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Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord

DigiTrad:
PITY THE DOWNTRODDEN LANDLORD


GUEST,Landlord's Daughter 12 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM
Joe Offer 12 Feb 01 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Landlord's Daughter 12 Feb 01 - 05:42 PM
Susanne (skw) 12 Feb 01 - 07:03 PM
Joe Offer 12 Feb 01 - 08:05 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Feb 01 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,Landlord's Daughter 13 Feb 01 - 09:26 AM
Steve Parkes 13 Feb 01 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 13 Feb 01 - 12:05 PM
Steve Parkes 14 Feb 01 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 14 Feb 01 - 11:51 AM
Steve Parkes 15 Feb 01 - 03:11 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Feb 01 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 19 Feb 01 - 11:43 AM
Steve Parkes 21 Feb 01 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 21 Feb 01 - 12:01 PM
Charley Noble 05 May 02 - 08:42 PM
Charley Noble 18 Oct 02 - 05:33 PM
Charley Noble 21 Dec 02 - 08:38 PM
Charley Noble 14 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM
Charley Noble 15 Dec 03 - 09:52 AM
Charley Noble 08 Mar 04 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 01 Apr 04 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Barrie.roberts2@btopenworld.com 02 Apr 04 - 03:58 PM
Charley Noble 02 Apr 04 - 07:13 PM
Barbara 02 Apr 04 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,barrie roberts 27 May 04 - 03:06 PM
Charley Noble 27 May 04 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 29 May 04 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 09 Jun 04 - 02:41 PM
Charley Noble 10 Jun 04 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 22 Jun 04 - 07:45 AM
Charley Noble 22 Jun 04 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 23 Jun 04 - 09:04 AM
Charley Noble 23 Jun 04 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 29 Jun 04 - 08:36 PM
Charley Noble 29 Jun 04 - 09:12 PM
JennyO 29 Jun 04 - 11:20 PM
Charley Noble 30 Jun 04 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 13 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM
Steve Parkes 14 Jul 04 - 05:25 AM
Charley Noble 14 Jul 04 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 14 Jul 04 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 07 Aug 04 - 02:15 AM
JennyO 07 Aug 04 - 03:32 AM
John in Brisbane 20 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM
Charley Noble 20 Feb 05 - 11:10 AM
Charley Noble 02 Jan 07 - 08:55 PM
Sandra in Sydney 03 Jan 07 - 12:41 AM
JennyO 03 Jan 07 - 12:51 AM
Sandra in Sydney 03 Jan 07 - 06:40 AM
JennyO 03 Jan 07 - 07:13 AM
Charley Noble 03 Jan 07 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter 05 Jan 07 - 06:58 PM
Charley Noble 05 Jan 07 - 09:23 PM
Charley Noble 05 Jan 07 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Lyricist's Daughter 05 Jan 07 - 10:31 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jan 07 - 09:57 AM
Arkie 06 Jan 07 - 09:07 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jan 07 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter 07 Jan 07 - 06:15 PM
freda underhill 07 Jan 07 - 07:00 PM
JennyO 08 Jan 07 - 12:08 AM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Jan 07 - 06:39 AM
Charley Noble 08 Jan 07 - 08:23 AM
JennyO 08 Jan 07 - 09:56 PM
Charley Noble 09 Jan 07 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter 09 Jan 07 - 11:43 AM
Charley Noble 09 Jan 07 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter 09 Jan 07 - 01:41 PM
Charley Noble 09 Jan 07 - 05:41 PM
Sandra in Sydney 09 Jan 07 - 11:59 PM
JennyO 10 Jan 07 - 12:12 AM
Charley Noble 10 Jan 07 - 04:01 PM
Charley Noble 11 Jan 07 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Son 11 Jan 07 - 09:14 PM
Charley Noble 11 Jan 07 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Son 11 Jan 07 - 10:11 PM
Charley Noble 12 Jan 07 - 09:49 AM
Charley Noble 13 Jan 07 - 10:08 AM
GUEST 13 Jan 07 - 02:11 PM
Charley Noble 20 Jan 07 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Son 25 Feb 07 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Son 25 Feb 07 - 04:35 PM
Charley Noble 25 Feb 07 - 05:37 PM
Steve Parkes 03 Mar 07 - 06:22 AM
Charley Noble 03 Mar 07 - 12:15 PM
Charley Noble 23 Aug 10 - 10:59 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 10 - 09:33 PM
Charley Noble 06 Nov 10 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,The Lyricist’s daughter 06 Nov 10 - 08:32 PM
Charley Noble 06 Nov 10 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,The Lyricist's daughter 07 Nov 10 - 07:56 PM
Charley Noble 07 Nov 10 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Alistair Banfield 13 Dec 10 - 06:37 PM
Charley Noble 13 Dec 10 - 07:30 PM
Ross Campbell 14 Dec 10 - 07:02 PM
Charley Noble 15 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,The Lyricist's Son 17 Dec 10 - 05:44 PM
Charley Noble 17 Dec 10 - 08:59 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: PITY THE DOWNTRODDEN LANDLORD
From: GUEST,Landlord's Daughter
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM

This song comes from a London folk opera in the early 1940's but I'd love to know more about who wrote it and why they came to write it. The song is attributed to B. Woolf, not to be confused with Bill Wolff who wrote such fine organizing songs as "Put It on the Ground."

PITY THE DOWNTRODDEN LANDLORD
(Written by Englishman B. Woolf, Workers Music Association
Tune: by Arnold Clayton after She is More to be Pitied than Censored)

Please open your hearts and your purses,
To a man who is misunderstood;
He gets all the kicks and the curses,
Tho he wishes you nothing but good;
He wistfully begs you to show him,
You think he's a friend, not a louse,
So remember the debt that you owe him,
The landlord who lends you his house.

Chorus:

So pity the downtrodden landlord,
With his back so burdened and bent;
Respect his gray hairs,
Don't ask for repairs,
And don't be behind with the rent!

You are able to work for a living,
And rejoice in your strength and your skill,
So try to be kind and forgiving
To a man whom a day's work would kill;
You are able to talk with your neighbor,
You can look the whole world in the face,
But the landlord that ventured to labor,
Would never survive the disgrace...

When thunder clouds gather and darken,
You can sleep undisturbed in your bed,
But the landlord must sit up and harken,
And shiver, and wonder, and dread;
If you're killed, then you'll die in a hurry,
And you never will know your bad luck,
But the landlord must sit up and worry,
"Has one of my houses been struck?"...

When a landlord resorts to eviction,
Don't think that he does it for spite;
He's acting from deepest conviction,
And what's right, after all, is what's right;
But I see that your hearts are all hardened,
And I fear I'm appealing in vain;
Yet I hope that my last plea will be pardoned,
If I beg on my knees once again (once again)...

I once asked Ewan MacColl about this song and he was unable to fill in any details. Can the Mudcats meet this challenge?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 04:38 PM

I found the song in my tattered but precious copy of the People's Songbook (1948, People's Artists, New York). The version above has one more verse than I found in my book or in the Digital Tradition. The People's Songbook says the song has words by B. Woolf and music by Arnold Clayton, copyright 1946 by the workers' Music Association, London, England. The People's Songbook says,
"This song, which originated in England during World War II, was caught up by thousands of United States tenants threatened by eviction when Congress lifted rent controls. To be sung with a fine sense of sarcasm!"
I also wonder who Arnold Clayton was. The tune is similar to William B. Gray's "She Is More To Be Pitied Than Censured," but they're not exactly the same.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlord's Daughter
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 05:42 PM

Joe, what you've found are the basic references I've sifted through. I really need to hear from anyone who was active in the Workers Music Association in London in the late 1930's or early 1940's, or who has access to some of their publications. I did make one foray to Cecil Sharp House a few years back, talked with the Broadside King, but really got no further. This question really requires someone with a personal connection to the Workers Music Association. You're right about the tune. Always fun to revive in a song circle. Great with a concertina!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 07:03 PM

All I found is a mention by the late Norman Buchan in Edward Cowan's book 'The People's Past':

[1980:] Parody lampoons were making some headway in the thirties and forties - songs like Pity the Downtrodden Landlord. [...] The parodies on the whole were never very good but they did help to [...] pave the way for an acceptance of precisely those two qualities [irresponsibility and irreverence] when the folk revival came. (Norman Buchan in Cowan 169)

You can't ask Norman about it any more - but it may be in the new 'Political Song Archive' at Glasgow's Caledonian University, founded with material donated by Norman's widow Janey. (Look for recent thread of same title.)

