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Obit: Peter Kennedy (1922-2006)

10 Jun 06 - 04:44 PM (#1756934)
Subject: Obit: Peter Kennedy
From: Tradsinger

Peter Kennedy died today in the Sue Ryder Home, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, UK.


10 Jun 06 - 05:24 PM (#1756952)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)

Beryl just rang to tell us; I can not believe it yet- he was such a strong man, and his father Douglas lived heartily into his nineties.
We spoke to him by phone only about three weeks ago and he sounded well, but told us he knew he had not long left. He was a longtime good friend and colleague- we worked on many projects together over the years. Time has a way of moving us on. We are saddened to lose yet another friend. Our love and prayers to all his family.


10 Jun 06 - 05:47 PM (#1756960)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: nutty

He leaves a fine legacy. The world of folk would be much poorer without his devotion.


10 Jun 06 - 05:54 PM (#1756964)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: shepherdlass

Very sad news.


10 Jun 06 - 06:15 PM (#1756971)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Leadfingers

Another Good man Gone ! never saw him , but I have seen his Profitt banjo !!


10 Jun 06 - 06:30 PM (#1756975)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Stilly River Sage

I hope someone will post some links to sites with information about him.


10 Jun 06 - 07:04 PM (#1756994)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Malcolm Douglas

See his website at  http://www.folktrax.org/


10 Jun 06 - 09:56 PM (#1757077)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Margret RoadKnight

Engrossing Peter Kennedy website - what an impressive life!


10 Jun 06 - 10:00 PM (#1757079)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Stilly River Sage

Thanks, Malcolm!


11 Jun 06 - 12:50 AM (#1757183)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Sandy Paton

Peter's life work has left us all profoundly in his debt. Caroline and I got to know him during our year in London (1957-58) and spent many hours listening to and learning from a number of his field recordings. We have many pleasant memories of song swaps, with Peter playing his squeeze box to accompany his songs. His enthusiasm was truly contagious. I trust there are others at FolkTrax to carry on his mission.
    Sandy


11 Jun 06 - 09:40 AM (#1757194)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Jim I

I only recently discovered Folktrax and Peter Kennedy. What a man and what a resource. My prayers go out to his family and friends.


11 Jun 06 - 11:09 AM (#1757229)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: RoyH (Burl)

Very, very sad news. I met Peter several times over the years and was consistently in awe of his bubbling enthusiasm. His field recordings made in the 50's and the 'As I Roved Out' radio show of the same era introduced genuine traditional music and performers to a wide public. His book 'Folk Songs of Britain & Ireland' is a work that should be on every shelf. He was not a dry academician, he loved to sing,play, and encourage other people to do the same. His passing is a great loss to the folk world, the end of an era.

My condolences to Beryl and the family. Goodbye Peter, Rest peacefully.


11 Jun 06 - 01:51 PM (#1757313)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Polly Squeezebox

This man left a wonderful legacy of the research he had done. As with others who have recently 'gone before' the best way to remember him is to sing and play the material he researched and made available to us.

Polly


11 Jun 06 - 02:01 PM (#1757318)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GavDav

That is sad news. Although Peter struggled with ill health over the past few years he was still an amazingly energetic man. Not remotely afraid of being controversial, an amazing, hugely underrated performer and entertainer. We were lucky enough to work with him a few years back, an experience for which I'm very grateful.

I'll think of him over a pint this evening

Gav


11 Jun 06 - 06:44 PM (#1757480)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss

I only ever spoke to Peter on the phone, but we owe two tracks to him; one culled from his excellent book, and one from his CDs - specifically the Channel Islands set (which also happen to contain the only recording I've ever heard of the now extinct Alderney patios, for which I'm particularly grateful).

A great man who'll be much missed. My sympathies to his family and friends.

Tom


11 Jun 06 - 07:19 PM (#1757510)
Subject: Obit: Peter Kennedy
From: Compton

Just heard via ECD that Peter Kennerdy died yesterday. What Peter did for collecting Folk Music in UK is immeasureable. A void has appeared on the English Folk Scene.


--- Transferred from another thread. ---


11 Jun 06 - 08:37 PM (#1757561)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GeoffLawes

Very sad news. His life was an enthusiastic exploration and celebration of the musical universe that we all hold dear. Folksongs of Britain and Ireland and the many hours of field recording upon which it was based, are landmarks of twentieth century folk music. Our lives and the lives of so many in years to come will be the richer for the life of Peter Kennedy. Thank you Peter.


