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Radio Ballad Format - who created it?

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GUEST,CJB 01 Dec 17 - 09:54 AM
GUEST 01 Dec 17 - 10:11 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Dec 17 - 11:01 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Dec 17 - 11:13 AM
Tootler 01 Dec 17 - 11:48 AM
The Sandman 01 Dec 17 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,CJB 01 Dec 17 - 12:48 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Dec 17 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,CJB 01 Dec 17 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,CJB 01 Dec 17 - 01:48 PM
Will Fly 01 Dec 17 - 02:23 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Dec 17 - 02:57 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Dec 17 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 01 Dec 17 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 01 Dec 17 - 04:11 PM
Will Fly 01 Dec 17 - 04:38 PM
nutty 01 Dec 17 - 06:38 PM
RTim 01 Dec 17 - 07:13 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Dec 17 - 07:48 AM
Mr Red 03 Dec 17 - 06:08 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Dec 17 - 07:25 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Dec 17 - 08:56 AM
Will Fly 03 Dec 17 - 09:07 AM
Will Fly 03 Dec 17 - 09:08 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Dec 17 - 12:04 PM
Will Fly 04 Dec 17 - 03:37 AM
GUEST 05 Dec 17 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,CJB 05 Dec 17 - 12:35 PM
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Subject: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 09:54 AM

BBC Radio Ballad format - created by the Americans?

See this. I tried to get the full text but its restricted to academia (I hate that arrogance) or I have to pay £28.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01439685.2015.1105513?journalCode=chjf20

"Furthermore, this article suggests that Lomax?s radio productions had a lasting effect on British media and culture, influencing both the British folk music revival of the 1950s?1960s and the popular ?radio ballad? form."

I thought Charles Parker created the Radio Ballad format, along with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger?

Meanwhile if anyone from 'academia' can obtain the text of the full diatribe I'b be grateful. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 10:11 AM

I don't read that as Lomax creating the format. Rather, by making folk music acceptible to broadcast radio, he opened the door for Parker et al to get the Radio Ballad format accepted.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 11:01 AM

Lomax composed 'Ballad Operas', "The Martins and The Coys" probably being the best known of them - as far as I am aware, they did not include the actuality recordings that made the Radio Ballads unique
A friend of mine is searching for an Irish made one Lomax made, possibly some time i the 1950s,; 'The Stones of Tory', based on a local legend from Tory Island, North West Donegal.
The Radio Ballads were created by accident.
Charles Parker was commissioned to produce a radio tribute to railwayman, John Axon, who had died in his cab whilst trying to stop his train when the steam breaks failed.
He engaged Peggy Seger and Ewan MacColl to produce the music
The practice in those days was to gather information around the subject, usually by interviewing workmates, etc., write a script and give it to actors to read.
The trio set off and recorded hours of actuality and when the listened to it MacColl, who had become fascinated in vernacular speech, suggested that the recorded material was "too good to be wasted on actors" and proposed that it should be edited and used for the programme
The BBC were at first reluctant to use the working voice on the radio but were eventually sold the idea
It was a phenomenal success and opened the gates to seven more programmes, the idea was dropped when the Beeb realised that had hold of a hot potato because of what the interviewees were saying about their lives.   
Previously, the only regular regional accent on the radio was of Yorkshireman Wilfred Pickles, who was eventually dropped because of his "strange speech".
Two more radio ballads were made by Charles without MacColl and Seeger after the series ended, but were pale shadows of the originals as the Beeb wouldn't pay for the interviews or for sufficient time for the team to spend in preparation   
MacColl always saidf that he and Peggy dropped out because they felt it was better to end on a high rather than fade into insignificance with inferior programmes.
When you consider the power of the last of the eight, 'The Travelling People' (especially the penultimate "exterminate Travellers who won't conform" statement), he had a point
The features department of Midlands Radio, which commissioned the programmes, was eventually closed and Parker was made redundant
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 11:13 AM

