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Come Write Me Down: Early Recordings of the Copper Family of Rottingdean

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Album Review

The Copper Family are the ne plus ultra of English traditional singing; that much is beyond question. But this delves back, beyond the family as they are today, for archival recordings of Bob Copper with cousin Ron, and also their fathers, from whom the tradition, dating back a few hundred years, was passed on. Sixteen of the tracks come from a very limited-edition LP for the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and the rest from BBC performances, meaning that these recordings from the '50s and '60s never really had a commercial airing before. It's not just the influence of the Coppers that's important, although to hear them then any other singers since (like the Young Tradition or the Watersons) is to immediately understand their importance. It's more about the continuation of a tradition, and that's fully examined in the superb writing with this album, two extensive explorations, both of the family, and of the tradition. Much of the material is familiar — but it's familiar simply because of the Coppers. The real fascination comes with these particular combinations of voices. This is an example of an artifact that's as important today as it was then, one that illuminates the past from the vantage point of the present.


Formed: Rottingdean, Sussex, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The centuries-old musical traditions of England's Sussex County's pubs are preserved through the singing of Bob Copper (born in 1920) and the several incarnations of the Copper Family. More than 100 years after their musical treasure-chest was discovered by London-based folk music enthusiast Katie Lee, the family continued to resurrect well-seasoned material with additional generations of family members. Tracing their roots to 1563 in Rottingdean, a small Sussex County village four miles west of...
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Come Write Me Down: Early Recordings of the Copper Family of Rottingdean, The Copper Family
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