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William Alexander Barrett - know him?

IanC 22 Mar 05 - 11:36 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 05 - 11:39 AM
greg stephens 22 Mar 05 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Lighter at work 22 Mar 05 - 04:14 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Mar 05 - 01:35 AM
Uke 23 Mar 05 - 08:54 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Mar 05 - 09:22 PM
Uke 23 Mar 05 - 11:36 PM
folktheatre 16 Jul 09 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Joelle 11 Aug 09 - 10:26 AM
GUEST 24 Sep 09 - 10:03 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Sep 09 - 05:23 PM
Rozza 18 Apr 11 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Fynn 17 Mar 12 - 05:40 AM
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Subject: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: IanC
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 11:36 AM

I was wondering what people know about William Alexander Barrett - a 19th Century collector of folk songs. I keep finding bits about him here and there, and it looks as if he was quite important. Here's some of what I've found. Any contributions welcome.

Barrett, William Alexander. "English Folk-Songs, collected, arranged, and provided with symphonies and accompaniments for the pianoforte by W. A. Barrett.", London & New York : Novello, Ewer and Co, [1891] Octavo

There are two copies of this in the British Library. Amazon lists the book as "Limited Availability" "Unknown Binding" (in other words, they've never seen a copy).

Some of the songs in his book include

Fathom The Bowl
"This rousing and convivial song may be found in the collection of English songs made by William Alexander Barrett and published in 1891. Barrett noted his budget of songs at harvest homes, sheep shearings, ploughing matches and from itinerant ballad-singers (like the ones interviewed by Mayhew and his team of early sociologists in mid-Victorian times) who still lifted up their cracked voices in the city streets."

The Saucy Sailor
"According to William Alexander Barrett, The Saucy Sailor has been in print since at least 1781. He cites it as being highly popular with East London factory girls."

William and Mary
"According to the Victorian song collector William Alexander Barrett, who included a good set of William and Mary in his book English Folk Song (1891), the song appeared on a broadside issued by J Evans of Long Lane, Smithfield in 1794."

The Buffalo
"dating from the early eighteenth century: 'We'll wander through the wild woods and we'll chase the buffalo'"

Anybody help?

Thanks
Ian


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 11:39 AM

Ok not john otways sidekick then.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 11:41 AM

Well, thanks for this query and information, IanC, you've whetted my appetite. I've never seen the book, or even heard of the fellow. Doubtless Masato Sakurai has a copy, and will tell us more shortly.I shall be keeping an eye on this thread.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 04:14 PM

I've seen this book and it has much interesting stuff in it. Large format, with notes on the songs and piano accompaniments.

Big city libraries should have copies. At least they used to.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 01:35 AM

Not so many nowadays, I suspect. I've seen the copy at the VWML and have photocopies of John Barleycorn, Go From My Window, A Jug of This and Banks of Sweet Primroses ("Penguin" related material, you see) and most of these were the earliest examples taken from oral currency in England with their tunes.

Very hard to get copies; I'm still looking. Also interesting and rather on the same lines are M H Mason's Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs (1910?) and A E Gillington's Songs of the Open Road (1911)- both also hard to find. I covet them all, of course.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: Uke
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 08:54 PM

Malcolm, seeing as you probably have the closest Mudcat connection to the EFDSS, do you think there's any chance the EFDSS would ever re-issue, publish their own edition of this book? It'd be in the public domain by now, I'd think.

Alfred Williams' 'Upper Thames' book would be good to see come out again too.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 09:22 PM

Public domain long ago, I'd think. I doubt if EFDSS would see it as a priority in view of limited funding and so on, but in principle anyone who owns a copy could republish it. It isn't a useful book in that no sources of any kind are identified, but it was a pioneering work and is certainly important in that respect. I'd buy it, for sure.

Williams would be almost out of copyright now; perhaps not quite yet. I picked up a re-print of his Life in a Railway Factory the other week, and plan to read it on the train.

There are a lot of seminal books that you just can't get hold of nowadays. Various small private or academic publishers (E P Press for instance) reissued things like Ritson's Northern Garlands back in the 1970s, but they too are often hard to find now. Some are re-appearing on CDRom, but I'm a bit dubious about some of those. Personally, I want properly-bound paper that you can leaf through and find things in by chance, though electronic copy is handy for searchability if you already know what you're looking for.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: Uke
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 11:36 PM

Yes, all those difficulties are fair enough - I wonder if there's some scholar out there who might take the time to initiate some kind of series of re-issues. That would be useful.

I would think the EFDSS would be ideal to supervise this kind of thing because they are more prominent than the smaller publishers, and people would be better informed...


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: folktheatre
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 09:13 AM

Needs further investigation. I found this: http://www.tradsong.org/Barrettarticle.htm


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: GUEST,Joelle
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 10:26 AM

Barrett is used as a source of several songs in "The Painful Plough: a portrait of the agricultural labourer in the nineteenth century from folk songs and ballads and contemporary accounts" by Roy Palmer, not an easy book to find in itself, but easier than Barrett's own book. Songs from Barrett in "The Painful Plough" are The Sheep shearing, The painful plough, and The honest ploughman. I've been able to borrow a copy of Barrett's "English Folk-Songs" from my local library through WorldCat (that's a world-wide library catalog searchable at worldcat.org). You just have to pay postage for the book when it arrives. I'm still waiting excitedly for it to come.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 10:03 AM

I have an original manuscript by William A Barrett. A song setting of L M Thornton's "The memory of the absent". It's dated 1864. Anyone interested in looking at a copy send me an email
charles-evans@lineone.net


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 05:23 PM

Ruairidh Greig of Grimsby has been carrying out research on Barrett, not least because the 1891 book reviews refer to this being a selection from Barrett's much larger manuscript collection which seems to have disappeared, or may be in a private collection somewhere. I have a copy and could post a list of titles when I have time. The Watersons certainly drew upon it for some of their early repertoire as well as the Kidson books of course.


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: Rozza
Date: 18 Apr 11 - 05:35 AM

My updated article on W. A. Barrett, including a photograph, is on the new, improved Traditional Song Forum website at:
http://www.tradsong.org/Barrett_Greig.pdf


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Subject: RE: William Alexander Barrett - know him?
From: GUEST,Fynn
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 05:40 AM

Here you go!
Sibley Library, University of Rochester NY, has digitized Barrett's book here: http://hdl.handle.net/1802/19520


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