12 Jun 06 - 04:04 AM (#1757766)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,Gadaffi

Although I was always warned to be careful how to approach Peter Kennedy, I always found him warm and supportive to newer researchers as myself, running off copies of field recordings he had made relevant to my own work in Kent on request - some unavailable on Folktrax. My debt to him is immeasurable.


12 Jun 06 - 04:22 AM (#1757768)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Scrump

I am also sorry to hear of Peter's death. I can't claim to know him well, but a few years ago I emailed him out of the blue with a query about a folk acetate I'd bought in a second hand record shop, that I had reason to believe he was involved with. That turned out to be the case, and he was very helpful in his reply, giving details of the recording sessions, etc. He was interested to know where I'd got the record, etc. Fortunately, I didn't know about his reputation for having to be approached with care, otherwise I might have hesitated to contact him. As others have said, his was a significant contribution to folk music. RIP Peter, and condolences to his family.


12 Jun 06 - 05:30 PM (#1758340)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: shepherdlass

Likewise, Scrump, he was really helpful with an email query that I raised with him - generous with his time and his memories.


12 Jun 06 - 05:50 PM (#1758362)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Tradsinger

The funeral is on Wednesday but as the facilities are very small, the Kennedy family are asking only relatives and a few close friends to attend. There will be some sort of event in due course to commemorate his life.


15 Jun 06 - 03:11 PM (#1760872)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,J C

Here in Ireland it is difficult not to compare the reaction to the death of Peter Kennedy with that of the former Taoiseach, Charlie Haughey.
There can be no Disputing the fact that many people, myself included, were first introduced to traditional performers through the BBC collecting project directed by Peter. Equally, there can be no argument that his approach to the material that was collected under the auspices of the BBC, its ownership and distribution and his treatment of the people from whom the songs and music were recorded were, to say the least, questionable.
It will be interesting to see if an open and honest assessment of his work takes place now the threat of legal action is no longer with us.
I'm sure this will get up a number of noses; I certainly hope so!
Jim Carroll


15 Jun 06 - 06:10 PM (#1760983)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST

Agreed. Jim. To be polite and not speak ill of the dead, it is still quite true yer man wasn't held in quite as high esteem amongst Irish folk as he was amongst the British.

But to be fair, the same can be said of many a British collector who came to collect from the Irish.


16 Jun 06 - 03:04 AM (#1761163)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST

Hello Guest,
Couple of things.
Please don't make this an English-Irish thing - I was born and brought up in the UK and lived there up to 8 years ago when we decided to move here to The West of Ireland. My experience and contact with traditional singers has been as much in Britain as it has in Ireland and I have to say that I have always been overwhelmed at their generosity and willingness to share and pass on their songs and music wherever they came from.
Peter Kennedy's influence - for good or evil, has been spread pretty equally right across these islands and has been felt by performers, fellow collectors or simply by traditional music enthusiasts. I am not suggesting for one minute that we should indulge in a Kennedy kicking session; that would be as meaningless and non-productive as the somewhat vacuuous praise that is being heaped on him at present. I am suggesting that, as he was an important influence in our understanding of the tradition, his work needs to be assessed honestly as it impinges on how we regard our source performers and how we handle what they have given us, to make sure it is passed on for others to appreciate.
I have to say you managed to raise a wry smile from me when you mentioned speaking ill of the dead. As a friend and long time admirer of Ewan MacColl, it has been difficult to ignore the abuse and misinformation that has always surrounded his work and ideas on singing and on the tradition. I was interested to see recently that, some sixteen years after MacColl's death, the noble art of grave-dancing is still going strong; that is if the somewhat disappointing 'Folk Brittania' programmes are anything to go by,
Jim Carroll


16 Jun 06 - 05:23 AM (#1761206)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,red max

I contacted Peter last year some Folktrax CDs I needed to investigate as part of a charity project. He immediately despatched free copies to me, which was very generous and greatly appreciated


16 Jun 06 - 05:35 AM (#1761214)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: RoyH (Burl)

Speak as you find. My dealings with Peter were a;ways happy ones. I do agree with jim regarding the MacColl bashing however. Burl.


