It began as a small but clear idea. Let's discover what people think of life, what they care about. Let's do it by gathering some of the folk-style songs they're writing today — songs where the words, the lyrics, matter. Songs in which little bits of truth are explored and captured. No, not captured, but liberated and expressed.
We made it a competition. We asked for unpublished songs; songs of love — and hate; poverty — and plenty; isolation — and community; law — and freedom; war — and peace; thought-and action; faith — and doubt; in short, songs of grief and glory.
Over 3,000 songs were sent to us. After some preliminary sifting the final selection was made by three judges — Sidney Carter, song writer and singer; Father Geoffrey Beaumont, writer of the "Folk Mass"; and Yvonne Littlewood, tv producer of BBC2's "Tonight in Person". The 7 week series of programmes contained 28 songs. The singers throughout were Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor and Nadia Cattouse.
The songs were divided into three groups. First were songs of 'Man and his Feelings', next 'Man and his Fellows', and last 'Man and his Faith'. Each week viewers were asked to write and tell us which song they liked best. At the end of 6 weeks we had 6 weekly winners. These songs and 4 more close runners-up were sung in the final 40 minute programme. In that programme Sidney Carter and Father Beaumont nominated "The Man for all Colours" as 'the most successful song in the series'.
I became fond of many of the songs. I had a possessive midwife feeling about them. I learnt that all sorts of people like all sorts of different songs for all sorts of reasons. Here is a selection of some of the best, including of course the six weekly winners sung and played by the same team that made the broadcasts. They explore life today-and make their own comment on it. They are — songs of Grief and Glory.
GRIEF AND GLORY — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. Signature tune by Peter Firth, about the two sides of man's experience, his mastery of nature — and yet his uncertainty.
BACK BUCHANAN STREET — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. By Harry and Gordon Dison of Liverpool. Many people are being rehoused. But do they all enjoy being uprooted ? This song answers "No!"
TREAD LIGHTLY — Nadia Cattouse. By Ruth Roberts of Alsager, Cheshire. A love song — with a modern plea for not too much involvement.
TALKIN' TROUBLE — MONDAY BLUES — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. By Philip Hills of Crowborough, Sussex. Getting down to brass tacks — everyday life in the suburbs.
THE THRESHOLD — Nadia Cattouse. By Susan Tuck of Cirencester. A young girl — her feelings on the threshold of adulthood.
THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WONDERFUL ABOUT FIGHTING — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. By Tommy Gardner and Gary White-head of Exeter. An ironic comment on the fact of man's perpetual aggressiveness.
KELSTON ROUND HILL — Nadia Cattouse. By Christopher Rowe of Kingston-upon-Hull. A ballad of life — joy, war, and grief, against the background of nature's rhythm.
THE FOLK SINGER — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. By Neil McGowan of Derry, N.I. A protest about professional protesters.
IF THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT — Nadia Cattouse. By Andrew Rainbow of London. About the many choices open to man. Beware! You may get what you want!
PIGS CAN SEE THE WIND — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. By Dave Goulder of Achnashellach, Ross Shire. On the foolishness of man.
PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE LIKE THEMSELVES — Nadia Cattouse. By Jeanette Stanley of London. A satirical comment on human nature and the way to success.
FOLK NATIVITY — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. By Jane Laxton of Colwyn Bay. A Christmas song by a schoolgirl.
THE MAN FOR ALL COLOURS — Nadia Cattouse. By Nick Parry Jones of London. A ballad on the splendour of true love.
IRONY ROAD — Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor. By Dafydd Idris Edwards of Carmarthen. Where will we be when the chips are down ? Ferocious reminder of human badness.
GRIEF AND GLORY — Nadia Cattouse