Woody Guthrie & Sid Gleason letters

One of the pleasures of the folk music scene is the occasional unsolicited packet landing on ones doorstep from the legendary John Foreman. John is known as one of the great champions of the Music Hall tradition, and the Broadsheet King. He’s also a tireless archivist and letter writer. It …

The Banjo’s Journey

The Traditions Festival was a special event of workshops, dance, music and talks based on cultural ritual and its effects on our sense of self. I gave a presentation called The Banjo’s tracing the history of the banjo from it’s roots in Africa up to how I am using it …

Chris Sands – Classic Ragtime Banjo

Wednesday October 22nd 2014 ~ Cecil Sharp House, London   The evening of October 22nd 2014 saw a really extraordinary concert of music at Cecil Sharp House in Camden, London. “Classic” Fingerstyle banjo was the sound of the Edwardian Britain. Played with an intricate and demanding technique similar to that …

Our Song Will Go On – The Peekskill Story

Taken from a Topic 78 (No. TRC28 – Topic was at that point part of the Workers Music Association) featuring Paul Robeson, Howard Fast Pete Seeger and the Weavers these two sides document the Peekskill riots.

I’ve recently come across the Howard Fast book that’s shown in my little photo montage and it’s really quite remarkable so I may well return to this topic soon.

Cosmotheka presents The Two Leslies

Cosmotheka predates my time on the folk scene, although I have seen Dave Sealey on lots of occasions, and we ran the rebooted version of the band featuring Dave and his son at Walthamstow Folk Club a couple of years back.

They inspire real love from the people who remember them. They have a website at http://www.cosmotheka.co.uk

This is an episode of the BBC radio show “Double Tops” recorded off-air in 1988 by my friend Jamie Rowan who sent it to me and which I digitised.

The Two Leslies were a popular British double act of the 1930’s and 1940’s featuring Leslie Sarony and Leslie Holmes. The first part of the opening track is missing.

When I Get My Bolshevik Blood Up

I came across the title of this song in Michael Kilgarriff’s book “Sing us some of the old songs, A guide to popular song 1860 – 1920” and had to dig it out at the British Library. Disappointingly, but not really surprisingly it turned out to be very anti Bolshevik, …

Rufus John – The Internationale

Rufus John sings The Internationale on a record released by the Lansbury’s Labour Weekly newspaper, founded by Labour MP George Lansbury and which ran from 1925 to 1927 and which was an important source of news during the 1926 General Strike.

Billy Bennett – Napoleon

Billy Bennett is much loved on the folk scene because many of his surreal monologues stand up as floor spots today.

This is a lesser know number of his I found on a 78. It was recorded on August 23rd 1927.