This is their web address.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 08:05 PM

I did find a couple of North American recordings of the song. One is from Canadian Oscar Brand's Pie in the Sky, which lists all songs as "traditional." The notes say:

The clime which produced the song of "The Downtrodden Landlord" can best be described by recalling the story of the story of the British pastor who warned his flock against whiskey... 'For it makes you come home drunk...It makes you shoot at your landlord...It makes you miss him.' Although the song comes from England, it is happily at home here since our landlords, too, come complete with bullseyes.

Sandy Paton pointed out to me that there's also a Fred Hellerman recording of the song on a Bear Family Records collection called Songs for Political Action. The singer was identified as "Bob Hill," but it was Hellerman. The notes say the song was a satirical British music hall tune penned by Arnold Clayton and B. Woolf. Nightclub singer Phil Irving introduced it to New York audiences at an October 1946 hootenanny.

Brand doesn't sing the "able to work for a living" verse; and Hellerman doesn't sing the thunder clouds verse.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 09:46 PM

Well, we do have it in DigiTrad, but the posted version has an extra verse I hadn't encountered. Thanx!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlord's Daughter
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 09:26 AM

Good to see some interest provoked! The "extra verse" only appears in Jerry Silverman's The Panic Is On, who I believe wrongly attributes the song to Bill Wolff; I spoke to one of Bill's friends in California many years ago who confirmed that. Other clues include the Unity Theatre, associated with the Workers Music Association. I also wrote Barrie Roberts, Alfie Bass and Aubrey Bowman with no success. Five years ago when I was in London the WMA was still active but I was unable to make any direct contacts.Anne Schuman was their Honary Secretary, 240 Perry Rise, Forest Hill, London, SE23 2QT, Tel:0181-699-2250. They were still doing sings at Covent Garden Community Centre in London.
Someone want to follow this up? In some ways I'd hate to see the mystery resolved – the search has been so much fun!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:39 AM

I've been singing this song for years and years,but I've never heard the "new" verse -- I shall learn it forthwith! I learned it from Barrie Roberts, who had an EP called "Songs for swinging landlords [to]", which also included "Moving day" and "The man who waters the workers' beer"; I forget what else was on it, or who it was by, but then I haven't seen it for over twenty-five years.

I haven't seen Barrie for nearly twenty, apart form a very brief encounter in Walsall a couple of years ago. We used to sing together; this was in our repertoir. (Incidentally, he taught me nearly everything I know about performing -- that's a big responsibility!). As far as I now, he's not singing any more, but he writes novels now. How do you come to know of him, LD? Do you have the correct adress, btw? I don't know it myself, but I might be able to find it for you.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 12:05 PM

Steve, I forget who suggested I write Barrie Roberts, the Songsmith, 55 Florence St., The Chuckery, Walsall WS1 2LQ, which I did back in 1983. I did receive a thoughtful letter from Alan Bush,Workers Music Association, with the suggestion that I write Alfie Bass which I did with no response. And I later talked with John Foreman, the Broadside King at Sharp House.

I love songs like "Moving Day" and one of the real reasons I've been pursuing "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" is that it is the working title of my Housing Songbook – some 300 songs from Elizabethan times to more contemporary times.
Keep working. We may be getting close!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 03:44 AM

I don't think Barrie has lived at that address for some time now, I heard he had a fire there a few years ago; but I don't htink he moved very far. His publisher is Constable, so you could try them; meanwhile, I'll try and contact some mutual friends I haven't seen for ages.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 11:51 AM

Steve,

I would really appreciate if you would track Barrie down; it's usually fun to reconnect with our mentors. I'm not in a hurry to get new information but I would like to see the old housing songs network refreshed as we say.
I never did get to hear "Songs for Swinging Landlords" but I certainly saw it cited. I play a more modest role in co-producing "We Won't Move", songs of the tenants' movement on Folkways FS 5287 back in 1983; I wonder if it will be re-released on CD by Smithsonian. There were some wonderful songs on that including ones by Malvina Reynolds, Langston Hughes and Leon Rosselson.
LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 03:11 AM

LD, looks like I'll have to call on someone in person when I get home at the weekend; everyone seems to have unlisted phone numbers. Hope to have some news next week.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 03:33 AM

Sorry, no news yet. The state of play is: my Mum lives over the riad from Nick & Helen, who are friends of Barrie's; she's going to get B's address from N&H when she sees them; I didn't see Mum this weekend, so I wasn't able to ask then myself; she hasn't got back to me yet. But when she does, I'll post it straight away.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 11:43 AM

Thanks for the update, Steve; I've wondered about this song for more than 20 years. A few more days won't make a lot of difference.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 03:13 AM

Barrie moved to 27 Florence St, Chuckery, Walsall, WS1 2LQ, West Midlands. We're not absolutely sure he's still there! But do give it a try, LD, and keep us informed if you get any more gen. on the song.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 12:01 PM

Steve, thanks and I'll keep you up to date.

Oh, you might check out the Housing Songs thread I've started if you're interested.

LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 May 02 - 08:42 PM

Refresh-any further leads?

LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Oct 02 - 05:33 PM

Still no further info or clues.

LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 08:38 PM

This thread dried up over a year ago. Anyone else want to give it a try, track down the elusive songwriter "B. Woolf"? Please re-read the whole thread so we can avoid rehashing the previous references. Someone must have an old program to the original musical revue around 1940. Of course, Woolf's name is most likely deliberately disguised, a common practice among radical writers and other artists.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter, not to be confused with Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM

Refreshed for new clues!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 09:52 AM

The latest clue to come in from the thread about A.L. Lloyd is a possible relative of the named composer B. Woolf, with the name of Clive Woolf said to hang out sometimes at the Cecil Sharp House gatherings. We could be close to nailing this search, which has only taken 25 years or so.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 08:52 PM

The Countess assures me that we may be getting close to at least contacting the elusive Clive Woolf and determining if he has any connection with B. Woolf.

Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 05:21 PM

Hello everybody,

Yes, it is I. The same BR you have been anxiously seeking. Almost all of your references to me were true. I did have a fire & moved, but not far. Since then I have moved again -- but not far. I suppose I must like it round here!

My greetings to Steve Parkes, a great bloke to work with and one of the finest natural harmony singers I've heard. He (and anyone) can contact me at barrie.roberts2@btopenworld.com or visit my website at barrieroberts.com.

The bad news is that I know very little about The Downtrodden Landlord. I learned it from a Topic EP called 'Songs For Swinging Landlords', where it was ascribed to the pre-war WMA. I like the additional verse, which I have never come across before.

I never recorded The Downtrodden Landlord. For the record (!) my recorded output consists of 1) an EP called 'Four Australian Songs', Ash Records, 1967, 2) 5 tracks on an LP called 'Rebellion', Folkways, 1977, 3) a cassette called 'Songs of the Square Ring', Pleckstrum Records, 1985, and 4) one track on 'This Label Is Not Removable', a 3 CD compilation, Free Reed Records, 2003. I came across a copy of 'Four Australian Songs' advertised on the net last night at 28$. If I'd known they were going to be worth that I'd have kept the whole issue!

As Steve said, I am now a fulltime writer (see website for glowing reviews) but do still sing at parties, fundraisers etc. I would love to hear from Steve or any of you. In the meantime, can anyone help me with a lyric. It goes to 'Danny Boy' aka 'The Londonderry Air' aka 'The Lament for Cuchulainn', and contains the following lines:

Oh softly sleep, the raging hills of sorrow,
Oh softly sleep, the gentle vales of pain,
As those who know they have no more tomorrow
But yet must rise to face the dawn again.

Author, rest of words, any information please.

Best wishes,

Barrie Roberts.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie.roberts2@btopenworld.com
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 03:58 PM

Sorry to but in again. Two things:
a) 'Songs For Swinging Landlords' was by Topic Records, sung by Leon Rosselson;
b) Lovely to hear from you again,Steve, but neither of your messages had an e-mail address! Just 'Milton Keynes' won't do -- the web thinks that MK doesn't exist.
Regards,
Barrie Roberts


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 07:13 PM

Barrie-

Thanks for posting. It looks like the mystery with regard to B. Woolf continues. It's really hard to follow leads from this side of the pond but if you have any suggestions I would appreciate them.

