Thursday, 24 August 2017

Selection of Songs and Stories

<em>A.L.Lloyd and the Australian Folk Revival</em> As a 16 year old A.L.Lloyd was sent from England to Australia ... his family like so many had been decimated by the effects of the Great War and Lloyd's voyage to Australia was organised by the British Legion in a scheme whereby he was designated to work as a farm labourer. He arrived in Sydney on SS Euripedes in 1924.

He spent six years working mostly on sheep stations in NSW. He returned to England in 1931 at the height of the Great Depression carrying in his head a number of Australian bush songs he'd heard from his fellow workers. He also carried his experience of trade unionism in ihe bush as a member of the Pastoral Workers Union which he'd joined in 1925.

Lloyd educated himself in the bush on the NSW Stevenson Station via the Bush Workers Postal Loan Scheme run by the Sydney Library Service.

Back in London in the period of massive unemployment he educated himself about folk song and folk lore in the British Library. He was to become a major influence on the folk song revival in Britain and to be regarded as one of country's most influential folklorists. His influence would extend to the United States, Canada and Australia.

This presentation is designed allow you explore the fascinating and complicated influence of Lloyd on the 1950s folksong revival in Australia. You will have to opportunity to discover the many sides of Bert Lloyd that reached back to Australia between 1939 and his brief return visit in 1970.

Sovay the Female Highwayman (A.L.Lloyd)

Children Folklore broadcast (A.L.Lloyd)

The Drover's Dream (A.L.Lloyd)

Shickered As He Could Be (A.L.Lloyd)

Rocking the Cradle (A.L.Lloyd)

Click Go the Shears (A.L.Lloyd)

Click Go the Shears (Burl Ives)

Morton Bay (Simon McDonald)

The Golden Vanity (Simon McDonald)

The Bare Belled-Ewe 1891 version of Click Go the Shears
(Chloe and Jason Roweth)

Peg and Awl (Pete Seeger)

The Contract Horse Breaker (A.L.Lloyd)

Hold On Hamilton (A.L.Lloyd)

A.L.Loyd – Translator of Kafka 

Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis - arguably the greatest, most famous and most unnerving short work of literary fiction ever written - is a hundred years old in 2015. This centenary edition offers the first complete English translation of Kafka's text (by A. L. Lloyd from 1937) plus a richly detailed new introduction to the story by novelist Richard T. Kelly, describing its genesis and the life of its creator.

In The Metamorphosis' unforgettable opening sentence we meet travelling salesman Gregor Samsa - on a rare overnight stay in the apartment he shares with his family, paid for by his ceaseless labour - who awakes one morning 'from a troubled dream' to find himself 'changed in his bed to some kind of monstrous vermin'.

There is nothing which The Metamorphosis could be surpassed by - one of the few great, perfect poetic works of this century.' Elias Canetti

'My greatest masterpieces of twentieth-century prose are, in this order, Joyce's Ulysses, Kafka's [Metamorphosis], Bely's Petersburg and the first half of Proust's fairy tale In Search of Lost Time.' Vladimir Nabokov

Russel Ward On Bert Lloyd for A Radical Life 1988

Folksong and Fury p. 243 

The year 1956 saw the beginning of something new or, more correctly the resurrection of something old under the Australian sun. The ‘folk revival’  began. Ten years later folksinging in pubs  growing band of devotees spread the news that Australia had after all an ethos and a history of its own, something quite distinct from and more than a mere appendage to British imperial history. Something, in short, as different in spirit from Kipling's flying-fish-strewn 'Road to Man-dalay' as Banjo Paterson's 'Waltzing Matilda' or the old convict song about Moreton Bay. There is always something mysterious about the cause of great changes in taste. We shall never know exactly why many people, quite independently, suddenly became interested in Australian folksongs in the 1950s.

I saw it happening but I am no nearer now than I was then to understanding the process or to allotting some kind of credit rating, or pecking order, to the persons involved. Two of them in fact were `foreigners'—i.e. non Australasians. Burl Ives, the spherical, jolly, Yankee folksinger, astonished the nat-ives by singing a few Australian folksongs that many of them had never heard of. One, though undoubtedly genuine, greasy-wool Strine, I have never heard again since. In an American accent, naturally, Burl sang of the abominable station cook who 'ruined my constitooshun while shearing at Fowler's Bay'.

