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Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK

8_Pints 14 Jul 03 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 12 Jan 14 - 07:37 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 12 Jan 14 - 07:41 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 14 - 08:18 AM
Snuffy 13 Jan 14 - 09:11 AM
Brian Peters 13 Jan 14 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Jonesnudger 13 Jan 14 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 13 Jan 14 - 11:51 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 14 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 13 Jan 14 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 13 Jan 14 - 03:48 PM
Brian Peters 13 Jan 14 - 07:54 PM
Brian Peters 13 Jan 14 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 14 Jan 14 - 05:30 AM
Richard Mellish 14 Jan 14 - 07:46 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 14 - 08:37 AM
C Stuart Cook 14 Jan 14 - 08:41 AM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 14 - 11:44 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 14 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 14 Jan 14 - 12:31 PM
Brian Peters 14 Jan 14 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 14 Jan 14 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 14 Jan 14 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Kendrick 15 Jan 14 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 15 Jan 14 - 06:00 AM
Brian Peters 15 Jan 14 - 06:18 AM
C Stuart Cook 16 Jan 14 - 07:58 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Jan 14 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 17 Jan 14 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 17 Jan 14 - 09:59 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 18 Jan 14 - 08:00 AM
Brian Peters 18 Jan 14 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 18 Jan 14 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 18 Jan 14 - 10:18 AM
Brian Peters 18 Jan 14 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 24 Jan 14 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 04 Feb 14 - 10:02 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Feb 14 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 04 Feb 14 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,MW 06 Feb 14 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 08 Feb 14 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 09 Feb 14 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 10 Feb 14 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 10 Feb 14 - 09:45 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Feb 14 - 11:36 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Feb 14 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 10 Feb 14 - 02:13 PM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 14 - 03:54 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 14 - 03:29 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 14 - 04:35 AM
C Stuart Cook 11 Feb 14 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 11 Feb 14 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 11 Feb 14 - 02:59 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Feb 14 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 12 Feb 14 - 05:57 AM
Brian Peters 12 Feb 14 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 12 Feb 14 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 12 Feb 14 - 12:32 PM
C Stuart Cook 13 Feb 14 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 13 Feb 14 - 11:06 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Feb 14 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 14 Feb 14 - 01:43 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 14 - 03:43 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 14 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 22 Feb 14 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 22 Feb 14 - 06:52 AM
Ian Hendrie 22 Feb 14 - 07:46 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 14 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 22 Feb 14 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 22 Feb 14 - 10:40 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 14 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 22 Feb 14 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 22 Feb 14 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Marcus Whitehead 22 Feb 14 - 03:36 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Feb 14 - 03:48 PM
marcusjames 22 Feb 14 - 07:33 PM
marcusjames 25 Apr 14 - 04:35 AM
Brian Peters 25 Apr 14 - 06:32 AM
marcusjames 25 Apr 14 - 10:08 AM
marcusjames 25 Apr 14 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 25 Apr 14 - 02:36 PM
marcusjames 29 Apr 14 - 06:41 AM
marcusjames 29 Apr 14 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 29 Apr 14 - 06:39 PM
marcusjames 30 Apr 14 - 08:55 PM
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Subject: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: 8_Pints
Date: 14 Jul 03 - 02:16 PM

I was discussing the source of a song 'A-begging I will go' last Saturday night with friends, and learnt that the version I was interested in was collected from Becket Whitehead, Delph.

A google search identified a number of other songs he was associated with (Gallant Poacher & Four Loom Weaver). Click here 'All Jolly Fellows'

Does anyone else know the extent of his repertoire, and what recordings or publications may be published?

What do we know of him as a singer?

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 12 Jan 14 - 07:37 PM

Have a search for Harry Buckley Whitehead who was my great uncle. There's quite a lot in his publications about Becket. I have quite a bit of stuff about them, I'll see if I can digitise it and share. Get in touch if you want marcuswhitehead at msn dot com


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 12 Jan 14 - 07:41 PM

I just realised the song you mean, it was published with melody in mike hardings 'songs of old Lancashire' I hadn't made the connection til now. I perform it myself. Small world!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 08:18 AM

Are you interested in ultimate sources, evolution or just the source of that one version? I'd certainly be interested in these repertoires for the Yorkshire Garland project. Isn't Delph one of those debatable places on the border, like Saddleworth?


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 09:11 AM

Delph is one of the villages that make up Saddleworth - along with Uppermill, Greenfield, Diggle, & Dobcross. Have I missed one?


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 09:35 AM

Yes, Steve, Delph was historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire but is now (I believe) part of Oldham at local government level.

Marcus, I would be most interested to read what you've found. Was your great uncle Harry the composer of the poem 'Hard Times' by any chance ("You munnat come again, hard times, for Owdham's had its share")?

A draft of Beckett Whitehead's unpublished autobiography is available in Saddleworth museum. It doesn't say much about songs, though there is a reference to a musical evening at which an uncle (?) played the melodeon.

The songs that Seamus Ennis recorded from Beckett Whitehead - which are in the sound archive at the Vaughan Williams Library - were 'A-Begging I Will Go' (to a much cheerier tune than the folk revival one, which is probably a MacColl composition), 'The Gallant Poacher', 'The Mowing Match', 'Old Towler' and 'Jim the Carter's Lad'. As far as I remember his versions were all somewhat fragmentary (only a couple of verses of 'Gallant Poacher' for instance), but Mr. Whitehead's singing voice was very pleasant, accurate and clear.

Two songs are credited as having been collected by MacColl from him. These were 'Drinking' (a highly subversive piece that Harry Boardman recorded as 'I Means to Get Jolly Well Drunk' - anyone know more about this one?) and 'The Four Loom Weaver'. It's been my suspicion for years that MacColl composed the soaring Dorian modal melody associated with 'Four Loom' in the folk revival, and Roy Palmer in 'Working Songs' comes to the same conclusion. The lyrics belong to one of the 'John O' Greenfield' broadsides, more usually sung to a major tune that A. L. Lloyd published in 'Folk Song in England'. It may have been that Mr. Whitehead - an expert in dialect verse - submitted only the lyric to MacColl.

It occurred to me recently, after reading Mike Bettison's piece in
English Dance and Song, in which he suggested that MacColl composed the well-known tune for 'Scarborough Fair', to compare that soaring Dorian melody with the one for 'Four Loom Weaver'. Try it yourselves, it's very instructive.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Jonesnudger
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 11:24 AM

Snuffy - you did miss one village: Denshaw.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 11:51 AM

Blimey Brian, I'm no musicologist, but they do seem to follow the same structure..... wonder what the dotes look like in notation?
Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 03:09 PM

Very interesting!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 03:23 PM

Here's a version of the song "Hard Times" off an old folk album, it may play in your browser, or it may download it to your computer :-

Hard Times by Harry Buckley Whitehead

I found this info online -

Hard Times
by H. B. Whitehead (1890 - 1966)

From 'Lancashire Miscellany', edited by James Benett, published by Hirst, Kidd & Rennie Ltd., Oldham, 1960.

Harry Buckley Whitehead was a Saddleworth poet born at Diggle, where my great grandfather, Robert Buckley Sykes, was also born, in 1856. At the age of six he moved to Hilltop near Delph where he lived until about 13, working as a woollen piecer, and it was there he began to feel the first stirrings of a poetic nature. His greatest success has come in poems descriptive of the countryside. He also wrote poetry in standard English and he was a friend of Ammon Wrigley. An internet site notes: "He started work in the mill at thirteen and remained a mill worker until his retirment in the early 1950s. In 1963 his 'Rhymes of a Village Poet' was published, but the book is not readily available.'"

The following poem sounds like the work of one who has been through 'hard times' in the cotton industry. Given his epoch that could only be the slump after the short-lived boom that followed the First World War, and led to the terminal decline of the Lancashire cotton industry, but the poem doesn't quite have that ring. The folk memory in Lancashire of hardship suffered by the cotton industry workers was long, however (as hinted in the poem), so conceivably Whitehead is harking back to a time in 1892 when he was a toddler and a strike of over twenty weeks duration paralysed Oldham and ended with hunger and nakedness in the streets of the town. Or it might have been a time 30 years earlier during the Cotton Famine, when the American Civil War meant that no raw cotton could reach Lancashire and again there was actual starvation and widespread hardship.

'Hard Times' has been set to music and can be heard movingly sung by Mark Dowding - click on his name to find the CD.
Hard Times
by H. B. Whitehead

Yoh munnut come agen hard times;
We thowt those days were done,
When th' dust lay thick i' th' jinny-gate,
Where the wheels no longer run;
When th' yed-stocks stood like silent ghosts,
And th' straps and ropes were still;
Where o abeawt 'em seemed to say,
"There's nowt to do i' th' mill."

Yoh munnut come agen hard times,
For Owdham's had its share.
When th' purse were thin, and times were bad,
And ther' weren't mich to spare;
When nob'dy axed, or seemed to care,
Heaw were its troubles met?
Thoose wounds lie deep, the scars remain,
The folk remember yet.

