Mudcat Café message #3937744 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3937744
Posted By: Vic Smith
16-Jul-18 - 12:09 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Brian Peters wrote:-
Aunt Maria Tomes (or Tombs) of Nellysford, Va
That reminds me that about 7 or 8 years ago that I booked a two-man multi-media show for Lewes Folk Festival called Sharp's Appalachian Harvest as the main song presentation on the Saturday night. I was a bit worried that it may be a bit academic for as a stand-along main concert. I need not have worried; it was a sell-out. There was a reference to Aunt Maria in that show and the tune of hers from the show also turned upon the album of the show. Here is the booklet note on that song:-
Tune sung by Aunt Maria Tomes, Nellysford, VA, May 22, 1918
Sharp has been castigated for his failure to collect material from African-American singers. A fieldworker searching so specifically for material of British origin might be forgiven for ignoring them, but it seems never to have occurred to Sharp that this group might have folk songs and music of their own, and one particular comment in the diary grates on modern ears. He collected only two songs from black people but, as usual, he found it easy to strike up a cordial relationship when he met Aunt Maria Tomes, delighting the eighty-five-year-old freed slave (and suppressing his atheist beliefs) by singing her The Sinner Man. Although Sharp remarked that Aunt Maria sang "very beautifully in a wonderfully musical way and with clear and perfect intonation," he took down just one verse of her Barbara Allen - maybe the unusual tune was of greater interest, or maybe the singer knew no more. I collated verses from some of the other sixteen versions in the collection of this, the most popular of all British traditional ballads.

These notes were writteb by the man who sang it on the album and in the show; a man called Brian Peters.