Australian Folk Songs
songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

Bert Lloyd Tribute - Cecil Sharp House 15 November 2008

From Dave Arthur (22 November 2008)

The concert hall was comfortably full for the afternoon and evening concerts, and my, and Paul Adams, talk about the fortcoming biography and the new Fellside CDs. The live club performance CD is coming out with the book in the Spring of 2009. The other double one (Australian and English) is out now. For information on them check out the Fellside website.

It was lovely to see so many old friends of Bert's together (Louis Killen, Dave Swarbrick, Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Mike Waterson, Bob Davenport, Alistair Anderson, Maddy Prior, Martin Wyndham-Read, Frankie Armstrong, Dave Arthur etc.,) on stage throughout the day reminiscing about Bert and singing songs many of which came from him - Tamlin, Sovay, Byker Hill, Bird in the Bush, Short Jacket and White Trousers, Bitter Withy and more. It's possibly the last time that all these performers (some of whose contact with Bert goes back to the 1950s) will get together for such a concert, none of us is getting any younger!

The legendary folk photographer Brian Shuel was there with his wife Sally updating his folksingers' archive. Doc Rowe, and the BBC, recorded the whole day on sound and film. The BBC are putting out a memorial programme on Radio 3 some time soon using recordings made during the day and interviews with various participants. I'm going into the BBC this coming Monday to add some links between the songs and chat.

It was nice that the Lloyd family were there. Bert's daughter Caroline, her husband Ted, and their children (now grown up) and they all seemed to enjoy the day. The only downside was that the memorial blue plaque which Caroline had hoped English National Heritage would agree to put on Bert's old house in Greenwich was turned down a few days earlier.

Several people turned up clutching bits of Bert memorablia photos (a lovely one of him in America with Charles Seeger); a range of albums going back to the early '50s, and even an autographed copy of Bert's 1937 copy of Leo Huberman's 'Man's Worldly Goods' that someone had picked up in a second-hand bookshop. The High Court Judge Lord Stephen Sedley was there with his wife and we had a chat about his book 'Seeds of Love' (to which Bert contributed) and his work with Bert in trying to get sensible government legislation over the thorny subject of folksong copyright.

Eric Winter's widow Audrey, now in her eightes, turned up, looking as fit as a butcher's dog. Eric Winter was the editor of the long-running folk magazine 'Sing' to which Bert contributed many articles and songs over the years.

The general atmosphere was one of celebration and enjoyment at meeting and hearing some many old friends and fine singers. It was a fitting venue seeing as it was in 1948 in the same concert hall that Bert won the folksinging competition, judged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and set out on a career as a singer of folk songs. Sixty years later hundreds of us assembled in the same hall and remembered him and his valuable contribution to the folk revival.


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


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory