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Old Vermin School:What did you learn about Folk? (77* d) RE: School:What did you learn about Folk? 17 Aug 10

Middlesex - as we thought of it - with a London postal address.

Country Dancing. My diary, aged 11, says I enjoyed it except for the waiting around.


Daily assembly - religious service with hymns sung.

In lessons

- Sally Brown with the m-word.
- Bobby Shafto.
- Dashing away with a smoothing iron.
- On yonder hill there stands a creature
- Nuts in May
- Mulberry bush

& Co.

Radio programme to accompany?

Grammar Schools - London & Surrey.

Daily assembly - religious service with hymns sung.

- The English Hymnal, I think. R Vaughan Williams.
- School song more-or-less to the tune of The Blacksmith. Monks Gate.
'He who would valiant be'

And the comic moment when the new German assistant snapped to attention for the opening bars of 'WGlorious things of thee are spoken, Zion city of our Lord'....

Formal music lessons were pretty dire, in an all-male school where the majority view was that serious classical musical achievement was odd or effeminate. Of course, most of us went through puberty and had voices utterly out of control at crucial times.

And unofficially the Rambling Sid Rumpo school of parody, and Rare Bog a Rattling Bog learned orally. Assorted smutty soldiers' songs via the CCF. 'Three-score and ten' being done in school concert. Started going to Folk Clubs in my last year or two at school. Even went with a parties of schoolboys to hear Carthy & Swarbrick in London which was a revelation - venue had wood panelling - and The Yetties unbelievably loud in a tin hut by North Camp railway station.

There was also Americana/country about - Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, etc. Who did 'Deck of Cards'? Hillbilly stuff - Flatt & Scruggs? - was generally derogated. While a sub-set were buying R & B on Pye records. Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, Spencer Davies/Stevie Winwood were what everyone bought. Was very probably still at school when I acquired LPs by the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, etc. Ceiliidhs in the dance sense existed and took far too much brain-power for me.

So the early formal environment was mostly favourable, as was the informal scene as I grew up. Just took best part of forty years to get to actually doing stuff.

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