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The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)

17 Nov 20 - 04:33 PM (#4079986)
Subject: The late great Lonnie Donegan
From: Bonzo3legs

Go and tell Aunt Rhody the old grey goose is dead!! - magic from an old folk song!!


18 Nov 20 - 02:10 AM (#4080024)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan
From: Dave Hanson

Lonnie knew a great deal about traditional folksongs and indeed was a great performer.

Dave H


18 Nov 20 - 03:04 AM (#4080026)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan
From: Senoufou

Oh I absolutely loved him! Skiffle eh? And his funny songs:
'My Old Man's A Dustman'
'Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Overnight?'


18 Nov 20 - 03:43 AM (#4080028)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Joe Offer

I think my favorite Lonnie Donegan performance is "Rock Island Line."


18 Nov 20 - 04:05 AM (#4080032)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST

I've got most (my wife would say too much)of his recorded output and No More Cane on the Brazos is one of my favourites.
RtS


18 Nov 20 - 04:30 AM (#4080039)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Bonzo3legs

His backing group always had a great sound - most important for those sort of songs.


18 Nov 20 - 04:38 AM (#4080041)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: The Sandman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCiJ4QQG9WQ LEADBELLY


18 Nov 20 - 08:16 AM (#4080055)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: The Sandman

The Penguin Book Of American Folk Songs, compiled and with notes by Alan Lomax, published in 1964, includes "Rock Island Line" with the following footnote:

    John A. Lomax recorded this song at the Cummins State Prison farm, Gould, Arkansas, in 1934 from its convict composer, Kelly Pace. The Negro singer, Lead Belly, heard it, rearranged it in his own style, and made commercial phonograph recordings of it in the 1940s. One of these recordings was studied and imitated phrase by phrase, by a young English singer of American folk songs [referring to Lonnie Donegan], who subsequently recorded it for an English company. The record sold in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. and England, and this Arkansas Negro convict song, as adapted by Lead Belly, was published as a personal copyright, words and music, by someone whose contact with the Rock Island Line was entirely through the grooves of a phonograph record.

According to Harry Lewman Music,

    Lead Belly and John and Alan Lomax supposedly first heard it from [a] prison work gang during their travels in 1934/35. It was sung a cappella. Huddie [Lead Belly] sang and performed this song, finally settling on a format where he portrayed, in song, a train engineer asking the depot agent to let his train start out on the main line.[5]

Lonnie Donegan's recording, released as a single in late 1955, signaled the start of the UK skiffle craze. This recording featured Donegan, Chris Barber on double bass and Beryl Bryden on washboard. Pete Seeger recorded a version a cappella while he was chopping wood, to demonstrate its origins


18 Nov 20 - 09:30 AM (#4080068)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates

Mention of Pete Seeger and Lonnie Donegan reminds me of when the two met at Cecil Sharp House in the early 1960's. Pete had called in to see Peter Kennedy, then my boss, re the pair going to Ulster to film the fiddler John Doherty. At lunch time Pete, Peter & myself went down to the canteen for some lunch. Lonnie Donegan just happened to be rehearsing at the House that day and he also came into the canteen. Lonnie Donegan & Pete Seeger had clearly met before and they were soon chatting together. But, what I really remember was Lonnie asking Pete about Lee Hayes, a former member of the Weavers. Lonnie also knew Lee and, knowing that Lee had been ill, was really concerned about Lee's health. It was also apparent just how much Lonnie knew about American folk music and musicians. Far more than I had expected. It was an experience that I will not forget.


18 Nov 20 - 09:45 AM (#4080075)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Steve Shaw

I was ideal Beatles-era age. I regard myself as extremely unfortunate that I wasn't old enough to appreciate Lonnie Donegan in his prime. That is absolutely the only regard in which I wish I was older!


18 Nov 20 - 09:54 AM (#4080077)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Steve Shaw

Incidentally, a lovely man at Bodmin folk club made my then 10-year-old son an authentic washboard, complete with little cymbal and a set of thimbles. He and I once played Last Night With Archie at Bude folk club on a night when Chris Wood and Andy Cutting were the guests, me on the tremolo harmonica and him on his washboard. They were most, er, impressed... My five-year-old grandson now has the washboard.

The washboard is one of those musical instruments that you only give your child at Christmas with the stern injunction "You can keep this as long as you promise never to play it!" :-)


18 Nov 20 - 11:44 AM (#4080093)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle

First record I ever got as a birthday present was Jack O' Diamonds. on the Nixa label . 78rpm.
I saw Lonnie's last gig at Nottingham Empire. The alpha and omega of my music career.


18 Nov 20 - 12:18 PM (#4080100)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: The Sandman

Skiffle and Lonnie Donegan encouraged a lot of youngsters in the uk to take up music, that is a positive.


