Last spring my friend Michael, who is a regular at the South East London Folklore Society, sold me a compact disc of recordings of William Kimber. William Kimber was an Oxfordshire Morris Dance & Anglo Concertina player who was a key figure in the 20th century Morris revival. Kimber first met Cecil Sharp in 1899 & they had a long association & friendship.
The CD was of old interviews with Kimber & archive recordings of his playing. I grew up in Wimborne, East Dorset, which has an annual folk & morris festival which was a calendar event when I was growing up. The tune Constant Billy leapt out at me. The song collector Kidson identified this tune as a late 17th century song popular with morris sides & very much a standard.
There are very similar Highland & Irish tunes from the 18th century so it is hard to give a definitive source. I like it very much & am putting an arrangement in my repertoire.
It’s 2018 & I’m recording a new album on Dharma Records. This one is going to be a collection of traditional British folk songs arranged for voice & solo acoustic guitar. I’ve spent the last few years building up a repertoire & in the upcoming weeks & months I will be blogging about the process of finding & arranging songs, the history of the ones I have chosen & about the composition of the guitar arrangements.
For the first time in many years I have a producer, which is something I am very happy about. A producer manages the project & exercises his or her taste & judgement on arrangements. The producer has control over how the record will sound. There’s a lot to this job & I’m glad to be able to concentrate on the performance alone.
A producer called Ian Carter has the reins of this project. He is best known in UK folk for his work producing & performing in an outstanding band called Stick In The Wheel & he has many other performance, writing, engineering & production credits to his name. I feel lucky.
So for the next month or so I am intensively rehearsing & we aim to record next month. More news soon…