logo News and Comment No.45

New MT double CD: Sam Larner: Cruising Round Yarmouth

Just in time for that Christmas present, we're very pleased to announce the publication of Sam Larner: Cruising Round Yarmouth (MTCD369-0) - a double CD of all the recordings Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Charles Parker made of Sam Larner in 1958-60.

Track Lists:

CD One:     CD Two:
1 -
2 -
3 -
4 -
5 -
6 -
7 -
8 -
9 -
10 -
11 -
12 -
13 -
14 -
15 -
16 -
17 -
18 -
19 -
20 -
21 -
22 -
23 -
24 -
25 -
26 -
27 -
28 -
29 -
30 -
31 -
32 -
33 -
The Ghost Ship
When I Went a-Fishing
Maids When Youre Young
Before Daylight in the Morning
Rhymes and Sea Lore
The Maids of Australia
A Reckless Young Fellow
The Girls Around Cape Horn
The Wild Rover
The Oyster Girl
As I Lay a-Musing
A Sailor's Alphabet
Duckfoot Sue
Clear Away the Morning Dew
Sing to the Oak
No Sir, No Sir
Old Bob Ridley-O
When I was Single
The Golden Fenadier
The Wild and Wicked Youth
Now Is the Time for Fishing & talk
I Wish, I Wish
The Dockyard Gate
Green Broom
The Dolphin
The Old Miser
The Skipper and his Boy
Blackberry Fold
The Wreck of the Lifeboat
Outlandish Knight
The Tanyard side
Will Watch




     1 -
2 -
3 -
4 -
5 -
6 -
7 -
8 -
9 -
10 -
11 -
12 -
13 -
14 -
15 -
16 -
17 -
18 -
19 -
20 -
21 -
22 -
23 -
24 -
25 -
26 -
27 -
28 -
29 -
30 -
31 -
32 -
33 -
34 -
The Bold Princess Royal
The Captain's Whiskers
The Bonny Bunch of Roses
King William & talk
Happy and Delightful
The Chesapeake and Shannon
Coil Away the Trawl Warp
The Jolly Young Coachman
The Loss of the Ramillies
She Said she was a Virgin
Game of All Fours
The Wonderful Crocodile
Donnelly and Cooper
Cruising Round Yarmouth
Barbara Allan
Barney and Kitty
Green Grow the Laurels
The London Steamer
The Bold Young Fisherman
Windy Old Weather & talk
The Haymakers' Courtship
Henry Martin
Just as the Tide was Flowing
The Dogger Bank
Over There in Ireland
The Dark-Eyed Sailor
Butter and Cheese
Napoleon's Dream
Spurn Point
The Barley Straw
Bold General Wolfe
The White Squall
Scarborough Fair Town
Final talk





The more-or-less complete recorded repertoire of this wonderful Norfolk singer is here - 65 songs and fragments, plus four spoken passages and a very informative 48-page booklet, give a great impression of Sam's life and times.

But, most of all, it's the startling quality of his singing which is so impressive.  Price £16.00 + p&p on the MT Records website.


Birtley Folk Club demise


I recognise that folk clubs are not seen as relevant any more by you, but I think it worth a mention on your site that Birtley Folk Club, in its 52nd year, is ceasing trading as of the annual Christmas Party on December 17th.  Doreen and Bryan are still as sprightly as ever, but interest has waned amongst even the North East folk people.

Best wishes

Peter Wood - 23.11.14

Footnotes and photo credits

As (I hope) most regular readers will know, Footnotes in MT's Articles and Reviews are indicated by Like this! .  Place your cursor on the asterisk to see the text.  Photo captions / credits are revealed by placing your cursor on the picture.

However, the widespread use of Tablets has presented a problem - they don't have a cursor!  So, for tablet users - 'tap and hold' on the asterisk or photo will reveal the information, so I'm told.