I had seen references to Songs For Swinging Landlords but have never found a copy. Leon Rosselson also has composed a few tenant action songs himself that have found their way to my collection.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Barbara
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 08:57 PM

Barrie, in regards to the lyrics sung to Londonderry Air you should probably start a new thread with that information in the subject line. The link for doing that is at the top of the main forum page and says something like "Start a New Thread".
If you join Mudcat (doesn't cost anything) you can send the illusive Mr. Parkes a PM -- personal message.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,barrie roberts
Date: 27 May 04 - 03:06 PM

Greetings all,

I hate to sow further confusion, but I spoke yesterday to John Foreman (The Broadsheet King) and mentioned this song to him. He was quite certain that it was written by JOHN HORROCKS of the Workers' Music Association. He points out that the WMA published songs properly and established copyright. Shouldn't this mean there is a copy (or more) in the Copyright libraries. Which raises the thought === Who does the Performing Right Society and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society think wrote it? Has anyone asked them. I don't know about MCPS, but PRS has a computerised index that ought to find a song or an author rapidly.

Apologies for interloping, but I thought the hunt might still be going on. I shall now outerlope. Best regards!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 May 04 - 05:36 PM

Barrie-

John Horrocks? That's a new name to me. I was talking to John Foreman myself about this song at Cecil Sharp house where he was performing a set about 7 years ago and he didn't mention Horrocks. Of course he might have been distracted by the crowd of other admirers. I'm not sure how to follow this lead up from this side of the pond. Can anyone else help?

The hunt continues!

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 29 May 04 - 08:00 PM

I assure you that John Foreman was absolutely certain that John Horrocks was the perpetrator.
Since John was sure it was properly published for copyright purposes, once our Spring Bank Holiday is over on Tuesday I might put in a call to the Performing Right Society and/or the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society and see who they list as the copyright owner. After all, if it was only written (as just about everyone seems to believe) in the 30s or 40s, it's still in copyright under English law (70 years from the death of the creator).
Will report back on any results, positive or negative.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:41 PM

A progress report --- if you can call it that!

I have now heard from the MCPS/PRS. They say that they have TWO songs listed under that title and that neither of them is shown as by BOLT or HORROCKS.

In some trepidation, I have asked them for details of both songs. I suppose I risk getting 2 (or 3, or 4) completely new names to further confuse the issue. Wasn't this why that good old term 'Trad' was invented?

All the Best!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:34 AM

Oh, Barrie, you're getting so close to solving this mystery. Two songs, indeed! Do post the lyrics of both.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter, not to be confused with Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 07:45 AM

I have just heard from the MCPS/PRS in London.

They confirm that their index shows TWO songs of this title --- one by CLAYTON WOLF and one by DAVID NASH.

With no little trepidation I have just asked them who they have listed as the writer of the one you're looking into.

I suggest that all parties keep all fingers firmly crossed.

Happy Summer Solstice (well, almost)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 08:51 AM

Barrie-

I do hope we run this one to the ground. However, the usual credit for this song (in the initial post to this thread) is lyrics by B. Woolf and tune by Arnold Clayton. The index reference from MCPS/PRS to "CLAYTON WOLF" may just be a data entry combination of their two names, or maybe not.

It would be nice to have the lyrics posted here for each of the songs listed as "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" or a link.

Thanks for moving this search on. You're clearly the point man on what I was beginning to think was a forlorn hope.

Warm regards,
Landlady Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 23 Jun 04 - 09:04 AM

I have just heard from MCPS/PRS that their database cannot link author/composer details to a particular lyric/melody, so they cannot help further. Curses!

I think Landlady's Daughter is probably right about index confusion giving rise to the alleged two songs and we're probably still talking about only one, but I'm not sure how to take this further. The British Library Copyright collection, perhaps? Anybody know anything about this aspect?

In the meantime I'm going to pour myself a stiff drink and write another devastatingly witty book. I can only suggest that you all go out and buy one to distract you from looking for weird songs!

Best wishes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Jun 04 - 04:52 PM

Aaaccckkk!

Well, the challenge still remains. Who's going to march into the bowels of the British copyright library, grab one of them by the throat, and persuade them to give up the goods? Surely this is a mission for the lads and ladies of Cecil Sharp House. But if someone else wants the glory, far be it for me to hold you back, which would be a little difficult from my house on the Kennebec River in Maine.

Have another drink on me, Barrie, and please give it another go.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 08:36 PM

A progress (or lack of) report.

I have checked the Public Catalogue of the British Library. That shows four WMA publications --- a songbook, a song pamphlet, a book on Irish rebel songs and a book on Soviet songs. I suppose either of the first two might contain 'Pity the Downtrodden Landlord@, but the online index doesn't show titles of items in the books. It would require someone to trot along and look at them in London. Sadly I am some distance from London and don't get there often, so it isn't going to be me.

As a second direction, I located a site for the Alan Bush Music Trust, a charity which continues the work of a former president of WMA. They couldn't help with definitive song details, but they did give me a name and address to write to.

I shall now keep you all in suspense by not naming the person I have written to.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 09:12 PM

Barrie-

And the poor old man they suggested writing to just got run over by a trolly bus as he was crossing the road.

Sigh!

Landlady's Grandchild


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: JennyO
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 11:20 PM

This song always goes down well at sessions. I sang it last night at one - I even got down on my knee in the last verse. Lots of fun!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Jun 04 - 08:39 AM

JennyO-

This song is truly a classic and I'm always interested in the people who know it, and why they love it. That's why it was an easy pick as the lead title for the working draft of my collection of Tenant and Neighborhood Organizing Songs. It always brings tears to my eyes.

With regard to your fair city, "Across the Western Suburbs" was an early catch from your inner city neighborhoods of Woolloomoolloo and Kings Cross.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM

Further progress report. Talked to John Foreman last night, who says that ARNOLD CLAYTON most probably wrote the tune for a lyric by JOHN HORROCKS. Clayton, says John, was a 'demonstrator' of tunes for publishers in Denmark Street (London's Tin Pan Alley)and a brilliant musician.
Still no word from my correspondent. Keeping all fingers firmly crossed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:25 AM

No wonder you're having trouble, Barrie: those crossed fingers are cancelling each other! You should only cross an odd number of pairs if you want it to work. (I'm not superstitious, but why take chances?)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 09:03 AM

I'm crossing my toes as well.

Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 06:00 PM

Steve,
I can't speak for your hands, but each of mine has an odd number of fingers on it. As a result, if I cross them all I end up with an odd number of pairs.
Is your trouble that you've mislaid a finger or can't count!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 02:15 AM

Greetings,
Gather round Mudcatters and interlopers all, for I bring tidings --- of success, I believe.
Regular readers will recall that I was given an address to write to. That name was Joan Horrocks, and I began to believe that she would be a relative of John Horrocks and could solve our mystery.
Then Joan e-mailed me to say that John Horrocks was definitely not the lyricist. However, she promised to contact the WMA archivist for info.
Now comes a 6-page e-mail from Laurie Bielby, Joan's partner. fascinating as it is (and it is) I won't take up space here. Anyone who wants to see all of it can e-mail me at www.barrieroberts.com. The main points are as follows:

1.    John Jordan, archivist of WMA (he says it means that, 'all the WMA archives are in cardboard boxes tied up with string under MY bed instead of someone ele's') confirms that he has a copy of the song showing the composer as Arnold Clayton and the lyricist as B.Woolf;

2.    Arnold Clayton wasa composer, dance band arranger and copyist who was involved with Unity Theatre from time to time and was in the MU Directory. This gels with what John Foreman recalls of him;

3.    Barnet 'Doggie' Woolf was a scientist (later an animal geneticist) who provided lyrics for many Unity Theatre productions, sometimes under the pen-name of Arthur Pooley;

4.    The song may have been created duwing WWII (but contains no bombing references?) but was more probably composed between 1945 and 1960. John Jordan's cvopy is undated, but he has a WMA songbook, published in 1949 which features the song;

5.    Laurie speculates that the song may have appeared in a special show put on by Unity in 1946 for those involved in a 'mass squate'; by homeless families of empty Kensington flats. Unity was then performing 'Gold Is Where You Find It', music by Arnold Clayon, book & lyrics by Bill Owen (yes --- that Bill Owen of the long-running & still-running TV comedy 'Last of the Summer Wine'). Clayton would undoubtedly have worked such an appropriate song into a squatters' protest show;

6.    How did it cross the Atlantic and appear in the People's Songbook? Probably via Pete Seeger, who was a Vice-President of WMA from the beginning and would have recieved copies of their songs;

7.    The Weavers recorded it in the early 50s. Alfie bass and the 'Four Bailiffs' made a Topic single of it in 1955 (Topic TRC 87). Stan Kelly put it on 'Songs For Swinging Landlords to'.

