The COPPER FAMILY
The influence of the English southern harmony style of singing of The Copper Family is inestimable. Certainly groups like The Watersons and The Young Tradition are deeply in their debt, but the harmony singing of many English folk groups can be traced back to these roots.
The Copper Family of Rottingdean in Sussex has roots in traditional song that are at least two hundred years old. Their rare southern English harmony is presented at its most outstanding in these classic performances from the 1950s and early ’60s. Bob and Ron Copper came to prominence outside their immediate local environment when recordings of the duo were released during the early part of the folk revival. These newly remastered recordings are included here in their entirety. In addition, earlier recordings involving Bob and Ron’s fathers – Jim and John – are available for the first time. There are three songs which feature the full quartet.
The special packaging includes a 60-page booklet of extensive history, biography and social context as well as a 36-page booklet of song texts. Both booklets also contain historic photographs.
- “inspirational … a testament to the strength of songs that have endured so long and the spirit at the heart of their survival … the whole package (is) a lesson in quality” fRoots Magazine
- “Topic Records reputation a the great UK folk label is further enhanced by the release of (this) wonderfully packaged collection of early recordings of the legendary Copper Family. More than just a record…both an historical document and a vital part of the living tradition of English folksong” Get Rhythm magazine
- “Resonates with a weird primitivism” Sunday Times
- “These robust mournful songs of life’s travails and treasures have a directness and authenticity that puts most rock music to shame”Mojo
- “Make sure to buy three copies of this CD: one for yourself to play and play all day; one to give as a present to the person who means most to you; and one to bury in the garden for the Martians when they land, to show them us Human Race were capable of real excellence. …the first booklet contains the lyrics to the songs, but with the added bonus of deeply interesting notes by Steve Roud on every one of the songs. This booklet in itself would put most CD booklets in the shade. But then, even THIS is trumped by the second booklet: a 58 page “beaut” consisting of extensive notes…it is genuinely a compulsive page turner. As for the CD content…it is all sublime.” Musical Traditions magazine
- “These extraordinary songs breathe life into a tradition that stretches back to the Napoleonic Wars and beyond. They are the aural equivalent of remote viewing on to a vanished world. There are seafaring ballads, aching laments and songs of farewell, drinking songs alongside more ancient ballads.” The Guardian
This is Bob Copper’s final book, which had been completed and edited at the time of his death in 2004. This volume fills in the many gaps left by his previous works. It provides a charming and detailed account of his life as a peacetime soldier in the Lifeguards between the wars, and his wartime service as Coroners Officer in Worthing during WW2. It also covers the early days of the English Folk Revival and subsequent involvement in the folk scene. His postwar career as a publican is related with some hilarious anecdotes.
Not only for Copper Family ‘completists’, this book provides a valuable social history of the life of a Southern English countryman from the 1930s to the present day. An insight into what made this remarkable self-taught hero of the English traditional music scene tick, this is a beautifully-written memoir. Highly recommended! You can purchase the book, for £15 plus postage.
A Man of No Consequence
Author: Bob Copper
Paperback: 246 pages; 1st edition (2013)
In 1963 the English Folk Dance and Song Society released an LP of unaccompanied singing that has had a tremendous influence on the folk song revivals of Britain, Ireland and the United States. The album collected together a number of recordings of Bob and Ron Copper of Rottingdean in Sussex, recordings made by the renowned folksong collector Peter Kennedy during the late 1950s.
The Copper Family can trace their roots in traditional song back at least two hundred years. Their rare southern English harmony is presented at its most outstanding in these classic performances from the 1950s and early ’60s.
To celebrate the centenary of Bob Copper’s birth, Fledg’ling Records in collaboration with the Copper Family and Topic Records are releasing a new CD edition of this seminal album. The package recreates all the original artwork and Bob Copper’s complete sleevenotes (the original EFDSS LP only contained a shortened version of the essay).
To celebrate Record Store Day 2015 on 18th April Fledg’ling Records have re-issued this iconic album as a 12″ vinyl LP. The album is packaged in a front-laminated, flipback sleeve, just like the original, and an illustrated inner bag with Bob Copper’s complete sleevenotes.
1. Two Brethren
2. Month of May
3. Honest Labourer
4. Birds in the Sprin
5. Shepherd in Love
6. Threshing Song
7. Dame Durden
8. Season Round
9. Innocent Hare
10. Lark in the Morning
11. Hard Times of Old England
12. Spencer the Rover
13. Spring Glee
14. Good Ale
15. Babes in the Wood
16. Cupid’s Garden
The Copper Family Songbook – A Living Tradition – contains the words and music of 65 songs from the Copper Family repertoire, augmented by Bob’s own illustrations, archive photographs and introduction to the background of the songs by Bob Copper. Strictly limited edition, wire-bound so that it lies flat. Matt laminated to make the cover beer-resistant! A beautiful reprint of the original 1995 publication is now available for sale – £15 plus postage.
Jon Dudley’s Introduction to the collection can be read here: Introduction
Copper Family Songbook : A Living Tradition
Paperback: 128 pages; 2015 edition
Reprint of Bob Copper’s award-winning A Song For Every Season. First published in 1971 A Song For Every Season – one hundred years in the life of a Sussex farming family – contains the words and music of forty-seven songs from the Copper Family repertoire with Bob’s stories of his family and of rural life in Sussex, month by month, with illustrations, photographs and reflections. It won the Robert Pitman literature prize in the year of its first publication.
“A Song for Every Season” has been out of print for some time, but has now been reprinted. A new Copper Songs paperback edition, with the original cover and contents, it is available for sale – £15 plus p&p.
A Song For Every Season
Author: Bob Copper
Paperback: 288 pages; 2014 edition