18 Nov 20 - 12:46 PM (#4080105)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Senoufou

In Norwich many years ago we had The Oily Rag Band, an old-time 'skiffle' group, complete with washboard-and-thimble, and a box with a bass string. They always performed in the street outside Jarrolds department store, and I'd stand there for ages enjoying the music.
I agree with Joe that Lonnie's best number was Rock Island Line.
Lonnie was a kind of 'Teddy boy'.


18 Nov 20 - 01:12 PM (#4080110)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: The Sandman

lonnie donegan was originally a jazz banjo guitar player , he was allowed to do a song spot for a short time to give the rest of the band a rest
While in Ken Colyer's Jazzmen with Chris Barber, Donegan sang and played guitar and banjo in their Dixieland set. He began playing with two other band members during the intervals, to provide what posters called a "skiffle" break, a name suggested by Ken Colyer's brother, Bill, after the Dan Burley Skiffle Group of the 1930s. In 1954 Colyer left, and the band became Chris Barber's Jazz Band


18 Nov 20 - 01:26 PM (#4080116)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Tattie Bogle

I loved skiffle too: used to listen to "Saturday Skiffle Club" on my tranny before it became "Saturday Club". Had a big crush on Lonnie when I was a teenager.
The last time I saw him, he was doing a headline concert at Sidmouth Folk Week in the outdoor arena at The Knowle: he had already had his heart bypass surgery by then, and put on a tremendous performance.
Oh, and I do have a washboard - metal one side, glass the other. Cost me all of £5 in a junk shop in Innerleithen: the thimbles cost me more!


18 Nov 20 - 02:16 PM (#4080123)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: The Sandman

I think his biggest achievement was his ability to inspire lots of teenagers to take up music, many of whom went on to hear the roots of skiffle.
As a singer he had a lot of energy, but i can barely stand listening to his voice, that high whining and then those silly jokes, but,,, bonzo before goes bonkers.
That is my privilege I would rather listen to Pete Bellamy[ and he is not my favourite singer by a long chalk], but that is just taste to which we are all entitled, if we all liked the same music it would be boring.


18 Nov 20 - 03:50 PM (#4080135)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Nick

I didnít get to meet him but I used to play with his daughters and his first wife who lived round the corner from us in South Woodford - they lived about 6 doors away. But I believe he used to visit. The daughters were very pleasant and just used to play out with everyone else. Round 1964 on


18 Nov 20 - 05:43 PM (#4080145)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Steve Shaw

Didn't know that South Woodford is/was your stomping ground, Nick. We lived in Loughton for eight years and I taught at McEntee School in Walthamstow for six of 'em. Even bought a Toyota from Hills in 1982. I could tell you stories about that car...


18 Nov 20 - 05:53 PM (#4080148)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Nick

Lived there from 1964 to 1968 and stayed at school until 1972. Used to walk down to Walthamstow sometimes to buy booze from the off licence/pub in Wood Street. All skinheads and greasers around that sort of time and the feeling of threat from little groups of lads hanging about


18 Nov 20 - 06:12 PM (#4080150)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Allan Conn

You maybe kind of had to be around at that time, or maybe it's just me, but I really don't like his "Rock Island Line" at all. I'd take Leadbelly over it any day. It is catchy enough once it gets going but the whole track is only 2 and a half minutes and almost half of it is just him talking in a mock American accent. Like Sandman says though it'd be a boring day if we all went for the same thing.


18 Nov 20 - 06:42 PM (#4080153)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Steve Shaw

Aye, Nick, we 'ad it tough... ;-)


19 Nov 20 - 02:24 AM (#4080175)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Bonzo3legs

All very interesting!


19 Nov 20 - 05:00 AM (#4080183)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST,I Signed Up for What?

I've got an old record somewhere of him in a concert at Preservation Hall. My mother (who educated me on a great assortment of the finest lesser-known musicians and singers that I have no idea how she found out about) must have bought it around 60+ years ago. Very good version of Rock Island line.


19 Nov 20 - 07:40 AM (#4080203)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Nick

I'm not a fan. My old Man's A Dustman causes a similar reaction in me as Sparky's Magic Piano and the Laughing Policeman


19 Nov 20 - 07:56 AM (#4080205)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Newport Boy

South Woodford was the centre of the world then, it seems. I lived there for 2 years 1955-57. I also lived in Leytonstone from 1958-60 and my wife taught at Davies Lane Primary School, which Tony Donegan had attended. He paid one visit to his old school - Anne saw him but I was at college.

I had met him earlier - early in 1956 I arrived at a party about midnight. My mate had saved me a few bottles of beer (he hid them in the oven - no-one thought to look there). About 1 am two guys arrived, were found some drinks and settled down on the sofa. After a while, Monty Sunshine took out his clarinet and kept us entertained for an hour or so. Sadly, Lonnie didn't get out his banjo to join him.

Happy days!

Phil


19 Nov 20 - 08:53 AM (#4080210)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Steve Shaw

The Bel Sit was our favourite eatery. I see it's still there after all these years - we fled from pricey Loughton to Cornwall 34 years ago!


