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Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord

DigiTrad:
PITY THE DOWNTRODDEN LANDLORD


GUEST,Landlord's Daughter 12 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM
Joe Offer 12 Feb 01 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Landlord's Daughter 12 Feb 01 - 05:42 PM
Susanne (skw) 12 Feb 01 - 07:03 PM
Joe Offer 12 Feb 01 - 08:05 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Feb 01 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,Landlord's Daughter 13 Feb 01 - 09:26 AM
Steve Parkes 13 Feb 01 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 13 Feb 01 - 12:05 PM
Steve Parkes 14 Feb 01 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 14 Feb 01 - 11:51 AM
Steve Parkes 15 Feb 01 - 03:11 AM
Steve Parkes 19 Feb 01 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 19 Feb 01 - 11:43 AM
Steve Parkes 21 Feb 01 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 21 Feb 01 - 12:01 PM
Charley Noble 05 May 02 - 08:42 PM
Charley Noble 18 Oct 02 - 05:33 PM
Charley Noble 21 Dec 02 - 08:38 PM
Charley Noble 14 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM
Charley Noble 15 Dec 03 - 09:52 AM
Charley Noble 08 Mar 04 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 01 Apr 04 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Barrie.roberts2@btopenworld.com 02 Apr 04 - 03:58 PM
Charley Noble 02 Apr 04 - 07:13 PM
Barbara 02 Apr 04 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,barrie roberts 27 May 04 - 03:06 PM
Charley Noble 27 May 04 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 29 May 04 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 09 Jun 04 - 02:41 PM
Charley Noble 10 Jun 04 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 22 Jun 04 - 07:45 AM
Charley Noble 22 Jun 04 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 23 Jun 04 - 09:04 AM
Charley Noble 23 Jun 04 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 29 Jun 04 - 08:36 PM
Charley Noble 29 Jun 04 - 09:12 PM
JennyO 29 Jun 04 - 11:20 PM
Charley Noble 30 Jun 04 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 13 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM
Steve Parkes 14 Jul 04 - 05:25 AM
Charley Noble 14 Jul 04 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 14 Jul 04 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 07 Aug 04 - 02:15 AM
JennyO 07 Aug 04 - 03:32 AM
John in Brisbane 20 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM
Charley Noble 20 Feb 05 - 11:10 AM
Charley Noble 02 Jan 07 - 08:55 PM
Sandra in Sydney 03 Jan 07 - 12:41 AM
JennyO 03 Jan 07 - 12:51 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: PITY THE DOWNTRODDEN LANDLORD
From: GUEST,Landlord's Daughter
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM

This song comes from a London folk opera in the early 1940's but I'd love to know more about who wrote it and why they came to write it. The song is attributed to B. Woolf, not to be confused with Bill Wolff who wrote such fine organizing songs as "Put It on the Ground."

PITY THE DOWNTRODDEN LANDLORD
(Written by Englishman B. Woolf, Workers Music Association
Tune: by Arnold Clayton after She is More to be Pitied than Censored)

Please open your hearts and your purses,
To a man who is misunderstood;
He gets all the kicks and the curses,
Tho he wishes you nothing but good;
He wistfully begs you to show him,
You think he's a friend, not a louse,
So remember the debt that you owe him,
The landlord who lends you his house.

Chorus:

So pity the downtrodden landlord,
With his back so burdened and bent;
Respect his gray hairs,
Don't ask for repairs,
And don't be behind with the rent!

You are able to work for a living,
And rejoice in your strength and your skill,
So try to be kind and forgiving
To a man whom a day's work would kill;
You are able to talk with your neighbor,
You can look the whole world in the face,
But the landlord that ventured to labor,
Would never survive the disgrace...

When thunder clouds gather and darken,
You can sleep undisturbed in your bed,
But the landlord must sit up and harken,
And shiver, and wonder, and dread;
If you're killed, then you'll die in a hurry,
And you never will know your bad luck,
But the landlord must sit up and worry,
"Has one of my houses been struck?"...

When a landlord resorts to eviction,
Don't think that he does it for spite;
He's acting from deepest conviction,
And what's right, after all, is what's right;
But I see that your hearts are all hardened,
And I fear I'm appealing in vain;
Yet I hope that my last plea will be pardoned,
If I beg on my knees once again (once again)...

