Authentic Folk

John Adey and Penny Avant have recorded two folk songs for us. John has visited us in Ballydehob and played his English concertina at our Session here. He is equally good on guitar, and accompanies the two of them singing on this first track – More Than Enough:

 

Written by Robb Johnson (b 1955), who has correctly been described as “one of the last genuinely political songwriters”: his prolific opus of songs makes us feel uncomfortable – as we should – about the state of our world. I believe that this dates from the 1990s and was specifically a protest against the closure of children’s nurseries in England. The last verse sums it up – and the sentiment is as relevant today – a quarter of a century later – as it ever was:

…Consider how little of life that we know
You bring nothing, take nothing, pass through, and go
We’re all of us poor when it comes to the night
Afraid of the darkness, in need of the light
If we’d learn to want less and love more
There’d be enough for the poor

If we’d learn to want less and love more
There’d be enough for the poor
Cause there’s more than enough for us all…

John Adey – who hales from Mexborough – a former industrial town in South Yorkshire (in fact the home of the concertina quartet we featured in our very first post) – sings solo on our second track, another ‘true’ working people’s folk song known as The Walling Song:

 

This is a great song about rural life based on a poem by Keith Scowcroft from Bury, formerly part of Lancashire but now soaked up into Greater Manchester. The tune was added by Derek Gifford and included in a cassette recording – When All Men Sing – released in 1989. Since that time this affecting air has been so absorbed into the folk genre that many people have announced it as a ‘traditional’ piece. In fact, John himself learned it from a traditional Yorkshire singer – Will Noble – who is also a stone waller.

Many thanks to Penny and John for enriching our pages with these gems!

Traditional stone walling in the Dales at Malham, Yorkshire – Photo by Finola Finlay

PS It’s a small world! , Derek Gifford founded the once legendary Dicconson Arms Folk Club at the aptly named Dangerous Corner, Wrightington, Lancashire. The club ran through the late 70s and early 80s becoming one of the foremost folk venues in the North-West of England, hosting national guest appearances. A specific mention is made in their annals of a regular guest, Dick Miles – now heading up our Ballydehob Sessions!

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