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An Hour With Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings

Ashley Hutchings: An Hour With Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings (Dambuster DAM 014)

An Hour With Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings
Ashley Hutchings

Dambuster Records DAM 014 (LP, UK, 1986)
Dambuster Records DAMCD014 (CD, UK, 2000)
Talking Elephant Records TECD448 (CD, UK, 30 October 2020)

Ashley Hutchings: An Hour With Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings (Talking Elephant TECD448)

Recorded at Dambuster Studios, Essex;
Produced by Ashley Hutchings;
Mixed and edited by Richard Digance;
Engineered by Dave Bubb;
Mastered by Bob Jones, CTS, Wembley;
Front cover, photography and artwork by Garry Owen;
Photograph of Cecil Sharp supplied by EFDSS;
Sleeve design by: Dave Bubb;
All outdoor and sound effects recorded at locations in Gloucestershire and Essex using a Uher report monitor;
Thanks to Val Miles for the loan of the bicycle


Martin Carthy: guitar and vocals;
Richard Thompson: guitar
Dave Whetstone: concertina, one row melodeon, guitar

The Cylinders

Very little is known about the cylinder recordings used on this recording. The original cylinders, from which they were taken, were found mostly unlabelled and in a dilapidated condition at Cecil Sharp House. They were made by Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams and date from the very early years of the 20th century.

Particular thanks to Jim Lloyd, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and Ursula Vaughan Williams for their consent to use these rare recordings.


Side 1

  1. Among the New-Mown Hay cylinder recording, possibly of Alfred Edghill, Chew Magna, Somerset, by Cecil Sharp
  2. Sharp arrives and observes starlings
  3. Among the New Mown Hay sung and played by Martin Carthy
  4. Hutchings introduces Sharp
  5. Bushes and Briars cylinder recording of Mrs Humphries, Ingrave, Essex by Ralph Vaughan Williams
  6. Sharp avoids being killed by a gypsy
  7. Banks of the Nile cylinder recording
  8. Sharp illustrates the evolution of a folk song on a bicycle wheel
  9. Sharp opens his case and relates its contents
  10. Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson and Dave Whetstone play a jig, learnt from the cylinder recordings, on three guitars
  11. Hutchings reveals a catalogue of Sharp’s illnesses
  12. The cylinder recording of the previous jig, whistled by “as good a whistler as ever cocked a lip”
  13. Sharp finds his lunch and holds forth on vegetarianism, politics, collecting folk songs and the acceptance of popularisation
  14. More cylinder whistling
  15. Sharp extols the virtues of bicycle travel and meets a bird-starver
  16. Hutchings offers an opinion on moulding music to suit its audience’s taste
  17. Rambling Sailor performed by Martin Carthy
  18. Sharp muses on John Short and the sea
  19. Rambling Sailor cylinder recording, possibly of Mrs Verrall, Horsham, Sussex by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Side 2

  1. Richard Digance and British Telecom decide that Sharp has slept enough
  2. Sharp continues where he left off, then moves on to pipe-smoking idiosyncrasies in the Appalachians. He decides to smoke his pipe. His lungs object. Instead he turns to morris dancing.
  3. Black Joke morris tune played by Dave Whetstone on concertina and Martin Carthy on guitar.
    Hutchings on the disagreement between Sharp and Mary Neal
  4. Cylinder recording by Sharp of Herefordshire fiddler John Lock playing a hornpipe
  5. Sharp believes that fiddlers are a strange breed and illustrates why. He also paints a picture of the Running Set on a moonlit Pine Mountain.
  6. All My Chickens Have Gone crows an authentic American string-band
  7. Sharp relates more adventures in the Appalachians
  8. Part of George Butterworth’s Idyll for Orchestra, The Banks of Green Willow.
    Sharp, the delighted botanist, gives way to Sharp, the sad loser of three dead colleagues
  9. Turtle Dove sung by Martin Carthy accompanied by himself and Richard Thompson on guitars
  10. Sharp laments the passing of old-fashioned songs and kindly manners
  11. Turtle Dove cylinder recording of Mr Pendfold, landlord of the “Plough Inn”, Rusper, Sussex, by Ralph Vaughan Williams
  12. Instrumental version of Turtle Dove played on guitars by Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson and Dave Whetstone
  13. Hutchings sums up and gets himself off the hook
  14. A rousing instrumental Among the New Mown Hay to finish from Dave Whetstone, one row melodeon, and Martin Carthy and Richard Thompson, guitars

Tracks 1, 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 23, 30 Copyright EFDSS;
Track 3, 17 trad. arr. Carthy;
Tracks 10, 31, 33 trad. arr. Carthy / Thompson / Whetstone;
Track 22 trad. arr. Carthy / Whetstone;
Tracks 25, 27 Copyright Control;
Track 28 trad. arr. Carthy / Thompson