Mudcat Café message #1837520 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94776   Message #1837520
Posted By: Fred McCormick
18-Sep-06 - 01:10 PM
Thread Name: Reflections/Criticism of Peter Kennedy
Subject: RE: Reflections/Criticism of Peter Kennedy

On a point of order, Rod Stradling's review of Nick Dow's cassette was written twenty years ago. Therefore, your sentence "Firstly Nic Dow, AND NOW Peter Kennedy" doesn't hold a whole lot of water. Neither do most of your other comments.

I can't speak for several of the points Rod has made. For instance, it's news to me that Kennedy was ever dismissed from the EFDSS. As I recall, he left (maybe to pre-empt dismissal ?) and took the copyrights of the songs he had collected whilst in their employ with him.

However, I can confirm that many other points are true. EG., he issued cassettes without seeking the permissions of the people he had recorded. Moreover, I know of at least one case where he released another collector's recordings without even asking the collector.

Equally, as you point out, Kennedy issued recordings of various traditional singers (Phoebe Smith and Joe Heaney come to mind) with unauthorised backing dubbed on.

Also, it's true that he claimed copyright royalties on behalf of the people he recorded, and was on occasion known to pay up. However, the terms of his agreements with those people were nothing short of outrageous.

For that matter, his Folktrax empire must qualify as one of the biggest rip offs in the history of recorded music. If you don't believe me, look at the costs involved, and look at the prices he charged. Then look at the incredible shoddines of his productions.

I agree, nobody's perfect, and I do sometimes wonder whether there's a positive correlation between folksong collectors and personal shortcomings. But whilst one can level criticisms at Sharp, Baring Gould, the Lomaxes, or whoever, one can usually find something positive to say in their favour. I would need to look long and hard before I could find anything positive to say about the way Peter Kennedy behaved towards others.