Yoh munnut come to haunt these streets,
Where once yoh left your mark;
Where care and want together walked,
Wi' thousands eawt o' wark;
Where daycent men, fro' daycent whoms,
Wi' brocken heart and soul,
Went trudgein' deawn that hopeless road,
To th' means test and the dole.

Explanations:
Jinny-gate - part of the cotton-spinning machinery
Yed-stocks - head-stocks, also part of the machinery


Harry Whitehead eulogized the men of his native soil in the following words:

"The Greenfield men are more than good,
They fetch the coal and chop the wood;
And ev'ry morn 'tis good to see,
They make their wives a cup of tea;
Then off to work to earn their bread,
Each with a halo round his head;
They're all house trained and live to please,
They are the Lord's annointed these."

I shall dig what I can out of my dad's collection of family writings. It may take me couple of weeks to do so, but I will be back to this thread with what I can.

Very interested in the recordings of Becket Whitehead, listed in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library recordings. Anyone know how to obtain copies of these?


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 03:48 PM

Marcus ... Becket Whitehead does not appear in a search of the British Library sound recordings, so the only alternative is to contact the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library library@efdss.org
Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 07:54 PM

"Blimey Brian, I'm no musicologist, but they do seem to follow the same structure"

I don't have time to do the dots just now, Derek, but I'd say the first two lines of the verse are uncannily similar.

The thought came to me while drifting off to sleep in my room at Halsway Manor during a song weekend last November. I nearly fell out of bed!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 07:59 PM

Hi Marcus - yes that's Harry Boardman singing 'Hard Times' that you've linked. I think he did a better version on 'Golden Stream; it's a very powerful piece of writing. Mark Dowding and I both knew Harry well.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 05:30 AM

This is Mudcat at it's very best


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 07:46 AM

I share the "Well, blow me down" reaction to Brian's revelation about MacColl's tunes for 'Scarborough Fair' and 'Four Loom Weaver'.

The most drastic difference between the latter and Lloyd's "Poor Cotton Wayver" to the 'John O' Greenfield' tune is that one has 4-line verses and the other 6-line. Would MacColl have thrown away two lines of each verse? Or had Whitehead done that, or someone else at an earlier stage?

Richard


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 08:37 AM

The broadside copies of this, as per all the 'Jone' ballads have six-line stanzas. Not sure without more checking whether there are any versions with four lines, aside MacColl / Whitehead.

Joan O' Grinfield


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: C Stuart Cook
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 08:41 AM

If I remember rightly Four Loom Weaver/Poor Cotton weaver appears in Mrs Gaskell's Mary Barton.

I also have it in a private printing of Lancashire Ballads where it appears as on of the John O' Grinfelt series as stated earlier. I think mine gives it's title as J O G Jr. I'll dig it out and check.

I've always said that the words date from a time when the mills only spun cotton and then put the yarn out to outworkers (handloom weavers). Initially in the Industrial revolution this group of workers were a highly skilled group (males) who commanded high wages. This was certainly the case in my own Gee Cross, Hyde area. The cotton spun in the early Ashton Bros mill was bottle necked by the lack of weavers on a number of occasion leading to drops in spun cotton prices and layoffs in the mills for the cotton operatives.

As the hand loom weavers needed to be based in one spot this led to the conversion or building of the Weavers loft properties still to be seen around older settlements in the Uppermill and surrounding areas. This was unlike the earlier generation of weavers such as depicted in Silas Marner (The Weaver of Raveloe) who moved around the communities to weave their spun threads.

Once these highly skilled workers lost their mobility they were susceptible to shortages to supply in the spun cotton supplies and the whole vicious cycles of supply/shortages/demand/prices etc started to bite.


Working four looms (four in hand , or sometimes more)ie Four Loom weaver, came in when the automatic power looms came in. These were usually located in the big north light weaving sheds built around the 4 or 5 storey spinning mills. These were worked by women. My understanding is that this job was rarely done by men. The men did however usually work the big spinning mules. A role reversal from the early days of the cotton industry.

I won't claim this to be a precise analysis of the Cotton trade so don't come wading in with minute historical inconsistencies but generally it went along those lines.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 11:44 AM

Thanks, Stuart, that's all very interesting. You're right about Mary Barton, too.

John Harland and T.T. Wilkinson's Ballads and Songs of Lancashire, from the 1880s, includes a version very like the broadside I linked above, but in stronger dialect. It was collected 'from the singing of an old hand-loom weaver at Droylsden' and - according to Harland - written just after the battle of Waterloo. Harland wrote that it was 'still a favourite in many parts of Lancashire'.

Comparing these texts with the folk revival version, it's clear that a skillful piece of re-writing has been carried out. As Richard Mellish points out, the stanzas have been reduced from six lines to four, but some of the surplus phrases from lines 5 & 6 ("He ne'er picked o'er in his life"; "I've woven myself to th' far end") have been accommodated by repeating the opening lines ("I'm a four loom weaver as many's the man knows / I've nowt to eat, and I've wore out my clothes") and making two new verses. Five of the old verses have been cut.

The pious and complacent parson's role ("We should have better times if I'd hold my tongue") is re-allocated to 'Bill O' Bent', who appears in the broadside as a debtor.

The closing lines:
"Hoo's nowt agen th' king, but hoo likes a fair thing
And hoo says hoo can tell when hoo's hurt"

have disappeared, leaving the verse to end on the less conciliatory:

"Hoo swears hoo would fight, blood up to the een"
('Hoo = 'She' in Lancashire dialect, of course)

Harland tells us that those last three lines were 'household words' at the time of his publication.

Which still leaves the mystery of when the ballad was re-written, and by whom!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 12:30 PM

I'm a bit of a novice.

Can anyone offer any advice on how to get hold of the recordings of Becket Whitehead?

I can see that he has been recorded, some are held by the BBC, however some are held elsewhere, the name Peter Kennedy keeps cropping up, but i'm getting a bit bogged down. I can see the recordings are out there, but not how to actually get them.

The Vaughan Williams library have suggested I get in touch with the BBC to get permission for their recordings, but what about the folktrax recordings.

I know I could find these answers myself, but I was hoping that someone night have been through the process themselves, and be able to shed light on their experience and how they got to where I am trying to get to.

Thanks if anyone can help.

I'll get onto my dad about the Becket and H.B. archives he holds


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 12:31 PM

Previous comment by me ^^^


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 01:00 PM

Marcus, I listened to the Becket Whitehead recordings by going down to Cecil Sharp House in London (where they are held in the VWML), but there would probably be a charge for a non-member of EFDSS.

The recordings were made by Seamus Ennis as part of a BBC folksong recording project in the 1950s, in which the late Peter Kennedy was involved. Some of the recordings have been issued by Topic Records (on Voice of the People 2), and some of Kennedy's own material is on the British Library online sound archive, but not the Whitehead recordings (see above).

Camsco Music in the USA owns the licenses for Kennedy's Folktrax label (about which there has been much controversy that probably won't interest you) - this included a lot of the BBC recordings.

I believe I have the recording of 'The Gallant Poacher' somewhere, so PM me (hit the 'PM' button after my name above) with your email address, and I'll see what I can do.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 02:29 PM

okay, i managed to order copies of "Songs of the Trades" and "Songs of the Country" from http://www.camscomusic.com

wasn't so hard after all :-s


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 02:35 PM

Hi Brian

thanks for the response

perhaps I need to be a member of mudcat to see the pm link, but my email address is

marcuswhitehead at msn dot com

as i say, i managed to find two recordings from camsco,, i think these were non bbd recordings, but are you saying there may be more there at camsco too?

The search facility at camsco is quite specific and i couldn't find owt with a search for 'whitehead', for example, or a-beggin (needed the apostrophe - a-beggin')

Thanks ever so much


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Kendrick
Date: 15 Jan 14 - 04:51 AM

Hey , You guys , Becket Whitehead was far better known as a local archeologist and geologist. He had trays of flint arrow heads that he picked up while walking on the moors and small samples of stone. All labelled .
He was a Fellow. Of the Royal Geographical society of. London.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 15 Jan 14 - 06:00 AM

Marcus ... Just checking that you have looked at the Folktrax Archive...
http://folktrax-archive.org/menus/performer_w.htm

Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Jan 14 - 06:18 AM

Hi Kendrick - yes, I knew that about BW's geological credentials, also his interest in local history and dialect poetry. It's odd in a way that folk enthusiasts define him by his songs, which were probably quite a small element in his life.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: C Stuart Cook
Date: 16 Jan 14 - 07:58 AM

Brian, having checked back the book I was thinking of was one I bought nearly 40 years ago at an Eccles auction house and is indeed the Harland one. An excellent book it is too. I presume the FSA after his name is The Society of Antiquarians? It's not the one I was thinking of though. I had one at one time that declard itself to be a private printing. Can't put my fingers on it at the moment.

