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Bert Lloyd Tribute - Cecil Sharp House 15 November 2008

From Caroline Clayton (Bert's daughter) 22 November 2008

The day was lovely. Ted had a matinee and an evening show so he just kept bobbing in and out. He was amazed how many people turned up and often wondered who people were talking about as we (he and I) seem to know so little about Bert.

The performers celebrated different strings to Bert's bow with the lightest touch - Martin Wyndham-Read and Iris Bishop: Australia, Bob Davenport: theatre and so on.

Bob sang a tremendous song written by Lal Waterson and I thought it was perfect to have her there so vividly as she was greatly loved by Bert.

Louis Killen! What a beautiful tough voice - took me right back into our old kichen in Greenwich where he and Matt McGinn roared out their outrage. Astonishing to hear the young singers Lisa Knapp and Sam Lee sing 'The Blackleg Miner' in 2008 with a slow, slightly sinister sadness and remembering Matt's 1960s straight forward uncompromising murderous threat.

Frankie Armstrong had an amazing Bulgarian singer friend Dessislava Stefanova with her and they made our hair stand on end with those familiar harmonies (that is the test to prove that the harmonies are 'working' and work they did).

Alistair Anderson MCed the afternoon concert and pitched it perfectly - everyone told a bit of a tale but even dad wouldn't have been embarrassed. He did a beautiful set in the evening.

Dave Arthur spoke about some of the things he researched for the not quite finished book and, in spite of researching for 25 years, he still seems to feel passionate about his subject. There were photos of dad and his family and the station he worked on in Australia projected on a big screen. Everyone told our Joby how like his grandad he looked.

Maddy Prior sang and danced and grinned as happily as ever. Dave Swarbrick fiddling like a demon - where did the melody go? blooming hec there it is! Martin Carthy (who went to school with my brother, Joe) and Norma Waterson were in their own league and recalled the early days recording for Topic. The very pregnant Eliza Carthy came but couldn't sing because she had a sore throat so she had a bit of a fiddling competition with Dave Swarbrick and whooped it up.

My family, several neighbours, my friends and their children and grandchildren all came at one point or another and were all delighted to be there. The audiences came and went and were warm and friendly and appreciative. At the evening concert the audience took their seats while Barrie Gavin's documentary Bert; a Personal Memoir was screened and the silence was deafening - it was good to hear dad join in and sing at his concert.

The day was both sweet and magnificent.


Many thanks to Caroline for permission to add this review to the Australian Folk Songs website


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory