FTX-057 - THE GREAT MAN OF GOWER
Introduced by F.A. Bracey & his wife Paddy Palmer, who were responsible
for bringing Phil Tanner to the attention of Maud Karpeles in the twenties,
which in turn led to him first being recorded in 1937 and, after the war, in
1948. Tanner is now regarded as one of the most outstanding performers of English
folk-song, & particularly remembered for his local version of "The Gower
Wassail Song" and the "Gower Reel" mouth-music used for step-dancing.
The commentary gives a graphic account of his individuality and rebel outlook.
1. THE GOWER REEL (mouth music) faded to commentary by F.A.Bracey on
how he first encountered Tanner while he was attending an undergraduate camp
in S.Wales at which Tanner joined in one of their sing-songs. Bracey sings extracts
of 2 songs he learned from Phil Tanner, accomp by his wife, Paddy Palmer (piano):
A Welsh parody of ERIN-GO-BRAGH and the Boxing Ballad, MY BROTHER SYLVEST' -
2. Further talk about Tanner's first performance at the Camp followed by THE
OYSTER GIRL - 2'36"
3. Talk with Peter Kennedy about mouth music at performances in parish and
London followed by THE GOWER REEL with step-dancing - 2'19"
4. Further talk with PK about how Tanner came to be recognised & recorded
in London - 1'14"
5. THE BANKS OF THE SWEET PRIMEROSES - 3'32"
6. Talk with PK by Paddy & Bracey about transcribing the music - 1'21"
7. YOUNG HENRY MARTIN (Child Ballad #250) - 3'33"
8. Bracey with stories of Tanner in London, at the BBC & Buckingham Palace
9. THE DARK-EYED SAILOR - 3'46"
10. PK asks Bracey about Tanner's song repertoire - 2'35"
11. SWANSEA BARRACKS (or THE BLOOMING ROSE OF SOUTH WALES) - 2'28"
12. BARBARA ELLEN (Child #84) - 2'28"
13. Bracey talks about Tanner's work, status & his home etc - 1'16"
14. THE PARSON AND THE CLERK - 3'05"
15. Talk with PK about travel, local gossip and attitudes - 0'50"
16. THE BONNY BUNCH OF ROSES-O - 3'25"
17. Talk: his dialect speech, singing style, sense of local ritual and customs,
Bracey sings extracts of THE POTTERY CANAL (THE MORRISTON-SWANSEA CANAL) & YOUNG ROGER ESQUIRE - 4'17"
18. YOUNG ROGER ESQUIRE - 2'34"
19. Further talk about Tanner, on one occasion, in "The King's Head" at Reynoldstown singing 88 songs, bawdy songs and enjoying giving local offence,
and a particular local song - 2'56"
20. OVER THE HILLS TO GOWERIE (mouth music) - 1'20"
21. Talk with PK about Wassailing with Tanner's secret recipe for the Wassail
Bowl - 1'29"
22. THE GOWER WASSAIL SONG - 4'37"
23. THE GOWER REEL (mouth music)- 1'05"
Phil Tanner was recorded at Llangennith, Gower in 1948. F.A.Bracey and Penny
Palmer were recorded by Peter Kennedy at the John Lewis Store, Oxford St, London
23/12/64 and first published on Folktrax Cassettes 1975. NOTE: All the musical
arrangement rights of the Phil Tanner songs, speech & mouth music were assigned
to FOLKTRAX for registration and protection by his nephew, John Tanner, 25/1/67,
and registered with the Performing Right Society and the Mechanical Copyright
Protection Society the same year.
PHILIP TANNER (1862-1949). Born at Llangennith, in Gower, which is an English-speaking
part of Wales, Phil worked mainly as a hedger and ditcher. In 1937 Maud Karpeles
arranged with Mr and Mrs Bracey for Tanner to come to London to make three records
for The Gramophone Company (COLUMBIA CA 16053-5) and to appear on the BBC Radio
Programme "In Town Tonight". In 1948, when he was in the Penmaen Eventide
Homes in Gower, there was an illustrated article about him in "Picture Post".
He died a year later, aged 87.