There it is, folks. I fervently, hope, believe and pray that we have now got the pukka gen, but that's what you get when you set a former criminal lawyer and writer of thrillers on the trail!

All the best!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: JennyO
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 03:32 AM

I just went hunting for the lyrics of the song cos I realised I didn't have the extra verse printed, even though we always sing it. I didn't even know it was an extra verse until I read this thread. To us it was just part of the song.

It was only when I went hunting everywhere but mudcat (cos it was mostly down) that I realised how uncommon that verse is. No other lyrics sites seem to have it. Then one of the sites had a link to this thread and I thought - what the hell, maybe I'll catch the cat in a good mood, and voila, the cat was up for a moment and I managed to get in, and I see you have put in that extra verse, Judy. So now I have it saved and printed out properly.

Meanwhile even as we speak, our landlord's son is outside fixing our horrible kitchen window which had those ugly bars on it and a dusty broken window with a piece of clear plastic in front of it. I decided we had been putting up with too many crummy things around here, and he and his builder friend have been here on the last three weekends fixing some of them. So this is probably not the best time to be singing that song around here *grin*.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM

The first and last verse appear in print in 'Songs That Changed The World' 1969 -authors are listed as B. Woolf and Arnold Clayton, copyright by Workers Music Association, London.

I was systematically working through the 1969 book searching for DT songs without tunes. I hadn't seen or heard this before. I'll post the dots in a couple of days.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 11:10 AM

John-

I agree, and that information is summarized in my initial post on this thread. The mystery continues. My best guess at this point is that B. Woolf is not the real name of the composer but a made-up name to shield that person from political attack, a useful tactic for creative people to use if they wished to keep their regular jobs.

In my searches through what's available on the Web about or from the Workers Music Association" or the Unity Theatre, I'm never found B. Woolf identified with anything other than this wonderful song.

But maybe it's time for someone else to take a fresh look or just ask someone who has survived from that period of the early 1940's.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 08:55 PM

Time to refresh this thread and see if anyone is willing to take up the challenge of identifying the mysterious "B. Woolf" who is credited with composing this ditty.

This song was recently sung at Sinsull's New Year Eve's party and it was distressing how few people were familiar with it. This is truly an endangered song.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 12:41 AM

it's a great song - maybe we'll get our local pair to sing it at the Dog when you're next in Sydney, Judy!

It is especialy poignant 'cos one singer is the other's landlord!

sandra


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: JennyO
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 12:51 AM

It'd be good if you can get Tom and Greg to do it, Sandra. If you can't, John and I could do a passable imitation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 06:40 AM

wont be the same!

you are co-tenants!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: JennyO
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 07:13 AM

Still we have a lot of experience between us as tenants. Of course, the other problem would be who is going to get down on their knee to beg. John's always complaining about his knees, so I suppose it would have to be me :-(


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 09:08 AM

"But I ask that my last plea be pardoned,
If I beg on my knees once again (once again)!

Warm regards to Downunder folks,
Landlady's Daughter, who occasionally gets "another piece of pie"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 06:58 PM

Dear All

Those of you who believe that B. Woolf is a pseudoym are incorrect, but warm. Barnet Woolf (lyricist of "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" and many other songs) did use a pseudonymon. As Barrie Roberts corrrectly posted on 7 August 2004, this was Arthur Pooley. If asked why he chose this name my father would answer "Because I felt rather poorly at the time".

I have only just found this thread and wanted to respond quickly. I will post further information in due course and will respond to further postings and to e-mails sent to me at woolf@cantaloup.net.

As I am writing from Scotland I will end by saying

yours aye,

The Lyricist's Daughter

P.S. I note the advert below offers ready-drafted letters for landlords and advice on dealing with tenants. Perhaps someone has missed the injunction in the People's Songbook! (see 12 Feb 2001 04.38)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 09:23 PM

Lyricist's Daughter-

I am definitely overwhelmed to actually get a credible response for a question I've been chasing for 30 years. Barnet Woolf is an excellent candidate for the myterious "B. Woolf." Woolf was a songwriter associated with the Unity Theatre in the early 1940's when the song was created. I'm only surprised that it has taken so long to come up with the right name given all the contacts I've had over the years with Ewan MacColl, Barrie Roberts, folks associated with Cecil Sharp House, and The Workers Music Association.

Please add a few more remarks to the dozen or so folks who have been faithfully following this thread.

I will follow up your invitation for more details via e-mail.

Love those banner ads!

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 10:02 PM

And Barrie Roberts also deserves credit for doing extensive research and identifying Barnet Woolf as chief suspect on 7 August 2004. I'm not sure what I was doing back in August of 2004 but I may have missed Barrie's post entirely during the summer madness. Good grief!

Chagrined,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,Lyricist's Daughter
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 10:31 PM

Dear Landlady's Daughter

I am also overwhelmed. We have a copy of the People's Songbook but beyond that did not know until today that the song had taken root so deeply over the pond. Since my last posting I have been happily googling. Finding out that some of the musicians I have admired for so long have recorded the song has been pretty overwhelming.

We had the "Songs for Swinging Landlords" EP (now sadly lost) and a recording by the Scottish singer Hamish Imlach but had no idea about any other recordings.   

My father wrote many more songs. The reason I stumbled upon the Mudcat site is that I am now starting to undertake a long overdue task of bringing them up for air.   

Your chase lasted 30 years less a couple as Barrie Roberts gave you the answer in his posting on 7 August 2004: "Barnet 'Doggie' Woolf was a scientist (later animal geneticist) who provided lyrics for many Unity theatre productions, sometimes under the pen name of Arthur Pooley."

Have you set the Landlord's Lullaby to music? It deserves to be sung.

yours aye

The Lyricist's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 09:57 AM

Lyricist's Daughter-

"Landlord's Lullaby" is based roughly on the tune for "Hobo's Lullaby" composed by Goebel Reeves in the early 1940's. It was one of my first songs put together with a friend back when we were running a tenants counseling center in Michigan in the 1970's. I was amused to find it posted here at Mudcat when I first joined and could never find out who posted it.

I do encourage you to become a member of Mudcat; membership is free. It does take some time to learn how to navigate the website but I find it fun for researching songs, posting new ones, and for meeting people who share some of my warped interests.

Unfortunately, I have never found a publisher for my Housing and Neighborhood Organizing Songbook. I suppose I could dump the whole thing here at Mudcat as what they call "a perma thread;" there are well over 300 songs with notes and posting them here would at least make the songs accessible. I've done something similar on another website called Oldpoetry for the poems of Cicely Fox Smith, best known for her nautical poems which are now being set to music.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter, who has finally got her piece of pie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Arkie
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 09:07 PM

Threads like this are why I keep coming back to Mudcat. It is nice to see a successful search and a factual conclusion.   There are some good and knowledgeable folk out there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 11:02 AM

Arkie-

I certainly agree with you! I'm now doing follow-up e-mails with Woolf's daughter and son and hope to have some more details about the origin of this song. It would be nice to know what Unity Theatre production is was composed for and who led the song.

I am curious if anyone knows how the song spread to Australia. The song was still being sung there in the folk clubs in Sydney when I visited there in 2001 and 2003.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 06:15 PM

We are working on this - still some sleuthing to be done.

We will seek access to the Unity Theatre archive and go through the papers we have and report our findings but this may take a little time to complete.

Any further reports on who has sung/is singing the Downtrodden Landlord, where, when and why would be great to have. Also any info on how it crossed the pond. It appears that the roots both on the other side of the Atlantic and of the world are deeper than in the UK.   

Many thanks to the Landlady's Daughter (who is doing what s/he oughter) for championing this song with such determination.

yours etc

The Lyricist's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: freda underhill
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 07:00 PM

I have contacted the three Oz people who I've heard sing it (Robin Connaughton, Tom Bridges, and Greg Bull) and asked how they came across it!

freda
(intrepid cyber Marple)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: JennyO
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 12:08 AM

I've asked Tom in an email, but no reply yet. I was going to get around to Greg too, but seeing as you've done it freda, I won't bother.

Robin Connaughton? I don't recall ever hearing him sing it!

