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Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)

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Subject: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Anglo
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 11:58 AM

I am sorry to be the one to announce here that Louisa Jo Killen, formerly Louis Killen, passed last peacefully last night.

She was a dear friend for well over 40 years, and we sang together as a trio with Tony Barrand in the 70s, as well as touring again in the States in the 90s.

Unsurpassed as a ballad singer, and a major, major force in English traditional music, she will be missed.

John Roberts


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:05 PM

A great loss. A very sad day, she was a very special person.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: jacqui.c
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:06 PM

Oh no! Another one I would have loved to meet - such a talent and, from the stories I've heard, a real character.

RIP Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: DebC
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:09 PM

One of the songs I first heard from Louisa. I am very sad today. As John said above, she will be missed and it is also quite apparent how far and wide her influence has been.

Debra Cowan

When Fortune Turns the Wheel

Come fill the cup, let's drink about
This nicht, we'll merry be
For friends and for harmony
Likewise my comrades three
To meet yence mair some other nicht
My secret joy reveal
For I now maun stray so far away
Til fortune turns the wheel

Nae love, nor gold, nor dress I'll take
My estimate of man
But when I meet a friend in need
To stretch a helping hand
To him I'll drink, for him I'll fetch
To him my mind reveal
And friends we'll be, whatever way
Blind fortune turns the wheel

And it's of a lovely lassie
Aye, it's her I'll justly blame
When dark misfortune frowned on me
She denied she knew my name
But friends by remorse its passed
To her I'll never kneel
I'll sweethearts find, both true and kind
When fortune turns the wheel

O ye dowie hill o Caledon
Likewise sweet Coquetdale
Where friends binds the firmest ties
And love tells the sweetest tale
Here's to my friends and to my foes
Ye'll ken I wish them well
That we all may meet some other nicht
When fortune turns the wheel

But it's some of my pretended friends
If friends ye may them call
They falsely turned their back on me
When mine was at the wall
Yet in a glass I'll drink their health
Ye'll ken I wish them well
That someday I may pay the debt
When fortune turns the wheel


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:12 PM

What a shock. I grew up listening to Louis on various Topic albums and loved his singing. I saw him regularly at Cecil Sharp House and always admired his incredible singing ability and his knowledge of songs. I really am sorry to have heard this news.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Dave Eyre
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:17 PM

Sad to hear this. A great singer and musician gone. Shame.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Ron Davies
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:20 PM

Indeed, what a shock.   He set the standard in so many songs--that's the voice I hear when I think of quite a few.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:35 PM

This is so sad. I grew up as a folkie listening to her. Fox Hollow, Old Songs, the odd session in the Press Room and the first Portsmouth (NH) Maritime Festival. She was the reason many of us sing the songs we sing. She was the reason some of us sing...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: RTim
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:47 PM

A Sad Day, a great singer and musician. A unique person in so many ways. RIP.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 12:58 PM

When I first met Louis, we got into a rather warm difference of opinion about what happened to the Oak trees in England. He was quite a character, and I admired him very much. This is so sad. Peace and love on you, Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Nancy King
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 01:02 PM

Another of the great ones gone. Sad news indeed. Rest in peace, Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 01:13 PM

Till we meet again in Fiddler's Green.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 01:16 PM

I just heard! My best wishes to all of you who knew and loved her.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Elmore
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 01:34 PM

Saw Louis perform many times over a 40 year span . Sorry to hear of Louisa Jo's passing.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 01:34 PM

Oh no another one of the great people who got me interested in traditional folk song in the first place gone. Naturally, as a fellow Geordie, I saw more than my fair share of him in the sixties before he left for America. However it was after his return many years later that I got to know him better through regular bookings at TATT in Nottingham and his visits to The National at Sutton Bonington. I last saw Louisa in March last year at Birtley Folk Club's 50th birthday where she sang magnificently.
A sad loss; RIP Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 01:57 PM

A very sad day. As Jeri said, Lou was the reason we sing some of songs we do...and even the reason for singing this style of music in the first place.

I have fond, warm memories...late night discussions over song origins in front of the refrigerator at Gerrett Warner's home during the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival...realizing while singing at a Press Room session that Lou was joining in on the chorus of song I'd -- oh my gawd! -- learned from one of his LPs...Lou "saving my life" with a sip from his glass of water when I had a coughing fit at a house concert...

Another voice stilled way too soon...

Linn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Marie Dufresne
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 02:03 PM

Such a voice and such a keeper of traditional songs. A consummate performer -another voice joins the heavenly choir --rest in peace Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 02:37 PM

From Louisa and Margaret on Facebook --

To all of Louisa Jo's Family and Friends,

I am very sad to pass on the news that Louisa Jo Killen died peacefully last night, August 9, at 9:15 PM, GMT, in her home, surrounded by friends and family. Before she died, we had written a message together to send to you all on Facebook and in emails, but things took a sudden turn for the worse and we never finished editing it. Here is that message from Louisa and Margaret:

It's been a long time since I have posted a message on Facebook, and now it is time to do just that. I have been seriously ill for several months. After my lung was removed in December, I was recovering relatively well, but then a third metastasis was found on my spine and my road to recovery is proving to be very rocky. I am in hospital right now for the second time in two weeks – the first time due to bi-lateral pneumonia, and now due to very high blood sugars, high potassium, and another infection. Some of this is due to the medications I have to take related to my cancer treatment, and some seems to be because of my deteriorated condition. I have been reluctant to share these problems with all of you because I've been through these crises before and I didn't want to bother people yet again with my health problems.

However, now I am not certain I will make it through the current problems. It's not that I expect to die tomorrow, but I do believe that end point is on the horizon. I have had a good life and I don't regret any part of it. I have had wonderful experiences and relationships and many of you have been very important in my life. Thank you for that - it wouldn't have been the same without you! I think of you all at different times and in different ways, and I always give thanks for my friends. The energy of my friendships sustains me in so many ways.

I tell you this because I would like to hear from you and I will do my best to keep in touch. And if you have any other healing powers please send them my way. I will try to keep you updated, and if I can't, Margaret will. She is here with me to help and support me.

Love to you all,

Louisa

****************************

Many of you had already written to Louisa and I want you to know that before she died I read those emails and messages to her. She was very touched by the love she felt from all of you. Thank you for those messages and your love. You made her life and my life very rich.

Funeral plans have not yet been made yet. I will post those plans on this site sometime in future.
Love,

Margaret


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 02:39 PM

There's an obituary at the SingOut! site by Heather Wood.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 02:44 PM

A great singer and a sad loss. I met Louis on a number of occasions in the middle to late sixties before the Northern Irish 'troubles' interfered with real life. I have always regard him as one of the great interpreters. My sympathy is with those he sang with in the past - Alister Anderson, Johnny Handle, Tommy Gilfellon and very much with his family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 02:53 PM

Louis was a good friend of myself and my wife who came from Durham City. I never knew Louis as a woman and found it hard to imagine the very male, bearded, drinking mate of old but it was obviously for him/her. We would like to pass on both our condolences to Margaret.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 03:37 PM

So sorry to hear this sad news. Condolences to her loved ones.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 04:05 PM

Very sad news. One of the finest singers in the British tradition.
Condolences to all his family and friends.
Lou - Rest in peace.

His voice will be available to old and new lovers of this
music through his many recordings. A goodly list at the
Louis Killen website:
http://www.louiskillen.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/pages/discog.html

Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 04:10 PM

What a sad loss. Louis was one of my early idols, a great singer.

I hadn't seen him/her in recent years (the last time I think was in the late 90s when he popped into Herga FC), but one of my wonderful memories was of him and Ray Fisher (also gone now) in a late night session at one of the last (UK) National Festivals, egging each other on to sing songs they liked.

I shall be getting out my vinyl of Ballads and Broadsides and having a listen in memory of one of the greats.