Harland book is 1865?, Mary Barton was 1848 but presumably Mrs G knew of it some time before that. Is there an earlier published record of it.

The Harland one amazed me at the time with the huge amount of material in it and it's "doings". London publisher, Edinburgh printer and Lancashire verse. The world was supposed to be much smaller then. it wasn't of course but still an impressive coverage of the British isles in it's production.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jan 14 - 11:18 AM

Ah yes, the great John Harland that well-known Yorkshireman from Hull.
I think the printing company he founded is still running or was until recently.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 01:43 PM

Just found this recording, not Becket, but...

A-beggin' I Will Go by The Elliots of Birtley

Find out more about this here


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 09:59 PM

There's a cracking version of Four Loom Weaver by Becket Whitehead on Grooveshark

Four Loom Weaver sung by Louis Killen

The album is "Gallant Lads Are We: Songs of the British Industrial Revolution"
and Killen delivers the songs brilliantly.

Enjoy


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 08:00 AM

Marcus ... I think the tunes used for both these songs you've posted - the Elliotts singing Beggin' and Louis singing Four Loom Weaver - are quite possibly Ewan MacColl re-writes rather then the tunes that Becket Whitehead sang. Of course, no-one recorded Becket singing Four Loom Weaver.

Beggin. Harry Boardman recorded this twice - First, on New Voices in 1965, where the notes (written by Bert Lloyd) say that it was obtained by MacColl from Becket. It uses the "MacColl tune", same as the Elliotts, though Harry sang it a lot faster. And second on A Lancashire Mon in 1973, where he used a different tune. The notes (written by Harry) say that this version comes from Becket, and adds: "A version of this song which is currently sung in the folk clubs, has a more modal tune, the origin of which is uncertain." He is referring to the "MacColl tune". MacColl himself recorded it on The Manchester Angel, where he says it is a "19th century Lancashire version".

The song is not in Harry and Lesley Boardman's song book, but it is in Mike Harding's song book, where it is described as collected from Becket by Herbert Smith and MacColl. [Who is Herbert Smith??] This tune looks to me to be the MacColl tune.

It seems highly likely that Harry got his second tune from the Seamus Ennis recording.

Four Loom Weaver. It's in MacColl's Shuttle and cage song book, 1954, and on Steam Whistle Ballads LP. Both attributed to Becket and both the tune that is similar to Scarboro fair (see above from Brian Peters). Same as the Louis Killen version quoted in the above message. This is a different tune to the one recorded by Bert Lloyd on The Iron Muse, which he says comes from Kidson's A Garland of English Folk Song. I don't have a copy of that book I'm afraid!

So, perhaps Becket didn't sing either of the two well known tunes to Four Loom Weaver. And perhaps, as Brian suggests, he just gave the lyrics to MacColl.

Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 08:33 AM

Thanks for the additional detail, Derek. All of that fits in with my own understanding of the situation, and I certainly remember Harry singing 'Begging' to the original Whitehead tune.

I've talked this over by email with Marcus, and he was kind enough to copy for me the note in MacColl's The Singing Island to Four loom Weaver:

"The version printed here was noted from the singing of Becket Whitehead of Delph, near Oldham, in 1947. Mr.Whitehead, at that time nearly eighty years old, had learned the song from his father, himself a hand loom weaver, and an active Chartist"

So MacColl was definitely claiming that BW sung it to him, not just supplied the words (and, according to Harland above, the song would indeed have been current in his father's day). However, in the light of the recent Scarborough Fair research, I'm still sceptical that the MacColl tune was ever sung to him by BW. And why, come to that, didn't BW sing it for Seamus Ennis and his tape recorder five years later?


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 08:59 AM

Hi Derek, Brian,

I hope that I'll soon be able to get to the bottom of this. I'm just struggling to find the time with work commitments and so forth, so I really appreciate all the knowledge and info you have both already collected, it takes a lot of the legwork out for me.

Also, whilst a bit of a folky myself, I'm on the contemporary side of things, I have always written and performed music, but I


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 10:18 AM

Uh (cont...)

I really no knowledge of the history of folk at all, so I'm starting from scratch. It's really helpful that you guys seem to know so much about who did what and when, and where to look for info etc.

I intend to ultimately set up a website with all the info available about this pair of poets, along with what is known by those who knew them, in my family, and now i think about it there may well be some of their friends still knocking about Saddleworth.

If only I;d started this quest before my grandmother, Olive Whitehead, died a few years ago! Aargh! She was H.B.'s sister in law. I bet I can wring info out of my dad and his siblings.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 10:27 AM

The website idea would be great.

Marcus, have you come across Sid Calderbank? He's an expert in Lancashire dialect, gives workshops on 'Jone O' Grinfilt', and might well be interested in chatting about your two relatives.

Sid's website


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 24 Jan 14 - 10:04 AM

Thanks for that Brian

I've also got in touch with Paul Salveson

I'll keep you posted on developments


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 10:02 AM

Derek - regarding this comment -

"Beggin. Harry Boardman recorded this twice - First, on New Voices in 1965, where the notes (written by Bert Lloyd) say that it was obtained by MacColl from Becket. It uses the "MacColl tune", same as the Elliotts, though Harry sang it a lot faster. And second on A Lancashire Mon in 1973, where he used a different tune. The notes (written by Harry) say that this version comes from Becket, and adds: "A version of this song which is currently sung in the folk clubs, has a more modal tune, the origin of which is uncertain." He is referring to the "MacColl tune". MacColl himself recorded it on The Manchester Angel, where he says it is a "19th century Lancashire version".

The song is not in Harry and Lesley Boardman's song book, but it is in Mike Harding's song book, where it is described as collected from Becket by Herbert Smith and MacColl. [Who is Herbert Smith??] This tune looks to me to be the MacColl tune.

It seems highly likely that Harry got his second tune from the Seamus Ennis recording. "

I just listened to the version off "A Lancashire Mon" and it IS definitely the Becket tune on the Seamus Ennis recordings, although the lyrics differ. The lyrics used by Harry are very similar to those printed in Mike Hardings book

here's the Becket version to listen to, here


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 11:59 AM

Marcus,
That was great! Nothing like the real McCoy, as opposed to the unreal MacColl.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 06:57 PM

Excellent Marcus - very many thanks for that. Did it come from VWML?
Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,MW
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 04:24 AM

CAMSCO, Derek.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 01:42 PM

Hi

I've just got hold of Becket's memoirs.

There's a selection of poem's by H.B. regarding Becket's death that I've uploaded as a test on google docs here

There's also an interesting list of participants in a cricket match, with some particularly amusing names.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 05:52 AM

Sounds like Clown Cricketers ... have a google on that name, and also Comic Cricketers...
Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 07:18 AM

Thanks Derek, I'll see what the previous page says. Did I read you are part of Saddleworth Historical Society?

In the meantime I'm trying to track down anyone who might know some songs written by my great uncle, Harry Buckley Whitehead.

There are four that I know of that he wrote the words for:

"March of the Home Guard", "Delph", "Song of the Cenotaph" and "Bonnie Grenfilt"

Bonnie Grenfilt was sung by Albert Widdall

March of the Home Guard and Bonnie Grenfilt were put to music by A. Radcliffe (Alec?)

Delph was put to music by A. Pogson

Are any of these names you recognise at all? Or perhaps you can point me in another direction

This is part of a project I've set myself to collate the works by H.B. Whitehead and Becket Whitehead of Saddleworth

I'm a singer myself. I'm currently brushing up the "Mowing Match Ballad" about a competition between lads at Freisland and Friarmere in Delph, Sadddleworth

Thanks if you can offer any advice

Marcus


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 09:45 AM

Don't know about these specific songs Marcus (and I'm not in Saddleworth Historical Society - I live in Cheshire, but of course Schofield is a familiar name in the area we are talking about).

There's a song called Friezland Ale, which is sung by Will Noble (who lives out near Denby Dale). That song was written by Ammon Wrigley from saddleworth, died 1946, local historian who published Songs of a Moorland parish. Seto to music by Hugh Beech, who sang it in the Royal Tiger, Austerlands near Oldham in the 1920s.

That might give some clues about putting tunes to words in the area!

Any connection with the brass band scene up there (in terms of writing tunes..)

Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 11:36 AM

"(which is probably a MacColl composition)"
Attributed to Richard Broome's "The Jovial Crew" (mid 17th century) and acquired via a manuscript from Mary Brooksbank.
"English Dance and Song, in which he suggested that MacColl composed the well-known tune for 'Scarborough Fair"
MacColl's tune is virtually the same as Frank Kidson's Whittingham Fair
That MacColl adapted and changed the tunes he collected was never in doubt - Isn't that what most revival singers do?
Just been listening to Killen's recording of Weaver - still sends a tingle.
MacColl and Joan Littlewood recorded Becket for a programme entitled The Ballad Hunters in the forties.
They neither retained a copy of the recordings nor, as far as I can establish, did the BBC.
More later
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 12:44 PM

Sorry - a senior moment - scrap the Mary Brooksbank reference
Trying to annotate 400 Clare songs at the same time.
In the mid-sixties MacColl had a file of ms versions of all the songs collected for The Ballad Hunters, with tune annotations.
They, like all the songs on file, were made available to anybody who requested them
I got Becket's The Mowing Match and Drinking from the file and have been singing them for years.
MacColl had no hesitation in adapting the songs he got from anywhere, canging the words and adding tunes.
These included those he got from his father - we were told by one of William Miller's contemporaries that he had a load of "bits of queer old songs"
I'm pretty convinced MacColl learned fragments from his father and mother built them up into full songs at a later stage (probably a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys are in order to some people).
As far as I know, MacColl never denied having done this, not in my hearing anyway - he did what every other singer of traditional songs has done since the beginning of the revival.
I've never heard him claim any of his versions to be genuine - on the contrary - he encouraged us as singers to improve the songs is we felt it necessary.
MacColl had an established repertoire of traditional songs before the revival was a twinkle in his or anybody's eye- I never tire of putting this up:

"Ewan MacColl was himself a victim of the Depression. The son of an unemployed Glasgow steelworker, who had moved to Salford in search of work during the twenties, he had suffered every privation and humiliation that poverty could contrive for him from the age of ten. His memories of his early years are still bitter—like his recollection of how to kill aimless time in a world where there was nothing else to do: "You go in the Public Library. And the old men are there standing against the pipes to get warm, all the newspaper parts are occupied, and you pick a book up. I can remember then that you got the smell of the unemployed, a kind of sour or bitter-sweet smell, mixed in with the smell of old books, dust, leather and the rest of it. So now if I pick up, say, a Dostoievsky—immediately with the first page, there's that smell of poverty in 1931."
MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs. One night while queueing up for the three-and-sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audi¬tion for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly."
PROSPERO AND ARIEL (The rise and fall of radio, a personal recollection – D G Bridson 1971)

Whether people like MacColl's remakes and his way of singing is a matter of personal taste - if someone asked me if I preferred his versions to some of the over-accompanied hiccoughy, gappy, idiosyncratic, droney renditions of traditional songs and ballads I've come across over the last half century I wouldn't hesitate for a second.
Pat and I are hoping to put together two, hour-long radio programmes on MacColl for Irish radio later this year (grant willing) hopefully concentrating on his work and ideas rather than the garbage mountain of personal stuff one has to scramble over whenever his name is mentioned.
Back to annotating
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 02:13 PM

Derek - it was a Derek Scholes that recently joined the historical society, sorry about that!

Thanks for the ideas, i've messaged will noble, and of course the brass bands might well know.

I grew up at Austerlands, it's part of Saddleworth. Our house overlooked the car-park where the Royal Tiger once was.


Jim:

"In the mid-sixties MacColl had a file of ms versions of all the songs collected for The Ballad Hunters, with tune annotations.
They, like all the songs on file, were made available to anybody who requested them
I got Becket's The Mowing Match and Drinking from the file and have been singing them for years."

Do you know how I can get copies of these please? is the ms versions you refer to the musical score?

I'd be thrilled to hear your version of Mowing Match, i've started doing it myself lately. Have you any recordings, or do you know when and where you might next do it?

Intrigued by the Drinking song too, i have no info on that one whatsoever

Thanks of you can help

Also, i've found a copy of "Bonnie Grenfilt" which is held at The British Library.

Of course, I could easily get a copy.

Why this stuff is always under lock and key I don't know, very frustrating. Talk about killing our connection with our roots.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 03:54 PM

"I got Becket's The Mowing Match and Drinking from the file and have been singing them for years"

That's interesting, Jim. Harry Boardman sang 'Drinking' and attributed it to Beckett W. via MacColl, but I've seen no other reference to it beyond that. So it may have been part of that BBC programme, then...

"MacColl's tune is virtually the same as Frank Kidson's Whittingham Fair"

Do you mean the 'Whit Fair' in Bruce & Stokoe? All the Kidson versions of 'Scarborough Fair' that I can find are major, but the B&S tune is modal, and I've thought before that it was the nearest trad tune to the MacColl one.

Personally I think his tune for 'Four Loom Weaver' is a magnificent match of words and melody, and I have no objection to him having done it - if indeed he did. I just like to tease out the sometimes tangled histories of as many of these revival favourites as possible.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 03:29 AM

Marcus,
Can't tell you how delighted to learn that a relative of Beckett is still around and singing - one of my heroes.
"Do you know how I can get copies of these please?"
If they still exist they'll be with the MacColl archive at Ruskin College - if you have no luck, I hope to be seeing Peggy later in the next few months so I'll ask her.
Both Drinking and Mowing Match (I think) are included in Richards and Stubbs English Folksinger.
MacColl recorded Drinking on one of his albums - wonderful song.
I can't read music so I had to put my own tune to Mowing Match - the 'With Henry Hunt We'll Go' tune works for me.
Brian - pretty sure the version I learned was 'Whittingham Fair - think it's in Bronson and also in Kidson's 'Tunes' - will check later, but we're about to lose our electricity for the day (the joys of living in rural Ireland!!)
Will happily help with anything you wish to do (as always)
I'm pretty sure the producer of The Ballad Hunters was Olive Shaply, she produced a number of excellent documentaries on social and oral history.   
Greetings to all from The Dark Side
Jim Carroll

DRINKING

Some people   will tell you that drinking's a curse,
While others will tell you it's quite the reverse.
Some drink all their days their time to employ
Some drink when in sorrow and some drink for joy.
Some drink when they're christened, some when they're wed,
Some are drinking your jolly good health when you're dead,
Some drink on all these occasions, like I,
For I drunk at my birth and I'll drink till I die.

Ch. For I mean to get jolly well drunk, I do.
I mean to get jolly well drunk, I do
As long as J'm here I'll stlck to my beer,
For I mean to get jolly well drunk, I do.

I'll drink till the high price of coals becomes small,
Till ale and roast beef they cost nothing at all.
I'll drink till we have no more reasons for strikes,
Till a man values work just as much as he likes.
I'll drink till the law gives a man no denial
For taking a wife out a month upon trial,
Till the dukes and the lords have to sort clean from dirt
And the big Prince of Wales has to clean his own shirt.

I'll drink till all landlords choke as they guzzle.
I mean to keep drinking till bobbies are muzzled.
Till dandies are worth nowt but the clothes they put on.
I'll drink till old Peabody's money is gone.
I'll drink till the laws of the land are made fair
That punish a man for killing a hare.
I'll drink till all wealth is shared out amongst men
And I'll drink and I'll drink till it's shared out again.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 04:35 AM

Quickly before the lights go out
A story Ewan used to tell about Four Loom Weaver - may be Ewan's bullshit - he could have played for England in that as Peggy will tell you "Oh Ewan - stop exaggerating"!)
He was singing in a club in Brighton in the early days of the Revival when Big Bill Broonzy, who was guesting down the road, walked in.
Ewan sang "Weaver" and Broonzy came over later and said, "Man, I didn't know you honkies sang the blues".
Why didn't Beckett sing the song for Ennis?
The BBC project was little more than a head-hunting trip , whip it in, whip it out, and wipe it, so to speak.
You could have doubled the traditional repertoire with the songs that were missed from the singers they recorded
Maggie Murphy (one of the Chambers Sisters) had a largish repertoire that was missed, as did Cinnamond and loads of other singers.
Phil Tanner was claimed to have had 70 songs - the EFDSS couldn't round up enough to fill an LP and had to repeat one item to fill the album.
It was a great project and we'd all be much worse off without it, but no indication of the size or scope of the repertoire
Must go - darkness approaches
10, 9, 8, 7.....
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: C Stuart Cook
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 07:19 AM

Good luck with the program Jim.

As I've mentioned in some of the other threads we've been involved with I live near to where Ewan lived with Joan Littlewood in the 1950's. The authorities observed and reported on them and their visitors here. A pretty little grouping of cottages on the top of Werneth Low. In as rural a setting as you could imagine with that fabled land across the road(from someones story)where the Travellers pitched up.

Alan Lomax Jr recorded his mother singing for the Smithsonian Archives at this address. The views from The Low are legendary with the Pennines, Kinder Scout and Bleaklow on one hand, Salford, Manchester and the surrounding industrial towns below and the flatness of the Cheshire Plain (as well as it's hills) on the other hand.

This is it, Jimmy Miller and his mother Betsy Miller singing Eppie Morrie. 1951, Oak Cottage, Higham Lane, Gee Cross, Hyde.

http://research.culturalequity.org/get-audio-detailed-recording.do?recordingId=7807

My understanding is he moved in here in 1949 (DOT is credited as being written for "Landscape with Chimney" for this year) until Joan Littlewood moved the theatre Group down to London in about 1953 and the two divorced (amicably). A move Ewan didn't want to do so the parting of the ways occurred. As I said, amicably I believe, as they collaborated for some time afterwards resulting in what seemed like a strange anomaly of Harry H. Corbett of Steptoe fame cropping up on a Ewan/Topic recording of Sea songs. Corbett was one of the noted actors of the Theatre Workshop group.

