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Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago

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GUEST,Fred McCormick 16 Mar 15 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 16 Mar 15 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 16 Mar 15 - 09:36 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 15 - 08:01 AM
Brian Peters 16 Mar 15 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 16 Mar 15 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,OI...................... 16 Mar 15 - 07:19 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 15 - 07:09 AM
The Sandman 16 Mar 15 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Brian Grayson 16 Mar 15 - 01:05 AM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 15 Mar 15 - 08:44 PM
maeve 15 Mar 15 - 06:23 PM
Jim McLean 15 Mar 15 - 02:19 PM
maeve 14 Mar 15 - 09:14 PM
The Sandman 14 Mar 15 - 08:23 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 15 - 02:23 PM
The Sandman 14 Mar 15 - 01:56 PM
BobKnight 14 Mar 15 - 11:53 AM
Vic Smith 14 Mar 15 - 11:51 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 15 - 10:54 AM
Jim McLean 14 Mar 15 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 14 Mar 15 - 09:16 AM
The Sandman 14 Mar 15 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 14 Mar 15 - 07:45 AM
GUEST 14 Mar 15 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 14 Mar 15 - 07:26 AM
Dave Hanson 14 Mar 15 - 07:19 AM
Vic Smith 14 Mar 15 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 14 Mar 15 - 04:42 AM
maeve 13 Mar 15 - 09:36 AM
Vic Smith 13 Mar 15 - 09:31 AM
Vic Smith 13 Mar 15 - 09:21 AM
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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 10:41 AM

I've just been re-reading my earlier posting on this thread about young performers not being aware of source singers.

Whilst I stand by my criticisms of singers of any age who fail to acknowledge the importance of the tradition, I feel I may have been overzealous in tarring all young singers with the same brush.

In fact, conversations I've had with Sam Lee, Fay Hield, Hannah James and various others reveal that they possess exactly the kind of commitment to, and enthusiasm for, the tradition, which was so lacking among revivalists when I first got involved 50 odd years ago.

Just put me down as a cantankerous old grudge who got out of bed on the wrong side that day.

(Thinks. Do I have to eat all of this humble pie in one go, or can I save some for later?)


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 09:50 AM

I was interested to hear what both Brian and Anne had to say regarding current influences. I only floated this because of what I had been told about young instrumentalists and wondered if the same thing was happening with singers. I really do hope that young people are listening to the many recordings of traditional singers which are now available both on-line and on CDs. I know that when I first heard recordings of Joseph Taylor, made in 1908, it was a wonderful experience. There is a very long thread running through traditional folkmusic and I only hope that people will not forget, or ignore, this. It is, after all, the basis for all that has come later.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 09:36 AM

Brian, young singers in Scotland are certainly aware of the likes of Jeannie, Lizzie, Sheila and Belle and sing many of their songs -- and they also have an awareness of elements of style. But perhaps I'm thinking mainly of young female singers (Siobhan Miller, Fiona Hunter, Robyn Stapleton, Claire Hastings etc.)?

Young male singers tend to be instrumentalists and also to perform in groups, which seems to mean - IMO - that there are other factors dictating their choice of repertoire, and therefore we are far less likely to hear an unaccompanied traditional song from them.

This is almost certainly an over-simplification and merely the start of an attempt to understand the influences shaping song choice and choice of role models!


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 08:01 AM

"Jim - this thread should be a celebration of Jeannie Robertson"
Agree entirely Mike - but I also think it needs to be a recognition of the life Travellers like Jeannie, The Stewarts.... and all those you and I were privileged to have met, due to the persistent and still common prejudice they faced during their lifetimes
I heard Jeannie speak about it as far back s the one time I met her at Keele in the early sixties - Belle and Sheila spoke and wrote about it throughout the time I knew them, and it was a constant factor of our work with Irish Travellers in London over thirty years.
I really have no wish to divert this away from a celebration of Jeannie and I have no intention of taking this further than I have.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Brian Peters
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 07:42 AM

Mike Yates wrote:
"Could we actually be facing a situation where the likes of Jeannie Roberson, Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Walter Pardon etc. fade from memory and disappear?"

Well, the recordings are more easily accessible than ever, bearing in mind that some of those singers are available free on Youtube, as well as on CD. That doesn't necessarily mean that young singers will necessarily access the recordings, but I can tell you that the ones who go through the Newcastle degree course know all about them (I spent part of one tutorial listening to a young chap enthusing about Phil Tanner's vocal ornaments), Emily Portman and Lauren McCormick are big fans of Caroline Hughes, and James Findlay listens to plenty of that stuff too.

