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AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away

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THE SEAMEN'S HYMN


Related threads:
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A.L. Lloyd - 'Songs of the People' (34)
A.L. Lloyd biography - help needed (44)
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GUEST,Nick Dow 28 Jul 14 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,# 28 Jul 14 - 08:35 PM
Reinhard 29 Jul 14 - 01:00 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Jul 14 - 03:32 AM
mikesamwild 29 Jul 14 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Jul 14 - 04:52 AM
Brian Peters 29 Jul 14 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Jul 14 - 05:23 AM
MGM·Lion 29 Jul 14 - 05:29 AM
Brian Peters 29 Jul 14 - 05:42 AM
MGM·Lion 29 Jul 14 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Jul 14 - 06:33 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Jul 14 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Jul 14 - 07:47 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Jul 14 - 09:22 AM
Lighter 29 Jul 14 - 11:35 AM
Dave Sutherland 29 Jul 14 - 12:17 PM
Herga Kitty 29 Jul 14 - 12:37 PM
Les in Chorlton 29 Jul 14 - 12:40 PM
Lighter 29 Jul 14 - 12:46 PM
Brian Peters 29 Jul 14 - 01:13 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Jul 14 - 01:22 PM
Les in Chorlton 29 Jul 14 - 01:43 PM
Lighter 29 Jul 14 - 03:56 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 14 - 05:45 PM
Lighter 29 Jul 14 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 29 Jul 14 - 07:44 PM
Herga Kitty 29 Jul 14 - 08:10 PM
Lighter 29 Jul 14 - 08:52 PM
Charley Noble 29 Jul 14 - 09:38 PM
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Les in Chorlton 30 Jul 14 - 04:06 AM
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Lighter 30 Jul 14 - 08:55 AM
Phil Cooper 30 Jul 14 - 08:58 AM
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Les in Chorlton 30 Jul 14 - 09:19 AM
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Subject: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 28 Jul 14 - 08:13 PM

OK if I am wrong I deserve a serious verbal kicking, I REALLY want to be wrong, because I met Bert and respected him. but the more research I do the more worried I am about some of Berts industrial songs,

I know he wrote the odd verse, to the and the Coal owner and the pitmans wife but I have found the following

With my pit boots on appears to be a word for word take from William Stokes of Chew Magna Somerset 'With my kettle Smock on' with pit boots substituted and a different tune

The tune for the weaver and the Factory maid seems to be taken from Elizabeth Mogg Doddington Somerset from her fragment The Irish Boy and attributed to William Oliver of Widnes who appears to have sung only one other song if he existed at all.

Underneath her apron appears to be a hybrid version. So it goes on...

I have no real axe to grind and no particular interest in industrial Folksong I just keep coming accross tunes and words that sort of appear to be in the wrong place, if that makes any sense. Warning bells keep going off and a nasty voice keeps whispering , We've been taken for a ride here!! Please tear me to shreds I want to be wrong, or am I going to have to agree with Dave Harker that AL LLoyd WAS the one that got away


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,#
Date: 28 Jul 14 - 08:35 PM

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=110171

Malcolm Douglas posted that a number of years back.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Reinhard
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 01:00 AM

See the thread Bertsongs


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 03:32 AM

thanks! Not like me to be years behind everybody else (No change there then}
Nick


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: mikesamwild
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 04:32 AM

Most CDs of trad songs by contemporary singers have sleeve notes that tell how they conflate and tweak songs to suit their interpretation. They don't usually give sources or say what they made up themselves. At the latest Bradfiled Trad weekend vic Smith played a long recording of Gordon Hall where Gordon explained the same process which he used.

What annoys me is how Bert and McColl 'alledgedly' invented people to authenticate their words and songs. Their motives would be interesting to understand, hoax, academic respectability, authority, pathology???

I'm sure it goes on all the time to afford authority to the academic.like all foundation myths.
To ordinary singing people you just tweak the words or make mistakes. it's only when we get into academia and reputations that it seems to matter very much.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 04:52 AM

I what you mean. I change words all the time, and the current issue of Living tradition has a piece in about me in which I extol the virtues of just that, but swiping a tune inventing a singer and publishing it in the Journals for study is something different, even if you believe the end justifies the means.
I'm just sad about Bert, now I've finally caught up with every one else. At least I got there on my own, is ignorance bliss?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 05:11 AM

"The tune for the weaver and the Factory maid seems to be taken from Elizabeth Mogg Doddington Somerset from her fragment The Irish Boy and attributed to William Oliver of Widnes who appears to have sung only one other song if he existed at all."

As you now know, Nick, we did discuss this one - and others - a year or two back. Like you I'd be interested to know more about 'William Oliver', but Roy Palmer's article 'The Weaver in Love' (FMJ, 1977) did turn up Lloyd's source for the tune, which was in the Kidson MS attached to a song called 'T'Owd Weaver' (which tells a similar kind of story). Even on the basis of what he communicated to Palmer as Oliver's original text, though, it's clear that Lloyd had made some significant changes before relaunching the song. The fact that the factory maid was wealthy and thus unattainable seems to have got muddied somewhere!


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 05:23 AM

Take look at Roud 3334 same tune I think. What's your take Brian?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 05:29 AM

I am somewhat exercised by the thread title, Nick, which you appear to cite as from a formulation by Dave Harker: "got away" from what, precisely -- or, if in some way rhetorical or metaphorical, "got away" in what sense?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 05:42 AM

Virtually the same tune, Nick. Obviously attached itself to two entirely different songs - or been borrowed somewhere back in the 19th century.

Michael, I'd have thought that "the one that got away" refers to the fact (or at least Harker's assertion of the fact) that the editorial practices of collectors from previous ages, (e.g. Percy, Scott, Baring-Gould, Sharp, etc.) had already been subjected to scrutiny and found wanting. Lloyd's reputation - in Harker's day, at least - remained intact.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 05:54 AM

Ah, thank you, Brian; that makes good sense. In fact, a somewhat abridged form of "got away with it"?

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 06:33 AM

Sorry Mick typical Nick Dow shortcut.

Brian, yes it's chicken and egg I suppose. I think the Somerset version might be related to The Bonnie Irish Boy {not to be confused with The Labouring Boy} Shirley Collins got a version from an Irish bus conductor in the 1950's
With a bit of adaption it might be worth singing. This is sort of where we came in isn't it?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 07:22 AM

I don't expect anybody to read the 300 + posts on the thread shown above - I think Bert has been 'outed' for a number of 'crimes'. One I think he should be forgiven for is attaching 'Donald where's your trousers' to Jack Orien.

As to the motives of Bert & Ewan surely they were intent on popularising the music of working people and showing that when people came to the factories and mills from the land to the Industrial Revolution they brought their songs and creativity with them. In the process the songs evolved to reflect the new working circumstances in which people found themselves.

As Marxists they new the 'theory' and if they had to generate some songs and some sources they just did it.

They were clearly dishonest in giving surces that didn't exist - they weren't academic but got adopted as such by others.

Does their contribution to the Second Revival still stand above all others? I think so


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Subject: RE AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 07:47 AM

Good point Les. I never considered that. Being chucked into an academic mess full of persons with loads of brains and no common sense is something that happened to me in the 1980's when I was song collecting. I ended up throwing my toys out of my pram and sulking for a decade or so. You would be amazed at the venom spat at me. I can sort of forgive Bert for cutting a few corners. {I think} Something about the road to hell and good intentions springs to mind.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 09:22 AM

A number of genuine academics have brought much light to 'folk', Georgina Boyes for one. The problem in the 1960s onwards was people adopting Bert & Ewan's view and all that make believe about Morris and fertility and so on with out any real recourse to evidence.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 11:35 AM

Wherever there's a noticeable difference, Lloyd's lyrics really are superior to those of his sources, direct or conflated. The improvements are always tactful and often no more than a few words. That makes them more palatable.

Of course, if all one cares about is a "good song" as experienced in the here and now, there's no problem.

The difficulty is for those who, long ago, were led to "study" (as Nick Dow says) Lloyd's versions as the real McCoy. The invention of imaginary, named informants is inexcusable. Why not just say, "This is my version of an old song that blah blah blah blah...."

Presumably because Lloyd saw himself as the spokesman of mute, inglorious Miltons. Who, in such cases, didn't quite exist.

Others thought of themselves in much the same way, but without the scholarly veneer.

We can absolve Lloyd and MacColl of responsibility for the "fertility" stuff. That had been the orientation of many romantic, academic folklorists for decades.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 12:17 PM

I know it is a bit of a stock answer of mine whenever this type of thread comes up but once again there must be dozens of singers who perform "The Recruited Collier", "Jack Orion", "Two Magicians", "The Demon Lover" and "Reynardine" (to mention but a few) who have never even heard of A.L.Lloyd. So what he did – was it so terribly wrong?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 12:37 PM

Entertainment v historical accuracy.... discuss.....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 12:40 PM

"Wherever there's a noticeable difference, Lloyd's lyrics really are superior to those of his sources, direct or conflated. The improvements are always tactful and often no more than a few words. That makes them more palatable. "

Matter of opinion on point one, he has been known to make up most of some songs - probably the Blackleg Miner for one.


Intrestin point Dave - maybe nothing is terribly wrong in folk, although we all have something in the closet.

making up people is more than a bit crap isn't it?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 12:46 PM

Nobody likes to be fooled, and experts (and Lloyd was one)shouldn't set out to fool them.

So the answer is yes.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 01:13 PM

"As to the motives of Bert & Ewan surely they were intent on popularising the music of working people and showing that when people came to the factories and mills from the land to the Industrial Revolution they brought their songs and creativity with them."

Les, I hope you'll have read Roy Palmer's 'Working Songs'. A real treasure trove of well-documented and authentic songs that really were sung by working people in factories, mills and mines.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 01:22 PM

Once a scholar has been 'outed' I think we can be excused for taking the rest of their contribution with a pinch of salt, or at least research the material ourselves.

Having said that I have no gripe with MacColl and Seeger, Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland.

It has been said many times on many threads, the songs Bert and Ewan mediated are among some of the best we have. We should and do sing them and celebrate them. We just shouldn't use them as examples of items that have come from oral tradition. It's quite simple really.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 01:43 PM

Not as yet Brian but honest I will read Roy Palmer. It would be intrestin to know in what sense Bert was an academic. Did he have an official post as such in a place of Higher Education? I guess I will have to read Paul's biog again


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 03:56 PM

*He* wasn't an academic, nor did he ever claim to be. But his orientation was in line with the prevailing academic romanticism. He was a real expert in the sense that he knew far more about folk music than did most people.

Lloyd's affinity for romance (including the Marxist kind) makes his various sleeve notes and "Folksong in England" a pleasure to read. How fully reliable they may be, however, is another question.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 05:45 PM

Well, the most obvious invention is the name of "Ewan McColl" himself. Jimmy Miller was his real name, McColl his stage name.

What worries me is that this fabulation extends beyond the permissible allegory of political activism into our understanding of the folk heritage. Some aspects of the dark end of satanicism were worked on in those periods, in things like The Wicker Man and some of the work of Benjamin Britten, and these may have twisted the white side of faith as well. It already suffered from the aftermath of Victorian Romanicism in the neo-Gothic, typified by fabulations such as the communal adoption of a jingoistic form of Chivalry which bears little if any relationship even to the norms of the Court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and which drove the flower of European youth into the trenches of WWI. It was a broad school, running from James MacDonald Fraser to Rudyard Kipling via the likes of Harrison Ainsworth, but was followed to some extent by the likes of the Quiller Couch family as an inspiration to RVW's generation of collectors. We then see the work of Robert Graves' circle in the foundation of modern paganism.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 06:02 PM

Don't you mean Sir James George Frazer?

