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Our Subversive Voice

I've just had what turns out to be a really interesting email - even though I didn't think it would be at first glance of the message.  But the website itself is just fascinating - do give it a look.

Re: Arthur Knevett's Article

Hi Rod,

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of congratulations at your having produced such an incredible internet magazine and CD publishing.  Trust you're not giving everything up!

I suddenly realised that I had inadvertently overlooked Arthur Knevett's excellent article on Sharp and Mary Neal - The Folk Dance Movement ( ).  I just wanted to add that additional information on Mary Neal's use of Irish and Scottish dancing, before approaching Sharp for help with English dancing, as well as detail on Neal sending Sharp to Gloucestershire in search of Morris Dance material (and possibly players/dancers) which the Esperance girls could use, in my article The Mystery of the Whistling Sewermen in the 2002 edition of the Folk Music Journal (


Paul Burgess - 18.10.20


Hi, Rod

Just thought I'd drop a quick line to say how pleased I was to hear the news regarding MT's future.  I think you have done a fantastic job with it over the last 20+ years - a major asset to the wider world of traditional music.  There's been nothing else like it.  It's been so important to be able to read so many outstanding and knowledgeable enthusiasts, often ploughing what must seem like rather lonely furrows, and striking a balance that is serious and informed, without the dead hand that often falls on academic writing.  None of that could have happened without the dedication and hard work you put into it.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who just came to take all that for granted, which of course, we never should.

As there's part of me that remains an unreconstructed old folkie (and proud of it), Mainly Norfolk is a site I've visited quite a lot over the years (I think I provided bits of info/images to it at some point).  Reinhard is evidently an enthusiast, and well qualified to run a dynamic website.  Mainly Norfolk has always seemed beautifully designed and very well-organised.

Yours are big boots to fill, but plenty of cause for optimism, I think.  With thanks for your commitment (and for publishing my own rambling efforts) over the years, and with very best wishes.

Ray Templeton - 1.10.20

The Wild, Wild Berry

In 1989 I recorded a version of the ballad Lord Randal from the singer Ray Driscoll, who was then living in south London.  Ray called it The Wild, Wild Berry.  A few years later the recording was issued by the EFDSS as part of an anthology CD A Century of Song - A Celebration of Traditional Singers Since 1898 (EFDSS CD002).  Subsequently, Gwilym Davies recorded Ray singing a number of songs, including The Wild, Wild Berry.  So there should be no doubt as to where the song came from.

I am currently working on a project which involved me carrying out further research into this song.  One thing that I discovered was that the song was sung later by the revival singer, Sam Lee, for the soundtrack of a film, titled King Arthur: the Legend of the Sword, where it is claimed that the song 'was written in 2012 by Hladooski & Jones' - whoever they might he.

What annoys me is the fact that there is no mention at all of Ray Driscoll.  I have a good idea why Ray's name has been wiped from the record (so to speak), but I am saddened that our heritage is being so carelessly - or deliberately - altered in this manner.  Our source singers surely deserve better.

The story moves on!  Eagled-eyed editor Rod Stradling tells me that two revival performers, Stephanie Hladowski and Chris Joynes, included the song on a 2012 CD titled The Wild, Wild Berry (Bo Weavil Records WEAVILCD49).  According to the notes, they had learnt the song at Cecil Sharp House from my recording of Ray Driscoll.  My apologies to these two performers for not knowing who they were, even when spelled correctly.

I can only assume that somebody at the film company, checking the copyright of songs used in the film, had wrongly assumed that the couple had written the song.  Things like this do happen.  But, it also goes to show how incorrect information, now in public domain, can cause problems for future generations.  I have written elsewhere about how 19th century music publishers deliberately used false composer names on their sheets, thus confusing future researchers.  We really do need to keep our eyes open if we are to prevent things like this from happening again.

Mike Yates - 21.9.20

Re: Songswappers photo - 2

Hi Rod.

Just wondering if the fiddle player in the photo is Steve Pennells?

Hope all is well with you all.  Best Wishes

Jamie Wheeler - 13.6.20

East Suffolk Country Band

We're trying to put together an article about the ESCB on the EATMT website, and I am in the process of transfering some cassettes Karen Morley has sent of the band with a view to making a CD or two for private circulation.  What we're short of is information and photos.

Bearing in mind your 'audience', could you put out a plea on your website for any recordings, snaps or memories please.  We are particularly interested in Chelmondiston in Suffolk (probably the Red Lion) and Cromer in Norfolk (probably the Bath Hotel), but wherever and whenever they played is of interest, including Islington.  People should get in touch with Alex Bartholomew at or with me at if they can help.

Thanks in anticipation.

Alan Helsdon - 11.6.20

Re: Songswappers photo in Editorial

'Can't imagine many folk clubs, then or since, to have been able to present three of the area's top traditional performers at the same time.'

Well, you could have a look and the line-up for all our Sussex Singers Nights that we arranged over 30 years at our club in Lewes and at each of them you would see at least double that number, and remember that several like Johnny Doughty and Gordon Hall had not even been aware of the folk scene in the 1950s.

