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Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author (1917-2003)

Lanfranc 10 Nov 03 - 07:14 PM
John Routledge 10 Nov 03 - 07:25 PM
harlowpoet 11 Nov 03 - 02:38 AM
GUEST,Clint Keller 11 Nov 03 - 05:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Nov 03 - 05:54 AM
Kevin Sheils 11 Nov 03 - 06:37 AM
Kevin Sheils 11 Nov 03 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,JOHN OF ELSIE`S BAND 11 Nov 03 - 07:32 AM
Dave Sutherland 11 Nov 03 - 07:33 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Nov 03 - 07:45 AM
Malcolm Douglas 11 Nov 03 - 12:24 PM
John MacKenzie 11 Nov 03 - 12:36 PM
GUEST 11 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM
Lanfranc 11 Nov 03 - 07:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Nov 03 - 07:15 PM
Lanfranc 11 Nov 03 - 07:27 PM
GUEST 06 Dec 17 - 07:55 AM
treewind 06 Dec 17 - 06:57 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Dec 17 - 07:27 PM
GUEST 08 Dec 17 - 07:16 AM
Roughyed 08 Dec 17 - 07:18 AM
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Subject: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Lanfranc
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 07:14 PM

I was sad to hear of the death at age 86 of Charles Causley, one of the finest British poets.

Guardian Obituary

Many of his poems have been set to music, by Mike Ball in Australia, Leon Rosselson, Alex Atterson and myself. I included two, "Ballad to Katherine of Aragon" and "Cowboy Song" on my recent CD.

He was a much under-rated poet, a modest man, and a source of entertainment, inspiration and education (his working life was spent as a teacher). He was widely regarded as a candidate for the post of Poet Laureate, but it never happened. Now it never will.

RIP

Alan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: John Routledge
Date: 10 Nov 03 - 07:25 PM

Sad news indeed Alan.

His "Hawthorn White Hawthorn Red" is a very thought provoking poem - so much so that I have recently started to sing it.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: harlowpoet
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 02:38 AM

He communicated brilliantly, which is what poetry is all about.

Simon.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 05:08 AM

He died too soon.

Lanfranc, how can I get your CD, or the music to any of the poems? I didn't know any had been set to music, and they should be sung

clint


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 05:54 AM

Timothy Winters

Timothy Winters comes to school
With eyes as wide as a football-pool,
Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters:
A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.

His belly is white, his neck is dark,
And his hair is an exclamation-mark.
His clothes are enough to scare a crow
And through his britches the blue winds blow.

When teacher talks he won't hear a word
And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird,
He licks the pattern off his plate
And he's not even heard of the Welfare State.

Timothy Winters has bloody feet
And he lives in a house on Suez Street,
He sleeps in a sack on the kitchen floor
And they say there aren't boys like him anymore.

Old Man Winters likes his beer
And his missus ran off with a bombardier,
Grandma sits in the grate with a gin
And Timothy's dosed with an aspirin.

The welfare Worker lies awake
But the law's as tricky as a ten-foot snake,
So Timothy Winters drinks his cup
And slowly goes on growing up.

At Morning Prayers the Master helves
for children less fortunate than ourselves,
And the loudest response in the room is when
Timothy Winters roars "Amen!"

So come one angel, come on ten
Timothy Winters says "Amen
Amen amen amen amen."
Timothy Winters, Lord. Amen

Charles Causley


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 06:37 AM

Thanks for posting Timothy Winters, Kevin, I recall hearing it sung some years back but I can't remember who.

The only other poems I recall hearing set to music are the Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience which I've recently started singing again from the late Paul McGrath, Herod which is on Lynne Heraud and Keith Kendricks album and (I can't recall) who sang it but the poem that starts

I stood in the windy city by the side of the frozen fen

or something like that, which may be the ballad to Katherine Of Aragon referred to by Lanfranc above but it was also some years back.

I wish I knew more.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 06:43 AM

Correction to my above it was Paul McNeill (MacNeill?) not Paul McGrath.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: GUEST,JOHN OF ELSIE`S BAND
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 07:32 AM

We have had in our repertoire for a number of years the poem "Time Like A Saucy Trooper" sung to a fine tune composed by Tony Deane. It was only when Tony told us of his death we were reminded of where the meaningful and beautifully descriptive words came from. Ah, for more poets like him.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 07:33 AM

I think Barry Skinner recorded "Timothy Winters" on his album "Bed, Battles and Booze" around 1971. He certainly sang it live often enough.
I too pay respects to Charles Causley.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 07:45 AM

I was a bit surprised to see Paul McGrath in there in Kevin's post. (Though there's no reason he mightn't have been doing a bit of singing now he's retired from playing.)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 12:24 PM

