George Belton

A True Furrow to Hold

MT Records - MTCD378

1 - Jim the Carter Lad;  2 - Interview;  3 - The Lad In The Scots Brigade;  4 - The Constant Farmer's Son;  5 - I am a Donkey Driver;  6 - The Bold Fisherman;  7 - The Dark Eyed Sailor;  8 - When the Fields are White with Daisies;  9 - Green Broom;  10 - The Little Shirt Mother my Made For Me;  11 - The Sailor Cut Down in His Prime;  12 - If Those Lips Could Only Speak;  13 - All Jolly Fellows that Follow the Plough;  14 - Barbara Allen;  15 - Little Footprints in the Snow;  16 - My Old Man;  17 - Never No More for Me;  18 - The Banks of Sweet Primroses;  19 - The Rest of the Day is Your Own;  20 - The Soldier's Prayer;  21 - The Sussex Toast;  22 - The Old Rustic Bridge;  23 - The Roving Navvy Man;  24 - Has Anybody Seen my Tiddler;  25 - A Birthday Song;  26 - The Volunteer Organist;  27 - Time Gentlemen Please & Toast.
Those who frequented folk clubs in Sussex in the years before 1980 or who attended the National Folk Festival in the years before then will probably remember George.  He was one of a dying breed; a genuine traditional singer who learned his songs from his family or from fellow ploughmen and carters in the farms that he worked on in West Sussex.  When folk clubs came along he was taken to one in Horsham and quickly found a new audience for the songs that he had known all his life.  His cheery disposition and excellent singing voice made him a popular figure in these venues, particularly his local Chichester club where he was to be found nearly every Friday.

Now, forty years after his death Rod Stradling has gathered together recordings of his songs made by a number of enthusiasts, mainly from this area.  The CD consists of 26 songs sung by him as well as an extract from a radio interview with him and somehow, it manages to run for over 81 minutes.  In the main they are traditional songs but there are some from the Music Hall and parlour ballads and all are delivered with the verve and commitment that made him such a well loved figure.

The 40-page booklet has transcriptions of interviews of him talking about his life from interviews with Mary Aitchison as well as the words of all the songs.

When you are listening to him singing The Bold Fisherman in that rolling 5/4 rhythm, you are listening to one of the finest recordings of English traditional singing.

Vic Smith - 16.5.20
Writing in Around Kent Folk

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