| 29 February 1908
Wandsworth, London, England (1908-02-29) |
September 29, 1982, Greenwich, United Kingdom
English Drinking Songs
Ewan MacColl, Anne Briggs, Frankie Armstrong, Dave Swarbrick, Peggy Seeger
Albert Lancaster Lloyd
A. L. Lloyd Wikipedia
Albert Lancaster Lloyd (29 February 1908 – 29 September 1982), usually known as A. L. Lloyd or Bert Lloyd, was an English folk singer and collector of folk songs, and as such was a key figure in the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s. While Lloyd is most widely known for his work with British folk music, he had a keen interest in the music of Spain, Latin America, Southeastern Europe and Australia. He recorded at least six discs of Australian Bush ballads and folk music.
Lloyd also helped establish the folk music subgenre of industrial folk music through his books, recordings, collecting and theoretical writings.
Lloyd was born in Wandsworth, London, England. His father was an AA Patrolman and failed smallholder. His mother sang songs around the house and according to Lloyd mimicked the gypsy singers that she had heard. By the age of fifteen his mother had died and his father, an ex-soldier, was a semi-invalid, and Lloyd was sent as an assisted migrant to Australia in a scheme organised by the British Legion. There, from 1924–1930, he worked on various sheep stations in New South Wales and it was during this time that he began to write down folksongs he learned. In the outback of New South Wales he discovered that he could access the State Library and order books. His special interests being art and music he could get a grasp of those topics without seeing a painting or hearing any music. He also bought a wind-up gramophone and began to investigate some of the classical music he had previously read about.
When he returned to the UK in the Great Depression in 1935, in the absence of a permanent job, he pursued his interests in studying folk music and social and economic history, doing much of his research at the British Museum: he is quoted as saying that there is "nothing like unemployment for educating oneself". In 1937 he signed on board the factory whaling ship the Southern Empress bound for the southern whaling grounds of the Antarctic.
During this decade, he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain and was strongly influenced by the writings of the Marxist historian, A. L. Morton, particularly his 1938 book A People's History of England. In 1937, Lloyd's article "The People's own Poetry" was published in the Daily Worker (since 1966 renamed Morning Star) newspaper.
In 1938 the BBC hired him to write a radio documentary about seafaring life, and from then on he worked as a journalist and singer. A proponent of communism, Lloyd was staunchly opposed to Adolf Hitler, and, in 1939, he was commissioned by the BBC to produce a series of programmes on the rise of Nazism. Between 1945 and 1950 he was employed as a journalist by Picture Post magazine but he left the job in an act of solidarity with one of his colleagues.
By the 1950s he had established himself as a professional folklorist—as Colin Harper puts it "in a field of one". Harper went to note that, at a time when the English folk revival was dominated by young people who wore jeans and pullovers, Lloyd was rarely seen in anything other than a suit (and a wide grin). Ewan MacColl is quoted as describing Lloyd (with affection) as "a walking toby jug". In 1959 his collaboration with Ralph Vaughan Williams, The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, was published.
The 1956 film, Moby Dick, directed by John Huston featured Lloyd singing a sea shanty as the Pequod first sets sail. There is also a brief visual clip of him.
In the early 1960s, Lloyd became associated with an enterprise known as "Centre 42" which arose from Resolution 42 of the 1960 Trades Union Congress, concerning the importance of arts in the community. Centre 42 was a touring festival aimed at devolving art and culture from London to the other main working class towns of Britain. It was led by Arnold Wesker, with MacColl and Lloyd providing the musical content and Charles Parker on production. Centre 42 was important in bringing a range of folk performers to the public attention: Anne Briggs, the Ian Campbell Folk Group, The Spinners and The Watersons.
Lloyd recorded many albums of English folk music, most notably several albums of the Child Ballads with Ewan MacColl. He also published many books on folk music and related topics, including The Singing Englishman, Come All Ye Bold Miners, and Folk Song in England. He was a founder-member of Topic Records and remained as their artistic director until his death.
The accompanying book to the Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten includes a short biography and lists two albums he is closely associated with as classic albums, The Iron Muse and Frost and Fire by The Watersons. Track five on the second CD has Lloyd singing The Two Magicians from another album he was closely associated with The Bird in the Bush (Traditional Erotic Songs).