Incidentally
Maccoll had made a number of programmes on British working practices a decade before the Radio Ballads - I vaguely remember hearing them as a teenager, before I was interested in folk song.
The titles that spring to mind are, 'Landscape With Chimneys', 'Pit Stop' (lorry drivers) and 'St Cecilia and the Shovel'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 11:48 AM

I seem to remember that much later the BBC adapted "Singing the Fishing" (my personal favourite) for TV which included both photos of the fishing fleets, footage of women gutting the fish and a brief appearance of Sam Larner.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 12:14 PM

The format which used the voices of ordinary people rather than professional actors was first used by charles parker and MacColl and Seeger, according to PETER COX


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 12:48 PM

The two Birmingham Ballads - The Cry from the Cut' and 'The Jewelry' are extant in the public domain. Aired once but never heard again - until now. Thanks Jim.

There was also The Iron Box (aired but once)- about blacks in the US prison system, and Romeo & Juliet (even re-aired last year) - a mods & rockers version of the classic theme - these too are around. Again thanks Jim.

Meanwhile there was Offlimits - a series of 6 RBs about the lives of black soldiers in the Vietnam war. These were never aired by the Beeb as being too controversial. Only ep. 2 is around.

Another RB was about the Cowley car works - The Factory - but this is not around.

Meanwhile the format endures with youngsters and such as the Ballads of the Great War series. And then there was the Olympics of 2012.

BTW the Radio Ballads TV versions - three - are on YouTube.

And all of the above were Brit. creations.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 01:15 PM

When the Radio ballads were ditched MacColl had intended to try to get one accepted on "a scabber", (basically a merchant seaman who had got himself a reputation as a troublemaker for standing up for seaman's rights' until he could only get work on the worst ships)
He eventually turned the research he had done into has last play - 'The Shipmaster'
It was produced in Glasgow and Manchester; I never saw it but have always hoped that it was filmed.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 01:44 PM

Whilst in the USA there was Martin and the Coys - avail. on Amazon.

And on the Cultural Equity site there is The Chisholm Trail - intended to give the British public an idea as to life in the USA. FGS.

On YouTube there is the Lincoln Lonesome Train Contata from 78s - starring Burl Ives.

And there is the newly re-discovered Man Who Went to War - with scripts - starring Paul Robeson - at the LOC site (unavailable to the public). Apparently PhDs have been granted for analysing this short programme. But academia have claimed as their own and the LOC refuses all access.

BTW all the above was sponsored by the BBC and likely not actually aired in the USA.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 01:48 PM

And here's another

http://warhammer40kfanon.wikia.com/wiki/File:The_Ballad_of_Ho_Chi_Minh_-_Ewan_MacColl_with_the_London_Critics_Group

Is this around at all?


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 02:23 PM

I do believe that J.B. Priestley - also a Yorkshireman - broadcast during war, the theory being that a regional voice would be reassuring to the public.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 02:57 PM

"Is this around at all?"
Not as a film, but we have a recording which is probably the same as that used on the soundtrack
"a series of 6 RBs about the lives of black soldiers in the Vietnam war."
I think you have our copies of these C
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 03:00 PM

"broadcast during war, the theory being that a regional voice would be reassuring to the public."
Which would be around the time Wilf Pickles was getting such stick
I think the Cockneys thought the Germans had landed when they heard the accents!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 03:41 PM

Jim, are you sure about Wilfred Pickles getting the push because of his accent? The cockneys that I grew up with had no problem understanding him.

I am bloody sure that his programme was among the most popular at the time. I don't know who was giving him stick. I remember it being on every week and having a large following with it's catch phrase "give him/her the money Barney". And then there was the lady pianist Violet Carson? I personally thought it was bloody awful. Every quiz contestant in the show was asked their age and if it was anything over 60 or so they were given a round of applause. Cringe making.

Also regarding "The Martin and the Coys" from 1944 did not contain actuality recordings. The cast included Will Geer, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger etc


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 04:11 PM

There is a fine resource at the internet jukebox.

www.culturalequity.org

Pump in "radio ballads" and you will get 69 references.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

It appears BBC is......