English Country Music Weekend 2015

After several months of slight concern about whether there would actually be an English Country Music Weekend next year, I am extremely pleased to be able to announce that the location for the ECMW, June 26th - 28th 2015, is the village of Bampton in Oxfordshire.  What could possibly be better - as a follow-on from Winster!

Fuller details are on the ECMW Page, where updates will be posted as soon as they're available.


Musical Traditions Club dates:

King & Queen, Foley Street, London W1 6DL - Junction of Foley Street/Cleveland Street.  Nearest tube Goodge Street.  Monthly, Fridays, 8:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Membership £2 annually, payable on the door.  Admission for members £6, concessions £4, non-members £7, concessions £5.

For further information see our website: www.mustradclub.co.uk   or to leave name & address for membership, ring 020 8340 0530 or contact: peta@mustradclub.co.uk


Voices From Arcadia

I've just been told of another free download from Firedrive: An amazing series of traditional English song, music and dance by renowned social historian Geogina Boyes.

Available for free downloading from: www.firedrive.com


Come West Along the Road: End of an Era

The longest-running ever television series on Irish traditional music will come to the end of a 20-year run on 9 September 2014 when the final programme in the current series of Siar an Bóthar will be shown on TG4 (with continuing availability for some weeks on the TG4 Player).

Siar an Bóthar is the Irish-language version of the RTÉ archival television series on traditional music Come West along the Road, which first began transmission in September 1994.  A total of 28 series have been broadcast since in English and Irish, each of 13 parts, with footage being drawn mainly from the RTÉ Television Programme Library but also from UTV, BBC Northern Ireland, and other institutional and private sources.  The resulting 364 programmes have brought contextualised historical performances by over 3,000 musicians, singers and dancers to the screen, ranging in time from 1929 to 1994.  A generation of young traditional performers and new audiences have been introduced to the personalities and varied social history of the art, and older viewers brought forgotten or never-seen performances.

Both series have been researched and presented since their inception by Nicholas Carolan, Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin.  CWAR was originally devised by Tony Mac Mahon of RTÉ, and the series have since been produced and directed by ten other RTÉ and TG4 staff members, with the essential assistance of video editors, archivists and production crews.  From an initial late-night showing on RTÉ Network 2, CWAR quickly moved to a prime-time RTÉ 1 slot on Friday evenings.  Its latest series had a real-time audience of up to 240,000 viewers per episode, and in addition an audience throughout the world on the RTÉ Player and the TG4 Player.  Four DVDs of highlights from the series have been published by RTÉ.  They are available from RTÉ and from the ITMA online shop.

ITMA - 20.8.14

No reason for the ending of the series was given in the press release - Ed.

Under the Hills and Nearby illegal recordings

I would sadly like to take this opportunity of drawing attention to a cassette (now sold out) and digital download, that is now being sold under the title Under the Hills and Nearby from the Bandcamp website.  The album consists of field recordings of singers such as Belle Stewart, Harry Cox, William Rew, Emma Vickers and Maggie & Sarah Chambers.  These recordings have been taken, doubtless illegally, from either Topic or Rounder CDs.  Many of the recordings were made by Peter Kennedy.  Three tracks, by Louie Fuller, Johnny Doughty and Fred Jordan, were made by myself.  According to the blurb, this is 'a solo project whereby old folk song collector's recordings of traditional singers from around the British Isles are newly accompanied mostly by 5-string banjo'.  I can ignore the fact that I am being called an 'old folk song collector', but I cannot ignore how these tracks have been ruined by the added instrumentation.  Some years ago, Peter Kennedy started adding his own instrumental accompaniments to some of his Folk-Tracks cassettes and CDs, but so many people objected that he later withdrew them.

I was recently notified of this by a friend, who asked why I had agreed to allowing some of my field recordings to be used this way.  I wish to state that at no time had I been approached by the person/people behind this.  Had I been asked for permission to use these recordings in this manner, then I would have refused permission.  As this now seems to be a fait accompli there seems little that I can do, except pass on my feeling of disgust at whoever chose to act in such an underhand manner.

