Friday, November 16, 2007

Joseph Taylor

"Unto Brigg Fair" 1908/1972

*First released 1908
All other titles first released 1972.

Sleeve notes by Bob Thomson:
In the early years of the century a few enlightened folk song collectors took the revolutionary step of recording the actual performances of country singers and musicians, thus capturing all the idiosyncrasies of style, where before the words and music had been laboriously and relatively inaccurately transcribed on paper. The cylinder phonograph had made this huge step forward possible.

Bartok's collecting in eastern Europe is well known. Less well is the pioneer work in England by the Australian composer and pianist, Percy Grainger.

Grainger started recording on location in 1906. He visited various places in England including north Lincolnshire where he recorded several outstanding singers including Joseph Taylor whose singing of Brigg Fair was the inspiration of Delius' English Rhapsody.

Grainger revisited Lincolnshire in 1908 and in the same year brought Joseph Taylor to the studios of the Gramophone Company to make commercial disc recordings of some of his songs.

It is from these two 1908 ventures that the recordings on this LP are taken. Carefully remastered to eliminate as far as possible the technical short-comings of the period, they are not just old and rare recordings of historic interest, they are amongst the very finest performances of English traditional singing ever to be permanently collected.

The Gramophone Company recordings were made in London on July 9 and 11, 1908.

The cylinders were recorded in Brigg, Lincolnshire.
Numbers 84, 95, 96, 100, 101, 102 on May 25, 1908.
Number 111 on May 27, 1908.
Numbers 130, 131 on May 27, 1908.

Produced by Bob Thomson, Bill Leader and Dave Bland.
Notes by Bob Thomson.
Disc transfers by Bill Leader and A. F. R. Lawrence.
Cylinder transfers by The Library of Congress.
Special filtering and equalisation by Nic Kinsey, Livingston Studios
and D. A. Pickett, EMI Studios.
LP master cut by John Wadley, E. M. I. Studios.
Sleeve and booklet designed by Janet Kerr.
Made and printed in England by Brier Press, High Wycombe, Bucks.

Inner Booklet


Anonymous Manila said...

This is the kind of post that puts Time Has Told Me in a class of its own among music blogs.

Incidentally, in John Bird's book on Percy Grainger there's a wonderful story about Joseph Taylor (I don't know if this is in the accompanying booklet - it probably is):

'On March 31 1908, in a programme of Delius's music at the Queen's Hall, Beecham conducted the New Symphony Orchestra in the first London performance of Brigg Fair. Grainger had Joseph Taylor come down to London for this performance and, together with Rose Grainger, Everard Fielding and Frederick Delius, they sat together in the hall. Legend has it that on hearing 'his' tune, Joseph Taylor immediately stood up and began to sing along with the orchestra. No attempt was made to stop him in his proud and touching flight of musical expression. It is alleged to have shocked a few of the arty stuffed-shirts present, but this was Joseph Taylor's day, a day when high art made a respectful and low bow to its humble folk origins.'

The production of this album must have been a real labour of love for Bill Leader and all concerned.

A BRILLIANT post, Lizardson.
You came back with a bang!

17 November, 2007 00:09  
Anonymous grace notes said...

Yes!!! A magnificent post. I've treasured my vinyl copy of this for over 30 years, and never thought I'd get a digital one. Thank you so much.

Incidentally, while I share some of Manila's reservations about excessive vibrato among some folk revivalists (see his comments about the recent Pete & Chris Coe post) Taylor's singing really puts some historical perspective on the question!

17 November, 2007 02:16  
Anonymous redsuffolk said...

I have also had my vinyl copy for many years. Thank you so much for this post.

17 November, 2007 06:54  
Anonymous Manila said...

Nice point, grace notes! Though actually it's the 'nasal' quality that puts me off most of all. Tim Hart was another offender. In the liner notes to his solo album he defended himself by saying something to the effect that 'that's how people sang folk music in the early seventies.' And he was right - so many of them did. I've always wondered if they simply listened to old 'field' recordings such as this and copied the style. If so it was a mistake, in my opinion, since many of those singers were pretty old. Joseph Taylor, at the time of the recordings on this album, was 75 years of age - it's hardly surprising he was a bit warbly! Anyway, to sing traditional folk music do people really have to become musical impressionists?

Please don't take me too seriously. I've ranted a bit elsewhere on Ewan MacColl's rather arrogant views on how folk music should be sung and I don't want to be accused of the same thing. It's just a pet peeve of mine. Virtually everyone I complain about is strongly represented in my record collection (including Bellamy and the Coes, whose gigs I rarely missed), so it can't bother me that much. :-)

17 November, 2007 13:27  
Anonymous streaker said...

holy cow! This is a nice suprise. Let's have more of this kind of thing on THTM

17 November, 2007 18:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolute Gem. The Leader album is long out of print and this is a godsend. Not wishing to be ungrateful, but the last three tracks listed are not part of the download. Is it possible that these are still available?

18 November, 2007 05:07  
Anonymous Dancing Pharisee said...


Echoing Streaker, can we have more of this kind of stuff?

Thanks to Manila for the book extract.

19 November, 2007 16:34  
Blogger Bernie Stocks said...

Wonderful! Can I also request the last three tracks? I'd love to hear the original of Lord Marlborough (Melbourne).

20 November, 2007 03:52  
Anonymous Manila said...

I'm not sure there IS much more of this kind of stuff. Anyone remember anything?

21 November, 2007 18:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In searching the web for authentic "source" recordings of Joseph Taylor, here it was. Thank you much for this "diamond."

18 January, 2009 05:29  
Blogger Private Beach said...

Given the current unavailability of most of the Trailer catalogue, I'm curious about the copyright status of these recordings. Obviously the original recordings are in the public domain after more than a century, but does copyright apply to specific transfers? In other words, could one just copy the Trailer transfers to reissue the material, or would one have to go back and make fresh transfers from the original discs and cylinders (wherever they may be)? It would be nice to see Celtic Music's grip on at least some of the Trailer recordings loosened. Is there any lawyer reading this who can give an answer?

21 January, 2010 22:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying to find a way to hear George Wray's recording of Lord Melbourne. I can't seem to download this historic LP from this page, is there some way I could get the m3 from you?

Many thanks --

08 May, 2013 17:03  

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