Off To Epsom Races


Here’s a little insight into the Boden repertoire as Jon says, “Arthur Knevett is a wonderful revival singer who Fay introduced me to (on cassette, not in person.) He’s got a similar approach to Lou Killen but with his own individual style and, perhaps most importantly, he digs up some great obscure songs, such as this one.”

Sadly Arthur remains elusive on the web so I can’t add much detail about him, although he sings a version of Lord Bateman on the Fellside Ballads CD. His style is described as “straightforward declamatory” in the sleeve notes. What that means I’m not exactly sure, but having given it a spin, I think he handles that particular epic with aplomb. This song is from the Copper’s collection and their site has this collected by Bob in Stopham, Sussex in 1954 from a council roadman called George Attrill. You can link here to the Copper’s web entry and note that it was published in Southern Songs And Breezes and Mainly Norfolk covers the Topic LP of the same name.  You’ll see George’s version was included on that release.  It’s a curiously jaunty little number that ends in tragedy and a cautionary tale to all. Finally, if you know more about Arthur Knevett please add to this as I’m intigued.
You can buy the January digital album now from all good download stores.


17 Responses to “Off To Epsom Races”

  1. Reinhard says:

    This song is also known as The Broken-Down Gentleman, and Bill Whiting sang it on the Topic LP When Sheepshearing’s Done: Countryside Songs from Southern England. It was recorded by Mike Yates in the early 1970s.

    Bob Copper collected another song from George Attrill, Hey John Barleycorn, which Jon already sang on September 11. Unfortunately I don’t know of a published recording of Attrill’s version.

  2. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Jolly little “morality” song…….silver buckles and farmer’s son seem a contradiction.
    Check the Copper site….George Attrill/ Admin Simon…never been seen together!
    Can you imagine approaching a council employee these days and asking”know any folk songs mate!”..but that’s what Bob Copper and Cecil Sharp did in good ol’ Days.

  3. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Shouldn’t really say this (in case Simon admin shuts them down)but all Dec songs can still be played…….and my nominations for “the Dec list”…..Mistletoe bough/Little Pot stove/Babes in wood.

  4. Michael says:

    This site indicates that ‘an’ Arthur Knevett is engaged on a PHD at Sheffield Uni working on the history of the English Folk Song Society – so I would guess it is the right person!

  5. Simon says:

    Thanks for that Michael.

    Muzza we always give you a week’s grace at the end of the month before the poll goes up, but I won’t say anything if you don’t… Ooops!

  6. Jane Ramsden says:

    Glad that I am you kept the songs on site to listen to, Skyman, for me to play catch-up! As I’ve no iTunes (‘cos stupidly got rid of it just afore this project, when the pc was obviously going west anyway, & I’ve not been here anyway since it crashed, this is MUCH appreciated! Ye are a good egg to the cat-beleaguered!

    @Muzza (tho he won’t see it) I was a Council worker for 31 years & I do know some folk songs, but I take the point entirely!

  7. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Well J B*ggerlugs……here I am……..who could resist having to plough all the way back through 2 months to see your contributions………Blokes…….I ask yer!

  8. Reynard says:

    Re Michael’s comment on Arthur Knevett’s PhD: I found this short notice on the net, referring to the Grimsby and Scunthorpe Telegraph on 27th August 2011:

    KNEVETT Dr. Arthur Well done on achieving your PhD; your fourth degree! You are now Arthur Knevett, Cert. Ed, BA, MA (Education), MA (History), PhD, FIfL, FHEA. You’ll have to stop now; there’s no more room after your name! Love Carol xxx

    And gives the full title of his thesis as “The rescue, reclamation or plunder of English folk-song: a history of the English Folk-Song Society, 1898-1932”.

  9. nev perry says:

    Songs and southern breezes for any folky’ is a good read, in places really funny. There is however a tinge of sadness as the book relates to a time that’s long since gone and will never return. The Book is very similar to a Song for Every Season by Bob Copper and equally a good read.

  10. Diana says:

    Enjoyed the jauntiness of this little song. Sung very breezily too.

    Hi Reynard – you were up early. I know foxes come out very late – sometimes hear them barking in the middle of the night, but they are often seen in broad daylight as well.

  11. Diana says:

    Got the song you recommended Pewter, they have quite a diversity of songs haven’t they? Didn’t expect Gary Numan’s “Cars” amongst their repertoire.

  12. Peter Walsh says:

    Saw them live last year in Manchester, supporting Laura Marling, and was most impressed Diana. Ted O’ Ramsden was there too!

  13. Diana says:

    Peter I have just been listening to them (well snatches of their songs) on i Tunes. I have actually fallen for their “Cars” so now have that on the old i pod. What is the world coming to? Mind you somewhere amongst my eclectic collection I do have “Are Friends electric”- don’t you dare laugh!

  14. Muzza+437days (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    I’m still lurkin’……just have nothing new to say….
    oh..thanks to Jane’s link..I am listening to the new website for the Mike Harding Folk show.

  15. Diana says:

    Still bright and breezy – can’t say the same for the weather though.

  16. old Muzza(N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    Here I still am…snuggled in my little wreck of a home (clutter) waiting for the forecast ‘Thunder Snow’ to arrive….
    somebody will probably write a folk song about that (the snow-not my cluttered hovel!)

  17. Old Muzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Hmmmmmmmm…nothing changes…except 7 years older than the previous post….. .still snuggled in the front room (rest of the house left to its own devices and freezing…)……good for playing dragons as you can see your breath!…..and snow forecast for 17thJan!
    Reassure me again that Spring is just around the corner.
    If we are all around to see it…… as more unrest in the Yemen and UK now involved…..thank goodness we have our folk songs to comfort us!

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