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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Vic Smith Critical discussion of Ewan MacColl's singing (165* d) RE: Critical discussion of Ewan MacColl's singing 20 May 20

I knew Cyril well and thought he was a wonderful man. He was a regular at our folk club in Lewes and his stories and antics between his songs were hilarious. He was also one of the finest singers amongst that group of his traditional singer peers. He was an old-fashioned village entertainer. At agricultural shows, village fairs, harvest suppers etc. he would appear with his fold-away gate to lean over whilst he regaled his audience with jokes, patter, stories, monologues and songs. One of his regular gigs was huge beer tent at the South of England show at Ardingly. I remember seeing him there and thought that he was mesmerising. In his old-fashioned smock, he had his natural audience in stitches. Sometimes he took Bob Lewis along as his partner and Bob would sing a few songs whilst Cyril took a break. The greatest audience for those "Country Bumpkin" songs written for the urban Music Hall was found in rural areas and many of the old Sussex singers that I knew had some of these songs in their repertoire. Cyril's house was like a museum of old agricultural implements and he would explain how they were used to his visitors. His musical parties were always memorable.   I have very little problem with the public personae of Cyril Phillips as a performer; much less cringe-worthy than the tales that I have heard from famed traditional singers about them or their fathers blacking up to sing in n****r minstrel shows.
I could tell you dozens of stories about Cyril and his escapades - but perhaps this thread is not the place.

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