"Mark Twain" was really Samuel Clemens, and "Boris Karloff" was Bill Pratt. "MacColl"/ Miller strikes me as being equally innocuous.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 07:44 PM

How the bloody hell have we got from Bert fabricating songs to the post from Guest above. I've just remembered why I don't like academics
And it was all going so well.....


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 08:10 PM

I think that people are basically agreeing with the premise of your original post, Nick. And it probably wasn't just the industrial songs (Laslo Feyer comes to mind.....)

Kitty


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 08:52 PM

Hey, I'm an academic!

Uh-oh, perhaps I've said too much....


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Jul 14 - 09:38 PM

Nick-

Don't lose any sleep over "Guest's" post above. He or she doesn't have the courage to post as a real or even a fictitious person, and has an old ax to grind with Ewan/Jimmy.

I think A. L. Lloyd was playing fast and loose with many of the songs he "collected" in England and Australia. But I really enjoyed listening to what he recorded.

Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 03:22 AM

That's better we're back on track. On a serious note, I am learning a lot here, and sort of going along with most of the posts. If I had kept up with the rest of you, my own discovery would not have been such a bombshell. So many thanks and please keep replying


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 04:06 AM

We discussed Bert very briefly last night at our Singaround. Dave Bishop, who has been singing and inspiring us all in Manchester and many other places for about a thousand years said he remembers Bert turning up at a club in Peterborough sometime in the 1960s and singing to an audience of teenagers and mesmerising them with his songs and stories.

John Routledge, singer and smallpipes player, another millenian,if that's a word, made the point that when Bert worked for the Coal Board - writting in Coal Board publications and asking for any songs connected with or sung by miners he recieved a lot of material. Some were complete songs with and with out tunes and some were fragments. This became on editing , I think, Come all you Bold Miners.

Bert left a heritage of folk music much richer than he found it. What we do with it is up to us isn't it?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 06:16 AM

That's the bigger picture, Thanks


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 06:57 AM

Enjoyed your article in Living Tradition Nick. As a humble guitar player I feel reassured.

I remember seeing a guitar player, who's name may return to me in a while, he played a guitar piece written and performed by the guitar player out of the Prog Rock Band Yes. It was truly astonishing. He did everything physically, musically and emotionally that it was possible to play on a guitar. A few years later I saw him again. He was acompanying a famous Irish Harp player. He chatted between songs and tunes and explained that once having seen a famous singer appear on stage with 4 Martin guitars - all in different tunings - he decided things should be simpler. So he went back to standard tuning and playing where ever possible in C.

Thanks again


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 07:39 AM

My left hand is buggered. can't hold a C chord very well have sort of adapted everything, and done a Django on the basic chords, using loads of open strings. It's all I need now, the old voice is better than ever. Getting back to Bert, I agree about his storytelling and club gigs, he could be fascinating. Look at this! I'm falling back in love with his legacy.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 07:58 AM

And so should we all Nick!


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 08:55 AM

The ultimate question, perhaps, is whether Lloyd's songs were "fakes." Well, no, they weren't. They are just not very typical and not very reliable sources of information about nineteenth-century song culture.

As somebody once asked ironically, "Are the Arabian Nights a fake?"

The question's relevance depends on what you want. What we call The Arabian Nights is a translation (or a modernization of a translation)of various translations of various dates from various cultures. ("Aladdin" is Chinese, and "Sindbad" doesn't even appear in the earliest editions.) That makes it a real problem for scholars studying the stories and the cultures, but not for anybody else.

And there's a time-related element as well. Take Lloyd's "Reynardine." We feel cheated and hoaxed to learn that Lloyd deliberately suggested that R. was a were-fox by slyly adding a detail about teeth that only the folklorically inclined would be likely to notice. But in a hundred years, their descendants may be fascinated by the idea that "horror films were so popular in the mid-twentieth century that even 'Reynardine' was turned into a were-fox."

Some of them will undoubtedly add, "by the folk."


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 08:58 AM

I recall hearing the late Peter Bellamy saying that one needed to take Lloyd's findings with a grain of salt. On my part, I like many of his song settings.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 09:06 AM

So where does that leave our understanding of Industrial Folk Songs.
(Not asking for much am I?-Next thread the meaning of life}


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 09:19 AM

Ok, I guess this has been said a million times before:

Bert & Ewan were Marxists with a whole bag of ideas about class, culture and performance. These ideas grew out of their pre-war experiences of life, theatre and of what we now call folk songs.

After they met Alan Lomax, another Marxist, song collector and folklorist, they became even more committed to performing and popularising folk songs and they were determined to show the political content of songs as they moved from their rural origins into the Industrial Revolution.

If they had to alter songs, make up songs and talk 'seriously' about folk songs then they did - does it happen in any other genre of music that the performers explain the origin and meaning of songs brfore they sing them?. They did this essentially for political reasons - to raise working class consciousness and bring Revolution nearer.

Yes, I know I said this all above but 'sometimes' people joining in late date read earlier posts.

Well, maybe some class consciousness was raised but not a lot and The Revolution?

But we have loads of great songs. Thanks to them and bigger loads of others


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 09:22 AM

Sorry Nick, you posted whilst I was blathering. Brian Peters pointed the way - Read everything by Roy Palmer


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 10:11 AM

OK all points taken on board, and understood, not in any way dismissing anything that's been kindly said, and really not clevering and trying to have the last word, I've just tracked down T'owd Weaver in Kidson. ROUD 17771 and hate to say it the tune ain't that which Bert used. It's in 6/8 not 5/4. BUT the newly informed Dow will gladly concede that the Somerset tune is a great deal better, so thanks Bert, which sort of sums it all up. And now this irritating old fart is desperate to know what was the original song entitled 'The Irish Boy Roud 3334 is it any wonder I'm on medication. Please feel free to have two of the red pills and a lie down


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 12:12 PM

In a conversation with the late Pete Elliott some twenty odd years ago we were discussing Bert's version of "Celebrated Working Man" which he recorded on "The Iron Muse" which differed considerably from Jack Elliott's version which came from Yankee Jim Roberts with whom Jack worked. Knowing how the Elliott family would have gone to the wall for Bert, Pete dismissed his version of the song as "wangling" but stressed that it was the only occasion that he was aware of Bert doing such a thing. The only other instance that I could cite as being an obvious Lloyd "creation" is his variant of "When a Man's In Love" which is the only version of this Irish ballad which contains any erotic content; I have heard lots of other singers perform this song, often citing different sources, but with a far more platonic ending than Bert's.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 12:54 PM

"Jimmy Miller was his real name, McColl his stage name."
Actually it wasn't - MacColl actually officially changed his name and never made a secret of that fact - not to those who knew him anyway.
His name-change had far more to do with his army career than his stage career.
I'm never sure why it's such an issue - never seems to be with that Zimmermann feller.
"What annoys me is how Bert and McColl 'allegedly' invented people to authenticate their words and songs."
Do you have any flesh and bones to this legend Mike?
I once spent an afternoon with two friends, Ruth and Eddie Frow, both of whom I'm sure you will know.
They regaled me with information of the huge number of songs Ewan's parents both had, particularly the number of 'bits of queer Scots ballads' William Miller used to sing - both Eddie and Ruth were contemporaries of Ewan's parents.
For instance, one of Ewan's sources, Harold Sladen, was a lodger with the Miller family, and well known as a singer.
I have become convinced that Ewan took many of those 'bits' and built them into full songs for the revival.
Never get tired of quoting this - the first contact Ewan had with the arts world,
"Ewan MacColl was himself a victim of the Depression. The son of an unemployed Glasgow steelworker, who had moved to Salford in search of work during the twenties, he had suffered every privation and humiliation that poverty could contrive for him from the age of ten. His memories of his early years are still bitter—like his recollection of how to kill aimless time in a world where there was nothing else to do: "You go in the Public Library. And the old men are there standing against the pipes to get warm, all the newspaper parts are occupied, and you pick a book up. I can remember then that you got the smell of the unemployed, a kind of sour or bitter-sweet smell, mixed in with the smell of old books, dust, leather and the rest of it. So now if I pick up, say, a Dostoievsky—immediately with the first page, there's that smell of poverty in 1931."
MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs. One night while queueing up for the three-and-sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audition for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly.
PROSPERO AND ARIEL (The rise and fall of radio, a personal recollection – D G Bridson 1971)"
Adam's meeting with MacColl was circa 1934, at least a decade and a half before the Folk Song Revival was a twinkle in anybody's eye.
We are at present working on two radio programmes to commemorate the 100th anniversary of MacColl's birth.
One of the problems has been cutting through the urban legends surrounding the man - pretty much, "if it doesn't fit modern preconceptions it must have been invented".
Coincidentally - or not - we have met the same problems with comparing the information we received from field singers we interviewed with modern theories as to who wrote the folk songs.
There must be a great deal of researched information on these subjects that the rest of us aren't privy to - yet - perhaps one day....!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 05:31 PM

Hi Jim,
I'll start by saying I agree with everything you've contributed here.

However we shouldn't treat MacColl and Lloyd as the same in this context. In many ways they did similar things. I'd say probably right upto 'Travellers' Songs' no scholar this side of the Atlantic would have looked at anything produced by MacColl as necessarily having come verbatim from a source singer. However I have seen writings from American scholars even upto quite recently that take MacColl's Child Ballads for instance as unmediated, perhaps because he picked up fragments of them from his parents.

Until about 10 years ago however Lloyd's songs were treated by the majority of singers and scholars alike as unmediated and Bert should have known better. What he did was brilliant (I don't think anyone would argue with that!) but it was a deception.

The big problem with all deceivers, particularly those that have a large output, is we will never know the extent of their deception fully and therefore their work is forever tainted.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Jul 14 - 08:29 PM

Good work, Nick. I took another look at the Roy Palmer paper and I don't think I'm mistaken in the attributions he gives. Must check again tomorrow.

Personally I want no part in a Bert witch-hunt, but it's good to set the record straight and, well, it's just interesting.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 02:14 AM

Steve
As you say, one of the problems with discussions like this is that people tend to treat Ewan and Bert as coming from the same direction - they didn't.
Bert was a scholar (!) who sang, Ewan was a singer whose whole aim in life was to help create a situation where folk-song was accepted as a serious creative art.
Most singers I met (including me, when I sang seriously) adapted songs to suit themselves, their personal tastes and their circumstances - often described as being "part of the tradition" - I don't believe it was, but that way be dragons!
Ewan did it extensively throughout his involvement with folksong and if you tackled him, he would admit it and explain what he did (when he could remember).
Some of his discoveries/creations, like Alan Tyne of Harrow, became standards in the repertoire - certainly in mine, and I certainly wasn't bothered which was his and which belonged to the tradition, not as a singer or devotee of song anyway.
If Ewan had any claim to scholarship, it was in the work he did on developing singers, his work on relaxation, on analysing songs to make them part of the singer, his introducing Laben and Stanislavski into singing work - that was MacColl's genius.
Unfortunately, we have never got round to discussing this part of his contribution because of the garbage-mountain that miraculously appears whenever his name is mentioned.   
Ewan wasn't someone who you would automatically think of if you wished to learn of song origins - he was a singer's singer.
Bert was very much a different creature; the few times I managed to talk to him I was left with the impression of somebody who couldn't quite make up his mind what he was, singer or scholar.
I have to admit, I never found him particularly approachable or generous with ideas or information, not in the way I found Ewan and still find Peggy.
I found him remarkably entertaining to listen to, not so much as a singer, but certainly as a speaker (maybe 'talker' is a better word) - his 'Folk Song Virtuoso', 'Songs of the People', and 'The Lament' still have the power to lift the hairs on the back of the neck, after dozens of listenings.
Not sure how academically reliable they are, I suspect somewhat flawed, but certainly inspirational, which was exactly what I and many like me needed when we first heard them.
Both Ewan and Bert played an important part in my enjoyment, and later, understanding of folk song - that neither of then were able to walk on water was immaterial, and it would have been unfair to have expected them to do so.
If Ewan and Bert had anything in common, it was almost certainly their ability to inspire and encourage people to lift the corner of folk-song to see what was underneath.
For that I will be eternally grateful.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 05:11 AM

OK, I checked Roy Palmer's 'Weaver in Love' paper, and it looks like they printed the tunes the wrong way round. The one given with Lloyd / Mr Oliver's words is the 6/8 one that Nick has identified correctly as the one in Kidson's MS. The one given for the Kidson 'T'Owd Weaver' is the 5/4 one that lloyd/Steeleye used. However, Roy Palmer says in the endnotes that the Oliver tune is similar to Enos White's 'In Sheffield Park' - and that is in 5/4. Not as similar to Lloyd's 'Handweaver' as Nick's Roud 3334, mind.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 07:57 AM

Busy trying to put other verses to 3334 at the moment. reckon I'll adapt The Bonnie Irish Boy words which will make sense with Elizabeth Moggs words. Now I wonder where I'll take my inspiration from??? Somebody told me Bert was good at this sort of thing.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 08:06 AM

Nick, you do realise that every time you sing it, people will come up and say, 'I love the way you sing The Bonnie Irish Boy to that Steeleye Span tune!'


