This recording was made in Haltwhistle on 26th March 1973. Through the course of a lengthy interview George Hepple talks about playing dance music in that part of Northumberland. He tells us about how he learnt to play the fiddle, he talks about other musicians and he tells us about his grandfather, who learnt to clog dance from the influential 19thC musician and dancing master, Robert Whinham. This latter event giving us a direct link back through 150 years of traditional music making. George Hepple can be heard playing with Joe Hutton, Billy Atkinson and Willy Taylor, at a concert recorded in Wallsend in 1979, which can be found elsewhere on the FARNE site.
The file which can be heard here is an extract taken from a much longer interview. The full interview along with other clips extracted from the interview, found elsewhere on the FARNE site, can be heard in both RealAudio and MP3 formats.
In this short extract we hear George talking about the instruments found in country bands in the days before wireless.
This is just one of a number of recordings made by the North East Folk Federation Collecting Project. Some time in 1971 a committee of members of the North East Folk Federation came together to purchase a small portable tape recorder. They also received a grant from Northern Arts, with which they were able to purchase magnetic recording tape. Their aim was to collect and preserve what fragments of songs, stories and tunes they could find in the North East of England. Key members included the singer Johnny Handle and librarian Tony Wilson. Among those lending support and making introductions were Forster Charlton and Graham Binless. By the End of 1974 just short of forty recordings had been made, of singers, musicians and dancers from Durham and all parts of Northumberland. Among those recorded were Small Pipes player Joe Hutton; fiddlers John Armstrong, Jimmy Pallister and Willie Taylor; the singer Jimmy White and mouth organ player Billy Atkinson. Through these recordings we are made aware not only of the wealth of traditional music making in the North East but also the important place that music holds in the lives of its people.