16 Jun 06 - 05:51 AM (#1761219)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: ConcertinaChap

I have little knowledge of Peter Kennedy, so cannot say anything from my own experience, but the following if correct shows how he had a profound effect on English music as well as song, and hasn't been touched on above. The following appeared on melodeon.net a couple of years ago (not written by me):-

Some years ago I asked Peter Kennedy to relate the story of the introduction of D/G melodeons into England as his name always seems to come up.

He said something like:

In the 1950s most melodeons were based in C with either F or G as a second row and the half row, often in the club format, to give more chromaticity. He was collecting songs and tunes in Northumberland and found strangely that much of the repertoire played by fiddlers in particular was of Irish origin and in G or D and sometimes A. He investigated and found that an anomolous reception of Radio Eirrean (sp) occurred in the NE and local players were picking up Irish tunes for their repertoire from the radio.

Now Irish melodeon players had adopted chromatic instruments based on C with either B or C# as a second row to enable them to play in other keys but this was not generally popular in England and the local melodeon players couldn't join in with this repertoire. So to help local melodeon players Peter arranged for Hohner to produce a batch melodeons in G/D, I believe that they were stocked and distributed by Bells of Surbiton and the EFDSS shop.

And it all followed on from there...


16 Jun 06 - 08:09 AM (#1761277)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Scrump

I'm a bit surprised at the messages attacking a guy who's been dead less than a week. If anyone has any gripes about him, couldn't they wait for a while, out of respect for his family?

I didn't know about any of the things he is supposed to have done to upset certain people. I guess he wasn't a perfect human being then - who is? But in my (admittedly very brief) contact with him, I found him very courteous and helpful.


16 Jun 06 - 08:42 AM (#1761301)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST

It is rather naive to think that an obit thread in an online forum like this isn't going to involve some frank talk about the person that might not be flattering. This is the internet Scrump, not a funeral service in church.

And I rather doubt Peter Kennedy's family would be reading this thread anyway. But even if they do, it won't be anything they haven't already read about him.


16 Jun 06 - 12:53 PM (#1761541)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: JohnB

He was in Goderich Ontario at the Celtic College and Festival in 2003, where he was honoured with their "Tradition Bearer" award.
He put on a week of really interesting classes which tended to grow each day as the word spread. It was a week of talk, tapes, film, playing and he even got up and taught us the "Hooley?" or whatever the dance is called, so he was in pretty good shape then.
Anyone who contributes SO much in their lifetime has to have pissed off at least a couple of people on their way. He is therefore in damned good company, pity the rest of us don't do half as much as the likes of Peter, way to go. So quit griping and go and further his work however you see fit, see how many people you can upset in your lifetime, compared to how many Peter made happy.
He will be missed, JohnB


16 Jun 06 - 02:42 PM (#1761630)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,J C

I have not in any way attacked Peter Kennedy; I merely suggested that now the (very real) threat of legal action has now been lifted it might be possible to discuss his contribution fully (this suggestion was made in the context of totally uncritical postings).
His contribution was a significant one but it had a down side as well as a positive one and this down side has influenced our access to traditional music greatly in Britain and Ireland.
So far the objections to my posting appear to be not that I might have made adverse commments at an inappropriate time, but that I made them at all.
It seems to me Peter's death is a perfect time to discuss his work and not leave it till he has faded from our memories.
As somebody has already pointed out, this is a discussion forum not a funeral service.
Jim Carroll


16 Jun 06 - 03:03 PM (#1761644)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,DB

There's a fascinating article on Peter Kennedy's work in 'Folk Song Tradition Revival and Re-Creation' edited by Ian Russell and David Atkinson (The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, 2004 - ISBN: 0-954682-0-6). The article is by David Gregory and is entitled, 'Roving Out: Peter Kennedy and the BBC Folk Music and Dialect Recording Scheme, 1952 - 1957'. I believe that anyone reading this meticulously researched article will come away from it with the perception that Mr Kennedy was a great man. I never met Mr Kennedy but I was aware that, like many great men, he was a controversial figure - but that should not detract from his achievement. I'm sure that his legacy will live on.