My condolences to her family.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 04:16 PM

Goodbye Louisa. It was very good to know you and have the privilege of calling you Friend. I was ever in awe of your singing, and my admiration of you as a person grew to new heights when observing the courage with which you faced the enormous challenges in your life.
You are free from pain now. Rest well, and thank you for the gift of song that you brought to us all. We who love traditiional music will never forget you.
My wife and I send condolences to Louisa's family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 04:45 PM

They don't come along very often ; but he/she was one of the very best.
...................... Mike


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 05:05 PM

Lou was a great inspiration to me in the early days in Hull, before he went to America. Unfortunately I only spoke to him briefly when he came home. Another sad loss. Condolences to the family.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Tyke
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 05:22 PM

RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: 12-stringer
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 05:27 PM

Condolences to family and friends. I've owned "Waters of Tyne," "Colliers Rant," and "Northumbrian Garland" on vinyl for close to 50 years.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 05:33 PM

I am really sad to hear this news. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 06:05 PM

Sad news. I had heard at Mystic that she was not doing well.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 07:46 PM

Oh, no! I am so sorry to read this. What a loss. I had also heard at Mystic that Louisa was ill, and a post by Deb C. on Facebook that I read this morning made me expect some bad news, but I'd hoped it would not be this. Thanks for the music, Louisa, and rest and sing in peace.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: sciencegeek
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 08:44 PM

Words fall too short for this... and most of them would make a sailor blush...

The singing in heaven just got a little louder...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 09:15 PM

In 1964 I came home after a tour (RAF) in Germany a serious Trad Jazz player and joined the Hermitage Jazz Club in Hitchen only to discover joint membership with the Friday Folk Club where Louis was MC and main performer . What an introduction to live Folk Song ! R I P Louisa


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: lisa null
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 09:39 PM

Oh what a loss.

Louisa was a tremendous influence on me-- opening me up to the special joys of broadside balladry when I first heard him at Fox Hollow in 1970. Over the years, we became pretty good friends as we performed many of the same places in the seventies and early eighties. In addition to being one of the great singers, she was also a bundle of information and strong opinions.

I had the great pleasure of hearing Peter Bellamy and Louisa Jo sing together in joint workshops at two festivals I helped organize at Wesleyan University: gorgeous strong, unblended harmonies combined with quick repartee followed by good natured argument into the wee hours.

Another thing I remember was her after/hours blues guitar. The last time she performed in the DC area, I believe, was at a wonderful house concert at Judy and Dennis Cook's. It was a fascinating experience as she shared a great deal about her childhood and youth. We will certainly miss her in this house-- I am so grateful that so much of her legacy will live on and on.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 12:39 AM

http://singout.org/2013/08/10/louisa-jo-louis-killen-passes/


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 12:45 AM

Louis was not a close acquaintance, and I never met Louisa. But Lou was one to whom the Folk Scene owes an incalculable debt, and I add my voice to the mourners.

Farewell, Lou.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Guest Bob Blair
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 01:14 AM

Another one gone!

Farewell old pal

Bob Blair


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 01:17 AM

We heard the sad news yesterday (Saturday) from Heather Wood at a Sing at Riverside Inwood Park in Manhattan. We were stunned, though some of knew she was quite ill.

Though I only knew her by repute and through recordings, it was, nonetheless, a shock to hear the news.

RIP, as I raise my glass in tribute...


Jay


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,bsrnacle ev broen tim reilly mary audette)
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 03:25 AM

Very sad to hear. What an influential amazing performer.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Sean Breadin (Sedayne / Blandiver)
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 04:29 AM

Sad news. One of the great voices. Much respect. RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band"
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 04:58 AM

May we offer our condolences. One whose influence was so strong in the revival days and a very sad loss to our folk music world today.

R.I.P.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Felipa
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 05:24 AM

I remember the bearded Louis well but I didnt even know about the major identity change - can't help but wonder how Lou's singing changed. She wrote a beautiful message (posted above) about her deteriorating condition, appreciation of a fulfilling life and acceptance of the inevitable. Sincere condolences to all who were close to Lou.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Felipa
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 05:33 AM

just read Heather Wood's obit in Sing Out and saw the photo of a pleasant-looking Louisa. The mention of the Pitman's Bible in Heather's articlereminds me of the story of the 3 wise men following the star - a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale pitched in the sky (I don;t recall te finer details)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Abby Sale
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 08:36 AM

Sadly for me, I barely knew her though those few meetings were fine ones. Yet I have felt that I knew her well since the 60's. Always a vital presence.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Wendy Price
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 08:52 AM

So sad to hear the news. Condolences to Margaret and family. His interpretation of ballads was beyond compare.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 09:07 AM

Very sad news indeed. I remember playing with Lou at Mystic back in the 80's and participating in the late night English folk singer blues workshop. A wonderful singer and person who will surely be missed by us all. RIP

Bob Hitchcock.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Mikaël
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 09:44 AM

RIP. What a great singer and musician.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 10:00 AM

Really sorry to hear this; she was a great singer and a great character.

There is an excellent article by Pete Wood in Living Tradition in 2002 about Lou's career:- Pioneer.

I last met Louisa at Soundpost where she talked about her life "before I became as beautiful as I am now!", and went on to sing a splendid rendition of "The Rose in June". Lovely memories.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 10:06 AM

Felipa, that must be from "Geordie Nativity" -- I laughed til I cried when I heard Lou do it at a house concert. Wish "Game of Darts" had been recorded, too -- Lou did that recitation at a Press Room performance back in the '80s. There were just a handful of us sitting at a table up front (Jay Smith having got the calendar out late again and had to call Tom and I to say Lou Killen was performing...) joining in most of the choruses. ("You know these songs, then...")

"Joe, a carpenter, who was a bit of a Ca PIT alist, and took a charabanc tour down to Bethlehem to see Nazarus Rovers play Bethlehem United..." "and God up on a cloud wi' a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale shouting 'This is the best Christmas I've seen in a long time!'"

Linn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 01:34 PM

How very low I feel... Stunning news, and and SUCH a tremendous loss. My inspiration for playing English Concertina. My heart goes out to all the family - blood and chosen - that were closest to her and helped her through the illness.

JosMorn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: sciencegeek
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 01:56 PM

Yes, Lynn... Louie's recitations were priceless. We'll just have to hear the voice in our heads.

UNCLE ALBERT'S SAD FAREWELL TO THE WORLD
by
Ed Pickford

There's a stain on the floor of the bar room
There's a cap in a case by the door
There's a verse on a stone in a churchyard
In memory of one who's no more...

If you turn second left at the High Street
Past an old pub called the Swan
There's a monument to my Uncle Albert
And though of not many heroes, he was one

He wasn't a chap prone to boasting
And he stood, I bet, only five feet
But those five feet he covered in glory
As you'll hear when his old comrades meet

It was the time of the first Yankee moon men
There was racing at Catterick as well
And I backed the six-to-four favourite
And he was, that is, till he fell

That night was the championship darts match
And the bar of the club was jammed full
We were playing at home in the final
And we started - being nearest the bull

The 'oohs' and the 'aahs' broke the silence
As both teams wrestled with might
A game to remember for ever
By all - even those who were tight

Some favoured cardboard some feathers
Some favoured heavy, some light
But all were experienced past masters
Of split second reckoning and flight

Then the nail that was holding the dart board
Bent with a fearful creak
And there wasn't another to replace it
'Least not straight to hand, so to speak

At last the club's Concert Chairman
Renowned for his improvised wit
Says "Put old Albert beneath it -
With his height he'll just about fit"

The company looked around at poor Albert
Then the Secretary got right to the nub
Saying "If he doesn't, the match will be forfeit
Come on Albert, for the honour of the club

Albert had no need of thinking
His blood rose to answer the call
And he jammed his head under the dartboard
Crying "For Queen, Club, Country an'all"

Not flinching not moving he just stood there
Except once when he went out the back
Until the game flowed in our favour
The opposition was beginning to crack

All that was needed for victory
Was five and double sixteen
Now the five was obtained very easy
Then silence fell on the scene

The player squared up with his arrows
It was Sidney, Albert's own son
Who'd played very well the whole evening
Until now when something went wrong

Now it could've been all the excitement
Or some smoke that got in his eye
Or it could've been his new wellies
'Cos he slipped just before he let fly

Albert stood stricken with horror
As he watched the oncoming dart
Then his teeth gnashed with pain as it hit his gold chain
And ricochet'd up through his heart

Did he fall like a bird when it's wounded?
Did he cry out in the midst of his pain?
No, he winced and he spoke in a whisper
"Come on, son. Finish the game"

Albert's blood dripped down his waistcoat
As Sidney took aim and then threw
Hitting double sixteen neat, sweet and clean
Though how he felt nobody knew

"Someone grab Albert!" cried the Steward
"Keep him upright!" they all roared
Hold him up by his armpits
If he falls he might damage the board...