Anyway, we are hot on the trail here in Oz. I'd be interested to know too. I'm thinking that maybe with Greg's connections with the acting world, and it being a sort of music hall song, that maybe it was Greg who rescued it from somewhere. He does seem to have a knack of finding weird unusual songs, like f'rinstance "I've got a ferret sticking up my nose", however I think that one was John Cleese, and although Pythonesque, was actually pre-Monty Python.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 06:39 AM

Bob Bolton suggests it might be Tom's mother who introduced it to the Oz folk world as she was part of the folk revival in the early 50's, & had contact with Englsh singers. When he gets back from th Monday Night workshop, I'm sure he will post more.

Doreen Bridges (nee Jacobs) was co-writer of 'Ballad of 1891' & other songs from Reddy River.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 08:23 AM

Good work, gang!

I wonder if the song is alive and well in Iceland?

Scarpi!!!!

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter, still wiping pie off her face for missing Barrie Roberts's post identifying Barnet Woolf as chief suspect on 7 August 2004


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: JennyO
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 09:56 PM

I had an email this morning from Tom Bridges, in which he said this:

I've heard about and seen for myself the Mudcat thread re 'landlord'. I have nothing much to add - like some correspondents there, i got the song from Jerry Silverman's "The Panic is On" songbook, later finding it also in the "People's Songbook" which gave details of its British Workers Music Association provenance. My mother, when she studied music in England after the War, was very strongly influenced by composer Alan Bush who 1. taught her composition (she applied his principles when writing the tune for 'The Ballad of 1891'), and 2. Was head musical honcho of the British Workers Music Association. She sang in his WMA choir, which he conducted and arranged music for; however, she has no memory of him doing that song with the group at that time - she also remembers it only because of it's appearance in "The People's Songbook" which was at the time was the source for lefty-type topical songs, and thinks that it was sung informally around those sorts of political circles (eg Bush Music Club; Eureka Youth League, etc) in Sydney in the early fifties, when she conducted 'The Unity Singers".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 10:58 AM

JennyO-

Thanks so much for following up this question with Tom Bridges, and give him our best in return. What he has to say certainly makes a lot of sense to me, but it's especially nice to establish the relationship with his mother (for the record I would like to have her name!) and the Workers Music Association in London and Alan Bush. The literary references are the same ones that I used to learn the song in the early 1970's.

We probably need to clarify which verses are "original" and who added an extra verse. One candidate is from the version in THE PANIC IS ON, © 1966, p. 8:

You are able to work for your living,
And rejoice in your strength and your skill;
So try to be kind and forgiving
To a man whom a day's work would kill;
You can work and still talk with your neighbour,
You can look the whole world in the face,
But the landlord who ventured to labour,
Would never survive the disgrace.

The other candidate verse is from THE PEOPLE'S SONGBOOK (1948):

When thunder clouds gather and darken,
You can sleep undisturbed in your bed,
But the landlord must sit up and harken,
And shiver, and wonder, and dread;
If you're killed, then you'll die in a hurry,
And you never will know your bad luck,
But the landlord must sit up and worry,
"Has one of my houses been struck?"

As Joe Offer pointed out above in two early recordings from the States, Oscar Brand doesn't sing the "able to work for a living" verse while Fred Hellerman doesn't sing the "thunder clouds" verse. Does anyone have a copy of SONGS FOR SWINGING LANDLORDS TO on TOP 60 in 1961 as sung by Stan Kelly? Or does anyone have the words to the version that the Weavers are said to have recorded? I suppose we could query Pete Seeger or Frank Hamilton or Ronnie Gilbert.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 11:43 AM

Dear All

I am now 400 miles south and reunited with my books.

In "The Story of Unity Theatre" (Lawrence and Wishart 1989) by Colin Chambers details are given of the activities of the "Outside Show Group" later called the "Mobile Group" of Unity. They provided entertainment in the shelters, particularly the deep tube stations which, after civil disobeience forced the authorites to allow their use, sheltered Londoners during nighttime air raids in World War II.

I quote exactly from page 200

" Shows for labour-movement or left-wing organisations had to offer entertainement with political bite whereas in shelters the performers had to rely on creating an immediate rapport with an audience who had not chosen to be entertained. Unity had to become popular in the simplest meaning of the word and siongs were usually the key like, for example, "The Landlord's Song" by Woof and van Phillips which was recorded by Topic Records with Alfie Bass singing.

So pity the downtrodden landlord
And his back that is burdened and bent,
Respect his grey hairs, don't ask for repairs
And don't be behind with the rent.8"

A footnote 8 states

"Published by the Workers' Music Assocation and available in the Britsh Theatre Association Library....."

We do not got a copy of this song other than in "The People's Song Book" where the music is of course attributed to Arnold Clayton. Van (first name) Phillips was a long time collaborator with my father writing the music for many of his lyrics.

I posted that I was intending to access the published sheet music for the song in the Unity Theatre Archive but yesterday it was reported in a London evening paper that the Theatre Musuem in Covent Garden which now houses the archive is closing immediately due to lack of funds and the theatrical archives are to be moved - how long will that take?

Re the different verses, my brother has a strong recall of the "day's work would kill" one and we are both certain that the thunder clouds verse was in the original. It would be good to be able to access the WMA version. I will make enquiries of the Victoria and Albert Museum - an instituion I know and love but which is unfortunately responsible for the closure of the Theatre Museum. It will be housing the archive somewhere on it's South Kensington site, according to the newspaper report

"The People's Songbook" gives the dates the WMA copyright as 1946 but, if it was being sung in the shelters, it was clearly penned well before that date.

By the time it appeared in the songbook in 1948 it seems to have been well rooted in the tenants' movement. The introduction says
"This song, which originated in England during World War II, was caught up by thousands of United States tenants threatend with eviction when congress lifted rent controls."

Does anybody have information about those times relating specifically to the song?

Yours

The Lyricist's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 12:00 PM

Lyricist's Daughter-

Thanks so much for your update and it does confirm that some version of the song was sung during World War 2 in the bomb shelters. This is the first time I have seen a reference to Van Phillips as someone who collaborated with your father in composing this song. I'm not surprised that the song was a collaborative effort, but this is the first time I've been aware that it was. Is that how you would prefer the song to be credited?

It is distressing to learn that the Unity Theatre Archives is now inaccessible. Do you suppose that someone Museum trustee been reading this thread? At any rate I'm greatly encouraged that we are making progress in unraveling this mystery!

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Daughter
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 01:41 PM

Dear Landlady's Daughter

Van Phillips was an American composer and band leader (and an immense and colourful figure in my childhood fresh off the London train sitting at our out-of-tune upright piano in Edinburgh working on the music, with my father fiddling with the lyrics, for many a song. Ingrained on the memory are the flamboyantly generous gifts which he gave us kids which seemed all the more extravagant set against the comparative austerity of 1950's Britain.)   

Chambers, who had referred to the material in the British Theatre Association Library, gives the song a different title and attributes the lyrics to Woolf and the music to Phillips. He also speaks about their collaboration in those roles on other Unity songs (which we do have the original music for) earlier in the chapter.

This is only one of many Unity songs for which B. Woolf is the lyricist. It fits exactly into my father's and Unity's repertoire. He produced lyrics and was fortunate to work with talented composers. The quesion now is to confirm who wrote the score. You have found the lyricist but lost the certainty about the composer. That is not a expected result but there it is.

A less important quesion but also worth checking is what was the original title. We always knew it as "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" but if Chalmers is correct it was published as "The Landlord's Song."

Yours

The Lyricist's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 05:41 PM

The Lyricist's Daughter-

The more we know, the more we don't know!

I do seem to remember the confusion about titles, and I think that confusion was also reflected in the search in this thread of the copyright documents. I also remember searching for the lyrics at one time for "The Landlord's Song" without success.

There is also the question of what role, if any, Arnold Clayton played given that he is generally credited with arranging the music, inspired no doubt by the music hall song "She is More to be Pitied than Censored."

I find all of this fascinating.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 11:59 PM

Charley -

quoting meself regarding Tom's mum (& fixing a little typo!)

Doreen Bridges (nee Jacobs) was co-writer of 'Ballad of 1891' & other songs from Reedy River.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: JennyO
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 12:12 AM

And here's a link, with this about Doreen Bridges near the bottom (my emphasis in bold):

Doreen Bridges told me that Helen Palmer a teacher and historian, had completed her thesis on the English Ballad and was eager to compose ballads with a local flavour so she wrote The Ballad of 1891 and the Ballad of Eureka to commemorate two critical historic events in colonial Australia. Doreen was leader of Unity Singers a Sydney choir among whose members were John Meredith, Alex Hood and Chris Kempster. She had been close friends with Helen Palmer since their days together in the airforce and when she put both ballads to music in early 1951 they became part of the Unity Singers repertoire.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOIL THEM LANDLORDS DOWN (Bob Norman)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 04:01 PM

JennyO and Sandra-

Thanks for the updates.

