I have been involved in many folk bands and similar musical and recording projects over the years.
These pages give me an opportunity to showcase some of those and the people I've met through them.
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
Born in Hampshire in 1951, I am very proud to be a 'Hampshire Hog' a name given to those born and bred in Hampshire, England.
It is not known when the Hampshire hog was first associated with Hampshire, but by 1790 the term had found its way into the dictionary. Francis Grose in "A provincial glossary" defined the Hampshire hog as a "jocular appellation for a Hampshire man; Hampshire being famous for a fine breed of hogs, and the excellency of the bacon made there."
(I believe that the 'hog', contrary to the strongly held popular belief, could have nothing to do with pigs but is a corruption of 'hogget' the name given to a yearling sheep. The rolling Hampshire Downs were and still are grazed by vast numbers of sheep and the Hampshire Downs breed is famous the world over. Weyhill Fair [as mentioned in Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge] was for many hundreds of years the largest sheep fair in England).
Where I live in the beautiful Itchen Valley is just a few miles from where I was born and within a dozen or so miles radius of where both sides of my family have lived for many, many generations.
I am proud to be treading familiar ground in the footsteps of my forebears.
I have worked in the printing trade since 1967 when I was apprenticed as a compositor for five years, (typesetting by hand) to a jobbing printer back in the days of hot metal. Nowadays, of course, the work is all done on computer.
I have always had an interest in and love of music, probably because the wireless was always on in our house. The popular artistes of the day when I was a boy, such as Lonnie Donegan, Frankie Laine, The Everly Brothers and Elvis sat easily alongside the folksongs of Robin Hall and Jimmie MaGregor and the Clancy brothers. There was also Uncle Mac's Childrens Favourites on the wireless each Saturday morning. Here I heard Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives, international music, Skiffle hits and early country songs as well as the songs from early 'Pop' charts.
When we got a television in the late fifties, I enjoyed watching The White Heather Club and listening to the closing song on the nightly Tonight programme, which was usually performed by Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor who sang British folk songs, Cy Grant who sang 'topical' Calypsos or Lance Percival who would also compose and perform Calypsos based on topical stories. The Tonight programme, being a current affairs show, regularly showcased musicians as diverse as Bob Dylan and Ivor Cutler!
My father's musical tastes ranged from military bands to Mantovani and the house was rarely silent. In the late 1950s and early 1960s we used to gather on Boxing Day at my Aunt's where 'Uncle' Hal would play popular songs on the upright piano in the front room.
Thanks to this exposure and varied musical education I am interested in all genres of music, particularly traditional music and song, folk, country and old timey.
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