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Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)

25 Apr 07 - 10:55 AM (#2035349)
Subject: Obit: Frank Purslow
From: RTim

It has been reported on Musical Traditions today that Fank Purslow died this morning.
Frank was responsible for the huge amount of work on the George Gardiner (and Hammond Bros) Song collections and put together the 4 great small books of the siongs - ie, Marrowbones, Wanton Seed, Foggy Dew and the fourth which has slipped out of my head!
I for one am indepted to Frank and his great work.

Tim Radford

25 Apr 07 - 11:02 AM (#2035358)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow
From: Schantieman

We are all indebted to him. I have those three as well, anmd refer to them frequently.   

I had no idea he was still alive.....condolences to family and friends


25 Apr 07 - 11:17 AM (#2035382)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow
From: bubblyrat

Do you mean THE Frank Purslow who used to play with the Morris side in Bampton -in- the-Bush, near Brize Norton, and who did so much to collate and publish so many Morris tunes ?? If so, I remember him as a really nice man ( when I lived at nearby Carterton ) and a great concertina player !! Truly one of the "greats " in the field of traditional English music, and a terrible loss to us all.I always thought his name was Parsloe, but then the Oxfordshire accent in those parts can be tricky !( I"m from Henley, where we call a fire a "Fah " and wire "Wah " !! ).I am moving back to Henley next week, so must get some practice in !! RIP Frank.......Roger..

25 Apr 07 - 01:02 PM (#2035491)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow
From: The Borchester Echo

What a bugger, Frank Purslow was due to get his EFDSS gold badge on 13 May. It will now have to be a posthumous presentation at this concert..

25 Apr 07 - 01:06 PM (#2035494)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow
From: Andy Jackson

Sad news indeed Tim.
Would "Folk songs from Hampshire and Dorset" have been possible without him.


25 Apr 07 - 01:21 PM (#2035517)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow
From: Surreysinger

That's really sad news - as Countess said he was due to get his gold badge shortly, and the new edition of Marrowbones is to be issued in only a few weeks' time, hence the reason for the concert which she highlighted. I had/have had all four of the books since they came out in the 70's and they are greatly treasured, and well thumbed.

25 Apr 07 - 01:28 PM (#2035528)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Surreysinger

Just found this from Peta Webb on the Musical Traditions site which suggests that there may now be a question mark over either the award posthumously of the badge or of the launch of the book taking place on 13th May (not clear which):
"Frank was due to be awarded the EFDSS Gold Badge at the Beyond Marrow Bones event on Sunday 13th May, to coincide with the launch of the new edition of his book Marrow Bones. It is not now certain whether this event will take place. We will keep you informed. "

25 Apr 07 - 01:42 PM (#2035537)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Wolfgang

Constant Lovers was the fourth book. I didn't know the man, but the diligence and love of this man shows in these four books.

I'm sad to hear about his death.


25 Apr 07 - 03:40 PM (#2035675)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: RTim

Of course Constant Lovers is the other book - it should be burnt into my brain!
Frank was also the leader (I think) of The Bampton Barn Dance Band, and yes he played for any or some or most of the Bampton Morris teams over the years when he could or when asked.
A lovely quite man who did so much behind the scenes in both the song and morris world and in my experience never pushed himself forward.
I don't remember any concertina, but certainly he played Melodeon.

Tim Radford

25 Apr 07 - 03:54 PM (#2035685)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Herga Kitty

Foggy Dew was the only one I didn't manage to get - I still treasure the others, and sing songs I learnt from them in my teens. Very sad that this happened before the presentation on 13 May.


25 Apr 07 - 04:58 PM (#2035752)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Surreysinger

I have Foggy Dew - but it's falling apart at the seams - according to Folkiedave at the Traditional Song Forum event in Alton that I had the pleasure of hearing Tim singing at recently, Dave advised that its almost an impossibility to get a second hand copy of it because of this - mine is sitting at home here in various separate loose pages!!!

25 Apr 07 - 05:32 PM (#2035782)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Malcolm Douglas

I heard this morning, just before leaving for Barry Callaghan's funeral.