There's a stain on the floor of the bar room
There's a cap in a case by the door
There's a verse on a stone in a churchyard
In memory of one who's no more.

Thank you, Lou.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,george henderson
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 02:00 PM

Lou was a great influence on many people. I saw him giving a talk on harmony in the tradition in Durham in the late 60's. Demonstrated his talk by singing harmonies with himself on previously recorded tapes. So skilfull. I met Lou on the Goilin club in Dublin a few years ago, in Blaydon a couple of years later and finally at the Birtley celebrations last year. Sadly missed. Condolences to all family and friends. RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 03:36 PM

I'm so sorry to hear this news. I only knew her from a few recordings, but what a wonderful legacy they are! My deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: CeltArctic
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 04:42 PM

I'm just listening to a recently purchased CD of Lou's: Ballads and Broadsides. I know I have seen Lou perform back in the Toronto Fiddler's Green Folk Club days (1970s), but I was a child then and admittedly merge all the iconic ballad singer performances together in my memory. Fortunately my father taped several of these concerts on reel-to-reels, so by the time I reached adolescence, and when all my peers were listing to The Police and AC/DC, I was immersing myself in the likes of John Roberts & Tony Barrand, Lou Killen, Peggy Seeger, Eric Bogle, The Friends of Fiddlers Green, Frankie Armstrong and the like.

It was on one of these reel-to-reels I heard Lou, performing with his then wife, Sally. It must have been a concert near Christmas time, judging by the wassail songs, and of course, the classic "Geordie Nativity" mentioned above. I still play that recording (which I copied onto a cassette tape before leaving home.)

I wonder, did Lou ever make recordings of this or any of the other Pitman's Bible stories? I would LOVE to get a copy if she did.

Anyway, I never got the chance to thank Lou personally for helping to shape my career as a balladeer. But I have certainly been grateful and I am honoured to carry on the tradition however I can.

Moira Cameron
Yellowknife, NT Canada


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 05:37 PM

Sad news indeed. I was lucky enough to share stages with both Louis and Louisa Jo, and was much encouraged by kind words from one of the greats. Magnificent singer and fine concertina player, of course.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 08:25 PM

I had an interesting car journey with Lou, Lou talked unreservedly about the early days of the folk revival and singing.
   I will never forget Lous' interpretaion of The Flying cloud which in my opinion was wonderful, he was also one of the people that inspired me to learn the concertina.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: CupOfTea
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 11:24 PM

So many incredible memories of Lou's singing and recitations. I wish I had photos of all the times, but there are indellible pictures in my head, mostly from Fox Valley.   ("There's a stain on the floor of the bar room..." comes to mind vividly)

One utterly unforgettable episode was chatting with Lou, Katy Early and Jenny Armstrong (daughter of George & Gerry)about Jenny's tattos. There was a vine that started in her instep, and wound around the leg... I remembered the astonished look on Lou's face as she altenately pulled up the leg and then pulled down the top of her shorts to show the top of the image as a green man whose face ended up in a very...inviting? sort of spot. Talking of traditions, and images and song on a very green island in the middle of the river with people who sang the tradition alive.

What a loss we have, but what a gift that remains in all he inspired. I have his voice in my head every time I sing "Threescore and Ten" -and I hope I always will.

Much sadness

Joanne in Cleveland.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 11 Aug 13 - 11:39 PM

I mostly knew Louisa through the fox valley folk festival. I said on my fb page when I heard the news. "It was an honor to have known you."   A truly great person.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 10:42 AM

Just catching up with Mudcat after a week away in Sidmouth and came across this very sad news. I last saw Lou being interviewed by Johnny Handle at Whitby festival a few years ago, and was hoping to hear more... a great loss to the folk scene as well as to her friends and family. RIP Lou.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 10:51 AM

Hadn't meant to post as Guest - looks like my cookie disappeared while I was in Sidmouth too, now reset.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 11:25 AM

not just you, Dick- I clearly remember Louis showing a young Alistair Anderson how the concertina worked- at the Bridge in Newcastle- mid 60s? RIP pal


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Dave Swan
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 12:15 PM

I had one chance to sing with Louis. At the end of a sea music festival in San Francisco all of us on the bill formed a crowd onstage at the end of the day. John Roberts grabbed me, and I found myself between John and Louis for the duration. I couldn't believe my good fortune to stand, and sing, between two of my heroes. HOWEVER, those two spent the set reaching behind me to poke, pinch, and shove each other like a couple of delinquent twelve year old choir boys. It lightened the moment considerably. A treasured memory.

My sincere condolences to Louisa's loved ones.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 12:22 PM

A true great with a voice that was only wonderful, excellent taste in song and a clear sense of connection with every rhyme and melody. Beyond that a marvelous, kind person; witty, knowledgeable, delightfully quirky at times, and always a true joy to be with.

With him I'll sit, with him I'll drink,
With him our minds reveal,
And friends we'll stay, whatever way
Blind Fortune turns her wheel.

Man or woman? How could that matter? I will love you till I die dear friend.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Essex Girl
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 02:12 PM

Sad news, I first saw Louis at Harlow Folk club in the sixties, and last saw Louisa at Sidmouth a couple of years ago. Another great loss to the traditional folk scene.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Mark Ross
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 03:18 PM

I knew Lou when I worked at the NY Folklore Center, and also hung out with him at the Lion's Head. Great performer, musician, and singer, and a wonderful human being.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Carol Mohr
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 03:34 PM

Lou was tremendous inspiration to me as a young musician. So many wonderful shows at the Ark, so many fine ringing choruses. So many of the best songs I know, they still play in my head in his voice. A great loss indeed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: GUEST,Richard W. Hughes
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 06:07 PM

The larks did not sing melodious today. I heard from Patrick Sky that Louis/Louisa Killen was dead.

I first met Louis, through Howard Glasser in Pittsburgh, the first year he came over. We bonded immediately, and our friendship lasted regardless of the years or miles between us. He got me up on stage at Philadelphia Folk Festival in 1968 to play tinwhistle. I cannot begin to acknowledge the debt that I owe to him, for so much that he shared with me. Many the time he stayed at our house, many the songs shared together, whisky and beer beyond all reckoning. Shooting old lever rifles with Walter Scott. Much laughter, and some tears. One of my fondest memories is the two of us playing Clarke whistles, Spalpeen Aroon and The Lament for the Books, and I could feel Louis' harmonies vibrating through my fingertips.

I am glad that Margaret was there at the end.

I think the Heavenly Choir suddenly found their hands filled with taut lines, as the Ship of Heaven cut through billowing waves on high, bound to God doesn't know where, spurred on by the great voice of a wild, shanty-woman - "neither man nor maid": "Mind yer response...and we'll have only honest Geordie sung here, no "proper King's English" (or ye might catch a rope across the knuckles)."

I was pleased to see the photo of Louisa posted by Heather Wood. I had written to Louisa that Louis had made a great man, so I had no doubt that Louisa would make a great woman.

Fair winds, old friend, till we meet again.
Love'
Richard and Carolyn
and our love and sympathies to all of you dear friends.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: DebC
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 06:17 PM

Richard w. Hughes-what a lovely lovely post and tribute. The photo of Louisa was taken in March 2011 when John Roberts and I visited. I had given Louisa the earrings that she is wearing in the photo; we both marveled that without knowing, I somehow had picked out a pair that matched the blouse she was wearing that day. She put them on and I said, "I have got to get a photo!" She was radiant. One of the times I was glad that I had an iPhone to document the moment.