I once asked Ewan MacColl about this song and he was unable to fill in any details. Can the Mudcats meet this challenge?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 04:38 PM

I found the song in my tattered but precious copy of the People's Songbook (1948, People's Artists, New York). The version above has one more verse than I found in my book or in the Digital Tradition. The People's Songbook says the song has words by B. Woolf and music by Arnold Clayton, copyright 1946 by the workers' Music Association, London, England. The People's Songbook says,
"This song, which originated in England during World War II, was caught up by thousands of United States tenants threatened by eviction when Congress lifted rent controls. To be sung with a fine sense of sarcasm!"
I also wonder who Arnold Clayton was. The tune is similar to William B. Gray's "She Is More To Be Pitied Than Censured," but they're not exactly the same.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlord's Daughter
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 05:42 PM

Joe, what you've found are the basic references I've sifted through. I really need to hear from anyone who was active in the Workers Music Association in London in the late 1930's or early 1940's, or who has access to some of their publications. I did make one foray to Cecil Sharp House a few years back, talked with the Broadside King, but really got no further. This question really requires someone with a personal connection to the Workers Music Association. You're right about the tune. Always fun to revive in a song circle. Great with a concertina!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 07:03 PM

All I found is a mention by the late Norman Buchan in Edward Cowan's book 'The People's Past':

[1980:] Parody lampoons were making some headway in the thirties and forties - songs like Pity the Downtrodden Landlord. [...] The parodies on the whole were never very good but they did help to [...] pave the way for an acceptance of precisely those two qualities [irresponsibility and irreverence] when the folk revival came. (Norman Buchan in Cowan 169)

You can't ask Norman about it any more - but it may be in the new 'Political Song Archive' at Glasgow's Caledonian University, founded with material donated by Norman's widow Janey. (Look for recent thread of same title.)

This is their web address.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 08:05 PM

I did find a couple of North American recordings of the song. One is from Canadian Oscar Brand's Pie in the Sky, which lists all songs as "traditional." The notes say:

The clime which produced the song of "The Downtrodden Landlord" can best be described by recalling the story of the story of the British pastor who warned his flock against whiskey... 'For it makes you come home drunk...It makes you shoot at your landlord...It makes you miss him.' Although the song comes from England, it is happily at home here since our landlords, too, come complete with bullseyes.

Sandy Paton pointed out to me that there's also a Fred Hellerman recording of the song on a Bear Family Records collection called Songs for Political Action. The singer was identified as "Bob Hill," but it was Hellerman. The notes say the song was a satirical British music hall tune penned by Arnold Clayton and B. Woolf. Nightclub singer Phil Irving introduced it to New York audiences at an October 1946 hootenanny.

Brand doesn't sing the "able to work for a living" verse; and Hellerman doesn't sing the thunder clouds verse.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 09:46 PM

Well, we do have it in DigiTrad, but the posted version has an extra verse I hadn't encountered. Thanx!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlord's Daughter
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 09:26 AM

Good to see some interest provoked! The "extra verse" only appears in Jerry Silverman's The Panic Is On, who I believe wrongly attributes the song to Bill Wolff; I spoke to one of Bill's friends in California many years ago who confirmed that. Other clues include the Unity Theatre, associated with the Workers Music Association. I also wrote Barrie Roberts, Alfie Bass and Aubrey Bowman with no success. Five years ago when I was in London the WMA was still active but I was unable to make any direct contacts.Anne Schuman was their Honary Secretary, 240 Perry Rise, Forest Hill, London, SE23 2QT, Tel:0181-699-2250. They were still doing sings at Covent Garden Community Centre in London.
Someone want to follow this up? In some ways I'd hate to see the mystery resolved – the search has been so much fun!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 11:39 AM

I've been singing this song for years and years,but I've never heard the "new" verse -- I shall learn it forthwith! I learned it from Barrie Roberts, who had an EP called "Songs for swinging landlords [to]", which also included "Moving day" and "The man who waters the workers' beer"; I forget what else was on it, or who it was by, but then I haven't seen it for over twenty-five years.