Causley wrote a great many poems in song metres, and many have been set over the years; though he is reported sometimes to have been less than impressed with the results. See these past threads:

Innocent's Song

Hector Pennycomequick

Hawthorne white, hawthorne red

In the last, attribution was uncertain. That was often a problem; people would put tunes to the poems and before you knew it there would be any number of other people singing them under the impression that they were traditional, or at least anonymous; not everyone is as scrupulous as they might be about giving credit where it's due. They came over very convincingly as songs, even when poorly set; but it's a wonder to me that anyone could mistake the language for anything other than poetic. Imagery of that kind really isn't much used in traditional song. Only three years ago, somebody wrote to English Dance and Song wanting the details of a supposed "18th century ballad or poem" which turned out to be Causley's The Ballad of Charlotte Dymond, first published in 1961 and written about a murder which took place in 1844.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 12:36 PM

One of the first Penguin modern poets books that I bought was Barker Bell and Causley, wonderful stuff.
I mourn the passing of another unique talent.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM

There are a couple of Causley's poems on Paul McNeill Traditionally At The Troubadour. An album I alway rank in the top ten of perfect folk albums in my lifetime. Funny, I thought Causley was long dead. Ain't that typical of a Yank. Causley and my Dad would have been the same age.

Mother Get Up Unbar The Door, being one of them.

Don


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Lanfranc
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 07:04 PM

I first heard Causley poems sung by Paul McNeill, with whom I was resident at the Troubadour in Earl's Court back in 1969/70. As noted above, Paul (who died in 1984) included at least one Causley poem ("Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience") on his "Traditionally at the Troubadour" LP.

In 1968, an Australian singer called Peter Parkhill came to town bringing with him "Timothy Winters" and "Katherine of Aragon" set to music by fellow Aussie Mike Ball. Paul and I picked up on both, but Paul changed the tune of "Katherine" a bit when he performed it.

Then Peter and I went to Norwich Festival where Alex Atterson was so impressed by Peter's versions that he took up the torch and began setting a number of Causley poems to music. Six of these, ("Johnny Alleluia", "Three Masts", "O Billy Do You Hear That Bell?", "Nelson Gardens", "Hawthorn White" and "Billy Medals") Alex recorded on his 1977 album "Pushing the Business On" (Plant Life PLR 005) - the title of which is a quote from "O Billy ..".

For some reason Alex forgot the Aussie tune to "Katherine" and wrote another, although I don't think he ever recorded it. I have also heard another Causley poem about the return of Nelson's corpse after Trafalgar also, apparently, set to music by Alex, though I never heard him perform it.

Leon Rosselson also wrote a tune to "Timothy Winters", but I must admit I prefer Mike Ball's, and still perform it.

My CD is available through Peacework Music or direct from me - details on my website Lanfranc. On the CD are my interpretations of "Katherine" (to the Mike Ball tune) and "Cowboy Song" (set to a variant of "Willow Garden"). All the lyrics are downloadable from the website in .PDF format.

Causley's poems are so singable, it would be good to hear more people performing them.

Alan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 07:15 PM

"... he is reported sometimes to have been less than impressed with the results."

It'd be interesting to know more about this.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Lanfranc
Date: 11 Nov 03 - 07:27 PM

Kevin

I never had the opportunity to run my settings of his poems past Charles Causley - more's the pity. Alex Atterson did obtain his blessing for the tracks he recorded, as far as I know, and actually met Causley in person.

My permissions came via the publishers and MCPS and, although I thought of sending the poet a copy of the CD with a letter thanking him for all the pleasure his poems have given me over the years, I didn't. I now wish very much that I had - even taking the risk that he might not have approved of my renditions.

You've got a copy of my CD, Kevin - what do you think of the two Causley tracks thereon? (If you're nice about them, I'll buy you a pint at Buntingford on Saturday. OK, I'll buy you a pint anyway!)

Alan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 17 - 07:55 AM

Barry Skinner sang/recorded this


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: treewind
Date: 06 Dec 17 - 06:57 PM

I didn't know this thread existed, or I'd have posted this long ago: a selection of Charles Causley's poems have been set to music and recorded on 2 albums by a distant relative, Jim Causley.

Wild Goose CD details: Cyprus Well and I am The Song for anyone interested.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Dec 17 - 07:27 PM

He taught my sister-in-law in Launceston.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 07:16 AM

The message from Malcolm Douglas says that the attribution of Hawthorn White was uncertain. The internet has grown since then so this is a link to the actual poem by Causley.
Hawthorn White


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Subject: RE: Obit: Charles Causley - Poet & Author
From: Roughyed
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 07:18 AM

The message from Malcolm Douglas says that the attribution of Hawthorn White was uncertain. The internet has grown since then so this is a link to the actual poem by Causley.
Hawthorn White


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