrated his 70th birthday this summer with an exhaustive 10-page survey of his entire recorded oeuvre. (Excluding bootlegs, which is another parallel universe...)


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: cptsnapper
Date: 03 Oct 14 - 01:43 AM

My two favourite memories of Peter were when he first met my Mum early one morning: he came as a bit of a shock to her but later on became firm friends. The second one was at Norwich Folk Festival when Alex taters on asked me to close the Irish session in the bar. I launched into Jesus Is On The Main Line and all of a sudden Peter joined in and took it to a totally new level. A lovely man as far as I'm concerned.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,GranAnn
Date: 27 Nov 17 - 05:44 AM

Peter painted a series of 'Music Heroes' in the late 80's when he was obliged to rest his voice for a year. One of Peter's friends from his local folk club in Keighley has donated one of these paintings to be sold for charity. It is of Charlie 'Bird' Parker playing his sax and with bluebirds flying in the background, in oil on board and measures 110 x 60cm.

I have never seen an original Bellamy painting sold and have absolutely no idea of the value of this painting - I don't want to put it on ebay and have someone with no idea who Peter Bellamy even was, to buy it for next-to-nothing.   

Has anyone any idea of a value?

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: Hagman
Date: 27 Nov 17 - 08:34 PM

A Martin Carthy image print done by Bellamy in 1984 (ltd. to 200, signed and numbered) sold for about U$100 on eBay five years or so ago.

You'd have to think that an original oil with a great musical association should be at least 10 times that? Especially for charity...

(Richard Thompson was offering a house concert in the US (without travel and expenses) for U$40,000 in his last crowdfunding appeal. Draw your own comparisons.)


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 09:09 AM

The trouble with eBay is that people aren't habitually looking for Peter Bellamy artworks (they might be looking for Peter Bellamy vinyl, but not necessarily even think of looking for visual art). You have to make sure the right people know about it.

It's a shame someone couldn't organise an auction at, say, Cecil Sharp House, where it would become an actual event?

Failing that, I would decide on a (high) price and perhaps place it on Gumtree, then let people know about it. My hunch, based purely on intuition would be somewhere between £500 and £1000? Only because a lot of folkies are hard up. I suppose a wealth fan of both Bellamy and Bird might go higher...


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,What's it like?
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 11:01 AM

Bellamy was ever a contravertialist. Am I alone in imaginning that he might have painted something pretty much inaccrochable?

Unseen (and despite his truly magnificent scholarship) it is quite hard to guess.

A well-publicised auction might be the way to go. Is C Sharp house a complete no-go? (Or even one of the conventional auction houses if they are able to mount enough specialist material)


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: GUEST,GranAnn
Date: 29 Nov 17 - 04:39 AM

To my untutored eye it seems pretty ordinary. I can't post a picture on here ... am I allowed to post a link here if I upload it to Facebook? It's a full-length of him playing his sax, with a couple of blue birds flying round his head.


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Subject: RE: Boring, Bleating Old Traddy (Peter Bellamy)
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 29 Nov 17 - 09:26 AM

Yes please, FB link.

Would an auction house be worth approaching?
I know ... £commission, but against extra advertising in the right niches?


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