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 08:53 AM

So no change there then.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 02:34 PM

Lloyd's position as a conflater, improver, and inventor of songs isn't really comparable to that of post-1960 revival singers.

Few of them have had Lloyd's expertise, and few ever suggested they were doing more than making music. They were city people who had learned the songs from books and from Lloyd and MacColl. No one really thought of them as being especially close to "the folk," though they certainly hoped to be.

Lloyd, however, stressed the importance to the songs of history and culture, and the significance of the songs *in* history and culture. He seemed to be just one small step away from a supposedly living tradition. He talked with and learned rare songs straight from ordinary people, or so it seemed. He'd been a whaler. He was the chanteyman in Moby Dick. He was dedicated to folk styles, and he sang unaccompanied or with Alf Edwards's atmospheric concertina. He wrote some of the most knowledgeable and literate sleeve notes in trad music. He had a great stage and LP presence.

When that sort of person lets you down, you notice.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 05:13 PM

1-9-5-4 what are we waiting for?

Bert Lloyd SELECTED some great songs VARIED them and in so doing contributed to their CONTINUITY in the revival repertoire.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 05:46 PM

No need for the CAPITALS, Stuart. We've all already said this.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 06:14 PM

Sorry Steve, I'm suitably chastised. Just stuck in that hazy Woodstock mode - skim the details, thrust hands in the air and shout slogans.

But Times New Roman is a migraine-inducing font...


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Subject: RE: ALloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 06:54 PM

When that sort of person lets you down, you notice. Unless your name is Nick Dow. Then you stumble across the truth and hardly believe it.
I'm still taking consolation in the bigger picture though.
I wonder why Bert felt he had to fabricate information when he was respected and admired by so many


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Jul 14 - 07:12 PM

LLOYD, is someone that many people of of the revival, owe a lot. he improved many songs and did much good to the tradition,
scholars and wankers, who are more concerned with academia get their knickers in a twist about him, well, that is their problem., he contributed much to,the UK folk revival. sound man, Bert.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:44 AM

Dick, why mention "wankers"? Who do you have in mind?

It's not only in academia that bogus information is to be deplored. Brightly shining teeth are a fun concept, but some people have been misled by those words. (Not that Lloyd was the first to produce a spoof: Baring-Gould did it with The Brown Girl.)

It has been pretty clearly demonstrated that Lloyd invented some of his supposed sources. There's a German proverb that translates as "If he tells lies, don't believe him even when he speaks the truth".


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:58 AM

The point is precisely the one Lighter makes - most of us think Lloyd's song reworkings are excellent, but the problem is that he wrote a bloody great book setting English folk song in a historical context, which many of us lapped up, and which coloured our approach to and presentation of the songs. People can hardly be blamed for feeling let down if that fascinating and colourful account turns out to be a bit dodgy in some respects.

'Scholars and wankers' Which one am I, Dick? Or do you mean the two categories are indistinguishable?

I thought Stuart Reed's post was clever, though.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 05:08 AM

I may have said this before:

"If they had to alter songs, make up songs and talk 'seriously' about folk songs then they did - does it happen in any other genre of music that the performers explain the origin and meaning of songs before they sing them?. They did this essentially for political reasons - to raise working class consciousness and bring Revolution nearer."

In fact most of us enyoyed the pre-song chat and the seriousness that it lent to singing old songs in public. Lots of us did it and still do. I think Dave Bishop described Singarounds as "Singing folk songs and talking b*llocks".

It's a bit like the manufactured folklore that is still perpetrated by men who dance the Morris. I guess it's because most men cannot simply dance together in public.

But Brian is spot on about Bert and his book. I have read it three or four times and some of it stands and some of it doesn't.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 05:12 AM

Are people upset with Bert for his manipulation of material and facts, which led to some great songs or themselves for failing to realize what he did for so long?
I think a bit of both


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 05:21 AM

Probably right Derrick


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 05:44 AM

Brian, you are a good singer and instrumentalist.
I still think it is the problem of scholars if they think
scholastic accuracy is more important than producing good repertoire and improving the overall repertoire.
yes I do think these people are wankers, because in my opinion they have their priorities confused, as a singer and performer rather than a scholar, I believe that the songs Lloyd "collected" have improved the overall folk song repertoire, and from my perspective as someone who is more concerned with performance and having good material to perform, that this is more important than his lack of scholastic accuracy, or the attempts to discredit Lloyd and disacredit his reputation over scholastic accuracy.
it seems to me to be extremely negative for people to go on about this aspect of Lloyds work, in my opinion it is more important to look at the positives of Lloyd, I have no time for negativity of any sort,and i regard people who harp on about lloyd in a negative way as wankers.
Lloyd has been dead for many years ,please give this tedious, negative stuff a rest.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 06:17 AM

Dick, Steve Roud has written a very good summary of the arguments regarding the different priorities of 'Editors and Performers' in his introduction to 'The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs'. Some of the people you describe with your characteristic good grace as 'wankers' are scholars first and singers second, or not at all. Hardly surprising that those people should want to examine the scholarship of a man once considered the leader in the field.

I'm a singer, not a scholar, but as a singer of old songs I'm really interested in where the songs came from, who sang them, why they sang them, and so on. My pursuit of the roots of the 'Bertsongs' is more like unravelling a detective mystery than trying to discredit anyone. I never met Bert, but every single person I've talked to that knew him spoke in glowing terms of his inspiration, intelligence and humour. Dave Arthur's biography gives a great account of his achievements, without skating over the controversial points.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 07:16 AM

Brian, like you I am a singer not a scholar, I am also interested in origins of songs, however if song is a good song or it was written by Lloyd and not traditional it does not put me off singing it, my reason for singing a song is the merit of the words or tune its origins are of interest to me but very much secondary.
I do not like your description "charactristic good grace",I did not single out any one person a a wanker, but all those people who appear to wish to discredit Lloyd and concentrate on his negatives rather than positives are in my opinion wankers, it is fairly well established as to which tradtional songs Lloyd probably wrote, but we will never be 100 per cent sure.. as he is dead, far better in my opinion to be grateful to Lloyd for improving the repertoire than going on a detective mystery which in my opinion cannot be solved, however if you wish to spend your time on that, thats your business, mean while I will look at Lloyds positives and enjoy the songs he "collected" chacun a son gout.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 07:24 AM

Dick Please pack it in will you. I have got a very long way on the Folkscene and in life generally by keeping my mouth shut and listening and then asking questions of those, including Bert face to face by the way, who know better than me. The first post in this thread was just that-respectfully asking for opinions, not abusing those who have a different opinion to me.
I learned to sing face to face with a traditional singer who taught me all his father taught him. I would have been devastated if he had been proved to be making some of it up. He wasn't but Bert it appears, was, and that hurts. The people who have kindly replied have been trying to make me understand the bigger picture, and taking the trouble to write some very long posts. they don't need to be called 'wankers'.
I stood up for 5 hours once while a Gypsy painter taught me how to decorate a Gypsy Wagon in 23 1/2 carat gold. He took the trouble because I treated him with respect, despite my schooling and ability to read and write, which is something he could not do. If I can do anything at all it's because I have learned from people who can do it better. So if you have an opinion I want to hear it, but if you feel the need to be offensive I would prefer you kept it to yourself.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 07:29 AM

Well put Nick.

One problem on here is many people don't read the whole thread and it often turns sour after 20 or 30 posts regardless of the topic


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: johncharles
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 08:00 AM

Anyone producing what purports to be a scholarly work should expect to be judged by academic criteria. Presenting made up information and passing it off as true is unpardonable. People exposing such actions are not wankers, they are rigorous academics doing their job.
john


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 08:27 AM

> I'm really interested in where the songs came from, who sang them, why they sang them, and so on.

The traditional idioms and premises are so different from those of pop genres that such talking such "ballocks" is necessary to introduce any ordinary person to the songs.

Dance music, maybe not.

The singer who visited our public elementary school in 1957 with his repertoire of folksong showed me as a child that songs and stories were more than just shiny (or sometimes mysterious) surface. I don't know about any of the other kids, but I, for one, remain grateful.

To each his own.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 09:12 AM

"Presenting made up information and passing it off as true is unpardonable."
I am referring to to Lloyd making up songs and passing them off as tradtional, I do not think there is anything wrong with that, in fact Lloyd did us a favour, he enriched our repertoire, at that time it is possible and in my opinion probable, that those songs that lloyd collected or wrote, would not have been sung, if Lloyd had been honest. Lloyds actions have to be seen in the context of the time that they were done, it is sad comment on the UK revival at that time.
Tradtional song has always been made up, altered[consciously or unconciously], that is the nature of a living TRADTION.
Nick Dow says"I would have been devastated if he had been proved to be making some of it up".
ok, lets take the song While Gamekeepers lie sleeping, a fragment of a song generally speaking, apart from the version Bob Roberts sings, which has an interesting storyline, I believe although i cannot prove[anymore than anyone can prove Lloyd wrote the recruited collier] Bob Roberts made it up, I am not devastated, I sing the song on its merits, because it is the best version, that should in my opinion be the criteria for singing a song.. its merits.
Bob Roberts [tradtional singer] sang the song and by not saying anything about its origins gave the impression it was traditional, has or did anyone criticise/ criticised Roberts for doing this, I dont think so, yet people are crticising for Bert for POSSIBLY doing something similiar.
Nick Dow says "If I can do anything at all it's because I have learned from people who can do it better"
here he speaks the truth
like myself he listened to traditional singers as well as revival singers and guitarist like Jones and Carthy, and his blues style has also resulted in listening as he says to" people who can do it better"
but rarely do people in other fields other than UK TRAD get so upset about The so called passing off of songs which are in fact composed and then passed off as trad songs, yet they forget that all songs were composed at some point and many trad songs have been altered by anonymous writers sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberately, the nature of a healthy tradition is that it evolves and incorprates new songs.
I repeat, no one criticises Bob Roberts[trad singer] for improving songs and not admitting to it, yet we have a lot of talk about Lloyd, double standards?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 09:29 AM

I suspect that most of us agree with most of what you say Dick. but it is becoming clear that Bert was 'editing' songs to make political points about working class culture because he couldn't find what he wanted in the collected tradition of songs.

