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Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio

GUEST 25 Jun 12 - 04:23 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Jun 12 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Jun 12 - 04:50 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jun 12 - 05:30 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jun 12 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Guest Ed Silberman 26 Jun 12 - 11:54 AM
Vic Smith 26 Jun 12 - 12:22 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jun 12 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Guest Ed Silberman 26 Jun 12 - 09:09 PM
Susanne (skw) 27 Jun 12 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 28 Jun 12 - 09:07 AM
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Subject: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 04:23 PM

Where can I find biographical information on Queen Carolyne Hughes?

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 04:31 PM

MacColl and Seeger's book, Travellers Songs, would be the obvious source, but I've seen other info elsewhere in the Voice of the People booklets that go with the recordings.

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 04:50 PM

One of the latest CD sets in Topic's 'Voice of the People' series is called 'I'm A Romany Rai' (TSCD672D)and is devoted to "Songs by English Gypsy Traditional Singers". Disc 2 is devoted to Peter Kennedy's recordings of Carolyne Hughes and some of her family members. Shirley Collins's notes to these recordings, in the accompanying booklet, contains some biographical and autobiographical details relating to Carolyne Hughes.

You may, of course, know about this material already (?)

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 05:30 PM

From Travellers Songs from England and Scotland - MacColl and Seeger
Jim Carroll


Caroline Hughes (nee Bateman) was born in 1900 in a horse-drawn caravan in Bere Regis, Dorset. 'My mother's name was Lavinia Batemen and my father was Arthur Hughes. I was one of seventeen children. My parents worked all their lifetime to bring we up clean and respectable. My father was a rat-and-varmint destroyer. We could bide anywhere, and was respected with anybody. My father had a good name and a good character. My mother worked hard, use to go hawking to get a living in a straightforward way. Never done no wrong. Never been had up for stealing, robbing, lived a straight life. ... I started to go hawking with my mother time I got up old enough, then I went to school till I was ten year old. Then I took off with my mother to get my living, just like all my sisters did. And I grew up to get married and I knew how to get my living. I met my husband arter he done three years in France a-fighting. When he come back he had a long tarry in hospital. We never courted long before we got married. I was married two years and five month before I had my first child. After that I had three children in three year and seven month. I knowed how to take the basket on my arm to get my own living honest. I didn't want teaching. I knowed to get my living working on a farm, doing things straightforward. My children used to help me go out in the field to pull docks. ... I been out in the fields hoeing all day and come back and done my girt tubs o' washing. I was proud o' that, and done it until I turned fifty-three. Then I met with an accident, which turned me an invalid for nine years. This car-driver, he ran straight on and never stopped. Never mind ... I left that to God.
'Don't I wish they old times would come back again . . . where we used to go and have a drink at a public house, all come back on the old common, singing, hang on our pots of girt big suety puddings, hocks o' bacon, pigs heads ... we done nice then. We was all healthy, never much illness amongst the family. Farmers come round, talking with our lathers and mothers. We children playing with their children. Dancin', playin' gramophone records, tap-dancin', clog-dancin'. You could stay anywhere . . . not today. The world's turned upsidedown part, you can't do as you like. It's a different law. I reckon to myself the Lord Almighty he died to save all we in this world. God wasn't a proud man. He liked every form of mother's child. He liked mine and other children too. He sent this world for we poor people. Sent the mountains for us, sent everything for us all to have a share o't, everything. The Lord send bushes, he send trees, birds, comfort, greens, swedes, potatoes, flowers, everything in the world for one another. Not for one, for the lot.
'My name is Caroline Hughes. I'm a principled woman. I can't read but I tell you I got my knowledge. I got my little wooden caravan, and I got my eight nice children and my thirty-five grandchildren and I love to hear the birds in the morning and get to the copses and woods and set round the old camp-fire. I don't want no saucepans to cook with. I want to follow my great-great-great-grandmother with the old-fashioned, three-gallon pot. My great grandmother had a grandmother lived till she was 104. The next was 101. The next one again was my grandmother, she was 103. That was Alice Baternan, my father's mother. His father was more than a hundred when he died, but my mother was only seventy-two and my father eighty-two, so they didn't follow on their families. But I want to reach there if I can.'
Of her songs, she said, 'My mother sang all the time. When she were making clothes-pegs or making we children's bloomers, shifts and petticoats. We be all around the fire singing these old songs, and I been with my mother listening, listening, and I made her sing them over and over till I learned the lot. Many a time my father and mother have come back with a glass of beer in their hands and they'd say to we children, "Would you like to hear a song?" "Yes," says we. And my father and mother they've sat and sung songs, and there've been local people out in the road a-listening. That was my father and mother, the bestest singers in the world. And there was my brother, he used to play a fiddle and he wrould sing.'
At this point, one of Caroline's daughters interrupted to say, 'My mother done the same with us. She would always sing when she was making tea or to keep we kids quiet. And she always sang to us at bed-time. On Sundays too, when the men came back from the pub, that would always be a time for singing.'
Caroline Hughes concluded the story of her life with these words: 'Where you going to find a good mother when she's gone? One who's worked, slaved hard, runned and raced for you, been through bitter frost and snow, finding snitches of wood, buckets of water, through all the ups and downs. The young girls today don't know the meaning of it. What do they do today? Wear their clothes above their knees so you can almost see their fanny. And there's paint and powder. They're not like the gals what's fifty years ago, nothing like they was thirty, forty years ago. I'm a gal, my name is Caroline Hughes. Ibeenouta-beggin' for my bread. I wish I could do it now. . . .'
Queen Caroline Hughes died in 1971 and was given a gypsy funeral. As is the traditional way among older gypsies, her caravan and all her possessions were burned in the presence of her tribe. She contributed the following songs to this collection:

The Broomfield Hill
Bonny Barbara Allen
The Famous Flower of Serving Men
Sir Hugh
Brake of Briars
Mother, Mother Make My Bed
Long A-Growing
The Three Butchers
The Sailor's Return
If I Was a Blackbird
All Fours
Ring Dang Doo
Seventeen Come Sunday
The Lady and the Soldier
The Bird in the Bush
The Seeds of Love
Died for Love
The Blacksmith
The Cuckoo
The False-Hearted Lover
Blue-Eyed Lover
My Love Lays Cold Beneath
My Feet
Green Grows the Laurel
The Girl I Left Behind
Green Bushes
Too Young
The Banks of Sweet Primroses
Sheep-Crook and Black Dog
The Fatal Snowstorm
The Butcher Boy
Oxford City
The Wexford Girl
All Over Those Hills
The Highwayman Outwitted
The First Day in October
Twenty-One Years
We Dear Labouring Men
The Jolly Herring
Paddy Backwards
Little Poppa Rich
The Two Gypsy Girls
Diddling Songs
Jal Along
Mandi Went to Poov the Grais
The Atching Tan Song

(Collected 1962 and 1966)

Henry Hughes was born in 1904. Brother to William Hughes, he contributed the ballad 'Geordie' (No. 16) to this collection. (Collected 1962)

Sheila Hughes is one of Caroline Hughes's daughters. She contributed the following items to this collection:
Lord Randal
If I Was a Blackbird

(Collected 1962)

William Hughes, brother to Henry and husband to Caroline, was born in 1895 in Dorset, in a horse-drawn caravan. 'All my life I been on the road. Earned my living at anything I could lay my hand to. Harvesting, bird-snaring, chair-making, baskets, dolls, wooden clothes-pegs, mat-making, horse-breaking, pullin' beets, scrap-collecting. Never harmed nobody and brought my childer up as decent as I know how.' He contributed the following songs to this collection:
Camden Town
The Little Chimney Sweep

(Collected 1962)

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 05:37 PM

Have never understood for the life of me why Topic never issued a separate CD of either Irish or Scottish Travellers, particularly Scottish.
The English Traveller material is interesting, but soooooo fragmentary, yet the Scots (and to a lesser extent, the Irish) have far superior and important repertoires, both in content and condition.
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: GUEST,Guest Ed Silberman
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 11:54 AM

(sorry I didn't identify myself by name before)

Thank you all.

My curiosity was aroused by the cd I'm A Romany Rai. I bought it largely for the Carolyne Hughes material. I'd read passing references to her and was anxious to actually hear her. She bowled me over! I remember reading that she inspired the MacColl song (dont know the name) "move along get along move along get along go move shift." Can anyone confirm that?

Jim -- I find the fragmented nature of these songs intriguing. It's like looking at a broken plate. All the pieces are shattered and scattered, but it's beautiful in it's own right. Or like a bunch of what John Cohen calls 'Tennessee haikus" strong together and adding to a story, or at least a glimpse of one.

Not only has the Voice of The People series not (yet?) done anything with Scots an Irish travellers, but it seems to have focused on the south of England an Wales at that. Are there travelling people in other areas, and do they have songs? (Pardon ignorance, American)

And speaking of the US -- Has anyone else noticed the resemblance of
the new Voice of The People logo to the Readers Digest logo. Give me the willies to look at it

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: Vic Smith
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 12:22 PM

Scots & Irish travellers were very well represented in the 20-volume first edition of Voice of the People.

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 01:58 PM

"Can anyone confirm that?"
'The Moving on Song')that's the title, was inspired by interviews with several Travellers during the making of 'The Travelling People' - I was able to listen to some of the unused material which could easily have doubled the length of the programme.
I think the most powerful influence on the song was the interview with English Traveller Minty Smith who described how the police were forcing the family to move on while she was giving birth inside the caravan - a magnificent combination of the song, Peggy's musical direction, the speaking voice and Charles' overlapping of the music/singing/talking.
As you say - the English Traveller recordings are beautiful in their own right, but it would be good to get some full songs occasionally.
Vic - yes they are well represented, but I would much rather have had a full album of either (or both even) rather than another English one - for me it a serious imbalance in the presentation of the song tradition of these islands.
Not only do they both merit one as part of 'Voice', but there is a wealth of unheard material out there to be sourced - some of the untouched ballad material is stunning.
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: GUEST,Guest Ed Silberman
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 09:09 PM

Thank you

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 03:44 PM

Confirming Jim Carroll's confirmation:
[1990:] In the course of collecting actuality for 'The Travellers', the radio-ballad on nomadic peoples, we recorded the following passage from Misty Smith, a gypsy woman in Cobham, Kent: 'I was expecting one of my children, y'know, one of my babies, and my son ran for the midwife. The policeman came along, 'Come on', he said, 'get a move on! Shift on! Don't want you here on my beat.' So my husband says, 'Look, sir, let me stay - my wife is going to have a baby.' 'No, it doesn't matter about that,' he says, 'you get off!' They made my husband move and my baby was born going along while my husband stayed on the road. Born on the crossroads in my caravan. The horse was in harness and the policeman was following along, y'know, drumming us along. Born on the crossroad!' (Notes Ewan MacColl, 'Black and White')

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Subject: RE: Queen Carolyne Hughes Bio
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 28 Jun 12 - 09:07 AM

With refrence to Susanne (skw)'s contribution. Should "Misty" Smith not be Minty Smith. If so, then you can hear her singing on the Musical Traditions CD "Here's Luck to a Man" (MTCD320. Her photograph can be seen on the cover of this CD.

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