I've sent a few PM's to othe Mudcat members who may want to comment on this thread, now that we are drawing it up together in such a tidy fashion.

Here's another song to warm you up as winter drafts begin to work their way in:

Written by Bob Norman © 1981; tune: "Bile Them Cabbage Down"

Boil Them Landlords Down

Those chilly winds of winter,
They're blowing down my street;
And my landlord he's a bastard,
He won't give us no heat.

All your begging and your pleading,
They won't make him reform;
But if we put him in the boiler,
He's sure to keep us warm.

Chorus:

Boil them landlords down,
Bake those landlords brown;
Now the only song that I can sing
Is boil them landlords down.


Angel Figueroa,
He tells me what to do;
"Get hold of that landlord
And make him work for you." (CHO)

The winter time is coming,
It's getting pretty cool;
Let's get some of those landlords
And use them up for fuel. (CHO)

So listen, all you tenants,
If you want to be warm,
Just get yourselves together
And sing this little song. (CHO)

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: Lyr Add: THAT GREEDY LANDLORD (Fred Dallas)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 02:43 PM

And while we are digging up more details, here's another ditty from the UK in the early 1960's:

Words by Fred Dallas © 1960
Tune: traditional "Bold Turpin Hero"
In SONGS FOR THE SIXTIES

That Greedy Landlord


In the month of July, in the year of fifty four,
There were slates off the roof, there were holes in the floor;
There were rats in the cellar and we didn't have a cent
When the landlord came and told us he was putting up the rent.

Chorus:

Oh, that greedy landlord,
Oh, that landlord, oh!


Well, he said it was a pity and it really was a shame,
That he couldn't spare a copper for the mending of the drain,
And the paint was so expensive that we ought to lend a hand
And pay a little extra to the man who owns the land. (CHO)

He promised to be faithful and he promised to be true;
He promised that he'd make our little house as good as new;
Folks would come to see it from miles around,
If we'd pay a little extra to the man who owns the ground. (CHO)

Will you mend the broken windows, replace the lock upon the door?
And will you tell the carpenter to lay another floor?
Will you make the house a place where decent folks can live,
If we pay a little extra in the rent we've got to give? (CHO)

Your rent is going up, he said, there's nothing you can do;
And as for your suggestions, here's the best of luck to you;
You'll be lucky if I give repairs a solitary thought,
Unless you've got the cash to take it to the County Court. (CHO)

So we talked the matter over with the people down the road;
We began to pull together for to share the heavy load,
And we formed a street committee and we gave the thing a thought
And a thousand angry tenants took him to the County Court. (CHO)

Now a landlord makes a living out of sponging on the poor,
And every week he takes them for a hundred pounds or more,
But he couldn't spare the money for solicitors and such,
So he settled out of court because it didn't cost as much. (CHO)

Here's a health to everyone of you who earns your weekly rent;
Bad luck to every landlord and the landlord's government;
Good luck to everyone of you who wants to lend a hand
To speed the time that's coming when the people own the land.

Final Chorus:

Bye, bye, greedy landlord,
Bye, bye, greedy landlord, oh!


Yours in struggle,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Son
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 09:14 PM

I have just got hold again of ' Songs for Swinging Landlords To ' the Topic EP by Stan Kelly & Leon Rossselson in 1961.

It has 4 tracks, of which uncannily the first is 'Greedy Landlord' by Karl Dallas, as quoted above, but without verses 3 and 7.


'The Man That Waters the Workers' Beer' is described in the liner notes as " Words by Paddy Ryan to a traditional tune. A classic from the Unity Theatre stable in 1939. "

'Pity The Downtrodden Landlord' has " Words by B. Woolf and music by Arnold Clayton. Another Unity classic which mother used to sing to us."


This helps to confirm that the song was written by our Dad , probably during the war, for Unity Theatre, and was published after the war in 1946 by the Workers Music Association.


There are only 3 verses - The one starting "You are able to work for your living .. is not included. We still need to track down the original sheet music to see whether, as we suspect, that verse just somehow got lost as the song went on its travels.


[ By the way the other track is the Oakey Evictions, about colliery evictions in County Durham in 1885 by Tommy Armstrong, the celebrated collier balladeer of that time. It's a pretty good song too. ]

Yours aye
The Lyricist's Son


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Subject: Lyr Add: OAKEY STRIKE EVICTIONS (Tommy Armstrong)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 09:38 PM

The Lyricist's Son-

Excellent work!

"The one starting 'You are able to work for your living' .. is not included. We still need to track down the original sheet music to see whether, as we suspect, that verse just somehow got lost as the song went on its travels."

Or that verse was added by someone else, in the States or in London.

Clarification: is it "Fred Dallas or "Karl Dallas" who composed "Greedy Landlord"? I have "Fred" Dallas.

Here's the "Oakey Evictions" from my an old Mudcat thread:

Subject: Lyr Add: OAKEY STRIKE EVICTIONS (by Tommy Armstrong)
Notes by Bill Sables
Date: 31 January, 1999

"I wasn't sure whether you were able to decipher the Durham dialect or not. You usually have to be born in Durham to understand it so I have written the song in dialect with phonetic pronunciation followed by a version in plain English, which will probably be handy for any singers in the U.S.A.

It was orly in Novemba, Ah niver will forget
The polises an the candy men at Oakey's hooses met
Johnny the bellman he was there squinting roond aboot
He put three men on ivory hoose te torn the pitmen oot.

CHORUS:

Oh, what wad a dee if aw'd the poower mesel
Aw wad hing the twenty candymen an Johnny we carries the bell.


There they went from hoose te hoose an put things on the road
But mind they didn't hort theorsells wi liftin' heavy loads
Some wid carry the poker oot the fender or the rake
But if they carried two at once, it was a great mistake. (CHO)

Some of these dandy candymen was dressed up like a cloon
Some had hats wivoot a flype and some wivoot a croon
Some had ne laps upon their coats but there was one chap warse
'Cos ivory time he had te stoop the wind blew up his arse. (CHO)

There was one chap had ne sleevs or buttons on his coat
Another had a bairnies hippin lapped aroond his throat
One chap wore a pair of breeks that belanged tiv a boy
One leg was a sort o tweed the uther was cordyroy. (CHO)

Next there comes the maisters aw think they shud think shem
Deprivin wives an familys of a comfortable hyem
But when they shift fre where they live aw hope they gan te hell
Alang wi the twenty candymen an Johnny that carries the bell. (CHO)


Non-Dialect Version

It was early in November I never will forget
The polises and the candymen at Oakey's houses met;
Johnny the bellman he was there squinting round about;
He put three men on every house to turn the pitmen out.

CHORUS:

Oh what would I do if I had the power myself,
I would hang the twenty candymen and Johnny who carries the bell.


There they went from house to house to put things on the road
But mind they didn't hurt themselves with lifting heavy loads;
Some would carry the poker out the fender or the rake
But if they carried two at once, it was a great mistake. (CHO)

Some of these dandy candymen were dressed up like a clown;
Some had hats without a peak and some without a crown;
Some had no lapels upon their coat but there was one chap worse,
'Cos every time he had to stoop the wind blew up his arse. (CHO)

There was one chap had no sleeves nor buttons on his coat;
Another had a bairn's hippin wrapped around his throat;
One chap had a pair of breeks that belonged to a boy;
One leg was a sort of tweed the other was cordyroy. (CHO)

Next, there comes the masters; I think they should think shame,
Depriving wives and families of a comfortable home;
But when they move from where they live I hope they go to hell,
Along with the twenty candymen and Johnny who carries the bell. (CHO)

Polises....Police
Candymen... Bailiffs henchmen hired in for their ability to use force if need be. Their usual job was rag and bone men or scrap metal merchants who used to give sweets or candy to children in exchange for rags or scrap, hence the name candymen.
Bellman...The Bailiff
Squinting... Looking around, being nosey
Bairnies Hippen...Childs nappy or diaper
Breeks.. Pants
Maisters.. the mine owners
Poker.. Iron tool used to move coals in a fire
Fender..Surround for a fireplace
Rake..Iron tool used to pull out ashes and dust when cleaning a fireplace

The events occurred during the 1885 stoppage in the North West Durham coalfield when striking miners could be evicted from their mine-owned houses. Tommy Armstrong wrote this song as a duel with another miner poet William Maguire in the Red Row Public House Tantoby. Maguire's song is long forgotten."

