Mudcat Café message #4034223 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4034223
Posted By: Jim Carroll
14-Feb-20 - 12:29 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
This seems a good place to start
Jim Carroll

Brian Peters    Walter Pardon / Sam Larner
Sam Larner was a fisherman from Winterton, on the East Coast of England. He was recorded by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger for a Folkways LP released in 1961, reproduced right down to the original cover notes for this CD. Some might have preferred a definitive compilation to match that of Pardon, but you have to admit that this collection hangs together well as a unit. Containing several interview excerpts, including accounts of life on the herring-grounds, tall tales, and delightful rhymes concerning weather and sea-lore, it provides a fuller picture of a man who was clearly a larger-than-life character. Bear in mind that this is the voice speaking throughout the Singing The Fishing Radio Ballad, and that MacColl's original songs for that record drew heavily on Larner's narratives. Sam Larner's song repertoire includes material relating to his work ("Up Jumped The Herring," "The Dogger Bank") but plenty of English country songs too, with an obvious liking for the bawdy. In the spoken passages he tells with cackling relish of his track record as a ladies' man, and the sexual shennanigens of "Butter And Cheese And All," or the saucy wordplay of "No Sir, No," obviously appeal to his earthy instincts.

To the lighter songs he adds spoken asides or guffaws of laughter, but although he revels in knockabout fun and uses a style far more declamatory than Walter Pardon's, as you'd expect from one practised in holding the attention of a noisy pub, he achieves undoubted grandeur on the more serious songs, like "The Ghost Ship" or his excellent variant of "Henry Martin." He also sings a version of "The Wild Rover" that (or so I've heard from a usually reliable source) was passed by MacColl to the Dubliners and evolved into the tub-thumper we all know today - certainly the song's English credentials are strong. Larner's relationship with his songs is less intimate and intense than Walter Pardon's, but his enthusiasm for them is no less (I hope I can muster such energy and lust for life when I'm eighty!) and he puts them over more accessibly. I've no intention of ranking the two, though. These singers are jostling for position at the very top of the tree and, if you want to know about real English folk-singing, you have to hear them both. -