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 04:38 PM

"Have A Go" was, I think, the radio programme chaired by Wilfred Pickles - and the pianist was indeed Violet Carson (later Ena Sharples from "Coronation Street"). Bloody awful programme, but incredibly popular.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: nutty
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 06:38 PM

I'm a Freeborn Man - published in America by Oak Publications in 1968 gives McColl's explanation of how and why The Radio Ballads were made in the way they were.
The book also contains a number of songs (words and music) from the various ballads.
It's well worth buying and a number are for sale at various prices from the BOOKFINDER website.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: RTim
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 07:13 PM

Will Fly - the 1950's were a very different time than now...I can remember listening to Workers Play Time, Have Go, etc.. as a child -people would do things for Threepence......very different than now.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Dec 17 - 07:48 AM

"Jim, are you sure about Wilfred Pickles getting the push because of his accent? "
Pretty sure Hoot
This is an account of the reception he got, from John Sipmson's 'News From No Man's Land'
I grew up with the story that he was removed from newsreading because of the protests - he was tolerated on Have-a-Go for his 'quaintness', as were several personalities - but 'not on the news'

When, during the Second World War, the BBC turned the broad?caster Wilfred Pickles into a newsreader, there were howls of protest right across the country. Pickles might have had a silly name and a strong North Country accent, but he was a clever and accomplished broadcaster; and nowadays, listening to recordings of his news bulletins, it is clear he deliberately muted his natural accent so much that it only escapes occasionally, usually in the vowel sounds. But people across the country were outraged. What they wanted was standard English, 'BBC English': the English, that is, of the public schools and of Oxford and Cambridge.
Accent snobbery is one of the nastier sides of life in England, and it's a problem unknown in France, Ireland, the United States, Germany, Russia and just about every other country whose television I watch. Its fading out even in England, and with luck it'll be dead and forgotten within twenty years. But it still crops up every now and then.
When John Cole took my place as the BBC's political editor in 1981, there were hundreds of complaints after each of his broadcasts about his supposedly impenetrable Ulster accent. It wasn't just the accent they didn't like, it was the fact that John came from the other side of the Irish Sea; and with that sensitivity and awareness that have made the British so loved around the world, they failed to....

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Mr Red
Date: 03 Dec 17 - 06:08 AM

I thought Lomax collaborated with Bob Copper and Ewen MacColl. Such are myths made of.

On BBC Radio 4 extra, yesterday, they broadcast a comedy programme first put out in the 40s. It was pretty broad Geordie. Bob Copper was commissioned by the BBC to go out and record the life and song of the rural idyll.

And the much lauded Ludwig Koch didn't speak received English, and neither sis his subjects!


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Dec 17 - 07:25 AM

"I thought Lomax collaborated with Bob Copper and Ewen MacColl. Such are myths made of."
Lomax did -but not on the Radio Ballads
Lomax persuaded than to start researching their own repertoires rather than the American songs they were singing
He was also a participant in the East London ' Theatre Royal' Concerts with which were probably the opening shots of the folk song revival.
Mike Yates wrote an excellent article for the Folk Music Journal entitled 'Lomax in London' which covers the period in great detail
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Dec 17 - 08:56 AM