I didn't know Louisa as long as many of you who have posted tributes, but did enjoy the few years of friendship that we did share.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 12 Aug 13 - 06:50 PM

Sad day and loss of a dear friend...I still treasure a lovely letter saying my singing had opening Lou's eyes to a different meaning in a particular song. A regular visitor to the renowned Giffard folk club in Wolverhampton from the early 60s onwards and a great influence on my early singing. Cheerio pal!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen, Aug 9 2013
From: r.padgett
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 01:24 AM

""Margaret has asked me to let you know that Louisa's funeral will be held this coming Friday, 16th August, 10.30 am, Saltwell Park Crematorium, Gateshead . There will, of course, be afters.""

Let us give this lovely man, lately a woman, the very best of send-offs.

Email received ~
Ray


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Subject: Obit: Louisa Killen
From: GUEST,Pete Wood
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 04:06 AM

I regret to inform Mudcat readers that Louisa Killen died on Friday 9th August after a long bout of illness. Lou's ex wife Margaret came over from the States two months ago to nurse her, which made her last few weeks as pleasant as possible. As a man most of his life, he was the finest English folksinger of his generation. A fine man, and latterly an elegant lady, always a joy to be with and to listen to. The funeral is at Gateshead Crematorium on Friday this week, 10.30 am.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 04:25 AM

Follow up:
Gateshead Crem is in Saltwell Park, on the south side of Gateshead. Afterwards will be at Birtley Catholic Social Club, the home of Birtley Folk Club.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 08:08 AM

I remember a funny incident. A number of years ago, Louis stayed with me at my parents' home in Paisley, near Glasgow. We met a few Scottish folkies in the pub and Louis got the first round in. He asked each one what they wanted and, to a man, they replied "a hauf" (a half). He duly returned with a tray holding six half pints of beer and was surprised when he was greeted with cries of "whit's this?". What he didn't realise wa that "a hauf" in Glasgow means a half gill of whisky!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,Liberty Boy (sans cookie)
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 09:30 AM

So sorry to hear this. A lovely person and a truly inspiring singer. When he came to sing at An Góilín we spent an afternoon trying to seek out relations of his Mum, who incidently was from Crumlin Village in Dublin, with hilarious results. As a woman she was really sympathetic after the death of my late wife Anne, who was a huge fan! Rest well Lou!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,flying cat moira
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 09:36 AM

unfortunately we will be unable to attend Louisa's funeral but i know the roof will ring on Friday morning and at 10.30 we will join you all there in our thoughts.

Moira and Malc


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 02:03 PM

This iws so sad. When Louisa was Louis, I met her when she was volunteer coordinator at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, late 80's-early 90's. What a privilege it was to have such a great singer in our midst. She performed in our sea music concert series and at our sea music festivals. Personally, Louisa was a great inspiration to me, with that distinctive voice, subtle and supple concertina accompaniment, and magnificent interpretation of traditional song. There was no guile in louisa. She let you know where she stood, as honest a person as you'll ever meet. My deepest condolences to family, close friends, and all who treasured her and learned from her.

-Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: stallion
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 05:26 PM

RIP Glad I met you.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,William Pint
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 08:42 PM

We can take a bit of comfort knowing that Louisa left behind a treasure trove of recorded material -- so many splendid songs sung to perfection with so much heart, exquisite phrasing, inflection, layers of meaning -- such richness.

How fortunate that future singers in the traditional style will have the opportunity to listen and watch and learn.

I had the pleasure and honor of knowing and singing with Louisa/Louis many times over the last 30 years or so. Every time was a revelation. I recall hearing Louis singing 'The Rose in June' and weeping openly -- transported by the song and his amazing performance.

A highlight was taking a walking tour of Newcastle with Louisa -- where almost every pub, street corner, bridge we passed was the cue to another song.

You will be missed and never forgotten. Thanks for everything Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 13 Aug 13 - 08:43 PM

Hmm. Odd. I feel a song coming on. I think I can hold off until oh, say, around Friday, August 16, at 10:30 AM, but that'll be US Eastern Daylight Time unless I happen to wake up early.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 Aug 13 - 06:08 AM

I was pleased to see Louis/a regularly at the Lancaster Maritime Festival, where s/he told me tales of sailing on the Hudson with Pete Seeger.

Thank you for the gift of all your songs.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: billybob
Date: 14 Aug 13 - 06:16 AM

My old vinal record of Louis and Sally singing " Bright shining morn"is one of my favourites, as is the treasured memory of them singing at Kitty's folk club in Thorpe le Soken.

RIP Louisa, the heavenly folk club is waiting for you .

Wendy


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 14 Aug 13 - 06:29 AM

I wish I could be there


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,George Frampton
Date: 14 Aug 13 - 07:25 AM

I'm very sad to hear this.

I first saw Lou perform at the Old Crown FC in Birmingham in 1975 when over from the States, and afterwards became aware of that justly celebrated contribution to the 'revival'. I knew then I was hearing somebody special.

Lou was very encouraging when getting The Volunteer sessions off the ground when booked at Sidmouth in 2006, and attended every day; also coming to the fore when Mike Waterson was unable to to attend in 2010, singing some of Mike's songs.

An inspiration to us all. Lou's spirit will live on!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,guest jules schneider
Date: 14 Aug 13 - 05:56 PM

such sad news!
i was very fortunate to visit Louisa and Margaret four weeks ago at louisa's apartment in Newcastle...and what a poignant visit it was! we hadn't seen each other in 20 years. shared many stories of the 60's and 70's--she immediately asked how my "kids" are---they are now 45 and 48 year-old women, each with two kids of their own. but in the day, they would spot Louie (then) at a festival ground and run to him shrieking "Louie Killen, Louie Killen", whereupon he would hoist them on his shoulders, amidst much giggling.
so our visit went---with happy reminisces in spit of the palpable pallor that hung in the air. Margaret was clearly the angel who made Louisa's burden so much more comfortable. thank you Margaret from one of Louisa's legion of life-long friends.
we ended our visit by coaxing the Pitman story of Napoleon at Waterloo out of her (it took about 2 seconds of "coaxing"). so much life came out during the telling--sparkling eyes and ruddy color returned during those 10 minutes---i will remember Louisa that way
    Jules Schneider


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,Greg&Rosalie Clarke
Date: 14 Aug 13 - 08:53 PM

Our sadness is tempered by the wonderful times we shared & the hours your singing gave us. The last time we saw Lou was at Old Songs Festival when Greg had the honor of sharing the stage with Lou in a presentation of Peter Bellamy's folk opera,"The Transports". Our memories will keep him alive. Thanks for the memories.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: Ed Brown
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 07:01 AM

We will continue to hear and see Lou each time we join in on the rising, rousing chorus: "And the larks they sang melodious at the dawning of the day".

Ed & Beth Brown


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,spiral earth
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 05:57 PM

Another tribute here http://www.spiralearth.co.uk/news/irwinstory.asp?nid=7868 on Spiral Earth

A fond farewell to Louisa Killen

A couple of months ago I was visiting a friend on the Scottish border in Berwick and, almost on a whim, called Louisa Killen. The reasons weren't entirely altruistic – I'd long had her in mind as a potentially useful source of information in my never-ending and increasingly foolhardy quest to assimilate enough information to write a biography of the very great (but very obscure) Irish travelling singer Margaret Barry. I'd never admit this in public, of course, but – human nature being what it is – an ugly and shameful crum of curiosity also came into play because…well, because the last time we'd spoken a few years earlier Louisa had been Louis.

She sounded breathless and doubtful on the phone. Ghastly stories of cancer, hospital appointments, unfriendly medication and extreme tiredness and warned that in her current condition conversation might be limited. But, she said, never mind all that…come anyway.

She was living in an imposing block of flats in Gateshead. Not Newcastle – Gateshead. They are a stone's throw apart but there's a big difference. This is where she was born 79 years ago, but many adventures had coloured her life between.

