Bill Price - folk singer - 1938-1980

LP centre labels

centre label from Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman centre label from Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman
LP centre labels

Sleeve Art

sleeve art from Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman
LP sleeve art

Track Listing

Folk Heritage Recordings FHR 038
Side 1
1 The Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman Trad. Arr. W. Price
2 Pony-Driving Song Trad. Arr. W. Price
3 Simon John T. Daniel
4 Cropper Lads Trad. Arr. W. Price
5 Rothwell Debtors Prison Song Words Trad. / Tune W. Price
6 Kirkby Malzeard Calling On Song Trad. Arr. W. Price
7 The Weavers Trad. Arr. W. Price
Side 2
1 The Keepers And The Drivers Trad. Arr. W. Price
2 The Fisher Lads of Whitby Trad. Arr. W. Price
3 Spence Broughton Trad. Arr. W. Price
4 T'Owd Farmer And His Shrew T. Daniel
5 Forsters Mill Trad. Arr. W. Price
6 Master Smith Says To John Trad. Arr. W. Price
7 The Methody Parson Trad. Arr. W. Price


Rosa Barnes, Doris and Joe Lndley, Mary Grundwald, Tony Green, Mike Heywood, Bob Auty, Keith Pearson, and many more, for their respect and preservation of the tradition.

Sleeve Notes

Ever since I first heard BILL PRICE back in 1965. I've been saying that he should make a record - and here it is at last! I was greatly impressed by Bill's singing when I met him in Canada; his fine voice and lively interpretation of traditional English songs seemed to me to put him in the first rank of British singers. I'm glad that now he can be heard by a wider audience.
Whilst he was in Canada, Bill and Roger Renwick organised “The Pedlar's Pack” Folk Club and put on the best evenings of traditional folksinging that Toronto had known.
Bill began singing at the age of 10 and was already known in various Yorkshire Clubs before I met him in Toronto in 1965. When he returned to his native Yorkshire in 1968 he resumed his singing in local clubs and concentrated on finding and performing traditional Yorkshire songs.
In the past year, Bill has been branching out to clubs beyond the Yorkshire borders, building a reputation which has finally led to this, his first record. May he make many more!

Edith Fowke
International Folk Music Council

Yorkshire is a county of extreme contrasts - the open moors, the dales, the wolds, the cliffs and bays of the East Coast, the small heavy-woollen towns of the Pennine foothils and the industrial sprawl of central and southern Yorkshire.
The face of Yorkshire was greatly changed by the Industrial Revolution, a large part of the population being shifted by economic necessity from the fells and farmland to the cramped, apparently uninspiring conditions of the factories and mill towns. Though the environment changed, the culture was not lost - it adapted and developed new facets. A brief and varied example of these cultures is embodied in this collection of songs from Yorkshire, presented here by BILL PRICE of Dewsbury. Bill is known as a fine singer with a wide and varied repertoire, but he is perhaps never more at home than when he is singing the songs collected in his native county.

Song Source/Information

THE FINE OLD YORKSHIRE GENTLEMAN (or the Wensleydale Lad) : -
turns up in many forms in different parts of the county. This version was collected in Horton-in-Ribblesdale in 1960, verse 2 and 5 being added from Holroyd's ‘Yorkshire Ballads’ (1892). It tells the story of a country lad's first visit to town, and how his native wit triumphs over the city dwellers sophistication.
Parts of this song were collected in Methley, near Castleford. This version is from the singing of Joe Lindley, who was a doggy at Swillington Colliery. The pony drivers were lads of 13-14 in their first job in the pit, leading pony drawn tubs along the narrow galleries. The turn minder, or doggy, (in this case Bobby Bellwood) was in charge of the teams of pony drivers, counting and allocating the tubs to the face workers, and being older and stronger, he would lift the derailed tubs back onto the rails. Joe himself was a doggy at 16.
‘Old Tommy’ Daniel of Batley, who died in April 1970, is best known for preserving and reconstructing the fine song ‘Poverty Knock’. Simon John is another one of Tommy's songs, possibly his own favourite, as he always enjoyed life and saw the humerous side. He always insisted that the audience join him in the actions of donning the “neetcap, neetshirt and long-stockings”, and that “Mm-mm”, was added at the end of every verse, as it was the best part of the song.
At the beginning of the 19th century, when machines were being introduced into the mills and factories, rebellion was brewing among the craftsmen who were thrown out of work. The first signs of violence came from the Nottingham lace-makers, and, encouraged by this, the West Riding cloth finishers (or croppers) began to urge that similar measures should be taken to destroy the cropping frames being introduced by the Yorkshire manufacturers. Thus arose the Fraternity of Luddites, pledged “to submit without demur or question to the commands of General Ludd”. ‘Enoch’ was the hammer used by the Luddites in breaking the frames, named after the chief partner of the firm engaged in their manufacture, Enoch Taylor - “Enoch has made them and Enoch shall smash them”.
The debtors prison was established in Rothwell, a village south of Leeds, in the 17th Century, and was later converted into a workhouse. When prisoners were first taken to the Debtors Prison, the ‘Society of Debtors’ demanded that each newcomer pay a ‘garnish’ or fine, of 2/6d, or forfeit his coat (the latter usually being the case). This song was noted by Captain Armitage in ‘The Annals of Wakefield House of Correction’.
Recorded by Cecil J. Sharpe in ‘Sword Dances of Northern England’ (1906) and by tradition sung by the Captain of the Kirkby Malzeard Longsword Dancers. The six dancers in the team line up at right angles to the audience and the Captain, sword in hand, turns to the audience and introduces the dancers with this song, finishing with:
“These here six actors bold,
Ne'er came on't stage before
But they will do their best,
And the best can do no more.
You've seen them all go round,
Think on 'em what you will.
Music! Strike uo and play
T'auld wife of Dallowgill”.
Weaving is still an important industry in the Spen Valley, as it was 100 years ago when the song was collected and published by Abraham Holroyd in his ‘Yorkshire Ballads’ (1892). Fragments and variants are still to be heard around Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike.
A song recalling an unsuccessful hare-hunt in 1909 from the singing of Bob Auty of the Holme Valley Beagles, and telling us more of the evening's entertainment than the hunt itself.
During the closing years of the 18th Century, the pressgang was fearfull reality. The north-east coast of Yorkshire, with its hardy mariners was a rich field from which to gather victims for the bloody French Wars.
Spence Broughton was hung at York on the 14th April, 1792 for robbing the mail-coach, reputedly at Attercliffe Moore, Nr. Sheffield. Copy from an original broadsheet.
“I got this song from an old farm labourer during the War. It has a very simple tune and was sung to the rhythm of an old turnip chopping machine”. - Tommy Daniel. “Seak” is the greasy sludge from old woollen mills.
On 9th April, 1812, Forster's Mill at Horbury, Nr. Wakefield, was attacked by 300 Luddites from the Spen Valley, and extensive damage was caused to machines and property. This account of the attack was noted at The Shears Inn, Hightown, Nr. Liversedge, by Frank Peel, whilst collecting material for his book ‘The Rising of the Luddites, Chartists and Plug Drawers’ (1880). It would appear to be only a fragment of the original song. The 3rd and 4th verses illustrate the sympathy of workers in other trades towards the Luddite cause.
Another fine hunting song from the ‘kennels’ of Bob Auty of the Home Valley Beagles.
The rivalry between Church and Chapel provides the theme for this humerous song from the singing of Dave Keddy of Bradford

Wendy Price