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Writings

  

In the 1970s took over editorship of English Dance and Song, the magazine of the English Folk Dance and Song Society and edited it for over twenty years. During the 1990s edited Animations and Storylines.

Throughout the ’70s,‘80s and ’90s wrote articles, reviews, essays and obituaries for numerous magazines, newspapers and journals including: The Times, The Independent, Stage, Melody Maker, Lurcher magazine, Kent Life, Surrey Life, Sussex Life, English Dance and Song, Words International, Folk Music Journal, also regional newspapers and magazines.

Folk music articles for the McDonald Book of Music and Encyclopaedia Britannica, and traditional folksinger biographies for New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Books

  

A SUSSEX LIFE: The Memories of Gilbert Sergent Countryman. Recorded and edited by Dave Arthur. Published by Barrie and Jenkins, London,1989. Paperback reprint Chapel Press, 1997. Forward by Ronald Blythe.

A.L.Lloyd Bibliography in Singer, Song, and Scholar, published by University of Sheffield Press. 1986

Dan Davin - A Sombre Beast in Intimate Stranger, 

ed. Janet Wilson. Published by Steele Roberts Ltd, 2000

Bert: The Life and Times of A.L.Lloyd. Published by Pluto Press, 2012. 456 pp. Foreword by Richard Thompson, Preface by Sir Stephen Sedley

Latest book projects for completion Spring 2020

Shangri-Soho-La an alternative history of Soho in the 1950s and ‘early-60s 

I’ll Tell You a Story - Magical folktales from the Conan Doyle Theatre. A collection of Kentish and Sussex folktales as told during a storytelling residency at Groombridge Place, Kent.

Reviews

  

A Sussex Life

‘An absorbing read’, ‘hard to put down’, ‘a delightful book’ - cliches, I’m afraid, but they’re all true. I read the book at a sitting, and I’ve since enjoyed browsing through it.

The book is realistic in approach, rather than nostalgic. Sergent’s words are faithfully reproduced and punctuated by pieces of information supplied by Dave Arthur - extracts from documents, snatches of song, items of Sussex lore, background material.

The whole thing is very skillfully done. Into the bargain, there are many atmospheric line drawings, sixteen pages of evocative photographs, and a map.

The result is a lively and enjoyable piece of work that is full of interest even for one who has been through but never to Sussex.

Roy Palmer

Bert - The Life and Times of A.L.Lloyd - AMAZON REVIEWS

I got this out of the library and enjoyed it so much I bought the book.

I got this out of the library and enjoyed it so much I bought the book. A well-written book about a very interesting man. Anyone who remembers the old folk clubs will enjoy this.

So much more than a folklorist

A fascinating insight into so many aspects of the great man, along with a considered view of the notorious "Bert controversy". A. L. Lloyd had so much influence on our view of what constitutes folk music that we need to know more about his life. Arthur's thorough research goes a long way to providing us with a detailed picture of the man and his achievements in and out of music.

Thorough but accessible, an excellent rounded portrait.

The life story of one of the central figures of English folk music is examined in this thorough but very accessible biography.

This is certainly no uncritical hagiography - Dave Arthur examines Lloyd's tendency to embroider the truth of aspects of his own early life, his willingness to actively blur the distinction between the source material as it was collected and the arranged or reconstructed songs Lloyd performed and disseminated, and the inevitable colouration that Lloyd's strong political beliefs brought to his work and the obstacles those beliefs placed in his career path.

Against this, however, Arthur rightly points out that such criticisms are made with the benefit of fifty years of the scholarship that Lloyd himself played a part in formalising. 

The various parts of Lloyd's life are juggled with great organisational skill, preferring sometimes to give the arc of a particular aspect of Lloyd's life rather than slavishly following the chronology, but successfully avoiding the twin dangers of confusion and excessive repetition.

This is a highly readable biography, meticulously researched without becoming drily academic, affectionate yet critical. The Bert Lloyd who emerges from these pages is at once both more accessible and more impressive than the Marxist pedagogue portrayed by some of his detractors. It is a biography that deserves to be read, not only because it is an important portrait of a crucial figure in the recent history of folk and traditional music, but also because it is a well-written, entertaining and highly informative read.

Pluto press are to be commended

Bert Lloyd - or AL Lloyd - is well known by folk-song lovers in many countries and he occupies a special niche in Australia because he knew, sang and recorded many of the old bush songs during the six years he spent in the bush there after emigrating from London at the age of 16.

Dave Arthur's biography encompasses not only those early beginnings but the breadth of Lloyd's contribution to translation, radio documentary, ethnographic film, industrial song, folklore, poetry, broadcasting, magazine journalism, teaching and radical politics.

It's a riveting story of a man, his friends, relations, triumphs, tragedies, his wide-ranging influence and his ideas.

Lloyd's engagement with and interest in so many aspects of his time described in this biography shine through.

And it documents yet another side of Lloyd - his admiration for Bob Dylan and interest in the use of electric instruments to deliver centuries-old ballads and tunes to large audiences.

It's an excellent biography and the author and Pluto Press are to be commended for bringing it out.

Looking inside Bert

A breathtakingly thorough and complete account of the life and times of one of the greatest influences on the folk music world - and the rest! A complex, appealing character is brought to life by Dave Arthur. He tells us it's been a labour of many years. When we see this result we're so glad you stuck with it, Dave. Essential reading for anyone interested in the folk movement, the political shenanigans pre and post WW2, or finding out what made such a colourful character tick.

OTHER BERT REVIEWS:

I'm old enough and have been close enough to many of the events recounted in this thoroughly but sympathetically researched book to recognise the ring of truth when I hear it’.

(Bill Leader, legendary record producer)

As broadcaster, scholar, collector and singer, Bert Lloyd was one of the truly inspirational characters of Britain’s 20th century music history – without roving, curious minds like his we would have a much reduced view of folk traditions, global music or the political import of sound in daily life. Dave Arthur’s biography captures his complexity and energy with affection and unflinching honesty. 

(David Toop, author of Ocean of Sound (2001) and Sinister Resonance (2010).)

Bert Lloyd’s habit of reinventing himself is one of the intriguing things about his character, and an engaging aspect of this biography. He was a shape-shifter, trickster, and for every person who found him cold and remote, another, like Norma Waterson, remembers “a very loving man, a wonderful man.” And the richness of the worlds he inhabited, much of which is portrayed vividly in the words of those who shared them with him, is a reminder that we don’t yet have anything like a decent spoken historical account of the golden days of the British folk music scene, and that its witnesses are growing old, or have already been silenced for good. Dave Arthur’s Bert is a giant’s step on the way to setting down that account.

Bob Pegg

Bert: The Life and Tmies of AL.Lloyd. Published by Pluto Press, 2012. 456pp.

The Best Biography I have Read This Year

I waited ten years for this book and when I got it I realised just why I had to wait that long. Dave Arthur accomplished the most thorough piece of biographical research I have seen for a long time. Along with many others who knew Bert, I thought I knew a lot about him. Fact is I knew next to nothing! This book revealed a man of so many parts that it was clear that those who came into contact with him through whatever movement they were involved with, folk song, politics, theatre, only saw of him what he wanted them to see. My Book of the Year.Say   (AMAZON REVIEW)


Bert: The Life and Times of A.L.Lloyd. Published by Pluto Press, 2012. 456 pp. Foreword by Richard Thompson, Preface by Sir Stephen Sedley