Most of his interventions were artistically sound. But that is not the point.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 09:34 AM

And there's the rub. The confusion between a modern or ancient Folk process, and the reporting/collecting from that process.
Bert could and did sing what he liked how he liked with the words he liked, same as the rest of us. We swiped his songs right left and centre. so far no problem.
When you become a collector,and remember I've been there, you report what you find, as well as you know how. Rewrite songs if you want to sing them by all means but publish the originals with honesty.
Bert didn't. Problems begin. It's as simple and difficult as that.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 10:13 AM

"While Gamekeepers lie sleeping, a fragment of a song generally speaking, apart from the version Bob Roberts sings..."

I'll take on trust what you say about Bob Roberts embellishing the story, but Bob Copper knew seven verses of the song, which is a pretty large fragment. Anyway Bob Roberts didn't set himself up as the leading expert, didn't write a book, didn't publish his recreations, etc., etc., so there's no comparison with Bert.

"yet they forget that all songs were composed at some point and many trad songs have been altered by anonymous writers..."

The kind of people you were referring to so disparagingly know all of that very well.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 10:55 AM

As a singer, Bert was entitled to adapt any song he wished.
The problem came with his 'scholarship' status, and the claims he made for those songs (even as a singer, he stretched things by introducing them as 'typically English" when they were no such thing.
I have been doing some research on Edith Fowke's Canadian collection and have stumbled on several which I have heard Bert describe as "prime examples" of English or Irish songs.
Politically, I always found Bert somewhat wishy-washy, certainly not in the same 'commitment' league as Ewan, but both of them approached traditional songs from a 'class pride' point of view, rather than a political one and believed folk songs were creations of the working classes, mainly rural with some industrial ones thrown in.
Personally, I share that belief - I have been staggered at the number of 'hand-made' anonymous songs that were still being sung here in The West of Ireland up to twenty years ago which never entered the mainstream song tradition because of their local nature and were obvious creations of farmers, fishermen and land labourers.   
I did a little work in Manchester Central Library in the 1960s which threw up songs of the same type from 19th century Industrial Lancashire - working man, it seems to me, has always been a natural song-maker.
To me, Bert did some excellent work which was somewhat undermined by the way he went about things pity.
He may have 'messed about with songs', which didn't please all the academics but, to my ear anyway, he always stayed faithful to the reason they were first created.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 11:50 AM

"He may have 'messed about with songs', which didn't please all the academics but, to my ear anyway, he always stayed faithful to the reason they were first created.   
Jim Carroll"
Iagree Jim
Brian, Bob Roberts did write books for example BREEZE FOR A BARGEMAN, and i am sure that somewhere i read that he wrote the song" SWELL MY NETS FULL", and he probably wrote The Oily Rigs monologue, he did not claim to be a scholar [true] but he was clearly capable of writing good stories, which brought me to the conclusion that he wrote part of a most unusual and unique version of while gamekeepers lie sleeping., which appears not to have been collected by anyone, which is suspicious.
what is this seven verse version of bob coppers? does it bear any relationship to bob roberts[i doubt it] if its the same as tom willetts version, storywise willetts version may have seven verses but not much of a story, and no resemblance to Roberts' version


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 12:31 PM

"He may have 'messed about with songs', which didn't please all the academics but, to my ear anyway, he always stayed faithful to the reason they were first created
How is swiping a tune from Somerset called The Irish Boy, attaching it to a song from Kidson, missing out a bit he didn't like about the class status of the characters, inventing a singer then pretending he'd collected it staying faithful to anything?????


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 12:37 PM

"inventing a singer then pretending he'd collected it staying faithful to anything?????"
can you prove this, or is this one of your assumptions.
you really would be better off doing what you are good at, playing the guitar in either the style of Nic Jones or Martin Carthy.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 12:45 PM

Last time I heard Nick perform, he wasn't playing in the style of either Jones or Carthy, in fact he was in standard tuning. It was lovely accompaniment, though, and he's in really fine voice these days!


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 01:10 PM

That was uncalled for Dick. Try reading some of the posts here especially the ones between Brian and myself. When you've done that come back and say something relevant to the discussion. It's not about me and how I play guitar, It's about Bert Lloyd.
It isn't clever to keep upsetting people by calling them stupid names your only hurting yourself.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 01:23 PM

Yes, Dick. Must follow this drift to say that, though he tends to use full-sweep chords, Nick's style is by no means as percussive as that of Martin or Nic; who also use open tunings, which Nick generally doesn't, but picks or sweeps the chords in standard tuning, with good positional full-keyboard control.

Don't get too like another regular poster, whom I shan't name, but who notoriously tends to let his temper carry him away, to post things he sometimes subsequently regrets.

All best regards, anyhow

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 01:38 PM

Dick,
You are again making a fool of yourself. You are really the only unreasonably NEGATIVE person on this thread. If you are going to continue here, please take the trouble to read through the whole thread and take note that everyone who has posted has praised Bert for his creativity. All they are saying is that it is a shame about his dishonesty!


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 01:51 PM

Thanks for that, lets get back to Bert. I understood that McColl was a Stalinist, however I did not believe that Bert was. The reason I mention that at all is that the Stalinist philosophy is that the end justifies the means. That might explain Berts' actions. No doubt you will put me right if I'm way off course.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 02:00 PM

i don't know about the major questions but the bit about pit boots being taken from somewhere..i am sure there are dozens of people describing their boots or aprons or whatever in songs...and it is a line someone would come up with naturally anyway.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 02:02 PM

This is only an opinion based on reading between the lines in Dave Arthur's excellent bio, but I don't think Bert did what he did with songs as much for political reasons as for a need to be accepted as a scholar, perhaps even The Scholar.

If you have the time, Nick, I strongly recommend Dave's book. It goes into great detail on Bert's political affiliations.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 02:08 PM

"inventing a singer then pretending he'd collected it "
If that's what he did, I have no doubt you are right as far as his claims and aspirations of 'scholarship' - as a singer, it does't really matter - traditional singers lifted tunes and substituted new directions for songs all the time to suit themselves all the time.- no problem as long as no academic were made of the new production.
As far as you later posting is concerned, I was offered a good piece of advice recently on this very subject - if you don't wind the clock it eventually stops
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 02:22 PM

'as a singer, it does't really matter'. Absolutely, Jim.

I don't remember anyone on this thread or any other similar thread suggesting otherwise.

I'll even go further than that: If Bert passed on his productions to other singers on the revival this also doesn't matter, all part of the creative process.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 02:43 PM

Yes I get that, but where I am floundering is the responsibilities of the collector to his informant, and to his readers or listeners if it's recorded. Do what you want with the songs after the original is fixed, and thus keep winding the clock. For the record Berts translations and rewrites were masterful Bloody Gardener Twa Magicians etc. that's not dishonesty, its art, however some of his other actions seemed to me at the beginning of this thread, strangely out of character. I'm still a bit adrift, but reassured by the posts here. Just trying to make sense of it all, hence the 'Stalinist' question above.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: johncharles
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 02:54 PM

Writing songs in the folk idiom is perfectly acceptable, and many such songs acquire the traditional label, even though only written decades ago. Reworking old songs for performance is also generally acceptable ( some of a more traditional persuasion may disagree.) What collectors find problematic is people who invent histories for songs which then become accepted as truthful accounts.
The late John Meredith was less than complementary regading Lloyd's song collecting in Australia.
'In my opinion, the best memorial A. L. Lloyd could have would be a bonfire of all the phony concoctions he has passed off as Australian folk songs over the last 25 years or so, the bulk of which has little in common with Australian material collected in the field.' He went on to say that most of Lloyd's texts had been acquired from the work of other folklorists, including Meredith himself, and that he had fitted to these songs 'whatever British tune Lloyd considered suitable--in other words, concoctions'
(A.L. Lloyd in Australia: some conclusions.
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/A.L.+Lloyd+in+Australia%3A+some+conclusions.-a0154804211
(John Meredith, 'A Depreciation of A. L. Lloyd', Stringybark & Greenhide, 4.3 (1983), 14)


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:15 PM

True, but I have heard from at least one well-informed Australian scholar the opinion that Meredith was unfairly harsh on Lloyd. I've just been looking at a version of 'Wild Rover' that Lloyd recorded, having collected in NSW in 1929. It certainly isn't one that he copied from Meredith or any other collector over there.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:17 PM

Hi John,
Which is why I said earlier that once a scholar/antiquarian/folklorist/collector has been outed then all of their work must come under suspicion, and it can only then be verified and declared suitable for use by scholars as from tradition by extensive study of the alleged sources where they exist.

I think John Meredith's suggestions are totally unwarranted for reasons we have given above; largely Bert produced some damned good songs.

For instance not even Peter Buchan's most extreme apologists deny that he 'eked out' his ballads. The problem is he left no field notes and precious few sources so the only way we can detect the extent of his interference is to study each ballad and his versions collectively intensely. Actually he wrote some really good ballads, though some of his extensions are atrocious.

In fact Bert comes from a long tradition that arguably had more influence on folk song than the oral tradition itself.

MacColl I think is one useful exception to this in that whatever he did earlier in rewriting Child Ballads etc., he did a damned good scholarly job with the 'Travellers' Songs' book.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: johncharles
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:24 PM

Yes Meredith is rather harsh, but as has been seen here before in other threads, for some collectors integrity of the collecting process is non-negotiable and passions can be roused.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:34 PM

"all part of the creative process."
Agree Steve, but not part of the tradition (whoops!!!)
"the responsibilities of the collector to his informant"
In our experience, it doesn't really matter to them one way or another.
Every single one of them we questioned said (in so many words) that they considered themselves 'storytellers' whose stories came with tunes.
A lot of singers we recorded learned their songs from 'ballad sheets' bought at the horse or cattle fairs with no tunes indicated, so they put their own to them.
They had two distinct attitudes to the printed word - either to treat it as writ in stone or to use it as an aide-memoir and chop and change it as they saw fit.
Oddly, it was the non-literate Travellers who stressed the need for accuracy.
The common complaint of the ones we met was that "the young ones coming up don't seem to make sense of the stories - they don't mean nothing any more".
I think that, when putting the songs into print, either faithfulness to what you have been given is essential or, if you make changes because of memory lapses, you need to indicate that you have done so and explain.   
End justifying means is certainly not a major feature of Stalinism any more than many other political (or cultural) philosophies.
MacColl's 'Stalinism' was misleading in the sense that, when he was growing up the Soviet Union was believed to be to only workers state - some of my family shared his view - it was a generation thing.
He was, for a time, an admirer of Mao, but I once saw him go spare when the Chinese Government issued an edict on "the bourgeois nature of Stanivlaski's 'Method'".
MacColl's attitude to his work was a class rather than a political one, though he was happy to use it for political and social causes such as C.N.D., the Anti-Vietnam movement and Anti-Apartheid.
I honestly believe that Bert's approach was more or less the same, though he wan nowhere near as active.
John - would agree with most you say as long as creating songs in the folk idiom, especially on historical subjects, doesn't end up with writing pastiche - which is a tendency.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:54 PM

Re: "The end justifies the means."

What people generally mean when they say, "The end justifies the means" is that "A favorable outcome justifies *any* means," with the emphasis on "any."

