Mudcat Café message #59187 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9047   Message #59187
Posted By: Jo Taylor
18-Feb-99 - 07:14 PM
Thread Name: Where are all the black country songs?
Subject: SONGBOOK: Folk Songs of the Black Country
Here are the songs, poem and text from 'Folk Songs of the Black Country' as promised above. I've split the information into 9 bits, and written out the ABCs. Some of these do not sound quite right, but with the exception of one, for which I have also done an ABC of my own interpretation, they are transcribed exactly as in the booklet. My comments are in blue (I hope I got all the HTML right!), the other notes are all as written in the booklet. Here's the first bit, the foreword and introduction. Only one song is not included here, as it's already in the DT. (See above).(No, further above!) FOREWORD

In my work as Tutor Organiser in South Staffordshire for the Worker's' Educational Association I have repeatedly come into contact with men and women who preserve many of the traditions of the Black Country. From them I have collected rhymes, songs and stories which illustrate the harsh history of the transition of this area from an agricultural to an industrial community. Other collectors such as Mr. Tom Langley whose broadcasts have done much to encourage interest in the traditions of the Black Country, have placed their own material at my disposal and have, therefore, helped me to build up a more representative collection. These oral traditions can be readily supplemented by local material preserved in the broadsheets and other transitory publications of the last century.

The material so collected is almost unknown to people outside the Black Country and often to those living in the area itself. It is my ambition to see this material made easily available for the entertainment and education of all who wish to understand something of the social life of the people of the Black Country in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is also important that this tradition should be a living one, and in this work the co-operation of the Black Country Three in setting to music and performing these poems and ballads is invaluable. We hope that by the publication and performance of these local songs we may encourage a wider understanding of Black Country traditions and also induce others to attempt to portray events of our own times in a similar manner.

The work of collecting these traditional poems can only he done with the co-operation of the people of the Black Country. We therefore appeal to all readers who know of any local rhymes however fragmentary, to contact me at 98, Bescot Road, Walsall, Staffs, (Tel: Walsall 27989). All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged. Suggestions and enquiries concerning this series may also be made to this address or to the Wolverhampton Folk Song Club, The Queen's Hotel, Wolverhampton.

Dr John M. Fletcher


The songs chosen for this first book of Black Country Songs are those which are currently being sung by the Black Country Three in their Sunday night session at the Queen 's Hotel , Wolverhampton.

Since tunes for the songs were not available well known folk tunes have been used or a tune has been composed. We hope that these tunes will be in keeping with the general style of the songs. While tunes and arrangements are suggested they are not meant to he hard and fast. Some may wish to sing the songs in their original form or with a different arrangement. It is for this reason that we have included one song, Jolly Joe the Co1lier's Son, without suggesting an arrangement.

Whether the songs are good examples of folk song or not will depend on how each individual judges the merits of a folk song. One point is certain - they are part of the Black Country heritage and as such they deserve a greater place in our local folk music than they aspire to at present.

Much work has been done by individuals and organisations on the collection of folk songs but little has been published of Black Country folk song. Dr. Fletcher, Charles Parker and others have accomplished valuable work in collecting and making known the collected material and we hope that this brief selection of songs will show that others have been fired by their enthusiasm.

We would like to acknowledge the help we have received, in obtaining this material, from Dr. John Fletcher of Walsall, Mr. Derek Cherrington of Great Wyrley, Miss Dawtry of Tettenhall and the Birmingham Reference Library. Our thanks also to club members, who have made this venture financially possible.

J. Raven
M. Raven
January l965.