17 Jun 06 - 03:38 AM (#1762018)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST

The merits or demerits of Peter Kennedy's character seem to be the prominent issue in this discussion.
It is fairly obvious that some people are unaware of the situation surrounding Peter and his work, a situation that has been discussed (or not discussed) continuously for half a century.
In 1950, at the encouragement of Alan Lomax, the BBC, in conjunction with the EFDSS launched a project to 'mop up' what was left of the British and Irish song and musical tradition. Peter Kennedy was appointed director and his team included Seamus Ennis, Sean O'Boyle, Bob Copper, Hamish Henderson and others. At the expense of the British taxpayer the largest and most important collection of British and Irish field recordings was put together. Sets of those recordings were held at the BBC library and The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, both in London.
A small number of those recordings were used for a series of programmes in the 1950s entitled 'As I Roved Out' and a magnificent series of programmes 'The Song Carriers' also made use of them to discuss the song tradition. A selection of the songs, in some cases heavily edited, was released in a record series 'Folk Songs Of Britain'.
Somewhere along the way the BBC lost interest in the collection and it disappeared into private hands. Some became available for purchase in poor copies with no information, in some cases with appalling accompaniments and choruses dubbed onto them.
This has been the situation up to the present time.
In the not-to-distant future the fate of that collection will be decided.
It is my opinion that anybody concerned with traditional song and music should have some input into what happens to the collection; it is for this reason, and not to discuss whether he was a nice feller or not, that I raised the question of Peter Kennedy's work.
Jim Carroll


17 Jun 06 - 06:18 AM (#1762075)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,DB

I can't argue with that, Jim. For many years there seems to have been some sort of conspiracy in operation (and I don't know enough about it to point any fingers) to stop us getting to hear much of our heritage of traditional music. I'm not clear about whether this is a conscious and deliberate conspiracy - but it is more likely to be a combination of malign snobbery and indifference. In addition, having read the article that I cited above, I think that it is a bit of a tragedy that Peter Kennedy's achievements were not more widely celebrated during his lifetime. I'm afraid that any consideration of his career will be inevitably be linked to the, in many ways, disgraceful neglect of the traditional culture of these islands since the Second World War.


17 Jun 06 - 06:42 AM (#1762086)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: greg stephens

Jim Carroll: given that this discussion has started, I think you shoud explain more fully what the lines of criticm of Kennedy might be. I suspect most readers of this thread will not be that familiar with the situation, so perhaps you could spell things out a little. Your criticisms seem to centre on his treatment of the performers he recorded, and possibly also rfer to the qustion of the ownership of rights in the recordings.
    I should say i have criticised Kennedy in the past about aspects of his publications(especially the "fake" Cornish folksongs), but I have no knowledeg other than vague gossip about his treatment of source singers. So tell us what you are hinting at.
    What is surely undeniabnle that he rescued a vast body of stuff that we would never have been able to access for ourselves. He was a colossal figure in the history of the revival.
    On a technical point on an earlier posting: were C/C# boxed that prevqalent in Ireland? I am very familiar with the C#/D and the B/C styles, both enormously popular till the present day: but were there a lot of C/C# ones around? And I dont know about the northeast reception of Irish radio, but I always listened to Irish radio from choice when I lived in Lancashire(the NW).


17 Jun 06 - 09:08 AM (#1762143)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST

Greg,
I am reluctant to enter into a discussion of Peter and his work; I do hold very strong opinions about it but I believe that it would be a diversion at this stage.
The situation is at present, and has been for a long time, that what was the BBC collection - paid for out of British taxes has been treated as a commercial enterprise and now is part of Peter's estate and will either be continued as a commercial concern or sold off to the highest bidder (I understand that there have been moves to sell the collection in the past - America has always proved ready to supply buyers, as witnessed by the efforts to buy the contents of Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in the past). People can judge for themselves the merits and demerits of what use has been made of the recordings by Folktrax, but I do know that most of the collection has never been issued and personally, I find that what has been made available has been in such a poor form as to devalue it. Attempts by outsiders to issue the material have amounted to very little (I know that an effort to release the Harry Cox songs was met with a demand that accompaniment should be added!)
As far as I am concerned the collection is a national treasure and should belong to the nation - just like Constable and Turner.
Sorry, don't know about boxes (except many of them are too loud!)
Jim Carroll


17 Jun 06 - 07:23 PM (#1762499)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST

Does Jim actually know it "will either be continued as a commercial concern or sold off to the highest bidder"? I would have thought the will would need reading first. For all anybody here knows the collection could have been gifted to the nation... It seems tacky to speculate.