Which is quite a but different, when you think about it.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 03:56 PM

You will be relieved to hear that it's finally beginning to sink in. Thanks Jim. Only last week the wife of my best friend (a Romany Gypsy) said to me that I could do what I wanted with her families songs.
So I said make a million quid then, she said except that! You are right it probably does not make too much difference to the informant.
when I recorded Bill House he was highly amused that I was in raptures over his version of 'One night as I lay on my bed' his favourite was 'Timothy Briggs the Barber'
As for Bert, well he's still a hero of mine, but a flawed one. I'll just have to get over it.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 05:01 PM

Lloyd, MacColl, Sharp, Baring Gould, Scott, Buchan, Motherwell, Jamieson, Percy, et al have all rightly come under scrutiny and criticism, but what can't be denied is that their contribution by far outweighs any flaw in their work.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 05:18 PM

Agreed


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 06:01 PM

Steve, you overlooked the Lomaxes.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 06:34 PM

Bert made a telling (?) remark to me years ago while giving him a lift back to the station after a gig he did in Brighton.

I was babbling on about how his book had come to my rescue while I was scrabbling to complete my much under-researched thesis on the transition from rural to industrial songs. The conclusions I had drawn were tendentious, not to say largely spurious but he just laughed and said that pulling the wool over people's eyes was OK if it had the desired effect.

And apropos the academic vs. singer elements in this thread, as he got out of the car he said, "From what I've heard tonight, you're a better singer than you are a scholar, so stick to what you do best."


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 08:28 PM

So Bert has the last word. Might take his advice.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Aug 14 - 09:16 PM

Wow! I didn't know that there was still any energy left in Mudcat to discuss anything of importance. I was wrong. And on balance this may turn out to be one of our classic threads.

Thanks, Nick, for initiating it.

Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 03:53 AM

"Lloyd, MacColl, Sharp, Baring Gould, Scott, Buchan, Motherwell, Jamieson, Percy, et al have all rightly come under scrutiny and criticism, but what can't be denied is that their contribution by far outweighs any flaw in their work."
an understatement, but a positive remark, which was one of my earlier points,about positivity and negativity, but as far as MacColl and Lloyd go their contribution was far more than their work, they both are owed a debt of gratituide for their promotion and involvement in the setting up of folk clubs, MacColl was a fine songwriter in my opinion one of the best from the UK folk revival, many of MacColls songs have entered the tradition.
I have read every post on this thread, and on previous threads about Bert Lloyd.There is nothing positive in this post.
"Subject: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow - PM
Date: 28 Jul 14 - 08:13 PM

OK if I am wrong I deserve a serious verbal kicking, I REALLY want to be wrong, because I met Bert and respected him. but the more research I do the more worried I am about some of Berts industrial songs,

I know he wrote the odd verse, to the and the Coal owner and the pitmans wife but I have found the following

With my pit boots on appears to be a word for word take from William Stokes of Chew Magna Somerset 'With my kettle Smock on' with pit boots substituted and a different tune

The tune for the weaver and the Factory maid seems to be taken from Elizabeth Mogg Doddington Somerset from her fragment The Irish Boy and attributed to William Oliver of Widnes who appears to have sung only one other song if he existed at all.

Underneath her apron appears to be a hybrid version. So it goes on...

I have no real axe to grind and no particular interest in industrial Folksong I just keep coming accross tunes and words that sort of appear to be in the wrong place, if that makes any sense. Warning bells keep going off and a nasty voice keeps whispering , We've been taken for a ride here!! Please tear me to shreds I want to be wrong, or am I going to have to agree with Dave Harker that AL LLoyd WAS the one that got away".
I will continue to defend Lloyd and put any negative criticisms into perspective by pointing out his positives,which in my opinion easily outweigh his negatives, the original poster asks for a verbal kicking, then accuses me of being offensive when he gets it, this thread has not thrown any new light on Lloyd but has just been a tedious rehash of previous threads about Lloyd.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 04:23 AM

Sorry Mudcatters. Ignore the last post and lets end in good humour. Thank you all for your support.
Nick


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 05:35 AM

Nick, there is no bad humour, I am asking for a more positive approach about Lloyd, if you do not like that,that is not my problem., your original post was negative.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 05:57 AM

'... as far as MacColl and Lloyd go their contribution was far more than their work, they both are owed a debt of gratituide for their promotion and involvement in the setting up of folk clubs'

.,,.

MacColl indeed, re specific point Dick makes here. But, simply as a matter of fact, I know of no involvement by Bert in setting up any clubs, and can recall no mention of any such in Dave Arthur's book.

I agree with subsequent point about rehash of points made in previous threads. Look at the list at the top of this thread. The fairly recent "Bertsongs?" is a case in point IIRC.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 05:59 AM

"but what can't be denied is that their contribution by far outweighs any flaw in their work."
And their work needs to be taken in perspective.
I heard Alan Lomax speak at the symposium held to celebrate MacColl's 70th and it made me realise how far people like Ewan and Bert had moved on from those early days.
Lomax described how both of them, and just about everybody else, were singing American songs in a phony American accent (he referred to it as 'Mid-Atlantic American), and he described some of the problems he had persuading some people that these islands have their own magnificent repertoire of folk songs still worth collecting.
MacColl and the Singers Club got a great deal of stick when it adopted a 'sing songs in your own accents' policy - as Peggy stated in her letter to The Living Tradition some time ago, it was a club policy for club residents, though I'm aware that Ewan proselytized wherever he went.
Over the last four decades I have become aware of the richness of the British and Irish traditions and how much we would have missed had not Lomax 'had his wicked way'.
It's very easy to be right all the time with hindsight.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 06:06 AM

'rehash'

To some extent, yes, but Nick's identification of the Elizabeth Mogg tune (which, after all, was the reason he initiated the thread) is an interesting new development.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 06:44 AM

"I am asking for a more positive approach about Lloyd"

MORE positive? This thread is like a damn meeting of the Bert Lloyd Apologists Society.

Lloyd's work pisses me off because he was a pseudo-scholar. He should have just stuck to singing and left the academics out of it, as you say, Dick.

The real problem…uh oh, being negative and critique-y here…lies not with the individual songs whose provenances and histories and texts and melodies he invented. Because real scholars can throw those out the window while, in a completely different mode, enjoying his recorded output for its many recommendable qualities. It's that these inventions as a whole served to create and/or validate more fundamental notions about "folk music." Those fundamental notions, having been validated, remain. Means to an end, indeed. And now you may quibble about specific things Lloyd did to a specific song, and it will appear to come down to opinion on whether or not that can be justified…which will lead nowhere.

Unless you look at the big picture. As in Harker's book - or my reading of it, at least. Which is not that the gentlemen and lady folklorists of the Folk Song Society school, etc were a bunch of jerks and liars who did nothing positive. It's that their activity, driven by a particular set of biases and interests, engendered the notion of a very particular world of "folk music", of a particular nature. Lloyd continued down that path, I think. And these notions have made it difficult to study and understand music of the past now.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 07:00 AM

> a pseudo-scholar

That's the problem in a nutshell.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 07:20 AM

"Unless you look at the big picture. As in Harker's book - or my reading of it, at least."
Go along with you to a degree - unfortunately I find Harker equally dishonest and axe-grinding, if not more-so
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 08:20 AM

Dick
My original post was a request for info, about what I thought I had found. Nothing more nothing less. I admitted everybody got there before me, but then how do you expect me or anybody else to have any brains when you've got them all.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 08:53 AM

I agree Jim, the fact that many of us were sent in search of an indigineous repertoire was a good thing.
but now we have a large indigineous repertoire, I personally have gone back to introducing some of seegers songs such as joe hill, and woody guthries songs into my repertoire.
I remember having a conversation with Ewan, and he said to me " I could never do what you do go out on the road on my own , i would find it too lonely, he then said that in the early days he and Bert had done a few things together", and of course that particular night he was giGging with PEGGY, I was there doing a support for them , and the show they put on was excellent.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 09:05 AM

Your original post was negative, that is indisputable.
as for remarks about brains,I had the brains to choose an instrument "the concertina" of which there were not many exponents, I then developed my own style of song accompaniment, I could not possibly be confused with the two other main uk exponents of song on English Concertina, Killen or Turner, or with anyone else.
I realised there were hundreds of good male singer guitarists, and that it would not be of any use imitating Martin Carthy or Nic Jones, that does not require much brains, so I make no claim have all the brains. I also do not make snide remarks about other peoples abilities behind their backs, Nick, everything Is ay is to someones face, think hard about that, one Mr Dow


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 10:03 AM

Wow I hit a nerve there! You can hand it out but you can't take it can you. The brains comment was only semi serious. No Dick of course I don't think you've got brains to spare. Perish the thought.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 10:50 AM

'Ware Nick - we've all been down one of the Cap'n's rabbit holes at one time or another - suggest you leave it there if you want to keep this fascinating discussion going
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 10:58 AM

Yes Sorry.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 12:02 PM

Lloyd tipped his hand in the notes to "The Best of A. L. Lloyd" (1965)(posted by Reinhard in a current thread):

"I very much doubt if I sing any of the songs exactly as I originally learnt them. Some I've altered deliberately because I felt some phrases of the tune, some passages of the text, to be not entirely adequate. Others - and this has happened far more often - have become altered involuntarily, sometimes almost out of recognition in the course of buzzing round in my head over the course of thirty years or so...."

It's hard to believe that anyone could alter a song "almost out of recognition" quite "involuntarily," and the disclaimer that it happened only to songs learned thirty or more years ago is unpersuasive.

However, Lloyd here acknowledges that he's sometimes altered tunes and texts "deliberately," and occasionally to the point where they were almost unrecognizable.

Apparently we should have read the sleeve notes more analytically.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 12:26 PM

I suppose when I met him I thought he had the secret of the universe. Then I was only 18. He gave me some encouragement with my singing. Never doubted a word he said. {Until now}


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 12:56 PM

There lies the crux of the problem, never treat anyone as if they are a god or with unnecesary reverence, judge everyone on their musical merits, rather than what they have been promoted.
Lloyd through topic records produced and promoted himself and others and at the same time lot of traditional music. one person I would not have gone to for advice about singing style, would be Lloyd.
I do not agree with his idea about singing with a smile on the face, it does not appear to have been done by any traditional singers that i have come across, here is harry cox tradtional singer singing in an unfected stylehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsxG06FMA-Y


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 03:04 PM

Jim,

I agree with you about Harker re: having an axe to grind. I don't think he is dishonest though, because he is quite explicit in the book about having that axe to grind, what his biases are, etc. That's what scholars do; he leaves himself open as part of an on-going discourse. When we read the book, it is framed so we know that we are getting an interpretation that is working according to certain familiar principles of academic work.

As such, I don't think (?) Harker's work has (as a sort of dramatically characterized Lloyd's) engendered a widespread/pervasive way of envisioning traditional song or English folklorists or whatever.

