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HARRY GREEN "Old Songs & Folk Songs from Essex" Veteran Tapes VT135CD

The late Fred Hamer was a skilled and successful song collector despite his blindness. His rapport with his singers, often people that others had missed, produced fine results. All of this is shown in this new release taken from recordings made by him in 1967.

Harry Green lived in Essex all his life. He was a convivial character who loved to sing with his mates in the pub, in fact, his daughter remembers that he never sang at home. The vigorous style displayed here would mark him out as one well able to cut through tap room chatter without any cry of "Order please". He attacks his songs with the flourish of a natural performer. Only a slight occasional huskiness gives notice that he was ninety-three years old when recorded. He sang a mixture of lyrical songs, ballads, music hall and comic ditties, and recitations, the typical stock of an English village singer. A few titles will illustrate; "Jones' Ale", "The Nutting Girl", "The Blackguard Gypsies" (sic), "Down in the Fields where the Buttercups all Grow", and "Once I Courted a Fine Young Lass", a song known via the Copper Family as "Wop She 'Ad It I-O".

Tapes like this are important as well as being enjoyable (very enjoyable). They tell us not only what our older folk sang, but How. Today's singers need to have that reference available. Many thanks to Fred Hamer and Veteran Tapes for making it available.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 29 of The Living Tradition magazine.