I haven't seen Barrie for nearly twenty, apart form a very brief encounter in Walsall a couple of years ago. We used to sing together; this was in our repertoir. (Incidentally, he taught me nearly everything I know about performing -- that's a big responsibility!). As far as I now, he's not singing any more, but he writes novels now. How do you come to know of him, LD? Do you have the correct adress, btw? I don't know it myself, but I might be able to find it for you.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 13 Feb 01 - 12:05 PM

Steve, I forget who suggested I write Barrie Roberts, the Songsmith, 55 Florence St., The Chuckery, Walsall WS1 2LQ, which I did back in 1983. I did receive a thoughtful letter from Alan Bush,Workers Music Association, with the suggestion that I write Alfie Bass which I did with no response. And I later talked with John Foreman, the Broadside King at Sharp House.

I love songs like "Moving Day" and one of the real reasons I've been pursuing "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" is that it is the working title of my Housing Songbook – some 300 songs from Elizabethan times to more contemporary times.
Keep working. We may be getting close!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 03:44 AM

I don't think Barrie has lived at that address for some time now, I heard he had a fire there a few years ago; but I don't htink he moved very far. His publisher is Constable, so you could try them; meanwhile, I'll try and contact some mutual friends I haven't seen for ages.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 11:51 AM

Steve,

I would really appreciate if you would track Barrie down; it's usually fun to reconnect with our mentors. I'm not in a hurry to get new information but I would like to see the old housing songs network refreshed as we say.
I never did get to hear "Songs for Swinging Landlords" but I certainly saw it cited. I play a more modest role in co-producing "We Won't Move", songs of the tenants' movement on Folkways FS 5287 back in 1983; I wonder if it will be re-released on CD by Smithsonian. There were some wonderful songs on that including ones by Malvina Reynolds, Langston Hughes and Leon Rosselson.
LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 03:11 AM

LD, looks like I'll have to call on someone in person when I get home at the weekend; everyone seems to have unlisted phone numbers. Hope to have some news next week.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 03:33 AM

Sorry, no news yet. The state of play is: my Mum lives over the riad from Nick & Helen, who are friends of Barrie's; she's going to get B's address from N&H when she sees them; I didn't see Mum this weekend, so I wasn't able to ask then myself; she hasn't got back to me yet. But when she does, I'll post it straight away.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 11:43 AM

Thanks for the update, Steve; I've wondered about this song for more than 20 years. A few more days won't make a lot of difference.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 03:13 AM

Barrie moved to 27 Florence St, Chuckery, Walsall, WS1 2LQ, West Midlands. We're not absolutely sure he's still there! But do give it a try, LD, and keep us informed if you get any more gen. on the song.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 12:01 PM

Steve, thanks and I'll keep you up to date.

Oh, you might check out the Housing Songs thread I've started if you're interested.

LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 May 02 - 08:42 PM

Refresh-any further leads?

LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Oct 02 - 05:33 PM

Still no further info or clues.

LD


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 08:38 PM

This thread dried up over a year ago. Anyone else want to give it a try, track down the elusive songwriter "B. Woolf"? Please re-read the whole thread so we can avoid rehashing the previous references. Someone must have an old program to the original musical revue around 1940. Of course, Woolf's name is most likely deliberately disguised, a common practice among radical writers and other artists.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter, not to be confused with Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 08:40 PM

Refreshed for new clues!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 09:52 AM

The latest clue to come in from the thread about A.L. Lloyd is a possible relative of the named composer B. Woolf, with the name of Clive Woolf said to hang out sometimes at the Cecil Sharp House gatherings. We could be close to nailing this search, which has only taken 25 years or so.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 08:52 PM

The Countess assures me that we may be getting close to at least contacting the elusive Clive Woolf and determining if he has any connection with B. Woolf.

Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 05:21 PM

Hello everybody,

Yes, it is I. The same BR you have been anxiously seeking. Almost all of your references to me were true. I did have a fire & moved, but not far. Since then I have moved again -- but not far. I suppose I must like it round here!

My greetings to Steve Parkes, a great bloke to work with and one of the finest natural harmony singers I've heard. He (and anyone) can contact me at barrie.roberts2@btopenworld.com or visit my website at barrieroberts.com.

The bad news is that I know very little about The Downtrodden Landlord. I learned it from a Topic EP called 'Songs For Swinging Landlords', where it was ascribed to the pre-war WMA. I like the additional verse, which I have never come across before.