18 Jun 06 - 04:06 AM (#1762640)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,J C

My 'tacky' guess - and it is a guess, is based on past experience. I hope I'm mistaken. I can see nothing whatever wrong with trying to get the collection for the nation, whether it is gifted - or bought if necessary. Maybe we should wait till it is sold off abroad then try to get it back! As I have pointed out, there are those elsewhere other than the UK who would be happy to have it.
I really thought everybody knew about the Peter Kennedy controversy; it's been running for the 40 odd years I've been been involved in traditional music.
Jim Carroll


18 Jun 06 - 06:12 PM (#1763155)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: sian, west wales

I think it is fair to say that there are two schools of though about Peter Kennedy in Wales as well. I, too, thought the controversy was fairly well known.

sian


04 Jul 06 - 07:52 PM (#1776117)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,Lindsay, South Wales

I have only just learned of Peter's death, which was very sad to hear. I met him once at Gloucester Museum just before the first Pipe and Tabor Festival, but subsequent to this meeting we enjoyed some e-mail correspondence. When he heard that I was the musician for Bucknell in the 1980s he enquired whether I had ever been asked to record the tunes, and I said that I hadn't (hoping that he might!!) but this never came about.

As a Primary school girl in St Albans during the 50s I must have danced to many of his band's 78rpm records in the school playground, and he was tickled pink to learn that a friend of mine had found some of his old 78s in a Chepstow junk-shop!

Top man, RIP

Lindsay


24 Sep 06 - 04:43 AM (#1841845)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Folkiedave

Just one point from the myriad of contributions. I hate to disagree with Jim Carroll whose words on this thread have made much sense.

I have not in any way attacked Peter Kennedy; I merely suggested that now the (very real) threat of legal action has now been lifted it might be possible to discuss his contribution fully (this suggestion was made in the context of totally uncritical postings).

First of all I happen to think that discussing someoneīs contribution once any threat of legal action is passed is a bit of a cowardīs way of doing things. Personally if I have anything to say about someone I am not afraid to do so. If I canīt say it for threat of legal action, the chances are it is not worth saying.

After 40 years in and around the folk scene I have heard enough gossip. Rumours abound and as you correctly point out in the case of Ewan McColl, generally they are often plain wrong. This is not to deny your criticisms of Peter Kennedy for I understand them to be based on first-hand knowledge.

Secondly Fred McCormick says that Peterīs contribution has been mentioned in a less than complimentary way, many times, not least by himself. This brought forward no legal threat.

Thirdly I would suggest that any legal action taken by Peter Kennedy would have cost of lot of money for Peter to pursue with no guarantee of success. I doubt very much if he had any money to conduct a legal action.


24 Sep 06 - 06:27 AM (#1841900)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: The Sandman

here. here.


24 Sep 06 - 06:34 AM (#1841905)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: The Sandman

There was no guarantee that an action against kennedy would have been successful, theres clearly little concrete evidence, otherwise [Stradling wouldnt be asking for it].
However IF Carroll and MCORMICK and others did make Kennedy aware he was being watched, then they should be praised and thanked.


24 Sep 06 - 07:50 PM (#1842455)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Peter Kasin

I'm a newcomer to Peter Kennedy's contributions. I had heard his name associated with some recordings, but had no idea of the extent of his work unitil I saw his massive book of folk songs of Britain and Ireland at Radriano's place, then bought one online and started to learn more about him. I wonder why I hadn't known of him, after knowing of Alan Lomax since my youth. Seems ike Peter Kenndy, like Lomax, had a huge impact on song collecting. Did he shun the public eye, or is it just my ignorance about him? My condolences to his family. I hope he didn't suffer too much at the end. A passing of a man and an end of an era. What a life well-lived!

Chanteyranger


19 Jun 11 - 06:38 AM (#3172777)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,Sue Jones

I was fortunate enough to meet Peter on several occasions in Gloucester. Ironically the last time I saw him, I spent a lovely evening in his company at a mutual friend's wake, ten years ago, which was a joyous occasion. A lovely man, a true gentleman, and stunning musician. He would bring his fiddle and two melodeons to play at sessions. I still have the image of him scooping up the bellows of his melodeon, as he played, with the tip of his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth. I can't stop myself doing that too when I put on mascara! A sad loss and I think he would wish the music to be available to all, as so many sought him out, in later years, to share their musical "finds" with him.


