FTX-097 - UP TO THE RIGS
CHARLIE WILLS - Dorset Shepherd
20 "earthy" songs and some racy talk from one of the most loveable of West
Country singers. First recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1950, with the last tapes
being made in 1968 when he was still an active 90. Living alone, he kept a good
edge to his voice with local cheese and hot cider and regular walks to the pub.
Charlie talks about himself, his life as a shepherd, how his song repertoire
was learned and he talks about the songs and his favourites.
1. UP TO THE RIGS - 2'29"
2. Talk about himself: age, work, school, shepherding & songs - 1'20"
3. THE FLAG OF OLD ENGLAND (with talk after about song) - 1'10"
4. THE GERMAN CLOCKMAKER - 1'28"
5. THE FOGGY DEW (being remembered and chorus sung - See #12) - 0'38"
6. Story: The man who came to get a song: THE SPOTTED COW - 3'17"
7. LORD THOMAS (Child Ballad #73) Fragment (talk before & after) - 0'33"
8. THE CUCKOLD OLD MAN (Child #274) (talk after) - 1'22"
9. THE FEMALE CABIN BOY (with talk) - 4'02"
10. THE LITTLE BALL OF YARN (frag: verse & chorus) - 0'25"
11. THE GAME OF CARDS (talk before/ with chorus) - 2'25"
12. THE FOGGY DEW (with story of song) - 1'12"
13, THE STORYBOOK SONG (TURN OVER ANOTHER LEAF) - 1'13"
14. HOME, DEAR HOME - 4'49"
15. THE DERBY RAM - 1'51"
16. THE SUIT OF CORDEROY - 2'49"
17. BARBARA ALLEN (Child #84) - 3'20"
18. IT'S A WONDER I'M ALIVE TO TELL THE TALE - 2'53"
19. RUTH BUTCHER (Local Murder Ballad) - 2'27"
20. BRENNAN'S ON THE MOOR - 5'10"
21. GO AND LEAVE ME IF YOU WISH IT - 2'06"
22. THE SAILOR CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME - 4'20"
Recorded by Peter Kennedy, Morcombelake, near Bridport, Dorset 1950-1968. Edited
by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax Cassettes 1975.
CHARLIE WILLS (1877-1971) was born at West Chinnock, Somerset and learned most
of his songs from his grandfather and mother. Although still at school, at the
age of 9 he was also working half a day with a local dog-breeder for 18 pence
a week. He left school at 12 with a wage rise to 3 shillings as shepherd in
the village of Merriott. His next move was to Beaminster, Dorset when he worked
on a farm at Mosterton and met his wife, a farmer's daughter. For a time, he
and his wife ran a dairy at West Chinnock, then he settled at Eype, near Symondsbury.
After the 14-18 War, he worked as a gamekeeper to Sir Charles Colfox.
When Charlie's wife died in 1950, he lived with his daughter, May Simmonds,
at Butt Farm, Ryall. After Peter recorded him, he took part in the first TV "Balladhunter" Television series from Alexandra Palace produced by David Attenborough.
He was also featured on Westward TV as "The Last West Country Folksinger" before
he died on 22nd. November 1971.