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Ken Stubbs c.1960


Field Recordings of Folk Songs and Traditional Music recorded by Ken Stubbs between 1959 and 1980


About Ken


Ken Stubbs was born in Beckenham, Kent in 1923. He began training as a letter cutter/engraver but the war put an end to that. After serving in the Army during the war he spent two years in Palestine, where he was introduced to communism by his Army Education Officer.

On his return to England Ken trained as a primary school teacher and moved to East Grinstead, Sussex. He attended the folk club in East Grinstead which was run by members of the local branch of the Communist Party.

In the mid 1950s he attended a Party lecture on the need to preserve the music and songs of ‘the people’. Inspired he proceeded to carry out this directive with great enthusiasm.

Others were also collecting in the area around that time, but Ken still noted a great number of songs. At first he wrote down the words and memorised the tune, before he moved on in the late 1950s to making recordings, from over 40 performers, in their homes and public houses, mainly in Sussex, Kent and Surrey. A non-driver, his collecting trips were carried out by public transport or bicycle.

Many of the people Ken collected from attended his ‘folk-music parties’, as he liked to call them, that he ran in several pubs on the Sussex, Surrey and Kent borders. He sent out hand-written invitations on postcards, and his parties were attended by both folk enthusiasts and local traditional singers and musicians.

Ken was a genuine enthusiast, who did his utmost to continue the tradition and the memory of the singers he had known, by singing the old songs he had collected from them.

Sadly, he did not live to see his recordings issued on Forest Tracks or made freely available on the internet as he had wished. Ken died in November 2008, aged 84

Ken always stayed true to himself and was an inspiration to many. An Obit thread was posted on Mudcat with tributes and personal memories: threadid=115959