20 Nov 20 - 07:57 AM (#4080327)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST,RS

Still got my Pye Nixa 78 of The Grand Coulee Dam - first record I ever bought,aged 10,


20 Nov 20 - 08:21 AM (#4080332)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Bonzo3legs

So have I - in fact I remember dropping it many years ago and it didn't break!!


20 Nov 20 - 11:07 AM (#4080346)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Dave Sutherland

Ditto with my copy of "Putting on the Style/ Gamblin' Man" 1957


20 Nov 20 - 12:09 PM (#4080352)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST,henryp

We saw him on his final tour.

He didn't hold anything back.


20 Nov 20 - 02:31 PM (#4080376)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle

I can understand Lonnie Donnegan. Theres quite a lot about Leadbelly that I don't really understand.

rather like Robert Johnson, Huddie seems to inhabit a savage landscape. I listen to the music and despite the brilliant musicianship -he's talking about a world I'm not familiar with. (thank God, I am tempted to say.) I listen to the songs and can't begin to grasp how they worked in a social context.

The movie Leadbelly was, to my mind at least, an honourable attempt to show how how they might have worked - but they smoothed out the music a lot to achieve this.

all of his biographers say for example that Huddie was a brilliant childrens entertainer, that I really don't get.

Lonnie I listen to for fun. Put on Cumberland Gasp, close your eyes , and you can almost see the st kids jiving and the stocking tops.


21 Nov 20 - 07:33 AM (#4080455)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST

> I really don't like his "Rock Island Line" at all.

I think that we should give the man a break; he was bloody British; what do you expect? Consider what the Charles River Valley Boys did to the Beatles and the Americans have been doing to Shakespeare for a couple of hundred years. The interconnectedness of cultures will eventually bring better international connectedness, empathy and understanding.   A man who searches so far beyond what 99.9% of us would explore to find what he wants to enjoy, participate in, and share so enthusiastically deserves praise.


21 Nov 20 - 12:29 PM (#4080481)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Bonzo3legs

The Leadbelly version of Rock island Line is quite weak and awful compared with our Lonnie's version.


21 Nov 20 - 12:38 PM (#4080485)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: GUEST,Modette

I'd go for this one.

Sonny and Brownie


21 Nov 20 - 05:41 PM (#4080524)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Tattie Bogle

Gosh, if I'd known about Woodford all those years ago! My first student digs were in Woodford Bridge, 1964-65, with a lovely old-ish couple, but they had no phone, so no chance of any spur of the moment decisions re going out for the evening! I lasted 2 terms there before moving much closer in to my medical school in Whitechapel!


21 Nov 20 - 06:54 PM (#4080532)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Steve Shaw

Well my first school was less than two miles from Whitechapel tube and I spent many a long drunken happy evening in the pubs round there, especially with my owld mate Seamus, who, sadly, died a couple of years ago. One of those pubs was where that Kray fella shot someone dead in the bar...I won't dwell... Another of those ale houses had the finest gents toilets on the planet. All massive marble and brass...I wonder whether it's still there...

I am going back just shy of 50 years, mind...


21 Nov 20 - 07:54 PM (#4080535)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Andrez

Fascinating to read these little snippets and memories of times past in the skiffle years. Loved Lonnies work from the first time I heard it and just took it for what it was and not all that well known in Oz as far as I am aware.

Cheers,

Andrez


22 Nov 20 - 03:27 AM (#4080551)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: Allan Conn

The idea of giving the man a break is silly. We are adult enough to realise not everyone has the same likes and dislikes and I wasn't talking about his music in general just this one recording. And even at that I am not talking about the song itself - just the fact it takes so long to get to the song. I realise the recording means a lot to folk, especially of a certain age, but for me it would have had a better chance of resonating down the generations had it not had the intro.

He's British so what do I expect? Well what I didn't expect the first time I heard it was someone imitating an American spoken accent for almost half the recording. We are kind of used to people singing in American accents or mid-Atlantic accents so it doesn't normally bother me unless it is way over the top and for me talking that way kind of crossed the line.

But more than that I find the intro more than a tad boring. The Johnny Cash version has the long intro too and I am not keen on that either. As far as Donegan recordings go I much prefer things like "Cumberland Gap" which is straight no nonsense into the song.


22 Nov 20 - 03:54 AM (#4080554)
Subject: RE: The late great Lonnie Donegan (1931-2002)
From: The Sandman

The Sonny and Brownie version is very good imo.
I am not surprised Bonzo likes Donegan, it is in line with some of his other musical tastes, the shadows, hank marvin etc, each to their own. BONZO says
The Leadbelly version of Rock island Line is quite weak and awful compared with our Lonnie's version.
My opinion is Lonnies version and his attempts at american accents is reminscent of bands who engage in mock irish accents, i think his version is quite weak and awful.
I reserve the right to give an opinion , just as Bonzo has a right to state his opposite opinion.
they are just subjective opinions. however i do acknowledge the importance of Donegan in inspiring many youngsters to take up music that was very good, he was an inspiration to many.