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Watersons Songbook?

Joe Offer 26 Feb 21 - 12:57 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 21 - 01:17 PM
The Sandman 26 Feb 21 - 02:12 PM
RTim 26 Feb 21 - 03:42 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 21 - 04:23 PM
GUEST 26 Feb 21 - 05:48 PM
Joe Offer 26 Feb 21 - 06:03 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 21 - 06:11 PM
GUEST 03 Mar 21 - 09:56 AM
Mo the caller 05 Mar 21 - 08:50 AM
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Subject: Watersons Songbook?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 12:57 PM

I got this email this morning, and I thought I'd post it. I don't know of any Watersons songbooks, but it would be interesting to have something to help understand their singing style and harmony. Any thoughts?
-Joe-

    Hello Joe,

    I didn't know anything about mudcat.org until the folks at CDSS recommended you as the goto listserv for my question. I'm wondering if there are any published songbooks that would especially feature the melodies and (more importantly, at least, to me...) the HARMONIES of songs done by the Watersons from England. And if I must become a member before asking my question, I certainly understand...I've heard of listserves but have never joined one as I am a Luddite at heart (!) even as I try to see some of the upsides of this tech thing...I just still prefer talking with my fellow sojourners either over the back-yard fence or, if I must...on the phone.

    But if you had any advice, tips, or help for my question, I'd be most grateful and appreciative, even for this glittering, alien, screened presence (translation: e-mail) that I have learned to use and accept now and then, despite myself.

    Best always,
    Gretchen


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 01:17 PM

The Waterson harmonies are strictly oral based on their early family experiences of hymn etc singing, so as far as I know, and I've been good friends with all of their families since 1966. I strongly recommend getting hold of the Topic 'Mighty River of Song' set of CDs with a booklet that outlines their history and influences. A book would certainly be an excellent undertaking. last I heard, American, Greer Gilman, was working on something but whether it came to fruition I don't know. I haven't seen her for 20 years.


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 02:12 PM

i have sent you a pm joe


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: RTim
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 03:42 PM

I love the story about The Watersons harmonies.....the lead singer selects the key to sing in, if the others can't sing what they want in that key....they sing a self made harmony instead!!

I first heard this years ago in an interview with Mike Waterson, and it freed up my whole ability to sing harmony...ie. Not burdened by musical theory about fifths and parallel whatevers...just find your notes and sing them!!

Many years later I was relieved to hear it confirmed by Eliza Carthy that this was still the prefered family method....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 04:23 PM

The method is explained in the 1966 film of the Watersons 'Travelling for a Living' available on Youtube. A classic! Had the film been made 6 months later I'd have probably been on it. I recognise a few blasts from the past on the film, John Cherry, Mitch Cochrane, Tommy Hirst.


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 05:48 PM

Travelling for a Living on youtube.


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 06:03 PM

Travelling for a Living is also included in the Watersons Mighty River of Song box set - although the video quality on the YouTube link is very good.

I like the description above of their method of singing harmony. I kept thinking, Hey, that's how I do it!

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 06:11 PM

Me too!
This was quite different to other groups of the period. I think Young tradition and English Tapestry had worked out harmonies musically. An all male group called The Cropper Lads, again from Yorkshire, had similar harmonies to The Watersons. Heather would know re YT.


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 09:56 AM

Thank you everybody. I deeply appreciate your help. It's wonderful to know about this mudcat.org Many many thanks.

Best to you all from,
Gretchen, asker of the question


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Subject: RE: Watersons Songbook?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 05 Mar 21 - 08:50 AM

Hi Gretchen. Glad you've found us. We have some good discussions, some on topic, some rambling (like 'real' conversations), some added to years later - just found that one I started has come back after 4 years. A wide range of music too.


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