Haunted by Alexander Campbell!

I wrote extensively about Scottish song-collector Alexander Campbell and his early 19th century Albyn’s Anthology collections, in my PhD. And my subsequent monograph. I’ve talked about him (a lot), and during the pandemic, I contributed a chapter to Steve Roud and David Atkinson’s essay collection, Thirsty Work and other Legacies of Folk Song (London: The Ballad Partners, 2022). So it’s gratifying to read a nice review of the essay collection in the April-May 2023 issue (no.324) of London Folk.

Campbell feels like a distinct ‘blast from the past’, after I’ve spent the past three or four years mainly thinking about more recent song collections. But I’m very pleased that other people seem to share my interest in this fascinating man!

Read about Song-Collector Alexander Campbell, in ‘Thirsty Work and Other Heritages of Folk Song’ Conference Papers

I’ve just received my own copy of a new publication by Ballad Partners, Thirsty Work and Other Heritages of Folk Song, which contains my most recent Alexander Campbell article: ‘Alexander Campbell’s Song Collecting Tour: ‘The Classic Ground of our Celtic Homer’. There’s a section on Campbell and his musicianship – an entirely new angle which I spent some time contemplating during lockdown.

The book is Ballad Partners’ third book of Folk Song Studies.

I have just catalogued a copy for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Library – I listed the contents there, so I’ll repeat the list here for your interest. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, please visit the Ballad Partners’ website. (I’m unconnected with the publishers – I am just one of the contributors!)


Thirsty work: traditional singing on BBC Radio, 1940-41 / Katie Howson — From Tyneside to Wearside: in search of Sunderland songs / Eileen Richardson — Sam Bennett’s songs / Elaine Bradtke — Newman and Company of Dartmouth and the song tradition of Newfoundland’s South Coast / Anna Kearney Guigne — Railwaymen’s charity concerts, 1888-89 / Colin Bargery — Picturing protest: prints to accompany political songs / Patience Young — ‘That is all the explanation I am at liberty to give in print’: Richard Runciman Terry and Songs from the Sea / Keith Gregson — Drawing from the well : Emma Dusenberry and her old songs of the Ozarks / Eleanor Rodes — Alexander Campbell’s song collecting tour : ‘The Classic Ground of our Celtic Homer’ / Karen McAulay — ‘Don’t let us be strangers’ – William Montgomerie’s fieldwork recordings of Scottish farmworkers, 1952 / Margaret Bennett — ‘No maid in history’s pages’ : the female rebel hero in the Irish ballad tradition / Therese McIntyre — Who is speaking in songs? / David Atkinson

Returning momentarily to Alexander Campbell

You’ll remember that last year, I gave some talks about Scottish song-collector Alexander Campbell and his tour round the Hebrides in 1815.

James D Hobson has just posted a great blogpost, A Guide to the Georgian Coaching Inn. Read about the kind of experience Alexander Campbell may have had, on the occasions he travelled by coach or stayed at an inn! (I’ve added this link to my own earlier blogpost so readers will have another chance of finding it, too.) Congrats, James – it’s a wonderful read.

Alexander Campbell’s song-collecting for Albyn’s Anthology (5.30 Tues 17th November)

The talk itself wasn’t recorded, but I did make a recording of my final rehearsal. Please do contact me if you’d like to see it for research purposes – I’m not going to post it publicly here.

Karen McAulay Teaching Artist

At the risk of being insufferable, I’m sharing this on all my social media haunts! At 5.30 pm tomorrow night, folks – I’m talking about an early Scottish song collector, Alexander Campbell – for Glasgow Uni’s Scottish and Celtic Studies Department. You can join us if you like:- https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/alexander-campbells-song-collecting-for-albyns-anthology-tickets-121414950385

View original post

Revisiting the Achievements of Song-Collector Alexander Campbell

I recently wrote a blog-post about Alexander Campbell, for the Romantic National Song Network. Campbell was one of “my” song-collectors, who occupied a good bit of my time whilst I was writing my PhD thesis and subsequently my book. (And I learned a whole lot more about his “trip-advisor”, Sir John Macgregor Murray, when I was writing a paper for that seminar at the Sorbonne last year!)

Here’s the link to the blogpost, which went live this evening. Get yourself a cuppa and settle down for a read …


Image:- Lanrick Castle Gatehouse, entrance to Sir John Macgregor Murray’s home (Campbell’s trip-advisor!)

Post Script! By the way, James D Hobson has just posted a great blogpost, A Guide to the Georgian Coaching Inn. Read about the kind of experience Alexander Campbell may have had, on the occasions he travelled by coach or stayed at an inn!