Interview with Don Budds, 18 July 2002
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Essex Folk Movement Oral History Project
Level: Sub-Series
Scope and Content:
Don Budds [DB] interviewed by Sue Cubbin [SC] in Colchester on 18 July 2002. DB talks about his early life, performing with the Folk Five, and his involvement with the folk scene in Essex during the 1950s and 1960s.

Tape 1 Side A

[00:00:00] DB talks about his family; music in his family, devout Methodists, hymns; singing popular songs, cheap records; learning the piano aged nine, but being unable to play at the time of interview; music at school, national songbook, military songs; Maypole dancing; classical music at Harwich and Dovercourt Grammar School.
[00:07:05] Learning rude songs during his National Service, 1952-1955; singing at pubs; playing a mouth organ in the army; playing a melodeon after leaving the army; Wicks Church Choir; his family's conversion to Anglicanism; dislike of learning new hymns; the oral tradition of army songs.
[00:12:15] Moving to Chelmsford after completing his National Service, 1955-1967; working for Marconi for 13 years; getting involved in Colchester Folk Club through work colleagues, their interest in early folk songs and music theory; performing together and forming a folk group, the Folk Five; being invited to Colchester Folk Club; the membership of the group; their repertoire, modal songs, old rather than contemporary; 'modal tunes' and non-chromatic scales of certain instruments.
[00:18:20] Learning songs from books, buying 'A Collection' by Cecil Sharp from Cecil Sharp House, the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS); learning songs by ear, knowing tunes from other songs; hearing Ewan MacColl in the mid-1960s; their first gig at the Chelmsford Folk Club in the early 1960s; national interest in country and western, the rarity of the Folk Five's repertoire; being inspired by A.L.Lloyd's industrial worksongs album ['The Iron Muse'].
[00:22:42] Opening act at the Colchester Folk Club; being asked to be a resident band. Recites lyrics of 'The Willow Garden', the band's signature tune. Talks about being paid in expenses, beer; needing to expand their repertoire for a wider audience, rehearsing once a week; performing an all-evening spot; his favourite songs. Shows SC his portfolio of lyrics, including 'The Banks of Claudy'.

Tape 1 Side B

[00:00:00] DB discusses their repertoire, 'modal', Irish and Scottish songs, avoiding American songs; being a resident act at Colchester Folk Club for three or four years; performing elsewhere, around Chelmsford, local folk clubs, nearly appearing on the radio; close relationships within the band.
[00:04:23] Playing a sousaphone in a trad-jazz band, the Dick Phillips Jazz Band, in the mid-1950s in Chelmsford; the trad-jazz craze; the sousaphone; the origin of the band; their repertoire and line-up; where they performed; his dislike of playing weddings; playing string-bass in a dance band; needing to be versatile; learning songs from chords.
[00:12:02] The age of trad-jazz audiences, performing for the music and not the scene; being co-opted into a skiffle band on a trip to America; the elderly Colchester Folk Club audience; appeal of their repertoire to older people.
[00:17:58] Guests at the Colchester Folk Club, including Earl Scruggs, Ewan MacColl, and Peggy Seeger; the basic instrumentations of the early folk scene and relative sophistication of the Folk Five.
[00:22:50] Differences between Anglo concertina and English concertina.
[00:24:10] Being known for modal songs in the folk clubs and the inspiration for guests; his favourite modal song, 'My Bonny Bonny Boy' [sings the first verse]; not adopting songs from guests; floor spots at the club; performing sea shanties; lack of amplification at the folk club; the size of the folk club, popularity.

Tape 2 Side A

[00:00:00] Developing a relationship with the audience; no bad audience experiences at the folk club; what the audience thought folk music was; what the Folk Five considered folk; bringing 'folk' music to the people; varying their repertoire; taking requests.
[00:04:26] The Folk Five splitting up around 1967; missing performing with the band; singing solos at folk clubs; leaving the club circuit; the decline of folk clubs and changing nature of folk music; continuing with the dance band until it folded; no longer being a performer;
[00:09:03] Listening to classical music, baroque; difficulty finding folk music he enjoys; lack of involvement in music; how the Folk Five fit in the legacy of the Essex folk movement.
[00:12:54] Sings some of the songs in their portfolio book. Talks about the broadness of their repertoire and importance of English songs to him.
[00:20:39] The Essex Record Office moving building; his portfolio.
[00:25:54] The cadences and tone of hymns, the origin of modal music. SC explains the oral history project and her relationship to the Essex folk movement.

Tape Two, Side B

[00:00:00] DB sings 'My Bonny Bonny Boy'.
Dates of Creation:
18 July 2002
1 hour 37 minutes 11 seconds
Creator Name:
Sue Cubbin
Admin History:
Don Budds (b.1932, Mistley) performed on the Essex folk club scene with the Folk Five, a resident act at Colchester Folk Club between 1955 and 1967.
Archivist Note:
Copyright transferred to ESVA
Physical Characteristics:
4 MP3 files [digital copies of original cassettes]
Dates of Description:
May 2022,,,