“Billy Bennington: The Barford Angel” - Veteran - VT152CD
‘Norfolk Dulcimer and Dialect’
Re-release of the classic album on CD, which now includes several stories about Billy’s exploits while travelling around the pubs of rural Norfolk, plus nine extra music tracks from the Topic LP "English Country Music from East Anglia".
I can’t yet say much about this particular recording, but I have enjoyed this hammered dulcimer’s ways with music. I’m saving my pennies now to get this recording and when I do I’ll add a bit more. Here are the words of others on this, starting with a collection of reviews from the Veteran site:
Bob Harragan for "The Living Tradition":
& from Proper Music
In Britain the dulcimer has, over the years, been popular as both a classical instrument and as an instrument for busking. As a folk instrument it was popular in East Anglia and was particularly widespread among village musicians in Norfolk. In fact between the wars it was noted that there were 25 ‘players of the dulcimore’ (as it was known locally) within 10 miles of one small parish near Norwich. The last of these great Norfolk players was Billy Bennington.
Bennington was given the name ‘The Barford Angel’ because he used to carry his dulcimer on his back while cycling and the shape of the dulcimer made him look as though he had angel’s wings. The Barford Angel was originally released on LP in 1986 and this new production has the addition of eight extra tracks from the seminal Topic record ‘English Country Music In East Anglia’
& from Veteran ~ http://www.veteran.co.uk/Artistes.htm#Billy Bennington
Born in Norfolk in 1900, Billy spent most of his life as a gardener. His father kept the King’s Head public house at Barford and it was he who gave Billy his first dulcimer. In 1912 he went to Hingham show and Billy Cooper was playing dulcimer there. Cooper’s father was the bandmaster of the Hingham and Watton band, and Billy Bennington took lessons from him. ‘Old Cooper’s’ rigid discipline made Billy practise hard.
After the First World War, Billy Bennington teamed up with Billy Cooper and they played in Barford King’s Head. It was there they joined up with fiddle player Walter Bulmer. On Saturday nights they would play in village pubs all over Norfolk, travelling around on a motorbike combination which had a basket on the front, where they would carry the two dulcimers and the fiddle. Later, Billy played with a banjo player and he busked at Great Yarmouth, which he described as "the best paid game going!" After the war he entered a national talent competition and reached the eastern region final. Unfortunately, he caught a hammer on a bridge and it landed in a judge’s lap, thus preventing him winning! (John Howson)
Billy Bennington - Personal Portrait No. 8 by John Howson
East Anglian Traditional Music Trust