Mike Yates - 19.7.14

Having investigated this travesty via Google, I find that it has been perpetrated by one Sam Callow, who appears to be based in Reims, France - and so may believe himself to be immune from UK copyright laws.  However, it's my understanding that copyright law is certainly Europe-wide, if not world-wide.  Callow's horrible work (he can't even keep in time with the singing!) is clearly in breach of these laws, and I hope the record companies involved will prosecute him for it.  I alerted Bandcamp to Callow's illegal product that they were making available, and the page has now been taken down.  Ed.

Malcolm Taylor to leave VWML

Just had the following news from the EFDSS:

Malcolm Taylor OBE to leave post as Director of the English Folk Dance and Song Society's (EFDSS)
library and archive, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

I would assume that this means Malcolm's retiring, although the announcement gives no reason for his leaving.

Rod Stradling - 30.4.14

Happy Easter from ITMA

You’ll find an Easter present from the Irish Traditional Music Archive at this link: 191 interactive music scores of fiddle music from the Cork-Kerry border region of Sliabh Luachra, which have been transcribed by ITMA staff from the unique fiddle tablature of the Kerry fiddle master Pádraig O’Keeffe (1887–1963).

The original manuscripts from which the transcriptions come are also available in original facsimile here as they were donated to ITMA.  You can use the interactive scores to play the melodies on your computer, read them from screen, or print them out using the attached PDF versions; for an introduction to our Interactive Scores facility click here.


Unesco Collection reissued

The UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music was an anthology of 120 albums, covering 70 nations, which was first launched in 1961, produced in collaboration with world-renowned ethnomusicologist Alain Daniélou.  The series, which includes 12 previously unissued discs, has long been out of print and is very difficult to obtain.  However, from 29th April 2014, Smithsonian Folkways will begin reissuing the entire set at the rate of two per week.  They will be available both in CD format and as digital downloads, which latter will make them available for just $0.99 a track, up to a maximum of $9.99 per disc.  What's more the booklets will be obtainable free as PDF downloads.

For more information, and for the complete list of titles, visit http://www.folkways.si.edu/unesco

Fred McCormick - 8.4.14

Shamrock, Rose & Thistle from ITMA

Included amongst ITMA's latest Digitised Materials is Shamrock, Rose & Thistle: a departure from our usual presentation in that it is a combination of a printed collection with its related sound recordings, photographs, song-text transcriptions, pdf downloads and catalogue records, and with contextual notes and a Discover page – a mini-microsite based on Hugh Shields’s classic 1981 volume Shamrock, Rose & Thistle: Folk Singing in North Derrywww.itma.ie


Italian accordions

Whilst browsing this year's Seeds of Italy catalogue, Norma Waterson noticed the following, and passed it on to me:

Not the sort of thing you'd normally expect to find in a seed catalogue - but then Franchi Seeds (Seeds of Italy) are not your average seedsmen.  The 2014 catalogue is their 230th anniversary edition - yes, they started in 1783 when the Montgolfier baloon flew over Paris, and have been a family firm for seven generations!

So, anyone with an old Italian accordion might do far worse than to contact Vincenzo Franchi at: enquiry@vincenzoaccordions.co.uk, and any of you keen on gardening might find the 2014 Seeds of Italy catalogue a very worthwhile read - available from: www.seedsofitaly.com

Rod Stradling - 1.4.14

Joe Heaney in concert

Not sure how many folks here have visited this website - still under development.  There are at least two 1970s' concerts of interest from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and kindly restored by them for public access.  These are:
  1. Joe Heaney - http://warrenfahey.com/concert-joe-heaney.html
  2. Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - http://warrenfahey.com/songs-of-struggle.html

