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busking in europe late 50's early 60s

GUEST,stevega 28 Mar 20 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,Starship 28 Mar 20 - 01:29 PM
Mark Ross 28 Mar 20 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,henryp 28 Mar 20 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,henryp 28 Mar 20 - 02:38 PM
alanabit 28 Mar 20 - 07:22 PM
Jim McLean 29 Mar 20 - 06:09 AM
stevega 29 Mar 20 - 09:49 AM
stevega 29 Mar 20 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 29 Mar 20 - 10:23 AM
Jack Campin 30 Mar 20 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Starship 30 Mar 20 - 10:17 AM
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Subject: Folklore: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: GUEST,stevega
Date: 28 Mar 20 - 07:41 AM

trying to find out more about all the early travellers buskers that headed off to Paris at the end of the 50s. the era of Alex campbell pete watson the bennett etc. any stories gratefully received


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 28 Mar 20 - 01:29 PM

Do you mean travellers as in Roma people or just people who travelled in order to busk? Where have you looked so far? Is there a time limit to the request? Thank you.


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: Mark Ross
Date: 28 Mar 20 - 01:38 PM

Talk to Ramblin' Jack Elliott. He busked across the pond in the '50's.
Be prepared for a long evening. His nickname is not because he has traveled far and wide. Jack is a great storyteller with endless tales.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 28 Mar 20 - 02:27 PM

Streets of London was inspired by McTell's experiences busking and hitchhiking throughout Europe. It could just have easily been called Streets of Paris. It was in part inspired by the clochards (homeless) who lay on the hot air grates of the French capital’s metro to keep warm, placing their boots under their head so they wouldn’t be stolen as they slept. The tune came first to McTell, and then the subject matter. “I tried to fit the people I’d seen on the Paris streets to this tune,” he recalls.

Once the song developed, McTell drew on his own experiences growing up in England and changed the location of the title. The “closed down market” where the old man is nonchalantly “kicking up the papers/ with his worn-out shoes” to find leftover fruit from packed away stalls was actually a market in Croydon, London, near where McTell grew up. Wikipedia/BBC Culture


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 28 Mar 20 - 02:38 PM

Back in my beatnik days of 1959 I spotted this guitar in the window of Lew Davis music shop in Charing Cross Road. I used to spend a lot of time hanging around the shop as a young guitarist friend of mine worked there and the manager Jimmy Frost would often allow me to try out the acoustic guitars. Both Long John Baldry and Davy Graham had been into the shop and played the "La Foley" and were thinking of buying it.

As I remember, it was priced at £20 and Jimmy allowed about a fiver part exchange on my old "Hofner Zenith" cello guitar. By today's standards the La Foley was nothing special sound-wise but it was rare to see a Gibson or Martin in those days and it certainly was a bargain. It was in good condition and appeared to have had an easy life so far but it was about to be subjected to a rigorous testing on the streets of Europe for the next three years by an irresponsible itinerant busker called Wizz Jones! wizzjones.com


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: alanabit
Date: 28 Mar 20 - 07:22 PM

I would have loved to play the streets of Europe back in those days. Sadly, most of the people whom I knew, who did it, are now long gone. A lot of people played the streets for a couple of years so they could travel and play music, learning their trade. Others saw the craft of entertaining people on the street as a real calling and spent most of their working lives at it. Among those whom I met were Don Partridge, Phil Free, Paul MacNeil and Alan Young. Of those, only Alan Young is still alive and living in London. There were lots of musicians who played at the Troubadour Club or Les Cousins in the burgeoning British folk scene of the sixties, who also had experience of busking. They didn't all play on the streets though and indeed not every act, no matter how good the content is, can work on the street. Two people, who certainly knew that scene, were Colin Wilkie, who now lives in South Germany and Rod Warner, who was Don Partridge's biographer. You can find both of them on Facebook.


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 06:09 AM

As a teenager in the 1950s I hitched around Europe during holidays and when my apprentiship was over I went "on the road" permanently playing the bagpipes.I spent a lot of time in 1959 in Germany and in 1961 I toured Europe and Scandinavia with Nigel Denver, busking and working. I once walked almost the length of Yugoslavia in 1961, living off of handouts from villagers in exchange for a few tunes.
There were no great problems with borders although we were almost refused entry into Turkey as we had no money. A few tunes on the pipes and the custom officers waived us through.. I wonder why.
Busking in the French Riviera was very lucrative as was Paris. We were in Berlin when the wall went up, August 1961, but posing with the pipes and guitar at Checkpoint Charlie got us a lift out with a Daily Express reporter. It was a great experience and I have many, many tales..... but not enough room, or time, here.


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: stevega
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 09:49 AM

people I've interviewed about this include wizz, joe locker, neil rock, dave arthur, pete golding, pete watson.   also spoken via email to the bennett brothers. spoken to ralph mctell but more about davy graham rather than paris etc

I think it was an interesting time and I am toying with turning it into something. would love more stories though. unfortunately a lot of those guys who were there are no longer with us.


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: stevega
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 09:54 AM

jim mcClean, love to do an interview maybe once all this virus stuff has gone, whenever that may be. let me know please. cheers


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 10:23 AM

Peggy Seeger wrote about her experiences busking in France, Paris mostly, during that time. In her autobio.


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 03:41 AM

Is Brian McNeill's "The Busker" set at that period or a bit later?


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Subject: RE: busking in europe late 50's early 60s
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 30 Mar 20 - 10:17 AM

McNeill's "The Busker" involves the Spanish Civil War, so at least that book of the series was earlier than the dates requested by the OP. However, I've not read it or any of the others. That info was taken from a review of the book on Amazon (I think).


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