How about Scotland, Anne?


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 07:34 AM

Jim - this thread should be a celebration of Jeannie Robertson.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,OI......................
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 07:19 AM

....you 2 - this thread is about Jeannie Robertson.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 07:09 AM

"another example of people being refused entrance who were not travellers"
Your point appearing to be that Travellers are no different to hippies and Irish musicians when it comes to being discriminated against - is that right?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 05:19 AM

another example of people being refused entrance who were not travellers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDsQSOf6_ow


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Brian Grayson
Date: 16 Mar 15 - 01:05 AM

To: Jim Carroll

Re: Buff Rosenthal

I'm trying to find out what happened to Buff Rosenthal, late of the Singers' Club and the Critics' Group. I knew her in London in the 70s, and she seems to have vanished. Just thought you might know...

Brian Grayson
briangrayson@iprimus.com.au


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 15 Mar 15 - 08:44 PM

Thanks for the story, Jim.

I've mentioned this before on Mudcat, but I have a particular memory of Jeannie from back around 1960/61.
I was still a pupil at school and was invited to my teacher's house (the late Norman Buchan who eventually went on to be an MP and who was responsible for the nomination of Jeannie for her MBE). Trying to be inconspicuous, I sat on the floor and half under their grand piano -- the rest of the room being full of adults I didn't know. Anyway, before things took off I was offered a glass of wine by someone who was circulating, but Norman rushed over and said that I was still at school.
Then there was Jeannie, standing with her back to the wall, apologising for her sore throat and launching into song. At one point she sang Matty Groves and got all the way through the song until the episode where Lord Darnal offered Matty his choice of swords -- she stopped, looked round the room until she saw Norman standing by the door and said, "Well, you see, Norman, he wis aye a fair man."! And then she lifted the story back up to its conclusion.
Later on there was singing from around the room and Norman encouraged me to sing The Baron of Brackley -- when I finished, Jeannie corrected my version in which Inverey escaped down Glen Turner (which was what I thought I had heard on Norman's reel-to-reel tape): she spoke with real knowledge of the local geography and I learned that the correct route would have been through Glen Tanar!

An amazing, wonderful singer….


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: maeve
Date: 15 Mar 15 - 06:23 PM

Thank you, Jim! Wonder if Nigel wore the socks?


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Mar 15 - 02:19 PM

She told Nigel the socks would make him famous as she had second sight! I'm not sure whether Nigel would agree or not. My half crown went on two pints of beer.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: maeve
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 09:14 PM

More memories of Jeannie, please?


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 08:23 PM

Padraig O Keefe.
Travellers are barred out of pubs because of the way SOME travellers behave when they are drunk, I agree it is a stereotyping and is SIMILIAR TO RACISM.
My point was that other people other than travellers have also been deemed undesirable and then had posthumous awards.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 02:23 PM

Padraig O'Keef was not barred out of pubs because he was Irish or a Kerryman
Travellers are barred out of pubs because they are Travellers there are still notices refusing them service despite the fact that it is against the law (british law, that is)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 01:56 PM

Still it doesnt just apply to travellers, PADRAIG O KEEFE was only able to go on in one pub in scartaglen and now there is a monument to him.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: BobKnight
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 11:53 AM

Sounds like somethinge Belle or Sheila would have said Jim. :)


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 11:51 AM

Jeannie Robertson was awarded the MBE in 1969 and travelled down to Buckingham Palace with her husband Donald for the award ceremony. She was the first folk singer to be so honoured.

Belle Stewart became a recipient of the BEM (British Empire Medal) in 1981.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 10:54 AM

"I believe Jeannie was the first person to be awarded an honour for services to folk music ? MBE I seem to remember."
Can't remember if it was Jeannie or one of The Stewarts who wryly commented, "they gave me an award but they still won't serve me or my family in the pubs".
It was once pointed out by Hamish Henderson that a Traveller living locally to Gavin Greig, who played pipes regularly at local events, was never asked if he knew any songs, it was found years after Greig's death that he knew one of the few Robin Hood ballads in the oral tradition.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Jim McLean
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 09:49 AM

I think it was 1962/3 when Jeannie was in London. Nigel Denver and I were asked to take her to the railway station and see her off back to Scotland. She gave Nigel a pair of socks and me half a crown which was 2 shillings and sixpence, 12 and 1/2 pence in today's money.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 09:16 AM

I too was lucky enough to see Jeannie in performance -- such a big personality to go with the magnificent voice that the sense of her 'self' extended later to the more common listening experiences of tapes and LPs.