Sorry to go off topic; my intention is not to revive debates on Harker, rather only to distinguish how framing of one's interpretation/opinion varies.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 03:13 PM

"However, Lloyd here acknowledges that he's sometimes altered tunes and texts "deliberately"
Ballad scholar, David Buchan once put forward a theory (contested by some) that, as far as the ballads were concerned, there were no fixed texts, just a basic plot and commonplaces (lily-white hand, milk white steed, etc.) - he suggested that, rather than memorise a set text, the singer would use these to perform the ballad.
It's a fascinating idea - if it's true; personally I've never been sure, and Buchan failed to produce enough evidence to convince (see; 'The Ballad and the Folk' (R&KP 1972).
I do know that with some of the big narrative singers, such as blind Mary Delaney ('From Puck to Appleby'- Musical Traditions), she often sang the same song differently.
One of the most spectacular examples of tune alteration I ever heard was from wonderful Seán Nós singer, Tom Costello (Tom Pháidín Tom) singing 'The Grand Conversation on Napoleon' which can be heard on Volume 8 of Voice of the People, ('A Story I'm About to Tell').
According to Terry Yarnell, who recorded Tom, he always used the shape of the tune as a base, but he never sang it the same way twice.
The tunes to the songs with some older singers were movable (and sometimes immovable feasts) - we recorded a couple of elderly brothers her in Clare with about fifteen songs between them, about six of them were to the same tune.
Tunes were considered by singers as vehicles to carry the story, of secondary importance.
Bert's 'crime' was not that he altered the texts or tunes, but that, on occasion he made academic assumptions based on his own alterations.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 05:13 PM

when you say never the same way twice do you mean tune variations or different verses? While we're on that subject, Bert believed in variation as the sort of death throws of British song tradition. Vic Gammon argues otherwise. Sorry can't remember my sources for that info.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 05:22 PM

Sorry that was a bit confused. I meant tune variations to different verses at different times. Berts theory was about English songs only.
Still a bit confused but you get my drift.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 06:14 PM

Hi Jim
'David Buchan once put forward a theory (contested by some)'
Shot down in flames would be a more accurate description. Subsequent academic papers have ridiculed this theory. He tried to relate what Albert Lord and others had discovered in the Balkans to Anna Brown's repertoire. Now all of the Anna Brown (nee Gordon) manuscripts and published texts have been published together by Sigrid Rieuwerts in one book, even non-academics like me can see it is patently obvious that Buchan was wrong.

Of course singers vary what they sing with each performance. We all do, but this is nothing like what Lord experienced in the Balkans.

Both Buchan and Lord were referring to texts anyway and tune variation is a whole different ball-game.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 08:20 PM

I started Harker's book a while ago but put it down after the Child chapter and haven't yet picked it up again. I didn't know much about Francis J. before I read the chapter, and I still don't, except that he thought he could tell what was and wasn't a 'ballad' despite not having a precise definition. (Harker derides him for this, although to me it seems like a perfectly good approach; these days we'd call it grounded theorising).

It may pick up as it gets into the twentieth century, but my impression of the early part of Harker's book is that it's both tendentiously partisan and, more importantly, inconsistent. A critique of the collectors as mealy-mouthed gentrifiers, for instance, might be valid (or at least arguable), but what Harker does is attack collectors for bowdlerising - unless they didn't, in which case he'll attack them for profiteering - unless they didn't, in which case he'll attack them for being bourgeois nationalists - unless they weren't, in which case he'll make some strung-together well-er-basically point about how what they were doing was the kind of thing that bourgeois nationalists and/or bowdlerising profiteers got up to, so if you look at it that way they were just the same really. His main - anti-trad - agenda is obtrusive and overstretched; he has the air of demonstrating that collections of traditional songs contain no such thing, when all he's really shown is that some songs in some collections aren't traditional (the joke about the black sheep in Scotland comes to mind). And I'm sure I remember him attacking a later anthologist for deviating from Buchan's texts, when he'd previously described Buchan as a prolific interpolator and borderline fraud. Any stick to beat 'em with, basically.

I say all this (for what it's worth) as a Marxist; I think it's a real shame that the great finder of holes in Fakesong, the late Chris Bearman, saw what he was doing in terms of his own political agenda (at least, in terms of opposing Harker's). Personally I've got nothing against Trotskyists; I just don't like people running down the great folksong collectors without good reason.

As for Bert Lloyd, I think the reason we still scratch the 'Bertsongs' itch is that he could have done English folk song a great deal of damage. If the approach which (I believe) he took had been more widely adopted - if it had become normal for singers to thoroughly rework songs in the way that he seems to have reworked Skewball, The Mountains High, The Yahie Miners, Jenny's Complaint and others, and to pass off their own rewrites as contributions to the tradition - at best it would have caused a lot of confusion; at worst it would have undermined the whole idea of a traditional song. The reason that didn't happen, ironically, is the same reason people still sing those songs in their post-Bert forms - unlike most folk singers, Bert Lloyd was a damn good writer, and when he rewrote a song it stayed rewritten.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 08:49 PM

"The reason that didn't happen, ironically, is the same reason people still sing those songs in their post-Bert forms - unlike most folk singers, Bert Lloyd was a damn good writer, and when he rewrote a song it stayed rewritten."
correct, he improved the tradition, this is something that has happened to trad songs for centuries.
generally speaking improvements to the tradition that are not good, do not survive, the "folk" sort that out, so why all the fuss about "Bert",
Scholars are well able to sort it out,and singers like myself consider the merit of the song slightly more important.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 10:19 PM

"Scholars are well able to sort it out"
No, it makes it much more difficult to sort things out when someone who purports to be representing tradition is not. This is especially the case due to standing notions about "the folk process." Something is put on the table, and one becomes effectively forced to consider it. And doubt of it - this thing that is now on the table - is brushed away with truisms about folk processes and "We may never know."

Just see the "What does 'Blood red Roses' Mean"" thread, for instance.

We don't have this problem with Pete Seeger.

Seeger's work, as an artist, is transparent (to scholars at least). Harker's work, as an academic, is transparent. Lloyd's work is not transparent.

To a large degree, the "folk" scene thrives off that lack of transparency. Paradoxically, and in part on the model of Lloyd, it asks that performers pretend to know the history of what they are presenting while at the same time valuing the appearance of authenticity that comes from not knowing *too* much. It's like trying to be vague and yet very positive at the same time.

I presented something on chanties at a conference in Liverpool (UK) in 2009. As part of a brief personal background narrative - in the interest of transparency - I mentioned that I had learned many chanties from books. Someone in the audience, an scholar of UK nationality, took issue with my authenticity, I suppose, asking how was it that I could purport to represent a tradition learned from books. (Additionally, he grumbled about some critique I made of Bert Lloyd.) Where did he want me to learn them from? Lloyd's recordings? Is that what is needed to legitimate my knowledge, to hear a performance? (Because the real folk aint got no book larnin'…they are slaves to what they hear only.) Guess where Lloyd learned most of the chanties from?: Books. Only in some cases he failed to render the melodies correctly as they were set down, as if he could not be bothered to accurately reproduce the notations in Colcord, Doerflinger, and Hugill's books. But that's OK, right? He simply made the song his own and, who knows, maybe that was a variation in the folk process (?!). Not to mention that some of the books _he_ used were dubious. And he rendered lyrics often in a way to conform to early 20th c. academic notions of English folk-song. Is that the folk process?

Yet because I admitted to using the written texts as my sources, I broke the illusion of the authentic performer who magically learns through osmosis in the "folk culture". More still, it was somehow necessary that my identity as a performer be authentic, in this subject area, in order to speak in an *academic* setting…although my performing life had little to do with the scholarship I was presenting.

This has never happened when I present, say, my work on music in Punjab (India). But when one touches upon something that can be put under the umbrella of "English folk music", a different, bizarre standard applies. Again, I think Lloyd was a model for this confounding of scholarship and folklore performance. One's academic talk is expected to get its authority from authentic performing identity, and one's performance is expected to be accompanied by academic knowledge. The way this paradox is dealt with is that folk performers present shoddy scholarship on one hand whilst pretending to not really know where their performances come from.

There is a question of ethics somewhere in all of this.

On a personal level: I find the ethics of scholarship to be rather clear: cite your sources, admit to what you don't know, and so forth. It's the ethics of performance that I find more difficult in contexts subject to the "folk standard" because you can find yourself in situations where your audience makes up their own story of what you're doing (and you don't want to bore them to death, or else there is no time, to explain what you're doing). I am quite a bit more touchy than most about this (!). I have had to recuse myself from performances where I am not comfortably that the audience will understand what is going on in terms of representation, as a matter of my personal ethical sensibilities. If most of the audience is not likely to understand where I am coming from automatically or if I am unable to adequately explain it, and if that means I am liable to be perpetuating false ideas, I avoid doing it.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 02 Aug 14 - 10:39 PM

In the interest of further transparency :) I should add to my above anecdote that I had also mentioned, in Liverpool, that I had training in a School of Music as a composer, and had once been engaged in writing concert ("classical") music. I think this, too, factored into the audience member's questioning of how I could be learning chanties from books. I expect this person had begun to stereotype me as someone in the "classical music" world who was only capable of learning music from written notation or who privileged it.

After the academic conference, I had the chance to perform some chanties, informally, on stage in a Liverpool night club - and with conference-goers in attendance. Incidentally, I avoided certain well-known items as "Blow the Man Down", as well as avoiding chanty repertoire that is, to my mind, rather marginal to the genre's "core". I believe what I performed were 5 or 6 brief renditions of chanties on a "Stormalong" theme - items that I believed would not carry too much baggage for a general Liverpool audience. Anyway, after the performance I saw the questioner again, and I believe there was something of a reconciliation. I'm guessing that the questioner had feared my performance would be "stiff" and "classical" sounding, but since it was not (indeed, I think I also performed "Old Moke" and it involved some cursing!) my performance persona was passably "authentic"!


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 03:17 AM

"when you say never the same way twice do you mean tune variations or different verses?"
Altered air every performance - in most cases, not radically so - as I said, all around a basic tune structure
Tom was a remarkable, creative singer singer - long dead now.
C.C.E. Issued an album of his songs entitled 'Tom Pháidín Tom' and there is a track of him on their excellent cassette/book, 'Irish Traditional Songs and Singers', but paty from those and the 'Voice of the People' track, nothing.
Traditional singing at its best, in my opinion.
"Bert believed in variation as the sort of death throws of British song tradition"
I can't remember having come across this; I would tend towards Vic's belief.
It's often forgotten that nearly all the recordings we have of English songs were made when the song tradition was in decline and the songs were being remembered and repeated from way back.
"He tried to relate what Albert Lord and others had discovered in the Balkans to Anna Brown's "
It was Buchan's examples (4, I seem to remember) which was the Achilles Heel to his theory, but I'm not sure that 'shot down in flames' is any more reliable a statement than his.
The sad fact is that, apart from some mainly generally unavailable work in the U.S., there has been very little consideration give to traditional singers as anything other than repositories of songs - we certainly know almost zilch of what they thought about their songs and how they approached them - the 'natural as birdsong' image has never really gone away.
Pat and I wrote an article on Walter Pardon for Tom Munnelly's festscrift which we entitled, 'A Simple Countryman?' (note the question-mark).
We chose the title from an argument we one had with a well-known researcher who, when we told him that Walter had very strong opinions on his songs, what they meant to him, how he identified with them and categorised them from his music hall and Victorian songs, how old he believed they were..... told us, "but he's only a simple countryman - he must have been 'got at".
I've always found this a fairly general attitude and I believe it to have lost us a great deal of important information.
If Buchan was "wrong", it was certainly not based on what the singers have told us.
Phil
I think yours is an excellent summing up of how I felt about Harker - I think I reached page 50, then abandoned it for years, I eventually forced myself to finish it without changing my opinion of it.
I remember my disappointment when it first came out - I've always believed that the work of Sharp and the early collectors needed re-examination, but not in that, rather ungracious way.
We have recently acquired two of David Gregory's books but haven't had the time to read them properly yet - they look more promising; I was impressed with the couple of articles he wrote for The canadian Folksong Journal.
I've always thought of Bert and the great folksong schizophrenic, never quite deciding what camp to put his foot in.
When I was editing the short-lived 'The Lark' magazine for The Singers Club, I got a friend to interview him for a potential article.
Bert spoke for over an hour, then the following day, phoned my friend and asked for a transcript of the interview, so he could 'check on some things' - he returned it with a load of alterations.
Sadly, the magazine didn't survive long enough for it to be published.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 03:43 AM

"Lloyd's work is not transparent."

That sums it up, really.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 04:00 AM

"Transparent" is the media synonym for "honest and frank."

Just so we know what we're talking about.

Point to ponder: Bishop Percy's worse fakes were considered to be quite "folklike" in the 18th century, precisely because they lived up to fans' expectations - *then* - of what the "music of the people" should be like.