I never recorded The Downtrodden Landlord. For the record (!) my recorded output consists of 1) an EP called 'Four Australian Songs', Ash Records, 1967, 2) 5 tracks on an LP called 'Rebellion', Folkways, 1977, 3) a cassette called 'Songs of the Square Ring', Pleckstrum Records, 1985, and 4) one track on 'This Label Is Not Removable', a 3 CD compilation, Free Reed Records, 2003. I came across a copy of 'Four Australian Songs' advertised on the net last night at 28$. If I'd known they were going to be worth that I'd have kept the whole issue!

As Steve said, I am now a fulltime writer (see website for glowing reviews) but do still sing at parties, fundraisers etc. I would love to hear from Steve or any of you. In the meantime, can anyone help me with a lyric. It goes to 'Danny Boy' aka 'The Londonderry Air' aka 'The Lament for Cuchulainn', and contains the following lines:

Oh softly sleep, the raging hills of sorrow,
Oh softly sleep, the gentle vales of pain,
As those who know they have no more tomorrow
But yet must rise to face the dawn again.

Author, rest of words, any information please.

Best wishes,

Barrie Roberts.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie.roberts2@btopenworld.com
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 03:58 PM

Sorry to but in again. Two things:
a) 'Songs For Swinging Landlords' was by Topic Records, sung by Leon Rosselson;
b) Lovely to hear from you again,Steve, but neither of your messages had an e-mail address! Just 'Milton Keynes' won't do -- the web thinks that MK doesn't exist.
Regards,
Barrie Roberts


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 07:13 PM

Barrie-

Thanks for posting. It looks like the mystery with regard to B. Woolf continues. It's really hard to follow leads from this side of the pond but if you have any suggestions I would appreciate them.

I had seen references to Songs For Swinging Landlords but have never found a copy. Leon Rosselson also has composed a few tenant action songs himself that have found their way to my collection.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Barbara
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 08:57 PM

Barrie, in regards to the lyrics sung to Londonderry Air you should probably start a new thread with that information in the subject line. The link for doing that is at the top of the main forum page and says something like "Start a New Thread".
If you join Mudcat (doesn't cost anything) you can send the illusive Mr. Parkes a PM -- personal message.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,barrie roberts
Date: 27 May 04 - 03:06 PM

Greetings all,

I hate to sow further confusion, but I spoke yesterday to John Foreman (The Broadsheet King) and mentioned this song to him. He was quite certain that it was written by JOHN HORROCKS of the Workers' Music Association. He points out that the WMA published songs properly and established copyright. Shouldn't this mean there is a copy (or more) in the Copyright libraries. Which raises the thought === Who does the Performing Right Society and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society think wrote it? Has anyone asked them. I don't know about MCPS, but PRS has a computerised index that ought to find a song or an author rapidly.

Apologies for interloping, but I thought the hunt might still be going on. I shall now outerlope. Best regards!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 May 04 - 05:36 PM

Barrie-

John Horrocks? That's a new name to me. I was talking to John Foreman myself about this song at Cecil Sharp house where he was performing a set about 7 years ago and he didn't mention Horrocks. Of course he might have been distracted by the crowd of other admirers. I'm not sure how to follow this lead up from this side of the pond. Can anyone else help?

The hunt continues!

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 29 May 04 - 08:00 PM

I assure you that John Foreman was absolutely certain that John Horrocks was the perpetrator.
Since John was sure it was properly published for copyright purposes, once our Spring Bank Holiday is over on Tuesday I might put in a call to the Performing Right Society and/or the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society and see who they list as the copyright owner. After all, if it was only written (as just about everyone seems to believe) in the 30s or 40s, it's still in copyright under English law (70 years from the death of the creator).
Will report back on any results, positive or negative.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:41 PM

A progress report --- if you can call it that!

I have now heard from the MCPS/PRS. They say that they have TWO songs listed under that title and that neither of them is shown as by BOLT or HORROCKS.

In some trepidation, I have asked them for details of both songs. I suppose I risk getting 2 (or 3, or 4) completely new names to further confuse the issue. Wasn't this why that good old term 'Trad' was invented?

All the Best!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:34 AM

Oh, Barrie, you're getting so close to solving this mystery. Two songs, indeed! Do post the lyrics of both.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter, not to be confused with Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 07:45 AM

I have just heard from the MCPS/PRS in London.

They confirm that their index shows TWO songs of this title --- one by CLAYTON WOLF and one by DAVID NASH.

With no little trepidation I have just asked them who they have listed as the writer of the one you're looking into.

I suggest that all parties keep all fingers firmly crossed.