19 Jun 11 - 06:51 AM (#3172786)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: The Sandman

yes, I feel ambivalent about Kennedy on the one occasion I met him he was charming, and i have enjoyed and used his books.
but some of his antics were rather sad, the illegal bootlegging of one track off[ bald headed end of the broom] my record.
The really sad thing is that Peter felt that he had to DO such a thing, To support himself financially.
Folk Music Collectors should be supported by government grants to enable them to live above subsistence level.
on a positive note Peter was responsible for the introduction and promotion of dg melodeons in the UK


19 Jun 11 - 11:36 PM (#3173195)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: dick greenhaus

The ethics and practices of many of the pioneer collectors may not stand up well to the standards of present-day scrutiny. It's more important to consider the good things they have accomplished.


20 Jun 11 - 02:00 AM (#3173225)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Jim Carroll

"It's more important to consider the good things they have accomplished."
No Dick, it's importand to consider everything they have done, in Kennedy's case, so we might learn from his 'mistakes', if that's what they were.
As the 'Folktrax' thread shows, we are still trying to sort out the damage he did.
I believe you were personally affected by his 'John Riley' incident, which reflected perfectly his attitude to both traditional singers and fellow collectors.
Jim Carroll


20 Jun 11 - 09:22 AM (#3173272)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates

Good Soldier Schweik makes a valid point. Peter Kennedy made a large number of important field recordings when he was attached to the BBC collecting scheme. He then returned to the EFDSS who, eventually, sacked him. Apart from a spell teaching at Dartington Hall, Peter was never able to be paid again as a collector. There were just no such schemes around at the time. So, he had to earn a living and he did so by selling "his" recordings via Folktrax. To be frank, I am sorry that he had to do this. Most of the cassettes were badly made, had little, if any, notes, and he certainly was not quick in paying any royalties to the performers (if at all!)I am actually saddened by all this. In an ideal world Peter Kennedy would have ended up directing a University department, or, failing that, a National Archive. But, of course, we do not live in such a world and Jim Carroll is right to say that we are still trying to sort out some of the mess that Peter left behind. I recently had correspondence with someone who was researching Peter's Appalachian recordings and it took me a whole day just to figure out what he had done with one of the songs that his aunt, Maud Karpeles, had previously recorded in North Carolina.

Many years ago I worked as Peter's assistant when we were both at the EFDSS. To be honest, he was always kind to me and helpful in many ways. It was, actually, a pleasure to work for him. As to what happened after he left the EFDSS, well, things just did not work out for him, and the rest, as they say, is history.


20 Jun 11 - 11:00 AM (#3173316)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes

Didn't he work for UNESCO for a time after leaving EFDSS?

Sorry for the mistyping above.


20 Jun 11 - 01:03 PM (#3173377)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: The Sandman

Peter's Predicament was rather similiar to that of many a professional folk singer, and so to some extent I sympathise.
I remember doing a gig at Portland Bill, carefully calculating my cost of petrol and using my last money to fill the tank, only to run out of petrol in Weymouth, so I had no choice but to walk the last 4 miles to the gig.
on other occasions I would use public transport and then hitch back from gigs.
Sean Cannon used to hitch hike all the time.


19 Sep 11 - 02:09 PM (#3225649)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Vic Smith

The re-mastered, tidied up versions of the Peter Kennedy recordings that are being prepared for release by Topic in the Voice of the People 2 series are sounding really wonderful. I have been given access to them by Shirley Collins who has prepared the following three albums for the series:-

TSCD671 "You Never Heard So Sweet" - Traditional Singers of South-East England (Recordings by Peter Kennedy & Bob Copper)
TSCD672A Gypsy Singers of South-East England
TSCD672B Queen Carolyn Hughes and her family


I have been given access to them because I will be working with Shirley on her new multi-media show, "You Never Heard So Sweet". This was given its first abridged performance at the Stowmarket Traditional Music Day earlier this month, but its first full performance will be on Friday 7th October at Lewes Folk Festival (See http://www.lewesfolkfest.org/ )

If you have heard these songs, as I have on the Folktrax cassettes and CDrs, you will probably be as delighted as I am to hear these important recordings in their cleaned up form with proper booklet notebook etc.


19 Sep 11 - 04:12 PM (#3225730)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Jim Carroll

Looks good Vic - but still no albums dedicated to either Irish or Scots Travellers - despite the enormous amount of unpublished and extremely important material available - barmy!!
Jim Carroll


19 Sep 11 - 04:47 PM (#3225746)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Vic Smith

I don't know the full datails but this particular series - the albums I mentioned above will only be the first batch of many - is dedicated to the collecting work that PK did (though Shirley has argued the inclusion of those of Bob Copper). There will be recordings that Peter made in the north of Ireland, but as far as I know, he did not record Irish Travellers - so these will be missing.