The other pioneer of the folk revival was an Englishman, A.L. Lloyd.  This singing Englishman probably did more to preserve Australian folksongs for posterity than anyone else but Banjo Paterson himself. Like many a likely lad in convict times, Bert Lloyd was shipped out to Sydney in the early 192os for his country's good. So were hundreds of other fifteen-or sixteen-year-old British boys from poverty-stricken backgrounds.

Their passages were paid by several charitable organisations which sought to strengthen the Empire by filling Australia's 'great open spaces' with healthy breeding stock, and at the same time to give the waifs a better chance in life than their homeland could offer. Bert worked first, he told me long afterwards, for cow and wheat cockies at ten shillings a week and keep.

Like thousands before him he soon heard that better wages and more congenial work were to be had on the pastoral runs further out west. When he reached the station country, however, his voice betrayed him. Every squatter, as the pastoral proprietors were still called, held as a cardinal article of faith that English-men were useless for station work. So Bert set about changing his native Cockney accent into a passable imitation of broad Strine. Only then could he get work at the correct Australian Workers Union award wages. He tried most things in the next few years, mostly about the shearing sheds—tar-boy, picker-up, rouseabout and slushy to the cook—but all the time he was committing to memory what older work mates called old bush songs. Many of them like ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’ and ‘The Old Bullock Dray’ were well known, but may other like ‘All for My Grog’, were not. The song describes in brutally realistic terms the old bush custom  of ‘bluing one’s cheque’, at the end of the sharing season or whenever the work had enough in his pocket to get drunk.

The young English migrant with his heard full of Australian songs returned home in time olive through the great depression in his own country and to become its best folksinger. He came back to Australia only once for a brief visit about 1970, but in the 1950s he freely gave to young Australians who visited him in London all that he knew of their heritage.

John Blacking on Percy Grainger 
(A Common Sense view of all music pp. 21-22)

Percy Grainger's emphasis on the complexity of folk music and the potential musicality of ordinary people, and his belief in the value of widely differing kinds of music have been upheld by the work of ethnomusicologists. Attempts to trace the evolution of the musical art from simple to complex, from one-tone to twelve-tone music and beyond, and to fit all the music of the world into such schemes, have proved fruitless. Musical systems are derived neither from some universal emotional language nor from stages in the evolution of a musical art: they are made up of socially accepted patterns of sound that have been invented and developed by interacting individuals in the contexts of different social and cultural systems. If they have been diffused from one group to another, they have frequently been invested with new meanings and even new musical characteristics, because of the creative imagination of performers and listeners. Role distinctions between creator, performer and listener, variations in musical styles and contrasts in the apparent musical ability of composers and performers, are consequences not of different genetic endowment, but of the division of labour in society, of the functional interrelationship of groups and of the commitment of individuals to music-making as a social activity. Distinctions between music as 'folk', 'art', or 'popular' reflect a concern with musical products, rather than with the dynamic processes of music-making. Such distinctions tell us nothing substantive about different styles of music, and as categories of value they can be applied to all music. 'Popular' music as a general category of value, is music that is liked or admired by people in general, and it can include Bach, Beethoven, the Beatles, Ravi Shankar, Sousa's marches and the 'Londonderry Air' . Far from being a patronizing or derogatory term, it describes positively music that has succeeded in its basic aim to communicate as music. The music that most people value most is popular music; but what that music is varies according to the social class and experience of composers, performers and listeners. Similarly, as Grainger pointed out, 'folk' musicians strive for artistic perfection.  As Eric Gill said, 'It isn't that artists are special kinds of people. Its that people are special kinds of artists' And And so we could say that the goal of all folk is to make artistic popular music.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Ewan MacColl & A.L.Lloyd – South Australia

Lloyd and MacColl along with an array of backing musicians initiated a new approach to singing sailors songs and sea shanties. In some ways they became a standard guide for the younger folk singers in America, Britain and Australia.

A.L.Lloyd – John Barleycorn

Doc Watson – Three Days with Doc – A.L.Lloyd