Sunday, November 04, 2007

Twa Mair Oul Sangs (Two more old songs)

Here are two more old tracks from an 8" 78rpm I got recently - once again by Richard Hayward (pictured here). The tracks are "Along the Shores of County Down" and "The Bard of Armagh". The Vocalion record company introduced its "Broadcast" label in July 1927 and continued producing 8" records until June 1931.

Listening to these now, they sound a bit overly sentimental and contrived - especially the spoken narrative in the middle of "Along the Shores of County Down". But there's an innocence about them too - they're from a bygone generation. "The Bard of Armagh" is often said to be the inspiration behind the famous American song "The Streets of Laredo", and uses more or less the same tune.

Hayward was an interesting character. He was a renowned travel writer, theatrical writer, actor and folk singer, with a particular specialism in the speech and customs of Ulster. He recorded from 1925 until his death in a car accident in 1964, making over 100 records, mainly of traditional Ulster and Irish folk music, including a very famous collection of Orange ballads. There's a Richard Hayward Archive in Belfast Central Library.

(this recording hasn't been cleaned with the Bias SoundSoap software just yet, so it's a bit crackly. Mind you, when I get to 80 years old I'll expect to be a bit crackly too!)

Richard Hayward: Along the Shores of County Down / The Bard of Armagh

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(PS - adding audio to your blog is easy.
1. Digitise the track you want
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5. Hey presto! Instant audio. (make sure not to breach any copyrights)