I never met Frank, though I've had a series of immensely enjoyable phone conversations with him over recent months as we prepared the new edition of Marrow Bones. He had seen about half of the new notes to the songs that Steve Gardham and I have been putting together, and was kind enough to say that they were just the sort of thing that he would have liked to have done himself if he had had the opportunity back in 1965. As some of you will know, the notes that appeared in the original edition were actually just roughs and hadn't been intended for publication. Frank was mortified when he found that they had been included without his knowledge.

I promised him that we would put that right, and I hope that is what we have done. Frank wrote a short preface for the new edition only a few weeks ago, and there will also be a piece about him in the book, which Derek Schofield has written for us. I had been looking forward to meeting him in person, and to more chats on the phone over the coming year; I will be starting work on a new edition of the second book, The Wanton Seed, almost as soon as the first is printed.

Now all we can do is dedicate the new Marrow Bones to his memory. It was a very influential collection, second only to The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs as a source of traditional material for the burgeoning English folk song revival in the 1960s. Some of the songs became folk club standards, while others are hardly sung today; at any rate they will soon be available again, to a new generation of singers.

Frank was very pleased that his work hadn't been forgotten and that it was going to appear again; properly bound and laid out this time, and without the illustrations. He never liked them. Sad as the news is, he died knowing that he was respected and valued by a lot of people he had never met. I last spoke to him a fortnight ago, I think. He had been catching up with Steve's 'Songs Under the Microscope' feature in English Dance and Song, and had answers to some very obscure questions involving broadsides.

25 Apr 07 - 05:54 PM (#2035803)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: BB

That is really sad news, especially with all that was coming up over the next few weeks.

That collection really was a must on any self-respecting singer's bookshelf, and will, I'm sure, be as invaluable to the younger singers of today. The sooner all the books are published, the better, although I realise how much work has to go into them.

I didn't know that the notes were not as Frank intended at the time, but it makes me even more determined to get hold of the new editions, quite apart from the fact that the old ones are falling apart.

I hope his family realise how much his work was valued - it may be of some comfort to them in their loss.


25 Apr 07 - 05:55 PM (#2035804)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: dick greenhaus

Frank Purslow (along with John Pearse) can be heard on Folktrax CD 219--Bottoms Up, or English Folksongs Miss Pringle Never Taught Us.
Available from CAMSCO Music, of course. $18 (US)

25 Apr 07 - 06:19 PM (#2035823)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: vectis

I still have a set of the books.
Another one gone to that great session in the sky.

26 Apr 07 - 05:22 AM (#2036102)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,Shimrod

This is very sad news. Scholarly enthusiasts like Mr Purslow enhanced the lives of many of us Folk Song fans - by making more of the old songs available to be sung. I'm so glad to hear that his work is to be re-issued in fuller and more durable editions - a fitting memorial.

26 Apr 07 - 06:51 AM (#2036128)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: greg stephens

A very sad loss, a life of great achievement. I reckon Frank's books actually had more influence than the Penguin book on the direction the revival took. Anyway, that's a matter of opinion. My love for Frank's books is a matter of fact! What a legacy. And whether his notes were final drafts or odd jottings, they were wonderful.

26 Apr 07 - 07:00 AM (#2036133)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: RoyH (Burl)

One by one we lose those, famous or not, who have made a real contribution to the folk world and it's people. Frank Purslow was such a man. His books were invaluable at a stage when singers like myself and contemporaries were seeking English songs to sing. I too have the old books, now almost as worn as I am, but, like Barbara I look forward to getting the new ones.   Condolences to the Purslow family. RIP Frank.

26 Apr 07 - 04:21 PM (#2036567)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Schantieman

Encouragingly though, Roy, there are new youngsters coming through to make their contribution. I had the pleasure on Sunday night of a performance by The Devil's Interval at the Bothy FC in Southport. If they're typical of the output of Alistair Anderson's course we ain't got a lot to worry about in the future.   So wherever Frank's gone (to have a good sing with Cyril, Syd et al.) he'll know he's left the tradition in good hands.


26 Apr 07 - 09:33 PM (#2036746)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Surreysinger

Further to my posting earlier on this thread I note that the EFDSS website has now announced that the Marrowbones concert on Sunday, 13th May has definitely been cancelled - see here

27 Apr 07 - 04:38 PM (#2037463)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,Nick Locke

I dance with The Traditional Bampton Morris Dancers, and when I first took up the fiddle it was Frank that taught me.

