logo News and Comment No.46

Cellar Upstairs Club dates

There is good news: our evenings are no longer divided between two venues: all our nights will now be held in the Calthorpe Arms, 252 Gray's Inn Road, WC1X 8JR (on the corner of Wren Street; 020 7278 4732).  King's Cross, Russell Square and Chancery Lane tube stations are about 10 minutes walk away, and various buses go down (and up) Gray's Inn Road.   For information, call 020 7281 7700, sheilamiller55@yahoo.co.uk or cellarupstairs@aol.com

Information: 020 7281 7700, sheilamiller55@yahoo.co.uk or www.cellarupstairs.org.uk
Entrance: Members: £6, non-members: £8 (unwaged £1 less), except on nights marked *, when it will be £7 and £9.
Membership: £4 for the year
Resident Performers: Gail Williams and Jim Younger, Peta Webb and Ken Hall, Frankie Cleeve and Sue Williams, and Bob Wakeling


The record sale of the century!

Andrew Bathe is downsizing his record collection; there are a considerable number of LPs, and a huge number of 78s for sale.  In fact, the list is so large that I've had to create a separate page to display them all.

More details, including prices, are available from him at: andrew.bathe@yahoo.co.uk


New mobile-friendly MT Records website

The new slimmed-down 'mobile-friendly' Records website is now finished, and connected to the magazine and the MT Records website Home Page.  It is now 'responsive' and should automatically re-size to whatever your screen size is, even to whether you're in portrait or landscape position.  If you'd like to try it out you can do so here, but drag your browser's window narrow to pretend it's a Smartphone.

Rod Stradling - 14.9.16

Whalsay songs website

One of our long-standing CD reviewers, Chris Smith, has been in the US recently and, checking in to see what was going on at home (he lives on Shetland), found this story in the Shetland Times, which describes a new website, set up to explore the riches of the Whalsay traditional culture, by Peter Cooke, late of the School of Scottish Studies.  It's a full and interesting story, and contains a link to the Whalsay's Heritage of Songs website itself.

Chris thought it might be worth a mention in the Musical Traditions news page.  And I agree - Ed.


The Roy Palmer Lecture

English Folk Song - Some More Conclusions, by Steve Roud
24 September 2016, 14:00, at Lansdown Hall, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB.

Roy Palmer, one of England's most active and popular folklorists and song collectors, died in February 2015.  His books and articles have introduced many people to the tales and songs of their region and of the country as a whole, and he was an unselfish helper to many researchers and singers who sought to tap his store of knowledge.

Now an annual lecture has been instituted in his name, which will give a platform to speakers on an aspect of traditional song, music or popular culture, enabling them to share their own knowledge in like fashion.

The first Roy Palmer Lecture will be given by Steve Roud at a meeting of the Traditional Song Forum, which is to be held at the Lansdown Hall, Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 24th September 2016.

Steve Roud is one of England's leading writers on folklore and folk song and his Roud Index of Songs has become an essential tool for those interested in exploring the roots of traditional English song.  His Introduction to the recent New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs described English folk song in the 21st Century and set many myths about it to rest.  He is now working on a new book for Faber, called Folk Song in England.  His talk, English Folk Song - Some More Conclusions, will outline the latest thinking about English traditional song.

The afternoon's programme will also include three other presentations.  (Times may change)

For more details see www.tradsong.org

For other information contact Martin Graebe - martin.graebe@btinternet.com

Martin Graebe - 6.4.16

VWML Library Lectures

You'll be interest to know, I'm sure, about a series of lectures upcoming at Cecil Sharp House.

The first is on Tuesday 26th January, 7:00pm - 9:00pm, Keith Chandler: Along with the Raggle Taggle Gypsies-O.  For several centuries itinerant Gypsy fiddle players provided music to accompany dancing at fairs and feasts up and down the country.  This talk will look at various aspects of performance, including the contexts for music-making, the role of transmission within family units, and the more problematic subjects of repertory and playing styles.  It will be illustrated with a wealth of images, many of them not widely known, and a scattering of musical examples.

Others in the same series follow:


Fred McCormick RIP

See the Obituaries page.