A smiling Louisa opens the door and we hug awkwardly. She's thin and frail and speaks softly, just a nice little old lady. A remote cry from the boisterous shanty singer of yore who set my pulses flying belting out Won't You Go My Way at a frankly terrifying decibel rate with her old friend Peter Bellamy in another century, but her spirit is unbowed and the welcome is gratifyingly warm. Her remarkable ex-wife Margaret, a clinical psychologist who's flown in from the States to offer support in her hour of need, attends to the tea as Louisa settles down in her favourite chair to talk.

And talk she does. For about two hours. Sure, there are breaks as she fights for breath and sentences are occasionally left teetering in the air and sometimes you strain to hear her, but she's animated enough and keen to reminisce…about Margaret Barry and a lot else besides.

She talks of her upbringing. An Irish family with three brothers who regularly sang anything and everything together at home – cowboy songs, blues, music hall, opera, Irish songs and the border ballads they were force-fed at school. And she explains how that wide repertoire stood her in good stead after she'd stumbled on the folk music revival via the Heritage Society in Oxford where the first artist she saw was Rambling Jack Elliott. Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner and, indeed, Margaret Barry also soon crossed her path.

There are stories of jumping ship from college in Oxford, her aborted career as a cabinet maker and her path through skiffle, the influence of the twin architects of the folk revival, Ewan MacColl and Bert Lloyd, and – true to the pioneering spirit of those early 1960s - the Newcastle folk club she helped found with occasional musical cohort Johnny Handle. At one point she even breaks into song with surprising vigour as she discusses the beloved ballads with which she's always been indelibly associated.

They included some of folk music's greatest treasures…Blackleg Miners, Pleasant & Delightful, Trimdon Grange Explosion, The Bramble Briar, The Banks Of Sweet Primroses…wonderful songs from a wonderful singer whose distinctive delivery – uncluttered, intimate, lyrical, affecting – seemed to define they were performed for years afterwards. Sometimes they were unaccompanied, sometimes they were sparsely arranged on concertina, guitar or even banjo; but the philosophy was always that the song is king.

She speaks fondly of her three decades in America, where her shanties, mining songs and tales of the industrial north east were lapped up and her Irish heritage led to six mad years singing with the group who'd given Irish music an international platform, the Clancy Brothers. She lived all over the place… Maine, Massachusetts, California, Montana…singing, lecturing, storytelling and indulging her passion for sailing. Married three times, she was to all intents and purposes the archetypal bearded, bawdy, beer-loving northern macho man.

Abhorrence of the Bush administration and the first indications of failing health finally brought her back to England for good about ten years ago and even then precious few knew the secret she'd long harboured but mostly suppressed… that deep, deep inside she had an increasingly urgent need to be a woman.

We don't speak of this, though she is so open about everything else there's little doubt she'd be happy to do so. But somehow, it just doesn't seem relevant. It's only afterwards you reflect on the magnitude of her courage when – in her seventies – she took the giant leap that would allow her true self to surface and underwent the relevant treatment to enable her to become Louisa.

Margaret tells me afterwards about the fears she'd had about changing gender. That nobody would understand. That she'd be a laughing stock. That she'd be rejected by friends and family. That it would destroy her reputation and end her career. It's a measure of her inner strength that she still went ahead with it. And perhaps a measure of those friends and family that they were so supportive.

Sure, there were ignorant sniggers behind her back and the gigs were less forthcoming after the gender change, but by then she was already starting to tackle the far more sinister threat of cancer which occupied her final years.

Despite it all, Louisa is remarkably cheerful this night in Gateshead and, whatever else, is perfectly content in her own skin. She certainly has no regrets. About any of it. "Folk music has been very good to me," she says. "I've been very lucky. I have no complaints."

And now, a few short weeks later, she is gone and we have to bid goodbye to one of the few remaining seminal figures of the early British folk revival. She was a great singer…yet, she was so much more than that.

As we said our goodbyes at the front door of her flat and hugged - less awkwardly this time - she laughed suddenly. "Never mind Margaret Barry," she says, "when are you going to write about book about me?"

If we'd only had that conversation a couple of years earlier…


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: Elmore
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 06:16 PM

Thanks Spiral Earth. I knew Lou Killen through his music, but due to this article, I feel like I know, and to some extent, understand Louisa Jo killen


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 07:50 PM

tribute


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Aug 13 - 08:07 PM

Lovely writing - thank you. I wish there could have been a book, too.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 05:50 AM

I was disappointed that the nation-wide Folk Show on BBC Radio 2 could only manage a one-minute obituary (55.42 to 56.40)plus one song, The Banks of the Sweet Primroses, on Louis/Louisa last Wednesday night.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,GUEST, Dwayne Thorpe
Date: 16 Aug 13 - 11:01 AM

The news is sad enough, but I'm not saying goodbye, because Louis isn't gone at all -- I'm with him singing his songs all the time -- and Louisa Jo isn't going anywhere either -- she stays with me in all she had the courage to reveal about the source of art -- any art. So either I think she is a Pitman gone tappy-lappy doun the lawlands or I decide that she is a woman in love who has gone to sea to find that scoundrel who ran off leaving only a song as his excuse. Either way, she/he isn't going anywhere. Like the rest of us, who are also staying right here.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen - funeral, 16 Aug 2013
From: GUEST,addison
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 01:38 PM

Obituary in The Guardian (currently online only, no doubt in the printed paper soon).
Click here


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 10:49 PM

Louis Killen obituary
Member of the Clancy Brothers who was one of the great singers and influential figures of the British folk revival


Derek Schofield
theguardian.com
Monday 19 August 2013

The decision in 2010 by the great Tyneside folk singer Louis Killen to live as a woman came as a surprise to the wider folk music scene in Britain, although he had first lived as a transgender person while based in the US in the 1990s. For a couple of years, Louisa Jo Killen, who has died at the age of 79, continued to sing as before, although illness increasingly reduced her ability to travel around the country.

Louis was born in Gateshead, to a working-class Catholic family. Singing was a natural part of family life – everything from hymns to Irish ballads, light opera and cowboy songs. One older brother brought home jazz records, which encouraged the teenage Louis to go to the Newcastle Rhythm Club, while another brother, who died young, played the English concertina, which Louis later used to accompany folk songs. After working as an apprentice cabinet maker, Louis moved to study at the Catholic Workers' College in Oxford when he was 21. By this time, he was singing a mixture of American, Irish and British folk and popular songs, but Oxford University's Heritage Society exposed him to a more traditional repertoire, which led him to the Ballads and Blues folk club in London, run by Ewan MacColl and AL Lloyd.

Louis had learned traditional songs from Alan Rogerson, a Northumbrian sheep farmer, and impressed MacColl when he sang these at the club. Back in Tyneside, Killen met Johnny Handle in a jazz club and in 1958 they established the region's first folk club, Newcastle Folk Song and Ballad; by 1961, they had adopted MacColl's folk club policy that singers should sing only songs from their own country.

MacColl invited Killen to sing on several of the acclaimed BBC Radio Ballads, made with the producer Charles Parker. For The Big Hewer, about coal mining, Killen introduced MacColl to the Elliotts from Birtley – a family of miners and singers, whose experiences were crucial to the success of the resulting programme.

As folk music grew in popularity throughout the 1960s, Killen became a regular guest singer in folk clubs and concerts all over the country. He was the leading figure in the wave of younger singers who emerged from behind the founding fathers, MacColl and Lloyd. He studied the style of the older traditional singers, was a fine interpreter of folk ballads, including the monumental sea song The Flying Cloud, and popularised songs that became folk club standards, such as The Leaving of Liverpool, Pleasant and Delightful and The Wild Rover.

Killen had a great influence on the singers that followed him into the folk revival, including Tony Rose and Peter Bellamy, and right up to the present day, with singers such as Jon Boden of Bellowhead.

With Handle, he recorded three EPs of north-east songs for Topic Records, which were later re-released on an LP, Along the Coaly Tyne (1966). He also featured on compilations, including The Iron Muse (1963) and the album of sea songs Farewell Nancy (1964). In 1965 came his first solo album, Ballads and Broadsides; the novelist Angela Carter wrote the sleeve notes, commenting on Killen's "unusually subtle and sensitive accompanied singing style".

