Subtitled Country Folk And Country Ways From The Book S Endpapers Have You Ever Spent An Evening In Early Summer Sipping Ale On A Wooden Bench Outside A Country Pub, While The Old Man At Your Side Spins Yarns Of His Early Manhood Have You Sat In A Chimney Corner In A Flag Stoned Tap Room As An Ancient Singer In A Quavering Tenor, Sings A Song That Was Old When Lord Nelson Was A Boy If You Have, Then Cherish The Memory For These Are The Last Remaining Drops Of The Living Essence Of English Country Life This Begins SONGS AND SOUTHERN BREEZES, The Story Of Bob Copper S Wanderings In Sussex And Hampshire In Search Of Old Songs And Stories Of The English Countryside By Now 1973 The Last Generation Of Country People To Be Brought Up In A Way Unchanged In Centuries Has Begun To Die Out There Is A Danger That The Wealth Of Spoken Dialect Anecdote And Old Songs Handed Down From Father To Son Might Disappear With Them For What Has Been A Living Tradition Is Now Rapidly Becoming History.A Well Known Countryman And Folk Singer, Bob Copper Makes Vivid Portraits Of Some Of The Men And The Women He Has Met The Story Tellers Like Ex Steam Threshing Machine Driver Len Page, For Example, Who Could Make A Mousetrap Of His Shirt Whilst Still Wearing It Frank Mush Bond, Fairground Hand And Casual Farm Labourer Who Turned Out To Have Been A Startling Literary Magpie And Home Philosopher In His Spare Time And Splendid Old Fanny Thorn Who, Awarded The British Empire Medal For A Lifetime Of Service On The Land, Was Still Going Strong At Ninety Three.Then There Are The Singers Fishermen Of Hastings Recalling Contemporary Accounts Of Napoleon S Retreat From Moscow In Their Songs The Council Hedger Keeping Alive Memories Of Long Forgotten Crimes Such As A Young Girl S Murder In Poison In A Glass Of Wine , And Many Others Fifty Songs Are Collected With Full Words And Music At The Back Of This Book, Some Wistful, Some Earthily Comic, Telling Of The Old Life, Its Hardships, Its Rewards, And Perhaps, Most Appealing Of All, The Rich Sense Of Fun Of The People Who Lived It.
Copper, who has died aged 89, was regarded as the patriarch of English folk song he had proudly inherited a family legacy of traditional singing that could be traced back hundreds of years, and he continued it with such love and gusto that Copper family songs have sustained the folk music scene ever since.In return he was revered by a folk movement strongly influenced by the family s unaccompanied close harmony singing.Yet while he was known primarily for his folk singing and he continued to sing with his customary ebullience into his final years he was also a regular broadcaster and a respected author of books about rural Sussex life.Copper had a lifelong love of Delta blues music which manifested itself in a public performance on his 85th birthday when he sang Divin Duck Blues and Goin Down To Brownsville at Lewes Folk Club I ve always said, he commented at the end of his performance, it takes a black man to really sing the blues and tonight I ve proved it Bob Copper was born at Rottingdean, near Brighton, on January 6 1915 He soon discovered what was expected of him When I was a boy, he said, people would say, Young Copper in t it Come up here and give us a song Accustomed from birth to regular singing sessions at family gatherings and village events, the young Bob needed little persuasion.His grandfather, Brasser Copper, a farm bailiff, was a well known figure in Rottingdean, leading the singing with songs learned from his own grandfather.In 1922, Brasser started to gather many of the family songs in book form, a process enthusiastically continued by Bob s father, Jim It was this battered old book that the family gathered round whenever they made a public appearance.In 1951 the Coppers came to national attention with a BBC radio broadcast to 15 million people on the live Sunday morning show Country Magazine, singing in a pub near Eastbourne They achieved further fame the next year when they appeared with Bob s cousin, Ron, and uncle, John Copper, at an international folk festival at the Royal Albert Hall.It was there that the public first saw them fussing over a tuning fork to establish the right note before launching into their unaccompanied harmonies The American Alan Lomax and the Irishman Seamus Ennis were among those who made a beeline for the Copper family home on field recording missions, and, after further radio broadcasts, Jim Copper featured on the cover of Radio Times Bob himself subsequently worked for the BBC, travelling through Hampshire and Sussex collecting folk music for the archives My cousin Ron and myself made a promise when we were young that we would keep the singing tradition of our family going, wrote Bob in 1971 Thus, with Bob singing treble, and Ron on bass harmonies, the Copper family tradition was gleefully rediscovered by the 1960s folk revival and their simple country songs took on a new lease of life in the folk clubs springing up around Britain.Songs such as Spencer The Rover, Claudy Banks, Thousands Or More, Sportsmen Arouse, Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy, Babes In The Wood and Come Write Me Down became the virtual heartbeat of the new British folk movement and the unusual Copper harmonies were adopted by many of the new groups, inspiring, among others, Young Tradition, featuring Peter Bellamy.Bob and Ron Copper were recorded by the English Folk Dance Song Society but it was the Leader label s landmark four LP set A Song For Every Season, featuring narrations by Bob putting the songs into a social context, that launched them centre stage to a new generation of folk enthusiasts.A Song For Every Season, Bob Copper s memoir of life at Rottingdean, won the 1971 Robert Pitman Literary Prize Other publications included Songs Southern Breezes 1973 , describing his adventures collecting songs and Early T
- 297 pages
- Songs and Southern Breezes
- Bob Copper
- 09 January 2017 Bob Copper