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At the heart of English folk

Folk Music Journal: Volume 8 Number 3

Volume 8 Number 4 (2004) contains the following pieces:



Ian Russell, The Singer's the Thing: The Individual and Group Identity in a Pennine Singing Tradition

A number of folk-song studies in recent years have argued the relative importance of the text and the context; far less attention has been paid to the performance, the performer and the listener in folk-song tradition. This article brings fresh insight to the debate in the light of a young charismatic singer, Haydn Thorp (1976-1999), who during his short lifetime became emblematic of the invigorated local singing tradition in the district around Holmfirth in West Yorkshire. The potent combination of youth and tradition, set within the wider political climate, bestowed a singular status on him. In practical terms, this gave the impetus for social evening and singing competitions, as well as providing other young singers from his per group with a paradigm. The 'Haydn Thorp' phenomenon illustrates the dynamics of an active singing tradition and its significance and symbolism for the community in which it thrives.

E C Cawte, Watching Cecil Sharp at Work: A Study of his Records of Sword Dances Using his Field Notebooks

If Sharp's field notebooks, fair-copy manuscripts and publications are compared, they allow deduction about how he worked. This study is limited to sword dances. He recorded and published the dances from the point of view of an observer, not a dancer, and he usually published a dance after two visits. He had problems with dialect on Tyneside, but his phonetic spellings help to authenticate his notes. He made fair copies of his music promptly, some text waited weeks during which he taught each dance, and it seems likely that he wrote interim texts (which have not survived) before writing the extant fair copies, but there is no known source for some of his data. He published dance movements much as they were performed, but text was altered more often, especially if it might be thought to be indecent. For the last his publisher was probably responsible. He often preferred his own judgement to that of his informants in publishing dance tunes. There is reason to think that he intended to record further sword dancers, but he was prevented by war in 1914.

Marek Korczynski, Music at Work: Toward a Historical Overview

Increasingly, music is being recognized as an important element in the structuring of social interaction and experience in many social spheres. However, little attention has been paid to music in the sphere of work. The importance of this gap in our knowledge, and the reasons for the gap's existence, are highlighted. Addressing this gap requires a historical perspective, placing music within the key historical contexts of the nature of the labour process, and the nature of musical production and consumption. Using these dimensions, the paper puts forward a broad historical overview of music at work in Britain over the last two and a half centuries in three main periods: pre-industrialization, industrialized capitalism, and post-industrial capitalism.

Eddie Cass, Ralph Hedley and his Sword-Dance Paintings

Ralph Hedley of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was an important late Victorian and Edwardian painter whose work encompassed much of interest to folklorists. One of his best known works, 'Christmas at the Vicarage', now untraced, depicts a rapper side dancing outside Tanfield Vicarage. It was a work known to Cecil Sharp. This paper describes Hedley's work on the painting and explains why it is important to trace its current whereabouts. The paper also describes a second painting which deals with the flexibility of sword blades, a subject of interest both to historians and to sword dancers.

Roy Palmer, Neglected Pioneer: E J Moeran (1894 - 1950)

Over a period of almost four decades, the composer E J Moeran took a great interest in traditional song. Although he made settings of songs, and his music was influenced by them, he deeply respected the tradition for its own sake, and greatly admired the skill of performers such as Harry Cox. His extant collection of traditional songs is not large — fewer than seventy items — but it is of great interest, and his contribution in this field has been unfairly neglected. A check-list of songs and singers is appended.



John Cutting, David Gregory   Lomax in London
Gordon Ridgewell The Grenoside Calling-on Song


Reviews — Books

Michael Heaney   Step Change (Georgina Boyes)
Michael Yates Recentering Anglo/American Folksong (Roger de V Renwick)
Ian Russell The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, Irish Traditional Singer (Dáibhí Ó Cróinín)
David Atkinson Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500-1700 (Adam Fox)
Martin Stokes World Musics in Context (Peter Fletcher)
E C Cawte Le Bacchu-Ber et la Danse des Épées dans les Alpes Occidentales (André Carénini)
David Atkinson William Motherwell's Cultural Politics (Mary Ellen Brown)
  The Bedesman and the Hodbearer (Mary Ellen Brown)
Steve Roud Farewell to Judges and Juries (Hugh Anderson)
  A Book of Scattered Leaves (James Hepburn)
  Thomas Ford's Ballads (Roy Palmer


Reviews — Sound Recordings

Vic Gammon   Deep River of Song (Alan Lomax Collection)
Alan & John A. Lomax: The Classic Louisiana Recordings
Ray Allen Caribbean Voyage (Alan Lomax Collection)
Lindsay Aitkenhead   John Johnson: Strange Creek Fiddling (Danny Williams)
Dennis Howitt Classic English Banjo (Ray Andrews)
Gavin Bird Come Write Me Down (The Copper Family)
Down Yonder Green Lane (The Millen Family)
Ian Russell Up in the North and Down in the South (Mike Yates)
George Dunn: Chainmaker



Margaret Bennett   Hamish Henderson
Bob Davenport Phoebe Smith
Sheila Douglas Willie MacPhee
Julia Bishop Cyril Papworth
  Roy Judge: Addendum


Cover illustration: Haydn Thorp. Photograph © John R Haigh.

Editor: Michael Heaney


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