On the other hand, there will be the first decent release (forgetting the scrappy Folktrax ones) of Carolyn Hughes. Not the easiest of tastes for the newcomer to acquire, but when you do, you realise that she is a major, major singer.

The Scots Travellers? Well, Peter worked with Alan Lomax 1951-3 and between them they recorded masses of stuff from the finest singers, but a lot of those recordings - Jeannie Robertson, Davy Stewart, Jimmy MacBeath came out not so many years ago in the Lomax/Rounder series.
On my Folktrax FTX-058 - TRAMPS AND HAWKERS JIMMY MacBEATH -1- it says:-

Recorded 1951-3. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published by Folktrax 1975.

So "edited" by PK but recorded by...? possibly Lomax.

As I said, I don't know the full details of the new series - even if these have been finalised yet - but Steve Roud is compiling ballad albums for this series and when I interrupted a meeting of Mssrs Roud, Engle, Hall and Ms Collins, they were listening to Jeannie Robertson.


20 Sep 11 - 07:33 AM (#3226010)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Fred McCormick

"There will be recordings that Peter made in the north of Ireland, but as far as I know, he did not record Irish Travellers - so these will be missing."

Vic. There are three PRCs on Folktrax which are listed:-

Irish Tinker Singers Vol 1: Blackwaterside_Folktrax_FSA-60_166
Irish Tinker Singers Vol 2: When I was on Horseback_Folktrax_FSA-60_167
Irish Tinker Singers Vol 3; Puck Fair_Folktrax_FSA-60_168.

According to the blurb all three were recorded at a traveller's campsite in Belfast during a single session in July 1952 from perhaps 1/2 a dozen singers; Lal Smith, Paddy Doran, Mary Doran etc. The collectors are listed as Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle.

Granted the fact that Kennedy credited himself probably doesn't amount to much. However, there is so much fabulous material in there that even if Topic isn't planning to release them now, they should be persuaded to at some time in then future.

BTW., before anyone accuses me of paying for Kennedy's grubby little rip off (performers as well as customers) cassettes, they are part of a large record collection which originally belonged to Keith Summers RIP and which Peta Webb passed on to me when he died.


20 Sep 11 - 07:59 AM (#3226023)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Vic Smith

Well, there are going to be Northern Irish releases in the new VotP so let's hope that the ones that Fred mentions are amongst them.

I seem to remember that when the Peter Kennedy tapes were passed over to Topic, there was some sort of statements that Topic would compile and release the material that there was a chance of recouping their investment in improving the sound quality, preparing booklets, bulk transfer to high quality CDs etc. - cherry picking I suppose - and that the remainder would be passed to Rod Stradling who would compile and release material in the smaller quantities that he usually caters for but which might not sell in the numbers that the Topic/VotP were looking at.

We must be honest and say that that number of people who are inspired by the majesty of these field recordings is not huge. If Topic recoup their investment, then it may inspire them to release more which will be great for all the enthusiasts of the hardcore traditon of these islands.

If not there will still be Musical Traditions and what those with an interest in this music consider the fascinating and vital work that Rod Stradling is doing with his releases.


20 Sep 11 - 09:33 AM (#3226051)
Subject: RE: Obit: Peter Kennedy (10 June 2006)
From: Fred McCormick

Tony Engle came down to a meeting of the Tradsong Forum when it was at C# House a couple of years ago. What he said was basically what Vic said. IE., that Topic would be looking to release the more economically viable material. Hopefully, and knowing Tony, that means anything which won't reduce Topic to the financial equivalent of a smoking ruin.

For the rest, I don't think Tony was thinking solely of Musical Traditions, although Rod is clearly a major candidate. It would be a case of anyone who was looking to release the stuff and was presumably willing to pay a modest price for the rights.

Just an afterhought. A number of tracks from the three cassettes I mentioned were included in the Caedmon-Topic Folksongs of Britain series. The original VOTP omitted anything which had gone out on Caedmon, presumably because the rights had been bought by Rounder, who were in the middle of their own massive Alan Lomax reissue programme.

Whether that would apply now with the new VOTP, I know not.