Mudcat Café message #3944155 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3944155
Posted By: Brian Peters
15-Aug-18 - 01:41 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
This thread has moved on a long way since I last looked at it. I've nothing especially original to add, but can at least clarify one or two points.

Pseudonymous wrote:

It was stated above that the hand loom weaver's lament was by Bamford. I'm not sure this is right. a) can't find it in online collections of Bamford's work b) found a book dated 188ish online saying it was taken from someone else.

Bamford was a special constable during Chartist times, some of his work seems to reflect a dislike of the movement.


‘The Hand-loom Weavers’ Lament’ appears in Harland’s ‘Ballads and Songs of Lancashire’ (1875), and was collected by John Higson (a Droylsden man who supplied several pieces to Harland) "from the signing of John Grimshaw". Grimshaw was from Gorton and was also the source for ‘Handloom versus Powerloom’.

The ‘Lament’ doesn’t have a known author, but it doesn’t read like the work of Sam Bamford, who used a more poetic style. Some of his work was published on broadsides, however, such as ‘Song of the Slaughtered’, which can be found on the Bodleian site. During the Peterloo period either side of 1819, Bamford was a hardline radical, if he’s judged by his poetry rather than his own revisionist account written later, after he’d fallen out with Henry Hunt and co. By the late 1830s he seems to have been more concerned with gaining respectability by distancing himself from the direct action he’d once espoused and from the Chartists in particular, and he seems to have become a bit of a maverick. Like many of the Peterloo protestors he was a handloom weaver.

Re. Harry Boardman.

I found a Henry [sic] Boardman song on Spotify. He plays that old traditional English instrument - the banjo! And not particularly well.

Harry Boardman was no Bela Fleck, but he was an effective accompanist of his own singing on the banjo as well as the anglo concertina (both instruments were around in England from mid 19th century, FWIW). Harry was a very significant figure in the folk revival, establishing an independent genre of North West folk song (in an area generally neglected by folksong collectors) through settings of industrial broadsides and local poetry by Laycock, Bamford, Waugh and Brierley. It's thanks to him that many of us ever heard any of that material.

So before dismissing him as nothing but a poor banjo player on the basis of one song, Pseudonymous, maybe listen to a bit more?