And Baring-Gould thought the same of his very own.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 04:34 AM

I would be interested to see which of Berts alleged songs are still being sung in 50 years time, perhaps the recruited collier? will sweet thames flow softly[ MacColl] be in the repertoire? and which song had the tune first, has anyone[ In the interests of scholarship asked peggy Seeger, does Jim Carroll know?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 05:12 AM

Phil Edwards said
As for Bert Lloyd, I think the reason we still scratch the 'Bertsongs' itch is that he could have done English folk song a great deal of damage. If the approach which (I believe) he took had been more widely adopted - if it had become normal for singers to thoroughly rework songs in the way that he seems to have reworked Skewball, The Mountains High, The Yahie Miners, Jenny's Complaint and others, and to pass off their own rewrites as contributions to the tradition - at best it would have caused a lot of confusion; at worst it would have undermined the whole idea of a traditional song. The reason that didn't happen, ironically, is the same reason people still sing those songs in their post-Bert forms - unlike most folk singers, Bert Lloyd was a damn good writer, and when he rewrote a song it stayed rewritten.

and Dick said
correct, he improved the tradition, this is something that has happened to trad songs for centuries.
generally speaking improvements to the tradition that are not good, do not survive, the "folk" sort that out, so why all the fuss about "Bert",
Scholars are well able to sort it out,and singers like myself consider the merit of the song slightly more important.

I agree with Dick, except on that last point, where Lloyd's obfuscation of his sources makes the sorting out difficult and leaves singers and listeners still suffering from some false beliefs.

That is really the only respect in which what Lloyd did differed from what loads of people have done for centuries and continue to do still. Most often they have simply offered a rewritten song to the world, saying nothing about where it came from, which is OK. Nowadays it is more common to explain what they've done, which is better. Lloyd rewrote songs and attributed them to fictitious persons, which was dishonest.

In some instances, his motive for doing that was clearly political: when he couldn't find enough evidence of songs by and about industrial workers, he invented them. In other instances, he may just have been concerned that, if he admitted rewriting a song, people might reject it as inauthentic and therefore worthless.

People do worry about authenticity, even if they can't define what it is. Coming back to Phil's comment: the idea of a traditional song is very susceptible to being undermined.

One friend of mine, attending one of Steve Roud's courses, was devastated at being told that so many of the collected songs that we love had started life on broadsides, in the pleasure gardens, on the London stage, etc, rather than getting into print only after being made by the peasantry. (Pace Jim, we can have different opinions about the respective proportions, which no-one knows for sure, but certainly a lot came originally from professional, commercial song writers.) Steve hastened to re-assure her that what matters is not where they started but the fact that they were subsequently sung by and collected from ordinary people.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 06:48 AM

" but certainly a lot came originally from professional, commercial song writers."
We know that some probably did, but we don't know how many.
Our knowledge of the traditional repertoire prior to 1899 is virtually non-existent, and we have only a scanty picture of what was around after that.
It really does take more than tracing a song back to it's first publication date to claim an origin.
Many Child ballads have been preserved by non-literate Travellers - rarities such as 'The Maid and the Palmer', 'Lord Bateman', 'Young Hunting', 'Lord Gregory', 'Lambkin'.... have been recorded from Irish Travellers in the past 30 years.
We recorded extensively a non-literate Traveller who took his non-literate father's songs to a printer, recited them over the counter to the printer who then produced them on 'ballads' song sheets which were being sold at fairs and markets right up to the 1950s
We have talked to settled singers about their attitude to the printed word as far as songs are concerned - extremely complicated.
One of the big surprises we have had in Ireland and among Travellers is the large number of anonymous community composed songs which bacam part of the local repertoire but never made it anywhere else because of their parochial nature.
We know that this was the case in Britain among cotton workers and other industries
Man is a natural song-maker - there is no reason to assume that he relied on the printed word rather the the other way round - that notoriously poor poets (hacks) should have invented our beautiful folk songs from scratch rather than lifting them from an existing oral tradition and adapting them for selling.
Unless scholars take all these, and many more factors into consideration, I strongly believe thay have no right to make claims that 80 - 90 percent of them started life on the broadside presses      
We were told a few weeks ago by a 90-odd year old singer "if something happened, somebody made a song about it" - I don't believe you can say plainer than that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 06:51 AM

Harker had, unfortunately, too political an axe to grind ~~ the authentic proletariat being exploited & ripped off by the bourgeoisie. Pity the Open Univ Press should have been taken over from the off by such very doctrinaire elements. Dave H had some good points to make, but I couldn't find his overall thesis entirely convincing, possibly being put off from the start by that smartarsely tendentious title of his. I recall ending my review of his book for The Times, "Two cheers from the ranks of Tuscany".

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 08:32 AM

I love Fakesong myself. It's only heretical to a notion of 'Folk' held in a typically precious sense, which is bogus in an any actual sense, as some of the comments here make clear (i.e. Steve hastened to re-assure her that what matters is not where they started but the fact that they were subsequently sung by and collected from ordinary people.). That said, what it yields is of importance as one aspect of Popular Music / Culture both is an aesthetic & idiomatic sense, but the pure-blood implications of rabid Traditionalism is as noxious as it is just wrong. When one looks at (say) Memetic Theory the whole idea of Folk looks plain ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 10:18 AM

Jack et al,
I was devastated when I read Fakesong for the first time. My initial excitement at finding someone who agreed with me over the manufacture of 'folk' quickly turned to dismay when I saw that Dave had put such a strong personal political twist on it, thus masking and devaluing what is I believe an accurate representation of what happened. Luckily at least the period upto 1800 was much more carefully covered by the likes of David C Fowler (Thanks, Jim!)

In his talks Steve Roud was referring specifically to that body of folk song collected and published in England c1890-1920 by the likes of Sharp, Baring Gould etc. It does not necessarily apply to material collected elsewhere at different periods.

Incidentally in the latest book published by Steve on the relationship between print and oral tradition which I reviewed, Steve places himself somewhere in the middle of the debate, whereas his co-editor, David Atkinson, appears to place himself much closer towards the 90% end.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Brian Peters
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 10:32 AM

There doesn't seem ever to have been a 'Fakesong' thread on Mudcat, which is surprising. I don't want to say too much about it on a 'Bert' thread but, although it no longer seems the monstrous heresy I found on first reading, there are a number of flaws in detail which (as SG said above about Bert) taint the greater whole. Bearman's critique has been mentioned (and, as Phil Edwards said, it's a pity his own extreme politics forbade some from taking him seriously), but I've noticed one or two other little things in Harker - like introducing something as speculation, then referring back to it as fact a little later on, or misrepresenting the status of a village not too far from me.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 12:23 PM

"We know that some probably did, but we don't know how many."
surely their are records of the amount of songs written as Broadsheets and sold on a commercial basis.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 05:45 PM

Dick,
The contentious issue is the ORIGINS of the songs. The fact that almost 90% (probably more) of them first appeared in and are extant in cheap print is indisputable.

The 'romantics' contend that they were mostly taken from oral tradition before they appeared in cheap print, the 'realists' contend that they originated under some form of commercial conditions, be it theatrical or cheap print poets in the towns. These 2 terms are Steve Roud's not mine but I see where he is coming from.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 06:55 PM

Fakesong promises far more than it delivers, to my mind, and then claims to have delivered it anyway. If somebody were to put in the hours and identify how many of (say) the Child ballads were relatively recent parlour compositions & how many probably had genuine popular roots, that would be really interesting. Harker didn't take those pains, possibly because he was committed to discrediting the idea that any of the canonical ballads *could* have had popular roots - or rather the idea that we could trust any of the claims made to that effect. And fair enough, on one level - better scepticism than credulity - but if you use too high a concentration you end up dissolving the subject altogether.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 03:59 AM

"he fact that almost 90% (probably more) of them first appeared in and are extant in cheap print is indisputable."
This really is not to say that they were not lifted from the oral tradition and adapted Steve.
It is a far too complicated subject to make such a sweeping and definitive statement.
Printed versions are no guide whatever to how the songs originated and whether they were not in existence beforehand.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 04:08 AM

Here's a rather tentative notion from someone who has not really kept up with the literature on folk song and folk song origins.

I'm an amateur botanist living in Manchester. In this region, in the late 18th/early 19th century, there existed something which has been labelled the 'Artisan Naturalist Movement': a loose association of working men (haven't come across any women yet) who shared a common interest in nature - particularly botany. Many local communities had a botanical society. These societies had regular meetings, usually in the upstairs rooms of pubs and at these meetings plant specimens, submitted by the membership, were identified and discussed. Many of the key figures in this movement have been identified and we know something of their lives and occupations; hence John Horsefield was a hand-loom weaver, Richard Buxton was shoe-maker, George Crozier was a blacksmith, James Crowther was a porter on the canals etc., etc.

I suspect that it's significant that as the 19th century progressed, the movement declined. Until the factory system took hold men, such as those I have listed, were self-employed and independent but their successors were reduced to 'mere wage slaves' by that system. Afterwards such men had much less time and energy (and money?) for such relatively esoteric pursuits. I note that John Horsefield was a witness to the 'Peterloo Massacre', in central Manchester, in 1819. This was a political meeting, at which hand-loom weavers, like John, protested against the loss of their livelihoods and independence; the meeting was savagely broken up by the local militia.

Were there such people as 'Artisan Song-makers', I wonder and did industrialisation mark a watershed for them too? Perhaps this is all, in a sense, just a statement of the 'bleeding obvious'?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 04:24 AM

"Printed versions are no guide whatever to how the songs originated and whether they were not in existence beforehand."
no, but they are a guide to something of much more importance that is how they become popular with the people, the printing of songs ensured their popularity and thus prevented some songs from being forgotten, they ensured that many songs became folk songs or songs of the people, they have also enabled scholars to say that song was in existence at a particular time.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 04:52 AM

Printed broadsides are a fascinating media on all sorts of levels and I suspect the relationship between them and oral popular song idioms of the time was symbiotic. There are examples of field recordings turning up that are pretty much exact to the Broadside version, with the singer saying that he got the words when someone wrote them down for him. I'm thinking about Jimmy Knight's singing of Out With My Gun in the Morning that appears on VOTP 18. A beautifully detailed scan of the broadside can be viewed as part of the Axon Ballad collection : http://www.chethams.org.uk/images/b104a.jpg. Hell, this is so good I've got a print of it framed on my wall.

The Broadside is just as much feral folk art as Mr Knight's performance of the song. By way of pilgrimage I once had a wander up Oxford Road to Chadderton Street trying to place T. Pearson in the grimy old buildings that still remain around there. Evocative stuff for sure given the yearning bucolic romanticism of the song that is quintessential to the folk aesthetic right down to the present day.