So now, when I go onto the Kist o Riches site (School of Scottish Studies and BBC archive material) and type Jeannie Robertson into the search, I can select from dozens and dozens of tracks -- songs, often repeated over the years, from her repertoire of ballads, bawdry, kids' songs, love songs etc.; folk tales; and interviews. And it's very easy to imagine being in a corner of the same room!


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 07:59 AM

a great singer


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 07:45 AM

I meant to add the following to my little diatribe above.

Suppose, just for a minute, that a classical orchestra made a recording of, say, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and neglected to mention the composer, saying instead said they learned it from a manuscript or from some other orchestra. Imagine the invective that would result.

Can't see a whole heap of difference between that and revival singers not crediting source singers.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 07:28 AM

I am very much enjoying the links. Jeannie's singing is echoing throughout our yurt. Thanks again.

Maeve


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 07:26 AM

Mike Yates and Vic Smith. I heartily agree. I get absolutely fed up with people who introduce songs by saying "This is So And So's Such And Such", apparently oblivious to the fact that So And So must have got it from a traditional source somewhere, and that there's very likely several generations of labouring poor sang the song virtually anonymously before it was collected. Well, they didn't call us The Secret People for nothing.

Regarding Mike's prognosis about the likes of Harry Cox and Jeannie Robertson fading from public view, I suspect that he will be proved right.

It's a sad and depressing fact that, for most of the young crop of singers and musicians, their heroes are Peter Bellamy and Martin Carthy, rather than the people we sometimes lovingly call The Old Boys.

Mind you, I was cheered up no end recently when a young, nationally known singer turned up at our local singaround recently and introduced her song by saying she'd learned it from one of her favourite singers - Caroline Hughes no less!

I'm not sure whether she got it from the Topic Voice of the People set, or from the double CD of Caroline Hughes on Musical Traditions. Whatever. Keep banging the stuff out folks. We need it.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 07:19 AM

I believe Jeannie was the first person to be awarded an honour for services to folk music ? MBE I seem to remember.

She sang on The Dave Allen Show on the Saturday night, The Keach In The Creel I think, anyway I was totally captivated by her singing.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 06:11 AM

Well said. Mike. I totally agree. I think that we can just count ourselves lucky that we were around to see Jeannie and all those others whose voices I still carry in my head.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 14 Mar 15 - 04:42 AM

I am amazed that there have not been more comments on this thread. Jeannie Robertson was a giant when it came to folkmusic. She was one of the greatest singers ever to have been recorded and we are all in her debt.
Interestingly, Hoot recently commented to me that many young session musicians,who had learnt tunes from revival performers, were unaware of the "source" musicians from whom the tunes had first been collected. And I wonder if the same sort of thing is now happening with songs. Are younger singers are picking up pieces from recordings of singers such as Martin Carthy without fully realising where Martin leant the song in the first place? Could we actually be facing a situation where the likes of Jeannie Roberson, Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Walter Pardon etc. fade from memory and disappear? I hope not.


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: maeve
Date: 13 Mar 15 - 09:36 AM

Thank you, Vic. I never got to meet Jeannie, but Lizzie was a friend.

Maeve


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Subject: RE: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Mar 15 - 09:31 AM

Jeannie Robertson - My Son David

A Youtube of her singing - let it run after the finish of this track and a number of others will automatically load.


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Subject: Jeannie Robertson 40 years ago
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Mar 15 - 09:21 AM

Sam Lee reminds me that it is 40 years ago today that the great Jeannie Robertson died (21st October 1908 - 13th March 1975)
I remember her distraught daughter Lizzie on the phone to us to give us the news the day she died. Difficult to believe that it was 40 years ago. I remember vividly our visits (pilgrimages?) to the council flat in Aberdeen of this remarkable woman and treasure the time spent in her company.

The most comprehensive account of her life (though it has its critics) is Jeannie Robertson - Emergent Singer, Transformative Voice by James Porter and Herschel Gower (Tuckwell Press, East Linton) ISBN 1 898410 84 4


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