Traditional Singing of the People of Stour Valley - Double CD


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Stepdancers preferred the better dancing beat of diddling where it is easier to keep a more constant rhythm.  Charlie Cutmore’s sayep dance tune is the one that his Father used to dance to on a board marker in four squares upon which he would cross his feet over. 
George Cowle of Sturmer, although a completely untrained singer told me that he won the Butlins prize of the week at Clacton where over 1,000 people attended the talent contests, with his rendering of “Bless this House” and I can believe it.  The Stour Valley CD 2, tracks 10, 11, 12 & 13 were recorded by Philip Heath Coleman in the 1970’s, they have taken a lot of editing to get thus far.  Although their presentation is still poor they are included because this is the best version of “The Nutting Girl” that I have heard.  “Old Ingatestone Hall” is an interesting Essex version of the “The Broken Down Gentleman”.  Likewise, “The Wheaten Straw” known elsewhere as “The Barley Straw” has an intriguing tune.  Whilst the recordings are similarly moderate of Buster Brown, he was a drover and the heart and soul of his local community at any celebration.  tom Bush told me that he learned more than one song from Buggs Steam Roundabout.  Buggs from Stoke by Nayland with their well known travelling fairground were another old Stour Valley Institution.
When I first heard about Bob Manning I was told that he was bedridden and dying and wouldn’t see me, but word came back ‘Bob Manning wants to see you’ and when I went in to see him there was just a bundle in a bed in the front room.  He had been a Sergeant in the Regular Army, a farm foreman and a thatcher.  He raised himself up on one elbow and freely gave of himself to me.  It was an emotional moment and when he sung the nonsense song “The Four Masted Warship” (East Coast Fishermen’s songs 6) he laid back in his bed and laughed like a drain.
I have included several songs twice as the words and the tunes are indeed different as one should expect.  It is the artist making his mark as opposed to the photographic reproduction.  This differing self expression of the individual (in this case of the Stour Valley) that gets passed on is what it is all about and is a part of something that can never be captured by an ink stain on a piece of paper.  It just shows that it is the singer that counts and not the song.
I would like to acknowledge Andy Cross of Zoo Audio, Cambridge for his helping in editing the tracks and recording The Bumpstead Boys.




  1. We'll call for the grog George Cowle

  2. My boy Billy George Cowle

  3. Nellie in the meadows Billy French

  4. Jack's lad Billy French

  5. Oh!Joe the boat is going over Billy French

  6. The Sudbury hornpipe Billy French

  7. The Workhouse gate Billy French

  8. The Banks of the sweet Dundee Reg Bacon

  9. She promised to meet me at the gate at eight Reg Bacon

  10. The dark eyed sailor Reg Bacon

  11. The spotted cow Reg Bacon

  12. The barley mow Reg Bacon

  13. John Barleycorn Reg Bacon

  14. Treat me daughter kindly Bob Manning

  15. Riding on a free train Bob Manning

  16. McCathery Bob Manning

  17. The boys of harmony Alby Avenue

  18. His days work was done Tom Bush

  19. John Barleycorn Walter Smith

  20. Harvest home largess song John Carter

  21. Seventeen come Sunday unknown

  22. Peggy O'Neil/Grandfathers clock Monty Chapman

  23. Half a crown Monty Chapman

  24. Little ball of yarn Monty Chapman

  25. The chimney sweep Monty Chapman

  26. Mary had a little lamb Monty Chapman

  27. Monty's hornpipe Monty Chapman




Disc 2


  1. I wish I were back home in Suffolk Albert Bromley

  2. The huntsman and his men Albert Bromley

  3. Buttercup Joe Albert Bromley

  4. Medicine Jack Albert Bromley

  5. The wonderful Musician Albert Bromley

  6. The Village Pump Jack Tarling

  7. Barley Mow Beryl Cowan

  8. Essex Hawkey Beryl Cowan

  9. The Fox and the hare Beryl Cowan

  10. The nutting girl Ernest Austin

  11. Hares on a mountain Ernest Austin

  12. Old Ingatestone Hall Leonard Wooley

  13. The wheaten straw Ether Fairweather

  14. The Dunmow Flitch of Bacon David Francis

  15. With my navi boots on David Francis

  16. Why is bacon so tough Buster Brown

  17. My meatless day Buster Brown

  18. The photo of the girl I left behind Buster Brown

  19. The Walden market song John Savill

  20. The Herring's head Beryl Cowan

  21. The oyster girl Beryl Cowan

  22. Treat me daughter kindly Beryl Cowan

  23. I wonder when I shall be married Beryl Cowan

  24. The streets of Ipswich Bill Dolby

  25. Maggie May Bill Dolby

  26. The volunteer organist Bill Dolby

  27. Joby Cutmore's hornpipe Charlie Cutmore


Product Code: NLCD05




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