All of these things had authors, but even back then the very lack of a name lends the whole thing an authenticity than they would lack otherwise. Even the vignette is anonymous - as crudely charming and utterly worthy as the verses of the song itself. To think of these ventures as 'commercial' is, I think, to miss the vitality of the medium altogether and create a false opposition sadly typified in a post below. I quote:

One friend of mine, attending one of Steve Roud's courses, was devastated at being told that so many of the collected songs that we love had started life on broadsides, in the pleasure gardens, on the London stage, etc, rather than getting into print only after being made by the peasantry.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 04:59 AM

"Were there such people as 'Artisan Song-makers'"
Yes there were - Axon and Bamford were two who were published - Manchester Central Library had microfiche of dozens of Chartist and Reform newspapers which included songs of the period sent in by readers.
I would estimate that for every song that was published on the Easter Uprising and the Irish war of Independence, there were at least a few dozen that remained in the area in the memories of local people.
We've calculated a repertoire of at least a hundred unpublished anonymous songs from this one-street town and the surrounding area which have never seen the light of day outside of Miltown Malbay.
We recorded some stunning stuff about the Land Wars at the end of the 19th century - can't find a trace of it in print.
East Clare was particularly active in the Land Distribution protests in the early 1900s and many of the events were put into song by an itinerant Blacksmith named Martin Kennedy and others like him at the time.
It's probably long out of print, but if you should stumble across a copy of a collection called 'Ballads of Co. Clare' 1850-1976 by Seán P Ó Cillín (Killeen), grab it - around a hundred and fifty locally-made songs with their backgrounds - a gem!
I believe it to be the tip of an enormous and possibly largely lost iceberg of folk creations.
It seems to me more than a little insulting to suggest that if Ireland and Scotland could produce such repertoires as they did, the English were "too busy earning a living" and had to rely on the broadside industry to record their experiences for them.
It is crazy to suggest that working people never made songs about their lives - they most certainly did, in their thousands.
Sorry Steve - I really don't mean to denigrate the valuable job you are doing, but I think you haven't read all the entrails.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 05:07 AM

The broad sheets were commercial.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 05:13 AM

So????


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 05:33 AM

Shimrod's point is, unsurprisingly, one of the most refreshing here abouts. One posible 'Artisan - song writer' was Beckett Whitehead. From whom MacColl got 'To the Begging I will go' and I think Harry Boardman got, indirectly 'I mean to get jolly well drunk'. I think BH was descibed by MacColl as a Weaver but wasn't he also an amature historian? His Grandson has been posting on Mudcat in respect of his Grandfather.

Fascinating? Certainly. Helped bu Bert's creativity and dishonesty? Make your own mind up


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 07:23 AM

I'm not sure what the problem is with the idea of Artisan Song Makers - the evidence is right there in the songs themselves, which are the products of considerable natural born knack, craft and cunning much of which was done to turn a profit, though one doubts the broadside printers were exactly rolling in it. The popular experience of music is forever bound up in 'commercialism' - that doesn't diminish the power and significance of that experience, be it Broadsides or Led Zeppelin albums or all points in between. Songs are manufactured artefacts that assume popular potency in the hearts and dreams of the people. I'd say that process is as old as music itself.

A L Lloyd had a canny knack too, in helping to shape and craft the revival with his not-inconsiderable efforts as all-round renaissance folk-man par excellence despite some wayward moments which aren't really the point. It all comes down to the passion and vision of such individuals who are able to give it a spark that ignites a fury. Along with Lomax, he's one of the true prophets to whom we owe a goodly deal, including a hefty slice of bafflement but that's to be expected, surely?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 07:40 AM

Lighter writes: "It's hard to believe that anyone could alter a song 'almost out of recognition' quite 'involuntarily'"

I'm not so sure. I've learned songs from singers, sang them in various places over a couple of years and then, going back to the singaround where I first heard them, heard the "original" version again and been shocked at just how much I've deviated.

Of course, there have been occasions where I've made quite deliberate changes to words and tune and then it's fully voluntary and I'm quite conscious of what I'm doing. That's something different. But over the course of just 2/3 years, I can testify to the fact that it's possible to deviate a lot involuntarily if you're not returning to a recorded version or written-out tune that's keeping you close to the original.

I acknowledge that such "drifts" may just be a product of my peculiarly wandering mind, but I still think it's worth noting that what Lloyd says here is not all that unbelievable.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 08:11 AM

Really enjoyed Phil's very articulate critique of Fakesong in this thread. I felt exactly the same way (and I'm also a Marxist).

I felt much the same way about The Imagined Village, which I gave up on about 50 pages in. Whoever supervised that particular PhD thesis wasn't doing their job properly, I thought: I got fed up having to look up every footnote expecting to read some kind of support for what was being asserted as fact, only to find the title and publisher of whatever the work was.

And that work was generally by an ethnomusicologist from a completely different country talking about that completely different country's tradition. Purportedly a critique of the English folk revival, it will use any other source talking about any other country's folk music, if it can be used to build up a case.

As it happens, it's unable to make any especially damning inditements of the major collectors (as far as I read, anyway), so its grand claims seem like hyperbole in the main.

As you say Phil, any stick...


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 08:27 AM

...but to tie that back to Bert though, if you compare those books to Bert's 'Folk Song In England', what's clear is that Bert could really write. 'Folk song in England' has a sharp and literate prose style and is a truly inspiring tome: you come away from it buzzing with ideas (which I can't say about Fakesong and Imagined Village). Writing was his bread-and-butter and it shows.

I also think that some of the things Bert is bashed with are overstated: if you read 'Folk song in England' scrupulously, his 'pagan' stuff is a lot more speculative than he's given credit for. When I read it, I thought it was just funny that a rather stuffy ageing bookish man should should be lustily speculating about pagan fertility origins: it never occurred to me that he could possibly be saying all that stuff was Historical Fact.

There's a middle ground: a recognition that we're talking about songs here, not historical documents. Songs are art, they're not people. I did an English Lit Degree and I read a lot of poetry, so I accordingly tend to think of folk songs much the same way I do poems. To me, a song like 'Herrings Heads' quite simply IS a magic spell. To me, that's completely indisputable when you read the words: herrings heads become universally plastic, cosmic fleshy Lego. It's irrelevant what that song was historically. Bert was definitely on the side of the poets, simple as that.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 09:35 AM

Bert was a Curates Egg,


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 09:36 AM

I suppose that the point that I was groping towards, in my contribution about Artisan Naturalists, is that the Industrial Revolution marked a point at which ordinary people's relationship to their culture changed: they went (in a collective sense) from being active creators to passive consumers. This was most marked in urban areas but lingered on, in faded forms, in the remoter, more rural parts of these islands, to the end of the 20th century. Trouble is, the Industrial Revolution is too far away in time to be really sure about exactly what changes took place.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 10:40 AM

"I felt much the same way about The Imagined Village,"
I found one of the golden rules of the building trade to be that it was always easier to demolish something somebody else had built than it was to build something yourself.
Seems to apply to this particular field of folk-song scholarship.
"Bert was a Curates Egg,"
Does that make Alex Campbell a Scotch Egg, I wonder?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 11:40 AM

Well Jim we put up with all sorts of b*llocks aon here but we draw the line on humour - as you well know!


Trousers


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 11:44 AM

I like The Imagined Village too. It accounts for the condition of the revival as a bourgeois construct, which is exactly what it is: a highly selective paternalistic imperialist fantasy of working-class cultural 'traditions' meticulously pieced together from the shards and fragments of particular idioms of popular song, dance and custom which the working class themselves had largely given up on in the light of new developments (dare I say improvements?) in technology and lifestyle giving rise to the reactionary mawkishness that has typified folk since Cecil Sharp's Epiphany of August 22nd 1903.   

That's what folk is - it is born and perpetuated by cultural & class dichotomy. What The Imagined Village and Fakesong do is attempt to account for that with a twist of cultural criticism to contextualise the thing with moderate affection. All very straightforward one might have thought, and though by no means perfect I suspect the inherent fundamentalism of The Revival informs a lot of the opposition here - the belief that Folk is anything else other than a specialist idiom of popular music, or that the 1954 Definition tells us anything that isn't true of ALL music, whatever the genre.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 12:28 PM

no Jim, Alex Campbell, had something you will never have, a wonderful sense of humour, an abilty to entertain, an abilty to tell stories and keep an audience riveted, you in comparison are an earnest fellow who has done a lot of collecting.
But given a choice of Alex Campbell or you as a guest performer/entertainer, you are not in his league.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 12:40 PM

they went (in a collective sense) from being active creators to passive consumers.

Can I cite that as Exhibit A in my case for the reactionary mawkishness that has typified folk since Cecil Sharp's Epiphany of August 22nd 1903?


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 12:41 PM

"but we draw the line on humour - as you well know!"
I see somebody does - ah well, you can't please all of the people all of the time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 12:44 PM

I guess you can cite what you like, Sean. As we all know [so must you], you are engaging in an interminable dialogue with yourself in this particular, to which the rest of us have long since ceased to pay the remotest attention ~~~

Or had you really not noticed?!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 01:24 PM

Just to let,know that I'm still here but with my mouth firmly shut. The level of scholarship here is way above my league. I can't say that I understand everything that's been posted, but I'm doing my best. Dick comes out of the same background as me but to be fair he's doing a much better job of keeping up than I could ever do.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 01:29 PM

"The level of scholarship here is way above my league"
Oh, come on Nick; you know more about Travellers than most people here - modesty, surely?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 03:18 PM

Coventry eh, Michael? Well, that's what you get for trying to play reasonably with the big boys.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 03:18 PM

Yes I've lived the life. Its not modesty just a feeling of 'That is not for the likes of me' That's how it was when I was a kid, and it sort of stays with you. 'Get your nose out of that book and earn a bloody living!!' That's how it was.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim McLean
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 05:23 PM

As we seem to have reached the usual conclusion in this type of thread , slagging matches, may I add that my appreciation of Bert Lloyd was that I couldn't stand his voice. I heard him many times at the Pinder of Wakefiled in the 1960s and shuddered every time although I liked the songs. I am also not a fan of Alfred Deller.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 11:13 AM

I do hope the little spat hasn't driven this interesting topic into the ground.
Both Ewan and Bert, for all their shortcomings, were instrumental in giving us the music that has given me at least, a lifetime of pleasure and interest - it was refreshing to be able to take part in a discussion that didn't include the usual grave-dancing and backbiting.
Both left us a body of work that has hardly been examined (I certainly know this to be the case with Ewan)
I never participated, but I became somewhat depressed reading the recent discussions on folk-clubs, (where nearly all of us cut our musical teeth), and the ease with which some people seem happy to write than off as a thing of the past and let them go.
For me they were a door into a subject that has occupied a large part of my like and hopefully, will continue to do so.
If nobody has anything else to add, I just wanted so thank Nick for opening another door.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 12:08 PM

The most important thing is to sing the songs, everything else is of less importance including criticising Berts scholarship. I am indebted to everyone who has added to the repertoire, I am indebted to everyone who has organised a folk club, I am indebted to MacColl as a songwriter.
I forgive Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 12:59 PM

"I forgive Jim Carroll."
Hallelujah - salvation at last!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 01:36 PM

Say 6 Hail Maries and count your beads!


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: zozimus
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 02:48 PM

Having followed this thread,I would like to ask, if Bert was economical with the truth, can we accept all the copious sleeve notes he wrote for the Topic L/Ps as being accurate on songs other than "Bertsongs" ?
I've just been reading his notes on "All Bells in Paradise" by The Valley Folk and it would take ages to double-check all his references.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 04:02 PM

Sorry, zozimus,
but there must be other sources you can go to by now.

I suggest you type in any sleeve notes you are interested in as a new thread using the song title and we'll do our best with them. If references are to versions in published books there's a good chance they were accurate, but we can always check, if the books aren't too obscure.

If this song is also known as 'Down in yon forest' I'm pretty certain there is plenty of info on this in the EFDSS journals which is probably where Bert got the info from.

The most likely thing that would need double checking is references to religious meaning. A lot of these old carols contain allegories and there are various interpretations.


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 04:30 PM

A L Lloyd and Alfred Deller - two of my all time favourite singers of folk songs...


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Subject: RE: AL Lloyd, is he the one that got away
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 03:27 AM

"All Bells in Paradise"
Hi Zoz
The song appears on the final album of The Riverside series 'English and Scottish Ballads by MacColl and Lloyd - all the songs included have copious notes which might be of some use.
I'm pretty sure you have the set - if not, contact me
Jim Carroll


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