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Bob Copper’s Songs And Southern Breezes reprinted

Although Bob Copper’s first book, A Song for Every Season, has never been out of print, the same cannot be said for his second, Songs And Southern Breezes. But this account of Bob’s travels and adventures throughout his area of Sussex and Hampshire has recently become available again thanks to current members of The Copper Family.

Encouraged by his publisher to come back with a second book, Bob decided to write about his song and dialect collecting experiences for the BBC in the 1950s. Armed with a so-called ‘Midget’ tape recorder, a notebook, and a very limited BBC expense account, he was incredibly successful in his ‘finds’. From the stories of steam threshing contractor Len Page of Falmer, to the songs of Hastings fishermen Noah Gillette and Ned ‘Wintry’ Adams to the haunting verses of West Sussex roadman George Attrill, this was a real treasure trove. Fortunately, Bob had kept comprehensive notes and anyway was possessed of a quite remarkable recall, so a book describing these experiences was a task which came relatively easily.

It sold well, but was not specifically about the Copper Family, the subject of his first book, which may account for its not reaching a second edition. The writing, however, is superb, in Bob’s own inimitable style, and in folk music circles it was immediately recognised as a classic. It has been referenced by many singers in the quest for interesting and original versions of traditional songs, containing as it does, the words and music to some 50 of the best collected. Throughout, the book sparkles with Bob’s good humour and his wonderfully crafted prose and ear for detail, indeed his rendering of dialect is uncannily alive.

The new edition is available to buy via The Copper Family website.