Without having made a precise historical investigation, the timescale seems to me to fit, with the scene changing musical interlude to a jazzy score having been in his mind here before it involved into that "well known Irish Song - Dirty old Town".

I'll send you some pictures if you want. It's not changed a huge amount since then, It's still a thousand ft hill of mainly farmland and it's still technically in Cheshire.

I wouldn't really have wanted to corrupt this thread with what has been a well discussed thread elsewhere but as both Jim and Ewan have become an aspect of it I thought I'd chip in. On my limited recordings of MacColl there are some aspects I'm not keen on but remembering that this was a man who was firstly an actor the use of some strange accents to put over a performance is understandable.

Widening the view to the likes of Jamie Foyers, My Old Man, The Joy of Life and Tim Evans my view is we're into the realms of a giant. No criticicsm, spiteful or considered, is ever going to shake me from that belief.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 02:07 PM

I have a written copy of Mowing Match in Roy Palmer's English Country Song Book

It quotes that the words were taken from Becket and filled out with verses from Ammon Wrigley.

Two of Becket's verses are missing from that book. There are sixteen verses printed, plus two from Becket makes eighteen

I'm convinced that other verses are out there and still known by a few, and I intend to track them down.

I've ordered the Richard and Stubbs book, thanks for the tip, we'll see if the words there differ at all.

I contacted Ruskin College, who said they'd either give me Peggy's details to ask permission, or they'd contact her on my behalf. I'm waiting to hear about that.

The tune in Palmer's book is very similar to a song called 'Nutting Girl', and he suggests that the chorus can be adapted to fit Mowing Match if it is deemed to be a little monotonous, although I don't find it so. So I have been um'ing and ah'ing about whether or not to adapt it.

Indeed the tune is very similar if not identical to the chorus of "With Henry Hunt We'll Go", which I found here.

I wondered if you introduce a chorus when you perform Mowing Match, Jim?

Regarding Drinking. Thankyou for showing the words. I found the Maccoll/Seeger album with 'Drinking' on it, it's called 'No Tyme Lyke The Present' from 1976.

Seems quite rare, only on vinyl and quite expensive. Unfortunately I don't have a record player anyway, so I'll have to wait to find out how that tune goes.

Finally there seems to be some question of why Becket didn't record Drinking or Four Loom Weaver in 1952, for which I have a theory.

Becket was in his eighties at the time of recording, which was quite a ripe old age back then.

I think the recording process may have been quite taxing. There must have been only one take because the mistakes are kept in, and during mowing match his voice begins to falter, with a cough developing and during the last verse he stumbles a little, perhaps losing the flow and bowing out gracefully without adding further verses. For this reason, I think Becket called an end to the session, and other songs were not recorded.

Just a theory.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 02:59 PM

Marcus, I have the technology here to record Harry Boardman's version of 'Drinking', but it never came out on CD and my copy is a cassette. I'll do it if I can - it's worth hearing.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 14 - 03:53 AM

Hi Marcus
These are the words of the Mowing Match that I was given by Ewan and Peggy (23 verses) - no idea of how they compare with yours but I assume they came from his work for the Ballad Hunters - they differ from Palmer's - dug them out yesterday or I would have sent them sooner.
I haven't sung most of my songs since we started collecting in 1973 so I couldn't give it from memory
If I can find the original sheet it may have a written tune.
As the version I learned has 23 verses I would never have dared introduce a chorus for fear of having to face a lynch mob.
It's a beautiful action and it's easy to picture the progression of the match while you're singing it - it really doesn't need a chorus.
As Palmer says i his book, the tune is The Nutting Girl (With Henry Hunt We'll Go) - that's the way I learned it, so if the air is included on the original sheet I must have got it from there.
As I said, the BBC project was a head-hunting trip, very few singers were recorded in depth - it was very much a case of taking the first few songs that came into the singers heads, then driving off to find another one - it's sad to thing of how many songs were missed that way - not to mention the masses of information and opinions that the singers had.
Becket with his interest in local history must have been a gold mine, given his involvement in Local History.
I would love to know ore about him and his interests
I thought we had all of Ewan's albums, but not familiar with that one - which may be an American re-issue.
If you P.M. me an address I''ll let you have a copy of ours.
Richard
You are right about Whittingham Fair; it's from Stokoe and Reavey's Northumbrian Minstrelsy - memory isn't what it was.
Ewan had a habit of adapting established tunes he wasn't satisfied with by humming them around the house and playing around with them slightly until they suited him, so he might well have done this with this one.
He did this with the songs he wrote himself - he'd select a tune he liked and play about with it until he was satisfies with it - used to drive Peggy barmy.
Shoals of Herring and Freeborn Man are both adaptations of a Gavin Greig version of Famous Flower of Serving Men - his favourite source-tune   
On the other hand, he attributed the song to the singing of lead miner Mark Anderson, so it's quite possible that Scarborough Fair was doing the rounds in the North of England when he recorded it - the Minstrelsy tune seems to be a minorised (speaking as a non-musician) version of the one he got from Anderson.
Stuart.
Thanks again for the information on Ewan's former residence - would love a photo of the area and any information of their staying there - will PM you with an e-mail address.
I think I actually remember hearing 'Landscape with Chimneys' and a couple of other programmes of a similar nature as a youth - the songs didn't take until a dozen years later.
Ewan was odd with accents.
I lived with them for some time and sitting in on a conversation between him and his mother, Betsy was like sitting behind a couple of foreigners on a bus - it was so 'braid Scots'.
He was a Salford lad, brought up in a Scots household that took in Scots lodgers - a mixter-maxter of accents.
His own accent gradually evolved into neutral, but he often drew from his childhood background for his singing - it never worried me as it seems to do others.   
In the early days, he sang with an American, Irish and Liverpool accent - as a Liverpudlian the latter often made me cringe and he once told me he couldn't bear to listen to his early recordings, so I assume they didn't impress him too much in later life.
I don't think it had anything to do with his being an actor as much as it did his wanting to explore the entire repertoire.
In the fifties Alan Lomax visits Britain (on the run from McCarthy) and rapped Ewan and Bert Lloyd's knuckles for not singing songs from their own backgrounds, (Bert was singing cowboy songs and blues too apparently) so Ewan embarked on a policy of opening up the British repertoire (and has been criticised for doing so ever since).
Jim Carroll


THE MOWING MATCH
1    Come all you jolly sporting men
Who love good ale to quaff,
I'll tell you of a moving match
Took place at Brindley Croft.

2    There war Kirby up at Tree-end Clough
And a lad from t' lower-end,
And what those two lads did that day,
Their fame'll never end.

3    Now, Kirkby wur a Tunstead man,
Frae t'houses up i' t' wood,
Among then top-end movers
There war not one so good.

4    And of a' these lads i' Friezeland,
And chaps that moved right weel,
There war one ca'd Tom o' Fearny Lee,
'T could make 'em come to heel.

5    They came up out of Friezeland,
Wi' scythes 'bout shoulder height,
The Lanky lad he carried t'sway,
He could all the movers fight.

6    But Kirkby he stepped up and said,
"Tha munna bother me,
For if that does, I'll tan thy hide,
This day I'll let thi see."

7    There were Bill o' Breadstrup, Cowtail,
Delph-Johnny and Singing Tom,
Small Benny and Bold Bowman,
Frae't lower-end did come.

8    There war many an owd trail-hunter,
And many a real owd un,
And t'finest lads at wrestling
For fifty miles around.

9    Free Grange and Castle-Shaw they come,
Horse-whipper lads so strong,
Wi' necks as red as fighting cocks,
And backs as broad's as long.

1O    An' all these short-head starters.
An' gamblers an' all,
And all those privily wives
They were sitting in a row.
11    Then Krkby's wife spoke up in front,
"Now Jack, my lad," said she;
"If that gets licked wi' t'lower-end,
Tha'll bide no more wi' me."

12    Then Bandy Jack o' Waterside,
Be held the starting gun,
"Come on," he said, "you bold young lads,
It's time to start the fun."

13    T' lower-end lad was up on 'tleft,
And Kirkby down on t'right,
Their scythes were held dipped into t'grass,
A good and manly sight.

14    Then Bandy Jack o' Waterside,
He fired the starting gun,
And off these mighty mowers went,
T'battle had begun.

15    Wi' flashing scythes these two stout lads
Went chargin' up the field,
Each stroke laid low two yards o' grass,
And neither one would yield.

16    Stroke for stroke they both advanced,
Until the turning-row,
Then Kirkby made a wider sweep
An' t'crowd all shouted, "Go!"

17    T' sweat wur glistening on their backs
And running in t'lads eyes,
But neither one'd mop his face
For fear he'd lose the prize.

18    And when t'owd clocker shouted "Time!"
They both were well-nigh done,
T'crowd wur roaring fit to burst
To see which one had won.