Chris Brady - 14.3.14

Sam Larner recordings

You might be interested in the four programme made by Philip Donnellan for the BBC Radio Home Service which have just come to light.  These are off-air recordings made onto reel-reel tape in the late 1950s / early 1960s.  They have been contributed into the 'public domain' by one of Ewan MacColl's Critic's Group members (who wishes to remain anonymous).  They are incredibly rare since they were only ever aired once on the BBC Home Service in the late 1950s / early 1960s.  Does anyone know the exact dates?  You are welcome to have copies - they can be downloaded from: https://www.mediafire.com/folder/980r0sht5ktg2/Sam_Larner_-_1960

Critics Group member, who wishes to remain anonymous - 25.2.14

Louis (Louisa Jo) Killen celebration concert

The northeast of England celebrated the life of Louis (Louisa Jo) Killen on Saturday 18th of January 2014, in Gateshead, the place where he was raised, and she eventually died.  A sellout concert raised £1000 for cancer research, and gave performers and audience alike the best evening they’ve had for a long time.  Everybody was on top form, and the atmosphere was relaxed and happy. The first half featured mainly the residents from the original Bridge folk club set up by Louis and Johnny Handle in 1958.

And of course, it was Johnny who ran the night as only he could; it was notable that he refrained from dismantling the concert grand-he must have mellowed in old age.  A wider variety entertained the crowd in the second half, culminating in an inspirational short speech from Louis' ex-wife Margaret who had not only looked after Louisa as she was dying, but flew over from Montana specially for this concert.  This was followed by the song he was most associated with, Pleasant and Delightful.  If you wish to get a flavour of the night, the finale is available on YouTube.

Peter Wood - 23.1.14

New Publications Website

I felt I ought to make an effort to make my writings more easily and freely available to people interested in traditional music and related matters.  Although my research writings have largely been produced for journals and books, I have always tried, as far as possible, to write in a way that is accessible to people who are generally interested in the subject.

I have placed a quantity of my publications on the Academia.edu website.  If you search for ‘Vic Gammon AND Academia.edu’ or go direct to https://newcastle.academia.edu/VicGammon you can see the page.  Many of the papers are available as pdf. (which can be downloaded) or contain links to sites where the articles are available on line.  If you want to explore the website you have to connect with your Facebook or Google log-in (neither of which I have but I am informed many people do!) or register with the site.  If you find anything is not available that you would like to read, please contact me, at: vic.gammon@newcastle.ac.uk

By all means send this information on to anyone who might be interested.

Vic Gammon - 2.1.14

I've just had a very quick look, and can confirm that some 64 articles are available, and that the one on Bert Lloyd and the English Traditional Ballads is fascinating.  Ed.

Celebrating Louisa

A celebration of the life of Louisa Jo (Louis) Killen is taking place in Gateshead on Saturday 18 January.  Artists appearing include Alistair Anderson, Jim Bainbridge, John Brennan, Tom Gilfellon, Johnny Handle & Chris Hendry, Doreen & Bryan Henderson, The Keelers, Sandra Kerr, Ed Pickford, Dave Webber & Anni Fentiman and The Wilson Family.  Tickets are £8 and are available from the Caedmon Hall Box Office (0191 443 6965).

Peter Wood - 28.11.13

Re: The Willett Family CDs - an apology

Every year I get email notifications of the WOMEX events, and friends like Ian Anderson and Ben Mandelson extol the virtues of the 'networking' opportunities they provide.  I have never bothered - having neither the time nor the money involved, and thinking that it would be extremely unlikely that there might be anyone there with a record company like mine.  I would guess that Paul Marsh, of Forest Tracks Records, may have felt much the same.  A pity, really ... since our attendance might have avoided a highly improbable and extremely embarrassing faux pas for both of us.

Because we have both released essentially the same double CD in the past month - without either of us being aware of it!  Yes, both Forest Tracks and MT Records have just released double CDs of The Willett Family, from the recordings made by Ken Stubbs in the 1950s.  Both are presented in DVD cases together with substantial booklets.