The early interest in cowboy songs and jazz had given Killen a lifelong fascination with America. In 1966, he visited the US for three months, returning there to live in 1967. As he later said, he had the classic emigrant's motives: opportunity and freedom. His repertoire of British and Irish traditional songs found an eager audience and regular visits home helped to recharge his musical roots. He already knew the Irish-American singers the Clancy Brothers, and in 1971 replaced Bobby Clancy in the family group, recording four albums with them, including Live on St Patrick's Day (1973).

In 1974 he resumed his solo career, also performing briefly with his then wife Sally. His interest in ships and sea songs led to him building and sailing boats: he was a crew member on Pete Seeger's sloop Clearwater which spearheaded the clean-up of the Hudson river, and he sang at the Maritime Museum in San Francisco. Trips home become less frequent, but a major tour in 1991 drew audiences which confirmed that his fine singing had not been forgotten.

Killen returned to live in Gateshead 10 years ago; he resumed his British-based singing career, performing in concerts and festivals, sometimes in a duo with Mike Waterson, and he tutored on the folk music degree at Newcastle University.

Killen's third marriage, to Margaret Osika, ended before he returned to Britain, but their friendship endured.

• Louis, later Louisa Jo, Killen, folk singer, born 10 January 1934; died 9 August 2013


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Ellen Vannin
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 06:07 AM

'Louis Killen Obituary'. Louis Killen didn't die, Louisa Jo Killen died. I understand that some people have difficulty using the correct, female, pronouns when taking about the past, and that when a performer who is known by more than one name dies it is necessary to refer to both names, but to headline this just 'Louis Killen' is to deny her very existence. Louisa Jo existed. She always existed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 01:03 PM

Editor's choice, not the author's.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Ellen Vannin
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 02:13 PM

Expected better of The Guardian.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: RiGGy
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 01:47 PM

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Lou in the mid-90s and having it published by CONCERTINA & SQUEEZEBOX magazine. Great historic pictures, too ! http://riggy.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/louis-killen-interview.pdf


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: nutty
Date: 23 Aug 13 - 06:11 AM

What a great article
Thanks to RiGGy, for posting it


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 12:40 PM

The New York Times has published an obituary. I was wondering if they would.

Louisa Jo Killen, Folk Singer With a Booming Tenor, Dies at 79

By Paul Vitello
New York Times
August 25, 2013

The English folk singer known for most of his life as Louis Killen was a bawdy, bearded pioneer of the 1950s British folk revival, a member of the Clancy Brothers and a soloist admired for giving voice to forgotten miners and sailors in traditional ballads.

In 2010, when he was 76, Mr. Killen surprised his fans and many of his friends by resolving to give voice to another sort of lost life. He began living openly as a woman, performing in women's clothing and a wig. In 2012, he underwent a sex-change operation.

Adopting the name Louisa Jo Killen, she continued to perform for almost two years, by most accounts winning over most of Louis Killen's fans and all of his friends. She died at 79 on Aug. 9 at her home in Gateshead, England, from a recurrence of a cancer diagnosed six years ago, said the singer's former wife, Margaret Osika.

As Louis, Ms. Killen had been among the most influential voices of England's postwar folk music scene, as both a collector and performer of 19th-century ballads and folk songs chronicling the working lives of seamen, coal miners, mill workers and laborers. Folk archivists still consider the dozen recordings made by Louis Killen in the late 1950s and early '60s for the British folk label Topic Records to be the definitive versions of traditional English songs like "The Shoals of Herring," "Black Leg Miners," "Pleasant and Delightful," "The Flying Cloud" and "The Ship in Distress."

Singing a cappella or accompanying himself sparsely on the concertina, Louis Killen was known for his lyrical tenor — a "terrifying decibel rate," as one British critic described it — and a haunting ability to capture the aching loss at the heart of many traditional songs.

"A lot of his songs are not of the jolliest in content," a reviewer for The Living Tradition, a traditional-music magazine published in Scotland, wrote in 2002. "But in his hands, you are impressed by the dignity, rather than the misery."

Moving to the United States in 1966, Mr. Killen met and became friends with his fellow folk singer and archivist Pete Seeger, with whom he performed often over the years. In 1969 he was enlisted as a member of the maiden crew — along with Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Len Chandler, Don McLean and a half-dozen other singers — on the first voyage of Mr. Seeger's Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

During the seven-week journey from South Bristol, Me., where the sloop was launched, to the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, performances by Mr. Seeger and the crew basically paid off the mortgage on the boat, which has since become the floating soapbox and standard-bearer of Mr. Seeger's campaign to clean up the Hudson River.

"Louis was my education about the music of the United Kingdom," Mr. Seeger said in an interview on Wednesday. "He knew all the dialects, taught me many songs." Mr. Seeger sang one over the phone. It was quite bawdy — another genre of traditional song in which Mr. Killen was expert.

In 1970, Mr. Killen joined the popular Irish folk singing group the Clancy Brothers. Fluent in the dialects and song catalogs of traditional Celtic, Scottish and English music, he was drafted to replace Tommy Makem, who had left for a solo career. He stayed for six years, making four albums with the group, including a two-disc "greatest hits" set " in 1973.

In all, Mr. Killen contributed to more than 60 albums in his half-century career, including about a dozen in which he was the featured artist. Until returning to England about five years ago, he performed continuously at small clubs and was a mainstay at folk and maritime music festivals. He lectured widely on English traditional and folk music.

Louis Joseph Killen was born on Jan. 10, 1934, in Gateshead, one of four sons of Mary Margaret and Frank Killen. Both parents and all the brothers sang in the church choir and played stringed instruments or the concertina by ear.

Mr., Killen was studying carpentry at Catholic Workers' College in Oxford when he attended his first folk concert. Enthralled by the music, he came under the influence of the traditional-music revivalists Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd, and by 1961 he had quit his job making cabinets and coffins to pursue music as a career.

He described his early attraction to folk music in a 1993 interview with The Los Angeles Times. "To me," he said, "folk music springs from the unconscious reflection a community has of itself. It's their music, their experience. My survival is based on how the audiences respond to my singing and stories. When we 'connect,' I can't even describe the charge I get."

His decision in 2010 to live as a woman followed almost 30 years of agonizing debate with himself. Ms. Osika, who was married to Mr. Killen from 1979 to 2000, knew about the conflict early, but fans and friends were surprised, she said in a telephone interview on Wednesday, "because Louie had been a very masculine man," known for his pub exploits and racy stories.

She is one of three former wives; the others are Shelly Estrin and Sally Jennings. A brother, Martin, also survives.

Ms. Killen told friends in her last days that she had never regretted her life as a man — or her life, however brief, as a woman. Her only disappointment was in not having acquired a more feminine voice. The singer's trademark strapping tenor remained a constant.

"That part of the change didn't work, I guess you might say," Ms. Osika said.

-----

I appreciate that they named and linked those key songs.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 12:44 PM

Here's the 1993 Los Angeles Times article mentioned in the NYT obituary: Folk Singer Hears Call of the Sea Chanteys.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 09:40 PM

Thank you for those articles, Becky. In fact I appreciate all the articles that have been referenced in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 10:18 PM

Re the New York Times obit, one error: "Shoals of Herring" is NOT a traditional ballad. It was composed by Ewan MacColl for one of his Radio Ballads series.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Sean Breadin (Sedayne / Blandiver)
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 04:12 AM

Re the New York Times obit, one error: "Shoals of Herring" is NOT a traditional ballad. It was composed by Ewan MacColl for one of his Radio Ballads series.

Neither is 'The Black Leg Miners' but I fear this isn't the place for such petty quibbling on minor points of pedantry and provenance. Most people reading the obituary won't know, much less care, about the differences much less the finer nuances of the term 'Traditional', or if such nuances have any currency at all in 2013.

