Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Nice Patina with Age: The Copper Family and "Spencer the Rover"

Our random tune for today is sung by The Copper Family and is called Spencer the Rover. From England, they specialize in unaccompanied, traditional English folk songs and have been described as "the first family of English roots music." James and Thomas Copper first came to the attention of musical folklorists in 1898 and even then were considered something special because of their unaccompanied singing. Made honorary members of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, they were asked to write down the songs they knew, thus possibly preserving songs that might have been lost. In the 1950s, James and his son Ron were recorded by the BBC in a series of radio programs. With new generations of the Copper family, more members were added to the singing group and even now, further generations are singing as The Young Coppers and the family has been the subject of BBC programs for television as late as 2006. Spencer the Rover won a BBC Folk Award in 2001 and can be found on the 2001 album Come Write Me Down - Early Recordings of The Copper Family of Rottingdean and on the compilation album The Folk Awards 2001 which was put out by the BBC and Topic Records. It can also be found on the 2013 album Good Ale.