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Folklore, English workers indolence

GUEST,alan whittle 01 Aug 19 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 01 Aug 19 - 06:05 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Aug 19 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,alan whittle 01 Aug 19 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,alan whittle 01 Aug 19 - 06:18 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Aug 19 - 08:15 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 02 Aug 19 - 12:37 PM
Jack Campin 03 Aug 19 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 03 Aug 19 - 09:58 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Aug 19 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 03 Aug 19 - 10:51 AM
Mrrzy 04 Aug 19 - 04:12 PM
Acorn4 04 Aug 19 - 05:41 PM
The Sandman 05 Aug 19 - 03:01 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Aug 19 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 05 Aug 19 - 04:10 AM
Nigel Parsons 05 Aug 19 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,alan whittle 05 Aug 19 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 06 Aug 19 - 11:22 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 19 - 02:00 PM
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Subject: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,alan whittle
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 05:29 AM

In a thread below the line recently, a fellow mudcatter expressed the opinion English industry had declined because of lousy working relations between management and workers. Indeed this was a constant theme of newspaper articles throughout the 1970's. It was at variance with my experience, but I think the the reluctance of Sam to pick up his shovel and get bloody working is somewhere deep in the English psyche.

Whilst in American folksong - the worker gets a fairly good press. John Henry dying with his hammer in his hands, even though the banks are stuffed with silver that the workers sweated for loading sixteen tons etc. In England, we're different.

Think about the bastards populating Jeremy Taylors Jobsworth, Flanders and Swann's The Gasman Cometh, The Strawbs Part of the Union (picked by one trade union leader as his favourite song!).

Thoughts....?


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 06:05 AM

It was a common stereotype in Australia and NZ that Pommy immigrants were lazy slobs.


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 06:05 AM

THOUGHT ONE
TWO
THREE
NOT FORGETTING
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,alan whittle
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 06:13 AM

Thankyou Jim, my recollections of Ewan are invariably very pleasant. A great talent.


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,alan whittle
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 06:18 AM

lovely jazz guitar on 7 days a week - do you know who it was?


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Aug 19 - 08:15 AM

"do you know who it was?"
I'll check - Brian Daly used to do that sort of accompaniment for them

I'll tell you how 'The Engineers' got to be made later - never ceased to be impressed by Ewan's creative skills
Must go and paint a shed before it pisses down with rain again (said the indolent British worker)
Jim


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 02 Aug 19 - 12:37 PM

Alan - the cover of Kilroy Was Here (jpg) lists accompaniment by Calum & Neill MacColl, Ian Trimmer and Jim Bray (on bass I presume).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 08:46 AM

Two Scottish songs about unrepentant laziness: John Hamilton's "Up in the Morning Early" and Matt McGinn's "I'm Looking for a Job".


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 09:58 AM

I cannot think of one rural labourer that I recorded who had not had a very hard life working, usually, on the land. Mind you, things were not always as they seemed. I have written elsewhere about two different singers who told me that when they were asked by their masters to sing the song 'All Jolly Fellows that Follow the Plough' at events such as Harvest Sippers, then the other workers knew full well that there was an undercurrent to the text. They might sing that they were 'jolly fellows' but, in truth, they were not! And, of course, Walter Pardon made it clear in some of his songs and stories that rural life was no doddle for the farm workers. Interestingly, having recorded some very early farmers Union songs from Walter, I approached the National Farmer's Union to see if they would like copies of the songs for their historical archives. But they were not in the least bit interested!


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 10:19 AM

"their masters?" What era are we talking about here?


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 03 Aug 19 - 10:51 AM

1920' and '30's.


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 04:12 PM

Dear boss/the sick note, which is a great song?


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Aug 19 - 05:41 PM

"Right Said Fred" - Bernard Cribbins touches on the subject though not a folk song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Aug 19 - 03:01 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQrEmRBN5kw


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Aug 19 - 03:24 AM

""their masters?" What era are we talking about here?"
"Master" was a common way to address your 'superiors' in rural Britain - there's a fascinating book entitled 'The Deferential Worker in Rural Britain' (I think)
Walter Pardon had been given it and gave it to us - he said it was how he remembered much of life in his youth in rural Norfolk.
The author argued that, while Britain had moved on with the Industrial Revolution, many of the older practices remained in the countryside.
Walter told us the story of a relative sent to work clearing up a lane
Because he had no way of telling the time, he asked 'the master' how he would know it was time to finish and was told to "look up at the sky, close and eye and when you can see two stars with one eye, that is the time to go home'

Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Charles Parker recorded some remarkable stories from when they made 'The Big Hewer' - many of them were about deaths and maimings in the pit - and most of them were 'humourous'
They were told, "You'd go insane if you didn't learn to laugh at what you had to do".

I'm afraid I find sons like "Right Said Fred" patronising and insulting efforts by outsiders who don't have to do the work

I've always believed - "If it wasn't for plumbers, the world would have to shit in the garden; if it wan't for electricians, it would have to do it in the dark".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 05 Aug 19 - 04:10 AM

See the on-line Musical Traditions article # 54 'Stand Up Ye Men of Labour - the Socio-Political songs of Walter Pardon'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Aug 19 - 04:35 AM

Stand up ye men of labour article quoted immediately above.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,alan whittle
Date: 05 Aug 19 - 05:59 AM

To be honest, I think something's got to be in the folklore before it can become a folksong. Otherwise, how would folksingers get to make up songs about a subject?


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 06 Aug 19 - 11:22 AM

Must admit, when I hear songs about my old job, coal mining, there are few and far between that reflect my experience, but that's no criticism of the songwriter, as most songs weren't written by any of us.

The Big Hewer was a masterclass though. Not so much the work technique songs, after all it was produced not long after I was born, never mind starting work, but I can relate to the community side. I sing Schooldays End on the basis I remember my first day down the pit and although first day down wasn't first day work by the time I got there, (a visit followed by a year full time college..) you tended to dwell on what you saw and knowing that's your workplace soon. MacColl and Seeger had a way of turn of phrase in a line that many of us would need a novel to put over and with the BBC interviews, they were at least grounded in reality.

Ted Edwards got there with a couple of songs and Jed Grimes hits the mark occasionally with the black snow stuff, but generally, folklore hits home and the songs start drifting from the reality. T'was ever thus.


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Subject: RE: Folklore, English workers indolence
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 19 - 02:00 PM

"MacColl and Seeger had a way of turn of phrase in a line"
In my opinion, many of MacColl's best songs were those he based directly on recorded actuality - Sam Larner and Ronnie Balls gave him Shoals of Herring, The Moving on Song, was inspired by Minty Smith's account of being moved on when heavily pregnant, Freeborn Man came largely from recordings of the Stewarts
Some of the songs from the unscreened 'The Irishmen' came from what the navvies told Philip Donnellan - the strength of the actuality was why the film was never released and many of the excellent songs remain fairly unknown
Tw 0f the very best were 'Shellback' and Tenant Farmer - the former from the amazing seaman, Ben Bright and the latter from Scots Borderers who had been effected by the massive afforestation and buying up of farms that took place around Lockerbie
Jim Carroll


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