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Son
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 10:11 PM

Yes, you are right. It was Fred Dallas. My mistake.

Re the missing verse :   it has a real familiar ring to me, and sounds very like Dad. Obviously possible that it was added later - hopefully the sheet music will give us the answer . Should be located in the Unity Theatre archive.

You will have to give us a few days to track it down.

cheers
The Lyricist's Son


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 09:49 AM

The Lyricist's Son-

Oh, I think we can be patient. LOL

When I queried Pete Seeger about this matter in the early 1980's, he certainly remembered the song but not the details of the verses. And Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger were not able or willing to nail it down as well; I had met them at a concert in Ann Arbor and raised the issue, and followed the conversation up with letters.

Alan Bush in 1984 also was kind enough to respond to one of my letters, even returned the check I had sent him as a contribution to the Workers Music Association, but he provided no further details either. He referred me to Alfie Bass who didn't respond to my follow-up letter. I've been assuming all along that your father's friends and associates were making a good faith effort to respect your family's privacy.

When I was in London in the late 1990's I talked with John Foreman The Broadside King and he subsequently sent me some mimiographed copies of SONGS FOR TENANTS published by the Workers Music Association (1960) and some other songs. I also nosed aroud the library at Cecil Sharp House at that time without much success.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: Lyr Add: TOGETHER WE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS (B Grant)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 10:08 AM

The Lyricist's Son & Daughter-

Oh, maybe you could help clear this matter up. Earlier in this thread we were discussing a "Clive Woolf" who occasionally attended events at Cecil Sharp House and whether he was related to your father. Our conclusion was that he was unrelated. Is that true or did we miss another vital clue?

While we're waiting for more commentary, here's one of my favorite uplifting housing songs, composed by Bev Grant some 30 years ago:

Words and music by Beverly Grant
© 1976 Human Condition Music
In Broadside, #165, pp. 18

Together We Can Move Mountains

Chorus:

Together, we can move mountains,
Alone, we can't move at all;
Together, we can move mountains,
Alone, we can't move at all.


You know, people, sometimes we despair
When we think we're alone and nothing's gonna change;
We get stepped on, abused, ignored and confused,
Made to suffer and told we're the blame. (CHO)

The ones who get rich, while we scrape to get by,
Know our unity means their defeat;
So they set as against one another, sister and brother, color 'gainst color,
Keeping us weak; they're keeping us weak. (CHO)

From the smallest seed a mighty tree can grow,
With its roots planted firmly in the ground;
We've got to reach for the sun, only then will we know,
All the love and the beauty and the life to be found. (CHO)

Notes from the Manuscript:

This organizing song was put together by Beverly Grant, one of the founding members of the New York City music group called The Human Condition. It's an unusual song in this collection as it celebrates the victory of a rent strike, and one at a massive co-operative housing complex:

"In 1975-76 a rent strike at Co-Op City in the Bronx involved upwards 60,000 people, most of whom had never participated in any type of organized struggle. I was asked to write some music for a film relating to this successful strike, and in listening to taped interviews with rent strikers, was moved by the statement of a young Puerto Rican woman who said, 'Together, we can move mountains!'"

I first heard this sung at a gathering of Songs of Freedom & Struggle back in the late 1970's, with Bev leading the song and a hundred or so voices filling in the chorus. What a great an inspiring song!

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:11 PM

Dear Landlady's Daughter

Correct. Not related.

And for completeness also the following info:

To my knowledge, of the people on this side of the pond mentioned earlier in the thread, those who knew my father in person were Alfie Bass (in his Unity days)and Norman Buchan and his wife Janey (who he certainly knew in Scotland after the war.)

Not sure he ever stepped inside Cecil Sharpe House. He didn't see himself as a folk songster but rather as a political and satirical lyricist - though he was pleased when his offspring got into folk in the the 1960s

In "The Story of Unity Theatre" (Lawrence and Wishart 1989) by Colin Chambers a footnote reference to Cecil Woolf is to our mother (incredible but true).

Yours aye

The Lyricist's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Jan 07 - 12:38 PM

Lyricist's Daughter et al-

I thought I'd refresh this thread and see if there were any further developments.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: Lyr Add: PITY THE DOWNTRODDEN LANDLORD
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Son
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 04:11 PM

Good news !

We have finally tracked down the original sheet music, thanks to John Jordan, archivist of the Workers Music Association, who has kindly sent me a copy.

The attribution and lyrics are pretty much as first posted by the Landlords Daughter right at the start of this thread. That is - it is the song, the whole song ( " missing " verse included ), with one or two lines slightly altered.


Lyric by B. WOOLF    Music by ARNOLD CLAYTON


Please open your hearts and your purses
To a man who is misunderstood
He gets all the kicks and the curses,
Though he wishes you nothing but good:
He wistfully begs you to show him
You think he's a friend, not a louse,
So remember the debt that you owe him,
The Landlord who lends you his house.

Chorus:

So pity the downtrodden landlord,
And his back that is burdened and bent;
Respect his grey hairs, Don't ask for repairs,
And don't be behind with the rent!


You are able to work for your living
And rejoice in your strength and your skill;
So try to be kind and forgiving
To a man whom a day's work would kill;
You can work and still talk to your neighbour,
You can look the whole world in the face,
But the landlord who ventured to labour,
Would never survive the disgrace

So pity etc. etc. et.

When thunder clouds gather and darken,
You can sleep undisturbed in your bed,
But the landlord must sit up and hearken,
And shiver, and wonder, and dread
If you're killed, then you'll die in a hurry,
And you never will know your bad luck,
But the landlord is shaking with worry,
"Has one of my houses been struck?"

So pity etc.

When a landlord resorts to eviction,
Don't think that he does it for spite;
He is acting from deepest conviction,
And what's right, after all, is what's right;
But I see that your hearts are all hardened,
And I fear I'm appealing in vain;
Yet I hope that my last plea will be pardoned,
If I beg on my knees once again .

So pity etc.    "

As correctly stated by Barrie Roberts, B Woolf is the late Dr Barnet Woolf , who worked with Unity Theatre in London in the late 30s and into the 40s.

He wrote lots of good songs. We have plans to publish more of his stuff .... thoughts of a website.

Many thanks to all who joined in the quest.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Son
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 04:35 PM

Just to add that the song is
© Workers' Music Association   No. 9029

Anyone interested in more on our Dad's songs, we will try to respond.

The Lyricist's Son & Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:37 PM

Thanks so much for tidying up this ancient query.

I would certainly encourage you both to post more of your father's songs here at Mudcat. I think many folks here would be very interested. I know I would be.

Please also consider posting a short paragraph about your interesting father.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 06:22 AM

Or a lot of long ones!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 12:15 PM

Steve-

Glad to see you coming back to post on this thread. I do appreciate your early efforts to help unravel this mystery.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 10:59 AM

This has been one of my longest and most gratifying searches for the origin of an old song.

I'll be traveling through the UK in September, 2010, and it would be wonderful to met with the son and daughter of the late Dr. Barnet Woolf. I'll be attending the song session at Cecil Sharp House in London on Tuesday, September 21st. That would be a great place to meet.

I'll also see if I can contact them from their old e-mail address but maybe they'll respond here as well.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 09:33 PM

The Lyricist's Daughter

Charley

What a pity I have only just seen your cheery post. We would have been delighted to meet you. I can't believe that we have missed the chance. I would have introduced you to a friend of my father's, now 105, who could have told you a great deal about those days.

We would love to dig out a definitive history of the travels of the song – would you be interested in working with us on that? We have some theories on how it crossed Pond but it would be great to have someone on the other side to help research it.

I did a search under the song title just now and found the a fabulous post on the website of "The Independent" newspaper, commenting on an article about the cuts in housing benefit being made by the ConDem coalition government.   It quotes the song, which it says is from the Victorian music hall, and states it was "....referred to by Marx in a letter to Engels". My father would have loved it!

I have copied the post and the weblink below:

Its time to revive the old Victorian music hall song referred to by Marx in a letter to Engels,

"O pity the downtrodden landlord,
and his back wot is burdened and bent,
respect his grey hairs, dont ask for repairs
and dont be behind with the rent"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/landlords-claim-housing-benefit-sums-are-fiddled-2123548.html#disqus_thread


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 10:00 AM

Oh, I really love the folklore associated with this song, and the many blind but interesting alleys the search for its origin took me!

