Items of News from Vic Gammon

1. A L Lloyd ballad collection out

Fellside records have issued BRAMBLE BRIARS & BEAMS OF THE SUN - Traditional English ballads sung by A L Lloyd (FECD240) a double CD of 1950s recordings. It is, to quote the blurb 'handsomely packaged with an extended booklet written by Dr Vic Gammon'.

It is a 28,000 word piece (about a third of a normal book!). In the work I discuss A L Lloyd's relationship to the traditional ballad, his characteristics and qualities as a singer, the significance and importance of F J Child's The English and Scottish Popular Ballads and its relationship to Lloyd's work. There are then short essays on each of the 33 ballads in the collection. These pieces give a general introduction to each ballad, the scholarship relating to it, the sources used and Lloyd's performance. The writing is appreciative but not uncritical of Lloyd's work. There have been some good reviews already:

... The CD set is wonderfully packaged, as you'd expect from a label like Fellside, but the biggest bonus is the extensive booklet written by Dr Vic Gammon, former Director of the Folk Music Degree course at Newcastle University. Every track is described as well and often includes an explanation as to how and why Lloyd constructed his version the way he did. It's a perfect companion to the ballads and very authoritative with extensive footnotes and referencing which demonstrates the length of research that has gone into this work.

2. Ashgate Book Sale

My book, Desire, Drink and Death in English Folk and Vernacular Song, 1600-1900 is one of the many items included in Ashgate's Sale 2011 which lasts until 31st October 2011. It is now £25 instead of £60 and you can get it direct from the Ashgate website at £22.50. Some other excellent books are available including Michael Pickering's Blackface Minstrelsy in Britain and David Atkinson's The English Traditional Ballad. There will be some bargain copies of my book available at the concert on the 30th October.

3. Gold Badge Concert

A couple of days ago there were only about 50 tickets left for 'A Celebration of Traditional Music: Vic Gammon's Gold Badge Concert' (Sunday 30th October 2011 from 4.45, St Mary's Visitor's Centre, Gateshead) and the Sage Gateshead autumn brochure has only recently come out. Tickets are available from The Sage Gateshead but I urge people who want to come to get their ticket soon.

I would also like to thank in advance all those who are giving their services to the concert. It is a fantastic line-up and should be a very enjoyable event. I would also like to say that there many other people I would have liked to invite to take part but simply could not fit in.

4. Performances with Will Duke and Alun Howkins

Following the above concert I am doing a couple of gigs with two of my old musical collaborators Will Duke and Alun Howkins. Will is a great singer and anglo concertina player, some of his instruments and much of his style inherited from the great Sussex concertina player Scan Tester. Alun Howkins is better known as Emeritus Professor of Social History at the University of Sussex but is an excellent singer in the traditional style.

Will, Alun and I played together regularly from the late 1970s to the early 1990s so these are in the way of reunion gigs and take place Monday 31st October, 8.15, Stockton Folk Club, The Sun Inn, Knowles Street, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1SU. Wednesday 2nd November, 8.30, Birtley Folk Club - Parish Centre function room, St Joseph's, Birtley Lane, Birtley, Tyne & Wear DH3 1LJ. These will be never to be repeated events!

5. Vic Gammon Recordings

I have decided to share my music with people by putting free, downloadable recordings on the Internet. I greatly enjoy performing but have a fair dislike of extensive travelling, and so forays into other parts (away from my adopted but much-loved North East) are occasional rather than regular. Thus the decision to make free downloadable recordings. I have only just started but more recordings are in hand and you will find the first ones at

6. Sound Post singing weekend

I will be taking part in the Sound Post singing weekend at Dungworth in October (21-23) giving presentations and performing, but a quick look at the website tells me it is sold out! That's great for a first event - well done Fay (Hield)! Find out about future events at

7. Writings and Reviews

I seem to be getting a reputation as a highly critical reviewer - but I am only hyper-critical when people give me poor books to review! The forthcoming Folk Music Journal will contain a very enthusiastic review of a volume of essays by Derek Scott. If you would like to read some recent critical appraisals, have a look at and I believe you have to tell it like you see it!