19   Then Bandy lack o' Waterside,
And Gibby from Bleak-Hey,
They both agreed that t'Lower-end lad,
Had won the match that day.

2O    But Kirkby wur not satisfied
About his measurement,
So for Harry o' Thurston-Clough
Two willing lads were seat.

21    And Barry wi' his measuring rod,
He knelt down there i' t'field,
And soon he said t'Lower-end lad
To Kirkby'd have to yield.

22    T'Lower-end lad had cut more length,
But Kirkby'd cut more grass;
A mighty cheer rose up from
Every Friezeland lad and lass.

23    So Kirkby won the mowing-match,
And that concludes my tale,
So new we'll toast good sportsmen all.
In a glass of Friezeland ale.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 12 Feb 14 - 05:57 AM

Fascinating stuff, Jim, as always.
I am not so sure you get copies of English Dance & Song, but if you confirm your email address to me, I'll see about sending you a pdf of the Scarborough Fair article which I think you'll find of interest, and may well be able to add to. Without broadcasting my email address here, you can find it on the EFDSS site under EDS.
Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Feb 14 - 08:07 AM

"Ewan had a habit of adapting established tunes he wasn't satisfied with by humming them around the house and playing around with them slightly until they suited him, so he might well have done this with this one... Shoals of Herring and Freeborn Man are both adaptations of a Gavin Greig version of Famous Flower of Serving Men - his favourite source-tune"

Jim, that is fascinating. I've had a look at that Gavin Greig tune, and the first phrase is certainly very similar to 'Shoals of Herring' - but you can see how MaColl tweaked the tune from that point on, dragging it up an octave and shifting it around to create a melody that's much more striking and lyrical than the original ballad tune. It's a masterpiece of original composition from a traditional base. For 'Freeborn Man' he seems to have taken the tune on a more complicated journey, but the footmarks are still there.

I also rechecked the 'Whittingham Fair' tune you mentioned. Like the MaColl tune for 'Scarborough', it is indeed 'minorized', although it's Aeolian rather than Dorian. The other striking thing about it is that the second line ("Remember me...") goes up an octave above the tonic, which is exactly what the MacColl tune does at that point, but is quite rare otherwise. If it's not Mark Anderson's (and there seems to be no conclusive evidence one way or the other), it's very plausible that a new tune for 'Scarborough Fair' emerged in exactly the way you've described for 'Shoals of Herring'.

You should read the article Derek is referring to. It was actually Martin Carthy, not the feature's author Mike Bettison, who suggested that MacColl might have written the tune for 'Scarborough'. Bettison met Anderson's grandson and researched the MacColl-Seeger archive at Ruskin College, but was unable to find any recording or notation of Anderson's version.

I was inspired by that article to look up some of the recordings of Mark Anderson's singing in the Lomax archive at the Cultural Equity website. Enter 'Anderson' in the search box. Here's a nice one: The Bonny Moorhen

Given Jim's point about MacColl reworking tunes and using the same source material more than once, I'm even more intrigued that his 'Four Loom Weaver' tune is so like 'Scarborough Fair'!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 12 Feb 14 - 11:57 AM

Thanks ever so much, Brian, and Jim.

I certainly came to the right place at mudcat.

I thought you might like to hear my comments on the lyrics for Mowing Match

It amused me to read some of the verses you quoted, especially with the with the Gaelic 'frae' thrown in, which certainly wouldn't have been used, rather 'frum' (from).

I can see how the Lancashire dialect was misunderstood by whoever notated the lyrics.

I'm taking Becket's version as gospel, as it would ring true that Curly (Kirby) was from Friermere rather than the fictitious Tree End Clough. Friermere is a hamlet at the top end of Delph where the scene is set.

The match was fought at Brimmy Croft, which is higher still than the Top End, at Diggle

Tunstead is a real place, but is actually by Friezland at the lower end, where Tom o' Fearnlee came from, not the top-ender Curly. Actually the place is called Fern Lea, in Greenfield.

According to Becket, Curly came from "Mills's up i' th' wood". This would make sense as Mill Wood is at the Top End.

Another variation is the line "all the mowers fight". Becket sings 'oather (oh-the) mow or feight' which means either - he could either mow or fight.

I think that Curly told Tom "tha munnat bullock me" meaning you mustn't push me around. My dad even thins that the original may have been bollock, but that Becket toned it down for the BBC. I'm not sure about this, as H.B. (Becket's cousin, and renowned dialect poet) was never known to swear, and neither were my Grandad or Grandma, it just wasn't done and I reckon Becket would be the same.

He also says "this day I'll let this dee" meaning he will let it the quarrel die. He was just issuing a warning.

On the verse naming people who were there -

I'm still working on this, but i know that Bill o' Brebs refers to William Bradbury who is noted in Anthology of Saddleworth Verse & Prose.

A Small Benny is known to have worked at the Saddleworth Picture House, and also a cinema use Delph Mechanics Club, although this must have been 1920's at the earliest and according to RoyPalmer the match was fought in 1842. It could be that Small Benny was named after his dad?

I do wonder where Palmer got his description from, probably one of Ammon Wrigley books which i can't afford at the moment.

Pretty sure that Becket refers to "boatman" rather than bowman, and my dad says he's read about a character called boatman, although i've not found that yet.

There war mont a "rare owd hound" accompanying the trail hunters

The lads from Grange and Castleshaw weren't 'horse whippers' they were 'all swipper'.
Swipper means super

All those "shore-edge scousers", lads from the shores of liverpool, came although Wrigley refers to "tossers", but Becket clearly says "scawsers"

All the Brewery Weighvers were sitting in a row. There was a weaving mill called Brewery mill.

"Curly's wife spoke up i' thrung" Called out from the crowd, the throng.

The rest of the verses vary from the ones from Wrigley, but it's delight to hear the end of the tale.

The place names of Waterside and Bleak-Hey ring true.

Suspect that Harry of Turney Bank was sent for to decide who had won - Thurston Clough was a way away from the match.

Many thanks again. I'm sure there will be more to add to this story.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 12 Feb 14 - 12:32 PM

I'm not flaming you by the way, I just find it fascinating, and I'm very grateful for you responses


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: C Stuart Cook
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 02:46 AM

This has been a good Mudcat thread with pretty well none of the descent into trivial one liners and insults.

Plus it's given Jim the chance to be simply informative about Ewan rather than having to get the white charger out of the stable, the bugle poilshed up and charge over the hill to the defence.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 11:06 AM

Agreed... an excellent thread. It was just missing the late Malcolm Douglas's knowledge.
Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 02:07 PM

Sorry for delay in response - just got our power supply back after two days absence still blinking at the light.
Hi Derek
The last e-mail I sent you (t an extremely stressful time) remains the same - would be delighted to get the article
Marcus,
The text I put up for Mowing Match is the one I got from Ewan - if it didn't come from Becket, I have no idea where it came from.
It's unlikely that Ewan reworked it as he never sang it - maybe Ruskin can shed some light on it.
Brian;
Ewan had recorded Famous Flower on one of the three albums of Child Ballads he did for Folkways - the tune caught his fancy then and he began to use it for numerous songs.
When Peggy produced The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook she contacted us for suggestions for the sources of his tunes; it was than I began to see how he worked his tunes, though I was present at several of his 'humming sessions.
Must go and help warm the bloody house up
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 14 Feb 14 - 01:43 AM