The legacy of Louis Killen, the Great North East Folk Song & Ballad Singer, is the story of Folk and all its diverse tributaries that go into the making of a mighty water regardless of any misplaced purism that such-and-such a drop is any more real than any other. He's up there with his old mate Peter Bellamy in that respect. They were both true masters of their art; and that mastery was, and always will be, inspirational and due cause for thanks and celebration.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 04:18 AM

Blackleg Miner [sic] more claim to traditional status than Shoals of Herring whose provenance has never been in question, Sean. A bit of 'tu quoque' one feels in order when you start accusing people of "quibbling", LoL!

Regards

~M~


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 05:11 AM

Sorry, Michael - anywhere else I'd be only too happy to play, but not on this thread...

Blackleg Miner - Louis Killen & Colin Ross (1962)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 05:27 AM

Agreed, in general. So why post on it in such dubious terms?

But ~~~~

Blackleg Miners (Roud 3193)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 06:13 AM

Like I say, Michael, the legacy of Louis Killen is one defined by (and defining of) the very inclusivity of The Folk Idiom, however so derived, contived, or else bickered over in the backrooms of the Mudcat Cafe. Those very 'Tradition Idioms' (to use Bellamy's term) have seeded, rooted, fruited in some land the lore calls Folk where the rule is very much that Folk is as Folk does, regardless.

That's a fine legacy right there, one that gives us pause to ponder the notion of Traditional as perceived by outsiders and insiders alike. Empirically, and pragmatically, I'd say Shoals of Herring is just as Traditional in that sense as Blackleg Miners though I wouldn't expect many here to agree with me.

Louis Killen - Shoals of Herring


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 07:09 AM

A barren argument, Sean; & as you say rather out of place here. But you raised the topic & tried rather disingenuously to retract on it. So I will point out that Louis himself would never have consented to Shoals Of Herring being attributed as 'Traditional' in any publication or on the apparatus of any record with which he was connected. With Blackleg Miner, he did ~~ by default, if not specifically, as on The Iron Muse, with Bert's notes about variants in Nova Scotia &c.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 08:01 AM

Louisa. She. On her obit thread you could at least acknowledge her right to be her real self.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 08:48 AM

No retraction, Michael. Just out there (in the real world), the distinction is ultimately meaningless; just as in here (in the folk world), the distinction is debatable despite it being one of the shibboleths of the entrenched Revival Orthodoxy, none of whom (least of all yourself) I would I ever expect to agree with a more radical perspective. Forgive me, I've just re-read Dave Harker's Fakesong (OU, 1985) and agreed with every word - especially the bit where he talks about favouring description over prescription.

In the Life, Art and Example of Louis Killen he gave equal weight to the substance of material generated by the perception of The Tradition, whatever the mechanics of that Tradition are believed to have been. And just as The Shoals of Herring was written, then so was The Blackleg Miner - and subsequently set it in stone and sourced (if I remember rightly) to a nameless singer in Barnard Castle. Two points here:

1) Barnard Castle is geographically & culturally far removed from Delaval & Seghill, and whilst many miners were indeed peripatetic, in the Durham Coal-field there are far more extreme examples of milantism than anything you'll find in Northumberland. We might think of Chopwell or Stanley which were notorious in their day. Even to this day they have streets named after Marx and Lenin, who along with Kier Hardie, are proudly depicted on the banner of the Chopwell lodge of the NUM. You won't find anything quite as radicalised in Seghill or Delaval - indeed, the recent death of Lord Hastings has brought to an end over 900 years of a familial feudal continuity going back to the Norman Conquest.   

2) I grew up near Delaval & Seghill and had many friends and family there across the years & generations of my childhood. I always found it interesting that whilst my middle-class folky school-teachers were fond of playing us the Steeleye Span recording of Blackleg Miner in order to tell us about Our Folk Heritage, no one out there in the Real World - none of my friends or family who included very real traditional singers & musicians - had actually heard of it. In recent years we've come to know why that is - because A L Lloyd collected it from the Piltdown Man.

Whatever the case, the fact remains that both of these songs are absolutely crucial to the political weight of the Folk Revival, and were rightly sung with equal passion by Louis Killen. The recordings I've linked to are legendary in the very emotive sense of that Tradition irrespective of who wrote them, and why. I notice that The Trimdon Grange Explosion has a Roud Number (3189) despite the fact that we knew who wrote it (and on what occasion) and regard his song-craft as every bit as gifted and politically pointed as that of Ewan MacColl, who was born 5 years before Tommy Armstrong died. I wonder, will Shoals of Herring ever get a Roud number?

Louis Killen was possessed of a crusading cultural zeal, as I recall it, and have never forgotten it, vividly, down the years right up to when I last heard him sing in a singaround at The Cumberland Arms in Byker maybe 5 years ago. Part of that - a huge part of that, I'd say - has to be the aforementioned inclusivity of material to the cultural, political & human cause of Folk, which is its very life-blood and from which we may draw strength.

Where I belong, grown men weep to sing these songs - and we have Louis Killen to thank for nailing them with the definitive mastery which will, I'm sure, outlive the whole bally lot of us.   

Louis Killen - The Trimdon Grange Explosion


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Elmore
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 11:36 AM

No place for an argument. RIP, Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 11:49 AM

Not an argument, Elmore - just an affirmation (and celebration) of the priceless legacy of one of the greatest folk singers of the revival arising from a point that I couldn't see go unchallenged as their life, art & example was so much more than that.

With Respect, Remembrance and Gratitude.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 03:01 PM

From the Independent -

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/lou-killen-singer-in-the-vanguard-of-britains-folk-revival-8784372.html


Lou Killen was one of the most coruscating and most commanding folk singers of Britain's post-war folk revival – and, indeed, of all time. Once Killen sang a song, it had the Killen imprint. Certain traditional songs, most famously "The Flying Cloud", came stamped with "Property of Lou Killen".

Part of the second wave after Bert Lloyd and Ewan MacColl, he created an unparalleled body of work: as a soloist; in duos with singers Isla Cameron, Peter Bellamy, Sally Killen and Mike Waterson; in collaborations on the McColl-Charles Parker-Peggy Seeger Radio Ballads; with Pete Seeger; and, between 1971 and 1974, with the US-based Clancy Brothers – in which he described his role as "Tommy Makem Jnr", referring to the man into whose shoes he had stepped. In folk musician Emily Portman's words, Killen "closed the gap" between the generations, similarly influencing today's Alex Neilson of Trembling Bells, Jackie Oates and James Yorkston.

In 1966 Izzy Young nailed his colours to the mast in Sing Out!, North America's folk magazine of record. In an article republished in The Conscience of the Folk Revival – The Writings of Israel "Izzy" Young (2013), he wrote: "Mr Killen brings you back to the word, to the story, and all unscathed by accompaniment. And when he uses the concertina it is only to help the word, not hide it in adornment. Songs you've forgotten magically have story lines again."

Louis Killen was the youngest of four sons born to Mary Margaret (née Nolan) and Francis Killen in 1934 on Tyneside. "We didn't think of ourselves as Northumbrians," Killen told me in 1991. "We were Geordies because we came from the industrial Tyne." Growing up he heard songs, sometimes in their genteel parlour form, that he took to be Geordie songs without knowing what they were. At home there were sing-arounds with repertoire fed by wireless programmes such as Country Magazine and songbooks like Catcheside-Warrington's Tyneside Songs. "My mother was Irish but I didn't get any mass of Irish traditional songs from my mother," he said. "What we got was Thomas Moore songs. I have this whole sense in my mind of the six of us singing together. Everything was grist to the mill in our family. None of us read music but we all had great ears."

Jazz and country music fed his head. At 16 he delivered a lecture based on "a couple of chapters of Mezz Mezzrow's Really The Blues" at Newcastle Rhythm Club. In 1957, while staying at Oxford's Catholic Workers' College, he discovered the university's folk music Heritage Society. His knowledge of folk music expanded exponentially. Returning to Tyneside he co-founded Newcastle's Folk Song & Ballad Club in 1958, one of the nation's first folk clubs.