This is not the place to go into the details of how this happened - a lack of communication, stretching right back to the '70s and '80s, and running seamlessly right on to 20013.  Suffice it to say that both of us were horrified to discover, just this week, that this had happened, and that we were, individually, completely unaware of the other's work on these releases.  Nor were we capable of understanding how it had happened until we were able to compare notes on the processes that led up to our publications.

You may be able to imagine how we felt - and how we do feel about the possibility of both sets of CDs being reviewed in the same publications!  Paul Marsh joins me in apologising to our respective customers, and to everybody else who'll be having a great laugh about this ... we suppose we deserve it!

However, what doesn't deserve it are the two splendid double CDs of some of the greatest English Gypsy singing ever recorded.  We hope that you will buy a copy of one or the other of them.

Rod Stradling and Paul Marsh - 27.10.13

Song Collectors Collective

Proving that in 2013 the spirit of Alan Lomax, Cecil Sharp or Hamish Henderson is not dead, the SCC is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new online archive of over 250 never before heard traditional songs and stories collected from living ‘Tradition Bearers’.

The Song Collectors Collective was set up in 2012 with the purpose of celebrating those people conserving this rare folk culture within their family and communities in the UK, Ireland & beyond.  The SCC would like to acknowledge the generous funding from the Arts Council Ireland and support from The Nest Collective.

The collective and its extensive web resources are also aimed at up-skilling and empowering a new generation of collectors while inspiring the on-going exploration of and creativity within folk and roots culture.  The SCC is a unique and expanding archive of living traditional folk song, lore and story and the tool kit of how to research this material today.

With the recent launch of the ‘Full English Project’ by the English Folk Dance and Song Society the world has recently gained access to a vast new repository of manuscript music collected up until the second world war.  The SCC seeks to add to this public collection by making available never before heard sounds and films of singers and songs deemed to be extinct in the oral tradition.  This material has been recorded mostly from living members of the Irish Traveller, Scots Traveller and English Gypsy as well as wider settled community.  The SCC celebrates not just the songs but the ‘Tradition Bearers’ themselves each of whose unique page is full of resource material about the singer or teller with photos and films and inbuilt sounds listening posts.

Despite wide assumption within the folk community that all the traditional singers have long passed away and no more material exists within the oral tradition, it has become quite evident there is still a wealth of music and tales unrecorded within the minds of singers who have never before encountered the wider traditional music community.  The SCC was established to make sure that on-going documentation of this indigenous folk art is attempted before the last carriers of our native arts passed on.  It also seeks to make sure that the communities that have kept this material alive have full and permanent access to their ancestral songs and stories.

The Website initially hosts 13 profiles of singers from across the British Isles and Ireland and hosts over 250 songs and stories and over 10 films.  Each song is downloadable through the Soundcloud widget.  The SCC also hosts a program of workshops, concerts and seminars exploring the on-going art of field recording.


Sam Lee - 10.9.13

Royal Oak Club dates:

Royal Oak, Station Street, Lewes, East Sussex - Thursdays.

Further info at: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~tinvic and www.myspace.com/royaloakfolklewes


Islington Folk Club dates:

Thursdays at The Horseshoe, 24 Clerkenwell Close, London EC1R 0AG

Bookings of possible interest for autumn/winter 2013:

Further information: Tel: (020) 8360 8610.  Email: info@islingtonfolkclub.co.uk


25th Anniversary Year of the Irish Traditional Music Archive completed

All this and more can be found at: www.itma.ie


Re: Herbert Smith article

Chris Holderness who, among other contributions to MT, wrote the article on Norfolk fiddler Herbert Smith, has found an old postcard of the Blakeney village band, undated but seemingly taken before the First World War - including Herbert.

The following members are known: the seated man with violin second from right is Herbert Smith; the bearded man standing at the right is Emmerson Shorting (probably the band's leader); and the tall man third from left in the back row (discounting the bass player standing to the side) is Herbert Pye.

Unfortunately nobody has been able to identify the other members.  Any readers with further information about any of the participants should please contact Chris Holderness at: christopherholderness@gmail.com


Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend

Mark Davies, organiser of the Bradfield event, has had his computer hacked into and, as a result, lost his contact list of past and present attenders.  He asks that people email him at: Edeophone@aol.com so that he can re-construct the contact list.

He adds that he has now done a security check and re-set his passwords, and so should not have further problems.


ITMA's Inishowen Song Project

ITMA's upload of Digitised Materials this month is a new departure for the Archive: the Inishowen Song Project, an integrated microsite of some 2,000 connected items all related to the English-language song traditions of the Inishowen peninsula, Co Donegal.  The items include audio recordings and video recordings (organised both as playlists and as individual pieces), books, photographs, song-text transcriptions and catalogue records, and they constitute a unique presentation of a local strand of Irish traditional music.

The basis of the microsite is a body of recordings made in Inishowen over some 20 years from the 1980s by Donegal singer and teacher Jimmy McBride and kindly donated by him to the Irish Traditional Music Archive.  Material has also come from singer Jim MacFarland of Derry, the Belfast Central Library, the Derry Journal, and Dr John Moulden, among other donors as acknowledged, and above all from the local Inishowen singers and singers visiting Inishowen who are featured in the project.  Our thanks to them all.  Digitisation, song transcription and metadata cataloguing has been carried out over months by ITMA staff.

The site will serve people throughout the world who wish to discover and enjoy the song traditions of Inishowen, and especially Inishowen people themselves and their local teachers and students.  New material of suitable quality will continue to be added to the site as it is found.  The design and technology involved in the project will form a template for the future online presentation of other discrete traditions within Irish traditional music.


New MT CD-ROM Released

Our first release of 2013 is another 'digital book with embedded sound files' - Bob and Jaquline Patten's Somerset Scrapbook, originally a 120-page book and cassette release from back in 1987, though fundamentally updated and re-formatted for release in this new format.

A Somerset Scrapbook (MTCD252) is now available from our MT Records website, and follows the same format as our House Dance CD-ROM of 2012, although it should perhaps be of greater interest to most MT readers.  It contains: mini-biographies of nine singers and the texts and MP3 sound files of 22 of their songs; nine musicians with 12 of their tunes as MP3 sound files; five story tellers with 10 of their stories as both text and MP3 files.  There are also eight accounts of various Somerset traditions.  All of the above are well illustrated by some excellent photographs.

Rod Stradling - 5.3.13

School of Scottish Studies in danger

Edinburgh University plans to disintegrate the School of Scottish Studies, home of the internationally renowned centre for research in Ethnology and Celtic Studies, by separating ongoing teaching from its resources - the world famous archive collection and its associated libraries.  As a result of these plans, the School of Scottish Studies is likely to lose 90% of its books, and the future of the fragile archival material and recordings remains uncertain.  A student campaign is under way to persuade the University that the School of Scottish Studies and its resources must remain intact and accessible to researchers and the wider public.

You can add your name to the campaign by following this link and signing the Change.org petition.


Packie Byrne survives fire

Packie Byrne, the much-loved 96 year-old Donegal singer and whistle player who was resident in London for many years and well known on the English folk scene, recently survived a fire at his house in Ardara.  Rescued by neighbours, he was apparently unscathed, but his house has been destroyed.  He is currently staying with his nephew.

The good news is that he has been allocated a new home in Ardara in a modern block of sheltered housing and can move in very soon.  For further news, contact Peta Webb at: petawebken@aol.com


Top Home Page MT Records Articles Reviews Editorial Map

Site designed and maintained by Musical Traditions Web Services   Updated: 3.12.14