Mudcat Café message #3680763 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #156167   Message #3680763
Posted By: GUEST,Jon Dudley
28-Nov-14 - 11:59 AM
Thread Name: radio 4 how folk songs should be sung
Subject: RE: radio 4 how folk songs should be sung
Far be it from me to get embroiled in this interesting thread, especially with such luminaries as Jim and Brian and 'Guest'. I would ever-so-slightly, and very gently point out that 'The Life of James Copper' broadcast on the Home Service in September 1951 might have pre-dated The Radio Ballads. This was indeed an example of a 'working man's voice depicting working life and conditions' to a tee! What may now be termed a 'docudrama ' (hideous term but reasonably accurate!) this programme was a dramatised version of Jim's life on the farm much of it voiced by him as a verbatim account of his life and times. Was that a similar format for 'The radio Ballads'?

Indeed it was Jim Copper's letter to the BBC remarking on a classical singer performing folk songs on Country Magazine that brought the family to the attention of Frank Collinson who came scurrying down to Rottingdean almost immediately. This led to Jim and Bob and other working people singing songs on that programme. Robert Irwin was the resident classical singer by the way with whom the two got on famously.

Foresightedly (if that's the right expression) Jim put a good proportion of his fee for the programme towards have it 'dubbed' off air at a small specialist studio in Oxford Street onto acetate discs. We have those precious items which he insisted were for his two grandchildren, that they might know something of his working life. He was not to know that his son Bob would become his champion and chronicler in years to come. Sadly, the BBC (considering the great expense of the production) did not keep a copy of this broadcast...fortunately we have it!