I'm blown away, it's like walking into a room full of legends


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 14 - 03:43 AM

"I'm blown away, it's like walking into a room full of legends"
You mean like the Gorgon or the Cyclops?
Can I make a point here
Whatever I think about MacColl is a personal thing based on my understanding of what he did for singing and how it affected Pat and my work - nothing more.
It was enough to have known two singers at the head of their field who were prepared to throw their home and collection of recordings and book open to researchers and wannabe singers and to devote one night a week of their time for nearly ten years to newbies like Pat and I to help us to improve our singing - I never met anybody else on the scene prepared to do that.
The work we did in the Critics Group (I was only a member for a few years, Pat longer) was ground-breaking and unique - many of the sessions were recorded and now reside in archives.
They were very much carried out on the suck-it-and-see basis, taking it on if it worked, moving on if it didn't.
They were planned with a view to improving standards on a club scene where the merest whisper of working on understanding the technique, function or emotional content of folk song in order to improve their performance, would invariably be met with crucifix and garlic to ward off impending evil.
Pat and I embarked on collecting in 1973, not just to get more songs, but to try and get some understanding of what the songs meant to people like Walter Pardon, Mikeen McCarthy, Tom Lenihan, Martin Reidy, and all the wonderful old singers we met over the years.
We both decided that we couldn't do this while working on our own singing at the same time - something had to go - singing went.
Even so, what we did was an extension of what we did in the Critics Group and we found that much we learned from the old singers followed on with what we were struggling with in the Group.
As far as motivation and emotional understanding of the songs were concerned they grew up with what we were struggling to achieve - especially so with Walter Pardon.
One of the great black holes in our knowledge of traditional song is due entirely to the fact that, while many collectors dedicated their lives to gathering in the songs, and in doing so, left us an invaluable legacy. virtually none of them had the time, nor the inclination to ask the people like Beckett Whitehead, Harry Cox, Jeannie Robertson... and all the others who gave us our repertoires, what the songs meant to them, what they felt about them, how they understood them and applied that understanding to their singing and - most of all, how those songs fitted into their lives; what they meant to their communities - a great pity.
MacColl never pretended to be someone who faithfully and accurately produced what he heard from traditional singers, he estimated quite early that the singing tradition in the main, in Britain anyway, was on its last legs and was being remembered rather than being performed.   
He didn't attempt to imitate what he heard and and had little time for those who did - he had no compunction in improving the songs to suit what he wanted to do with them.
Having said that, the first thing he said to anybody who asked his advice was, "Go and listen to the old men and women singers, take what they have to offer and use it to make the songs your own, and if you feel the inclination, lift the corner and find out what's underneath, that's all part of the making of a singer"
I don't remember ever having got a better piece of advice (except perhaps "respect the girl and don't leave her with something she doesn't want or need"!!)
Sorry to bang on so much - just wanted to amke clear that MacColl was no towering folklorist or ethnomusicologist, he wasn't a great academic and I believe he mistrusted much folk academia.
He evolved a brilliant (in my opinion) system for improving his own singing and he was generous enough to pass it on to others, to pas it on to others, to pass it on to others...... an so ad infinitum.
Nuff said about MacColl, I think
Jim Carroll
Incidentally - I returned to singing a couple of years ago - I'm now far too old to have become a better singer than I was (if I ever was) but putting together what we did with Ewan and the old singers, I'm certainly enjoying singing them far more than can ever remember (when I can remember anything nowadays!)


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 14 - 06:19 AM

Sorry - me again, couldn't resist
Some kind soul just sent me a link to David Attenborough's programme.
Sounds wonderful, but nearly choked on my toast to hear Ewan introduced as a fine powerful singer followed by Ian Campbell singing Shoals of Herring - Ewan would have loved it...!!!!
Look out for thunder-flashes and lightning bolts if you live in the vicinity of Richmond Hill (that's where Attenborough lived when I rewired his neighbor's lights many years ago)
Made my day
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 06:19 AM

I just learnt that sadly the thread starter, 8 Pints, is no longer with us.

I'm sorry to hear that. If it wasn't for his initial interest, none of this would have started.

So here's to 8 Pints.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 06:52 AM

I'm going to perform Mowing Match in a couple of weeks, and I think there may be some recording equipment present, so hopefully there will be something for you all to listen to.

I'm going to piece together the Becket verses with the Wrigley verses.

You implied you might have faced a lynch mob, Jim, had you deviated from the version you had. Does this mean there were people who actually knew it well? Where are they from? Are they still about?

I'm hoping to meet a chap called Ron Williams soon, and I'm hoping too that he can shed light on it, he's from Saddleworth.

By the way, did you get my email, Jim? I can't pm you because I'm a guest.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 07:46 AM

Hi Marcus,
Why don't you join this forum? There is no down-side to it as far as I can see and you have made a major contribution to one of the most interesting threads I have read recently.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 09:44 AM

No problem with deviating from the words Marcus - I do it all the time.
The idea of unnecessarily lengthening a song with 23 verses would daunt most audiences.
I found when I did perform if that the rhythm of the song fits in perfectly with the picture of two men moving down a field swinging scythes it helps the movement of the narrative.
I had occasion to learn to use a scythe when we moved into this house 15 years ago and was forced to tackle the acre of field we laughingly refer to as a garden - song and physical motion - horse and carriage, as they say.
I can't see how a chorus can be anything but an encumbrance.
MacColl was the one who introduced it to the revival as far as I',m concerned, never heard anybody else perform it.   
Glad you came back Marcus; I was intending to re-open this thread and ask you about a song Ewan sang which he and Joan recorded during the making of the Ballad Hunters
It's called 'T'owld Chap Cam o'er the Bank' an extremely bawdy version of Seven Night's Drunk.
I learned it years ago, but have always had to be circumspect in choosing when I sang it - I haven't sung it since we moved here; not sure that Catholic Ireland is ready for it!
Have you come across it at all?
Jim Carroll

TH' OWD CHAP CAME OWER THE BANK.   
From the singing of Harold Sladen, Openshaw, Manchester, Easter 1934.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a pair of mucky clogs where his owd clogs should be
Come Here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see,
How come this pair of mucky clogs where my owd clogs should be ?
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be
They're just a couple of pickle jars me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass, and many a grassy moor,
But girt hob-nails on pickle jars I've never seen before.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a coat on back o' t' door where his owd coat should be,
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this coat on t' back o' t' door where my owd coat should be ?
0 you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be,
It's just an owd pudding cloth me owd mam sent to me.
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor.
But buttons on a pudding cloth I've never seen before.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a head on t' pillow where his owd head should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this head on t' pillow where my owd head should be ?
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be
That's just a girt big turnip me owd mam sent to me,
I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor
But a girt big turnip full of teeth I've never seen before.

T' owd chap come ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a pair of hairy cods where his owd cods should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this pair of hairy cods where my owd cods should be
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be,
They're just a couple of garden spuds me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor
But garden spuds with airs on I never saw before.

T' owd chap come ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a great big standing prick where his owd prick should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this girt big standing prick where my owd prick should be
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger it's plain as plain can be
It's just a home grown carrot me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and manv a grassy moor
But a carrot diggin' a girt big hoyle I never seen before


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 10:26 AM

Hi Ian. I've sent a message asking 'Joe Offer' to make me a member, but I've heard nowt back.

Jim, I agree about the chorus being too much. It was suggestion made in Palmer's book, but then again he only had 16 verses.

I've now got 29 verses to it. I just recorded it onto my phone to help me learn the new ones you sent me. Just a shed over 5 mins, should be enough for anyone. The thing I like about performing unaccompanied is that I can really get into doing some actions and expressions to support the story.

I've sent you a copy of Becket's memoirs a week ago or so, as well as some other Becket related stuff. If I got the right email that is. If not, drop me a line - marcuswhitehead @ msn.com and I'll resend.

I spoke to Ruskin college about getting hold of Ewan's notes/sheets. The chap said he'd give me Peggy's contact details o ask permission, but I think he quickly changed his mind, saying he would contact her, but I've not heard owt since.

"Th' owd chap came ower the bank" is funny, but no, I've not heard it. But then again, I've only just got into these old folk tunes, literally since the start of the thread when I was looking for info on Becket and H.B.. It's funny, but they really seem to speak to me, probably because of the connection.

I am however meeting John Howarth from th' Owdham Tinkers in a couple of weeks, and I'll be sure to ask him about it for you. I'll also be seeing Mark Dowding and 'Lancashire' Sid Calderbank soon, and I get the impression that what they don't know about Lancashire tunes isn't worth knowing.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 10:40 AM

Whilst you folks are still here, I'd like to cheekily get your opinions on some Lancashire dialect I have been writing.

I'm not sure if I'll get flamed by purists of the dialect scene, but from what I can tell, dialect varied from writer to writer and each had their own style and spelling. I'd be interested to hear what anyone thought. It's autobiographical.

Aw'm A Joiner's Lad   

Aw'm a joiner's lad, Aw cum frum Lancasheer.
Tha'll awlus 'ear us singing, cos mi' heart is full o' cheer.
Bi' day Aw mek noo wind'ers, fettle rooves an' men' rip'eers.
Bi' neet Aw'm singing in the pub, an' supping fruthy beer.

Aw'm a joiner's lad, Aw cum froo Owdham way.
Us grandad wur a joiner, an' us fa'ther follerd sway.
As a lad, Aw thowt ee's warkshop wur a grand owd place to be,
Wi' sa'wdus piled up t' thi' knees, an' o' tha' leawd machinery.

Aw'm a joiner's lad. Aw cum frum Saddleworth,
Us fa'ther wur a Dobcrosser fr' t' moment o' ee's birth.
We awlus did together, an' 'ee larnt mi o' mi' wark.
Bi' th' Austerland's owd chimney was weer Aw med mi' mark.

Neaw, Aw'm full grew'n, mi' hands are full o' segs
Cose Aw'm awlus fitching wood.
Aw luv the touch an' smell o' it, theer's nobbut else as good.
Aw've a rule in mi' fob, Aw've a 'ammer bi' mi' side,
An' a pencil ut back o' th' ear.
Fowk have said that Aw'm fair good, an' Aw'm awlus summat near.

Aw'm a joiner's lad, Aw cum frum Lancasheer.
Tha'll awlus 'ear us singing cose mi heart is full o' cheer.
Bi' day Aw mek new wind'ers, fettle rooves an' men' rip'eers.
Bi' neet Aw'm singing in the pub, an' supping fruthy beer.