Happy Summer Solstice (well, almost)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 08:51 AM

Barrie-

I do hope we run this one to the ground. However, the usual credit for this song (in the initial post to this thread) is lyrics by B. Woolf and tune by Arnold Clayton. The index reference from MCPS/PRS to "CLAYTON WOLF" may just be a data entry combination of their two names, or maybe not.

It would be nice to have the lyrics posted here for each of the songs listed as "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" or a link.

Thanks for moving this search on. You're clearly the point man on what I was beginning to think was a forlorn hope.

Warm regards,
Landlady Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 23 Jun 04 - 09:04 AM

I have just heard from MCPS/PRS that their database cannot link author/composer details to a particular lyric/melody, so they cannot help further. Curses!

I think Landlady's Daughter is probably right about index confusion giving rise to the alleged two songs and we're probably still talking about only one, but I'm not sure how to take this further. The British Library Copyright collection, perhaps? Anybody know anything about this aspect?

In the meantime I'm going to pour myself a stiff drink and write another devastatingly witty book. I can only suggest that you all go out and buy one to distract you from looking for weird songs!

Best wishes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Jun 04 - 04:52 PM

Aaaccckkk!

Well, the challenge still remains. Who's going to march into the bowels of the British copyright library, grab one of them by the throat, and persuade them to give up the goods? Surely this is a mission for the lads and ladies of Cecil Sharp House. But if someone else wants the glory, far be it for me to hold you back, which would be a little difficult from my house on the Kennebec River in Maine.

Have another drink on me, Barrie, and please give it another go.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 08:36 PM

A progress (or lack of) report.

I have checked the Public Catalogue of the British Library. That shows four WMA publications --- a songbook, a song pamphlet, a book on Irish rebel songs and a book on Soviet songs. I suppose either of the first two might contain 'Pity the Downtrodden Landlord@, but the online index doesn't show titles of items in the books. It would require someone to trot along and look at them in London. Sadly I am some distance from London and don't get there often, so it isn't going to be me.

As a second direction, I located a site for the Alan Bush Music Trust, a charity which continues the work of a former president of WMA. They couldn't help with definitive song details, but they did give me a name and address to write to.

I shall now keep you all in suspense by not naming the person I have written to.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 09:12 PM

Barrie-

And the poor old man they suggested writing to just got run over by a trolly bus as he was crossing the road.

Sigh!

Landlady's Grandchild


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: JennyO
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 11:20 PM

This song always goes down well at sessions. I sang it last night at one - I even got down on my knee in the last verse. Lots of fun!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Jun 04 - 08:39 AM

JennyO-

This song is truly a classic and I'm always interested in the people who know it, and why they love it. That's why it was an easy pick as the lead title for the working draft of my collection of Tenant and Neighborhood Organizing Songs. It always brings tears to my eyes.

With regard to your fair city, "Across the Western Suburbs" was an early catch from your inner city neighborhoods of Woolloomoolloo and Kings Cross.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM

Further progress report. Talked to John Foreman last night, who says that ARNOLD CLAYTON most probably wrote the tune for a lyric by JOHN HORROCKS. Clayton, says John, was a 'demonstrator' of tunes for publishers in Denmark Street (London's Tin Pan Alley)and a brilliant musician.
Still no word from my correspondent. Keeping all fingers firmly crossed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:25 AM

No wonder you're having trouble, Barrie: those crossed fingers are cancelling each other! You should only cross an odd number of pairs if you want it to work. (I'm not superstitious, but why take chances?)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 09:03 AM

I'm crossing my toes as well.

Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 06:00 PM

Steve,
I can't speak for your hands, but each of mine has an odd number of fingers on it. As a result, if I cross them all I end up with an odd number of pairs.
Is your trouble that you've mislaid a finger or can't count!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 02:15 AM

Greetings,
Gather round Mudcatters and interlopers all, for I bring tidings --- of success, I believe.
Regular readers will recall that I was given an address to write to. That name was Joan Horrocks, and I began to believe that she would be a relative of John Horrocks and could solve our mystery.
Then Joan e-mailed me to say that John Horrocks was definitely not the lyricist. However, she promised to contact the WMA archivist for info.
Now comes a 6-page e-mail from Laurie Bielby, Joan's partner. fascinating as it is (and it is) I won't take up space here. Anyone who wants to see all of it can e-mail me at www.barrieroberts.com. The main points are as follows:

1.    John Jordan, archivist of WMA (he says it means that, 'all the WMA archives are in cardboard boxes tied up with string under MY bed instead of someone ele's') confirms that he has a copy of the song showing the composer as Arnold Clayton and the lyricist as B.Woolf;

2.    Arnold Clayton wasa composer, dance band arranger and copyist who was involved with Unity Theatre from time to time and was in the MU Directory. This gels with what John Foreman recalls of him;

3.    Barnet 'Doggie' Woolf was a scientist (later an animal geneticist) who provided lyrics for many Unity Theatre productions, sometimes under the pen-name of Arthur Pooley;

4.    The song may have been created duwing WWII (but contains no bombing references?) but was more probably composed between 1945 and 1960. John Jordan's cvopy is undated, but he has a WMA songbook, published in 1949 which features the song;

5.    Laurie speculates that the song may have appeared in a special show put on by Unity in 1946 for those involved in a 'mass squate'; by homeless families of empty Kensington flats. Unity was then performing 'Gold Is Where You Find It', music by Arnold Clayon, book & lyrics by Bill Owen (yes --- that Bill Owen of the long-running & still-running TV comedy 'Last of the Summer Wine'). Clayton would undoubtedly have worked such an appropriate song into a squatters' protest show;

6.    How did it cross the Atlantic and appear in the People's Songbook? Probably via Pete Seeger, who was a Vice-President of WMA from the beginning and would have recieved copies of their songs;

7.    The Weavers recorded it in the early 50s. Alfie bass and the 'Four Bailiffs' made a Topic single of it in 1955 (Topic TRC 87). Stan Kelly put it on 'Songs For Swinging Landlords to'.

There it is, folks. I fervently, hope, believe and pray that we have now got the pukka gen, but that's what you get when you set a former criminal lawyer and writer of thrillers on the trail!

All the best!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: JennyO
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 03:32 AM

I just went hunting for the lyrics of the song cos I realised I didn't have the extra verse printed, even though we always sing it. I didn't even know it was an extra verse until I read this thread. To us it was just part of the song.

It was only when I went hunting everywhere but mudcat (cos it was mostly down) that I realised how uncommon that verse is. No other lyrics sites seem to have it. Then one of the sites had a link to this thread and I thought - what the hell, maybe I'll catch the cat in a good mood, and voila, the cat was up for a moment and I managed to get in, and I see you have put in that extra verse, Judy. So now I have it saved and printed out properly.

Meanwhile even as we speak, our landlord's son is outside fixing our horrible kitchen window which had those ugly bars on it and a dusty broken window with a piece of clear plastic in front of it. I decided we had been putting up with too many crummy things around here, and he and his builder friend have been here on the last three weekends fixing some of them. So this is probably not the best time to be singing that song around here *grin*.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM

The first and last verse appear in print in 'Songs That Changed The World' 1969 -authors are listed as B. Woolf and Arnold Clayton, copyright by Workers Music Association, London.

I was systematically working through the 1969 book searching for DT songs without tunes. I hadn't seen or heard this before. I'll post the dots in a couple of days.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity Downtrodden Landlord?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 11:10 AM

John-

I agree, and that information is summarized in my initial post on this thread. The mystery continues. My best guess at this point is that B. Woolf is not the real name of the composer but a made-up name to shield that person from political attack, a useful tactic for creative people to use if they wished to keep their regular jobs.

In my searches through what's available on the Web about or from the Workers Music Association" or the Unity Theatre, I'm never found B. Woolf identified with anything other than this wonderful song.

But maybe it's time for someone else to take a fresh look or just ask someone who has survived from that period of the early 1940's.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 08:55 PM

Time to refresh this thread and see if anyone is willing to take up the challenge of identifying the mysterious "B. Woolf" who is credited with composing this ditty.

This song was recently sung at Sinsull's New Year Eve's party and it was distressing how few people were familiar with it. This is truly an endangered song.

Cordially,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 12:41 AM

it's a great song - maybe we'll get our local pair to sing it at the Dog when you're next in Sydney, Judy!

It is especialy poignant 'cos one singer is the other's landlord!

sandra


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
From: JennyO
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 12:51 AM

It'd be good if you can get Tom and Greg to do it, Sandra. If you can't, John and I could do a passable imitation.


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