Those of you that enjoy and appreciate the incredible source material offered by the likes of Topic Records will enjoy this recording of Cyril Poacher.This recording was made during 1953 on a Saturday evening at The Ship Inn, situated in the village of Blaxhall, Suffolk, East Anglia. This sing-around was a regular weekly event which began with Chairman, ‘Wickets’ Richardson calling all the veteran singers to swill back their beer and give a song. Our intrepid sound archivists present on this particular Saturday evening are none other than Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy. This is Cyril Poacher performing Young Man from the Country:
This recording features on “Singing at the Ship Inn: Alan Lomax’s 1953 Blaxhall Recordings“, a digital-only release by Global Jukebox.
The Ship was by that time already well-known for its vigorous afternoon sessions of folk-singing and step-dancing, which had been going strong since at least the early days of the century.
Under the stern direction of chairman Wicketts Richardson — who calls the crowd to order and announces the singers — “the old boys” performed ballads (“The Three Jolly Sportsmen”), topical pieces (“The Bonny Bunch of Roses”), bawdy numbers (“The Nutting Girl”), and step-danced to tunes pumped out on the melodeon, while the publicans, Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt, kept the pint glasses filled.
The Ship Inn still enjoys regular folk sessions and step dancing and whilst hunting around I came across this video from 2011 which shows a Stepdance competition held there. Just check the ages of some of the dancers, proof the tradition will live on for a long while yet.
Also earlier this year Topic Records announced the addition of four new volumes to their landmark seminal traditional music series The Voice of the People, one of which was The Barley Mow (read our news article here).
The Barley Mow TSCD676D
Field recordings and a film made in Suffolk by Peter Kennedy in the 1950s.
As early as 1949, Peter Kennedy had begun making field recordings of traditional music in the West Country of England on his own initiative and at his own expense with a factory prototype tape recorder lent to him by a friend. During the time the recordings included in this CD/DVD collection were made (1953-1956) Peter was working part-time for the EFDSS and part-time for the BBC, and in his free time he engaged in projects of his own and those he shared with Alan Lomax. Although Kennedy undertook his own recording trips to Suffolk in 1952, he and Lomax did not meet up in Suffolk until October 10th 1953, to record singers at the Ship in Blaxhall, then onto Swefling the following day to record Harry List.
Peter had been keen to record traditional music and dance performance on film, and Lomax attended the first day of filming at the Ship in November 1955.
June 1956 saw Peter in the area again, this time recording Phoebe Smith, her neighbour Jim Baldry, Bob Roberts, Jumbo Brightwell and Edgar Button. With this wealth of recorded material, Peter laid the foundations for future research into a region rich in traditional music, dance and song.
The film can also be viewed online via the East Anglian Film Archive by clicking here.
Download via Amazon: Singing at the Ship Inn – Alan Lomax’s 1953 Blaxhall Recordings