Aw med mi sel' a 'at stand fro' a packing crate Aw found.
Happen it wer mango wood, it's th' best 'at stand around.
Th' nee'als ut war in it, well, Aw bent 'em up fur 'ooks.
It's stands bi'side the shelving that Aw med fur o' mi' b'ooks.

Aw've med tebbles an' churs, an' a flart o' curly sturs,
An' a cubbert f' mi owd guitar,
Gates an' doo'rs, an' fences an' floo'rs,
An' sum thin's jus' f' loo'king.
Aw'll mek a grandfa'ther clock frum th' owd wood stock,
Wi' a skirt a t' bottom, an' a finial a-top,
An' theaw'll 'ear me singing if tha's walking by mi' shop.

Aw 'um a little tune as Aw get on wi' mi' wark.
Aw scribble words ut noonin, mi' pencil's awlus sharp.
Bi' t' time Aw'm 'eaded wohm-ward, Aw've a pretty good idea.
O' what Aw'm going t' sing t' neet, f' them ut's gathered 'ere.

Aw'm a joiner's lad, Aw cum frum Lancasheer.
Theaw'll awlus 'ear us singing cose mi heart is full o' cheer.
Bi' day Aw mek new wind'ers, fettle rooves an' men' rip'eers.
Bi' neet Aw'm singing in the pub an' supping fruthy beer.


                                                                                M.J.K.Whitehead


I don't know how many people are still writing in this style.

Actually, it's lyrics to a song I've written, again, I'm hoping to perform it soon.

It was inspired by listening to Mark Dowding, in fact, it came to me after hearing his first couple of verses of Bowton's Yard, although I quickly deviated from that melody.

Most of the verses can be sung to the tune of Bowton's yard, apart from the two longer ones, which pick up pace a bit.

Again, I'm hoping to take advantage of the recording equipment Mark is bringing to Bancroft Mill in about three weeks, so I should be able to let you hear it then. I hope you enjoy it as a poem.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 12:12 PM

Hi Marcus
Didn't get your Beckett stuff - thanks for your trouble.
Can you confirm your e-mail address - it keeps bouncing
Have tried to send a contact number for Peggy with details of where the songs were filed, suggesting you contact her
Regarding dialect writing, I'm no expert, but I've always believed poets like Axon and Waugh were fairly accurate, so comparing their writing to your own seems a fairly safe way to go - should be easy enough to find some of their stuff in your part of the country - local libraries are a tremendous help in rural areas, I've found.
From a layman's point of view, it reads just like Harry Boardman used to sound as I remember him
Know what you mean by dialect experts - worse than bloody wine posers, some of them.
Best
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 12:25 PM

Thanks Jim, got the email.

I'll send the stuff again to you.

And thanks for your help with this - fingers crossed!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 03:33 PM

I meant Bury New Loom not Bowton's Yard by the way


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Marcus Whitehead
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 03:36 PM

Actually, Bury New Loom was the inspiration for this one:

No Fracking In Owd Lancashire

Ha' thi' 'ere fracking got government backing?
Is eawr democracy flawed?
Ther's little objection to large cash injection
P'raps th' back benchers ul warmly applaud

We write t'eawr local MP
In hope ther's sum thing that 'ee con
Say or con do, should political view
Bi' prompting promiscuous rape fro' abroad

No fracking in Owd Lancashire
We don't want thy machinery 'ere
Frum Blackpoo' to Owdham, we al' ready towd 'em
No fracking in Owd Lancashire

D' we lie down, Owd Bolland, an' tek it?
Palatine drilled to hoo's coo'er.
Then blasted an' fratcherd so gas can bi' captured
Poison will rise from her well springs f' shoo'er

No fracking in Owd Lancashire
We don't want thy machinery 'ere
Fro' Cheshire to Cumbria, "NO DIGGING UNNER"
No fracking in Owd Lancashire

Look out, look o'ver t' watter
Watch out f' wot's on t' line
F' whilst we'r a-dreaming, th''ole world is screaming
Ther's poison frum most fracking wells that they mine

No fracking in Owd Lancashire
We don't want thy machinery here
Fro' t' green Yorkshire Dales to th' foot 'ills of Wales
No fracking in Owd Lancashire

Ther's plenty of wark out i' Fracklond
Great news f' yer sun a' yer dotter
But when thi com wohm, you munnat let 'em roam
An' keep 'em away fro' spring watter.

No fracking in Owd Lancashire
We don't want thy machinery here
So now tha've bin towd, we'd rather g' cowd
No fracking in Owd Lancashire. D'yer hear?
No fracking in Owd Lancashire. A' wi clear?
No fracking in Owd Lancashire.

OKAY, I'm not dethroning Keats here, but it is a good song, if audience reception is owt to go by


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 03:48 PM

Marcus
I'm really up to my eyes in annotating about 400 songs for putting our recordings up on the County Library website otherwise I would have followed up my promise earlier and tried to find the original song-sheets to see if they came with a tune.
I'll get up in the loft and see if they are stored there as soon as I get a minute.
I think it's an excellent idea to write a comment on feckin' fracking in dialect verse, it sets the problems the process will almost certainly cause right in the heart of the countryside it will affect most.
One of the oil companies in Ireland are in dispute with a television station for them allowing a contributor from the public to say that it could effect the health of children - frack them!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 07:33 PM

Great, I'm glad you like the sentiment. I'm yet to unleash it on the public at large.

You read it here first!

I'm a member now by the way, thanks to Max.

It would be very interesting to see if you have the sheets about, but do what you have to do first of course

I'll try and record the song next week. I'll be playing it on the front line at Barton Moss too (Salford fracking site, what would Ewan think? i've tried to rope Graham Nash in, but with little luck. I think he turned his back on Salford about 50 years ago)

Frack them indeed


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 04:35 AM

As a parting note on this thread, I've set up a page on Facebook to log my findings about Becket and Harry Whitehead. There's a whole host of songs, poems, stories, letters and photos to come and you can find them here >> Whiteheads of Saddleworth , so don't forget to like the page if you want the updates.

Come and join the party!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 06:32 AM

Good work, Marcus! Have you sorted out yet whether the photo of Beckett is really him? Seems to be some doubt about another photo you saw in Saddleworth Museum?


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:08 AM

Hi Brian,

More than some doubt. My dad says definitely not Becket, and so does my Aunty Barbara (died last weekend - aargh, she had loads of knowledge I was looking forward to picking)

Plus I saw of photo of him at the museum and it was completely different.

However - who is that chap then? He's definitely a Whitehead, I can tell that much, he looks a lot like my Grandad did.

The plot thickens...


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 10:16 AM

Whilst I've got your attention, I'm looking for a tune.

There is an Ammon Wrigley song called "Th' Delph Coronation Do" and it says that it is sung to the tune of "Laddie Rocks"

Have you heard of it at all?

The meter of the lyrics is thus:-

Neaw, o' yoh folk o'er th' Hunter's Hill,
Fro' th' Grenfilt road, un th' Uppermill,
Just try un keep yoh'r clappers still,
Aw've summat here to tell yoh :
It's about a do ther's beawn to be,
Where everything yoh want is free ;
A better place ther' connut be,
Nor th' Delph ut coronation.


The chorus goes:

Ri titty folaro, laddie O,
Ri titty folaro, dido.

I've created a Tune Req thread, but little joy.

I've found that the verses can be sung to the tune of Gallant Poacher, but really would love to find the real one, chorus un o'

Perhaps I'll have more luck when I go back to the museum.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 25 Apr 14 - 02:36 PM

Laddie Rocks might be something to do with hunting?


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 06:41 AM

why's that Derek?


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 11:01 AM

I've just found another reference on the Coronation Do song sheet, to 'Mountain Laurel'

Any ideas? I'll post the song sheet so you can have a squizz and see if it helps at all

You can view the sheet here


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 06:39 PM

Why? well, it's hunting country, Laddie sounds as if it could be the name of a hound, the song references places (like hunting songs do), the chorus sounds as if it could have come from a hunting song .... oh, I don't really know! It was just a suggestion!! :-)
Derek


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 08:55 PM

It's as good a lead as I've got already, so thankyou!


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: Richard Spencer
Date: 04 May 14 - 03:49 AM

Laddow Rocks is just over the hill from Saddleworth. Don't know the tune though.


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 15 Jul 14 - 06:12 AM

Turns out it was from an old song called the Greenfield Hunt, which Ammon Wrigley said was lost when he was looking for it, so I don't fancy my chances


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: marcusjames
Date: 15 Jul 14 - 06:15 AM

I don't know if I already posted this, but for those that are still interested in what I'm uncovering regarding Becket, please have a look here Whiteheads of Saddleworth


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST,Captain Farrell
Date: 17 Jul 14 - 11:44 AM

Sunday nights at the Cross Keys Uppermill HB and A Wrigley poems and songs are done quite often


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Subject: RE: Becket Whitehead, Delph, Saddleworth, UK
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 14 - 10:20 AM

REfresh


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