Up until a few years ago I played in the Bampton Barn Dance band with him. He had a great knowledge of music of all types and was always keen to pass on to others what he knew.

Frank had many strong opions and was never shy of saying what he thought, but that is what makes a character like Frank.

I will miss him very much as I owe a great deal to him. Our traditions have never been more precious, the important thing is to keep the traditions going and relevant. That is most defiantly what he would have wanted.

Nick Locke
Fiddle Player - Bampton

28 Apr 07 - 05:59 AM (#2037805)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: Folkiedave

The four books were Marrow Bones, Wanton Seed, Constant Lovers and Foggy Dew and I think they were published in that order. For some reason Foggy Dew is especially rare. It may be that people's copies have fallen apart - I have only ever seen one intact one (!!) - the other reason is that people hang on to them!!

They were not especially brilliant pieces of production (IMHO) because the pages were glued into the spine. However they were terrific pieces of work and have been a great influence on generations of singers, and quite rightly so.

I was looking forward to the new version and I know Malcolm and Steve have done a lot of work making sure of its accuracy. A fitting tribute to Frank.

28 Apr 07 - 10:39 AM (#2037940)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,Luke Fowler

I dance with the traditional Bampton morris dancers, and also same as nick locke it was frank who taught me how to play the melodeon he also taught me how to do the broom dance which i owe him alot for so thank you frank RIP.

29 Apr 07 - 07:43 AM (#2038566)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,Tim Marris

My first contact with Frank came in 1980 when he phoned me to ask if I would like to play fiddle in the Bampton Barn Dance Band.(Dave Townsend had suggested me to Frank, and I replaced Chris Bartram, who had moved to the southwest). I spent 20 or so wonderful years with the band. Frank was a great influence on my playing style and I am sure there are many other musicians playing various types of instrument who would say the same. A great loss to us all.

29 Apr 07 - 09:24 AM (#2038621)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,Don Rouse

29 Apr 07 - 09:45 AM (#2038635)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,Don Rouse

1974 I used the services of Frank and the 'Morris Eight'Band for a couple of fund raising Barn Dances. Tried for a third one but he could not get a caller, after 2 sessions in his house, I became a Caller and a wonderfull partnership was born. 1976 the intrepid trio of Frank, Chris Bartram and myself formed the Bampton Barn Dance Band which became one of the busiest pro/am bands in the area. Busiest spell being 7 Performances in 9 days.
Many good musicians started their days with Franks tuition, the best that I know of being Mat Green, in fact the Woodpeckers started thier days as a spin off from the Bampton Barn Dance Band.Frank took the band on trips to both Holland and Germany creating long term friendships with many people who were not 'folk'.
My most amusing memory of Frank was playing in a Barn at Pewsey, Wilts. Terrible noise coming from the PA atributed to Frank's Melodion. The cure? Tying a pice of wire from Franks toe to the nearest cattle trough! It worked! but I had to take his drink to him all night.

17 May 07 - 04:24 PM (#2054900)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,Robert Bruce

Frank worked in the Music Room of the Bodleian Library in the mornings almost daily over a number of years. He quietly worked on various musical topics and rarely on folk music as such. As a librarian I had many intersting conversations with him. He told me about the gold badge and then I didn't see him for a couple of weeks - and then the news came through that he had died. We miss him greatly in the Music Room.

03 Jun 07 - 01:27 PM (#2067346)
Subject: RE: Obit: Frank Purslow (25 April 2007)
From: GUEST,felicity cormack

I bought a copy of Marrowbones in about 1977 when I was first getting interested in folk traditions and it has always gone with me to various houses and stages of my life. It was only when I had been playing in the Bampton Barn Dance Band with Frank for a few years and was chatting to him about his name (Purse low he liked to say) and then looking at my books a few days later that I connected him with the book! I got him to sign it at the next gig and he told me that he was disappointed at the notes with the songs. I am so pleased that the republication was to his liking.

Frank was a bit scary in the band sometimes if I made a mistake, but I didn't next time!

It was moving to be at Bampton last monday and to see so many people that he had helped into the world of music.