Coming back to the photo, Brian Golbey (with an 'e') is in that photo.  He was a very fine fiddler but is not the one indicated in the photo next to Scan.  He is the one in the glasses and checked shirt behind George.  I think that the man on the other side of George in the open necked shirt is Geoff Cohen, one time editor (or owner or both) of the Mid-Sussex Times.  The older man in a suit and tie next to him looks very familiar but I cannot put a name to him.

Best wishes

Vic Smith - 11.6.20

Re: ECMW 2020

We had an ECMW committee meeting this week and as you would expect, discussed the COVID-19 issue.

Clearly we must follow any regulations or recommendations made by the UK government regarding running gatherings such as ours.  We are not able to anticipate the timing of such changes, so must be prepared to react accordingly at any time up to the actual weekend of the 26/27/28 June.

However we also felt that there might be a case for acting over and above any regulations or recommendations.  We agreed to review the situation at the next meeting which will be in the week starting April 4th.  To this end we agreed to delay opening the booking window until at least the following week starting 13th April.  Anyone who does book will be able to have a full refund if the weekend is subsequently cancelled.

We discussed what we might do in the event that the weekend has to be cancelled.  We all felt that the most reasonable thing to do would be to cancel the weekend entirely for 2020 and propose to run the same weekend in 2021, given that we have no idea how long the virus might be around (but hoped that a year was probably long enough!)

We'd be delighted to hear any thoughts you might have.

The ECMW 2020 Team.

Our mailing address is:
2a Ashurst Gardens
Skelmersdale, England WN8 6SW


Re: The Three Ravens article

Just a further letter in reply to Vernon Chatman's response to Arthur's article.

I wonder if Vernon Chatman would be willing to stand by his thesis if he was to become aware that 'hey', 'derry', 'down' and 'a' were all commonplace constituent parts of English song choruses going back at least to Tudor times.  Did they all derive from Ireland?  And were he to become aware that, in ballads at least, females being figuratively depicted as 'does' was also a common feature of ballads in the seventeenth century.  He would do well to check out on the UCSB EBBA website the ballad The Huntsman's Delight etc., which includes all of these.

Steve Gardham - 9.1.20

Re: Forked Deer

According to Tony Russell's excellent Country Music Records - 1921 - 1942 Arthur Smith did not recorded Forked Deer during the period 1935 - 1940.  Smith did, however, record after this date and he may have recorded the tune post-1940.  If you google 'Forked Deer Arthur Smith' you should find a Utube recording of Smith playing Forked Deer.  But, this recording is only 1 minute in length and it clearly does not include 6 parts.

Mike Yates - 9.1.20

Forked Deer

I read Paul Roberts' 09/01/2015 article on John Johnson's Strange Creek Fiddling 1947 album which contains a 5-part version of "Forked Deer".

I have been trying to find a recording of "Forked Deer" by Arthur Smith to hear an early six-part version of that song.  It has been attested online that John Johnson played "Forked Deer" for Clark Kessinger and that he played a 6-part version and that he said that he learned it from an Arthur Smith record when he was a child.  All of the extant recordings available of Arthur Smith that I have found do not contain a recording of him performing "Forked Deer".  Do you or anyone there know of an extant recording of Arthur Smith playing "Forked Deer"?

Thank you for any info.  Sincerely,

James S. Nelson, Esquire - 8.1.20

Re: Hoosier

Dear Rod,

Caught up with Ray Templeton's review of Oh, Listen Today and saw that he'd quoted my suggestion that there may have been a connection between the words 'hoosier' and 'hussar'.  Just a short while back, Ray's review of fiddler Hog-Eyed Man 4 referred, in respect of the tunes being played, to Marcus Martin, the source of a version of The Wounded Hoosier.

Since when I've found a whole lot of information - including a fair summary of the history of the word 'Hoosier' that can be found through Wikipedia and seems to be etymologically and socially pretty convincing.  Anybody interested can look it all up but, very briefly, discussion offers the notion that a Hoosier is a denizen of Indiana.

The accompanying Wikipedia section on 'folk etymology' is both intriguing and amusing.  So the mind is led in strange ways ...

The Wounded Hussar was definitely a Thomas Campbell poem and this dates from the late eighteenth century; but, as noted above, it was the tunes that became attached to it that set me off.  My first encounter was with the tune as played by Tony McMahon in the late sixties.  And you can certainly sing Campbell's lines in what has become that regular Irish musical manifestation.  Ray also points out a certain affinity between the tune and the Irish Blackbird.

But it's the word 'Wounded' that seemed to be worth pursuing.  It wasn't a kite that I was flying.  Rather, I was trying to elicit information.  And, whilst there are many differences between the Irish air and Marcus Martin's, there are echoes in the direction of the cadences until you get to the point where Marcus has some extra bars that might even suggest that the tune was used for a particular dance.  And, not so very by the way, when the tune is heard on Hog-Eyed Man 4, it's played more slowly and the echoes are more pronounced.

And why 'Wounded'?

This might be enough to be going on with except that, in the Wikipedia assembly, the recommended pronunciation of the word 'Hoosier' is, apparently, 'Hoo-zer' ('Hoozair')...  There must be somebody from Indiana who could enlighten us further.  Meanwhile, that's the way that Marcus Martin pronounced the word in his introduction to the tune.


Roly Brown - 3.1.20


Rod Stradling - e-mail:  Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos  GL5 2HP, UK

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