Yorkshire Garland

The Search For Frank Kidson

Pete Coe has been working on a project to celebrate the legacy and archives of Frank Kidson (1855-1926), culminating in a CD and live performances with Alice Jones.

Frank Kidson, born in Leeds in 1855, was an antiquarian, photographer, bibliophile, local historian, editor, artist and leading authority of British printed music who described himself as "a journalist and a bit of an author". In 1890 he published "Old English Dances" closely followed by "Traditional Tunes" publised in 1890 and established himself as a major folk song collector. He was invited by Luch Broadwood to become a founder member of The Folk Song Society in 1898.

Later publications included "A Garland of English Folk Songs" in1926, "Folk Songs of the North Countrie" in 1927 and "English Peasant Songs in 1829, consisting of songs he had collected, mainly in Yorkshire with arrangements by Alfred Moffat.

By the time of his death in 1926 he had assembled a substantial library of books and manuscripts dealing with early song and dance music and over 2000 broadsides. Most of his collection was purchased by The Mitchell Library, Glasgow for £500.

In 2003 Leeds Civic Trust erected a blue plaque at 5 Hamilton Avenue, Chapeltown. "Frank Kidson MA 1855-1926 Musical Antiquarian and Folk-song Collector lived here 1904-1926".

Frank Kidson was primarily interested in song melodies and often merely made reference to more complete sets of lyrics from other versions in print, particularly those on broadsides. In many cases we have also frawn from a variety of sources.

A live recording of the show was made at the CD launch.

Further information is available at fivefingerfrank.co.uk. The double CD and a reprint of one of Frank Kidson's books is available at www.backshift.demon.co.uk/disco.htm.

Track 1: One Summer's Morning

Learned from his mother Mary, best known as the White Cockade.

Track 2: The Swans Swim So Bonny

Tune collected from Alfred Mooney of Liverpool.

Track 3: The Death of Bill Brown

Noted by Charles Lolley in Goole. This is one of two broadsides based on an event which took place in Brightside near Sheffield in 1769.

Track 4: The Knight and The Shepherd's Daughter

Tune collected from Benjamin Holgate of Leeds. Lyrics collected and adapted by Baring-Gould.

Track 5: The Kirkgate Hornpipes 1&2

Both from the "Old Yorkshire Dance Tunes" manuscript circa 1818 "greatly popular in Leeds". About fifty years ago a small musical society held its meetings in Kirkgate, and the Kirkgate Hornpipe was a great favourite then.

Track 6: Captain Glen

The tune is from Charles Lolley's mother and the lyrics probably originate from a broadside.

Track 7: The Sprig of Thyme

From Charles Lolley

Track 8: The Highwayman Outwitted

Sung by Kate Thompson, a charlady from Knaresborough.

Track 9: Turpin Hero

From the singing of T.C. Smith, collected in Scarborough.

Track 10: Shule Agra

The tune was collected by Alfred Mooney from the singing of a Liverpool basket girl.

Track 11: Outward Bound

From Charles Lolley.

Track 12: My True Love Once He Courted Me

The tune was collected from Charles Lolley and the lyrics from Mr Halliday of Newtondale, North Yorkshire.

Track 13: Come Ashore Jolly Tar With Your Trousers On

This tune comes from "A Selection of English, Irish and Foreign Airs Adapted for Fife, Violin and German Flute Aird 1775" from Frank Kidson's Library.

Track 14: Scarborough Fair

Sung by Alan Wardill of Goathland, a railway Pointsman.

Track 15: Hares in the Old Plantation

Noted in Goole, probably by Charles Lolley.

Track 16: Young Riley The Fisherman

From Kate Thompson of Knaresborough.

Track 17: All On Spurn Point

Sung by Charley Dickenson who also had a copy of the broadside. On the 21st February 1819 "The Industry" ran aground on Spurn Point, still a dangerous part of the Humber. The captain, Richard Evans, knew that salvage law meant that he would lose the value of his cargo if he left the ship. The broadsides, circa 1850 and 1870, were based on accounts in the local press.

Track 18: Bonny Light Horseman

The chorus lyrics and tune come from G. Caldwell Spruce. Verse lyrics adapted from a broadside.

Track 19: The Bonny Bunch Of Roses O

The tune is from Charles Lolley and the lyrics from a FKB. In "The New Penguin Book of Englsh Folk Songs" Steve Roud notes that the song was written by George Brown, "a prolific songwriter for the London Broadside Trade".

Track 20: I Designed To Say No But Mistook And Said Yes

From Alan Wardill of Goathland.

Track 21: Geordie

The tune is from Charles Lolley and the lyrics are adapted from a variety of sources. This story is based on an English text, however Kidson published a Scottish text in TT which appears to be a different story altogether.

Track 22: The Trip To Knaresborough / The Ball

The second tune is from "Fourteen Favourite Cotillion and Country Dances" by Thomas Budd 1786, a book in Kidson's Library.

Track 23: One Moonlit Night

The tune and riddle verse collected from Kate Thompson of Knaresborough. The lyrics are likely to be adapted from a cante-fable sometimes known as "But Two Came By" and "Mr Fox".

Track 24: The Bold Princess Royal

The tune is from Charley Dickenson with lyrics adapted from various broadsides.

Track 25: Young Banker

The tune is from Charles Lolley and the lyrics are taken from the Ella Mary Leather collection Weobley, Herefordshire.

Track 26: The Deserter

Sung by Kate Thompson from Knaresborough.

Track 27: The Leeds Polka

From "Old Yorkshire Dance Tunes" an FK manuscript, residing in the Gilchrist Collection.