While this is up on top, I thought I'd just mention another aspect of the workers voice on the media
Around the time of the Radio Ballads, film-maker, Philip Donnellan started to use the folk music to accompany his documentaries which included 3 film versions of The Radi ballads, The Big Hewer, Singing the Fishing and The fight Game
Other works were: Where Do We Go From Here? on the question of the 'Gypsy menace' (travelling people), Gone For A Soldier (1980), a 105-minute montage of ordinary soldiers' diaries and letters and a 2 part account of emigration from Britain and Ireland, 'Passage West'
Gone For a Soldier created a furore, with 'questions being asked in 'The House'
Probably his best was never released and was only available at private showings; 'The Irishmen', on the navvies working on the road and railways in London.
The Beeb took umbrage at what the navvies had to say about life in Britain and the conditions on the sites, so they sat on it - Irish television showed it as an obituary tribute in 1999.
We learned recently that Donnellan was so worried that his films would be destroyed that he shipped copies of them abroad for safe-keeping
MacColl some of his best work for the The Irishmen; his technique was to listen to recorded actuality and use them to create the songs
Thanks to the fact that it was never seen, many of the songs were not sung around, apart from 'Tunnel Tigers'
I'm pretty sure that another film he did was 'The Singer and the Song', separately filmed interviews with Harry Cox and Sam Larner (they never met)
Hopefully, there are enough pirate copies around to have ascertained that these Gems are not lost forever
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Dec 17 - 09:07 AM

RTim - the 1950s were indeed very different from now - as I remember well (b.1944).

We listened to the "wireless" constantly - Workers' Playtime, Listen While You Work, Housewives' Choice, Five To Ten, Women's Hour, Cildren's Hour, Dick Barton, Radio Newsreel and many others - and I can still hum their signature tunes...

I still hated Have A Go!


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Dec 17 - 09:08 AM

Whoops - Music While You Work.


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Dec 17 - 12:04 PM

"Music While You Work."
I'll bet you remember 'In Town Tonight' and 'Henry Hall's Guest Night' - not to mention Archie Andrews - the only ventriloquist's dummy ever to get his own radio show!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Dec 17 - 03:37 AM

Alas, Jim, I'm old enough and grey enough to remember them very well! Peter Brough was probably one of the worst "vents" in the business - only fit for radio.

The "wireless" was a huge influence, and I can recall many programmes from the late '40s. We lived in Glasgow in those days and listened to the BBC Scottish Home Service, which had a marked regional voice - much less "received pronunciation".


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 17 - 12:24 PM

Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 17 - 02:57 PM

"a series of 6 RBs about the lives of black soldiers in the Vietnam war."
I think you have our copies of these C
Jim Carroll

====

Jim - wish that I did have these. BUT Jack only put ep. 2 of the 6 onto Soundcloud. I corrected the audio for him. Eps. 1/3/4/5/6 are still 'missing.'

====


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Subject: RE: Radio Ballad Format - who created it?
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 05 Dec 17 - 12:35 PM

Re: " 'The Stones of Tory', based on a local legend from Tory Island, North West Donegal."

I have a faint recollection that this was performed somewhat recently perhaps for a Folk Festival? Are the scripts still extant? In which case I see no reason why it should not be possible to recreate the performance.

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/the-legacy-of-alan-lomax-1.1090542

"Readers may be able to help with a missing Irish Lomax item: a recording of a 1950s BBC radio ballad opera The Stones of Tory, written by Lomax and Ennis and featuring several of those he had recorded in 1951 as well as the Abbey actors Walter Macken and Eileen Crowe."

NICHOLAS CAROLAN, Irish Traditional Music Archive, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Further there is:

https://www.horntip.com/mp3/1950s/1951--1998_world_library_of_folk_and_primitive_music_vol_2_ireland_(CD)/ireland.htm

"At some point Alan decided that he and Seamus should collaborate on a ballad opera for the BBC to be called "The Stones of Tory," in which Seamus would play the non-Irish speaker from the mainland who gets shipwrecked on Tory Island and is inaugurated into the language and old ways by the locals. I was to play the island girl who spoke only Irish. There was many a bent eye over that. Alan then wrote to many of the singers and musicians he had recorded, and several agreed to make the trip to Dublin, including Kitty Gallagher and Maire O'Sullivan. He wrote to one girl, famous for her rendering of "The River of Gems," and she replied in a three-page letter in Irish. Annoyed, Alan wrote back a two-page letter in Spanish, but it was all settled in the end. For the big parts he got Walter Macken and Eileen Crowe from the Abbey Theater. The tale of Balor was told in Irish, then translated so that Seamus's character could understand. It was full of wonderful music, made by the best Irish musicians of that time."

====


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