In 1959, using his British Rail staff pass, he visited Ballads & Blues in Holborn, London's leading folk club hosted by Lloyd, MacColl and Seeger. Having impressed MacColl on a previous visit, that Saturday he was offered work on the second Radio Ballad, "Song of a Road" (1959), about the building of the M1, which was due to start the following Monday. He raced back, grabbed his gear, lost his job and started a long-running collaboration with MacColl & Co ("until '64 or so, when we drew apart") that brought them into the orbit of the thriving Newcastle folk scene.

Two Radio Ballads followed with Killen's involvement: "The Big Hewer" (1961), about mining, and "On the Edge" (1963) about teenagers. Coevally Killen masterminded an ambitious project of North-eastern songs, later anthologised as Along The Coaly Tyne and originally released as a triptych of EPs during 1962. Charles Fox in The Gramophone hailed him "an extremely fine young singer from Gateshead". That year he was one of the musicians that joined the TUC-sponsored Centre 42 performing arts tour. "To actually earn a living singing was the Ninth Wonder of the World; as far as I was concerned, it was a dream that I didn't really think I could attain until I was 28."

In April 1967 Killen emigrated to the US, his consummate Ballads And Broadsides (1965), with notes by Angela Carter and its buccaneering ballad "The Flying Cloud", creating an unrivalled calling card, honed ballads and nautical songs a speciality. The US remained his base until he returnedto Gateshead in 2004.

As Louisa Killen she courageously chose to live her last years as a woman. Initially she told only close friends about her wish to undergo transgender treatment. By 2011 she had successfully lived as Louisa Killen and was accepted for more advanced transgender treatment. Throughout Margaret proved a tower of strength and for extended stints returned from the US to care for her ex-husband.

Ever-opinionated, at a concert together in 2008, Louisa wondered aloud about the latest folk singers, "Do they ever sing these songs for pleasure without it being performance?" Sometimes doctrinaire, sometimes arrogant, as Izzy Young wrote, Killen was "the most uncompromising of the second generation of English city folk singers."

Louis Joseph (later Louisa Jo) Killen, singer and musician: born Gateshead, Co Durham 10 January 1934; married 1966 Rochelle (Shelly) Hope Estrin, 1972 Sally Hamilton Jennings, 1979 Margaret Jeanne Osika; died Gateshead 9 August 2013.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Reinhard
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 01:00 AM

Blandiver, Shoals of Herring is Roud 13642.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 04:50 AM

Thanks for that, Reinhard. I'd always assumed the Roud index to be a list of bona fide Traditional Folk Songs, and that Michael was quoting the Round Number of The Blackleg Miner to drive this point home. So - curiouser and curiouser!

Anyway, not sure if anyone's linked to this yet:

Louis Killen - Pleasant & Delightful, The Bridge 50th, 2008


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 05:39 AM

What criteria, then, does Steve Roud use? I think we should be told.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 05:49 AM

GUESTcg: Thank you for your comment on my post yesterday. As I was referring specifically to recordings which Lou had made some years ago, clearly identified as being by "Louis Killen", I considered it in that context appropriate to use the male pronoun. I still consider it so, and hope nobody will take any principled exception to this.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Jim Martin
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 07:00 AM

The Guardian eventually got around to publishing their obit (hard copy) on Mon 26/08!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 07:21 AM

What Michael said.

I think it's highly commendable in the generally conservative & otherwise reactionary realms of the Folk World that Louis' gender-reassignment was so widely accepted. I know it's not universal & it's still the elephant in the room impeding the discussion of her recent passing with certain of his old friends, fans & colleagues.

It's odd but as a part-time Folky (at best) all the transsexual people I've known personally over the years (all erstwhile men, about 5 in all, excluding LJ) have been Folkies. In a realm where the demarcations between Traditional & Revival & Regional & Racial & Authentic & Pure Blood are usually carved in stone by a Purist Priesthood, I find it heartening that Personal Gender is accepted as being mutable, despite a general conservatism with respect of radicalised sexual politics per se. Well I remember having to take one of such person to task for homophobic gestures in one of her songs, during which she admitted to her disapproval of male homosexuality - & saw no problem, as a woman, in feeling that way. Go figure, as they say. As a happily heterosexual male I walked proudly among my LGBTQIA brothers and sisters at Manchester Pride at the weekend, roundly scolding the Catholic & Christian Adam & Steve Hate Brigade handing out their rancid phobias in pamphlet form.

RIP Louisa Jo. With more admiration & respect than I could ever put into words.

Louisa Jo Killen - The Bonny Bunch of Roses


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Steve Roud
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 11:19 AM

Shoals of Herring has been collected at least twice, to my knowledge, from traditional singers, so it goes in the Index. It's not the origin of a song which makes it 'folk' or 'traditional' but what happens to it if it is picked up and sung/passed on within a tradition.
SR


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 12:25 PM

Many thanks, Steve. I should have remembered that history. Greatly appreciate your prompt response.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 12:28 PM

... tho I take it you would agree with my contention above that Louis would not have attributed it as "Traditional" on the apparatus to any of his records or publications, but that it would have said "MacColl" inside the brackets after the title?

~M~
Previous thread on the song shoals of herring. Some of the discussion is about Killen's singing of it


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 04:47 PM

So - a faux traditional idiomatic folk song becomes a real traditional folk song simply because it's collected from someone who somehow qualifies as a 'Traditional Folk Singer'? Baffling. But in 40 years of random folkery I confess to being just as baffled now by the murky minutiae of Folk Jurisprudence as ever I was.

I wonder, does that mean Jane Turriff's rendering of Away Out on the Mountain get a Round number too?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 28 Aug 13 - 07:20 PM

Away out on the Mountains is Roud No 15887, though the jane Turriff recording is not listed - 2 American versions are included though.....
Derek


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 05:09 AM

MGM - I have, I believe I have seen a couple of posts where you have protested about someone using an inaccurate form of your name. Please extend the courtesy the require for yourself to Louisa.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 05:40 AM

I would point out, c.g., that it was not the name that was in question in the post of mine to which you took exception, but the referential pronoun. When a record was made under the name of Louis Killen, I consider it would be inaccurate to use any other than the male pronoun in reference to the singer performing on it. Any work done after the time the name and the gender-identity had changed would be a different matter; but none such was in question in that particular post. I am sure you mean well, but your feminist principles appear to me to have overcome your judgment on this occasion.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,c.g.
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 06:00 AM

Not feminism - asking for courtesy for transpeople, who are a group that suffers discrimination even from people who would never dream of being racist or sexist. The correct thing to do is to use the pronoun 'she' for transwomen, even in the past. Transwomen are not 'men who want to be women' or 'men who change into women'. They are people who have always had a female gender identity but a male body. What research there is suggests that this has a physical origin.

Do what you think right. I am not prepared to turn Louisa's obit thread into a row with you.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 01:08 PM

When someone has appeared, acted and functioned as a man, with a male name, for most of a lifetime but then publicly changed name and gender, there seems to be no right choice of name and pronoun that won't annoy someone: and that's a shame when we are (I hope) all absolutely united in our gratitude for the singing and saddened by the death.

FWIW I'm with Michael in considering it appropriate to use the name and pronoun corresponding to the gender at the time of the recording or event in question.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Sep 13 - 04:05 PM

Making up for the short item on Folk Show on BBC Radio2, today's Radio4 obituary programme Last Word broadcast a longer tribute today (with some song clips too). The item is at 11:15-16:20.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 13 - 01:56 PM

I hear there are vague plans for concerts to mark the passing of a great original performer- anyone got details?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 09 Sep 13 - 12:18 PM

Last Word 's piece included the host speaking to "her friends, fellow musicians Sam Lee and Sandra Kerr".

It has some nice samples of Louis singing, too...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 11:29 AM

Guest, plans for a memorial concert are well advanced- 18 January at
Caedmon Hall in Gateshead, Louis(a)'s home town...info from Gateshead Council


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Subject: RE: Obit: Louisa Jo Killen (1934-2013)
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 11:55 AM

Lou's friends here across the pond will honor her memory at the various venues and festivals as they come up... it's a big hole to fill.


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