Monday 7 November 2016

Traditional Song Forum Meeting in Liverpool

  • Saturday 19 November 2016
  • 9.30am to 5.00pm
  • Liverpool Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EW (less than 5 minutes’ walk from Lime Street Station). 
The Traditional Song Forum (TSF) is a national organisation that brings together those interested in the research, collecting and performance of traditional song. The meetings are open to any who wish to attend. Donations from non-members are welcome, with a suggested amount of £5.

Starting at 9.30am with tea and coffee, the morning includes a round-the-room sharing of traditional song research and interest, which will include an opportunity to look at Liverpool Library’s collection of broadsides, and Mike Brocken will describe the newly-established folk music resource centre at Liverpool Hope University.

After a lunch break, the afternoon will feature the following talks and presentations on aspects of traditional song in the Merseyside region.

Frank Kidson in Liverpool – Alice Jones
Alice Jones is from Ripponden, West Yorkshire, where she has been involved with folk music, dance and song since childhood. She was greatly influenced by the Ryburn 3 Step team, and collaborated with Pete Coe in researching songs collected by Leeds-based Frank Kidson. This research led to concert and club performances and a CD, under the title The Search for Five Finger Frank. Earlier this year, Alice released her first, critically-acclaimed solo album, Poor Strange Girl. Alice will examine Kidson’s friendship with Liverpool resident and song source, Alfred Mooney.

The Miraculous Arm: William Armstrong and the Ballad Trade in Liverpool in the Early 19th Century – Matthew Edwards
Matthew Edwards is a retired social care worker living in Wirral who sings mainly traditional songs at song sessions locally and at festivals across these islands. A fellow singer, the late Fred McCormick, was a great inspiration for exploring song traditions, especially the connections between Britain and Ireland. Matthew will be talking about a Liverpool broadside printer, William Armstrong, who published a significant body of songs with Irish themes in the years after the Napoleonic Wars.

Southport - from Anne Gilchrist and Sea Songs to the Bothy Folk Club and Cork Jackets – Clive Pownceby and Derek Schofield
Derek Schofield is the former editor of English Dance & Song magazine, published by the English Folk Dance & Song Society. He has written two books on aspects of the folk revival. He has also contributed to fRoots magazine, as well as to the Folk Music Journal. He grew up in Crosby, Merseyside, and now lives in Cheshire. Clive Pownceby has been the organiser and a resident singer at the 51-year-old Bothy Folk Club in Southport for several decades. He has contributed to English Dance & Song and The Living Tradition magazines. He lives in Crosby. This joint paper will look at Anne Gilchrist’s time living in Southport when she collected songs from William Bolton, and the Bothy Club’s more recent promotion of traditional song in the town.

Stan Hugill and the Liverpool Shanty Tradition – Gerry Smyth
Gerry Smyth is Professor of Irish Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. One of his principal research interests is in Irish musical cultures worldwide; his latest book, entitled Celtic Tiger Blues: Music and Irish Identity, will be published by Routledge in January 2017. In this paper he will be talking about the Irish influence on the nineteenth-century Atlantic shanty tradition, especially as mediated by the great singer / collector Stan Hugill.

The Early Years of the Folk Song Revival on Merseyside – Mick Groves and Hughie Jones in conversation with Derek Schofield
As members of The Spinners folk group, Mick and Hughie were founders and resident singers at the city’s first folk club in 1958. Hughie sings and runs the Everyman Folk Club in Liverpool, while Mick is now resident in Exeter, where he also continues to sing.

Saturday evening: there will be a singaround from about 7.00pm at the Cornmarket pub in Liverpool. The Cornmarket pub is in the Old Ropery opposite the Slaughterhouse in Lower Castle Street close to James Street Station. 

Friday night 18 November: there will also be a mainly tunes session at the Pen Factory in Hope Street from 8.00pm. 

Sunday morning: there will be a guided tour featuring some of the sites which are famous, or notorious, in song, finishing with a trip on the famous Mersey Ferry. The tour will start at 10.00am from the plaza in front of the Adelphi Hotel in Lime Street, opposite "the statue exceedingly bare"!

The meeting has been arranged by Matthew Edwards, Colin Batho and Derek Schofield.

The meeting is dedicated to the memories of Stan Ambrose and Fred McCormick.

For further information, contact:


  1. Will you be there then, Nev? I'm considering it myself.

  2. Possibly; I'm not sure I'll be available.


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