Error on Travellers’ Songs from England and Scotland CD-ROM (MTCD254)

It has just been pointed out to me that Nelson Ridley's recording of The Penny Wager is only 11 seconds long and ends abruptly.  I don't know exactly how this happened, but I now have the complete version - which is available here to download.

Rod Stradling - 17.10.15

Changing of the Guard at ITMA: New Director Takes up Office

As of today, Friday 17 July 2015, the Irish Traditional Music Archive has a new Director, Grace Toland.  A native of Inishowen, Co Donegal, Grace is a traditional singer, a festival organiser, and a librarian.  She is delighted to combine her experience in all these areas to lead the ITMA team in its next exciting phase of development.

Retiring Director Nicholas Carolan, co-founder of ITMA with Harry Bradshaw in 1987, said 'I have been privileged to work on this wonderful project of the Irish Traditional Music Archive from its beginning, and to work on it with wonderful people.  The staff of ITMA, its Board members and other volunteers, collectors and donors of material and information, its users and funders (especially An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland), fellow archivists and librarians, broadcasters and broadcast audiences, and the community of Irish traditional singers, musicians and dancers throughout Ireland and the wider world, have combined to create the new Irish cultural institution that it now is.  I look forward to continuing my association with all in my new role as voluntary Director Emeritus of ITMA and in making whatever contribution I can to what I know will be its future success under its new Director Grace Toland'.


Bob Copper’s centenary concert

Friday July 17th sees an evening concert and celebration of Bob Copper’s centenary in his home village of Rottingdean…with the full support of the very theatrical vicar (used to write for Frankie Howerd) it’s being held in the church.  All proceeds are divided equally between the church and the newly-formed charity ‘Sussex Traditions’.

There’s a link to our Facebook page which gives anyone interested an immediate online source of tickets and full details…


Jon Dudley and Jill Copper - 12.6.15

24 MT Records' downloads now online

In the wake of yesterday's terrifying election result, to cheer myself up - and I hope, some of you - I've just put the second dozen MT Records' downloads online.  That takes us up to the 2009 Ken Langsbury's Stories CD - MTDL548.

More will be following shortly: the eight further 300 Series releases up to 2013's The Willett Family; all the 100, 200, 400 and 500 Series releases; and the four CD-ROMs.  The 2014 releases will follow next year.

Rod Stradling - 8.5.15

Clare County Library song website now online

The site is live now – click on Singers and songs on our mainpage: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/

To get directly to the collection: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/songs/cmc/index.htm

Jim Carroll - 30.3.15

Life of MacColl on the radio

For anyone for whom yesterday's half-hour Radio 4 programme on the life of Ewan MacColl was insufficient, there are two longer ones on Lyric FM (available online).  Programme one of the two-part series, Freeborn Man, a tribute to Ewan MacColl on the 100th anniversary oy of his birth, will be broadcast at 7pm today, 23rd of January; part two will follow a week later, on Friday 30th, at the same time.

Programme one covers Ewan's early life in Salford, touching on his theatre work, his move to folk song and the part he played in the creation of the British folk scene and his attitude to song making.  Programme two will largely cover his ideas on traditional singing through his work with The Critics Group; also his work with Irish people through the Radio Ballads and the songs composed for the film The Irishmen.


Irish Traditional Music Archive appoints successor to Nicholas Carolan

The Board of the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Grace Toland as the next Director of ITMA.  She will take up office later this year.  The current Director, Nicholas Carolan, co-founded the Archive in 1987 and has led its development into a leading repository of Irish cultural materials (www.itma.ie).  Nicholas is due to retire in mid-2015.

We wish Nicholas a very happy, and well deserved, retirement.  In our experience, he was unfailingly helpful and enthusiastic.  One could not hope for a better head of an internationally respected institution

Rod Stradling - 22.1.15

The Wanton Seed re-publication

Friends and associates of the late Malcolm Douglas are currently raising money to re-publish The Wanton Seed - the second book in the Marrowbones Series.  Malcolm had revised Marrowbones, in collaboration with Steve Gardham, and it was published by EFDSS to great acclaim in 2007.  He was working on The Wanton Seed when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The revised edition of this seminal volume will be in Malcolm’s memory and any profit will be shared between the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Full details of how to pre-order a copy or become a named sponsor can be obtained from Ron Day at: ronaldday@talktalk.net


Vaughan Williams in Norfolk - an apology

Once upon a time there was a old Bear who travelled from Norfolk to Cambridgeshire one windy January in 2015 to celebrate the Straw Bear Festival - as that is what his brain was made of.  It must have been as, being a Bear who liked making Lists, especially Lists of his favourite foods, he had just published a list of the 86 songs and 4 tunes that Vaughan Williams (who was secretly very fond of Bears) had noted when he had gone to King's Lynn, not a million paw-prints from Whittlesea 110 years earlier.  Unfortunately his straw brain had left a Very Important Document in an old folder during the writing of his notes.  This Very Important Document was the one that said 'Thank-You' to all those, both human and ursine, who had helped him with his research.  When he told Stradbear the Editor this, Stradbear was very cross and ordered that Strawbrain should go without Hunny for a year, and should send the missing Document to Mustrad House immediately.  Here it is:


First thanks must go to Jill Bennet who organised the initial celebratory events in 2005 and to Liz James, who also sang with Jill and I in them, for her immaculate research and unfailing encouragement and patience to this Bear of very small brain.

A huge thank you to Vic Gammon without whose patient and erudite help most of the texts and notes to the songs would have been a poor shadow of what he has helped them become.

All RVW's notebooks from King's Lynn 1905 and 1906 are in the British Library - ADD MS 54191, though now normally available only on film.  Thanks to Laura Smyth of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library there for her patient, expert help, and to all the staff in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room of the British Library.  Thanks also to the brilliant staff at the Norfolk Heritage Centre in Norwich Millennium Library, the ever helpful people at King's Lynn Library and the amazingly knowledgeable people at the Archive Centre, County Hall, Norwich for all their tolerant, skillful help too.  I also owe a great deal to the Bodleian Library Collection of broadsides, a massive and very accessible source.

The 'Full English' on-line source came into being while I was researching these songs and has made life a great deal easier.  When the Index of English Songs was published in 1951 as the first full index of the Journals of FSS and EFDSS from 1899 to 1950, Vaughan Williams, a regular contributor, with tongue firmly in cheek, wrote in the Preface: 'A distinguished scientist once told me that in his opinion a book without an index was a bad book, whatever its contents.  On that showing the Folk Song Journal has been a bad book for over fifty years.  Now through the skilful and devoted labours of Mr White it has become a good book'.  The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, through the skilful and devoted labours of Mr Taylor and his team, has now become a 'good source'.  Well done and thanks.

Thanks to Katie and John Howson of the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust for their support.  They've worked tirelessly for many years to increase awareness of, and access to, traditional folk arts in the eastern counties, and have enriched life here in the East as a result.

Thanks to Nigel Digby and Chris Bunting of the Midland & Great Northern Railway Circle and to Dave King, Curator of the William Marriott Museum, North Norfolk Railway, Holt for getting Mr Vaughan Williams safely from Lynn to Sheringham and back; also to Bob Palmer and Adrian Vaughan for their work researching and publishing details of Bob Jackson.  To yet another Jackson, Barry, of the Great Eastern Railway Society, thanks for help in getting our man from and to London and Lynn.  They all managed to revive the fierce competition between the two old Railway Companies, but in this instance it was to see who could be most helpful to me!

Ann Halliday, of the Old Vic, Tilney All Saints allowed me to trample over her lawn one sunny March morning to get the best photo of Rev Newnum's abode in 1905.  Thanks Ann; we're both glad he wasn't a Rector!

Snippets, but important ones, were taken off the info@norfolkpubs.co.uk website; cheers to the keen people there.

Thanks also to the following, few of whom I've met, but who, via mudcat.org, helped with word sets and with general information: Joe Offer, Mick Pearce, Paul Davenport, Steve Gardham, Matthew Edwards, John Moulden, Gurney, Jim Dixon, Nigel Parsons, Kevin Shiels.

Alan Helsdon - 12.1.15

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