I'd be happy to share notes on how this song might have traveled from England to the States, some time shortly after World War 2.

One wonders if Marx and Engels are amused as well!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist’s daughter
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 08:32 PM

Charley

I love your idea of Marx and Engels also having a chuckle. It has certainly kept me amused since I saw it yesterday and I like the thought of being in such distinguished company.

Your folklore point is well-made.

I asked my brother if we should give a factual reply to "Quizbook" who put up the post on "The Independent" website and he replied:

"Not sure how to respond to Quizbook- it's such a nice idea, would perhaps be a shame to put him right!"

So now it's an official urban myth: the song "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" was referred to by Marx in a letter to Engels.

Now we just need to know how it crossed the Atlantic and it's onward journeys.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Nov 10 - 09:15 PM

So now it's an official urban myth: the song "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" was referred to by Marx in a letter to Engels.

Yes, I've just read the same thing from a post on the Mudcat Forum.

You don't suppose the song was carried across the Atlantic aboard a derigible?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's daughter
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 07:56 PM

The 2004 post from Barrie Roberts is worth repeating here. It is very sad that he has died. He refers to a 6 page email from Laurie Bielby.   I wonder whether anyone asked for a copy of that from him.
While most of it appears to be spot on, I don't think that he is correct about the date of the song. Dad moved to Edinburgh after the war and was not working with Unity then. Barrie refers to Pete Seeger as the probable conduit for the song.
I have been wondering whether the Workers' Music Association received royalties for the various recordings of the song and if not, why not.

Repeat of Barrie's post of 7 August 2004.
Now comes a 6-page e-mail from Laurie Bielby, Joan's partner. fascinating as it is (and it is) I won't take up space here. Anyone who wants to see all of it can e-mail me at www.barrieroberts.com. The main points are as follows:

1.    John Jordan, archivist of WMA (he says it means that, 'all the WMA archives are in cardboard boxes tied up with string under MY bed instead of someone ele's') confirms that he has a copy of the song showing the composer as Arnold Clayton and the lyricist as B.Woolf;

2.    Arnold Clayton wasa composer, dance band arranger and copyist who was involved with Unity Theatre from time to time and was in the MU Directory. This gels with what John Foreman recalls of him;

3.    Barnet 'Doggie' Woolf was a scientist (later an animal geneticist) who provided lyrics for many Unity Theatre productions, sometimes under the pen-name of Arthur Pooley;

4.    The song may have been created duwing WWII (but contains no bombing references?) but was more probably composed between 1945 and 1960. John Jordan's cvopy is undated, but he has a WMA songbook, published in 1949 which features the song;

5.    Laurie speculates that the song may have appeared in a special show put on by Unity in 1946 for those involved in a 'mass squate'; by homeless families of empty Kensington flats. Unity was then performing 'Gold Is Where You Find It', music by Arnold Clayon, book & lyrics by Bill Owen (yes --- that Bill Owen of the long-running & still-running TV comedy 'Last of the Summer Wine'). Clayton would undoubtedly have worked such an appropriate song into a squatters' protest show;

6.    How did it cross the Atlantic and appear in the People's Songbook? Probably via Pete Seeger, who was a Vice-President of WMA from the beginning and would have recieved copies of their songs;

7.    The Weavers recorded it in the early 50s. Alfie bass and the 'Four Bailiffs' made a Topic single of it in 1955 (Topic TRC 87). Stan Kelly put it on 'Songs For Swinging Landlords to'.

There it is, folks. I fervently, hope, believe and pray that we have now got the pukka gen, but that's what you get when you set a former criminal lawyer and writer of thrillers on the trail!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 08:18 PM

The Lyricist's Daughter-

"The Weavers recorded it in the early 50s."

I'm not aware of a Weavers' recording although I wouldn't be surprised if they sang the song in concert. Do you have a reference?

I know Oscar Brand made a recording in the 1960's (I need to retrieve that vinyl from storage). The only other recording of the song I'm aware of was done on a Folkways recording (FS-5287) I co-produced titled WE WON'T MOVE: Songs of the Tenants' Movement, © 1983, led by Peter Constantini from Seattle.

I never asked Pete Seeger if he knew of the song. I did ask Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl in the 1970's when they were doing a joint concert in Ann Arbor but they provided no leads, probably because they were being protective of your father; they were very helpful in sending me copies of other housing songs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,Alistair Banfield
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 06:37 PM

I'm not sure if the query on Fred or Karl Dallas was cleared up from above. They are of course, one and the same person. Fred was Fred originally and at one stage became Karl having taken the name from someone else called Karl. It was a matter of respect for the aforementioned Karl that Fred took his name. He is still referred to (by me if nobody else) as Karl "Fred" Dallas. Although it might be more appropriate if he was called "Karl" Fred Dallas. Anyway, "What's in a name?" said James Miller to his mother Betsy. :-)
So Dr Barnet Woolf it was then, with Arnold Clayton composing the music based on another tune and for a Unity Theatre Production. Available (briefly on a 78rpm single - TRC 87). Next question please!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:30 PM

Alistair-

Thanks for clarifying Karl "Fred" Dallas. No wonder I had such a time trying to sort this out 30 years ago! And no internet to work with either.

Some time soon I'll have to sort through the housing songs I've collected and publish the 50 most intriguing ones. "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" certainly heads the list.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble/Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 07:02 PM

Time to get PermaThreading, Charley! Just been reading through this fascinating thread. I was about to put you right on the singular identity of Karl and Fred Dallas, but Alistair Banfield beat me to it. Not sure when I picked up that bit of information (perhaps from Alan Bell? perhaps in one of KD's books) but it's got to be at least as long ago as the start of your search for the background to this song.

Looking forward to the rest of them.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM

Ross-

I really should start posting some of the "housing/tenant organizing songs" I've collected on a dedicated thread. They're currently scattered here and there on this forum. Maybe after Christmas.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: GUEST,The Lyricist's Son
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 05:44 PM

Charley

On recordings of the song :

The Weavers

It is listed as Disc 4 Track 7 on a comprehensive Weavers Box Set on the Bear Family Label B00004SWPS.   However, the set costs over £90 , so I haven't actually heard it !

There are over 500 individual Weaver tracks as downloads on amazon, but Landlord isn't included.

The Oscar Brand version is there as a download ( not brilliant - too slow ! ), as is the much better Bob Hill (Fred Hellerman ) version, which includes the missing verse ! [ but misses out verse 3 ].

Hamish Imlach also recorded it - twice.

First on "Fine Old English Tory Times" XTRA 1128, 1972 and then on "Scottish Sabbath" recorded in Germany on Autogram ALLP209. However, though Hamish is one of my all-time favourite singers, the way he does it is a disappointment - no missing verse and he changes the tune.

The one we were familiar with in our youth was on a Topic EP TOP60
issued in 1971 called "Songs for Swinging Landlords To" by Stan Kelly and Leon Rosselson.

[ Other tracks are "Greedy Landlord " - words by Fred Dallas, The Oakey Evictions by Tommy Armstrong, and the classic "The Man That Waters the Workers Beer" by Paddy Ryan. ]

The sleeve notes say "Words by B. Woolf and music by Arnold Clayton. Another Unity classic which mother used to sing to us."

It's a good version, but the missing verse is missing.

Hope this adds a bit to the sum of human knowledge !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 08:59 PM

The Lyricist's Son-

Thanks for the extra notes.

By the way I'm also fond of "That Greedy Landlord" which brings back memories of when I was sponsoring rent party sings in New York and Boston, in the early 1980's, in an attempt to collect additional songs. It was at the New York City gathering that we actually decoded the melody of "Greedy Landlord." In the room were some members of the Metropolitan Housing Council (real Communists!), an editor of Broadsides Magazine, an editor of Sing Out!, and a few miscellaneous folkies. It was a fine evening!

I'm thinking now that what I should do is publish my favorite 50 songs from the draft HOUSING SONG BOOK. There's no way to publish the whole thing but if there were some demand I could easily publish Volume 2. Volume 1 would certainly be titled Pity the Downtrodden Landlord: Tenant and Neighborhood Organizing Songs with an introduction of the long and successful search for the origins of this song. That's my current thinking.

Warm regards,
Charley Noble/Landlady's Daughter


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