An informative interview with him by Michael Grosvenor Myer appeared in Folk Review magazine, September 1974. Another by Mark Gregory (1970) for the National Library of Australia is available online at http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/lloyd.htm
He died at his home in Greenwich in 1982.The Shooting of His Dear / Lord Bateman, HMV B.10593, 78rpm, 1953
Down in Yon Forest / The Bitter Withy, HMV B.10594, 78rpm, 1953
Bold Jack Donahue / Banks of the Condamine, Topic TRC84, 78rpm, 1954
Australian Bush Songs, Riverside RLP 12-606, 1956
The Foggy Dew and Other Traditional English Love Songs, Tradition Records TLP 1016, LP, US, 1956
Banks of the Condamine and Other Bush Songs, Wattle Records (Australia) 10" LP, 1957
Across the Western Plains, Wattle Records (Australia) LP, 1958
Outback Ballads. Folk songs of Australia. Topic Records 12T51, 1958
English Drinking Songs, Riverside Records (US) LP, 1961. CD Reissue: Topic records
England and Her Folk Songs (A Selection From The Penguin Book), with Alf Edwards, Collector Records (UK) 7" EP
First Person (Some of His Favourite Folk Songs), Topic Records LP, 1966
The Best of A. L. Lloyd, Xtra (UK) LP, 1966
Leviathan, Topic Records (UK) LP, 1967. CD Reissue: Topic records
Ten Thousand Miles Away: English and Australian Folk Songs, Fellside Records (UK) 2CD, 2008
Turtle Dove, Fellside Records (UK), 2014
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads 9 Volumes, Washington albums, 1952
Blow Boys Blow (Songs of The Sea), Tradition Records (US) LP, 1957. LP Reissue: Transatlantic, 1967. CD Reissue: Tradition, 1996
Thar She Blows! (Whaling Ballads and Songs), Riverside RLP 12-635 (US) LP, 1957
Convicts and Currency Lads. Wattle Recordings B2, EP, 1958
Whaling Ballads, Washington WLP 724 (US) LP, 196x. This was a reissue of the Riverside album above.
English and Scottish Folk Ballads, Topic Records (UK) LP, 1964
Bold Sportsmen All, Topic Records (UK) 10", 1958. CD reissue: Topic Records
Gamblers and Sporting Blades (Songs of the Ring and the Racecourse), Topic records (UK) 7" EP, 1962
A Sailor's Garland, Xtra Records (UK) LP, 1966
Blow The Man Down, Topic Records (UK) 7" EP, 1956
The Iron Muse (A Panorama of Industrial Folk Music), Topic Records (UK) LP, 1963
Farewell Nancy (Sea Songs and Shanties), Topic Records (UK) LP, 1964
The Bird in the Bush - by A L Lloyd, Anne Briggs, Frankie Armstrong, Topic Records (UK) LP, 1966
Singing The Fishing – A Radio Ballad, Argo Records (UK) LP, 1967
Babbacombe Lee by Fairport Convention (1971), Island Records: Narration and arrangement
The Valiant Sailor (Songs & Ballads of Nelson's Navy), Topic Records (UK) LP, 1973
Sea Shanties, Topic Records (UK) LP, 1974
The Transports (A Ballad Opera by Peter Bellamy), Free Reed (UK) 2LP, 1977
Topic Sampler No. 1 – Folk Songs, Topic Records (UK) LP
Topic Sampler No. 2 – Folk Songs, Topic Records (UK) LP
Topic Sampler No. 3 – Men at Work, Topic Records (UK) LP
Topic Sampler No. 6 – A Collection of Ballads & Broadsides, Topic Records (UK) LP
Topic Sampler No. 7 – Sea Songs & Shanties, Topic Records (UK) LP
Folk Music of Bulgaria, Topic Records (UK) LP, 1964
The Music of Albania, Topic Records (UK) LP, 1966
Ken Taylor, Ten Thousand Miles: A. L. Lloyd in Australia, 1970
Gavin Barry, Bert a personal memoir, 1985