Mudcat Café message #251783 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22956   Message #251783
Posted By: Dave Swan
04-Jul-00 - 03:50 PM
Thread Name: Oak, Ash & Thorn Opening for the Coppers(2000)
Subject: Opening for the Coppers
Oak, Ash & Thorn (my little band of idiots) had the honor of opening for the Copper family last Sunday, and I'm still high.

It's pretty common to say that a song was learned from the singing of (fill in the blank), meaning I took this song off his record. When a Copper says I learned this from the singiing of someone, that someone was named Copper too, and the song learned at his knee.

The contribution of the Copper family as collectors and custodians of traditional song can't be overstated.

Bob, John, Jill, and her husband John Dudley spilled out of the van at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley and it was very much like meeting a group of Mudcatters. Old friends we just hadn't bumped into yet.

The sound check quickly concluded, we repaired to the green room at the Freight, opened the ice chest and got down to business. Drinking, laughing, and telling stories. Highlights: A long discussion about real ale, its handlng and consumption; Bob "I'm a blues freak" Copper singing the blues and playing air guitar for Pam as he discussed the affection he's had for the blues since 1936; improvising lyrics to Dido, Bendigo; singing in the green room after the show until we were thrown out; reading from the manuscript of Brasser Copper, a nineteenth century volume with which they travel!

Onstage the Coppers are as warm, musical, funny and informative as one wants them to be. That sound, coming from those four people wraps itself around the listener and doesn't let go. I won't surrender my Copper family recordings, but there is no substitute for feeling those voices resonate in the same room.

We were asked onstage to join them for the evening's final number. I don't think it's ever going to get better for me than singing Thousands or More onstage with the with the Coppers at the Freight and Salvage, with Bob reaching around to hug, pat, and squeeze each of us as we sang.

Bob's grandchildren, now in their 20's and 30's, are learning the songs and singing in England. The legacy of this dear, talented family is safe for another generation.

The Coppers are the founders of the feast and I am honored to have spent time with them.