FOLK MUSIC, as the name implies, is music of the people. It is not composed by men seated at their pianos but just happens a man is happy, or sad — he expresses his feelings in spontaneous song; the achievements of another man are not merely talked about but someone sings about them. Folk music registers emotions, tells of great deeds and more than any other music, gives insight into the life of the many races of mankind.
Long before classical music, jazz and popular songs were written, people all over the world were singing and their songs have ken passed from generation to generation, embellished maybe, but little changed through time.
This record introduces Roy Guest, a Young entertainer who has made folk music his life. Through travel and research he has acquired a first-hand knowledge of songs from the British Isles, Europe, Canada and the United States. This experience has resulted in a repertoire of songs, some of which have never been recorded before, many of them unknown in this country.
For this record Roy has related contrasting songs that indicate the spirit of the countries and people from which they come.
Roy Guest, began his musical career when he dropped his wallet containing all his money, into the Seine. In order to avert starvation he persuaded a restaurant owner to let him sing and entertain the customers.
Back in London he sang on the streets with the buskers and two years ago he went to Canada with £6 and his guitar. He sang his way in cafes, schools, logging camps, on the streets, on radio and T.V. — in fact, for anyone who would listen.
He 'bummed' his way from Quebec to Vancouver via the Arctic, then down into the United States to the Mexican border, singing and collecting songs on the way from authentic sources and from other folk singers.
He is back here to sing and learn more songs to add to his delightful repertoire.
THERE IS A great revival of interest in traditional music on both sides of the Atlantic. Recently folk songs have found their way on to the Hit Parade and numerous clubs are springing up, devoted to exploring this new sound.
New sound is perhaps a big misnomer. Folk songs have lasted hundreds of years and probably will last more hundreds. Jazz, skiffle and dance rhythms all have their roots in folk music, which is after all one of the easiest of all musics to enjoy. Lovely melodies, interesting words and swinging tunes — a very obvious basis for enjoyment in anybody's book.
Roy Guest is a folk singer who is also a fine entertainer. He has travelled and sung all over Canada and the United States, and is now doing cafe stints in London and Paris. His appearances on ITV's 'The Sunday Break' and BBC's 'Skiffle Club' together with live concerts at the Festival Hall are swiftly bringing him to the forefront of the young entertainers in Britain. This achievement is helped by an extremely attractive personality and a rugged individualism which insists on avoiding the gimmicks considered so necessary for success in modern Show Business. He has been, and will always be, a wanderer, interested in people and their songs the world over. On this disc he sings four British songs. His two other records for SAGA are Roy Guest and his guitar and the Wandering Minstrel
Well look here boy, if you haven't this one you never went to no Welsh rugby match — nor sung in the pub neither!, There are hundreds of verses, most of them unprintable, all of them extremely funny. The melody adapted from a Welsh folk song The Black Pig.
The Lincolnshire Poacher
an exciting tale of the continual struggle we poachers have to make a dishonest living. The song has been sung all over the British Isles for a century or more.
The Foggy, Foggy Dew
A lovely song, that originated in Norfolk and Suffolk, The foggy dew is said to be a term for the disease of consumption.
Cockles and Mussels
An old Irish favourite, the source is unknown, dating back to the eighteenth century. Cockle sellers in London still use the cry, Cockles, Alive, Alive O!
Tom Dooley: This catchy tune, currently riding high on the hit parades of many countries was collected by Frank Warner. Roy and the Steve Benbow group give it a relaxed folksy treatment that they feel this sad ballad should have.
Foggy Mountain Top: A popular Western folk song, enhanced by the brilliant mandolin playing of Jimmy MacGregor, a 28 year old ex school teacher from Glasgow.
Sinner Man: Roy learned this swinging spiritual from the States, and Steve learned that guitar lick from hard practice!
Santy Anna: A capstan shanty from the days of wooden ships and iron men: Roy and Steve alternate verses singing about the Mexican general Santy Anna whose battles with General Taylor of the war of Mexican independence were the current topic with the sailor of the day.
Roy Guest, wandering folk-singer, has sung in Britain, France, Canada and all through the United States in his search for the wonderful songs that make up the world's folk music. In the autumn of 1956 he quit an acting career and set off with his guitar slung over his shoulder to be free to sing and play whore he pleased all over the world.
On this disc he is backed by Steve Benbow and his Folk Four, a group whose exciting sound is becoming known through their broadcasts. Steve himself has travelled through Europe and the Middle East, singing and collecting songs. Nine months ago he teamed up with bass player Pete Maynard, Joan Swankie and Brian Jackman to form the group.
Steve and Jimmie MacGregor are old friends who have broadcast and recorded together frequently and a chance meeting with Roy at the Royal Festival Hall led to the exciting new sound heard on this disc.
For the whole of his life, Roy Guest has been a wanderer. Born in Turkey, childhood in South Wales, drama college in London, then a four-year wander with his guitar through Europe, Canada and America when he felt like it and singing the songs he wanted to sing.
At present Roy is running a club in Edinburgh's Royal Mile where this lively session was recorded-including traffic noise, St. Giles' Cathedral clock bell and all!
Roy's ambition is to sing his way right around the world — next time in a sailing-boat which he is building with some friends — to collect more versions of "Everybody Loves Saturday Night."